Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Long Time No Post

Well the months since my last post have been not so bad for me, but, pretty hectic for Mom.   As soon as she got over the pneumonia, which took a REALLY long time, she started trying to get caught up for something she called "The National" or just "The Show".  She was mighty stressed over that, so mostly I tried to stay out of the way, unless of course she needed some love.  Lucky for me that dog petting calms people down and lowers blood pressure, and that daily walks also ease tension!  We had to go on short walks since Mom was trying to get back in the habit after her sickness, but it was still fun and the weather was nice.

In July we went down to Tucson and I got to stay with my "sister" while Mom went to the hotel and did "The Show".  I missed her, but I can't be too sad when I stay there - They take good care of me, I've got family to play with, and my girlfriend!  Yes, I do have a girlfriend! Her name is Sophie.

Isn't she pretty!  oh, and there's one of the cats next to her -
that cat's name is Honey.  She is not fond of me.
Animals are allowed on the furniture there, but, not at my house.

Sophie and me tired out after a long day of playing!

 The only down side of staying at Sophie's house is,  the CATS.  Two of them (also, chickens, a guinea pig, and hermit crabs, but they're not annoying).   One of the cats really wants to be my friend too, but I'm having none of it....although.....she is kind of pretty since she has black fur with white paws and a white stripe down her nose, like me!

This is Muad'dib, the cat who loves me, hanging out in the garden with one of the chickens.

After the show we stayed in Tucson for a while so Mom had time to visit with everybody and play with all of her grandchildren, and we all had a great time!  Then we came home, and I was a little bit sad because I miss everybody.

We were home for less than two weeks when, sadly, my other "sister" got sick.  She had to go to the hospital and was there for a while, so Mom and I went back to Tucson so Mom could help her out and help the grandsons get to school.  Once again, I didn't mind *too* much, but it was tiring for all the people involved so I got a little worried too.  I let everybody who wanted to pet me as much as possible, because I am helpful like that!

"Sis" got feeling better, and we finally left - just got home at the end of August, and Mom was sick again.  That I didn't like so much because I don't like it when she doesn't feel good, and, I don't get to go for walks very much.

Everybody is doing fine now, which I am pretty sure I am at least partly responsible for!
Sometime I think I will ask Mom to tell you the story of her other dogs, who were Pet Partners/Therapy dogs, but that will have to wait for another time.

Sorry I didn't update my blog during all this time, but Mom doesn't let me log on to the computer myself.  She mentioned something about keeping me away from a thing called "Icanhazcheeseburger".

The Healing Power Of Dogs – An infographic by the team at ZocDoc

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Is your state in the "Top Ten" for dog bites?

It's National Dog Bite Prevention Week, so of course I've been reading about dog bites.  Dog Bit Prevention Week is sponsored by the  American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Postal Service, and America’s plastic and reconstructive surgeons.  It is very sad to think that some of us bite and cause such horrible injuries, especially to children.  I don't think most of my fellow dogs are mean and want to hurt, but maybe some of us don't know any better, and it also seems like there are some owners who teach their dogs to be mean.  There are also some dogs who think biting is the only way they can defend themselves or "say" what they want when they are being crowded, teased, etc. (and some who have never been taught to do anything else because that's what they get away with).

I myself was bitten by one little dog in my neighborhood - WHILE THE OWNER WAS STANDING RIGHT THERE!  I was on my leash, and her little miniature poodle was on a retractable leash.  Mom was talking to the dog's owner when the dog just ran up and bit my leg.  It didn't hurt, but what surprised me was that the owner just laughed about it.  The owner said "oh, she gets kind of grumpy sometimes, but she can't hurt anybody" and Mom said "It's a good thing he didn't bite her back, that wouldn't be so funny."  All the other lady said was "well I'm sorry!" and she picked up her little dog and walked off.  I guess it was a good thing I didn't bite the other dog, since the whole dog would almost fit in my mouth.  Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

Here is some of the information I've found while reading about dog bites -  The first is a list from the insurance company State Farm.  I like what they say about dog breeds, so I left that part in too!

“A dog’s tendency to bite depends on such factors as heredity, obedience training, socialization, health, and the victim’s behavior,” State Farm said in a statement on Wednesday. “There are good dogs and bad dogs within every breed, just as there can be responsible and irresponsible owners of each breed.”

Here is the full ranking list of the top 10 states:

1.                                                      California: 451 claims worth $17.1 million 
2.                                                      Illinois: 337 claims worth $9 million 
3.                                                      Texas: 236 claims worth $4.3 million 
4.                                                      Ohio: 235 claims worth $5 million 
5.                                                      Pennsylvania: 165 claims worth $4.5 million 
6.                                                      Michigan: 151 claims worth $4.6 million 
7.                                                      Indiana: 148 claims worth $2.7 million 
8.                                                      Florida: 123 claims worth $7.1 million 
9.                                                      Georgia: 121 claims worth $3.3 million 
10.                                                 New York: 116 claims worth $6.4 million

National Dog Bite Prevention Week is a public service campaign that offers safety tips and emphasizes the need for increased pet owner responsibility in the prevention of dog bites.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) report that small children, the elderly, and Postal Service carriers — in that order — are the most frequent victims of dog bites. It is also stated that the number of dog bites exceeds the reported instances of measles, whooping cough and mumps, combined. Dog bite victims account for up to five percent of emergency room visits.

The Postal Service along with other organizations offers safety tips and emphasizes the need for pet owners to be more responsible. Our campaign is "Any dog can bite. Don't be fooled".

Here are some links you might like:

Stay safe, keep your pets safe, and please, please, please, keep your kids safe!
Love n' slobbers,

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My Morning Chores

Finally, Mom is feeling well enough to get back to our chores and daily walks!

My only every day morning chores are picking up stuff that needs to go in the closet and putting them away, and helping to make the bed.  Sometimes when I put things away I get a little bit confused and put shoes in the clothes hamper, but that's okay, Mom just tells me to take them back out.  Really, I'm only confused because I get too excited, and I get excited because.....after I put things in the closet I get to Close The Door! (see my post of Mar. 7th).

After that, I help make the bed.  Mom only took a video of me doing the first corner, and I'm only a little bit embarrassed that I didn't get the actual corner the first time and she had to tell me again.  She gets the top corners of the covers and I get the bottom, we work pretty well as a bed making team!

On days when there is dusting to do I help by carrying the duster.  Other than that I provide general pick up and delivery services while we are doing the chores, and I put things in the recycle bin (which is in a little cupboard with TWO DOORS!).  On VACUUMING days, I don't really help, I just try to be patient and wait for my turn.  Every time I hear Mom switch from the floor suction part to the hose I run over to the vacuum, but I usually have to wait until she is all done with the rest of the day's vacuuming before I get my chance.  Waiting is NOT one of my favorite jobs.

I get to help on laundry day too, but I'll save that story for another time.

The link I want to share today is about safe cleaning products.  Mom tries to stick to the ones that are safe for me and for the planet!  I'd also like to ask that you think about how close your pets are to your floors and furniture, because sometimes even if a product is considered safe or natural, it can still be very irritating to those of us who lay on the floor. 

Notes from Mom:

I'm attaching a short clip of Cody being vacuumed because I want to share a way to vacuum your pet safely - I use the brush attachment with my fingers over one edge to make sure that the suction doesn't pull on the skin, and also to monitor the static level.  I haven't tried any of the pet hair vacuum attachments available, mostly because the come with rake type deshedding tools and Cody doesn't have much of an undercoat.  Would love to hear from others who have tried the specialized tools though!

Friday, April 19, 2013

I get massages! Oh yes!

I was going to write about my morning chores, but Mom hasn't been feeling well over the last few weeks and didn't want to make a video, or do the morning chores with me - Lucky for me though, she has still given me my massages - she says it is therapeutic for both of us.  I think therapeutic means feels swell and makes us sleepy.  I'll let her tell you all about it, I'm chillin'

Love n' Slobbers,

Notes from Mom:

Cody is talking about the TTouch method of therapy, which I first discovered in the early 90's and used on my horses.  Steve and I don't know how or why it happens that somehow people find us and determine that we need abused or neglected animals, it just happens.  So one day, we were given a quarter horse gelding.  The woman who gave him to us had rescued him from an abusive home. She had been working with him, but things happened in her life and she had to give him up in order to move.

I had been fortunate in my early teens not only to have had a horse, but also to have met and worked with a number of great horse trainers from "back in the day".  When we were given the gelding I remembered hearing about a massage method that was good for calming horses, known as TTEAM (The Telling Touch Equine Awareness Method).  I learned the method from Linda Tellington-Jones books and videos, and a 4H leader who was also trying the method.  It seemed to work well for Buddy (the quarter horse) and "Shammy" (an Arabian mare I also had at the time....for you horse people, her actual name was *Napitok Snowfire ;) ).  I also used it on the dogs I had back then, but didn't have specific touches or techniques for them. 

When we got Cody, I decided to try the TTouch on him since I heard it worked wonders for abused dogs.  I got the book Getting in TTouch with Your Dog: An Easy, Gentle Way to Better Health and Behavior and have seen a lot of progress with Cody since starting with the specific exercises aimed at his problems.  One of the biggest areas of improvement has been in him being able to relax for nail trimming & grooming.  He is much calmer, although, even after 4 years he still has some sensitive/fearful areas and it takes him a while to relax.  I will also admit though, that I don't perform the TTouch exercises as regularly as I should.

Here is a link to an article that explains more about the method, how and why it works, and some of the techniques.

and here is a link to Linda Tellington-Jones web site.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Three Most Important Jobs

Last time I told you about one of my fun jobs - this time I'll tell you about my three most important jobs!  These are the jobs I can do when Mom needs me for help.

The first of these jobs is getting the phone.  Mom and I are here by ourselves most of the time, and if she has a problem she tells me "get the phone" and I run to get it so she can call for help if she needs to.  Mom usually keeps the phone in one spot so I know where to go to get it, but, sometimes she hides it just so I can practice finding it in case it is somewhere else.  She keeps it in a special case made just for me to grab on to!

The second important job is helping Mom get up from a chair or the floor if she needs me to.  When she wants me to do this job she puts her hand out and says "Cody, brace".  I move under her hand and spread my legs out enough to stand firmly in one spot for support.  I don't move until she says "okay".  She usually also says "Thank You" and "Good Boy!" but I can move around and wag my tail for that part.  If she needs some leverage, she can give me something to hold on to and tell me "Pull" and I can help her in that way too!

The third important job is to get Dad.  If she is somewhere in the house and gets weak or needs help, she calls me and I get Dad.  Now you are probably wondering why she doesn't just call for Dad in the first place, and the reason is that he has a hearing problem, and she sometimes gets a weak voice, especially when she is tired (which is also when she is most likely to need help).  See why she needs a good boy like me around?  I can hear her even when she is whispering, or just tapping on the floor.  Plus, I'm usually hanging out wherever she is anyhow.

Love n' Slobbers,

Notes from Mom

One of the first things I wanted to teach Cody was "get the phone" but not knowing whether or not he would have a hard bite when picking things up, and not wanting him to crush my kind of expensive phone, I decided I should make a case.  I knew this would also make it easier for him to pick up, and that he would appreciate a soft case more than a hard one.  We had a small padded nylon case with hook & loop closure, which I believe used to hold a camping light, so I just made a wooden case to fit inside that.  The top and bottom are made from 1/8" birch plywood, and the 3 short sides are 1/2" square basswood (all available from most hobby shops).  Before I glued it all together I sanded, and sanded, and sanded the wood - especially the pieces that would be on the INSIDE so that my phone would slide out easily.  After gluing, I rounded the outside edges and smoothed the outside as well, though I don't take it out of the case.  This case has worked very well for Cody, and I also can use this inside his backpack when we go for a walk, without fear of my phone getting damaged.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

When one door closes, another one opens...and if I'm lucky, I'll get to close that one too!

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I like to be helpful.  I try to do what I'm told, and I usually enjoy it, but there are some things I REALLY like to do - such as closing doors.  Man, I love to close doors.  I don't know why, but as soon as I figured out what exactly it was that Mom wanted, I was hooked.

She had already taught me "nose" or "nose it" so that I would push something with my nose instead of my paw (apparently she didn't want scratches all over the door - for whatever reason) and after pushing the door a bit with my nose and getting a reward, I started to figure out how the door worked.  Once I got comfortable with the door opening and closing, she taught me to close it with my shoulder.  Some of the doors didn't close all the way at first, so then I learned "shove" which means I get to bump it again with my shoulder until I hear the click.  Yes!  I get it! I love it!

The only down side of this is that I'm not supposed to close a door unless someone tells me to.  Otherwise, I could just go around closing doors all day long whenever I spotted an open one.  Since I don't get to do that.......I'll be honest here, I usually don't close the door all the way the first time just so I can push it again, although I still try to wait until Mom tells me to.  (Sometimes there may be 2 or even 3 times when I'll shove the door not quite hard enough - it's a guess as to how many times I can get away with it before Mom says "Cody, stop playing around and close the door!")

Here is an organization that helps people understand that it's okay to open their doors (and their hearts!) to pit bulls in need of rescue:

Tim Racer, the man who started BadRap also makes fantastic carvings of carousel dogs!

Love n' Slobbers,

Notes from Mom: 
Yes, I know I need to organize my video cabinets.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Trials and Tribulations on the Tricky Treadmill

I get to go for a walk outside on most days, but on snowy or especially cold and windy days like today, Mom and I take turns on the treadmill.  So I think this time I'll share some stories about how I learned to use the treadmill.  At first, I was afraid of it, which you could probably have guessed if you read my last post.  Mom bribed me with treats to put my front feet on it for a little bit.  I don't at all mind being bribed with treats.  After we did the front feet every day for several weeks she bribed me to stand all the way up on the scary treadmill, and as it turned out, it wasn't so bad.  Made me feel taller!

Then one day, she pushed some buttons and made it start moving.  I did NOT stay on!  I jumped off as fast as I could, but alas, didn't get far, since I was on a leash.  After many tries at this I got to where I would take a few steps while it was going slowly.  And then one day.....Mom had her turn on the treadmill and didn't realize that her tennis shoes had left a sticker on the track.  Stepping on that confirmed my suspicions that the big scary machine was dangerous.  Yeeeowww!  We were pretty much back to square-one with Mom trying to convince me it was okay to walk on there.  I don't think she has ever exactly "lied" but there are occasions when her opinion turns out to be vastly different than mine.

And then another day....just when I was getting used to walking a bit on it again, Mom had not put the cord for the emergency stop up far enough and I snagged it, so the machine stopped.  She got on the treadmill with me to fix it, went to step off the edge, tripped, and Stepped on My Tail.  See Mom, this is NOT a good plan!  She explained to me that not only did I not know how to walk on a treadmill, but she didn't exactly know how to teach a dog to walk on a treadmill either, having never done it before, so we'd just have to work on things.  It dawned on her that walking slowly was what was "tripping us up" so to speak, since it's not natural for a dog (or person) to walk that slowly.  She had just been trying it that way so I wouldn't be scared.

She learned to put the speed up to our normal walking speed right after the treadmill started, and I learned that this thing was okay after all.  She also realized that because the treadmill is open in the front I didn't know where to stop walking.  I kept hitting my toenails on the front of the hard plastic, so she cut out a piece of foam core to go in front of me.  I can still see over and around it, but it lets me know I shouldn't go any farther.  We also moved the treadmill so I can look outside (or watch a movie on the little TV in there - I like Fantasia). We didn't have any other major disasters, and eventually, I got to where I (kind of) like to get on the treadmill.  I like the "hills" when Mom sets the incline or program, and like the trotting too! Now I don't even need my leash or collar on, I just get up and go!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Yep, that's me, "The Awesome Dog of Awesomeness"!  Why am I so awesome?  I'm not exactly sure, but that's what Mom calls me and I really like the way she says it, so I keep the title.  She also tells me I'm a good boy, and I like that too!

I'm five years old, and I've been living with my owners Tori & Steve (Mom and Dad) since I was two.  I was scared and shaking most of the time when they brought me home from the shelter, and even though I didn't want to, I peed every time I got excited or scared......which was, to tell the truth, pretty much any time somebody talked to me, spoke loudly, waved their arms, moved too quickly, or any unexpected noise or event occurred.  Also, I tried to hide a lot but it didn't work out so well since I don't fit under or behind many things.  Much to my surprise, Mom and Dad didn't yell at me, or hit me, or lock me up  in a crate (where I spent a lot of time in my first two years).  It seems kind of silly to me now, but I'll admit that I was especially scared of Dad, who is tall and has a deep man voice that sometimes sounds like yelling. He didn't even get mad at my peeing and hiding though.  Mom asked him just to ignore it and to spoil me!  So every day when Dad came home from work he got a dog treat, then squatted down to about my height and held it out for me.  It took a long time until I was brave enough to go and get the treats.  After a while I even got brave enough to let him pet me after I took the treat. Now when Dad comes home I have to work for that treat, but I'll tell you more about that another time.  It took me about a year to stop the peeing and gain trust for people again.  During that year I was also learning new things that built my confidence, and I now know how to do many jobs and a few "tricks" too.  It makes me so happy to be able to help!

I wanted to blog about all the stuff I've learned over the last few years, and about cool and interesting things I find on the web.  I hope I'll be able to help other dogs and their people by talking about how I overcame my fears, and issues that concern dogs (especially dogs like me - black, and part pit bull).  Did you know about Black Dog Syndrome?  Mom and I didn't know about it until a month or so ago when she was looking for information on how to take pictures of me.  This week I've seen a couple of posts saying it is BDS Awareness month, so here is a link to some information:

Well I think this is probably enough about me for today, and I have to go out, so I'm going to post my first video and show you the cool gadget Dad made for me so I can let them know when I've gotta go!  It is by the back door through one of Mom's studio rooms where I hang out (see my nice comfy cuddle bed in the corner!) All I have to do is hit the button with my paw and somebody gets up to let me out.  It took me a while to train them so well.

Love n' Slobbers,

Notes from Mom:
Cody might not know why he's so awesome, but I can tell you.  He's awesome because he has overcome his  abusive past to become an exceptionally helpful and loyal friend.  I began by teaching him the basic commands. I was told that he had been to "puppy school" early on, but by the time I got him he was too afraid to perform any of the tasks except for "sit".  He was really good at sit, except that it often meant he would run away and sit far away.  I used positive reinforcement training methods and LOTS of encouragement and once he started gaining confidence it was easy to see how smart and willing to learn he is.  In addition to the basics (sit, down, come, stand, heel, stay) he knows "brace", "hold", "go", "get it", (and specific items to get, such as get your leash or your basket) "paw it" "nose it" "close" (the door) "shove" (for when the door doesn't close all the way the first time), "up", "paws", and....probably a bunch more.  Some silly ones too "meow" (for those times when he has to speak to cats), and "roll over".  I hope you will join Cody and I as he continues to learn new things.
P.S.  Cody's button is an old Radio Shack recording device - we attached rubber feet to the bottom so it wouldn't skid, and a wood panel on top held in place with 2 screws and split-lock washers (used for springs).  The underside of the wood panel has a tiny screw that presses on the device button.  I'll post pics if anyone is interested.  Sorry the vid is so jumpy, normally he heads for the back door so I started walking that way then he got distracted by my holding the camera.