Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving and the National Dog Show

This year I have to go on "vacation" for Thanksgiving because my mom is going to San Francisco to see family for the holiday.  But I have been promised lots of presents when she returns so I think it will be okay in the end.

One of our Thanksgiving traditions though (which we will keep this year thanks to the DVR) is watching the National Dog Show on television and rooting for the black and tan coonhound.  Here is a peak at this year's competitor.

Now he's a pretty good looking guy but I have to say that he does not have as much tan as me - the breed is not the Black and a little bit of Tan Coonhound.  I will still root for him as well as the other coonhounds.

Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dog Accessories on Etsy

So one of my favorite websites is Etsy. I love finding handmade treasures. Chopper has been the recipient of more than a few presents from various shops. Here are a few of my favorite items that we may be taking home soon.

So up first is a lovely collar that is good year round for either boy or girl doggies. It reminds me of some of my favorite Orla Kiely designs. And ringing in at only $20, it's a steal.

Next up we have a fully customizable dog collar id tag. I am a big fan of wood grain in design so this one is probably going on our wish list. This is a bit pricey for an id tag, at $10, but it is just so darn cute.

And here's a great leash that will match your new id tag ($38).

Here is a fun one. We hardly ever use store bought doggy waste disposal bags so my pockets are often full of plastic bags when it comes time for a walk. This little contraption solves all that. Just stuff your own plastic bags inside and you are ready to go. And because it has multi-colored polka dots it will match any leash or collar.

The final item is a treat pouch ($15). We have a pretty intense treat pouch at our house that is bordering on a fanny pack but if you are looking for something a bit more stylish this is just too cute to pass up.

Lots of these items would make great stocking stuffers for that dog lover in your life if you don't have a pooch of your own to spoil. I know Chopper loves getting presents from other people.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Dirt Dog v. Chopper

I do not like the Dirt Dog.  My mom thinks it is pretty great though.

The Dirt Dog arrived on Monday while my mom was at work - in a nice brown box on the porch.  I love when packages come because most of the time they are for me and I like to bark at the delivery person.  She came home and was very excited and told me there was a "new dog" in the box.  I jumped up and sniffed and didn't smell a dog but was still happy there was a box.  Then she just left the box there.  The next day she opened it and there was no dog inside, or treats, or anything else that looked like fun.  I lost interest.

The next morning I was taking a nap before my morning walk and I heard it.  There was a yellow disc - this so-called Dirt Dog - running all over the house.  I barked at it and kept barking until my mom turned it off.  Then she put some treats on it but I'm no fool - I was not getting near that thing.  Then it beeped and started running around again.  I barked at it some more and she turned it off.  Once it was off I still didn't trust it and thought I had to keep my eye on it.

Chopper keeping an eye on the Dirt Dog.
 When she got home from work last night she brought the Dirt Dog back out and I got locked in the bedroom.  I barked a little but since the door was closed (and the doggy gate was up as an extra barrier) I felt pretty safe so I stopped.  This morning it got locked in the bedroom while I went on a walk so I guess we are even.

My mom thinks that it is pretty great.  It sweeps everything while we go for a walk or watch television. (This morning she got everything out from under the bed and it got it really clean under there.)  And it only took her about five minutes to do the maintenance this morning, which is very important since dog hair can get stuck in the brushes.  All in all I guess it is a good thing but I still don't like it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

30 Days to a Well-Mannered Dog

Chopper is a great dog - he likes to go on walks, loves to stay home and sleep while I work all day and is always happy to see me when I get home. Chopper also barks at noises outside that only he can hear and is not always the most hospitable host (he is kind of a homebody and would rather that we keep visitors to a minimum).

In my latest effort to continue to reform him and turn him into an even better dog who can better tolerate visitors we have bought Tamar Geller's new book 30 Days to a Well-Mannered Dog.

Chopper used to go to daycare at Tamar's boarding facility the Loved Dog but after awhile he decided that all dogs all the time was a bit much for him. We are familiar, however, with the methods and totally believe that this is a great way to train all dogs and with some dogs, such as Chopper, who may have been previously or trained not so nicely, it is a necessity.

So while Chopper will continue to bring you his lovable reviews and news of his frequent hi-jinks we are going to also be reporting on our status as we try and complete the 30 days of training. I am not saying we will actually complete this task in 30 days as the holidays are coming which requires that Chopper take some mini-doggy vacations (and aside from caring for Chopper I do have a completely non-related to dogs full-time job) but we will persevere and do the best we can to report on our progress.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

We're Getting a New Dog

My mom informed me last night that we were getting a new dog.  He will apparently not make any messes but will clean up all of mine.  I am intrigued by this new dog and not sure I will be happy when he arrives. His name is "Dirt Dog" and he's not a dog at all but a robot sweeper (the less expensive cousin of a Roomba which is a robot vacuum). 

My mom has been threatening to get one of these for quite some time and since it is the time of year that her allergies begin to act up and I shed a lot she finally got one.  The Dirt Dog is made for shops but my mom read lots of reviews that it is great at picking up dog hair (which is our main problem) so she ordered one.  We'll have to let you know how it goes once we get it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Free Microchipping in Santa Monica

I get very sad when I learn that a dog has wandered away from home and has been lost.  I don't know what I would do if I ever got lost - I don't think they have organic dog food if you live on the street.  In the even that I do get lost though my mom has taken some precautions to make sure that I find my way home.  First I ALWAYS wear my collar with both my city license and a tag that has my phone number and address.  My mom has to replace that every few years because sometimes I lose it and sometimes it just wears out. 

I am also microchipped that way if lose my collar someone can just scan me and I can get home.  My mom and I have heard stories on the news of dogs that have been gone from home for months and then someone finds them and scans them and they get reunited with their people.  I love a happy ending!

Anyway this Saturday, November 6th, there is a Pet Fair/Chip-A-Thon in Santa Monica.  You can bring your pet in to get microchipped for FREE.  There are also going to be dog contests, free dog food samples and other activities as well.  The event will be from 9 a.m.until 3 p.m. at Clover Park in Santa Monica at 2600 Ocean Park Boulevard. They are also offering low cost vaccinations and demonstrations on CPR.

Please don't forget to bring your dog on a leash!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What is a Coonhound anyway?

There are not many coonhounds in Los Angeles.  Occasionally I meet one on a hike or my mom will catch a glimpse of a long ear out of a car window and tell me about it later. There are several types of coonhounds - I am a Black and Tan Coonhound - other types include Bluetick (Smokey the University of Tennessee's mascot is a Bluetick), Redbone (the kind of coonhounds in Where the Red Fern Grows), Plott, English and Treeing Walker. 

My mom thinks that I'm a pretty good pet and also she gets lots of compliments on how handsome I am so she would consider getting another coonhound if she decided I needed a brother or sister.  While it may be easy to find a coonhound in other parts of the country there aren't many around here (I can't remember how I got here exactly before I went to live with my mom) so probably the best place to get one would be to go to the American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue's website.  The great thing about getting a dog from a rescue is that the dogs have been fostered with families who can tell you what the dog likes and doesn't like.  Some coonhounds get along fine with cats, for example, but not others (I like to chase cats) and if you get one from a rescue they will know all of that ahead of time.  There are also lots of great dogs at the city shelters too though - that's where I came from after all so you should take a look there as well but I'm not sure you will be able to find a coonhound. 

If you are going to adopt a coonhound there are some things you should consider.  First, we are not going to be one of those dogs that can run around off-leash if we are not fenced in.  We are are scent hounds - we follow scents and go until we find it and then you find us and whatever we found.  There a lot of dogs in my neighborhood who roam around off-leash and my mom is continually explaining that I can't do that (and also it is against the law where we live anyway)  because I can end up on Pacific Coast Highway or somewhere else where there are lots of cars.

Second, there is something that is referred to as "counter surfing" and I think it is pretty common among us coonhounds.  Because of that great sense of smell we can find food any where and it may be difficult to break us of the habit of not getting on the counter or in the garbage or any where else there is something that smells good to us.  My mom is on to me now though and keeps the counters clean and clear at all times (I occasionally sneak a look just in case she forgets) and we have a garbage can that is "Chopper-proof" as well.  (She made me go to the Container Store and try them all out.) I also used to like to go into the kitchen sink so that meant no more leaving dirty dishes around anymore.  There are some ways to correct this behavior when you are at home but if you're not home and the dog can access the kitchen then it is best to leave everything clean.

Third, coonhounds have a distinctive bay which is meant to identify them to their hunter.  But if your coonhound is not regularly exercised or given proper mental stimulation they may just bay out of boredom.  Not good if you are living in close quarters to your neighbors.  I was never a bayer.  As a puppy I was a chewer if left alone too long or didn't have something else to do.  I do bay when I tree a squirrel on a walk (my mom says it sounds like a little girl screaming) but I never hardly ever "scream" at home.

My mom knew NOTHING about coonhounds when she adopted me, other than the fact that she had read Where the Red Fern Grows, but she is still glad that I'm around (lucky for me).  She had to learn some of the above through trial and error and now, three years, seven months, and 16 days later we have it (almost) all figured out.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Go Giants!!!

Getting ready to root for the Giants (my mom is from San Francisco so that is our home team).  Good luck guys!!!

I've got my bandanna on and I'm ready for the game (just after I get that squirrel to come down).

Howl-o-Ween Costumes

One of my mom's favorite holidays is Halloween, which means that I get to get dressed up in a silly costume.  I tolerate it because she enjoys it so much and I do get a lot of attention and people telling me I'm handsome so I don't mind.

One year I was Elvis and one year we were both bees.  This year my mom decided that we would have a theme - Alice in Wonderland.  So she went to work trying to find me the perfect outfit.  Now when you're a 70 pound coonhound it is not always easy to find the perfect outfit but lo and behold we found a shop on Etsy, Young Urban Puppy, that custom made a Mad Hatter costume for me.

Here I am at the end of the night in my costume after all the trick-or-treaters had already left.

The best part is that we won the Silliest Costume at the Zoom Room Culver City Halloween Party.  My mom is already making plans for next year.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Under the Weather

So I have not been able to blog for some time because I have not been feeling well.  I have an ear infection, which is apparently very common in dogs with long lovely ears like mine.  So we went to the vet and she told my mom I needed ear drops, which I was not very happy about but my mom kept tricking me and getting them in there anyway.  That went on for three weeks and then we ran out of drops and I still had the ear infection so we went back to the vet.

This time I was on to her and wouldn't let her near my ear so they said to bring me back later and they would sedate me and get it cleaned out and exam it.  So then I went to my mom's office for a few hours with my buddy Mumble.

This is my buddy Mumble - he was mad that I wouldn't play with him but I was super tired from the vet visit.
 So then my mom took me back to the vet which I was not happy about.  They gave me a sedative and an opiate - maximum amount they told my mom - but still I wouldn't let that vet near my ear for too long.  It really hurts and, did I mention, I don't like the vet.  Anyway the vet prescribed two pills - a steroid because now my ear was inflamed and something for the infection.  Also she told my mom to just leave my ear alone for a week and then start with a new type of ear drops (I am not looking forward to that).  When I got back home to my bed and that vet wasn't trying to poke my ear I slept for a loooong time.  But I seem to be on the mend.  The steroids make me super thirsty and hungry so my mom is coming home to visit me in the middle of the day - lucky me. 

Yep Yup Dog Door Organizer

My mom likes for everything to be organized.  She is always putting my toys away in a bin (even when I purposefully put something under the couch or under the bed).  Recently she came across the Yep Yup Dog Door Organizer.

Very cute.  And it came in a bunch of different colors.  The only problem was the price ($59 plus shipping and handling).  It just so happened that this was the perfect size for the door of the dog/broom closet though.  She tried to find another one that was similar in size - she searched the bargain stores, the Internet, you name it but they were all big and made for shoes.  Then she did what I knew she would do anyway and bought it for me!!!

Pros:  Shipping was SUPER QUICK!  We received the item before we received the email that it had even shipped.  It easily installed on the door of the closet with two nails (and then after we decided we didn't like those and replaced it with two plastic hooks).

Cons:  The website measurement did not take into account that nifty little hook that sticks out to hold my leash.  It wouldn't fit on our door with that so my mom had to take some pliers and remove it.  We can still put it up with screws on the door though if we want to.  Also the organizer comes with these tiny little silver tags that say "snacks," or "collars" or "grooming" and we didn't necessarily want to put those items in those pockets.  (For most people this would be a minor inconvenience but my mom didn't quite know what to do at first.  Eventually she just sucked it up and put what I wanted in there.)

Here is a before picture of the dog/broom closet door:

You can see that there wasn't much going on here except for a dispenser for my - um waste disposal bags - and some photocopied directions for my mom on how to brush my teeth.

Here it is once we got the doggy organizer installed:

Here is the organizer installed - note we removed the nice leash hook - but there is a picture of some dog I don't know.

Here it is all loaded up with my goodies and a picture of me:

My yepyup holding all of my goodies!

As you may have noticed the rest of the closet got a little bit of a makeover too - my mom was inspired by my need to be organized and did the entire broom closet.  Now I don't need to be scared of a broom falling on me anymore.

We have had this a few weeks now and it is super convenient.  My mom keeps some treats in the top pockets and can give them to me right before she leaves the house.  It also means that everything she could need for me if we are going on an outing is in one place - no more dragging a chair over to get stuff down from a high cabinet.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pledge Fabric Sweeper for Pet Hair

My mom hates when my hair gets all over the place.  Sometimes she makes me get my hair cut short to try and avoid the hair balls I leave all over the place.  She also tries to keep me off the furniture but I sneak up when she's not looking and also I love to rub up against the couch leaving my hair all over the place.  She got tired of vacuuming the furniture all the time and those sticky rolls never seemed to work that well.  Then we discovered the Pledge Fabric Sweeper.

It is easy to use and doesn't leave any of my hair behind.  My mom uses it on our couches and on her white duvet cover (which I love to rub up against in the morning).  It gets rid of all of my black hair and my tan hair too.  My mom keeps a few around the house at all times.

One thing we don't like about it is that we have to throw it away when it gets filled up.  We wish that there was some way to remove the hair and keep using it to pick up hair.  Also it says that it works in the car but we haven't had much luck with getting it to work on the rug in the car.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Favorite Music: Through A Dog's Ear

I love to ride in the car.  I also love to bark in the car. I bark at big trucks, bicycles, joggers, other dogs, and anything else strikes my fancy -  wagging my tail the whole time.  My mom, however, does not like it when I bark in the car.

She tried to get me to stop barking by throwing treats at me (or yelling at me) but I ride all the way in the back of our SUV so there wasn't much she could do.  Then she found out about Through A Dog's Ear.  Through a Dog's Ear is a series of CDs with classical music that has been specially formulated for dogs.  The website states that it "uses psychoacoustic techniques that naturally trigger the relaxation or arousal response."  My mom says it is "research-based" and she liked that so we ordered the whole set.  There were some CDs for when I was home alone, one for when my mom was home with me and one for the car.

Via Through a Dog's Ear

We started with the CDs in the house and then used the car CD for short trips to condition me to the music.  After awhile I didn't seem to want to bark (as much at least) at all the exciting things outside.  Now I can just look out the rear window and enjoy the scenery.   After a few months I got so used to the music that my mom can put it on if I am barking at something and I almost instantly stop.  I just LOVE that music.  My mom loves it too and she seems much less stressed when we have to go in the car.  Now if only we could figure out how to play it when I'm on my walk and passing a garbage truck.

We highly recommend that you check these out if your dog (or you) are ever stressed in the car (or at home).

Monday, August 30, 2010

Molly Mutt

We have lots of beds at my house.  My mom has one bed and I have three.  I have a cot, a giant bed in the living room and a smaller bed in "my room."  My mom was always complaining that none of my beds were "cute."

Then we found Molly Mutt.  Molly Mutt sells dog beds but these are not your run of the mill dog beds.  Molly Mutt offers duvet covers that you can stuff with your mom's old clothes, your favorite old blanket or anything else you want.  You can buy a stuff sack to help keep all that stuff in one place.  My mom ordered me one and I just love it.

Here I am enjoying my Molly Mutt Title Track Duvet with a Stuff Sack

We just ordered another one for the car and I can't wait until it gets here (because one of my favorite things to do is bark at people who deliver stuff to my house).  My mom didn't have anything to stuff in it so we ordered some stuffing.  The beds come in three sizes and I am pretty comfortable on the Medium/Large.  I LOVE to sleep and I sleep all night on this bed and even sneak away during the day to  take a nap on it.  My mom likes that she can take the duvet off and wash it with my other linens.  She will even vacuum it sometimes (which I do not like).   Molly Mutt is always getting new duvets in and they even have cat beds too.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

According to Chopper

My name is Chopper and I am a black and tan coonhound who got adopted a few years ago and came to live in my forever home with my mom in Pacific Palisades.  We have lots of adventures and my mom buys a TON of special products made just for me.  I thought it was about time I let everyone know what I like, what I don't like and what she likes too (but only sometimes).