Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Monday, July 6, 2015

5 Years With Copley!

 I am a few days late with this posting, but Copley's 5 year adoption day was also my 4 year wedding anniversary so I tend to get a little busy.  He doesn't mind sharing his big day with our anniversary though, he likes the visitors we get in town, the trips we take and the general fact that he is not the center of attention.  Better late than never here is a little look back at the last five years with my best buddy, Copley.

That is our very first road trip and vacation together.  It was only about 3 weeks after we adopted him from Henderson Animal Control where he had been for 29 days.  Was it a great idea to take a dog on vacation who had not even been out of the shelter for as long as he was in it?  Maybe not, but we travel a LOT and we figured our dog needed to get used to it.  He loved everything about that trip except maybe two border collies at the friends house we stayed at.

Copley tolerates other polite dogs and often will play with them, but there are a very few out there that he really loves.  Two of them are our other dogs Kerri and Nova.  Kerri won him over as a puppy by pulling maneuvers like this.  Nova he just loves, she could get away with anything when it comes to Copley.

 Copley loves being outside, as long as he doesn't have to get his feet wet...
 Over the years as the blog has grown and as we started our own business dealing in dog stuff Copley has done a lot of product reviews.  From the treats he gets for good sit-stays with the camera to the toys he gets to pull out of the box he is pretty happy with the job.

Copley is a very serious dog.  Most other people don't see that, because the moments of glee in his life mostly happen when he sees other people.  His favorite thing in the world is meeting new people and having guests come over to the house.  The rest of the time he is very on task.  When we are on walks he is dedicated to getting from point "a" to point "b."  When we are eating he sits nearby in his serious pose until we are done.  From other dogs he demands manners; a paw to his face, a rambunctious puppy knocking into him or any other less than polite activity results in a curled lip.  Strangely enough this seriousness is why I didn't try to compete in any obedience with him.  At class he was so happy, his butt always wiggled and he gleefully jumped at the idea of doing anything for me.  That kind of ruined his sits and his heels, but I just wasn't willing to fix that.  For a dog like him I never have felt like stopping the little moments of happiness he has, even if they are occasionally inappropriate for the setting, and I wasn't about to train it out of him.  Here is a picture that really captures his goofy side.

That is my Copley!  He is the best dog a person like us could ask for.  He lived through so much of our learning and being brand new dog owners in those early days.  With his tolerant, people-loving attitude he took our mistakes in stride.  The different training methods, the different crates, the many foods we struggled with before we went for the good stuff, the roller coaster of vets and those few times I thought dog parks were a good idea for him.  He took all the growing pains of a first dog so that one day when we get that basenji puppy I've always wanted I will have a chance of training it right.*  We love you Copley!
*That was kind of a joke.  I love basenji but I don't think even I am crazy enough to get one.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

My Musings on Jurassic Park

A few weeks ago, after seeing Jurassic World, I posted this on facebook:
I thought that movie was going to give me "Chris Pratt, raptor whisperer" but instead it gave me something even better "Chris Pratt, positive reinforcement raptor clicker trainer." Swoon.

Now I have seen the movie a second time and have a more solid opinion formed.  I would like to expand on that Facebook post a little bit.  Last month, in anticipation of seeing Jurassic World, I sat down and watched all 3 of the other Jurassic Park movies.  Me and my husband are such big fans, I was way, way, into dinosaurs when the first one came out and I remember going to see it in the theater and thinking it was just the coolest thing.  I am so glad we re-watched them going into Jurassic World, not because any of that previous plot really mattered in regards to this new movie, but because it really made me think about how far we have come when it comes to how the scientific community views animals.

I had seen the previews of Chris Pratt hunting bigger dinosaurs with a pack of velociraptors and jumping into their pen pulling a move that I expected to be Caesar Milan like in his control of the dinosaurs.  I was excited for that more than anything else really.  Little did I know that the movie really was going to deliver something even better.  When I saw a movie star pull out a clicker and a bucket of meat I just about died of excitement.  Did I really just watch someone look cool controlling large, dangerous predators with POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT?  I did.  I did see that.  I also like that they almost ate him a few times, but that didn't really shake his trust of them.  He was always worried they were going to eat him so it wasn't much of a surprise.  Obviously there were a lot of inaccurate things because well, this IS Jurassic Park after all.  Besides the fact that there are dinosaurs walking around there were other things like the actual execution of the clicker training being a little off, also they do reinforce the alpha thing a little bit, I'm not sure that is totally inaccurate based on the imaginary group structure they gave the animals, but whatever.  As I walked out of the movie a friend of mine said "Maybe now people will think clicker training is totally bad-ass."  I hope so.

It seems to me that despite lots and lots of scientific evidence in the other direction that trainers alpha rolling dogs is getting more and more popular.  I am not saying I am beyond using whatever works for your particular dog, or there is only one way to train, but lets base these methods in modern, scientific fact.  As a positive reinforcement trainer I know I get criticized because in limited situations I am not beyond interrupting a behavior with something like a spray bottle, but that is a far cry from this constant punishment crap.  Come on people, every behavior is not explained with "they are trying to be your alpha" in fact most are not!  Even if your dog thinks they run your house alpha rolling them is not going to convince them otherwise.  Can't we see that positive reinforcement works?  Just yesterday me and my husband spent twenty minutes defending our position that Nova does not in fact think she is our "alpha."  Also Copley does not like rolling over at all, but I assure you the last thing he imagines is that he is my boss.  He dislikes being on his back because he has messed up sinuses from being a poorly thought out cross between a flat faced breed and who knows what else and whenever he is on his back he sneezes violently. The bottom line is we need more positive methods in the pop culture and this movie does that for sure.

One other thing I am curious about is wither the film makers were trying to make a connection to the Navy's dolphin program.  Owen, the trainer played by Chris Pratt, had recently come out of the Navy.  Were they implying that he had come from the dolphin program?  Also the raptor head pieces were very reminiscent of the ones that movies tend to portray on dolphins.  If that is the case it is very interesting to me that Owen was so against the militarization and exploitation of his raptors.  Food for thought for sure.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Stolen Dog!

I know I don't usually post things like this on the blog, but this story really hit lose to home for me.  Tonka was stolen along with a car while it was sitting in her families garage.  Her Mom had run into the house to grab a cell phone and when she came out the car and Tonka were gone.  For a while our garage door was broken, and every time I left the house with a dog the car would be running as I ran back in to shut the door really fast.  When I first heard of her story on facebook I immideately felt horrible because this could so easily been me.  When people's dogs are lost I have noticed a trend lately of blaming the owner.  People are so quick to say "That never could have been me" or "my dog could not have gotten out."  That may make people feel better but it is not actually true.  Tonka could have just as easily been my Kerri and I can't imagine what I would be feeling if it was.

I decided to post this on the blog because today I was sitting in Unwanted and Lost Pets receiving at our local high kill shelter, waiting on a dog going to the rescue we volunteer with.  There is hardly a more depressing place than receiving at a shelter like that.  While we were sitting there I met Tonka's Mom, she was looking through lost and found for Tonka.  I can't even imagine how she must feel having a family member stolen form her like that.  So please take a look at  her picture and be on the lookout for her and the dark grey Mitsubishi with California plates on the poster above.  If you know anyone in Las Vegas please share!  You also should like and share her facebook page here.

Lets bring this baby home!!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fun Park Day

I rarely take pictures on walks anymore.  I am sure that the number of instagram followers I have suffers due to the lack of pictures, but I just can't handle two dogs on a busy walk AND a camera.  Finally a week or so ago the whole family went for a walk and I was able to get a few great shots.  As you can see Nova is enjoying family walks now!  She even did great on this day when we drove to a new park down the road.  I was looking for some nice grass to hang out in and we sure did find it.

 Bug Hunting!

I said Nova was doing great- but we still walk her with this yellow I need space sign and a yellow ribbon on the handle of her leash.  Does it keep people away?  Not really.  It just makes people believe me when I tell them she doesn't like strangers.  Usually if I ask someone not to approach our dogs they say "oh, I like dogs" or "my dogs friendly" or something else like that, as if I don't know my dogs.  When I tell people to stay away while pointing at a leash that says stay away they know I mean it- haha! 

By the way, did you all check out our new family business?  We are selling gift baskets for DOGS!  Full of premium items and totally customized for your pup.  Please check us out on facebook and head over to our website to sign up for our newsletter.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Luxury Wolf

I am excited to announce our new business- The Luxury Wolf.  After a few years of running this blog I have noticed a lot of people are really starting to care for their pets like they are family (yay).  I also have discovered a lot of new an interesting products.  When one of our friends or family adopted a new dog or were celebrating with us at Christmas I would put together little gift boxes for them with a lot of the cool dog products I have discovered over the years.  In addition to that people started coming to me for advise about what to buy for their pups.  In my mind I put that all together and came up with The Luxury Wolf.  We will be selling custom packed gift boxes for your dogs or as a gift!  All of our unique gift baskets and boxes will be custom packed for your dog and then beautifully wrapped in attractive, gift-ready packaging.  Every one is different because it is packed based on what you tell us about your dog, and we can work around any allergies or sensitivities- making us the perfect gift for any dog.  Today we have launched the website with our very first products- Easter Baskets of course!  Click here to check them out and order by the 27th for guaranteed delivery by Easter.

One Of Our Large Dog Easter Baskets

In the next few weeks expect us to roll out new products such as a "Welcome Home Rescue" and "Welcome Home Puppy" baskets containing everything you need to get started with a new dog, "Get Well Soon" boxes and various Treat Sampler boxes.  Take a look at our website to see what we are all about and also check out our facebook page.

So what does this mean for the blog?  Other than a few giveaways coming in the next couple of months, not a whole lot.  I hope to keep blogging honestly about the dog world, the things I love about it, the things I hate about it, and of course camping.

Thank you all for checking out the new business.  I would so appreciate it if you like us on Facebook, visit the website and sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of the page, and let me know what you think of custom gift baskets for dogs!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Photo Shoot!

As a gift for Ben for his birthday I got Kerrigan and Copley photographed by a  professional photographer!  Pet'ographique did absolutely amazing work- they just have such a talent for capturing dogs personalities.  We had been admiring their work for a long time and I finally took the plunge and got them done.   I am BEYOND happy with the pictures.  We already got one picture printed for Ben's birthday surprise but recently went back to order some wall portraits and photo jewelry.  If you are in the Las Vegas area you really should check out Pet'ographique!


This was Ben's birthday gift.  On the right is a pair of boots that he has had for over 10 years.  These hiking boots have been to many states and National Parks across the whole country- all the way from Acadia to the Everglades and The Old North Bridge to Joshua Tree.  He was so sad to retire these boots but they were just falling apart.  Despite monthly leather conditioning and one re-soleing the desert finally took its toll.  Since Copley and Kerri have shared in so many of the adventures with these boots I thought there was no better way to honor these boots retirement than immortalizing them on our wall with the dogs.  The other pair of boots in the picture are Ben's new boots- they are actually the same brand, just 10 model years newer!

I think the group pictures might be my favorite- but we also ordered some of the individuals.

 Copley Teeth!  To quote my Aunt on facebook- I. Love. That. Face!

Happy Copley!

Kerri!  Those ears!

Kerrigan looks to the left.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Kerrigan Covers The Las Vegas Pet Expo

Inspecting the Loot
Hey everybody!  Kerrigan here!  Last week Annie covered our experiences at the Las Vegas Pet Expo in this post.  She told you about our friends at NKLV and all about what Shorty Rossi had to say...  mostly boring human stuff.  I offered to cover the expo from a chihuahuas perspective.  Now may I have your attention to talk about one thing and one thing only.  The contents of THIS package. 
We all know my favorite food is pork.  Next to that it is duck.  I usually lick, then walk away from those crappy meatless treats- HOWEVER- these Saintlees treats are the best thing I have tasted since Annie brought home an entire pork leg for me.  These are literally my favorite treats ever.  As soon as me and the people walked up to their booth at the expo and smelled them I just knew I would love them.  Annie was skeptical that I would like them and almost didn't take the sample from the nice woman- I literally was about to scream at her for turning it away!  Then she took it and gave me a little piece- I ate it so fast they couldn't believe it.  They smell AMAZING- like coconut oil and bananas.  The humans like that because for some strange reason they don't want their pockets to smell like fish or artificial smoke flavoring anymore.  I like it because it smells delicious!!!  I told Mom she needs to order a case of them now.

So thanks for reading my little blog post- it is time for me to go.... what?  Annie has informed me that I should talk about the rest of the expo too.  That food is not the most important thing about our trip there.  Maybe if I remember other things I can get some Saintlees treats?  They said yes.  I suddenly remembered a lot of other fun stuff we did!

As you know I am a rescue pup.  Or so they tell me- I was adopted as a little baby.  It was so great to see all the really cool rescue pups like me finding homes at the expo!  We have some real issues with the county shelter I came from- The Animal foundation- but we are still happy to see when my friends are adopted out of there.  There were quite a few little buddies like me adopted from the county shelter and from other private rescues in the MEGA ADOPTION area at the expo!  A lot of rescues were on hand with information about how to adopt too.  Did you know that a huge number of pure bred dogs like me are in shelters?  Think you can't get a 5lb chihuahua or a purebred Labrador from a rescue?  Think again!  I am proof of the chihuahua thing and here I am making friends with some ladies from the Las Vegas Labrador Rescue.  My favorite part of the expo was when I got to hang out with new people.  I LOVE NEW PEOPLE.  I wish the humans would hand me over to everyone we see in public.  No idea why they don't do that.

Speaking of being handed over to strangers... I met a really Handsome celebrity dog named Hercules.  I tried to say an appropriate hello but all anyone wanted us to do was post for a picture together.  Sigh.  This is the closest we got to each other and he smelled AMAZING.

Me and Mr.Handsome

I decided I need to get myself a pitbull boyfriend.  Hercules seems too busy for the job.  I already have a pit mix minion but he isn't boyfriend material.  Too young for me.

My minion
 We also bought some not edible things at the expo.  For starters my new favorite bed!  It is from Zen Pet Den.  It is super comfortable and is great for those times when instinct takes over and I run in circles trying to dig up the middle of my bed.  This one actually lets me do that!  It is so great that me and Nova took our first nap before Annie even put it away.  Just plopped down right in the middle of the room. Soooo confey!

Finally- if you have been following us on instagram you know I am really loving my new therapy dog harness from JuliusK9.  It is comfortable and all the librarians where I get read to by my very own kid told me my new outfit looked really good.

I think that is all I have to say.  It is time to go eat lunch.  PLEASE LET IT BE PORK!!!!
P.S.- Sorry it took so long to write this post.  Paws on the key board and all you know.

XOXOXO- Kerrigan

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

We interview Shorty Rossi and attend The Vegas Pet Expo

If you follow us on facebook, instagram or twitter you know we spent this last weekend at The Vegas Pet Expo!  The expo was a lot of fun, so much fun that I am covering it in TWO posts this one from me and a post written by our very own chihuahua extraordinaire Kerrigan.

The Vegas Pet Expo is a fun event showcasing a lot of different pet exhibitors, fun demos and a few celebrities.  We got to start our day by interviewing one of those celebrities- Shorty Rossi from the Animal Planet show Pit Boss, and his dog Hercules!  I asked him a little about why he chose pit bulls and about breed specific legislation.  As many of my readers know I was volunteering for a pit rescue when we fell in love with chihuahuas so it is an area close to my heart.  Here is our interview:

ME: I'll start with a question I ask everyone regardless of what breed they have because everyone is always asking me why chihuahuas?  So why pit bulls?  The first time, what drew you to pit bulls?
Shorty:  Well pit bulls are a misunderstood breed you know, people judge them for what they're not and they are very high maintenance and very difficult and very different and I understand that because at the same time little people are misunderstood, especially a little person that's an ex-con, ok?  You know people judge us, don't think we are capable.  We are not just circus freaks and leprechauns and everything else we are doctors, lawyers, business owners and stuff like that so I have that bond and understand that ok, I know how it is to be misjudged.  So, they are short and stocky just like shorty and they are a very loyal breed and I understand them.

A lot of my readers are small dog owners who might not realize that Breed Specific Legislation is something that everyone needs to be concerned with.  Do you have a few words you could say about BSL and why it matters to everyone?
People need to understand that once they start doing BSL and they start with the call it "dangerous breeds" pit bulls, rottweilers and so forth you are giving them the avenue to continue and create more laws that will effect you as a small dog owner.  And you know it shouldn't be punished, and imagine- some chihuahuas can be very nasty- imagine if they were the size of Hercules they'd be getting banned.  Ok?  And everyone thinks it is cute that little chihuahuas are nipping at people and everything but a dog bite is a dog bite.  A chihuahua does not have the capability to do any mauling or killing but it is the product of who we are.  We need to be respectful dog owners and you know don't let it be that way.  We need to fight for all dogs rights.  And punish the people and not the breeds!

I am so glad that he mentioned people allowing chihuahuas to get aggressive!  There are so many nasty chihuahuas out there mostly because when you take a strong headed, slightly defensive breed with intense attachment to their people and treat them like toys or princesses you end up with aggressive dogs.  Or at the least really bad resource guarders.  So I am thinking we should follow Shorty's advise here and work for a world where everyone is a conscientious dog owner and we are judging people on how well they treat their dogs not out banning breeds.  Sound like a plan?

Speaking of being a responsible owner....  A huge part of what has made Kerrigan the great dog she is today was also represented at the expo.  Smartypaws Canine Coaching!  I have been attending SmartyPaws since before we got Kerrigan and she has been there for group classes weekly most of her life.  From kinderpuppy to Novice Prep Agility and even specialized weaving class SmartyPaws has been amazing.  I also can't say enough about how much the owner, Donna, has helped me with Nova.  Adopting a feral dog is not something I would recommend but if you end up with one in your house like I did and you live in Las Vegas then SmartyPaws is the place to go.  Even better than just being at the expo SmartyPaws was doing agility demos!  Kerri got to kind of participate in one but had never been on fake grass before... so it was a bit of a disaster.  Well disaster for me a lot of fun for her- I'll let her tell that story.  For this post here is a picture of Kerri and Donna at their booth.

We also hung out a little with our friends at NKLV.  No Kill Las Vegas is an organization very close to our heart.  They are working to help reform the County shelter that Kerrigan was adopted from.  Sadly not all dogs are as lucky as her to get out of that place and the leadership running the shelter does not show a lot of caring for the many chihuahuas and pit bulls (along with other dogs and cats) that they are killing for no reason at all.  Even as a puppy there Kerrigan was lucky to make it out alive and we want to help change that.  Please check out NKLV and GoVegasDog on Facebook.  In the meanwhile though please still adopt from The Animal Foundation.  They are the county open admission shelter and the animals that end up there really do need homes even if the organization needs a reworking.  Here is Kerrigan posing for a picture with Bryce- one of the organizers behind NKLV.  He also spoke at the expo.  Did I mention that there were also a lot of great speakers at the Expo?  

In addition to all that there were also a lot of great products (I made a few purchases myself), a Mega Adoption Area with a lot of adoptable dogs and cats, exhibitors with birds of prey, bloggers like Max & Luther and Preston Speaks and so much more!  I'm going to let Kerri give you the info on all the fun stuff we bought since most of it was for her!  When that post is up I'll put the link here.  Overall I was very impressed with the quality of exhibitors and how much there was to do and see at the Expo.

Finally all of my readers outside of Las Vegas might be feeling a little left out here.  Luckily Amazing Pet Exo has expos all over the country.  Check the list here and see if one is coming near you.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Las Vegas Pet Expo 2015

What are you up to next weekend?  Me and Kerrigan will be attending the Las Vegas Pet Expo on Saturday.  If you are in the Las Vegas area you definitely should check it out!  Admission is free and if your pet is the type to enjoy busy events they are welcome too.  You just need to bring proof of rabies vaccines for dogs over 4 months, more info can be found here.

We are excited that a lot of our friends are going to be there- including agility demos by our trainers Smartypaws Canine Coaching, and our friends at No Kill Las Vegas.  Also special guests Shorty Rossi and the guys from Tanked will be there.  There will be a lot of other great exhibitors to check out too, everything from dog treats and harnesses to exotic pets and day cares!  The Pet Expo is also hosting a Mega-Adoption Event if you are looking to adopt a new family member.

After the event we will be bringing you some special coverage so make sure you come back next week or follow Kerrigan on Twitter and me on Instagram @doginthedesert !

We hope to see you there!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Visiting National Parks With Dogs

A few days ago me, Kerrigan, Ben and his Mom took a trip to Death Valley National Park.  Visiting National Parks with the dogs is not something I love to do but it is certainly something that can be done.  I am not talking about all of the areas that are managed by the National Parks Service, just the Parks.  National Recreation Areas, National Monuments and other areas all have different policies and some are more dog friendly than the parks.  For a lot of good reasons National Parks tend to have a very restrictive dog policy.  For the most part pets are limited to paved areas and campsites.  They are not allowed down trails or in buildings and must always be on a 6 foot or shorter fixed leash.  Honestly I think this is a great policy.  The National Parks are great for observing wildlife and a natural habitat- dogs are not a part of that.  Also many parks have a lot of wildlife that can be dangerous to dogs.  While eating lunch at Death Valley there we had a coyote walk about 50 feet away from our picnic area.  Kerri was not upset but if she was off leash it could have been a very different story!

Due to all the rules we tend to stick to BLM land, National Forests or other outdoor areas but occasionally we are out and about and stop by a park with the dogs.  They really are the most beautiful places in the United States and sometimes we can't pass by the opportunity to check them out with the dogs.  Last week was one of those days and I think me and Kerrigan made the best of the trip.  We did have to sit on a bench while everyone else enjoyed the Visitor Center, then sit on a bench while everyone else went on a hike but we got to see a beautiful sunset while waiting there so it was totally worth it.  Kerrigan also got to do some other fun things like...

  • Give Ben kisses at the lowest point in the western hemisphere!  Do you see that little white sign way up on the mountain?  That is SEA LEVEL!  We were standing at about 280 feet below sea level.

  • Take Artists Drive.  A beautiful scenic drive full of volcanic rocks that make the mountainside look like it was painted.
  • Visit the Devils Golf Course.  According to the Park Service it is an immense area of rock salt eroded by wind and rain into jagged spires. So incredibly serrated that “only the devil could play golf on such rough links.” 

  • And finally do a lot of sitting around near No Dogs Beyond This Point signs waiting for the family to come back.  Luckily this often involved treats so that's ok.