Thursday, February 17, 2011

Two pitties strolling downtown Willow Glen

The weather changed this week, we're officially back to the rainy season. I'm not really complaining about the weather, as it's still pretty mild compared to Europe. Too bad that I can't explain it to Abbey, she's not happy about the rain. After all she's a Californian girl and she loves the sunshine.

I love that the weather forecast here is quite accurate, unlike in England! Where you always have to be prepared for rain, wind, snow, hail in one day....you get the idea....as the weather the forecast is never quite right.

This morning I was woken by heavy rain and strong winds. I really wasn't looking forward to getting up and spending the day inside the house with two crazy dogs. Abbey and Jake are not super high energy dogs, but they still need their daily exercise to burn off their excess energy. They go out once a day for a walk and than they play in the garden at least twice a day. That way they're nice and calm inside the house.

Luckily we caught a break this morning when it didn't rain for couple of hours. I put the waterproof jackets on the dogs and myself and off we went. This was our third day walking together. I wanted to walk them downtown Willow Glen (WG) today. I was hoping that all the small yappy dogs who browse downtown Willow Glen wouldn't be there today as it was windy and grey outside. As it turned out, we were the only people walking in WG, until we reached the downtown area.

I couldn't take photo of them downtown WG, so I photographed them next to the sculpture in WG. They look so happy posing in the rain, don't you think so ;o)?
One thing that I didn't account for in this windy weather, was that lots of shop signs were flapping in the wind. It was scary for Jake and he was hesitant to walk forward. It was really helpful to have Abbey by his side, she walked confidently and showed him it's nothing to worry about. They really are such a great couple, they help each other in so many ways. Jake calms down Abbey when she becomes too excited  and she calms him down when something scares him. I think by walking them together more often, we'll have two confident and calm dogs in no time ;o).

I tried my best to walk them by my side today but some paths were so narrow that we kept bumping into each other and stepping on each other toes. From time to time when nobody was around I let the dogs walk in front of me. It was quite cute watching them walking side by side with each other and their synchronized tail wagging.

People find it amusing that our dogs were jackets in the winter. Well, they get cold and wet just like we do. Plus they look great in their matching coats. 

It was a great walk today, despite the rain. I'm looking forward to our next adventure. The dogs are worn out and sleeping soundly on the sofa and I'm listening to the rain outside.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Two for one!



Even though we've been training our dogs for a while and they're well behaved. We've always made sure that when we took the dogs for walk we had one person per dog, so they had our full attention and we were able to train them well. 


I still remember the first time we took Abbey and Jake for a walk. We didn't even make it a block from our house. The only thing that the dogs were interested in was playing with each, and dragged us all over the place. It was so embarrassing, we made a quick return home, thinking this is going to be a hard work.


Eight months later, both dogs are able to walk civilized next to each other in the public without causing a scene. We're still polishing some areas of obedience training with them, but they're improving all the time. 


The other day, when it came to take our daily walk, I didn't want to go out twice. I was going '"Eeny, meeny, miny, moe..." which dog shell I take out first. Both dogs looked excited and eager to go outside. On the spore of the moment I decided to take them both, I put a Halti collar on each of them, connected two leashes together, put the backpack with water on Jake and stepped outside of our house... 






Than it hit me "Am I crazy! They're going to take me for a walk and you'll look like a crazy lady flying behind them..." I tried to calm myself down "Don't let them to smell your fear!! Keep it under control and it will be fine". 


To start with, I took them for a short walk around the block to see what they would be like together. I quickly realized that they couldn't walk side by side. Jake was using Abbey to rub his nose on her body in attempt to remove the Halti or bumping into her with his backpack (he doesn't realize that he's wider with it). So I switched and had one dog on each side of me.


My favorite moment was when they did a synchronized 'crocodile death roll' on the grass, to show me there displeasure about the Halti collar. I thought, okay have your tantrum now and see if you want to move forward or not. Once they got it out of their system they walked by my side and listened to me.

This is Jake head butting Abbey and rubbing his nose on her. As if Abbey was any better off than he's or could help him  
For our fist walk together, I chose a quiet part of our neighborhood and covered about three miles. Jake was happy to have Abbey by his side, it gave him the confidence to pass people who would normally intimidate him. The traffic noise on the busy street didn't seem to bother him either. If you saw him, he could have passed for a confident pit bull, walking with his back pack and looking proud. Abbey was my star pupil and looked for my direction. I was very proud of them and for me for taking this step and walking them together on my own.






If only Abbey knew how much extra attention Jake was getting for wearing his backpack. People kept commenting on how nice looking the dogs are and they especially loved Jake's backpack. Poor Abbey was getting overlooked. She loves to meet new people but refuses to be used for carrying the water on her back. Last time I put the backpack on Abbey she sulked and scowled for four miles and looked so very pitiful. 


I do realize that using a Halti is not the best way for the long term. It doesn't teach a dog to walk loose leash or the etiquette of walking in the public. It's just temporary quick fix, until I'm sure that they'll not take me for a ride.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bath time

We can usually tell when the dogs need their bath judging by their collars. Their collars start to look dull and muddy. Luckily we have two sets of collars (check out http://www.siriusrepublic.com),  so whenever we bath them we also change out their collars.

Today was D day for their monthly bath, once they were squeaky clean and toweled dried, I couldn't resist taking their photo. They're too cute for words.



 I love them even more, since they smell clean... until the next time they wrestle and roll around in the garden!