Train your dog to play with a toy? I know that sounds absolutely absurd. However, as I’m learning some toys do require training just as you might have to teach your dog to retrieve a tennis ball or sit on command it may sometimes be important to train your dog to play properly with his new toys.
For those of you who’ve been following along here on the blog you may remember my post about the Ginger Bread House Puzzle Dog Toy. I thought these would make great Christmas gifts and ordered several Gingerbread House Puzzle Dog Toys from Amazon.com. I gave one to my parents dog, a 12 pound Cairn Terrier named Ralphie. Check out the picture below:
Doggies Reaction To The Gingerbread House Dog Toy
Ralphie is not the kind of dog who prefers to tear apart and gut his toys unlike some other dogs I know (Linus, Stetson, and Derby). Ralphie carried the Gingerbread house around a little bit and I showed him how to remove the gingerbread man from the house, but overall I think he was unimpressed. However, the Gingerbread house and man did make for a good picture with Ralphie
The real test was with my three boys. All three of my dogs love to gut their toys when given the chance. Linus is the most gentle with his toys, but he still has the tendency to pull the stuffing from his favorites.
Although I haven’t thoroughly exposed my boys to the Gingerbread house and it’s residents they did get a brief glimpse and some initial training with Ralphie’s Gingerbread house.
Linus pretty much ignored it as he often does when around other dogs
Stetson grabbed the house and it’s occupants and carried it back and forth around the house, but couldn’t quite get his nose and mouth through the doorway to extract the inner toys.
Derby had the most success and grabbed hold of the Gingerbread man and pulled him from his cozy home.
Play time with the Gingerbread house was entirely supervised and I did see Stetson creep towards his bed…Gingerbread house in tote and start gnawing on the ends of the little home. I’m pretty certain that if left unattended this little Gingerbread home will end up in the pile of torn apart toys. At this point I think I need to work more on showing Stetson, Linus, and Derby exactly how to extract the Gingerbread man through the front door rather than using the brute force attack and tearing off the roof. Afterall, pulling the toys out the front door has to be like pulling the stuffing out of a plush dog toy…right?
My mother is always wondering when I’m going to get married. I’ve sometime thought this myself and I really have no explanation for why I’m not married…maybe I just haven’t met the right one. Then a revelation hit me (or rather an email in my inbox).
Lets first talk about my dogs…I have 3…Linus, Stetson, and Derby. Linus is an Australian Shepherd mix rescued from the Carson Shelter. Stetson is pure bred black Labrador Retriever and a career changed guide dog. Derby is a yellow Labrador Retriever guide dog puppy in training.
Why so many dogs, but no wife?
Well I just received an email that explained the situation to me:
Top 14 Reasons Why Men Have Dogs And Not Wives
The later you are, the more excited your dogs are to see you.
Dogs don’t notice if you call them by another dog’s name.
Dogs like it if you leave a lot of things on the floor.
A dog’s parents never visit.
Dogs agree that you have to raise your voice to get your point across.
You never have to wait for a dog; they’re ready to go 24 hours a day.
Dogs find you amusing when you’re drunk.
Dogs like to go hunting and fishing.
A dog will not wake you up at night to ask, “If I died, would you get another dog?”
If a dog has babies, you can put an ad in the paper and give them away.
A dog will let you put a studded collar on it without calling you a pervert.
If a dog smells another dog on you, they don’t get mad. They just think it’s interesting.
Dogs like to ride in the back of a pickup truck.
If a dog leaves, it won’t take half of your stuff.
I never really thought about it this way, but all very good points. So maybe I’m not holding out, maybe there is a reason why I have 3 dogs and no wife, maybe…
We finally made it! Number 10, the final edition, the last puppy in the Cutest Puppy Ever series. I hope you guys didn’t get tired of all these puppy pictures. I know I can never tire of pictures of puppies. Anyhow, this is the tenth and final puppy I’ve raised.
Here’s the recap of all the articles in the Cutest Puppy Ever series:
The final puppy in the series is Stetson, my first Guide Dog puppy in training. The inspiration of this blog.
The Cutest Puppy Ever – Stetson
Stetson is an absolutely awesome dog and he was an adorable puppy. Thank goodness he was so cute because he was by far the most difficult puppy to crate train. For those of you interested in crate training your puppy let me tell you…some puppies are easy and take to the crate right away i.e. Derby. While other puppies can take up to months to adjust to the crate i.e. Stetson. A quick not about Stetson: he was adorable, but during his first month he would not sleep more than 2 hours in a row and he would take anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes of whining, crying, and howling before he’d fall asleep.
Stetson is a purebred black Labrador Retriever. He has a big block head and is not the most athletic dog. His legs are short and he’s on the stocky side (I think he’s adorable, but then again I may be biased).
Now for the good part…take a look at these adorable pictures of my little puppy in training. Nowadays Stetson is almost 2 years old and rarely ever barks. I’m not even sure what his bark sounds like.
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One final note. If you use social media or even if you don’t we’d love to get this series of stories a little more exposure by getting them up on StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit. If you are a member of any of these website then can you please stumble, digg, and reddit this post. I added some links to the bottom of the page that will allow you to quickly stumble, digg, or reddit us.
Did you read the other articles from this series? I’ll add the links to the bottom of each post as they are published.
When I watched Linus as a puppy play with Ralphie it was sometimes borderline inappropriate dog play. However, what I saw in the video looked OK.
I don’t think Linus was ever scared or fearful.
I don’t think Ralphie was ever over aggressive.
In general it looked like perfectly fun dog play!
Linus vs. Stetson Inappropriate Dog Play?
When I brought Stetson home he always seemed to be a menace to Linus – grabbing his tail, biting his neck. grabbing his hind leg then running away. Here’s some early footage:
I also remember one of Linus’s favorite moves was to sit on Stetson for about 2-4 seconds jumping off then doing it again.
Is that reminiscent of how Ralphie used to man handle Linus?
Linus vs. Derby Inappropriate Dog Play?
Unfortunately, I’m having some trouble getting my Linus vs. Derby videos off the camcorder and on to my computer. It’s very similar to what you see above except Stetson used to constantly harass Linus. Derby on the other hand is more of an athlete and really likes darting back and forth around the house jumping over obstacles including Stetson, Linus, furniture, etc.
From what I’ve witnessed Linus doesn’t like it when Derby runs back in forth in the house and regulates play by trying to grab the scruff of his neck. That is how I think Linus may have caught Derby on the face and top of the head during perhaps “inappropriate dog play?” we mentioned in the first article from this series: What Is Inappropriate Dog Play – Part 1 of 3?
The Verdict On Inappropriate Dog Play
After writing three articles, reminiscing, and reviewing the video evidence (I actually have an entire archive of Stetson, Derby, Linus, and Ralphie video) I’ve come to the conclusion that while Linus’s play can sometimes be constituted as inappropriate the majority of the video footage absolves him of inappropriate dog play. As to the best of my knowledge Linus seems to abide by the rules of appropriate dog play when playing with Stetson, Derby, and Ralphie.
What do you think? After watching the videos would you consider Linus’s play inappropriate dog play?
If you haven’t had the chance to read the first two articles from this series then here are the links:
Stetson and I took another trip to the veterinarian yesterday and it cost us $150…eeeekkk. It got me thinking on my drive home: How much money do you spend on your dog? I know some people buy their dogs lavish gifts and others have very expensive vet bills I’m somewhere in between where I do get my dogs some silly gifts (like Halloween costumes) and also spend the mandatory dollar on vet bills.
My Friend Spent Over $10,000 On His Dog!
I guess I shouldn’t complain about my dog expenses. A friend of mine has spent over $10,000 on vet bills alone. Here are a few of his vet visits.
As a puppy his American Staffordshire Terrier had diarrhea and pushed so hard when pooping that he pushed out his rectum – they said it looked like a pink bubble coming out of his butt.
At about 2 years of age his dog tore his ACL. At the time they told him there was an 80% chance he’d tear his other ACL.
At 3 years of age he tore his other ACL.
He’s also had miscellaneous other visits to the vet totaling over $10,000
Money I Spend On My Dog
I thought back to the past 6 months or so and tried to come up with a dollar amount I’ve been spending on my dogs. Here’s what I found:
Approximately Monthly Expenditures for my 3 dogs:
Dog Food: (2 bags a month): $80
Dog Treats: $10
Dog Toys: $10
Heartworm Medicine (2 dogs): $10
Flea Medicine (3 dogs): $10
Other Expenses: $20
Veterinarian visits: $50
The grand total for my three dogs is $200 a month. It’s probably a little higher then that as I’m not thinking about. This is the cost for three young healthy dogs. Stetson is the only regular visitor to the Veterinarian as he seems to have ear and skin issues about every other month. Linus is still a young pup turning 4 years old a couple days ago and he’s been very healthy and strong. Derby has more expenses because he’s still just a puppy at only 6 months old, but Guide Dogs of America covers all of his vet bills.
Should You Get A Dog Keep Expenses In Mind?
The poor economy, people’s lack of funds, and foreclosures are forcing people to relinquish their dogs. We talked a little about the economy and the difficulty with dog adoptions at the local shelters in Tough Times For Cat And Dog Adoptions.
If you’re interested in getting a dog beware that there are expenses (sometimes significant) involved. I feel like I’ve been very lucky with my three dogs as they’ve all been very healthy. As I mentioned earlier I have a friend who’s dog has cost him well over $10,000 in vet bills and surgeries and that was all before the age of 4 years old.
What about you…how much do you spend on your dog? Is there anything I’m missing on my list?
Halloween is right around the corner and I thought it would be the perfect time to write a DIY (do it yourself) on How To Make Your Own Dog Costume for Halloween. This year we dressed Derby in a lion mane dog costume and it was definitely a hit at our guide dog costume party.
Last year I wasn’t too creative with Stetson and his first Halloween costume. However, Target has some great costumes and Stetson and I both dressed up as bee’s (I guess you could say we were a swarm of bees). This year we decided to do a little more preparation and after researching the internet and posting about dog costumes and our favorite: the alligator dog costume…I got really excited about designing my own dog costume for Derby and our Halloween guide dog meeting.
Derby’s Dog Costume – Simba The Lion
Here are some images of Derby in his dog costume as Simba the Lion:
Derby chomping on his prey (looks like a piece of grass or twig)
Derby the happy dog!
Derby giving us his best lion pose!
Don’t mess with Derby the lion.
Derby smelling the grass.
I’m sure everyone’s now wondering…what a brilliant costume! How did you do it?
How To Make Your Own Dog Costume
I was secretly hoping I would get a yellow Labrador Retriever or a Golden Retriever so I could dress them up as a lion for Halloween. If you saw my post on The 6 Best Dog Costumes On The Internet then you would have seen the Golden Lion who was actually supposed to be Lambert the Sheepish lion. A very random reference, but I just recently saw the short cartoon when watching Disney’s the Fox and the Hound…I’m a kid at heart and still watch cartoons.
Anyhow, I’ve been searching for a lions mane since I got Derby and couldn’t find anything suitable until Halloween costumes started rolling into the local Walmarts and Targets. While walking through Target I saw the perfect Lions mane…it was the hair on the wolfman’s mask. So here are the step-by-step instructions for constructing your very own dog costume.
Items you will need for this project:
Wolfman Mask from Target
Piece of Velcro
Sewing kit (needle and thread)
Knife or Scissors
Optional – rubber band
Go to Target and buy the $9.99 Wolfman mask.
Grab a knife or scissors and unstitch the hair from the latex mask.
With rudimentary sewing skills attach the collar to the lions mane (this will keep it in place when costume is worn.
Next, attach the velcro under the neck. This will keep the lions mane closed around the neck area.
Finally attach the elastic higher up from the velcro just under the chin. This helps to keep the hair from sliding back behind the ears.
Optional – take an extra piece of hair from the mask and attach it to your dogs tail with the rubber band.
And the final results…we won Most Original Costume at our Guide Dogs of America meeting! YAY!
The Fearless Lion
Farm animals about to be preyed upon by the mighty lion!
Thanks to Joe for the wonderful photographs at our GDA meeting.
Let me know if you have any questions about How To Make Your Own Dog Costume. I, myself am not very creative nor very crafty, but was able to piece this one together.
If you haven’t already seen last years Halloween post then please check it out and get some new dog costume ideas. Definitely one of our favorites was the headless horseman dog costume.
Did your dog wear a dog costume for Halloween? If so, what did he/she dress up as?
Do you have an adorable puppy who’s driving you nuts? Not long ago we brought home our first guide dog puppy and after the initial excitement wore off we soon realized we were in for an extreme test of our patience.
My name is Colby and I’ve been raising and training guide dog puppies for the past 5 years. Follow me and my pups on our journey from puppy to working guide dog.