Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Dog Behaviorist

I have a lot of dogs. I won't deny it. Even though they're small, five dogs is still five dogs, and five dogs come with five distinct personalities and five unique sets of problems. Sometimes these problems can get a bit.....overwhelming.

Because we love our dogs so much, we knew that we needed an extra hand to help get some of our dogs behaviors under control. We were most worried about Ziggy's anxiety and continued marking, Loki's barking and door/stranger aggression, and Monet's fear of everyone. We wanted our dogs, and us to be happier and bring some harmony and balance to the household.

After researching some local dog publications, I found Carolyn Ross, a behaviorist, whose website indicated that she had the skills and experience we were looking for. After a lot of emailing, and saving up the needed funds, we asked Carolyn for a home visit to observe our dogs and see what she could suggest.

When we met Carolyn, both my husband and I immediately felt comfortable with her. She was warm, friendly, and at ease with the dogs, even while Loki, Monet and Vixen barked their heads off at her. She told us that she had personally owned five dogs at one time before, and knew how challenging it could be at times.
Carolyn stayed with us for an hour and a half, and the time just flew by! She showed us some basic Tellington Touch (T-Touch) techniques to help relax the more anxious dogs, and how to associate with a word command that would help to bring on a relaxed state. She showed us when to ignore unwanted behaviors and when to reward a calm state. Many of the things we went over we were already familiar with, and it was a good reinforcement of our own training techniques and beliefs.

To many dogs dogs are abandoned due to behavior problems that could be fixed with a little time and patience. If you are struggling with behavioral issues with your dog, I would strongly urge a consult with a good dog behaviorist. You, and your dogs, deserve it :)

The consult was well worth the price. We've been using the methods she showed us, and have been seeing imporvement with our pack. Progress is slow, but we know it doesn't happen overnight. Progress only happens with patience and cionsistancy.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wow- It's Been A While

Once again, the days have slipped away, and it's already a new year.

Our doggie family has grown, and it's now at maximum capacity. Last time I checked in, Ziggy was the new addition. Now, there's Monet:

He's a Chihuahua/ Jack Russell mix, full of energy, and love. For me. And my husband. And that's it. He doesn't like anyone else, including the kids. We're working on it. He loves other dogs though, and the dogs are a big cuddly, playful bunch.
We never intended to keep him. It just happened. And now there are five. The house is full of love. And fur. And too much pee most days (thank god for the carpet shamoo'er)
Each dog has their own set of quirks, behavioral problems, and sweet affectations. While sometimes they make me want to scream ( Ziggy, why do you keep marking the trash can!? And the table!? And the...) at the end of the day, when we're a fuzzy cuddle in the bed, I know they love me. And it's all worth it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fun in the Sun

The Summer has slipped by so fast, it's hard to think about.

The dogs have been enjoying beach excursions, and visits to the new dog park we've discovered. Loki still leaves a lot to be desired in the social skills department with other dogs, but we're doing our best to work on it and expose him to new dogs.

I have finally found a new job, and it's been a rough transition for both the kids and the dogs to have me gone again. I miss them all, and wish I could be a stay at home mom for the kids and the dogs. Maybe someday.
So for now we grab what days we can together as a family, and enjoy the sun.
Our dog's friend Teezer surrounded by fluffy little chi puppies

Vixen loves being outside at the dog park. Can you believe how BIG she is?

Aresm relaxing in the sun.

Ziggy and an adorable chi pup

Vixen and Loki, tempted by a stick

Loki and his little sister Tequilla

Monday, August 3, 2009

Chihuahua Sleepover!

Our Chihuahua friends have been visiting us for a few days once again, and it has been a real blast. Twelve little dogs all on one house!
Cashmere (Loki ans Ares' mom) is here with her puppies, and they have gotten so big, and super adorable. They're like little scampering balls of ridiculously cute fluff.

We took all of them to a local park for a nice long walk, and it really showed us what a headache having so many dogs could be. As much as I often fantasize about having hordes of Chihuahuas, I couldn't imagine trying to walk so many barking, pooping dogs again. lol.
On the other hand, having the puppies here has really got me thinking about how much fun it might be to do some hobby breeding with Vixen and maybe another female in the future when we finally own our own home.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm Back

I know it's been a while, but I'm jumping back on the blog train. After dealing with my job loss last month, it was hard to get motivated for a while. But life goes on, and I'm feeling better about it. Time to start sharing once again.

The dogs are doing lovely. No matter what happens in our lives, they keep us smiling.

Ziggy has been quite the handful. He has issues with anxiety, which we've been working through. I guess it's to be expected when a dog has been in four different homes. We're working with him with love love and patience, and hope that soon he will stop worrying that we're going to send him somewhere else. He is the world's greatest cuddler, and has a playful and loving nature. We adore him, and he's truly a part of the family.

Loki and Ares celebrated their first birthdays and continue to be healthy and happy. Loki had a rough period adjustment when Ziggy moved in, but seems to have accepted him. Vixen is still growing, and she's bigger than the boys. She's the cute baby girl, and she knows it.
This past week, we puppy sat and got to watch Loki and Ares' mom Cashmere and her new litter of four amazingly cute puppies, as well as their other chihuahua, Chiquita. It was a ton of fun.

Cashmere and her puppies

Little Chiquita

Ziggy and Ares
Ares and Vixen
And so things go on. And I'll be around more to share :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

He's Here!

Ziggy arrived late Friday night after flying in his crate all day. I was so relived that he made it safe and sound, and very eager to finally meet him in person.

When I got him home, we put him in the kitchen with a baby gate up so he could explore a bit without getting too overwhelmed, and kept the Chihuahuas upstairs. My husband commented on how huge he was. Only in a house of Chihuahuas would anyone consider a 16 lb. dog huge :)

Ziggy quickly acquainted himself with the cat box by marking it. And then marking the box of cat litter. We quickly put on one of the belly bands his previous owner had sent with him. First order of business when he's finally settled in- Getting Fixed!!!!!

The chis still haven't quite made up their minds about Ziggy. They're a bit intimidated by his size, and Loki seems a bit depressed. I think they'll adjust, but it will take a bit of time.

Just for fun, we took all of the dogs hiking together for a little bonding:

One thing we do finally agree on- we definitely have enough dogs now :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Once again I've been a bad blogger and slacked off to enjoy as much time outside with the dogs as possible. We've been taking a lot of trips to local beaches and parks, where the dogs are always trailed by an eager band of smiling children.
We've been wrestling with Loki's excessive barking, and can't seem to deter it. He barks at everyone and everything when he's outside, and when he things he hears something outside, he barks his head off inside. We've tried noise aversion, removing him from the stimulation, treating good behavior, and all of the other methods we can find. It may be time to try a citronella collar. Anyone have any other suggestions?

The biggest news however, is an upcoming addition to our puppy pack. That's right, another dog. Most people think we're mental for having three Chihuahuas, and I know we'll get flack for a fourth dog, but the truth is we love them to death and find them a total joy. We have more than enough time and affection for our dogs, and their our main source of entertainment.

The new dog's name is Ziggy, and he will be arriving from Texas via plane on Friday evening. He's a two-year-old Chinese Crested. That's right, not another chihuahua, but a Chinese Crested. We think Crestie's have a wonderful personality that will go well with our Chihuahuas. And this boy has had a rough past and deserves a loving home. He's battled heart worm, and possible physical and emotional abuse while he was with the breeder he came from. The family that has him now in Texas loves him very much, but due to personal reasons, can no longer keep him. We're very touched that his Texas family has agreed to let us adopt him.
Here's the photos we have of our new boy:

Isn't he fantastic? He'll be here on Friday, and we can hardly wait. Once he arrives, I'll be posting photos and updates as to how he settles in. Wish us all luck!