Friday, August 23, 2013

Looking Back | Moving Forward

I totally missed my 1-year blogging anniversary back in July. I'm actually a little surprised I kept up with it for as long as I have! When I started this blog I didn't really have a clear picture of what I wanted it to be. My earlier blog entries were very information heavy, covering a wide array of topics. As of late, the last 8 months or so, the blog has been more picture and anecdote heavy, with the occasional product review. Blogging is a lot of work and I applaud the folks out there that plug away at it every day!

As for me...while I've had fun sharing some of the ups and downs of adopting a shelter pup with the world I think I've reached a point where I'm ready to slow things down significantly. I know I said I would be doing this earlier this summer but now I really mean it. We're on the cusp of a new academic year and it's time for me to get down to the serious business of life. Work calls. School calls. The GRE calls. Graduate school applications call. My husband calls. And of course, Andy, Pablo, and Diego call. Life is going to get wild over the next 6 months but I'm ready to answer it's call! I hope you'll still stop in now and then. I'll continue to post pictures of Andy and let you know how we're all doing. Until then...arooo!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Obsessive Compulsive Andy

A picture of Andy's injured snout - you can see the pinkish "raw" spot right above his little black nose.
Some of you may recall that Andy had a borderline manic episode of OCD-like behavior last week, where he became so overwhelmed with the desire to bury his new Himalayan Dog Chew he ended up rubbing the top of his snout raw in the process. Well...later that week he did the same thing with a dog biscuit while my husband and I were out. We gave him the biscuit as we left the loft and came home some hours later to find the couch bloodied and the biscuit "buried" between the cushions. Thankfully no permanent damage was done to either Andy's snout or the couch. Sheesh.

I'm totally disturbed and weirded out by this new behavior. It's hard to believe the boy's compulsion to bury things is so overwhelming that he completely disregards any pain or injury he's inflicting on himself...but that's what appears to be happening. The question is, why? And, how can we get him to stop? Our first step to address the issue has been to not give him any treats unless he's under supervision. Second, I think a lot of his behavior issues are tied to boredom. I think the pup needs more exercise and mental stimulation in order to redirect his energy. To that end, we're committing to walking him more. I'm also going to try some light jogging with him once the Fall semester kicks into gear. We may also start taking him to Camp Bow Wow more regularly. Talk about high maintenance. Again: sheesh.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Wellness Brand Kibble | A Change of Pace

Andy's been in a bit of a dietary funk lately. He's never been a really food driven dog to begin with but he seems even less interested in food as of late. It used to be that he would eat his kibble as soon as it hit the bowl but he's been really inconsistent with his eating habits the last couple of weeks. Sometimes he eats his kibble right away, other times he sniffs the contents of the bowl, then walks away without eating. He'll eat the kibble eventually but he doesn't seemed too thrilled with what he's eating. This pattern is especially worrisome to me because the dog we had before him, Maxwell, died of complications related to irritable bowel disease. Given that Andy's food issues have only surfaced recently, and don't seem to be all that serious, I'm not going to let my mind jump to anything like IBD just yet.

My husband and I have been debating about how we should handle this new situation. At this point we're approaching it as a dietary issue likely related to allergies, or, that Andy is just sick of the Merrick kibble he's been eating since day one. In order to kill two birds with one stone we've been
transitioning him to a new brand of dog food. We decided to try the Wellness brand, which I've read many good things about and have purchased in the past. Specifically we bought a bag from the Simple line - which is formulated with limited ingredients and is specifically for dogs with food sensitivities. We've also been wondering if Andy's food issues are related to boredom. He's a very active (and needy!) dog and could probably stand to get more exercise. In either case we're trying a holistic approach - tending to both his physical and mental needs. Sheesh. What a high maintenance dog! If we don't see some improvement in the next couple of weeks we'll take him in to the vet for a checkup.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Forthcoming Review: Himalayan Dog Chew

We took Andy on an outing to Petco yesterday and came across a product called a Himalayan Dog Chew. I read some good things about these all natural chews this past winter but never got around to actually ordering one. This is the first time I've come across them in a store, so, after some hemming and hawing (over the price!) I decided to pick one up. I'm intrigued by the products ingredients (yak/cow milk, salt, and lime) and the chew's back story - it's actually a cheese eaten by the people of the Himalayas. The Himalayan Dow Chews themselves are made by a consortium of farmers in Nepal. The chew is pretty hard and is suppose to be long lasting. Will let you know what Andy and I think!

*I gave Andy the chew last night, and as expected, he had absolutely no idea what to do with it! He's always flummoxed when I give him something new and it usually takes him some time to warm up to new edibles. The pup carried the chew around the loft, going up and down the stairs. He tried burying it in the couch, in both of the dog beds, and the human bed. He's never done this before! Obviously he thinks the chew is something worth concealing from others. I thought it was hilarious...until I saw his nose. He got a little OCD about trying to bury the chew and actually rubbed the bit of muzzle right above his nose raw trying to bury it. Sigh. I ended up taking the chew away and will give it back to him when his nose heals. In the meantime I'm keeping on eye on his wound and putting Neosporin on it twice a day. Never a dull moment with Andy.

Qui, Moi?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Plays By His Own Rules

Andy: "I'll shake your hand when I'm good and ready to shake your hand."

Basic Obedience | "Shake"

Andy and I have been working on the "shake" command for about 2 weeks now.
I've been following instructions from this video I found on youtube. Basically I'm supposed to crouch and offer my hand to the pup while saying "shake." If he gives me his paw I reward him with praise and a treat. If he doesn't respond I put my hand on the back of his leg and run it down to his paw, lifting it gently while saying "shake," after which he gets praise and a reward. Supposedly if I do this persistently enough the boy will put two and two together and know that when I say "shake" he's suppose to give me his paw.

This sounds easy enough in theory, but in reality, it hasn't gone so smoothly. Like I said, we've been working on this for about 2 weeks now and Andy will only give me his paw maybe 1 out of 5 times. 20% of the time after 2 weeks of persistent training? Those are not good percentages! Now, my pup is either dumb as a door nail, or willfully disobedient. I'm betting on the later. He is such a stubborn and willful dog. Unlucky for him I'm just as stubborn and just as willful. Another 2 weeks of patient and persistent training should do the trick! Sigh. Will let you know how Andy progresses. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

At the Park

It rained on and off all weekend so we ended up not making the trek out to
Jacobsburg State Park. Thankfully Sunday turned out to be a lovely day and Andy wasn't completely housebound. We hit up our local park and he got in a good hour of romping, wading in the river, and sniffing other pups. Andy loves going to the park!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Jacobsburg State Park

We took Andy on a hike at Jacobsburg State Park, a small state park about half an hour from where we live, earlier this month. It was the first time Andy got to try his hand, or paws rather, at trail hiking. He passed with flying colors! He had no problem navigating the sometimes narrow and precarious trail and he loved dipping his toes in the water. We made sure we had plenty of drinking water for everyone and lots of dog poop bags to pack out Andy's little piles. 

Jacobsburg State Park is a great park to visit for light hiking. It's even better with a four-legged friend! There are a number of trails with varying degrees of length and difficulty - though as far as I can tell there's nothing too strenuous. There are picnic areas and lots of nice spots near the creek (Bushkill Creek) to while away an afternoon, with or without kiddos. There's also an environmental educational center at the park that might be worth visiting.

I have the rest of the week off from work, and if the weather stays as nice as it's been the last couple of days, we'll try to hit up the park again. Andy can't get enough of the great outdoors!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Andy Spies With His Little Eye

Tiny caterpillars munching on leaves, flowers, mushrooms, chipmunks, horses, and  rainbow trout.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Getting His Toes Wet

A Pleasant Surprise

I was caught completely off guard the other day when I got a package in the mail from Merrick, a U.S. based pet food manufacturer (Andy eats Merrick dry dog kibble!). I had no idea why they had sent the package until I opened it was a sample from their new line of cat food, "Purrfect Bistro"... and then I remembered that I had signed up for the sample via their Facebook page! So yeah, sometimes it pays to sign up for freebies from companies you trust. I've also signed up for the occasional blog giveaway. I was more than pleasantly surprised back in September when I won a giveaway from All Things Dog Blog. Who doesn't love getting free things in the mail?!? 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Boss Hog

I picked up a bone for Andy from the Farmer's Market on Friday. The delicious smokey smell had him whipped into a frenzy in no time but the pup had absolutely no idea what to do with the bone once I gave it to him. He's had bones before but I think the shape just really caught him off guard. No matter though - the bone was gone within the hour. That's my little porker!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump

Jean-Michel Basquiat | Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump | 1982

Little Stinker

There's a thin line between when a dog smells deliciously musky and when he starts to smell a bit ripe. Andy crossed that line the other day. We gave him a bath and now he smells like Earthbath Eucalyptus & Peppermint Shampoo. Yum!

Beat the Heat!

I've been seriously considering getting Andy a plastic kiddie pool. If it gets hot enough this weekend I just might do it. Seriously.

Rope a Dope

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Nail trimming has never been a fun chore in our household. Basically anytime we bust out the clippers Andy acts like it's the death of him. He bites, he bucks, he screams. Literally - it sounds like we're killing him. The only way we've made the task even remotely doable the last couple of trims is by putting him up on the island in our kitchen. The height and the cold metal on his feet are enough of a distraction that we can actually get his nails clipped. This last go I was even able to smooth out the rougher edges with an emery board - a step I highly recommend if you want to avoid getting shredded by freshly trimmed doggy claws.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: Dexas Collapsible Travel Cup

With temps regularly in the 90s lately we've been taking a number of precautions to keep Andy safe while outdoors. This includes limiting our walks to mornings and evenings, avoiding hot asphalt during the day, and making sure the pup keeps hydrated at all times. I usually take a bag with me when we go out on longer walks so that I can tote along bottles of water, extra poop bags, hand wipes, etc. Up to this point I also carried a small plastic bowl that we used to give Andy water. Problem was, after he was done drinking I would have to put the wet bowl back into the bag and everything would get a little damp. Arg. 

I've been looking for a solution to this problem the past month or so: enter the Dexas Collapsible Travel Cup. I came across this bowl at Petco the other day. I liked its compact, collapsible design, the fact that it could be clipped to things, and that it is BPA-free. 

We took the bowl for a spin last week and we're thrilled so far! Not only is it stylish and well-designed, it's sturdy and gets the job done. We got the bowl in the large size (purple) - which holds 2 cups, or 16 oz, of water. This is the perfect size for Andy, who is a medium-sized dog at 34 pounds. The body of the bowl is made from soft, but sturdy, silicone. You simply "pop" the bowl out, fill it with water, then "pop" it back in when you're done. I like to give the bowl a couple of good shakes to get rid of excess water before I stow it away. The bowl comes with a convenient carabiner clip, which I use to clip the bowl to the exterior of my walking bag - no more wet mess! I highly recommend this product to anyone that likes to spend time with their pup outdoors, especially during these hot summer months. Check out the Dexas website for more information and to see their other cool pet products.
Dexas Collapsible Travel Cup
Available at Petco, Amazon
Small | 1 cup, 8 oz | $7.99
Large | 2 cups, 16 oz | $9.99

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Blast From the Past

Andy about a month after we adopted him from the humane society.
He had such an adorably square head!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Forthcoming Review: Dexas Collapsible Travel Cup

With the weather being so hot lately we've been making it a point to take our walks in the evenings, as the sun's going down. We picked up this collapsible travel cup in an effort to keep Andy hydrated while we're out and about. Will let you know what I think!

Worship From Afar

This weekend was a scorcher! The temps hovered in the high 90s, humidity was off the charts, and we had a heat advisory warning for Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately this meant Andy was cooped up for most of the weekend. We let him outside for brief stints but it was just too hot to linger. I seriously thought his brain was going to get cooked! Poor pup spent a lot of time looking longingly out the window. Looking forward to cooler temps and hitting up the park sometime soon.