We’d gotten a glimpse of what our Catahoula Leopard dog did while home alone when we put a dog collar video camera on her. Now it was time to spy on the reformed bad dog that I’d written a book about.

Australian Cattle Dog Husky mix with Catahoula Leopard dogDakota’s days of being a bad dog were long over as we’d trained her well, but still we wondered what she did when we weren’t home.

The dogs were predictable in that when we pulled out of the driveway, Sierra the Catahoula Leopard dog watched us leave from the upstairs bedroom window, while Dakota the Australian Cattle Dog/Husky mix looked out from the downstairs kitchen window.


The dog collar spy cam filled in the blanks on what happened once we disappeared out of sight. Dakota, who’d been a rescue dog that was shuffled off from place to place including two stints at the dog shelter during her first few months of life, paced for most of the time that we were gone. Round and round and round she went in a giant figure eight.

Our kitchen has both an eating table and an island, adjoined by a dining room with another table, plus smaller tables in the living room all in an open floor plan. This made for difficulty with dog training but the layout was ideal for a dog who wanted to pace for hours on end.

Dakota laid down a couple of times but even then, her head was up and she looked around as if watching and waiting. Even the windows held little interest and her interactions with our Catahoula dog were brief and uneventful. The two dogs sat side by side looking out the window but Dakota quickly grew bored and went back to her pacing.

She stopped several times to drink water, which did not end up as potty in the house as it would have in the early days, and she chose her resting locations differently than when we were home. Dakota liked to snooze upstairs but the dog collar video camera showed her camping out in the living room or dining room, usually with a bird’s eye view of the door we’d come in. This was a clue as to what she was thinking about – our return home.

The only deviations were to sniff the Christmas presents sitting on the fireplace hearth, sniff a known treat location, and lick a milk jug. We played Find It games with the dogs where we’d hide dog treats for them to search out. This was a fun dog game and sometimes they didn’t find all the treats which made for interesting diversions when we were gone.

Whether Dakota sniffed around the Christmas presents just to see what they were, or whether she was hoping to find a dog treat, I don’t know. We did hide dog treats on and around the hearth for the Find It game and as soon as she was done sniffing the presents she went and sniffed the other treat location hoping to get lucky.

Watching her lick the milk jug was unexpected. When we first adopted her, empty milk jugs had been one of the items we had to train her to leave alone. Now we could leave them sitting on the floor next to the garbage can without worry as she hadn’t bothered a milk jug in years. Perhaps she was remembering those early days when she gave the milk jug a couple of quick licks. She did not attempt to chew it or move it from where it sat.

All in all the impression I got was that Dakota was bored as she wandered aimlessly, pacing and watching the door for us to come home. A conversation I had about the dog video with a girl who I’ll call Lauren turned out to be very enlightening.


Lauren didn’t do well with dogs and her dogs were so awful that nobody wanted to dog sit when she went on vacation. For years I’d listened to her sob stories of bad dogs pottying, chewing, barking, and not listening to her. Of course she considered it the dog’s fault rather than her own for not taking time to train the dogs, which is an all too common problem.

I’d given her a copy of the book Bad Dog to Best Friend in the hopes of guiding Lauren into a more positive relationship with her dogs, but two months later she still hadn’t read the book.

I hoped that telling her about Dakota’s boring dog video would prompt her to get busy reading, and she asked what Dakota did when we were home that was less boring.

I told her we played dog games such as the Find It game, interacted with the dogs both physically and by talking to them, and how even feeding time was turned into a training game. I told her that Bad Dog to Best Friend described some of the games and training exercises.

Lauren replied, “It sounds time consuming.” By the tone of her voice it was obvious that she wasn’t on board with investing time in her bad dogs.

Lauren’s attitude got me thinking about all the people I knew who were happy with their dog’s behavior versus those who were frustrated like Lauren. The happy dog owners all had one thing in common: they spent quality time with their dogs.

That’s when I realized why Lauren hadn’t read Bad Dog to Best Friend. As long as she avoided the subject, she could continue to complain about her bad dogs. She didn’t want to feel obligated to engage in the “time consuming” task that being a good dog owner entailed. Lauren did not want to learn something new that would help both her and the dogs. It was so much easier to complain about her dog’s misdeeds.


Taking time out to interact with your dogs, play games, and train the dogs goes such a long way in improving their behavior. Dakota was willing to be a good dog when we were gone because she got a payout when we came home of spending happy time with us, not to mention having freedom when we were gone versus being in a dog crate.

Take away the fun dog games, head and belly scratches, treats, dog training games, talking to her, and all the little things we did to include her in our human pack and what incentive did Dakota have for being a good dog? None. Dogs need incentives just like people. They need something fun to look forward to, which carries them through a boring day. Otherwise, why be good dogs?

You have the power to redefine your dogs. You can be like Lauren whose dogs are so awful that nobody wants to be around them, including Lauren. Or you can be like me and my husband, whose dog time brings us joy and laughter and happiness. Once you get the hang of how to interact with your dogs, all the dogs in your future will be good dogs.

If you know someone like Lauren who needs a boost in how to interact with their dog, give them this book. Dakota was a semi-adult shelter dog who was the Queen of Bad Behavior and the Master of Dirty Tricks when we adopted her. Bad Dog to Best Friend takes you from Dakota’s awful beginnings to her amazing transformation, and includes detailed how-to’s for potty training an adult dog and stopping your dog from chewing your house to pieces.

Paperback
Kindle
Other formats

Nook
Kobo
iTunes eBook
Audiobook
  • Share/Save/Bookmark
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Dog Tails of Adventure

Dog Eats Pine Cones

September 10, 2011

Our Catahoula Leopard Dog is a cheap date. She recently turned one year old and we’ve had her since she was a puppy, so we’ve been through the puppy chewing phase with her. Whereas our other dog needed heavy duty rawhides to keep her teeth busy, and they never kept her teeth busy long enough, our Catahoula pup has never needed a rawhide to chew on. She prefers pine cones and pine straw that she finds in our backyard. Pine straws are needles from long-needled pine trees that are commonly bought in bales and used as garden mulch.

Catahoula Leopard Dog Eating Pine ConeFrom her earliest days our Catahoula puppy would smuggle things in from outdoors, tucked inside her cheek like a hoarding hamster. You wouldn’t even realize she had smuggled something until she started chewing on it. Pine cones, pine straw, and rocks were commonly smuggled items. We immediately took the rocks away.

Her favorite dog chew was a piece of pine straw. I kid you not, one single piece of pine straw that had fallen from our long-needled pine tree could keep our Catahoula dog busy chewing for three straight days. Talk about a cheap date!

After the serious business of keeping our Australian Cattle Dog/Husky mix (Ausky) busy with dog chewies, and retraining her not to chew up our house, we were prepared to use the same techniques in training our Catahoula puppy. Our Ausky dog had come to us as a semi-adult shelter dog with a lot of problems. We were successful in retraining her to be able to have full run of the house even when we weren’t home, without worrying about dog chewing or potty in the house. We shared her story and how we retrained her in the book Bad Dog to Best Friend which is available on Amazon.com.

Catahoula Leopard Dog Eating Pine ConeAfter adopting the Catahoula puppy, we studied up on the Catahoula Leopard Dog breed and according to everything we read, serious training was a must for the Catahoula breed, as well as being ready to deal with dog chewing issues. We were totally ready, but our Catahoula puppy didn’t follow the chewing regime that our Ausky dog had gone through. A single piece of pine straw and she was perfectly happy, trotting around like a man with a toothpick hanging out of his mouth. That’s exactly what she reminded us of, too. Just like a person who chews on toothpicks, our Catahoula dog chews on pine straw.


Pine cones were another big dog treat in her life, though we did not accommodate them as readily as the pine straw. Our Catahoula dog didn’t actually eat the pine cones, she simply chewed them into little pieces making quite a mess in a short period of time. Pine cones and pine straw were cheap treats that our yard had in abundance, and it was preferable to allowing her to ingest large quantities of rawhide which can harm your dog. If a dog gets too much rawhide in their belly it can swell up and block their intestines. Dogs can die from intestinal blockage and our Ausky dog had given us a few scares during her chewing phase, so it was a relief not to have to worry about such things.

Catahoula Leopard Dog Eating Pine ConeWe were lucky that we never had to worry about our Catahoula puppy actually swallowing the pine cones. If a dog swallows anything big and chunky it can cause choking or an intestinal blockage. Allowing your dog to chew on pine cones from outdoors could also tempt them to chew on decorative pine cones in your home that may have been treated with chemicals that are toxic to your dog.

In addition, dogs eating quantities of pine cones and pine needles from outdoors can cause other issues. One concerns toxins that you use in your yard such as fertilizers, weed killers and insecticides. As we rarely use these in the backyard where our dogs play, this is not an issue for us. Pine tree oils and saps, however, can be problematic.

According to the ASPCA, Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla) can produce vomiting, depression, pale mucous membranes and a drop in body temperature in cats, and possibly similar problems in dogs (though their site is a bit fuzzy on whether the dog symptoms would be the same as the cat symptoms.) The Buddhist Pine (Podocarpus macrophylla), which is also known as a Japanese Yew or Southern Yew, can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting.

Catahoula Leopard Dog Eating Pine ConeOddly enough, the ASPCA recommends using shredded pine as a mulch rather than the HIGHLY toxic cocoa bean shells, which contain the chocolate ingredient that can kill a dog in high enough quantities. Instead of using cocoa shell mulch, they recommend “non-toxic alternatives” including shredded pine, cedar or hemlock bark. They do advise you to keep an eye on your dog near mulch of any kind, however.

Christmas tree varieties of pines contain pine sap and oils that can cause gastrointestinal irritation and affect the nervous system if ingested in large enough quantities. In addition, the needles (presumably of the short-needled variety though they did not specify) can cause damage to the soft tissues of the mouth and gastrointestinal tract.

Catahoula Leopard Dog Eating Pine ConeAs our Catahoula dog doesn’t actually ingest the pine cones or the pine straw, I do allow her to chew on them, though pine cones are not allowed in the house. Ever since I banned her from bringing pine cones indoors she has lost interest in them. The pine straw, however, remains a favorite treat for our dog to chew on and considering the dangers of some of the alternatives, we’re more than happy to allow the pine straw.



Dog humor on t-shirts, hats, coffee mugs and beer mugs, tote bags,
posters and more! Our Catahoula Leopard Dog and our Australian Cattle Dog/Husky mix are both featured on a wide variety of gift items.

Salt and pepper dogs Need a mop dog pee humor mousepad I love my dog heart baseball cap
You are what you eat dog eats cat tshirt Trick or treat Halloween dogs tote bag Catahoula leopard dog pawprint heart

Paperback
Kindle
Other formats

Nook
Kobo
iTunes eBook
Audiobook
  • Share/Save/Bookmark
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Dog Tails of Adventure

Catahoula Leopard Dog and Ausky DogStart with a four month old puppy dog who is full of joy and happiness at being adopted into a home with a big, fenced in backyard and an Australian Cattle Dog/Husky mix (Ausky dog) to play with.

Take the dogs out to play high energy running games every single day. Encourage the dogs to play chase games outdoors and bowl each other over. Fulfill their need to play rough and tumble dog games together.

For best results, make sure your new dog is a girl dog and that she comes from an active herding breed such as an Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie or Catahoula Leopard Dog. We chose the latter, a blue merle Catahoula Leopard Dog.

Catahoula Leopard Dog and Ausky DogGive your new dog a month of good times and then take her to the vet to get spayed. If you don’t know what that means, getting a female dog spayed means performing a total hysterectomy. In other words, it completely removes all of her female reproductive organs including her uterus and ovaries.

Getting your female dog spayed may be a common surgery but it is by no means a minor surgery. The veterinarian must cut into your dog’s belly to remove the organs and stitch her back up with as many as three layers of stitches.

Dog spay stitchesYou are now under strict orders to keep the dog calm. Your high energy Catahoula Leopard Dog is not allowed to run, jump, play, or pretend to be a bucking bronco. It’s a good idea not to run her up and down flights of stairs either, and playing with her new Ausky dog friend is absolute taboo.

Now, stick an Elizabethan dog cone on her head so that she cannot chew at the stitches, rip them out, or cause infection or irritation to the incision. Keep the head cone on for the full length of her stitches, which can be anywhere from 7-14 days.

Elizabethan dog collar head coneIf your Catahoula dog is not on board with the new rules where she cannot jump, play, and run around like a madman, put her in a dog crate to force her to calm down. If she goes crazy every time you go near her, then don’t go near the crate. Distance yourself so that your Catahoula dog remains calm while her spay surgery is healing. Peek at her from around corners so that she cannot see you lest she start jumping around in excitement.

Now that you’ve driven your Catahoula dog totally crazy, it’s time to drive the dog owner crazy. Sit back and watch this poor little puppy dog who was once having great loads of fun as she stares at you sadly through the bars of the dog crate. Look at the sad little face of your poor woebegone puppy who is now wondering why her new friends abandoned her to this misery. Watch the days march by with the full force of the Catahoula dog energy building with each passing day, and no way to burn it off.

Dog in crate with head coneWatch in utter misery as this dog who once trusted you now looks at you wondering why you took all her fun away and won’t even play dog games with her. Look at the questions in her innocent eyes. Hear her whining, calling out to you, begging for a doggie game of chase or fetch or tug of war.

Panic every time you take her out for potty and she tries to buck and jump with excitement at being freed from the dog crate. Try to figure out how to calm her down lest she rip out her spay stitches and require a new surgery to repair. Panic every time she gets loose in the house and starts running around in happy craziness.

Catahoula Leopard puppy with rope toyWhile you’re at it, do a few Google searches on things that can go wrong with dog spay surgery, especially when the dogs do not cooperate calmly. Once you are fully immersed in every possible thing that could go wrong, and you and your Catahoula puppy have been miserable for days, it’s time to set her free.

Remove the head cone and take your Catahoula dog to the vet for the removal of her spay stitches. Take your Catahoula Leopard Dog home and this time, don’t put her in the dog crate. She won’t have a clue as to what it was all about, but you’ll have one very happy Catahoula puppy and one very relieved puppy owner. Trust that she will quickly forgive you. Life is good once again!

Paperback
Kindle
Other formats

Nook
Kobo
iTunes eBook
Audiobook
  • Share/Save/Bookmark
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Dog Tails of Adventure