Sunday, May 31, 2009

Agility Class: May 31, 2009

In agility class today we mostly worked on sequences with things set up at tricky angles. Most of the sequences were jump, tire, weave poles, tunnel, and then teeter or dog walk. Mia did pretty well but for some reason just did not want to do the tunnel today. At all. I think she only did it twice by herself without help from Rachel, which was very odd for her.

One of the dogs in our class is a Belgian Tervuren named Ritzy. She is absolutely gorgeous but is very, very nervous. When she gets worried she takes off and runs around the room. Each time she came close to us I would feed Mia little treats as long as she wasn't growling. By the end of the class instead of looking at Ritzy when she came near us, Mia, looked at me! Yay! Improvement!

I did end up bringing Mia's infamous bed to class. The whole point of bringing a bed or a mat is to help the dog relax because the dog is already conditioned to relax on the bed/mat at home. The bed helped a lot...maybe a little too much because towards the end of class Mia didn't want to get OUT of bed! We all ended up having a good laugh about it though.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

First Private for Reactivity

On Friday morning, Mia and I had our first private with her trainer to work on her reactivity. She is very reactive to other dogs and cats (especially big dogs). It is a problem that I think I have let get away from us for far too long.

The first thing we worked on was counterconditioning Mia to the door opening and closing. Our trainer has a big training building on her property (with air conditioning!!) and Mia has learned that 90% of the time when the door opens a dog is either going to be coming in or going out. We noticed that she starts to react as soon as she hears the door start to creak. The plan was to drop a small handful of food on the ground right before the door creaks. We did several reps of this and then Rachel went and got one of her dogs, Glory.

While we were waiting for her to return, I worked with Mia on laying down on a mat (from now on I'll be bringing her bed to agility and privates to help her relax). We had barriers set up so that Mia could not see her. When Mia was calm we would have Glory appear from behind the barrier (or alternately, I would move the barrier out of the way so Mia could see her). She would get clicked and treated for looking at her. Unfortunately, Mia's threshold at the moment is pretty low so we didn't make a whole lot of headway.

Our homework for the next two weeks or so is to start Dr. Overall's Protocol for Relaxation and to work on more systematic desensitization with other dogs in more random situations (i.e. parked outside of the vet's office, the park, petsmart, etc.). She also reccommended scheduling a consult with a veterinary behaviorist that teaches a reactive dogs class at her facility. So we may do that depending on how things go.

We've got a long road ahead of us but it will be worth it! Tonight we went over to my parents' house for dinner and a movie. Mia is always excited to go over there.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Beach Day!

Mia here...this morning Mommy, Daddy, and I went to the beach. We had so much fun! I spent lots of time running, digging, chasing bugs, and swimming.

Looking out at the water.

Bug Chasing!

Wet puppy!

Wet Mia

In motion.

Watching the men fix the trash cans.

Shake it off!

Mom got some video on her cell phone but unfortunately it's in a weird format that doesn't want to be uploaded anywhere.

Tomorrow I have my first private with our trainer to work on my reactiveness so I'm sure Mom will want to post about that. It's time for us to go to bed because we have to be over there first thing! Goodnight!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rained Out

This morning we didn't get to go back to the beach because it was raining. So we probably won't get to go until next weekend sometime.

The rain had cleared by about 7:00 p.m. so we decided to go on a bike ride with Mia. We have a route that we ride through the neighborhood behind our apartment complex that ends at a park. The ride to the park and back is about 4.5 miles. Unfortunately, we went during peak dog walking hours and Mia was really stressed out and barking a lot at the other dogs. So we've decided that until we work on her reactivity we're going to have to stick to trails only (during the evenings at least) and steer clear of the neighborhoods.

Chase and I still got a good workout and she had fun when there weren't any dogs or cats around!

Getting ready to take off from the park.

Sniffing around at the park.

Must sniff this patch of long grass.

Resting while we put away the bikes.

Fun times!

Friday, May 22, 2009

New Harness

Today Mommy finished making me a new harness! It is made out of a really pretty pink and brown damask print fabric. She also finally finished a harness for my buddy, Parker.
The new harnesses and leashes.

Parker and I in Galveston at a restaurant!

She has a few plans for more harnesses and leashes. The next one will be denim with rhinestones (she'll probably be making that one this weekend). We also have pink/multicolored paisley fabric, brown and pink paisley, and Mom has her eye on a few other fabrics at the store.

I'm going to have a harness for every day of the month. Yeesh!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hidden Beach

Mia here...Today was such a fun day! My Auntie Katie ordered my bike trailer around noon on Tuesday and it was delivered on Wednesday afternoon! The apartment office is closed when Mommy gets home from work so she had to wait until this morning to go get the box.

We got a medium sized Hunter K9 pet bike trailer. Mommy said that the assembly was very easy (all of the pieces were together but the bike trailer had to be unfolded and had the wheels put on).

Before we left we loaded up on water bottles, my travel bowl, sunscreen, my 20 foot leash, and several towels. Then we hit the road. I was so excited to finally be going with them when they took their bikes out. It was a five minute drive to the park where we parked the car and then we got everything out of the car and set up and took off down the trails. I had a blast and as long as Daddy didn't get out of my sight I was happy! If he tried to go in front of Mommy I got worried and started whining.

We had about a 1.5 mile ride to the beach from where we parked. Mommy and I had never been to this beach before (Daddy just found it yesterday) and we were pleasantly surprised! The beach was really nice! It was very clean, there wasn't any litter around, and there weren't very many people there either. This beach was better too because it didn't have such high waves. (Unfortunately, Mom forgot her phone in the car so we didn't get any pictures but I'm sure we'll be going back again some time this weekend)

We stayed for about 45 minutes but then we had to leave so Mommy could get to work on time. I swam a little bit and we ran around for a while. I had tons of fun! I love the beach and now that we don't have to drive 30 minutes to get to one I'll get to go more often!

Riding around in the parking lot .
(Note: I am tethered in the trailer; I cannot jump out.)

That's all for now. Mom and I are going to go crash in our new king sized bed. It's sooo comfortable!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Homemade Treats!

So Mommy finally got off her butt today and made me some new treats! I get a treat every night before bed and every once and a while during the day. For these treats Mom usually gives me biscuit type treats and likes to make them herself when she has the time. For training treats we use an assortment of softer treats that I will talk about later.

So today she decided to try a new variation of a recipe that she has used before. Warning: These treats smell REALLY good while baking!

Herb Cheese Treats
1 cup brown rice flour (we also sometimes use potato or oat flour)
1 egg
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon oregano

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl to form a ball of dough. Sprinkle flour on a clean surface and roll out dough to 1/4" thickness. Use a cookie cutter, knife, or a pizza cutter to cut dough into shapes. Place shape cutouts onto a cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. Let the treats cool and store them in an airtight container.

The ingredients. (Note: Mom meant to grab the brown rice flour
at the store but somehow ended up with white rice flour)

The dough.

The dough rolled out!

Lots of itty bitty treats.

The treats in the puppy cookie jar
(Note: These are not all of them)

Mom is not a huge fan of grains in my diet but she likes to bake so I get some treats with grains/starches. I also get treats with grains in them over at Nana and Grandpa's house. When I do have grains she likes to choose "good" grains. Many dogs have allergies to wheat and corn and mom suspects that I may have some sensitivities to them too. So we try to steer away from those two and use either rice, potato, or oat flour. We generally do not use any kind of raw food for treats mostly because it would be very impractical. Mom tries not to worry too much about the kind of treats I have (although she doesn't want me to have really junky ones) because they make up such a small part of my overall diet.

For training treats we usually use softer treats because I can eat them a lot faster! This leaves more time for training (and more treats)! We use a variety of treats for training but some of our favorites include Ziwi Peak Venison (we just use the regular daily cuisine food), Zuke's Z-Filets (chicken), Artemis food rolls, turkey hot dogs, string cheese, and cheddar cheese.

Mom and I are all cuddled up in our brand new king sized bed so I think I'm going to go to sleep. Auntie Katie ordered my bike trailer today so it should be here soon! I will be very happy when I can go on biking adventures with Mommy and Daddy!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Raw Eats

Mia eats a prey model raw diet. This means she eats raw meat, bone, and organs modeled after what she would eat in the wild. I know a lot of people may find it hard to believe that a little dog could eat like this, but she can! The myth that small dogs cannot eat raw is a popular one. However, the only slight change I have to make for Mia is that she only eats smaller, more pliable bones like poultry, fish, and rabbit bones. All other meats are fed boneless.

Mia weighs about 9 lbs at her ideal weight. Yes, that is large for a Chihuahua but she is not overweight. She eats about 3-4 oz a day and we follow a model of about 80% meat, 10% bone, and 10% organ. She eats a variety of meats including beef, pork, lamb, venison, goat, chicken, duck, turkey, quail, and salmon. Mia is not a big fan of organs (other than beef sweetbreads) so I usually have to disguise them in some way (i.e. grinding them up with ground beef) or sear them.

A sample weekly menu might include:
Sunday: 3 oz chicken (including bone)
Monday: 4 oz boneless beef
Tuesday: 4 oz boneless lamb
Wednesday: 1/4 turkey neck
Thursday: 3 oz salmon
Friday: 1.5 oz beef liver, 1.5 oz lamb kidney
Saturday: 4 oz bone-in ground venison

Mia's kitty sibling, Noche, also eats prey model raw (E-Man would too if he wasn't so picky).

Today, I cut and portioned up two whole chickens and about 12 lbs of boneless beef chuck roast. Here was the end result:

Chicken & Beef On Mia and Noche's Freezer

The interior of the freezer.

I put meal-sized portions into small plastic sandwich bags and then place those bags inside a big 1 or 2 gallon freezer bag that I label. This way I don't have all of the smaller bags swimming around the freezer.

Here are some of our favorite raw feeding links:

Myth: Toy Breeds and Small Dogs Cannot Eat a Diet of Raw Meaty Bones

Myths About Raw Feeding

Tom Lonsdale's Raw Meaty Bones

Dogster Raw Forum

Raw Fed Cats

Yahoo! RawFeeding Group

Yahoo! RawCat Group

A raw diet takes a lot of research starting out and should not be taken lightly. It is important to formulate the diet correctly and to provide lots of variety. If you are interested in starting a raw diet I suggest you research, research, research. If you are not willing to do the research but still really want to feed a raw diet there are high quality pre-made raw diets available to purchase like Nature's Variety, Primal, and Bravo.

Mia exhausted after a nice meal of boneless beef.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fake Yawns!

Mia here...I guess something is wrong with Mom's newer bigger memory card because it wouldn't transfer the video from last night either! Oh well, today we took another one and it's still a pretty cute video.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Stupid Camera

Mom got some REALLY cute video of me fake yawning last night trying to get treats and for some reason the video won't upload onto the computer! So she is going to video me again to try to catch some more. Apparently it's adorable or something.

Sorry about that. Hopefully we'll get a video up tomorrow morning-ish. We're off to bed...Mom has to go to the dentist at 8 am and then a funeral at 10.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Mommy has decided that she is going to buy a bike for this summer so we can go on adventures!!

This is the trailer we are looking at getting to attach to her bike:

Hunter K9 Bike Trailer

I think it will be lots of fun. This way we can all ride the trails together and maybe even bring a picnic lunch. Or we can ride along the seawall in Galveston! It should be a fun time!

Mom is done with finals!! She is excited that she gets a little breather before she starts summer school on June 1st. She will be taking Intro to Clinical Psychology. Luckily, it is an online class so she won't have to drive all the way into downtown Houston for class everyday.

Mom also talked to my trainer at agility on Sunday and we are going to start my behavioral privates next week. I'll go once a week for 30 minutes or an hour (depending on how I do the first day) for as long as I need it and Mom can afford it. It's a bit pricey but she knows it will be worth it in the end!

We have been working on getting my yawn on cue. Tonight will be the third night we work on it. Mom may post a video sometime later this week showing my progression. I still don't quite get exactly what she wants me to do but I'm offering the behavior more often now!

That's all for now! Mom has to be at work at 10:00 so I better get to bed!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Climbing Mount Everest

In my never ending quest for procrastination I put together a video of Mia doing the A-Frame today.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Trail Walkin'

Mia Mommy and Daddy finally took some time out from studying and we went on a long walk through the trails that run along Armand Bayou near our house. It was a lot of fun but it was really hot and the trails were a lot longer than we expected. It was a fun little adventure though!

Mommy and Daddy had to carry me part of the way because I was getting really tired and because of this:

and this:

As we were walking the trails we came upon a few bridges:

We saw lots of birds (and even a snake swimming in the water, luckily it was far, far away!):

We ended up here:

There was also a park near the beach where we rested and took pictures with the bluebonnets:

At the end of the trail we took a picture in the pretty gazebo:

Afterward we all went for snow cones and I got my very own:

It was definitely a good time! Now I'm going to go sleep, probably for the rest of the night!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Boring Friday.

Mia here...Mom is busy studying for finals. This week has been spectacularly...boring. Mom and Dad have had a bunch of finals and they haven't had a whole lot of time to pay attention to me. No walks...not much play time. At least I still got to go to agility. Agility is always so much fun!

Mom is going to go buy little play cones from the store in the sporting goods section tomorrow and a camera tripod so that she can video tape me learning to go around them.
She also has plans to teach me to yawn on cue. It's pretty easy to make me yawn...all you have to do is rub my back. It's actually a little embarrassing but hey, it feels really good.

I'm going to go snuggle in my bed now and take a nap as I see tonight isn't going to be much unlike the rest of the week. Mom and Dad even went out to dinner and didn't take me. Humph.

Smiley Girl in Galveston

Thursday, May 7, 2009

20 Ways (and Counting) to Lay Comfortably on a Bessie and Barnie Bed

I do not know what it is about these beds but I swear they must be made out of rainbows or something. Mia would rather sleep in hers than about anywhere else in the world which, unfortunately, means less cuddle time for me!

So, 20 ways (and counting) to lay comfortably on a Bessie and Barnie bed:

While Barking the Vote

On top of a blanket.

On your back with a blanket pillow.

Stretched out to the side with the toy basket as a pillow.

Curled up in a little ball on a blanket.

On your back with your arms and legs up.

With your head falling out of the bed.

Next to Christmas garland and an extension cord.

On your back looking sassy.

With a foot outstretched.

With both feet outstretched.

Curled up in a ball on your back (better known as the
upside down Chi donut)

All dressed up ready for a party.

On your back all dressed up.

Alert with both arms outstretched,

On your side completely zonked out.

On your back with your eyes rolled into the back of your head.

Completely falling out of the bed, using the floor as a pillow.

With your tongue sticking out.

On your side completely exhausted from agility.