Category Archives: Dogs

Go Mall Walking With Your Dog

We thought we knew just about everything going on in the world of dogs. But one thing changed drastically when we weren’t looking. We just found out that dogs are allowed in malls! This winter you can go mall walking with your dog.

What a terrific opportunity for everyone. Especially those of us with little dogs. Small dogs are notoriously accused of being obnoxious, yappy pests. And the reason, for most, is not enough chances to experience the world they live in. 

Can’t take a chance

Dog parks are great, until they’re not. Even dog parks with “small dog” enclosures can become places where the little guy gets bullied. Even the gentlest of dogs can become over-stimulated when part of a group. Just like human teenagers en masse, dogs often don’t use their best judgment while with a crowd.

Picture of a sitting area in a shopping mall to illustrate mall walking with your dog.

But indoor malls offer so many ways to let your small dog be socialized and still safe. The ones we checked out all have designated areas where you can sit, or stroll, with your dog and take in the activity. Of course dogs must be either on leash, or in a carrier or stroller.

Some stores in the malls even let you bring your dog inside, so you can run your mall errands with your dog.

Get ready to go!

It’s a great idea, especially in cold weather, to let your dog get some exercise at your local indoor mall. Not having to worry about cold paws, fur snowballs, is a treat. And that’s not even mentioning the difficulties of walking dogs on icy walkways.

Of course you should be prepared to clean up any of your dog’s indiscretions. Also bring treats and maybe even a favorite toy. If you can get your dog to play with you in unfamiliar places, that’s a big step in socialization. Which isn’t what most people think. 

Socialization doesn’t mean your dog will accept any person or dog as their friend. It means that your dog is comfortable in public and can pay attention to you even in strange situations. 

Easy does it

If your dog tends to be shy and easily overwhelmed, be sure to lead up to mall walking gradually. Your first visit to the mall may just be a sniff around the doors, then home. Maybe you go in for a couple minutes the next time. 

Dogs can adjust to new situations if given the time to process. You want your dog to enjoy your mall outings, so take it at your dog’s pace. If you see your dog get a bit wild-eyed, it’s time to leave. Each time you go you can stay a little longer, go a little further, maybe even sit for a while.

It’s also a great idea for avoiding cabin fever. Winter really isn’t a time to hibernate. It’s another time to have fun with your dog.

Four pictures of dog faces to illustrate Grateful for Dogs

Grateful for dogs

Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday. The only obligation is to cook, eat, and socialize. It reminds us, no matter what else is going on, that we have much to be grateful for. And many of the good things in life are because of dogs. So today, and every day, we’re grateful for dogs.

Not even specifically our dogs, although they’re high on the list. It’s other people’s care of their dogs that grants us so many opportunities. Our shop is based on sharing a mutual love of dogs with our customers. The foundation of our dog training, both online and in person, is wanting dogs to have bigger lives, better understanding of the world we share, and improved communication with their people.

We’ve discovered something pretty terrific. People who love dogs are pretty great. Maybe it’s because all of us have extended ourselves to see that dogs are capable of unconditional love. Each dog, like each person, is a unique personality, but every single one has that loving trait in common. 

Best company

Whether you have a huge, chaotic family or it’s just you and your dog, you never have to feel alone if your dog is with you. There’s somebody around who truly cares. When you talk, they listen. They may not understand, but they hang on every word you say as if it’s the most profound thing ever uttered.

Of course there are drawbacks to giving your love to dogs. The biggest one is coming to grips with their shorter life spans. We all love our senior dogs mightily, and when they do leave us, the grief is real. 

No limit on love

Over the years we’ve seen two reactions to the loss of a dog. Either the person talking to us is pondering the right time to add another love to their life. Or they declare they’ll never get another dog because it hurts so much to lose them.

Four pictures of dog faces to illustrate Grateful for Dogs
Tango, Booker, Torque, Simon

We understand both responses, but believe the second one is a mistake. By making a dog’s passing more important than the life they had with you, you’re dismissing the years of joy they brought. Another dog can never take the place of one that’s gone. But they can nestle into your life and heart and make a place of their very own.

Between us, we’ve had about a baker’s dozen of dogs in our lives. We love each of them for who they are, even when they’re being annoying. Even when they’re being naughty. And especially when they’re getting old. Does planning for the next dog mean you’re done with the one you have? No. It means that you realize there’s no limit on love. Each one special and unique. So we’re grateful for dogs. 

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Picture of an old dog carrying a toy toward a box

Adventures with an old dog

Every day can be an adventure when you have an old dog. Tango, Fran’s 14.5-year-old Brussels Griffon, has us on a bit of a roller coaster lately. 

It’s not that we mind cleaning up when he doesn’t quite make it outside. Or the loads of laundry on the days nothing stays down. The distressing part is that he’s not comfortable, can’t seem to get warm, and on some days, doesn’t want to play his special games

Making choices

Picture of an old dog carrying a toy toward a box

All this came on rather suddenly, so Fran’s working with his veterinarian to figure out how to make him happy and comfortable again. We’ve known the vet for many years, and when she took a look at him, asked Fran if they had to have “the talk.” It’s not the same talk parents have with their pre-teens. It’s the tough choices talk.

And we’re there. At Tango’s age and state of decay (arthritis, vision and hearing loss, etc.) we’re not going to subject him to invasive or painful diagnostic tests. If we did, and discovered something, we also wouldn’t subject him to invasive or painful treatment. So there would be no point.

Comfortable is the goal

So we’re treating the symptoms for now. Hoping our vet’s familiarity with Tango, knowledge, and experience, will keep Tango comfortable most days. As long as the good days outnumber the not-so-good ones, we’ll keep going.

Ironically, with Tango, the one diagnosis we thought was a sure bet, kidney disease/failure, isn’t. His kidney function is just dandy. It’s ironic because he’s been eating prescription kidney diet food most of his life. He had crystals when we was about two, so he’s been on a special diet ever since. He’ll be thrilled now that he can have whatever food he likes. He’s happy beyond belief to get unlimited Chicken Heart Treats. Even the vet says we don’t have to care about crystals any more.

Free to indulge

In a way, it’s going to be a good time with Tango, however long it is. When you don’t have to worry about long-term consequences, you can indulge him. He’ll get the extra squirt of whipped cream or spoon of ice cream. And we’ll turn up the heated throw an extra notch, just for Tango.

We’ve had dogs for lots of years and we’ve had all kinds of end-of-life experiences with them. People, especially first-time dog owners, will ask when you know it’s time. In our experience, your dog will let you know when they’re done. By the same token, they’ll also do their best to stay with you if that’s what you need. Dogs’ love for their people is unconditional throughout their lives.

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A black, rough Brussels Griffon dog with a gray beardlying down to illustrate dogs are inconvenient

Dogs are inconvenient

Dogs are really inconvenient. There are so very many accommodations you have to make in your life.

You have to go out in all kinds of weather. Even if you’re sick. You always have to watch where you step. Even if your dog isn’t in the way, you know there are toys and chews lying around. And you have to schedule around your dog’s needs.

Planning the day

Just today, after all the morning routine stuff (take the dogs out, feed the dogs, have breakfast, wash Tango’s face/beard, play training games with the dogs) before we could get around to the house cleaning chores we planned, we had to think about what to do about the dogs. 

The first step in our deep-cleaning plan was vacuuming  Quite a few years ago, we thought it was funny that Dax’s mortal enemy was the vacuum cleaner. Hope’s first Frenchie attacked it every time it came out. Until the day she broke a tooth and needed surgery. Since that day, we play “better safe than sorry.” The dogs are crated when the vacuum comes out.

It’s not a big deal, since the dogs love their crates. Actually, they love their special “crate goodies,” but it’s the same result. They dash to their crates when they see us reach for their “only in the crate” treats.

But it is something we have to think about. Before we plan doing anything, either at home or outside, we have to think “what about the dogs.” 

Planning ahead

Parents of children and dog owners have the same obligation to plan ahead. It’s easy to be impulsive when there’s no one at home that needs to be walked, or fed, or needs medicine. 

A black, rough Brussels Griffon dog with a gray beardlying down to illustrate dogs are inconvenient

It’s a huge consideration when you have either a puppy or an old dog. Both have time limits on their bodily functions. Tango is 14 now, so we’re always checking calendars and coordinating schedules. Fortunately, he still remembers his training, but we don’t want to push our luck.

Dog owners always have to weight the possible consequences of their actions. It’s fun to meet up with friends at the end of the day. But what does that do to the dog schedule? And are you willing to face the consequences if you lose track of time?

Worth every bit of it

As we sit writing, one dog is snoring on the chair across from us, another is snoozing in the dog bed by our feet. And these are the moments that we feel sorry for anyone who thinks dogs are too inconvenient. Just looking at them warms our hearts. If you’re having a good day, it’s great to share it with your dog who loves you unconditionally. And if you’ve had a crappy day, it’s great to share a cuddle with your dog who loves you unconditionally. 

Basically, having a dog is pretty terrific. Even if dogs are inconvenient. 

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