Archive for December, 2012

Friday tip of the day – Stopping a dog from guarding food

dog guarding food 1

Instinct tells a dog to protect his food. However, it’s important for you to have complete control over what goes into your dog’s mouth. Part of this is for safety. If your dog starts to pick up something dangerous or deadly, such as rat poison, you need to be able to get it away from him without losing your fingers. However, access to food is also a dominance issue: When your dog responds by taking his food or dropping things out of his mouth on command, he is recognizing you as the dominant dog. Food guarding is a frequent trigger for dog bites, too. Therefore, the sooner you can establish that you and other family members are the ultimate authority when it comes to meals, the better off you’ll be.

dog guarding food 2

If your food guarder is still a puppy, you need to let him know everything he gets comes through you: food, toys, even petting. Tell your puppy to sit or lie down before you feed him, and make him wait until you give the release word, such as okay or take it, before he starts to chow down. If he comes up and nudges you for attention, use the same tactic to make it your initiation.

dog guarding food 3

He should also learn it’s okay for you to touch him while he eats, so give him a pat when you put down his dish, and make it a habit to add a little food to his bowl while he’s eating. This way, when you are near his food dish, it is always a happy occasion.

dog guarding food 4
Location means everything when you feed your dog. If he’s off in a corner, he may feel more possessive than if he were eating in a more spacious area with room to move around. Practice giving him food and taking it away. To do this, give your dog very small portions at a time. Each time he finishes a serving, take his dish away and refill it with another small amount until all his food is gone.  As you take away and replace the dish, praise him for being a good dog. Once he’s responding well to having his dish removed and replaced, move on to the next step: adding the food to his dish while it’s still in front of him. Let him eat some of the food while you’re off doing something else, then walk up and add something special to the dish, such as a piece of hot dog or a liver treat.

dog guarding food 5
Let’s get one thing clear, though: All this is so you have the ability to control what goes into your dog’s mouth. Practice these techniques now and then so you can maintain your dominance relationship with your dog. The most important thing to remember is not to pester your dog while he’s eating. Since most of Rover’s meals should be in peace, teach all household members — especially children — that he is to be left alone at mealtime.

Thanks to the Animal Planet web-site for posting this article.

December 28, 2012 at 10:25 am Leave a comment

Christmastime in Seattle – Dim Sum and a movie

Fa ra ra ra ra!  Remember the move ‘A Christmas Story’ when the family went to the Chinese restaurant?  Well, since I wasn’t going to be with my family this year for Christmas I decided to do the same thing.  So I headed down to Chinatown to have Dim Sum for brunch.


Dim sum is a style of Chinese food prepared in individual portions and served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. The ready-to-serve dim sum dishes are carted around the restaurant for customers to choose their orders while seated at their tables.  I’ve never had this style of Chinese food before so now was the time.


It was so much fun trying all the different kinds of food.  I had Siu Mai dumplings (sausage and shrimp stuffed in a light, thin dough), egg rolls, lotus leaf rice (a sausage stuffed sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf), shrimp rice noodle, Char siu baau (a delicious fluffy bun stuffed with BBQ pork), as well as a few others that I’m not really sure what they were.  While I didn’t have Christmas duck, I just HAD to try the Phoenix claws (deep fried chicken feet marinated in a black bean sauce).


It was a great experience!  The hostess helped me out on choosing the dishes and it was fun trying something so different during Christmas.


After stopping back to the house and taking Harpo on a walk, I headed to the movies to see The Guilt Trip.

guilt trip 1

What a good movie!  Barbara Streisand portrayed a mother who was still mothering her adult child…sounds familiar but I could still laugh about it!  After many ups and downs along their road trip they learned some things about each other as well as themselves.  This movie really hit home for me.  Time to let go of some things I’ve been holding on to for WAY too many years.

So now that Christmas is over, and while I thoroughly love being with my family during the holidays, I can say that I really enjoyed doing something entirely different this Christmas!  What’s life about if not to experience as many new things as possible, right?

December 27, 2012 at 10:48 am Leave a comment

Christmastime in Seattle – second outing

One event that I’ve always wanted to attend is the Christmas Ship Festival in Seattle.  Well, this year I finally made it.  Each night, from the end of November through December 23rd the Argosy Christmas Ship sails to different Puget Sound waterfront communities, over 45 in total. Choirs onboard sing 20-minute performances to these communities, all broadcast via a speaker system.


You can buy a ticket and ride the Christmas Ship…three decks, full bar, music…or one of the many parade ships and get the chance to cruise around for a few hours partying and watching the people on shore enjoy the show.  The other option is to go to one of the many designated waterfronts, enjoy the festivities on shore, stand by the bonfire and enjoy the sights of the parade of boats lit up with Christmas lights and listen to the carolers.  I opted to go to Madison Park and watch the ships from shore.

Hundreds of people were gathered when I arrived.  Had I known that there was a band playing and refreshments available and I would have arrived earlier.  But it was so much fun just the same.  I walked to the shore where there were babies to grandparents gathered.  The bonfire was blazing and the kids were wearing glow necklaces.


And then, here they came!  A parade of many, many boats coming towards us led by the Argosy Cruise ship.


They all gathered close to shore and the Dickens carolers began singing.


What a beautiful sight at the end of the performance when the Christmas ship turned, wishing us Peace, and the parade of ships followed as it sailed away to the next destination.


December 26, 2012 at 10:25 am Leave a comment

Christmas time in Seattle – first outing

This year I decided to pet sit during Christmas.  My kids and I had an early Christmas so I set out to enjoy my charges as well as take advantage of being in Seattle during Christmastime.  I’m watching over a special little dog named Harpo and a beautiful cat named Kevin.

Harpo and I always have a great time together.  He absolutely LOVES his walks, snuggling under a blanket with me on the couch, and cocking his head trying to understand what I’m saying.

Harpo - "Whaaat?"

Harpo – “Whaaat?”

Kevin has been hanging out more with me this time since it’s been colder and wetter outside and he’s spending more time indoors.  He loves to stretch out for a belly rub, curling up and purring while I’m petting him, and he even likes to help me with my paperwork :-).

Kevin - "I'll help!"

Kevin – “I’ll help!”

First thing on my list of things to do in Seattle during Christmastime was to go to Pike Place Market to see the Christmas lights.  So one evening I headed out to see them.  Of course everyone knows what a foodie I am so I first had to try out a new place to eat.  I decided on Pike Place Chowder in Post Alley.

Pike Place Chowder

Pike Place Chowder

I was not disappointed.  I had their specialty, clam chowder in a bread bowl.  It was delicious!  In fact it could just be the best chowder I’ve ever had.  It had big chunks of potato, onion, bacon and lots of clams in a thick creamy sauce.


After enjoying this wonderful meal, I headed across the street to the market.  I never tire of the hustle and bustle of all the vendors and visitors, and the beautiful displays of flowers, seafood, fruits and vegetables.  And I love the street entertainers.  There was one guy playing absolutely beautiful music on a piano.  I passed him by and had to come back just to take in a few more moments of that beautiful sound.  Such talent!  It was just getting dark and the lights were shining!  There were small Christmas trees on the roofs lining the street, and even the pigs were lit up.  It was really beautiful!


Since I was so close I decided I would head down to Pier 57 to ride the Seattle Great Wheel.  Looking out at the water during the dark nighttime was a little eerie but what a beautiful view of the city!

The Great Wheel

The Great Wheel

Next post I’ll have more Christmastime in Seattle adventures.

Merry Christmas!!

December 25, 2012 at 10:36 am Leave a comment

Early Christmas with my kids

LJ and dad on their way out for a walk

LJ and dad on their way out for a walk

This year I won’t be able to spend Christmas with my family so my kids and I had an early Christmas.  We gathered at my daughter Heather and family’s home in Lynnwood.  Heathers dad, brother Ben and wife Wendy and their grandson Mason all came.

Mason and LJ playing in the tunnel

Mason and LJ playing in the tunnel

It was fun watching the boys play!

Ben and Wendy enjoying the day

Ben and Wendy enjoying the day

After a nice brunch everyone started opening their presents.

Mason like his Rescue Bots!

Mason likes his Rescue Bots!

LJ playing with his zoo

LJ playing with his zoo

DSC08006We all had a really nice time visiting but the mountain passes were bad and all too soon it was time for Ben and his family to make their way back to Wenatchee.

After they left we all got bundled up and took a walk.

LJ warm and cozy in his new "bear" snowsuit from Ben & Wendy

LJ warm and cozy in his new “bear” snowsuit from Ben & Wendy

After our walk and LJ’s nap, guess which “toy” he decided he liked the best?


Here’s hoping all of you have a wonderful Christmas this year and are able to spend it with the ones you love.


December 24, 2012 at 10:36 am Leave a comment

Friday tip of the day – How pet insurance can save you money

Here is a guest post written by my daughter, Heather Kalinowski.   As the mom of a fifteen-month-old boy and two dogs, she is always looking for ways to be thrifty.   She works for Trupanion pet insurance and truly believes in the benefits – both financial and emotional – a pet insurance policy can provide.


In today’s economy everyone is looking for ways to save money. For pet owners, saving money requires evaluating even more things, including pet food, grooming costs, boarding or pet sitting expenses, and veterinary care.

dog at vet

Unfortunately, for many pet owners, veterinary care is the biggest thing that digs into the family budget. While expected expenses such as yearly exams, vaccinations, monthly flea medications, and dental care can be easily factored into the budget, the unexpected expenses like major injuries and illnesses can cause a huge amount of financial strain and can lead to heart-breaking decisions.

dog in surgery 2

Pet insurance is one way pet owners can help protect their finances in these difficult situations. When a major medical condition develops in their pet, pet owners with insurance can easily and immediately opt for the best medical treatment available without worry of cost.

When you are trying to be thrifty, it can seem counter-intuitive to pay an insurance company a premium every month on the chance that it will pay off in the end. However, pet owners who cherish their pets as part of the family and who may not be independently wealthy need the financial reassurance that if something catastrophic does happen with their pet, they will be covered.

It makes a lot of sense when you consider how veterinary treatment has advanced in recent years and the increase in expense that comes with those advances. Medical conditions that were once thought to be fatal in pets like cancer and diabetes are now curable with veterinary care that rivals that available to humans.

trupanion insured cat

But if you don’t have the funds to pay for these advanced services, you only have two choices – max out as many credit cards as possible, plunging yourself into debt, or make the heart-wrenching decision to leave your pet untreated. With pet insurance, you don’t have to worry about making this decision – you are financially covered and in the end, you end up saving up to thousands of dollars.

Trupanion insured dog 3

December 21, 2012 at 10:41 am Leave a comment

Friday tip of the day – How to Get Skunk Smell Off a Dog

dog and skunk

Dogs love to explore, and an encounter with a skunk is a lot more fun for them than it is for us. If your dog is sprayed by a skunk, don’t bring him in the house or the odor will spread. Do all the treatments outside.

Bathing your dog with dog shampoo will make your other treatments more effective . Use dog shampoo instead of your own shampoo because yours can remove important oils from a dog’s skin.

dog and skunk 3

Soaking your dog in tomato juice is a traditional remedy for skunk smell. This seems to work because of olfactory fatigue — your nose gets used to a smell after a long period of exposure. However, the skunk odor will still be there — someone new on the scene will tell you that immediately — and now he’ll smell like tomato juice as well.

dog and skunk 4

One home remedy for skunk odor is mixing one-fourth cup to one cup baking soda and one teaspoon  dishwashing liquid in one quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. (This is enough to wash a small dog like a terrier. Multiply the recipe for larger dogs.) Note: This recipe must not be stored in a closed container, and must be used immediately and then discarded. Scrub your dog with this solution for five minutes and then rinse him off. Repeat if necessary.

dog and skunk 5

However, your best option is probably a commercial skunk odor neutralizer. You can buy these at most pet stores or from your veterinarian.

Your dog may need a haircut if his fur is matted or tangled. This can also help get rid of any lingering odor.

Because skunks generally aim for the face, it’s important that you check your dog’s eyes, nose and mouth for redness or inflammation. If rinsing doesn’t resolve the issue, you should have him seen by a veterinarian.

Thanks to the Animal Planet web-site for posting this information.

December 14, 2012 at 10:34 am 1 comment

Friday tip of the day – Stopping a Dog from Chewing

A dog’s mouth is the canine equivalent of our hands; it’s what dogs use to pick up and examine things, evaluate their potential use, and transport them from one place to another. Chewing lets a dog know what something feels like, how it tastes, and whether it’s good to eat. It’s a natural part of dog behavior: You can no more train a dog to stop chewing completely than you can train him to stop breathing. Chewing is also an important part of the pup’s development. Just
like babies, puppies chew in part to soothe sore gums during teething. It can take up to a year for a pup’s adult teeth to come in, so this is another instance where you’ll need lots of patience to teach your dog what he can chew and what he can’t.
Naturally, your dog will be attracted to anything with your scent on it, so be sure to put away shoes, socks, and other items you’ve handled that you don’t want destroyed.  If you don’t, the odds are they’ll be gnawed into oblivion.  Never give a dog
old shoes or clothing to chew on. Shoes especially will retain your scent. In fact, never give your dog anything as a chew toy that is the same as something you don’t want him to chew; he won’t be able to tell the difference between the old boot you gave him to gnaw and your new hiking boots.

Make those toys you want your dog to chew (and he should have a number of them) as appealing as possible. If he seems to be going exclusively for things with your scent on them, put chew toys in the laundry hamper for a day or two before giving them to your dog. Rubbing something tasty on the outside of rubber balls or other toys or stuffing treats inside of hollow toys can encourage the dog to select those items to chew on his own. In general, be sure you’re giving him the message clearly from the beginning. Give him the appropriate toys to chew, and praise him for chewing them. Always keep a chew toy within reach (even carry one with you). If you see your dog working on something you don’t want him to chew, quickly remove the item and replace it with a toy, then immediately praise him for chewing the correct item. There a million things in your home you don’t want him to chew; it’s much easier to teach him to recognize the handful of items he can chew.

If you want to give your dog bones to chew on, stick to large knucklebones or thigh bones. Before you hand them out, sterilize bones by boiling them for half an hour. Never give small bones or bones that could splinter easily, such as chicken or turkey bones.

Some dogs remain very active chewers all their lives. Destructive chewing is especially common in dogs who spend a lot of time alone, since it’s a way of working off boredom or anxiety. “Home alone” dogs need to have lots of different toys, which should be rotated to keep things interesting. When you’re home with the dog, be sure he gets lots of exercise and quality time
with you.

Thanks to the Animal Planet web-site for posting this article.

December 7, 2012 at 10:47 am 1 comment

Pet sitting in Kelso



I just returned to the Seattle area after spending a week with sweet little Roma.  I have to say we didn’t have a super exciting week.  For the most part the weather was wet and cold so we stayed in most of the time.  However, spending a week with Roma is still very entertaining 🙂

Roma with her new toy

Roma with her new toy

Her mom left a new toy for her to play with while she was gone and Roma LOVED it!

DSC07893She got pretty frisky playing with it!

But most of the time Roma cuddled up in her blankets and slept…as all good Italian Greyhounds love to do!

Sleepy girl

Sleepy girl


Sorry Roma, I just had to get a picture of this.

December 4, 2012 at 9:49 pm Leave a comment