Posts filed under ‘Apparel’
I was away from Boogie for almost 3 weeks and it’s so good to be home! I missed my boy!
[photos taken at the vet today. Staph infection all cleared up! :)]
While I was away visiting family and friends in Malaysia and Japan, Boogie stayed with my friend Christa in her new house, which has a huge backyard. Christa reported that Boogie LOVED running around in the backyard, and I’m sure the squirrels made things a lot more fun. At first, we were a little worried about the cranky German Shepherd next door, left outside to patrol the fence throughout the day (It sucks when people leave their dogs outside all day!) but then Christa came up with the brilliant idea to cover the entire fence with tarpaulin so that the dogs wouldn’t be able to see each other… and thankfully, there were no issues.
Christa and Butch also celebrated Boogie’s birthday (December 11th) with a Pumpkin Sesame Birthday Cake. What a lucky boy.
When I was in Tokyo, I had the pleasure of meeting dog trainer Miki Saito, who specializes in training blind dogs because her own dog Nono, is blind. I first met Miki online when she translated several of my illustrations to Japanese. (for example – How Not To Greet A Dog in Japanese)
Miki is such a lovely person and we had a great time having lunch, chatting, and walking around Daikanyama and Shibuya. I learned from her that in Japan, Positive Reinforcement training (which is what Miki does) is still extremely rare. Almost all trainers still believe in Dominance methods using force and intimidation, and most owners of blind dogs feel pity for their dogs and think of themselves as being trapped in a tragic situation, when in reality, blind dogs are HAPPY DOGS and have the ability to live, learn and communicate as confidently as sighted dogs.
I remember my foster boston terrier Rocky (RIP). He came to me completely blind and he was the sweetest, smiliest, happiest and smartest boy! He learned to “shake hands” in about TWO MINUTES! (It took Boogie much longer, something like 20 minutes to learn this)
After weeks of staying with me, even though Rocky still had the habit of bumping into furniture, he could locate squeaky tennis balls and treats from ANYWHERE.
According to Miki, in Japan, most dog owners regard their tiny pups (most popular breeds: toy poodles, chihuhuas, mini doxies) as accessories rather than as intelligent members of the family. People will gladly spend more money on dog clothing and bling than on training. Well, I think the same thing happens in Hollywood. I suppose most people think of “training” as something you are forced to do when your dog has a problem, rather than as something you would invest in for fun, for bonding, or effective communication…
Well, no post on Japan would be complete without pictures of cool and crazy dog-related stuff.
Princess and Jack Sparrow outfits, anyone? (!)
And then there were these amazingly cute dog treats from the Green Dog pet store.
These treats are a gift for Boogie and me…
Thank you, Miki !!! – Lili & Boogie xox
If you are in Japan or know any dog owners in Japan, you can get in touch with Miki Saito via her websites:
These past few days I am learning a few new things about loose-leash walking that I probably wouldn’t have, training with Boogie’s usual long leash and harness (as much as I like it)
This Freedom No-Pull Harness and Leash set-up is pretty cool. I LOVE IT!!! Thanks so much Sarah, for lending this to me!
The thing about using a shorter double-ended leash is that I can feel the tension as soon as Boogie pulls. This is BEFORE Boogie reaches the end of the leash, before all 26lbs of Boogie’s weight is engaged in stretching the leash completely taut… at which point he is already 200% committed to the direction that he wants to go in, and no longer responds to his name, food lures, or hand targets…
It seems that timing is important. The trick is to get Boogie’s attention BEFORE this point-of-no-return. (Bit like working under-threshold in BAT, right?) As soon as I feel tension on the short leash, I have 3 options:
- Connect with him. (“Boogie!” or Hand Target) “Yes!” and treat. What’s cool too is that because the leash is short, I have to feed treats right next to me (vs. tossing on the ground), which further reinforces for Boogie that “heeling next to Mom” is a good place to be.
- Move along with him. For example when he turns to sniff/pee on a bush, I walk with him to keep the leash between us loose, and to prevent it from tightening. This is something that I never had to do when I was holding a long leash so it’s new for me…
- Change direction and keep walking boldly forward. (“Let’s go!”) The leash attaches to front and back – which gives me a lot of extra leverage to move Boogie along. I do this when I really have to move along. “Yes!” and treat.
The NO-FUN parts:
- The two leashes can get disorganized. Thankfully, my smart little dog has figured out how to slip his head in the space between the two leashes so that the front-clipping leash hangs on the convenient side of his body.
- Being extra careful about not pulling him. The Freedom Harness is designed to give the dog walker more control and power so it is quite easy to drag Boogie around if I wanted to and because it’s so easy, I really have to make an effort not to. The whole point of this exercise is to teach LOOSE-leash walking. I would mess everything up if I pulled him.
- Wet Grass, stinky stuff. A shorter leash means that I have to trudge through long wet grass with Boogie, and stand closer to lamp posts and doggie poo. (This includes other dogs’ poo or icky stuff on the ground that Boogie is checking out) Ew.
- The harness itself - Don’t ask me how to tighten or loosen anything and if any pieces get twisted up, I am sure I will be calling on Sarah to help me sort this out. I get confused just looking at the thing.
Some happy walks:
BIG SCARY DUDE
Last night Boogie and I were standing by the traffic lights when a big guy stood next to us on my right side, only a few feet away. With this shorter leash, I knew that even if Boogie lunged, he would not be able to reach the guy. Perhaps this gave me some confidence to do nothing instead of moving Boogie away. As it so happens this big guy was staring at Boogie (uh oh) and Boogie was seated in front of me, staring back at the guy. I called Boogie. He got up, walked away from the guy and stood on my left side. He was also pawing at my treat hand but wow – I was so impressed that we had a major trigger in close proximity and Boogie did not lunge. He moved away from the guy like it was the most natural thing in the world to do and completely ignored him. When the lights turned green, we ran across the street and I gave him a treat.
Later in the night, Boogie and I saw a coyote dash across our street. Boogie pulled. I stood still. The coyote dashed across the next street. Boogie turned and pulled in that direction. I still didn’t move. Then the coyote stopped in the middle of the street, turned around and stared at Boogie. I called Boogie “Let’s Go!” He disengaged from staring at the coyote, and ran home with me. First thing he did when he got inside was pick up his tennis ball and run to the window. “Coast is clear, mom. Let’s play”.
Today an off-leash sweater-wearing terrier approached us on the sidewalk outside a restaurant where the owners were having dinner. (I hadn’t seen him) I stood in front of Boogie and said to the owners: “Please call your dog! Mine isn’t friendly”. Thankfully the dog was well-trained and returned to his owners immediately when they called him, but in that split-second a huge leashed-dog approached us from behind. I pick Boogie up until the dog passed us. I put him down again when the dog had walked off several feet ahead of us. Boogie pulled towards the dog for a few seconds (more curious, than triggered). I waited, then he turned his head to look at me. “OK!” I said, and off we went, turning down a side street. No reactivity. :)
In addition to BAT, I wonder if the new harness plays some part in making Boogie feel safer and more connected to me?
Some time this week I think I will take Boogie to the park and train some loose-leash walking there…
By the way, everyone with a reactive dog should read the BAT book!!! And I’m not saying this just because my Boogie illustrations are in it :)
This is a screengrab from the e-book version which has color pages.
* Podcast Interview about BAT with Grisha Stewart –> http://www.animalcafe.co/dog-behavior-adjustment-training-for-fear-frustration-and-aggression/
Following on from my previous blog entry, Boogie is doing fine. His wounds have scabbed over and I have to stop him when he scratches them but otherwise he is a happy doggie at home – very playful and snuggly. He loves his new rubber monkey and joyfully unstuffed a Santa plush in 30 seconds. He also has a new harness – the Comfortflex Harness – which is great because it goes around the shoulders and chest and puts no pressure at all on his neck (where the wounds are).
On our walks, Boogie is more tense than usual and quicker to stiffen when we see another dog, but that’s normal after what happened last week.
In fact, I think I am more traumatized than he is. The other day when we were out walking I heard a clink of metal behind us (like a dog tag or bell). I whipped around and saw a loose furry animal… it was only a cat. Boogie didn’t even see it and he kept trotting along but my heart was beating so fast I felt like I was going to throw up.
There are some excellent posts on the Functional Rewards forum (a Yahoo group for dog trainers and reactive dog-owners who use BAT) which include ideas from many trainers on what to do when you see a loose dog coming at you. I am not alone – other people have had worse experiences with loose reactive dogs, and there are many ways to deal with this problem.
I may get some sort of pepper spray as much as I hate the idea of carrying extra stuff on our walks. Next week, we are doing a BAT session with Irith (The Sophisticated Dog) and her English Shepherd so that Boogie has a POSITIVE experience with a big dog…
Anyway, soon it will be Boogie’s birthday! Three years ago on December 11th, I adopted him from Boston Buddies. I am helping Boogie compile a birthday wishlist :)
Below, two photos of the Boogs wearing his new Christmas bow tie.
How handsome is this poker face?
I am a slacker at Halloween. I use “being Australian” as my excuse for not getting into the costuming spirit. The idea of wearing one blue contact lens crossed my mind several times but it also slightly creeped me out (I know I am a crazy dog person who is obsessed with my dog… BUT…)
So I don’t have any entertaining Boogie-in-Halloween-costume photos to share…
This is the closest: Boogie in a very adorable stripey Freddy Krueger and/or Christmas sweater hand-knitted by my friend Tomomi.
I think Boogie looks pretty cute in his Halloween+Christmas sweater.
Tomomi makes custom handmade sweaters (for humans too). Send her your doggie’s measurements and place your order! Here is her FACEBOOK PAGE.
After doing two solid weeks of Bootcamp, our long morning walks around Los Feliz seemed really boring by comparison. Same old same old. So I decided that a change would be good for the both of us – something that could feel more like a workout – and we now have a new routine.
Mid-morning, we hop in the car – which Boogie LOVES!!! He props himself up on the passenger seat, sticks his head out the window and takes in the sights and smells like it’s the best-est thing in the whole world – and we head to the park for a 30 min to 1 hour long walk. So far we have hiked up Bronson Canyon, to the Griffith Observatory from Ferndell and around Silverlake Reservoir. It is SO nice to not have traffic lights and people distractions! Why I haven’t been doing this more often, I don’t know.
Well, actually I do know why. In Life-before-Obedience-Training, it was impossible to take Boogie anywhere without him pulling on the leash and being a pain in the butt. It is now such a pleasure to walk together, side by side. Wow, my dog heels. This is so cool. I keep the leash loose. When he moves too far ahead, I call him, he slows down and is back by my side. I pack treats and we practice commands. Sometimes we stop and he sniffs around the bushes, pees on stuff. This is our new bonding/workout experience when not at Bootcamp.
Thankfully, Bronson Canyon is fairly quiet. The occasional presence of off-leash dogs heading towards Boogie make me nervous, but dog owners are pretty cool if I warn them in advance that my dog is “not friendly”. They call their dogs, I make Boogie SIT and STAY, and then we all move along with no drama. Perhaps one day I will be able to let Boogie socialize with new dogs and he won’t lunge or growl. I hope this CAN happen some day…
While we are getting into the spirit of hiking together, I have to share pics of Boogie’s new jogging outfit which I bought on etsy. Wes took one look and shook his head – “This is so wrong. He’s a DOG”. Well, I personally think it’s SUPER CUTE!
Imagine this as Boogie’s halloween costume. We stick a headband on him, and give him a mini tennis racket. He already has the tennis balls.
Just kidding :)
Next hiking destination: I want to check out Elysian Park.
Posted Date: : Jan 3, 2009 5:01 AM
Boogie’s new birthday shirts from www.torudog.com.
Their sizes run small so I exchanged these for XLs and they fit perrrfectly!!!
1. BUTTHOLE SNIFFERS hoodie
2. VIVA LOS PERROS t-shirt.
What’s really cool is that there are tiny holes in the shirt for his harness ring and leash.
It’s Boogie’s birthday next week!
Not his real birthday (because we don’t know when he was born or how old he is exactly), but last year on December 11th Boogie was adopted from BostonBuddies, and next Thursday on December 11th, Boogie will have been with us for exactly ONE YEAR. I have decided to make his Adoption Day his Birthday.
Next week, we presume that Boogie will be SIX years old. A grown man! No baby monster pup no more. A fine (or sometimes badass) Adult dog in his prime. Though I cannot guarantee that he won’t still enjoy chewing up cushions and empty boxes when left home alone.
Today Wes and I took Boogie to For Pets Only and Petco. The Boogs received his first birthday present – a new black leather collar with studs (with new ID tag) that goes nicely with his red Anarchy tshirt (from PunkRockDogg.com). I wanted to get him a new and more comfortable mesh-style harness and we tried one on for size, but the pet store didn’t have the color I wanted….
Anyway, more gifts will be coming…. More tennis balls, treats, and a new soft cushy harness. And maybe a nice long walk through Griffith Park because I keep promising…