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.

 

Dog Lover’s Idaho with a Moment of Frustration, Brought to You by a Puppy

Box Canyon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions: Take I-84 to Exit #155 in Wendell and go west 3 miles to county road 1500 East. Turn left (follow the sign to Buhl). Follow this road about 5* miles to the signed parking lot on the right.

 

In Jon Katz book Katz on Dogs: A Commonsense Guide to Training and Living with Dogs it reads “…only about 3 to 5 percent of Americans train their dogs at all.”  Today, I understand why- IT’S HARD!

We went on this hike with friends and their sweet dog Jelly. Jelly is older, trained and can do well off leash. Butter is not there yet. She is still learning in all her environments. I understand she is only 6 months old, but it is still difficult when you are in the moment of frustration.

As soon as we started this hike Butter was very excited to see her friend, the people, the smells, nature and the water. For the first half mile she pulled non-stop. I asked my friends to keep moving. I recognize training does not stop and I needed to help Butter learn in this moment, not later! Thankfully, they kept going as Butter whined, pulled and did not listen. However, I stayed consistent… if she pulled, I stopped, waited for her to look at me, offered her a treat and we proceeded. She typically did not want the treat, so her reward was moving forward. I did this again, and again, and again….

 

I gave her commands and waited for her to follow. When she didn’t (many times) I would ask her again in a few minutes or just wait. Mostly I used patience and treats. But it was frustrating, tiring, upsetting, ridiculous and embarrassing. I am consistent, I work with her daily, I exercise her regularly, I socialize her often and I try my best to keep calm. Yes, she got yelled at today, well, talked at sternly. My point: dog training is hard! Sometimes it just plain stinks. But, be one of the 3-5% and keep trying, because someday it will be worth it and I will enjoy this hike.

 

***Update: I have been taking Butter on more hikes and we attempted Box Canyon again and she did well.

Now, to the experience with the pretty pictures that everyone else will have…perfect! If perfect is ever a true thing.

Playing in the water.

Box canyon has beautiful clear water, amazing lookout views and a perfect swimming hole. We went on a Sunday afternoon and there were people, but by no means was it crowded. No one was at the swimming hole at the same time and we spend about 20 minutes wading or dipping our feet.

So hot she would lay down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you arrive at the parking lot there are about 10 spots. You will need to have an Idaho Parks Pass or pay $5.00 to park. They have two trash cans, one by the parking lot and one by the viewpoint. The viewpoint also has two portable potty’s to use. After you pass these it is just trail and water, so make your stop now.

The trail is about 5 miles with a view point about a quarter mile from the parking lot. The viewpoint is easily accessed across farm ground and anybody can attend this short walk since it is accessed from a dirt road that is wide and flat. You can not drive this, so a person will need to be able to walk. A stroller could access this viewpoint.

After leaving the overlook you will take a path off the main road and go to the canyon where there will be a sign and then you will have a metal rope going down into the canyon along the trail. I would consider the hike in the canyon to be moderate. It is a trail with plenty of brush and you will need to walk single file. I could not have Butter next to me for much of the trail and you do not want to take a dog that pulls down this canyon (trust me!). I found it helpful that Butter understands the command “stay” or “wait” (when she was listening…) because it gets very steep at times and you will want to have your dog wait while you go down the rocks. You will need to climb down rocks and up rocks that are about to your waist (if you are my height… about 5″4′). There are a few points where you are jumping from one rock to another with mud and water underneath the rocks. Butter did have to jump up and down the rocks multiple times, but she only needed help once.

The best stick in the entire canyon!

The trail is not very wide and there are people, so make sure that you have control of your dog on or off leash. We did not meet other dogs, but we did meet kids and adults.

 

You will want good shoes, good hiking clothes and possibly some swim wear. It was hot enough that I dipped my legs in while Butter played and was happy to be slightly wet on my way back. I even refilled one of our empty water bottles to pour it on Butter for the hike back since it was hot. In fact, two waters, one for me and one for Butter did not feel like enough- bring plenty of water! I appreciated my snack I brought, so bring something to eat with good protein.

This trail has a lot of overgrown brush on the sides and some poison oak, so long pants are recommended.

One challenge for me was having the dog, my bag and going down the rocks. A backpack that is easy to carry and bringing enough supplies will be best. Don’t forget to bring your poop bags and leave the trail cleaner than you found it. Since there are no garbage cans at the swimming hole, bring an extra bag or two to collect your garbage and put your poop bag in to carry it out. I double bag when I carry poop for a while so I don’t have to smell it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This hike was extra great because we both slept well once we got home! It was a good workout.

Despite our extreme training moments….

Butter gives it 4 paws up!

Butter only has 4 paws… so 4 paws is the best.

*The directions originally say about 3.2 miles to the signed parking lot, but it is closer to 5 miles. Keep driving and looking for the sign and you will find it.

Dog Lover’s Oregon

Multnomah Falls

The different hikes that you can do.

53000 Historic Columbia River Hwy, Scenic Loop Drive, Bridal Veil, OR 97010

 

Being from Oregon and traveling through the Columbia
River Gorge on a regular basis I have been very sad
to hear about the Eagle Creek fire. I am thankful we
recently visited Multnomah Falls and that Butter 
got to enjoy this great trail and its views, 
previous to this human made disaster. We would 
like to encourage every  parent to get their 
children (and their dogs) into the wilderness on 
hike's teaching future generations
to love and therefore, respect, nature.

Butter got to visit the highest water fall in the state of Oregon! She loved it, of course, because she got more pets than she has ever received before. Matt reported that at times she would sit and just wait for people to take turns petting her. He called her a “toll taker” with pets to pass. Such a sweet puppy she is!

We had to laugh once when attempting to pass people on this small bridge. Each day, many people stop to take pictures and you are shoulder to shoulder attempting to pass. Butter did great, but she licked peoples legs as she passed them! Oh my, so silly. I just wish I was watching their face and not her…

Look at that face. I got her at a funny moment, she was very happy during this trip.

Multnomah Falls is Oregon’s number one attraction, A.K.A., a VERY busy place. We ran into countless people and dogs, despite our early arrival. Although this is a paved trail, it is very uneven with steep drop off’s on the side that made it difficult to have a dog on the trail. We noticed that Butter preferred to be on the edge, possibly due to the softer ground, as she attempted to avoid the hard rocky surface. Even stopping for a water break was difficult at times due to the crowds.

Butter, enjoying the view of the falls.

However, Multnomah Falls is the number one attraction for a reason. It is beautiful and amazing. First, you come to a great look out just steps away from the lodge. You can then travel on to a bridge with a perfect view or climb one mile to the platform that looks down on the waterfall with views of the Columbia River Gorge. This climb is moderate due to the 11 switchbacks and steep climb, however it is paved. Butter made it the entire way, but a few of us stayed back after making it part way up. Staying back was not bad. We had a wonderful bench and partial view of the waterfall. If you are a serious hiker, there is a 6 mile trail to greater views of the Columbia River Gorge.

Whether you travel up to the top or not you are able to see a great view of the falls and enjoy the U.S. Forest Service interpretive center, gift shop, snack bar, restrooms and restaurant. Due to having Butter with us we brought our own food and did not go to the gift shop or restaurant. If you do visit the restaurant, make reservations previous to your visit. Do not animals in the car to eat at the restaurant, this would be a good time to leave your dog at home.

I really enjoyed these views.

If traveling, this is a great stop when you are on I-84  at exit 31 for the parking lot. It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you visit early in the morning and on a weekday if possible. Many times the parking lot is too full to park and the falls  is extremely busy. We went on a Sunday morning at 8:00am and found that by the time we left it was busy with a full parking lot.

After finishing our 2 mile hike we let Butter cool down in the smaller stream that is next to the path leading to the parking lot. This is a fun place for kids, adults and puppies to play in the water given the correct supervision.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was not our most enjoyable walk with Butter due to the crowds. She was very well behaved, but much of our attention and time was spent attending to her or waiting for people to get a chance to pet her. This is not a good hike for shy dogs. I would recommend visiting Multnomah Falls atleast once in a lifetime, but it will be most enjoyable with your pup at home.

This is nature, so there are plenty of places for your dog to use the bathroom, however, you want to bring your poop bags and leave Multnomah Falls cleaner than you found it. Trash cans are placed throughout the trail and are bear safe, so make sure you find the lever to open them. When sitting and waiting for our group to come back, many people had a difficult time with the lever due to their lack of interactions with bear safe trash cans.

Please visit the website to find more information and make your reservations for the restaurant. If you are reading this post close to when it is published (September 2017), please check fire updates for the Eagle Creek fire to ensure the freeway and hike are open.

Butter gives this hike 2 paws up! Although a human must do this hike at least once in a lifetime, it is best to leave your dog at home.

Butter only have 4 paws…so 4 paws up is the best!

http://www.multnomahfallslodge.com/page/home

 

Butterball!

A silly puppy makes every day better!

Silly puppy
Her hair is still growing back from her spay. She loves sleeping upside down!

We Support Finding an End to MS!

MS Walk & Socialization Corner

Today, Butter and I went to the MS walk to support our friend and co-worker, Tammy. We really enjoyed seeing our friends and walking. If you hear about a fundraising walk we strongly encourage you to show your support and take your dog, if it is allowed. Make sure you ask permission! This was a great opportunity to socialize Butter with kids, adults, dogs and being in a crowd.

 

Each flag represents a person living with MS.

Going on a walk in a crowd or at an event can be stressful, so set yourself up for success!

Some tips we suggest:

  • Take your dog for shorter walk, in your typical setting, so your dog is not overly energetic at your event. We suggest about one mile depending on your regular routine.
  • Start your event by having your dog follow some simple commands before you get into the crowd (sit, lay down, come, look).
  • Bring lots of treats so you are ready to train them and a clicker, if you do clicker training.
  • Do what is best for you and your dog. It is okay to hang out away from the crowd, do a shorter walk or walk on your own.

Doing these things can be the first part of setting yourself up for a great socialization experience.

What are things that you do to help your dog in crowded situations?