Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Repotty training an 8 year old dog

Greetings from Miami, FL. This is Christine from BLOG SISTERS. You may recall last year my dilemma of retraining my dog to go potty in a new "station" since I moved to the 40th floor of a new condominium (click here for the original story).

Well, in following Lauren's advice (one of the commentators), it actually worked. I no longer have to wait and ride the elevators three times a day which can take anywhere from five to ten minutes!

Indoors, I replicated the outdoors and collected small bags of mulch and dumped it into a cardboard box where I cut out one side as her entry. Even though the mulch was "used" mulch from our previous home with dog scent, she did not take the bait. However, after riding the interminable elevators with frequent stops on the way down and up, and the slight altitude pressure for a 10 pound dog, she quickly decided she hated this new routine of going to the bathroom. So I still took her to the doggy replica bathroom station everyday until one day, she relieved herself.

What was the actual trick? Well in my previous condo, I lived on the fourth floor, also the first residential floor of the building. This meant I either took two flights of stairs to descend to the street level or rode the elevator. Ma Cherie was accustomed to being the first one off the elevator in a matter of 5 seconds. Also, on rainy days, our building had a canopy covered station.

However, at our new home, 40 floors high, we both feel the altitude. She is no longer the first one off the cab, no longer the princess of Brickell.

So on rainy or very cold days (below 60) and in the morning and at night, I walk her one door over to the stairwell where her doggy station is set up. You might think this is rude to neighbors. Honestly, no one takes the stairs in a high rise condo building. I always change the liners and paper. The place is clean and never smells. Ironically our indoor potty is cleaner than outdoors where residents are frustrated from the handful of dog owners who never pick up after their dog--a Florida law. Hence my solution is safer for my dog. Besides Ma Cherie is inherently clean. Even when outside, her nose in the air and leg slightly lifted and bent, she gingerly places down her paw on spot with least amount of traces of dog urine.

So when we walk out our front door, she runs out and automatically heads to the stairwell, her preferred spot. Except I do take her out once a day after work so she gets some exercise and accompanies me when feeding the outdoor neighborhood cats, my daily charity of love.

Just when I doubted myself, this city girl could teach her 8 year-old dog a new trick!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Blue Heelers Can be Sneaky

Last week I'd have given anything to have a video camera in my hand...

Pepper, Suzie, and I went out to our shop to visit with my husband and his dog Ralph, as we usually do some time during the afternoon. Ralph has a sleeping bag and next to it a food dish and a water bowl - and he was semi-dozing on the sleeping bag.

Pepper, the Blue Heeler, is a chubby little guy, always on the lookout for another little morsel, so he decided to check out Ralph's food dish.

He started across the shop floor, doing that stealthy "I'm sneaking up on them" Blue Heeler walk. All the time he was watching Ralph to see if he was noticing. The food dish was behind Ralph's head, so when Pepper got there he thought he was home free.

But... just as he was about to steal a bite, Ralph looked up.

Pepper immediately turned his back and pretended to be examining the paint cans on the shelf along the wall.

Have you ever seen a dog pretending to read paint cans? It was hilarious.

As soon as Ralph put his head back down, Pepper grabbed a bite and got out of there!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Traveling With Your Dog

Dogs can be wonderful companions on a long trip, but keeping them safe and healthy takes some advance planning.

We talked the other day about finding lodging where dogs are welcome. You probably should plan on paying a deposit in addition to your room fee. You know your dog is housebroken, but the motel managers don't!

Also, since you'll be in strange places, your dog may be nervous and upset. So keep him happy by taking along a favorite bed or blanket, and some favorite toys. Along with that, pack a good supply of the food he's used to. This is especially important if your dog is used to high-end dog food. Not all stores in all communities will carry his brand.

Next, plan to take along a good supply of water, because he may object to the taste of the water in other communities. You may have to do some searching for the right containers, but be sure to carry the water in a glass or stainless steel container. The toxins from plastic water containers aren't any better for your dog than they are for you.

If you plan to stop at rest stops, consider taking a plastic covered cable tie-out, so you can run to the rest room without danger of your dog chewing through his lead in an effort to find you. Of course you can leave him in the car, but unless you leave it running with the AC on, that can be fatal in summertime.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Taking Your Dog on Vacation

Some of us don't like to leave our dogs in kennels - and that can create a real problem when the whole family wants to go on vacation together.

We can hire a pet sitter, but that's also a bit scary. What if the dog doesn't like them, or what if they're careless about keeping the doors and/or gates securely shut? Something bad could happen to our dogs.

The alternative, of course, is to take the dogs along. That alternative requires some advance planning. Unless you're going to be staying with relatives (who also love your dogs) you'll need to find pet-friendly lodging.

Some motel chains do advertise their pet-friendliness, but finding deluxe accommodations is a bit tougher. That's why I was pleased to read about a whole community that loves dogs.

If you happen to love skiing in winter and exploring the mountains in summer, try Crested Butte, Colorado for your next vacation.