Off-Leash Excursion

Sorry for the late post, this was from last week… Been busy with boarding, classes, and extra training hours…


As you know, Napoleon has been enrolled in a boot camp for the last few weeks. We have been putting him through some more strenuous training with distractions and teaching him more impulse control, along with psychological exercises throughout the day.

On Wednesday, we had a successful training session, that lasted about an hour long. Didn’t mean for it to be that long, but my neighbor decided to walk with me, and we ended up at the park, so we trained there – with distractions, of course.

Napoleon and meThe walk started on leash, and Napoleon has to be in a loose-leash heel position. I am very relaxed on this particular command-he can be a little ahead of me, as long as he isn’t pulling or lunging out in front of me. He is not allowed to sniff, mark, say hello, or pull on the leash, however. He was doing fabulous, with minor corrections.

My neighbor (he’s 12), was on a bike, and riding around us in on the sidewalk and the street. He was in front sometimes, beside Napoleon, in the street, or behind us. I used him as a distraction and worked on Stays (sitting, standing, laying down) while I went about 20 feet in front of him with a long lead. He did great! He’s so used to this now, that he didn’t even try to get up at all. Great!

We see small children, a cat, and someone on a skateboard who was being pulled by his pit bull. *Gulp!* Napoleon has a thing about this last scenario and usually ends up lunging, barking, and whining, trying to get to the person on the skateboard.  This time, he was anxious, lip flicking, and the hair on his hackles raised up, but he was still in a Stay position. Improvement, but we still have to work to do around this situation. He did wonderful around all other distractions.

Now, to the park. I took off the leash, let him relieve himself, and sniff around a bit, and then got his attention back to me. We practiced getting on the play equipment, and having him in a Stay while I ran around, and children were playing all around him. Some kids even played with him – all the while, he was in a stay. Good boy! I called him down, and he came right to me, sat in front of me, and then I put him back in a heel position. We walked around, and I taught him how to go down the slides. He was too big, so he ended up just jumping down the whole thing, silly boy!

Now, on the way back, we ran into more kids, cars, scooters, another off-leash dog, and a cat. He was awesome, and off-leash the entire time. I put him in a stay, and walked about a block down the street, while a dog across the street (off leash) was barking at him. He stayed perfectly. Eventually, we made it back home, and his reward – dinner and then time to rest.

I wanted to count out successes today:

-Great stays
-Successful polite leash-walking
-Successful  off-leash heeling
-Never strayed from me the whole time he was off leash
-Wonderful distraction and impulse work
-Calm demeanor for almost the entire training session (except for the skateboard)

I can’t wait to see how he does on our next training session when we go out again for training! So proud of all the work he’s put in. He still has his moments, but overall, he is making progress, and it’s been mostly uphill.  What training have you done with your dog lately?

Wonderful Weekend

What an awesome weekend! My best friend flew into town, and we packed in as many cool things as we could. I haven’t seen her since my wedding in 2010, so this was a really big deal.

Her flight was delayed, and didn’t get in until almost 1 in the morning. I had physical pain waiting for her to show up at my house. The anticipation was killing me. And what was worse, I couldn’t tell my husband about it all. It was a surprise. KEEP CALM and CARRY ON.

See, I couldn’t tell my husband about it because it was his birthday, and this was part of the surprise. My parents, his parents, and my friend all pitched him to get him a GoPro camera, as well. He had a good birthday!

While she was here, we had an awesome time, and did all the things we used to do when she used to live closer. We went to sushi, saw a movie (Oblivion), and then watched League of Legend games.

Then, on Saturday, I took her to my Pack to Basics class, and I was dying to have her come. I introduced her to some of my clients/neighbors and their dogs. Afterwards, we went to our local street fair. It would have been more awesome if there were more tables to visit (we have a small town), or if it didn’t rain. It was freezing!

Later, we drove to my parents’ house, and my niece was there. She’s 3, and just loves my husband. She sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him, and played and played until she was too tired to play anymore. We played Mario, watched her play doctor with her dolls, ate chile, and my mom made my husband a special chocolate cake.

PittieOverall, it was a wonderful weekend. However, Sunday came around, and I had to take my friend to the airport. Sad day. We didn’t want her to leave. It felt so normal having her stay with us. It’s like all that time we haven’t spent together in the last 3 years didn’t pass at all. We just picked up where we left off. It just wasn’t long enough. It wasn’t enough time.

So, we have decided our next meeting will be to go on a cruise. We will also invite another friend from college. We call ourselves the ‘Quad’. It’s actually a pretty awesome story. Our best man and Maid of Honor are my best friends. I knew them before I met my husband. Well, turns out, they were also my husband’s friends too! So, when I introduced him to get approval of who I was seeing, I found out they were friends too! So, all was well, and nothing in our ‘click’ changed because now we were all just hanging out together.

As a close to the weekend, a trainer friend needed a doggy-sitter while she is out of town, and I get to watch ‘Pittie’ again! I have him for a week this time! He is such a good dog, I’m happy to be able to watch him again! The best part – he wasn’t so good with our cats last time, so my friend had him come with his eCollar, and he is doing much better. Here’s a picture of Max actually approaching him, and not fixating at all. Notice, I’m right there, just in case.

Anyway, Sunday was a pretty emotional day. Hopefully it will get better throughout the week.

Pittie and Kitty



Mia, 2/26/13

Today, I’m at peace. Not numb, actually content.

Sometimes, just a compliment from someone can help. A friend, a family member, a coworker. Just a compliment. Last night, I received a compliment. And just a simple one, but it mattered to me. And it made a difference.

Today, I’m not happy or sad, but… content. No ripples in my lake yet.

My cat also snuggled with me yesterday. Not my boy, Max, but Mia. She wanted to. Normally, she seeks out my husband. But she found me. It was strange… yet, calming.

Just small acts of kindness from my pets, and a friend – made all the difference in the world.

I have a bit of confidence today. Which is good, because I desperately needed a break. It’s nice to feel the clouds part, even if it’s just for a short while. It may rain tomorrow, but today, I have a blue sky. 

“Mia-May” and “Maxie”


Mia, the day we got her. She’s the little grey and white tabby in the middle/right.


Mia 5 and a 1/2 weeks old

My husband and I had been discussing getting another dog, and we didn’t feel we had enough time to devote to another one at the time. So, we had decided to rescue a kitten. We wanted a kitten because we needed it to be ok with dogs. And we needed to make sure our current dog, Napoleon was ok with cats. So, we started looking. We visited rescues and shelters, and finally found one we fell in love with. She was a little tiny tabby, only 5 weeks old. Her litter had been found in a shed with the mom dead.

I realized the foster had her hands full, and wanted to take this little kitten as quickly as I could. I wanted to nurture her and save her, and give her a home with a family who would love her. So we did! We brought home our little furball and named her ‘Mia’. She immediately fell in love with my husband and became my husband’s cat. Silly little creature! She didn’t even know I was the one who picked her out and did all the research to find the right food and litter and learn about how to do CPR on her just in case something happened. I learned how to give her formula and learned what kinds of diseases cats can get… I over-researched, and now I’m a fountain of verbal diarrhea when it comes to cats (and dogs, for that matter).


Mia, 6 weeks

Anyway, her and Napoelon hit it off! No problems there. Had her for the first night, and she was very shy. She started to get some green discharge coming from her eyes. I wiped it off with a washcloth, and didn’t think much of it. Next morning, they were so gooped up, they wouldn’t open. So, I carefully used a washcloth to get all the goopies out, and now I’m a little worried. She was acting lethargic and not active at all. She wouldn’t play, and was sneezing a lot. Took her into the vet, and found out she tested positive for FHV as well as having an upper respiratory infection. Poor thing couldn’t breathe! We got her on some meds, and she got better in a few days.

Now, we just manage the FHV and she can’t go outside. She could get other cats sick, or she could get sick, since her immune system is weaker than normal. That’s ok, I wasn’t going to let her outside anyways. Strictly indoor kitty! She got better and was EXHAUSTING! Seriously, I thought it would be fun having a little kitty in the house.. no. Not at all. I was completely wrong. Cute? Yes. That was all she had going for her. She wanted to play all the time, get attention all the time, scratch the furniture… and worst of all. She BITES! HARD. Like blood bites! I thought she was a vampire kitty or she hated me.


Mia, 7 weeks

So, back to the drawing board. Kitty training, google, the cat whisperer, whatever helped! I did everything it said. Scratching post (actually 3 of them), don’t play with your hands, plenty of socialization, and make her feel comfortable. I did all that. Nothing helped. So, next steps, scruff her and hold her up until she calms down. Yeah, she just got more pissed, and then when you let her down, she would come back to you and lunge at your face. DEVIL CAT, I swear! Eventually, it got to the point where we were dreading. The one thing I DID NOT want to do… adopt another kitten so she could have a playmate. So we did. And it worked!!

We adopted a grey tabby named Max. He was feral and had some problems. We worked with him and within a few weeks, he’s the center of attention! At first, he hid under the coffee table, and wouldn’t even come out for food. We had to physically remove him from under the table to hand-feed him. Eventually, he realized when it was meal time. Then he started coming on his own, and every time, we wouldn’t pick him up, but just pet him once or twice. Then, he started to like it.



He went through a phase where he wanted to be held all the time. Now, both our cats are the biggest loves you’ve ever met! Mia meows all the time, so it’s a bit annoying still. Especially when I’m not having a good day. I seriously just want to drop kick her and shake the crap out of her until she stops meowing. So, instead, I remove myself from the situation and go cry in the shower or something. It’s better than hurting my cat.

Max, on the other hand, all he wants to do is snuggle. Calmly snuggle. He doesn’t want to be in your face, just on your lap, or near you. This is really nice when I’m working from home, or just playing a video game or something. He’s my favorite cat (don’t tell Mia… actually, go ahead. She won’t care, and she knows it anyway).

Well, they are still under 6 months old, and full of energy. They are inseparable now.  Wherever one is, the other closely follows. They sleep together, eat together, nap together, play together, and get into trouble with each other. We have a good 20 YEARS to learn more about them, but I think we are on the right track!




Napoleon meeting Mia for the first time