Dog, Halloween, Monster, Budget!

Monster Dog Costume Tutorial Featuring Butter

I am making my way through “no spend October” and when I decided I wanted to make Butter a costume I looked in my house to find the options. I ended up deciding that an old t-shirt of Matt’s, google eyes and felt can make a cute monster costume. Here is a tutorial on how I made Butter her budget friendly monster costume for $2.00 (I did not have the microfiber car wash gloves from the dollar tree):

Find your supplies:

  • Old t-shirt
  • Felt
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Something to trace circles (two sizes)
  • Hot glue
  • Google Eyes
  • 2 dollar tree microfiber car wash gloves
  • Elastic

Step 1: Mark the t-shirt

Make sure that you place monster eyes in places that would be visible when your dog is sitting or standing.  Have the dog sit or lay down, mark or remember the different spots on the t-shirt that need eyes. You can use a pencil. *If your dog does not like having the t-shirt on, you may work on this before you attach the items. We used lots of treats to get her comfortable. 

Step 2: Make the Eyes

Taking the different colors of felt, cut out two circles (one big and one small). Using a hot glue gun, glue the felt together and the three eyes on top of the smaller circle.

Step 3: Make the Plates

Draw two sizes of plates onto a piece of paper. Cut these out to use as stencils. Cut out two pieces of felt from the same color for each plate. Glue the same colored felt pieces together leaving the last 1/4 inch without glue.

Step 4: Finish the T-shirt

First, glue the plates onto the back of the t-shirt in a straight line. Start with the large plates and then add the small plates. To glue, open the bottom 1/4 inch that was left without glue, add glue and place on the shirt with flaps open (see picture). Then glue the eyes onto the shirt.

Step 5: Make the Hat and Feet

Cut the microfiber gloves keeping the top square only. Take one of these and cut it in half (this will be the feet). Set these aside.

Using felt, cut six large white circles and three small black circles to make the eyes. Glue one large white and one small black circle together to look like eyeballs. Glue the second white piece of the back of the eyeball leave the bottom 1/4 without glue. Similar to the plates, open the bottom flap, place glue on the flaps and then put them onto the the hat piece with flaps open.

Take elastic and cut two pieces that would work to keep the feet piece on. Then cut two pieces to keep the hat on. I did not measure, just guessed and then adjusted as necessary. Glue the elastic onto both the feet and the hat. Try them on to make sure they stay on your dog. *Again, see if your dog needs training to tolerate these pieces. Butter did not mind the shirt, but did not like the hat or shoes.

You are finished! This is so very cute…even if Butter thinks it is silly looking. Hope to have better pictures for you closer to Halloween. Happy “Howl”oween.

Catch This!

Sunday Walk With Butter #3: Catch.

Today we worked on catching treats, which may seem pretty silly. The reason we do this fun trick is because Butter has to do multiple steps that work on all the basics. Pay attention, sit, wait, catch and then keep walking.

Catch: Sit and face the owner, then catch the treat.

In this video you can see the many commands she goes through to get to the “catch” part. Sorry about the second one, I did not get my treat out previous to the video. oops. 

“Catch” is something that my husband worked with Butter on for many weeks and she is getting pretty good. When going on a walk today, I felt this would be a great trick to continue since it brings many commands into one fun game. Butter gets to jump after a treat, so it does not get any better in her eyes!

To teach this trick, start in a distraction free environment. First, ask your dog to sit, while holding a treat up in front of you so that your dog can see it. Then you will ask them to wait and take one or two steps back. Next, toss the treat and say “catch”. I will admit, I do not always say “catch” since she is motivated to jump at the thrown treat without a verbal command. I also do not use this game for the “catch” part. Butter’s Dad will say “one, two, three” when he throws the treat to give her notice.

On walks, I do the same routine we practiced above, but in a distracted environment. I do not let go of the leash, but I do step back so I can work on all aspects of this trick.

This does take slightly longer to do when you are walking since you have to stop each time, however, it is worth the time since you are working on many important skills.

 

 

Bears, Rodeo and Hunting, Oh My!

Butter’s Week In Pictures

Butter went to her grandparents farm for the week with her Dad. I sent the camera and this is what I received. Thank you to J who got me the picture of Butter with Lady!

Lady and Butter had a great time playing!
Butter took many naps when she was in the truck for the rodeo and hunting. She also found plenty of loves during breaks!
Loving the snow and the view!
She loved the snow so much she refused to get in the car when it was time to go.
Butter would slide and slide and slide
She blends in pretty good.
They ended their trip with one “woof” at the bear. She then lost interest and went back to bed.
She stayed in the car the entire time they saw the bear and so did the humans. We do not take any chances when bears are present. 

 

Hope all of our viewers had a great week with pretty views!

A Puppy and a Messenger Bag.

Socialization Corner: Puppy Walks

With Butter gone this week at her grandparents farm I thought I would do a flashback to when she was super small!

When Butter was a puppy we wanted her to explore her world safely. Due to only having some of her shots, we were not taking her into public areas. We took her to our family’s homes, took her on rides in the car and gave her walks in a messenger bag to help her explore her world safely.

First, we took her to our cabin so she would enjoy new smells, different environments and meet our family. She found her love for pinecones. We knew the dogs who went to the cabin were all vaccinated and no dogs had been sick with Parvo in the past.

We did the same thing with Butter going to her grandparents farm. We will explore this more in a separate post.

Exploring the trees

The other thing we did is take her on walks in a messenger bag. This served two purposes. 1. Got her out into the world safely. 2. Got her walking since she was small enough she would only walk half a block…maybe.

Butter going on walks. She was so tiny!

Through finding safe and alternative ways we were able to socialize Butter quickly with lower risks. Always consult your vet if you have similar ideas to ensure your puppy will be safe.

What did you do when you wanted to safely socialize your dogs as puppy’s? Would love to know more great ideas!

Reusable Swifter Sweeper Floor Mop Wipe Tutorial

Environmentally Friendly Butter:                           Swifter Sweeper Floor Mop Wipe Tutorial

Butter is posing with the microfiber mop

Since Butter is on vacation this weekend I will try something new, a tutorial! She will be back next weekend for her Sunday walk.

 

I love using these reusable wipes and have found them to reduce my household costs, increase my ability to help the environment, clean my floors effectively, and they are easy to make. You don’t even need a dog to use these! Assuming you already have a sewing machine or serger and sewing supplies (needles, thread, pins, ruler, scissors) the cost of making both the cloth diaper and microfiber wipe is about $30.00. Even better, you might already have some of these supplies such as the floor mop or cloth diapers in your house, reducing the cost by about half!  I found the most expensive item was the cloth diaper since they only come in packs of 3 or 5. I used most of these diapers to make mop wipes, but there are many other things you can do with cloth diapers if you look online. The following cost estimates were found online, but all of these items can be purchased at most local stores:

  • Swifter Sweeper Floor Mop Starter Kit: $15.00
  • Microfiber wipes: $1.00
  • Cloth diaper: $12.00
  • Elastic: $3.00 (for both large and small sizes)

When Butter was first brought home and learning to be potty trained she would go on our hard kitchen floor on top of wee-wee pads. Although she was typically pretty good,  I did not want to have my house smell and so I would mop weekly (or as needed) to ensure nothing was left on the floor. Now, I am thankful I do not need to mop as often, but just having a dog in the house increases the frequency of necessary mopping and my costs.

To save money, I got a pack of microfiber towels and a pack of cloth baby diapers and made them into reusable mop wipes. I did not want to keep buying one time use wipes. These have worked out well.

When I need a quick clean up for Butters hair, a mop without chemicals or just a sweep, I use microfiber cloths to do this. I also use them instead of the dry swifter wipes to pick up the hair previous to moping. You can use these with water and it will make your floors look great, minus any chemicals. These are very inexpensive to make because the dollar tree has a pack of two for $1.00. After using these once, I place them into the washing machine and wash them before my next cleaning day.

I bought cloth diapers because I knew that they are good at absorbing and are durable. I use these for traditional mopping and have really enjoyed them. When I am ready to use them I get them wet and wring them out. Next, I use a natural cleaner that I put directly onto the floor in the area I am mopping. After that, I mop my floors adding more cleaner if needed and changing to a new wipe once the original is dirty.  Once a wipe is dirty I place the wipe into the washing machine and wash it before my next cleaning day.

Now to the good stuff:

Butter is always helpful! She is writing the measurements and keeping the extra microfiber safe.

Materials:

Microfiber cloth or cloth baby wipes: two 6″ x 12″ pieces

1/2 inch wide elastic*: two 5″ pieces

1/4 inch wide elastic*: two 8″ pieces

scissors or rotary cutter

Serger machine or sewing machine*

Ruler

Swifter sweeper floor mop

Step 1: 

Cut the diaper or microfiber cloth into two 6″ x 12″ pieces, placing them on top of each other. You will keep these two pieces  layered the entire tutorial to make a double layer. Once cut, set aside. See the pictures below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2:

Cut two pieces of large elastic to 5″ lengths and the two pieces of small elastic to 8″ lengths. Set them aside. See the pictures below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3:

Gather the layers and the 5″ large elastic pieces. Pin the 5″ large elastic pieces with the edges lined up along the length of the wipe. Pin both pieces of elastic to one side of  the wipe. Wait to pin the elastic to the other side until after the first length of the wipe has been sewn. Place one large elastic piece about 1″ from the top and the other about 1″ from the bottom of the wipe.

Using a 1/4 inch seam, sew from the top of the wipe along the entire length edge attaching the elastic to the layers. This will attach the two wipe layers together and the elastic.

Repeat on the other side. When sewing the elastic onto the other side allow the pad to bunch because the elastic will end up stretching when it is on the mop head. An example of the bunching can be viewed in last two pictures of this section. See the pictures below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4:

Pin the 8″ small elastic to the edge of the width of the wipes about 1″ from the sides. Pin and sew one side, before pinning the other side to reduce difficulty with bunching.

Sew a 1/4″ seam along the entire width edge to secure the two layers and the elastic.

Repeat on the other side. The pad will be bunched in almost half on the second side. This ensures the elastic will stretch when on the mop, holding it securely. Allow pad to bunch naturally. See the pictures below.

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5:

You did it! Trim any thread coming off and try it on your swifter mop.

The finished product. Even Butter likes it!

 

 

 

 

*If you are using a sewing machine use a zig zag stitch going back and forth over the elastic  and on the edges. You may consider sewing the entire edges a few times to ensure you do not have fraying when they are washed multiple times.

*Elastic: If you want to use left over elastic you can, just make sure they are the right length. It is best if one is thicker than the other.

This is what happens when you are sewing and it is almost dinner time.

Happy Tongue Out Tuesday!

 

Tongues Are Out!

We hope everyone enjoyed their Tuesday as much as Butter enjoyed dumpster diving at the farmers market last weekend. ***No garbage was actually consumed in the making of this photograph- it was all promptly removed.

Can’t Touch This!

Sunday Walk With Butter #2: Touch

Today, we worked on “touch” with some continuation of “take it”.

Touch: Come and tap my hand with your nose.

In the video below you can see how I ask her to “touch” and then carry over my “take it” command. I do not stop when we are doing this without the camera. I had a difficult time keeping a treat, leash and camera in one hand. 

“Touch” is a command I have taught Butter for multiple reasons. First, if she will not come when I ask, I may attempt to use “touch” (a more specific command) and sometimes she will return to touch my palm. I also use “touch” to get her to pay attention to me, check in or follow my hand when learning a new task.

Butter learned the command “touch” in a distraction free environment. To teach her I held out my hand and waited for her to sniff it. When her nose touched my hand I gave her a “click” on my clicker followed by a treat from my other hand.

Due to my camera holding issues I sat down to show how she does this command. The first time, she touches as soon as I place my palm out, so I just label and treat. The second time she is predicting it as well, but I do ask right before she touches my palm. We have practiced to the point where she knows a flat palm means we are doing “touch”.  

This is a great walking focus and can be practiced easily when heading down the street. I also like that when Butter catches onto this focus she consistently stays next to me “heeling”, even if I am not asking her to. My one rule is that she has to actually touch my hand, she can not just sniff it.

To teach her on our walk I would put my palm out while strolling and say “touch”. Remember, this is after teaching her the command without distractions. Once she touches my palm I mark her with a “good girl” and then I give her a treat saying “take it”. When she was consistently wanting a treat I would hold out my hand and each time she touched it I labeled “touch” and then marked her with a “good girl” and gave her a treat.

When we were walking she would want to do this constantly, so I just put my hand down. I would label and reward all of her success. Sometimes you will see me throw a treat in front of her onto the ground. I throw the treat in front of us when I want to keep us walking, if she is not being gentle grabbing the treat and sometimes just for fun. 

I have the treat in my opposite hand for a few reasons. First, I want Butter to do this with or without a treat. Second, she will try to get the treat if it is in my hand. Third, it is hard to have a treat and a flat palm.

Butter really improved on this skill after we worked on it for a few walks. I also suggest that you start to change things up the more commands your dog knows. Sometimes I asked her to “touch” and sometimes I brought back last weeks “leave it” and “take it”. Change this up a bit to keep your dog even more engaged!

 

Daycare is not just for kids!

Socialization Corner: Doggy Daycare

Socialization is always something I have thought about for Butter. Traveling often would be difficult without her being calm when walking into new situations. We are still learning, but she does well in most settings. One way I have socialized Butter is through having her go to doggy daycare a few days a week. In my area doggy daycare is $15.00 a day and well worth it! We have been very blessed with amazing employees that have made Butter’s days at daycare wonderful. There are too many benefits to count- but I will share a few now.

Somedays Butter does not want to make it past the cool, shady lawn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Butter is happy and comfortable with dogs. She knows how to approach them when on walks, in the park or at a friend’s house.

2. Butter meets dogs of all sizes, attitudes and ages with professionals monitoring the situation.

3. Butter is happy and comfortable with people. She meets many different employees when at daycare.

4. Butter is tired when she comes home (usually) because she receives plenty of exercise. This is helpful when I am coming from working all day and want to curl up on the couch. The video below shows one day when she was not wanting to move anymore.

5. It is so easy! I just drop her off and then pick her up finding it easiest if I pay for the week up front. It takes about 5 minutes  and they are always very accommodating and friendly. They become part of your family!

Check your area for doggy daycare and make sure you read the reviews ensure your pup enjoys their time as much as Butter does!

Cute stories from Butter’s daycare providers:

The other day I picked up Butter and  heard that her best friend Ludo had to leave early. First, Butter pouted when Ludo left. Then, she spent the rest of the afternoon laying on the couch refusing to play since she was missing her friend. She can be very stubborn! (I guess she might be like her owners…)

When one of the workers was sanding a table Butter was constantly trying to lick their face and be a “helper”. After he sanded the table she tried to lick the table. 

Once, Butter came home with a blue spot on her fur. We still don’t know how, but they report that Butter can find things they never knew they had!

A few weeks ago, I accidentally gave Butter my lunch and took her lunch to work. When I returned to pick her up they reported that she “fed herself” attempting to run into any kennel she could to get food. They said she is “very motivated by food” (so true!)

Butter makes us constantly laugh with her daycare antics.

Butter had multiple pictures up, but my favorite is over her playing with another wonderful friend Cash!

Butter Love’s Kids!

Socialization Corner: Nieces & Nephews

I love my nieces and nephews and so does Butter!  I cannot help but smile every time my niece yells “Buda!” or when my nephews plays beside her in the yard. We have made it a point to take Butter to visit them as much as we can (still never enough!). This is great because we have time with family, and she gets to be socialized with children.

Even though I trust Butter, I am always next to her when interacting with children to teach Butter and the children how to interact with each other. It is important I observe these interactions so I can intervene if Butter or my nieces/nephews are showing signs of being uncomfortable. It also allows me to work on Butters commands in a social environment.

Taking Butter on a walk, back when she was small enough for her to walk!

I have a few games I play with children when they want to interact with Butter:

1. Throw the ball for Butter

We have two balls and I cue the child throw the ball for Butter. When Butter returns the child can throw the other ball. This ensures no child hand/puppy mouth contact. If we only have one ball I provide the commands and get the ball from Butter giving it back to the child to throw.

2. Hide and Seek with Butter

My niece loves this game the most! She calls Butter, Butter comes, and then she puts the treat on the ground for Butter.

3. Pet Butter

Working on Butter learning to lay down and stay, I help children pet her nicely.

4. Read to Butter

I work on Butter sitting/laying and waiting while children read to her. This is not Butter’s favorite since she is a puppy, but she will do it and it is good for her to learn these commands.

5. “Licky Licky”

My nephew gets lots of licks and he thinks it is hilarious! We have taught Butter the command for lick before this game.

Giving her a pinecone with help from her mom.

 

All of these activities continue to grow bonds, increase Butters skills and models to children appropriate play with a dog. Remember: no matter how sweet your dog is or how kind your children are, no child should be left alone with a dog.

What games do you play with your dogs when they are with children?

 

Sunday Walk With Butter #1: Leave It & Take It

We have decided on a new segment (drum roll please) Sunday walks with Butter! We walk each weekend and this is a great time for us to work on training. When we have a specific focus she is better on the walk because she has her attention on me. I have a goal of choosing something that Butter needs to practice each week and we are bringing you along on this weekly journey.

Today we worked on leave it & take it.

Leave it: Do not touch, eat or engage in that item.

Take it: You may have this item and do as you please. 

In the video below you can see how we worked on leave it and take it while we walked. In the middle segment you can see that she does not pay attention to the dog barking across the street because I have her engaged.

I first taught Butter to leave it in a distraction free environment. I would present her with a treat in  a closed hand, wait until she took her nose away from the treat and reward her by giving her a treat from my other hand. I did use a clicker during this activity to quickly mark when she was leaving the item. I use a less motivating treat for the leave it hand, rewarding her with a more motivating treat when she left the item.

Once she would leave the item quickly, I would name this game with “leave it” when I rewarded her. As she got better, I would make it more difficult through opening my hand more and making the treat accessible.

To teach Butter to take it I would just say those words anytime she grabbed a toy, food off the floor or I gave her a treat. This was much easier to teach.

Leave it and take it are important to teach because it can help if Butter is ever trying to eat something that is not safe such as a pill dropped or gum in the park.

To work on leave it and take it on our walk I would take a piece of treat in a closed or open hand offering it to Butter and telling her to “leave it”. Once she would leave it I would say “take it” right away or after a wait time. We did this about 30-40 times on our walk today and she did great.

I then generalized it to real life through asking her to leave items we are walking past. After she would leave the item I would present a treat and tell her “take it”.

Remember to start by teaching your dog in a distraction free environment before attempting these outside to improve your success.