Saturday, December 27, 2014

Dogs Are Couch Potatoes Too

When not in motion—my dog Tidbit was a couch potato!

Tidbit was a pretty high-energy dog—Chow/Australian Shepherd mix. However, being a rather prissy dog, she did not like sitting on the floor or on the ground.

Old Dogs Adapt To New Surroundings

When my dog Tidbit could no longer hop up on the couch, my roommate Scott purchased a love seat sleeper that was low to the floor. (We had recently moved and left my old living room furniture behind.) Being able to curl up on the sofa once again made Tidbit a happy dog.

My old dog Tidbit easily adapted to her new love seat and continued as my canine couch potato for nearly a year before she passed on. While I now find sitting on Tidbit's sofa rather comforting at times, it is also a bit sad to see the empty piece of furniture in my living space.

NOTE: Don't miss my review of the sofa sleeper on Amazon and my article about the sleeper love seat for Tidbit on Bubblews.

Then Came My Rescue Dog

Sadly, my shelter dog, Valentino, was pretty much terrified the first time I helped him up on to the love seat, acting as though punishment was the result of getting on the couch in his past life.

It took weeks of inviting Valentino up on to the love seat before I finally saw him jump up there on his own when he thought I wasn't looking. Funny thing, roommate Scott was sitting right there in his swivel chair two feet away and Valentino didn't mind being seen on the little sofa by him. In fact, the pair posed for a couch potato buddies picture. (I guess you can tell who the pack leader in this house is not, ha!)

Nowadays, my high-energy hound dog Valentino is becoming quite content as a couch potato—for part of the day, at least. Generally, it's the latter part of a day that Valentino enjoys loafing on the sleeper, after he has worn himself out (and me) with our long walks around the neighborhood and on the beach.

It was quite a milestone this past week when our shelter dog Valentino turned into a couch potato, one who could care less who sees him on the furniture!

Dogs Enjoy A Comfortable Couch or Bed As Much As Humans

I have never had an issue with my dogs on my furniture. In fact, I rather enjoy a snuggle on the sofa with my dog or my dog warming my feet at the foot of the bed.

Most articles I read about family dogs on the furniture are about how to keep the dog OFF the furniture. Although, I did find that dog trainer Jim Burwell agrees with my Yes! to dogs on furniture.

But of course, since I enjoy reading books for kids, one of my favorite series of dog books are those about Amos and his couch adventures. All dog lovers should own at least one of the Amos books to read with their children, including the dogs in the family! I suggest beginning with Amos: The Story of an Old Dog and His Couch.

Dog Lovers and Readers: Share your thoughts about dogs on furniture. Let me and my readers know if you have a couch potato dog buddy too!

You are welcome to leave a comment here on this Dog Pawsitive Tidbits article and we would also love it if you would dog blog along with us this week for PAWSit Hop Saturday

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Thursday, December 25, 2014

HoHoHo Christmas Morning Beach Dog

My dog Valentino and I celebrated Christmas morning with a long walk on Lanark beach to catch the holiday sunrise here in Carrabelle, Florida.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas Day and my dog Valentino woofs you a Ho, Ho, Ho!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

House Training Dogs With Bells On

Some dogs run to the door and bark to let their owners know nature calls and they need to go out to potty. My dog does not.

I did a bit of creative thinking while house-training my new dog Valentino. I needed to train him to let me know when nature is calling him. So, I hung a Christmas doorknob bell hanger on the inside of my front door.

Within minutes, I heard the ringing of the bells. But of course, he was taking them down, with the thought of them becoming his newest chew toy, I imagine.

I calmly said, "No," as I returned them to the doorknob. We did this a few times until Valentino settled in for a nap as I worked on my computer.

When my dog awoke I knew he would need to go out, as always, but this time I continued my work online. Of course, I lent an ear for bells in the background and I had my cell phone camera ready for the ringing of the bells.

My Dog Valentino Rings My Bell

Sure enough, it worked! Only this time Valentino did it right. He nudged the hanging bells with his nose, sat down in front of the door, and peered through the cutout in the wall to see if I might be listening. From me he got a "Good boy!" And out the door we went to respond to nature's call.

For a few days this became a game and I heard those jingle bells ring more often than need be. After a few days he finally understood that I as trainer knew when he really needed to go out. Now, he uses his door bells only when nature calls. And you can bet Valentino rings my bell first thing of a morning!

I did some checking and discovered this delightful (Made in the USA) dog potty training doorbell. You can bet I'll soon replace my Christmas doorknob hanger with these dog friendly bells as a functional piece of dog decor for my door.

How does your dog let you know when nature is calling him to take care of business? Do you have a dog training tale to share?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Calming Canine Concert

I discovered by accident the calming effect music has on my dog. Once introduced to a quieting concert of background music that my roommate plays for himself while reading his Bible, my canine Valentino went from active to calm within minutes.

Once Valentino has eaten his breakfast and taken his morning walk he settles in for a snooze in front of the cable television with the Music Choice Soundscapes streaming into his hound dog ears like a baby's lullaby.

Valentino Snoozes to the Tune of Soundscapes

Calm Your Canine is available at Amazon
Roommate Scott and I learned quickly not to disturb our canine companion while he naps to any calming sound effects. (Gives new meaning to the idiom 'Let sleeping dogs lie.')

We also make good use of an audio CD of similar sounding music to calm our shelter rescue dog while teaching him to relax and enjoy frequent car rides which seemed to cause him anxiety at first.


We are linking our sleeping dog up with Wordless Wednesday hosted by BlogPaws. Join us with your pets and animals paw prints each week in this blog hop for animal lovers.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Only You Can Help Shelter Dogs

It is true—Only YOU can help shelter dogs, and other pets and animals, find that much needed Forever Home.

My dog Valentino shares his shelter dog pawsitive tidbit with you today...

Gilligan, the Dachshund from Wags Ahoy! stopped by Dog Pawsitive Tidbits with a comment the other day. Off I went to repay the visit and I made the most delightful discovery while reading his blog post about a Chihuahua named Shorty.

Gilligan's article was about dog adoption, specifically shelter dog adoptions, and specifically written for and linked up with Tuesday's Tails Blog Hop. So we walked on over to Dogs N Pawz to learn more about this weekly hop and its Opt to Adopt blog campaign.

We learned that all we need to do to participate in Tuesday's Tails is to be a blogger and a person concerned enough about the plight of shelter animals to blog about one of the shelter pets each week. This is done, of course, in hopes of helping to find its Forever Home!

So, even if you can not provide a home for a dog or a cat, you can still help dogs and cats find their way into the hearts and homes of an animal lover. Yes, you and I can help!

My plan is to contact my local shelter, Franklin County Humane Society, from whence Valentino came, and select a good dog to share with you each week. We will, of course, be linking up with Tuesday's Tails Blog Hop when we do.

Won't you join us by sharing your blogging voice on behalf of shelter pets anywhere and everywhere?

Ruthi and Valentino would also like to have you join us each week here at Dog Pawsitive Tidbits for PAWSit Hop Saturday, where we blog anything and everything about dogs!

Grab the PAWSit InLinkz code for your blog post.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wind Beneath My Ears

An early evening walk on the beach with my hound dog with a storm blowing in the breeze allowed snapshots of the wind beneath my wings, ears!

My dog Valentino with the wind beneath his wings.

Valentino appeared ready for flight, 
Much like the hound dog upon this kite!

Sparky Dog Kite Available on Amazon

Note: For more images of our windy weather walk visit abitosunshine for a discombobulated view.

We are linking this article up with BlogPaws today for another Wordless Wednesday.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

My Dog My New Best Friend

Valentino First Steps to Forever Home
On the fifth day of November 2014 I brought a shelter dog into my home. This past week was spent in celebration of one month together, building trust and respect of one another.

There is no doubt in my mind that I have been fortunate to find—my dog Valentino—my new best friend.

Handshake of Friendship
Every day of this month with Valentino has been a day of training for him and for me. I am amazed at how much we have learned together in such a short time. We've made our pact in a handshake of friendship between a woman and man's best friend.

Valentino learned this trick in less than one week with no treats involved, just a "Smart boy!" exclamation of joy from me and a tail wag from him when he heard that sweet sound of success. (Yes, in our dog training we are learning that food need not be his only reward.)

Whoever said you can't teach an old dog new tricks sure was wrong where me and my three-year-old Redtick Coonhound are concerned!

My Dog Valentino
I think that I might never see
A hound quite so precious as thee.
Of loving friendship we partake
And to that end is our handshake.
We train together day and night,
We run and play, and life is bright.
You prance upon my heart and home
To sit and stay, no more to roam.
©Ruth Cox

Dog Pawsitive Tidbits: Visit your local animal shelter, just as I and many dog lovers have done. There you, too, shall surely find the most precious of dogs to adopt as your canine companion and new best friend.

Join us for PAWSit Hop Saturday!

Blog your dog tale and link up with us each week. Be sure to share this dog blog hop with your friends and other dog lovers.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tree Stump Dogs

I guess because I come from a family whose business is tree service it is natural that my dogs would be inclined to perch themselves upon tree stumps.

Pictured below are my dogs Tidbit and Valentino, ten years apart, both standing on a stump of a tree. Tidbit loved to jump up on the stump to oversee the cutting of firewood and she could stand on the stump forever if I were brushing her. Valentino is just beginning to learn the tree stump traditions.

My Dog Tidbit - Overseer of cutting of firewood.

My Dog Valentino - First time standing on a tree stump.

I am linking my beautiful tree stump dogs up with Wordless Wednesday over at BlogPaws. Come join the blog hop fun with your pets and their paw prints!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Dog Nose Where It Does Not Belong

Leave it to the Redtick Coonhound to stick his nose where it does not belong!

Yes, my dog Valentino has had his first injury while in my care. It happened on one of our daily walks on the dog friendly beach here in Lanark Village, Florida.

While walking and running the shoreline I allow Valentino the lead on his fourteen foot leash. He loves to follow his nose and one never knows where, or to what, it might lead us.

On this particular day I was cell phone camera ready to capture the dog's nose "bitten" when he stuck it too close to that which attracted him with its scent. Valentino yelped and dashed away for a moment, just long enough for me to snap a shot of the sea creature belly up in the mucky sand of low tide—a horseshoe crab!

Noticing the crab was missing its tail, I gently turned it over, all the while wondering if it would survive its life in the ocean without a tail. The tail is harmless and mostly used by the horseshoe crab to right itself and when swimming it acts as a guide for the crab, perhaps leading its way much like my dog's nose!

Naturally, my dog Valentino had to return to check out the creature that bit him. Click the picture for a larger view and you can see a red spot of blood on his nose.

Even though my dog's bite seemed minor, I cut our beach walk short that day, heading home to clean the piercing. I then dabbed a bit of peroxide and topical antibiotic ointment on it. I'm sure all the doctoring stung more than the horseshoe crab injury did! But of course, Valentino received a KONG dog toy stuffed with a special treat to ease his hound dog nose!

For your reading pleasure and to increase your knowledge here are a couple of great books about the horseshoe crabs.

Has your dog ever been bitten by sticking his nose where it doesn't belong?

Pause for a few moments to tell your dog story tale in a blog post and link up with PAWSit Hop Saturday here at Dog Pawsitive Tidbits this week. Please grab our graphic for your post and link it to this page so other dog lovers may join with their own dog paw prints.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

My Hound Dog's First Day on the Seashore

My hound dog Valentino's first day on the seashore here in Lanark Village, Florida, along the Gulf of Mexico, proved a pretty playful adventure for him as well as for me and my roommate Scott. As luck would have it, we live a block from this secluded beach, in a rural area of the Florida Panhandle, and best of all—the area is super dog friendly.

Valentino spent nearly an hour with nose either in the sand or sniffing the air and with tail wagging or on point when the seabirds fed his nostrils with their scent. I got the feeling that for just a little while Valentino was able to romp and play just as seriously as the born and bred hunter his coonhound breeding begged of him.

Scott and Valentino
I think maybe the great expanse of the sea intimidated Valentino, as he was rather fearful of entering the water. Neither Scott nor I pressured him to wade the water after realizing his reaction to it. As the dog sniffed every inch of the sandy shore he would occasionally sniff the water's edge, then back away as a rippling wave rolled up over his paws.

No doubt Valentino will come to terms with our sea of enchantment in his own time. But of course, we've a few ways of our own to entice him to water play, saving such for another day, for there will be many dog days at the beach for our boy.

View KONG Aqua on Amazon
In fact, we already know which KONG toy we plan to buy next for Valentino ... KONG Aqua, a retriever dog toy that floats, complete with a throw rope.

This fetching dog toy is sure to get Valentino geared up for jumping right into the water, as he loves to play fetch and he loves his KONG toys!

This first day at the beach with my coonhound was quite an emotional experience for me. While it was something I'd eagerly looked forward to for two weeks, it was also something I'd somewhat dreaded, as I'd spent a year and a half walking this same beach with my dog Tidbit nearly every day. In fact, my beach walk with Valentino was my first visit to the sea since Tidbit's passing five months earlier.

I know in my heart that Tidbit is leading my way and is proud of me for sharing our beach with this new dog. She was with me every step of the way, through the laughter and the tears. As I watched Valentino place his paw prints upon the seashore, my spirit cried for the love of the old one and I swear I heard her whisper, "The future belongs to the new. Walk now with Valentino."

Me and My Dog Valentino

We invite you to pause for a bit, sit down and blog about a walk with a dog (or anything dog-related) and then add your blog link to this week's PAWSit Hop Saturday

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Dogs Day Out and About Running Errands

Yesterday was a dog's day out and about for running errands, mostly all dog-related. The most important of the errands was clearance for my foster dog, Valentino, to go to the beach with me. We have been eagerly awaiting his neuter wound to heal for our first romp together in the Gulf of Mexico.

Our day began with another black bear sighting at the start of our morning walk. We had seen this same bear the night before so Valentino had his his redtick coonhound nose honed for the scent, spotting the bear immediately and alerting me with an on-point stance. Obviously, I steered the dog in the opposite direction so we could take care of his potty business.

Karen, Valentino, and Warren
Finally, off we went to the Franklin County Humane Society. Karen (assisted by Warren) gave Valentino and his private parts a good going over, including suture removal. Warren removed a tick from the top of the dog's head. But of course, the examination ended with Karen's hearty, "He's ready to go to the beach!"

Bri and Valentino
Karen felt our harness for Valentino was a bit small and would eventually cut into his tender armpit skin, so we traded it for one of hers which appears to be a much more comfortable fit and heavier duty for our big boy. And best of all--Bri took Valentino for a walk while we visited. She has missed him so. (Remember, he was at the shelter for eight months and the staff really became quite attached to him.)

View on Amazon
Scott had remembered to bring the dog food container so the animal shelter could replenish our stash, for while fostering they provide Valentino's dog food. We now have food enough to feed this hound for a few more weeks. I love this Behren's galvanized steel can with a locking lid to keep critters out and freshness in. (I don't do plastic for food, mine or dogs.)

Next we needed to go to the vet's office to get flea and tick prevention. Apalachicola Bay Animal Clinic personnel were delighted to see me with Valentino. They recognized me as this was my dog Tidbit's vet. The vet tech who'd assisted in Tidbit's euthanization was there too and quite happy to see I was now providing a loving home for Valentino. They recognized Valentino because that is where he'd had his neutering surgery.

Valentino weighed in at fifty-three pounds and four ounces, gaining three and a half pounds in his two weeks with me. I guess he's being fed well. And believe me, he's getting plenty of exercise. And now, with Valentino, so am I!

View at Amazon
Oh! While at the vet's office, Scott noticed they had KONG brand toys for sale so he bought Valentino a KONG dental chew toy with rope. Now Valentino has two KONGs--the best chew toys around for our serious chewer! (And by comparison, would have been much cheaper to buy at Amazon, oh my!)

On the way home, we stopped at the local grocery to inquire about femur bones for dogs. Unfortunately--no good butcher bones at all in the store. (Roommate Scott assured me he'll take on the job of locating good raw meat bones for Valentino. Wish him luck with that!)

So, yesterday wore Valentino out and he slept like a baby last night! I can well imagine that after our first walk on the beach together this evening he will be dog tired again. (Be sure to subscribe to Dog Pawsitive Tidbits for our beachcombing tales and other future dog stories.)

We're off now to walk the block to the beach to watch a sunset! Woof!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Dog is Learning to Sit and Stay

Valentino Sits by My Desk
I met my foster dog Valentino three months ago. He has been living in my home for two weeks today, hooray!

Not once during my visits to the shelter did I ever see Valentino sit. He would stand, jump up and around, and if tired he might lay. So when he came to live with me we began serious "sit" training. And just so you know—we do not use treats for training him to sit, nor do I verbally command the dog to "Sit!"

Now, when Valentino sits, whether upon my hand commands or on his own, he receives dog pawsitive tidbits of soft petting of his head paired with a jolly "Good boy!" Then, I instruct him to "Stay."

In two weeks we've come a long way baby, for on the twelfth day with me ... Valentino performed a sit and stay that I was able to capture on camera!

My Dog Valentino in a Sit and Stay Pose

Like that palm tree Valentino is pictured with? Read a bit about palm trees fruit on my poetry and prose blog!

My dog and I linked this not-so-wordless sit and stay article up with BlogPaws Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.

Come blog and share your pet pictures with us!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Neighborhood Dog Walk Saturday

It is such a beautiful cool but sunny Saturday here in the Florida Panhandle, so my dog Valentino and I decided we would soak up the sunshine while taking a neighborhood walk or two.

Valentino Chasing Butterflies
We started our day off with our usual potty routine, then we began chasing butterflies in our and the neighbor's back yard. She has Lantana bushes in full bloom now, enticing the butterflies.

Sure enough, Valentino chased most of the butterflies out of cell phone camera reach but I did manage to catch a Gulf Fritillary Butterfly upon a flower up high while my dog had his nose sniffing the base of the Lantana.

Nice catch, but it's the elusive Zebra Longwing Butterfly that I'm always hoping to catch in the chase.

We went back inside to rest up for the next walk, which was to a neighborhood yard sale. We sniffed the neighbor's wares and chatted with others looking for bargains on the tables.

Ruthi & Valentino at Neighborhood Yard Sale
What fun that we met Vicki, whose other half manages the Lanark Village By The Sea Facebook page, and we'll make sure she sees our blog posts of our neighborhood wanderings from now on. Her friend, such a nice lady, even took our picture for us!

Now we're back home, Valentino resting and me blogging. But, we're not done with gallivanting. This afternoon we are headed to the fall festival in Carrabelle at the Senior Center. More about that trip later--I'm goin' bye-bye!

Valentino Goes Bye-Bye - A Car Ride

In the meantime, we invite you to pause for a bit, sit down and blog about a walk with your dog, and then add your blog link to this week's PAWSit Hop Saturday!

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Lame Duck Dog Squeaker Toys

Roommate Scott presented Valentino with a plush duck. Our new dog attacked his new toy with a vengeance, halting his chewing and pawing only momentarily on the first of its quacks, but of course continuing in hopes of more squeaking.

This entertainment continued for a good half hour, during which time Valentino managed to kill the squeaker inside the quacker. Now bored with the duck, Valentino decided to nap. When he woke, we tried playing toss with him with his duck toy but he showed little interest, other than an occasional nudge or chew throughout the day.

After breakfast and a walk the next day, followed by a short morning nap, Valentino suddenly pounced on his duck squeaker toy. I just happened to have camera in hand so I was able to snap a photo or two of Valentino's vicious attack on the toy. 

It's a good thing, too, that I was right there to witness, capture on camera, and remove the lame duck from Valentino's grip. Otherwise, my dog might have swallowed a piece or two of the toy and that would certainly not have been a good experience for any of us.

It took Valentino about 18 hours (less than an hour of play time) to turn his plush toy into a lame duck of destruction!

Lame Duck Dog Squeaker Toy

Squeaker Toy Recommendation

While some dogs may do just fine with these Plush Duck Squeaker Toys, from this first experience with our dog Valentino we have decided to stick with sturdier play toys for him. I also learned, thus highly recommend, that dogs need supervision when playing with their toys—much like children.

Next up on our dog toy list? I will soon be publishing my rave review of the KONG Extreme Dog Toy.

Naturally, I am open to suggestions from my readers on safe toys for my hound dog, Valentino.

What toys work best with your dogs?

You can leave your answer to my dog toy question here in the comment section. But of course, publishing a dog toy review on your blog (new as of this week) and linking it up right here with our PAWSit Hop Saturday blog hop would be great too! (You can add your link to this list anytime throughout the week.)

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