Sunday, April 29, 2012


Yesterday, while Ricky Ricardo and I were walking in our neighborhood, a little bitty dog came running over to us yapping and barking.  He (or she) wasn't on a leash, and his guardian didn't seem to be anywhere around.

I tried to lean down to look at his dog tag so I could figure out where he lives and try to help him find his way home.  But every time I'd reach down to him, he'd run a circle around us, the dog leashes would get tangled, and everyone was just getting way too excited.

I decided to walk Ricky Ricardo home, hoping the cute little dog would follow and then I could focus all my attention on getting him back to his home.

But then, finally, I saw a woman who seemed to be the dog's guardian.  She was yelling in a very stern voice to us, "KETCHUM!!  KETCHUM!! KETCHUM!!"  And I was thinking to myself, " That is the wrong kind of tone to use with your dog if you're trying to get him to run to you!"  She continued yelling to her dog, who at this point, I figured was named Ketchum.  She didn't, however walk towards us.  I thought it was so odd.

Ricky and I turned the other way so she could deal with her dog without the distraction of us.  But little Ketchum continued bouncing along beside Ricky and me.  Eventually, the woman walked towards us.  But the dog didn't move towards her.  She looked at me and said, "Pick him up!  Pick him up!  Can't you catch him?"

I told her that, no, I couldn't KETCHUM because every time I tried, he just sort of ran in circles around me and my pup.  And then I added, "Since he's your dog, it's probably easier for you to get him." Her dog just kept running away from her, like it was a game.  And it was really funny, and looked like a pretty cool game!

I gave her some treats intended for Ricky and told her to call him with the treats in her hand.  She did, and finally he went close enough to her that she could finally ketch Ketchum!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How We Learn

My previous doggies, Zoe and Scout were sweet, sweet, sweet... Very good girls.  Great companions for 15 years to Fermin and me.

But they didn't have great etiquette (door manners, greeting guests), they pulled at their leashes whenever we ran or walked, and they didn't know any tricks (other than the really basic ones like "sit" and "down").

Lucy and Ricky, on the other hand are also sweet, but they have learned so much during this first year of their lives.  So they do have very good manners, walk on a loose leash (except when we see certain dog friends--- we still have some work to do!) and know lots of tricks.
It's not that they're smarter than Zoe and Scout.  (Maybe they are, maybe they aren't- No IQ tests have ever been given.)  It's not that I love them more.

It's that teaching methods have changed over the years.

When Zoe and Scout were young, I took them to obedience school at Petsmart.  But the methods used back then were mean !  We pushed our dogs into "sit", we used choker collars to teach them to "heal", and none of use had fun.  And so of course, we quit the class and just decided we didn't care about that stuff.

I am so glad back then that we didn't stick with it, and ultimately, that Zoe and Scout weren't "trained".  (I don't even like that word!)  We all had happier lives the way it was.

But this time around, 15 years later, the Ricardos and I are much luckier!  Now, positive training is the thing!  No choke collars, no pulling or pushing them around, no trying to dominate them, etc.  Just fun, fun, fun.  It's just such a great way to truly bond with your dog. 

I use and believe strongly in clicker training.  It's so fun, and in using it, your dog gets to figure things out and use his brain.  Here's a great little video that shows just a bit about that method in case you're unfamiliar and would like to know more.

I now know a whole lot more about what a dog needs to live a full life.  Mental stimulation is so important!  It's not just physical exercise our best friends need, it's mental exercise, too!

So now that I've blogged on the Ricardo's puppy lives for the past year, I think I'll start making this blog a little more geared towards what methods of teaching we use around here that have been so fun, and so rewarding.

I'm amazed at what dogs can do.  All we humans have to do is be patient and encouraging!
We started our learning together at Dog City- This was us on our way to the Puppy HeadStart class.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Kiss Me! Kiss Me! Kiss Me!

This is the photo I wanted to post yesterday but Blogger wouldn't let me...until today!  Yay!
Oh my goodness!  That's REALLY a kiss!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mamma's Boy

Fermin's nickname for Ricky every now and then is Momma's Boy.  It may be meant to sound insulting to both Ricky and me, but I just think it's sweet!
Ricky's my first boy dog to ever have.  I have to admit, before I got him, I was a little concerned that a boy might lift his leg and pee all over things.  And I didn't know if boy dogs were as sweet as girls. 

The other day, a lady told me, "Girl dogs love you, but boy dogs are in love with you."

Well, that totally fits Ricky Ricardo.  Each morning, when we first see each other, I am greeted with such excitement and the sweetest kisses.  He sometimes gets so excited he makes little noises, and then just bites my arm.  (But he doesn't bite down!  He's very gentle!) 

Lucy, on the other hand, is equally excited to greet the day, but it's more about the day, what's in store, etc. than me- I think. 

Lucy loves me, but Ricky just might be in love with me!

He follows me everywhere.  He sneaks in my closet while I'm getting dressed.  He lays beside the bathtub each night while I bath.  He gets in my lap any chance he gets. 

He's my boy alright!
(Oh, oops.  Blogger has now started charging for storage space for photos, and just as I was adding my cute picture of the Momma's Boy it told me I needed to buy more space.  So I did.  But it may take up to 24 hours.  Hopefully I will remember I need to post this picture tomorrow.  Ricky is so cute, it's worth it!)