Wednesday, March 31, 2010

WTF Wednesday - Early April Foolishness

First a brief PSA. Dogs With Blogs is back! Hooray!
They have been on hiatus for a long time, but they are once again here and providing a wonderful place for all us doggies to meet up. I have made some new pals in the past year who aren't members, so I encourage new doggies to go and visit and consider signing up.

I also want to send healing vibes to my short legged friend, Miss Callie, who started her keynote therapy.

With April Fool's day just around the corner I think somebody has made a big fool out of the DOH because she took an online quiz to find out what kind of doggie she should have and I was NOT PLEASED by the results.

First of all, it totally did NOT say she should have a labradork (and I kind of like the little guy, plus I know momma likes him too).

But check out this description of the wee black beasts.

Labrador Retriever Size: Large. Coat: Straight. Coat length: Short. Grooming: Easy, low-maintenance. May drool. Moderate shedding. Very high activity level. Likes to swim. Bred to hunt game birds. Very high intelligence. Somewhat easier than average to train. Tolerates other pets very well. Tolerates strangers very well. Very good with kids four and up. Very affectionate. Moderately independent. Fairly vocal. Good watchdog potential. Somewhat shorter than average estimated lifespan. A very popular breed in the US, according to AKC records. Not well suited for apartment living.

MODERATE SHEDDING??? I have never seen so much furs come off of such a little guy. There is labrafur EVERYWHERE! Tumbleweeds of labrafur! Labrafur in the water bowl, in the refrigerator, in my foodables, in the sink! I am surprised he isn't bald!

And what is up with that "high intelligence" crap? I would say high suck up potential is more like it.

Not to mention that the little dude can barely spell drool. Humph!

At least they got the swimming part right.

Well, I was SHOCKED to learn that apparently a large and handsome mastiff such as myself is also not the proper doggie for my dear sweet momma. And they had the most insulting description which I include herewith.

Mastiff Size: Enormous. Coat: Straight. Coat length: Short. Grooming: Easy, low-maintenance. Likely to drool. Moderate shedding. Slightly lower than average activity level. Lowest intelligence. Somewhat harder than average to train. Very wary of other pets. Very wary of strangers. Very good with kids four and up. Rather affectionate. Moderately independent. Fairly quiet. Good watchdog potential. Somewhat shorter than average estimated lifespan. A popular breed in the US, according to AKC records. Not an ideal choice for choice for apartment living.

DO YOU SEE WHAT IT SAYS???? (extra question marks for Loki, hehehe). LOWEST INTELLIGENCE! As if! Yuh, for sure I am a most deep thinker as are all mastiffs. Just check out this most keen alert expression often found on my large and reflecting great intellectuals face.

How about this? Low intelligence indeed.

But I must say that I kind of like being called ENORMOUS!

And I am most affectionate with my human brother who qualifies as a kid around here.

Likely to drool? Duh!

Lower than average activity level? What are you talking about? I am most athletic and jumping about.

Huh? Go over the fence twice in one day? Are you INSANE? I am exhausted!

So now here comes the WTF moment, right? Because the breed that the dumb quiz chose for momma is this!

Otterhound Size: Enormous. Coat: Bristly. Silky. Curly/Corded. Coat length: Medium. Grooming: Easy, low-maintenance. May drool. Moderate shedding. Very high activity level. Bred as a game hunting companion. Not especially intelligent. Among the more difficult to train. Tolerates other pets fairly well. Tolerates strangers fairly well. Very good with kids four and up. Very affectionate. Moderately independent. Fairly quiet. Good watchdog potential. Somewhat shorter than average estimated lifespan. In America, a very rare breed. Not well suited for apartment living.

First of all, that dog cannot be enormous if I, Mango, am enormous because those dogs are totally smaller than me. And why did they fit momma with a game hunting doggie?

Is this what they mean by game hunting? Hey, is that the Beastie?

But seriously, what is with the udder hound? I googled them and they don't even bark like proper doggies. Don't believe me? Click on this link.

Hello? Which end of him is that sound coming from anyway? WTF?

If you want to take the quiz you can do so by clicking here. But be careful because you might not like what it says. Hehehe.

Here is a photo of my large and handsome self from the "to be shown" folder. Humph. I can see why this one didn't make the blog. Obviously photoshopped. The Mango does not contort like that.

Oh dear, ladies, please excuse my most obvious Mango nards. Clang, clang! Biggify at your peril.

Remember, if it's not a mastiff, it's just a dog, right?

Mango Man! Oh yeah!

P.S. Momma says I have to apologize to all the fine udder hounds out there who look to actually be very nice doggies. Whatever.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Terse Tuesday - Giant Tennis Ball

This post contains photos taken Sunday because today is Tuesday and we are having the big rain that never ends. Sigh. At least I got to go to daycare.

I have rediscovered the fun to be had with my giant tennis ball (which was a gift from one of my pals, but I forget who, so thanks whoever you are).

Someday I just know I will catch that thing.

Must... open.... mouth... WIDER!

And a short movie here (just ignore momma's winter coat she tends to get cold even in the springtime). We had more action video, but momma forgot about YouTube stealing the bottom of our movies and did not frame them properly.

Oh, and the movie also has some RH "action" in the end. Sigh. Happy Tuesday!

Dexter done!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Checking in on Oliver (the alleged puppy)

Our friend, Mayzie, sent us the most important quote of all about doggie training.

"Love and appreciate the dog you have; not the dog you WISH you had."

We think she is very wise.

I thought it would be a good idea to check in on my nephew, Oliver, and see how he was doing.

Damn! Is that "puppy" just going to keep growing? He's not even a year old!

He spent most of our playtime sniffing my butt and trying to hump me, but I am through with submitting to that little pest and I have him a BACK OFF a few times.

Check out this photo. Did he just poop out a tennis ball or what?

Momma called a time out and made my sissy-in-law hold on to the monster puppy while I did some good dog attention. Phew. Thanks, mom.

I was even able to find this nice log to play with. Due to my human brother being related to my Master, there are always nommy sticks and constructions debris around his place (just like my estate).

Drat! He snuck up on me! He tends to just kind of barrel into me like some deranged bull.

But I am much more nimble and I righted myself to give him what for.

Can we go home now?

I made a short movie. You can watch it here.

Dexter done!

P.S. Momma says that due to busy brain we are going to have to cut back on comments on bloggies. We will still read them, but no time for comments. Actually what she means is now that the days are longer she is spending more time with US! Hooray!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My Training Journey by Mango

This post has many words and a few random pictures, but I think it is important to share with you in case it helps other doggies and also so that you can better appreciate my posts about my trainings.

I guess it all started with my Beautiful Raja. She was momma's first mastiff and at the time momma fancied herself a pretty good trainer having previously trained my Grandpa Angus the Airedale to sub novice obedience and her little Pi dog (whom I never met) to be a therapy dog.

Grandpa Angus at his obedience competition (hey! check out that sit with stays)

Little Pi

But when Raja was a teenager she started to get really grouchy and didn't want any doggies or people getting close to her. Curiously, she did still enjoy daycare (and didn't get kicked out like me). Apparently she spent her daycare days getting snuggles and yelling at doggies who ran too fast.

Well Raja also had the bad hips and suffered from a lot of pain during her short life and momma figured that was what caused her to be so grouchy.

When I came along I was a pretty happy go lucky kind of guy, but then when I became a teenager I started to get scared by a lot of things. I did the show dog thing a couple of times but had to stop because I was afraid to go into the ring. And then I got too scared to go into Grandma and Grandpa's house and even afraid to go into the dog store!

Carefree baby Mango with Beautiful Raja

It didn't take me long, though, to figure out that because I was so HOOGE I could make scary things go away by going AR AR AR and lunging at them. So I started doing that whenever I got nervous on our walkies.

By this time I was approaching two hundred pounds of Mango-ness and momma was most concerned on our walkies. She tried to act calm, but I could tell she worried too whenever we saw another human or doggie so I would scare them away to protect her. After a while, she would find herself sitting by the window timing the comings and goings of our neighbors and the school buses to try and find a time for walkies when there was nobody else out. Well that certainly made her even more nervous.

We went to lots of obedience classes and trainers. I think the trainers pushed momma too hard and tried to make her do things that she wasn't ready for because I could tell that sometimes even SHE was a little afraid of me which made me really sad. Momma says she lost all her confidence as a trainer. Sob.

My teenage self with Beautiful Raja

When I was almost four years old I told momma that we should stop going on walkies because it just upset her too much and it was making me really stressy. After all, I still went on ROTE and I have a nice big yard to play in and get exercise and we kept doing our dog dancing. But it made me sad because once momma "gave up" she stopped challenging me to try new things and started treating me like a baby who couldn't handle any new stuff. And I was getting confused because I was making all my own decisions which was really too much and I admit that I started getting kind of bratty and disrespecting momma even on my estate.

Hey! How did this photo get in here? This is about ME (oops, please excuse my lipstick).

Then I started reading blogs from doggies who had good human trainers and who had some special needs such as my large and handsome self. Doggies like Honey and Loki and Monty. Even Lance and Vito (who don't have special needs but have a wonderful momma who sends my momma nice peemails).

But especially Honey and Loki because they are big doggies. I have to say that most trainers did not appreciate how it affects the humans to have experienced 230 pounds of barking lunging doggie on the end of a leash. It is not something you can just walk away from. In fact I pulled momma right off her feet a few times. Hehehe.

A photo of my puppy self to give you a break from reading

They convinced momma that even if I didn't leave my estate, I could still enjoy walkies right in my own yard! So we started practicing. Now we don't practice every day and we don't practice for long, but we have learned many things which I will enumerate for your thusly;

  1. If your doggie is not well behaved and minding you at home it is too soon to try and get good manners off the property.
  2. Never ever do anything that makes you nervous on the inside because even if you make calm face that would fool another human, your doggie knows that you are nervous.
  3. Training is not an "event." It happens every time you interact with your doggie. We are watching for sure.
  4. Keep your trainings doggie appropriate. Speaking for my large and short attention span self, I am most happy to only train for a few minutes before I get frustrated and bored. That's OK. But learn to stop before that happens.
  5. Your goal is to improve your relationship with your dog. Period. And there IS NO TIMELINE. That is most important. No marking on the calendar that we will be doing such and such by this and that date. Sheesh.
I must say that this has turned out to be a wonderful thing. The best part is that I never get those vibes off momma that she is afraid of me anymore. And curiously, she keeps getting bigger and bigger and stronger in my eyes every day so I don't feel so much like I need to protect her which is a HOOGE relief to me. I get lots more snuggles and attentions than I used to and my mentals get stretched and worn out. Not to mention that I have shown her that I am much more clever than she thought. Who knew?

The other day I was out in my yard and my neighbor started leaf blowing right along my fence! I charged for sure all yelling and puffing myself up for him to get lost. But at the same time I kind of was looking over my shoulder at momma because I wasn't sure anymore if that was still my job. She made happy voice and clapped her hands and even though she didn't have any cookies I went right to her. She told me that it was OK and that he was not dangerous. I was so relieved and was able to lay down on my deck and meditate while she went inside to do "stuff" and my neighbor kept blowing leaves along my fence.

Another photo break. Look at Grandpa Angus smiling!

Yuh, and it isn't like we spend all our time training either. We do a "formal" training where I put on my training gear about 4-5 times / week.

I wear a pinchy collar and a sports bra. My pinchy collar is for if I start disrespecting momma but so far it has not been "activated" because I have been such a good boy. At first my leash was not even clipped to the pinchy collar, but now it is. That's OK. PeeWee has a pinchy collar and sports bra too and he says that sometimes sneaky momma hooks up one and sometimes the other. My sports bra is "just to get me used to it" so that we have "options."

All geared up.

Right now we warm up with walkies and jogging in my back yard and lately we have been going out front very briefly to practice too. We end with some fun dog dancing. But in between I also get to practice some stuff inside like targeting and roll over and even when we aren't training I am still learning to wait in doorways, drop my tennis ball, and come when called (sort of).

Momma tries to trick me into being a bad doggie sometimes. Here she tempts me with my most favorite cow milky thing toys, but I was having none of it.

Don't you know it's training time silly woman?

We still have issues over when it is time to come inside. I was really surprised one day when I refused to come in and momma came out and put my leash on. I did a most amazing bucking bronco but she just waited me out and then kind of snapped the leash and used stern voice and I knew I had to follow her in. Now I will always come in like a gentleman when she puts the leash on but we still don't agree on coming in without the leash. Oh well.

I could share more words about our bad training experiences and details of our journey but I think this is enough for today and I would be keen to learn what my readers might want to hear about in more detail.

The most important words are that my relationship with momma is so much better and we enjoy each other's company more and I am getting lots of good attentions and mentals stimulations and that was the whole goal, right? Will I ever go walkies like PeeWee again? Who knows? Who cares? We're having fun!

Mango Man! Oh yeah!

P.S. I am supposed to tell you that stupid PeeWee should also be thanked for my new trainings. I guess that when he came along momma thought that she was hopeless as a trainer, but he is a labradork and will work for air treats and praise which I guess is a good thing because his total suck up attitude towards training did help momma get her confidence back.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Practicing Sits with Stays

I was worried about PeeWee flunking out of graduate school because he cannot do the two minute sits with stays.

Helpful chap, that I am, I went online to order the proper equipment and even offered to practice with him.

Gosh, this is harder than it looks and the equipment kind of pinches my Mango-ness.

Mango Man! Oh yeah!

P.S. Several alert readers sent me this most useful link where you can get your very own cow milky toy things. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday Toy Test

The people over at the Kong company asked us if we would like to receive some of their new toys for free and write a review. New toys? For free? Sure!

So a few days ago we got these three kind of stuffie rope toy fun time things in the mail.

PeeWee was sort of interested in them at first.

But he only chased one once. Very UnPeeWeelike.

I agreed to give them a go...

But after sampling all three found none of them to be worthy of my large and not just playing with any old toy attentions.

In no time at all, all three of them lay abandoned upon my estate lawn.

Sorry, Kong people, but PeeWee and I are going to give a big paws down on these. They weren't fun to chase, the squeaker was too hard to find and they didn't really even make good nommy toys. In fact, after about two minutes, we walked away from all three (which is kind of unusual).

Not to say I wasn't in the mood for playtime because after I just said no to the new kong toys, momma brought ALL of my outside toys to the deck to let me refresh my playtime palette by choosing my most favorite.

Enough for both of us, don't you think? Besides, no worries. Stupid PeeWee will go for the giant tennis ball. Just watch.

Much to my consternation, the little black devil dog leapt from the deck in a blur, most suspiciously leaving behind the giant tennis ball. Where is my bestest toy?

Finally, I reluctantly admitted that the squirt must have absconded with MY most funnest playtime happy making toy ever.

Can you believe it?

Yes, friends, because the truth is that out of that entire pile of objects, the one that Mango loves the most is his cow milker thingie from Honey!

Now Honey was thoughtful enough to send us TWO, but somehow whilst I was otherwise occupied, Captain Sheds a Lot had taken BOTH of them!

Then he hid one!

Thanks to my most large and sniffing out nommy things snooter I was able to locate a cow milky thingie for myself and settle down for some good times.

Now THIS is FUN!

Who knew? But these things are great! You can play tug with them, throw them for idiot retrieving dogs, and munch on them.

Honey sent them to us from New Zealand and I think that is the only place where you can get them. I do believe that they are discards from cow milking places and were once attached to cow, er, um, teats. Cough.

Personally, I don't care what their origin is (I eat bully sticks for goodness sake), I am just happy to have two, um, one, all for ME!

Mango Man! Oh yeah!

P.S. Momma says she has been "playing ketchup" lately and that is why I have had trouble getting to all your blogs. Maybe if she stopped messing about with condiments and focused on important things we could do a better job. Just a thought.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Labradude v. Mastiff Backyard Agility

Dexter here! Ready to show you some REAL moves. I challenged the Relentlessly Huge to a backyard agility competition. Who won? Well, I will let you decide.

I do want to tell you that we both did all our tricks without what you call a lure. That means even the Relentlessly Unable to Figure Things Out has at least learned hand signals. Momma had yummers in her pockets, but that was only for AFTER our tricks. How about that?

Here is the movie! We are going to have to practice reframing our movies because the YouTube progress bar cuts off the bottom. Sheesh. Hope you don't miss too much action.

Oh, one more thing. Please ignore me jumping on momma like a cracker dog in the movie. I don't know what got in to me. Hehehe.

And the usual blurry stills...

Look at him trying to weave. The weave poles were totally demolished after he finished stuffing his wide body through them.

Unlike me. I barely touched them. Boing, boing, boing.

Oh yeah, and jumping? He took down every fence. Bam!

I admit I kind of clipped the first fence, but I cleared the rest in great style!

Can you even tell what this "trick" is supposed to be?

Now can you tell? That's right! Jump over momma's leggie!


OK, one thing that the big guy is good at is spinning. I will give him that.

But I think I do it with a bit more style.

Here's our latest... team spin!

Good thing we made this movie yesterday because this morning Momma says she has a very sore back from "sleeping funny." What's up with that? Sounds like a sorry excuse not to do housework to me.

And regarding my nice comfy couch bed. Well, when I was still a baby I liked to sleep there because it was out of reach of you know who and I made a deal with momma that as long as that was the ONLY furniture I got on that it could be my special spot. Of course the RH couldn't even figure out how to get on the couch even if he were allowed to. Tough break, big guy.

Dexter done!