Thursday, May 31, 2007

And We're Off!

Almost. Off to the doggie body language seminar with Lloyd tomorrow!! Probably won't be time for a cheesesteak. But I hear from reliable sources that neither Geno's nor Pat's is the way to go. Hopefully I can rustle up a good slice of NY style pie, though.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Thank god puppy class is on Saturday. After riding 8 rides at King's Dominion on Sunday, I can't really move very well now. For anyone who hates crowds but loves a good roller coaster (or 8), Mother's Day is an excellent time to go. Our longest wait was about 5 minutes for the Italian Job Turbo Coaster.

Anyways, this past Saturday was another "Hell Saturday" at puppy class. Everything went very smoothly, with the help of Lloyd's friend Mickey (I hope I spelled that right!).

We have one family in class that has a dog that is just not "fitting in". The family and dog can't seem to find the right chemistry. The dog is a chocolate lab puppy, a very very active and intelligent breed. Mixed with young kids, the activity (i.e. hyperness) increases. They don't have a fenced yard for play.

People - please please do your research before deciding on a breed and dog. Yes, Labradors are wonderful companions and very trainable, but they are sporting dogs. They are meant to hunt and run and swim. Just because they are popular and great all-around dogs does not mean you should own one.

I'm a big Lab fan myself. I love them and their goofy playfulness. But when I started to think about getting a dog, a Lab didn't even come into my mind. I spent at least a year researching breeds for temperment, activity level and intelligence to find a good condo dog. I finally settled on a pug, as that breed had the most "pros". That's not to say there aren't any "cons". There will always be something that is of concern when chosing a breed (in Franklin's case, the pug doesn't tolerate heat and humidity well, because of their smashed noses. We get around that by doing our outdoor activities early in the morning and keep the activities mellow the rest of the day).

The puppy class family now faces a tough choice, filled with heartbreak, especially for the young kids. They would probably have a wonderful life with an older, more mellow breed. In fact, we have a Bernese Mountain Dog in class that is the picture of calm.

To research breeds, visit the AKC, UKC (the UKC has a much stricter anti-puppy mill policy than the AKC) and read lots of books. I have The Dog Bible. After narrowing your choices to a few breeds, visit your local shelter or breed rescue organization. We have an excellent Labrador Rescue here in the DC area, as well as rescues for many other breeds.

I'll admit that Franklin is not a rescue dog, but after waiting for over a year for the right small dog to come into one of the shelters, I decided to go to a breeder. My personal belief is that you should try your best to find a rescue first, and then try a good breeder after exhausting those possibilities. Just because and a breeder has AKC next to his or her name, does not mean they are a good, reputable breeder. For an example of one of the best breeders of any breed, look at Rainmaker Ranch - check out their breeding practices and how open and communicative they are about their dogs. More on choosing a breeder to come...

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I miss Dearest Cupcake...who's with me?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Seminar Coming Up!

Lloyd and I will both be attending a seminar by Brenda Aloff in New Joisey in a few weeks. It's on doggie body language, which should be interesting.

And they have good pizza in Joisey. And Philly is really close so a visit to Pat's or Geno's may be in order. Are you a Pat's or Geno's person? I've never been, but I know one uses provolone and the other uses Cheese Whiz. I can't wrap my mind around which one I would like better.

Franklin will be bunking with Crash for the weekend. Can't wait for exhausted doggie time when we get back!

Monday, May 07, 2007

One Major Reason I Want to Train Dogs

I'm not cut out for office work. I'm just not. It's not for me.

Anyways, work is very stressful these days. Launching a new web content management system tends to be like that. So, your Dog Apprentice has to bite the bullet and deal with the stuff that pays the bills for the time being. Hopefully next week will be calmer and I can spend some time talking to y'all.

Will they let me say y'all if I move to VT? They didn't let me say "pop" when we moved from Minnesota to Vermont back in '79.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

No Worries

Dog Apprentice will continue in addition to DCTourist.