Sunday, June 22, 2008

Yes, they can coexist!

Yes, they can coexist!
Originally uploaded by sonyaseattle
I was SO worried about how she'd do with the cats. Would she chase them mercilessly? Eat them when we weren't looking? Would they hide under the bed and never come out? Stop eating? Pee on our clothes?

No, none of those things have happened. We've been continuously surprised by how mellow and gentle this sweet dog is. And how the cats have grown to accept her. This is just how I hoped it would be.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Northacres Offleash Park

I did some work at home today, and finishing, found I had some free time (well, ok, I should probably have done the dishes or cleaned my office, but hey! Free time!) and so took the puppers to the Northacres offleash dog park. It's the closest to our house, so I thought we'd check it out. Our verdict: two paws up (out of four).

Plusses are: it's close, it's very wooded, there are trails that wind around the smallish area, and there are double gates and a water tap. Negatives: it seems quite small, and it's right off the highway, so in areas it's very loud. The car noise didn't bother Mina too much, I think, and she did pretty well with the other dogs there, until one boistrous fellow decided that she wasn't fun enough, or something, and got agressive. But most of the visit wasn't bad. I brought three of her favorite squeaky tennis balls, and left with two, thanks to a very drooly large yellow lab named Marley, whose owner, smoking a cigarette as he tromped after his bouncing dog, looked hung over and perplexed the whole time.

So we took off after about an hour. I'm sad to say that poor Mina does not care for the Mini. She likes my hubby's car all right, but in the Mini she just pants nervously and shifts around in the seat. I suppose it could be because it's more confined, and there's more road noise...but I wish she would be the head-out-the-window enthusiastic doggie that...well, that I would be if I were a dog in a Mini! Ah, anthroporphization. My downfall.

A good day, overall; I got my work done and played a bit, and have a tired pup to show for it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Best dog day ever!

A sunny Sunday - we took the pup to the Edmonds off-leash dog park. I have to say, this beach is so much nicer than the Magnusson off-leash area that adjoins the water. It was less crowded, and the stretch of beach is long enough that every dog or group of dogs can have a section to itself. Mina just loved going out into the surf to fetch a stick or ball, and all the other dogs were friendly and well-behaved. We had an absolutely wonderful time!

After a rinse of fresh water and a quick drying-off, we dropped Mina off at home and drove out to Redhook for a beer and lunch. The place was packed, and we had to wait forever for our food. But sitting in the sun with a Redhook porter made it all fairly bearable. Then we drove home with a stop at the Yakima Fruitstand in Bothell, and picked up a bunch of fresh fruit and veggies. I love that place! Rainier cherries are around $4 a pound there; nearly half what you'd pay at the store! In fact, everything came out to around half price...we left with a trunk full of melons, peaches, lettuce, onions...a week's worth of fruit and veg.

A great day, over all, and we're all SO glad that the sun has finally returned.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mina, roll over!

I was tired of teaching Mina just the things we learn in obedience class; they're practical, but I wanted her to do some fun stuff, too! I started with "shake" - quite easy, and she does it even in stressful situations. It's cute, too. Teaching "roll over" was harder...but she got it! She actually got it to the point that when I'm practicing with her, she gets all excited and thinks that all I want is for her to roll over now. I say "down!" and she spins over like she's on a spit. Also very cute. Here she is, doing her trick!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

All hail the Cat God

Part of the fun of having a pet that can learn things (sorry, cats, you know what I mean) is teaching it random weird stuff. We decided to teach Mina that anything in the bowl of the Cat God statue (as we've now named it) is LEAVE IT. So she will sit and stare at the wonderful, forbidden fruit that is the squeaky balls, and it looks like she's worshiping the cat god. Quite entertaining, and good "leave it" practice.

I'm also trying to teach her to roll over, but that's taking a while. She has actually done it without being physically pushed along, which is progress. No worries, lots of treats and praise follow the rolling.

Monday, June 2, 2008

One of the funniest things I've ever seen... Mina with a squeaky tennis ball (her most favorite thing) in her mouth, trying to figure out how to eat a treat off the ground without dropping the ball.

We had our first trip to an off-leash dog park on Sunday. We went to Magnusson Park, and first we visited the "Small and Shy Dogs" area, Mina being mid-sized and shy. It went pretty well until a very cranky Corgi tried to engage her in a fight, and she just ran off with her tail between her legs, poor girl. It was hard to convince her to "go play!" after that. So we walked around a bit, and ended up at the beach area. The dogs there were so loud and barky and excited that she wouldn't go near them. Maybe next time. We may also try the Edmonds off-leash area I've heard about. I am told that it won't be long before she's running and playing with the other pups; she just has to get used to it.

In all other ways, Life With Dog is starting to even out. She sleeps peacefully through the night, stays in her new area - our workroom, in the basement - with no complaints or bad chewing, and is a general joy to be with. And like in the example above with the tennis balls, I love to see her think. It's very different from cats; you can almost watch as she tries to solve puzzles or come to terms with new situations. Sometimes I'll do something just to confuse her, like hiding a ball and a treat behind my back to see which she wants most (the ball!). She's becoming the sweet companion I always wanted, my good pup.