When I graduated from my MBA back in the mid 80s, all I wanted to do was wear a suit and carry a fancy briefcase in downtown Toronto. I wanted to be immersed in the busy career life and all the hustle and bustle the big city brings. How things have changed over the years.
These days, I no longer want to run in the ‘rat race’ and be caught in rush hour traffic or be among all the suits parading from office to office in the big city. Instead, I want to enjoy a slower pace of life in more natural surroundings.
It turns out that dogs can help us do just that. They appreciate the simple things in life like a tree or bush along the trail. It’s sometimes funny how my Roxie just loves to check out a new bush, tree or plant and spend an eternity sniffing it. No expensive toys needed to keep her occupied.
Lots Of Nature Trails To Explore With Dogs
It turns out that my own home town of Mississauga, Ontario, has lots of nature trails all over. Although I have lived here for many years, I never really spent the time going out to explore them. I was too busy immersed in my career.
Now, quality of lifestyle has become extremely important in my life. One of the things I’m committed to do this year is go out to explore more of these wonderful nature trails near me and of course, who else better than my two Lhasa Apso dogs Chester and Roxie to come out to check them out with me?
A great example was this afternoon when we took a short drive to a trail along Mississauga’s Credit River. It took about an hour to do walk the trail we chose and this included spending some lazy time along the edge of the Credit River too. Both dogs happily stepped into the water.
You can see Roxie pictured above as she perched on top of a rock and just stayed there for awhile to look at the surroundings. Again, the simple things in life!
So looks like I’ve discovered yet another benefit of being a dog owner. Dogs can most certainly help you slow down and enjoy the simple things in life like a nice stroll on a nature trail.
Such outings are not only good exercise for both you and your dog, but also for general well being for everyone.
Not all dogs know how to play properly with each other. Since many dogs play by play fighting, proper rules must be followed during such play. Quite often, dogs are using their mouths on each other during play.
If they are not careful and know the rules of such play, they will easily hurt each other and things can either escalate to a full fight or one or two dogs will quickly back out resulting in the end of play. Ending play is not the intention of either dog and certainly no fun.
Puppies Learn How To Play Early On
Puppies quickly learn these rules when they start playing with their siblings as too much force on each other will result in one of them yelping in pain. So puppies learn that if they want to continue playing, they must learn the rules and not hurt each other.
I remember Chester and Roxie when I visited them as puppies at the breeder. They were often playing with their siblings and learning the limits. Even when they came home with me, they were still learning as I heard the occasional yelp if one of them went too hard during play. Each time this happened, play stopped immediately.
Many dogs who leave their litters and start new homes in single dog families never continue to learn how to play properly since they do not become socialized. They spend all their lives away from other dogs. I see these on the streets while walking my two dogs.
Such pets who never went through proper dog socialization are the fearful ones and the ones who get very aggressive upon the sight of other dogs. They are the ones who will never make it to the leash free dog parks as all dogs who visit such venues have learned the rules and continue to follow them.
Proper Dog Playing Demonstrated
By now, my Chester and Roxie are experts at proper dog playing as demonstrated on this following video. They usually play like this first thing in the morning before their breakfast. It starts in the kitchen which our first indoor Lhasa Apso dogs playing video showed.
The play continues up the stairs which is what this new video shows and it’s quite funny since Roxie doesn’t really allow her brother to go up the stairs at first. She kind of pins her brother against the wall and throughout the play, both dogs are seen using their mouths.
But as they demonstrate, neither dog hurts each other as everything is for fun. After this play session, they go on up to their doggie room for breakfast.
As you can guess, this type of dog playing is good for their well being as well as general health. This is why if your dog is still a puppy, it is recommended to take steps to properly socialize your pet with others. Get a proper dog trainer in your area to help you as there are opportunities to attend training sessions with other dogs around so they can all learn the rules.
Now that the winter is over andmost of the spring melt has dried up, the leash free dog parks season is finally open (not that they were ever closed during the winter but area sparesly attended). I’m taking my Lhasa Apso dogs Chester and Roxie to visit a local dog park here in Mississauga usually once per weekend. We like to rotate among 2 or 3 different leash free zones here.
Not only do dog parks allow dogs to roam free, they get to meet all sorts of different dogs and I think this is important for dog socialization. They learn how to properly socialize with each other.
Chester and Roxie are use to a few local small dogs who live in our townhouse complex but I would like them to socialize with more dogs as it’s good for their well being.
Having said that, my boy Chester is still uneasy with larger dogs and my trainer thinks this will always be the case. Chester barks at any large dogs that get too close and the big dogs usually get the idea as they move away. The big dogs obviously don’t want trouble!
Roxie on the other hand, although not that chummy with other dogs too, at least doesn’t mind going through the initial sniff the other dog routine. Then she just walks away.
But even though both of my dogs don’t seem to play with other dogs, at least the exposure they getat the dog park enables them to gain some comfort with the idea of having lots of other dogs of all different sizes in the same area. Unlike some of our other unfriendly dogs in the neighbourhood, Chester and Roxie don’t turn into nervous (and potentially dangerous) wrecks just because other dogs are around.
Potential Dog Friends
Sometimes, usually with other smaller dogs, the interactions develop into a bit of play especially when there is another little dog that is very friendly and can encourage my two dogs to run around with him or her. We’ve had a few of these interactions where another little dog could turn into a good potential friend for my Lhasa Apsos.
We’ve already met a few small dogs who we see on a semi-regular basis and it becomes quite obvious that Chester and Roxie has already met them before as there is a sense of familiarity among them. I’m going to be more proactive and suggest to these dog owners that we plan to meet up at the dog parks more often so that our dogs can develop more friendships when the initial vibes are good.
And since my two Lhasa Apsos, especially Chester, tend to prefer to be in the company of only small dogs (as shown in the photo just above), it would be nice to be at the leash free dog parks when there are quite a few other little dogs around. It’s quite funny but the little ones tend to find each other and the big dogs do the same. We always see the larger ones off playing together on their own while the small breeds have their own little groups.
It’s very much like parents driving their kids to the playground so that the kids can play together while we watch on. So I’m looking forward to a great leash free dog parks season this summer and fall. Dogs are naturally social creatures and when proper dog socialization is encouraged, it only adds to their emotional well being.
If you are planning to bring your dog to leash free dog parks, make sure that they are vaccinated against bordetella (dog kennel cough) first.
Today, I did a very personal and bittersweet project. I finally produced video of my first two Lhasa Apso dogs, Pepper and Max. My stomach is still in knots as I write this.
When I was a young man who relocated for work for the very first time, I took Pepper and Max with me to Winnipeg in 1990. We were there for three years and sometime during this period, I shot video of them doing just the normal everyday stuff they normally did at home.
This included playing, eating, sleeping (and snoring), taking their bath and just lying around. For some reason, this was really the only video footage I took of them. Pepper was already a senior past 10 or 11 years of age while Max was 6 years younger but Max certainly did a great job keeping Pepper relatively young.
Old Dog Videos On VHS Digitalized
At some point, I transferred the super 8 cassette video to VHS so I could play the footage on my VCR (remember those?). So for many years, the only raw video footage I had of Pepper and Max were on these video tapes.
When computers were fast enough, I transferred the video footage once again to a video file. Even though there must have been some loss of video quality, I wanted to at least preserve what I had since video tape degrades over time. At least now, I had a digital copy of the footage. I had about 30 minutes of raw video footage in no particular order.
Finally A Fully Edited Dog Video
One of the personal projects I always wanted to do was to edit the raw footage into something nice and entertaining. Well, with Final Cut software and my Mac, I finally had a computer system that could really do a decent job with it.
So this May 3 of 2013, I finally took a day to do the editing. As I watched the raw video footage (along with one of my current dogs Roxie as shown in the photo above), all the unique antics and personalities of Pepper and Max came back to me. I found myself smiling a lot but at the same time, I realized that I miss both of them beyond measure.
Both Pepper and Max lived long lives of 15 years each. Now at 2013, Pepper (above left) has been gone for since about 1994, so almost 20 years. Max (above right) has been gone since about 2000, so about 13 years. At the time of this writing, I wasn’t able to find their original papers which had both their birthdates and dates of passing.
So it’s been a very LONG TIME since my precious Pepper and Max have left me.
But the video footage helped me remember them quite vividly. With Final Cut software, I was able to correct for colours and brighten up dark video footage. I was quite amazed what Final Cut was able to do (and quite thankful too) since I wasn’t previously able to see the video in the same detail as before when I only had the video tapes.
I added some nice music and kept most of sounds captured including my own voice talking to them while shooting the video so many years ago. I put most of the video in some sort of logical order of the activities they were doing starting from playing to eating to bathing to sleeping.
I could see that they were a bit slow in some of my commands but that was my fault as back then, I was not a very good dog trainer – more on this some other day.
I even found a short clip that I shot with myself with Pepper and Max beside me. This clip I shot years later when we moved back to Mississauga, Ontario and Pepper was already ailing. This was likely during his final year in 1994 and I think I wanted to shoot the clip with him and Max in it knowing that I wouldn’t have Pepper for very much longer.
This short clip was to be used in an edited video that I knew I would hopefully produce someday. I just never guessed that it would have taken me almost 20 years to do it!
Will Not Be Disappointed With Taking Dog Videos
So I’m very glad that I did shoot the video, both the original Winnipeg footage as well as the short clip in Mississauga. You can say that it’s priceless because it’s the only video memories I have of my beloved Pepper and Max.
Although doing this project was bittersweet since I miss those guys so much, I don’t ever want to forget them. And this video will always help me remember them and the 15 years they each spent with me.
Of course I have lots of video of my current Lhasa Apsos Chester and Roxie. But although there were many still photos taken, I never did shoot any video of them when they were puppies for some reason. Since they grew up so fast, I missed that opportunity. But at least I have lots of footage of them grown up in their primes.
So based on my personal experience, I would HIGHLY recommend that you too, shoot video of your pets, especially early on. With new lighter camcorders and even our smartphones, shooting video has never been easier.
Unfortunately, our pets will not be with us on this earth forever. Time will pass after they are gone someday and you don’t want to forget them. Video will certainly help you remember them when they are gone as well as entertain you while they are still with you.
With modern technology, producing decent edited video of your dogs has never been easier too. With my Final Cut software, I actually improved upon some of the original video footage!
I won’t share my entire edited video of Pepper and Max since it’s too long at over 26 minutes. But I will share a short excerpts version to demonstrate just how effective modern video software is in the video below which is just over 10 minutes.
My Lhasa Apso dogs Chester and Roxie always seem to enjoy going out in the back to check out the snow during the winter. On February 8 this year (which also happens to be my birthday), we had one of the biggest snowstorms we’ve seen in years.
I actually decided to stay off the roads that day and stayed home. The storm didn’t stop us from going out in the back area to check out the snow though.
I knew that Chester and Roxie would be really curious about all that new deep snow so I made sure my camcorder was ready. Here’s the video we shot with my dogs romping in the snow.
Monitor Your Dog During Winter
Although many dogs do enjoy being outside during winter, it is very important to keep monitoring them while outside. If they show any signs of feeling cold like shivering or lifting up a paw, if means they are cold and should be brought indoors immediately.
When we go outside in the back area of our house, the patio door is left a bit open so either of my Lhasa Apsos can come inside whenever they want. Roxie often comes in earlier than her brother and just watches from the inside of the patio glass door while warming up.
If your dog enjoys winter, feel free to share about it in the comments below.
Back during the Christmas holidays, I decided to give my Lhasa Apso dogs Chester and Roxie a nice gift. They had pretty well exhausted their last dog chew bones so it was time to get them some brand new ones.
Both Chester and Roxie are extremely picky about their dog toys. Some they like and some they just don’t care about. The Kongs are a great example of dog toys they never really had an interest for and have abandoned – so much for the company’s claim about the best or favourite dog toys.
Stuffed dog toys are a hit and miss. Even so, they lose interest quite quickly and tend to abandon them too.
The one dog toys they do seem to like time after time are the hard nylon chew bones I get them. This is especially the case for Roxie as I see her play with these dog bones pretty well each day at some point. Chester does use them from time to time but not as often as his sister does.
Nylon Dog Bones Great For Dental Health
As the dog owner here, I certainly don’t mind my dogs’ choice of their toys especially with the nylon dog bones. Not only are these dog bones very long lasting, they are good for their dental health.
While my Lhasa Apsos are working on their dog bones, tartar is being cleaned off their teeth. So in my mind, Chester and Roxie could work on their dog bones as much as they like.
These nylon bones are therefore a great addition to our current dog dental health regimen of nightly brushing teeth with dog toothpaste plus weekly dental gel application with Petzlife.
Here is the latest video I shot just as I was giving them their new dog bones for Christmas. As you can see, they have a lot of interest in new chew bones!
Feel free to share with others here, what dog toys your pet seems to like and not like below in the comments area.
I’ve been checking out various Meetup groups for a few years now. Meetup.com is a social based online system to help people actually come together face to face through interest groups.
There are tons of groups that focus on all sorts of different topics and interests. I’ve come across groups with interests in real estate investing, skiing and snowboarding, trying out different restaurants, outdoor hiking, business networking, attending festivals, dancing, special topic speaker events, cycling rides and yes, even dogs.
These groups organize various events which people are invited to attend. Sometimes there are nominal costs to join certain Meetup groups and/or attend their events while much of the time, there is no charge.
There are probably lots of Meetup groups already in your local region if you are located in North America. Just start at Meetup.com and enter your location plus a few interests and you will see several groups in your area.
Dog Meetup Groups
There are several dog related Meetup groups in my Toronto area but most do not seem to be that active right now. Some area niched in certain dog breeds or sizes. One is a front for a doggie daycare centre (which is not a bad thing if you are looking to check out such a venue).
So far, the main Meetup groups in the Toronto area I’m involved in are not dog related but what I’m planning to do is once the winter is over up here, I’ll post a few dog park outings to the social Meetup group that I just started.
GTA Free Spirits - a fun social group that I just formed and will have different events including outings to shows, restaurants, festivals, ski days and later on in the year, some dog park outings.
You might have more active dog Meetup groups in your local area and can easily find out by going to Meetup.com, entering your postal code and using dogs as the interest term.
Giving your dog a bath will be part of the overall dog grooming activity for all dog owners. Some dog owners bath their dog in a large laundry sink while others use a portable tub outside. There are also commercial dog bath facilities now where owners can take their dogs to do all the work without messing up anything back at home. In fact, there is one such facility located near my house and is actually connected to one of those self car wash centres.
When I started as a dog owner with my very first Lhasa Apso Pepper, I did use a large laundry sink to give him a bath for the first few times. It was a bit of a mess since Pepper didn’t like the sink very much and the entire laundry room as well as myself, got pretty wet.
Much Easier Way For A Dog Bath
But then I realized there was a much easier way. Instead of any of the ‘traditional’ ways that dog owners used, I decided one day to take Pepper right into the shower with me. I figure that if I was going to get wet, I might as well take my own shower at the same time.
This worked out really well especially when I got two dogs. I took both Pepper and Max into the shower at the same time to bath everyone.
Houses with shower stalls are ideal with this method of dog bathing since with the glass door shut, none of the dogs could escape!
I’ve been taking all of my dogs into the shower with me ever since. Here’s a new video showing how I take my current Lhasa Apsos Chester and Roxie into the shower.
Needless to say, starting them out this way including the use of the hairdryer is very important when they were still puppies. It takes some time for them to get use to the whole routine since the water as well as the noise of the blow dryer can be scary for them at first.
But now as you can see in the video, they are very much use to the whole shower routine.
The snow isn’t quite here yet but we can feel it coming. And when it does come with the full blast of the Canadian winter, my dogs Chester and Roxie will be ready to hit the roads out there. Although the city uses salt (they have already salted our roads a few days this season), my dogs will not be bothered by it because on these days, they will be wearing their Muttluks dog boots.
I did a video and written review of Muttluks dog boots before so I won’t repeat it here – if you missed it, see my Muttluks dog boots review. We are still quite pleased with the Muttluks and will continue to use them this winter.
This brand of dog boots, which is the best one I found after trying out some other brands that were too hard to put on and/or didn’t fit properly, is sometimes not easy to find. But fortunately, I did find a good online source for Muttluks in case you can’t find any locally or if the prices are too high at the local retailers.
Check out our recommended source which is Pet Street Mall as they have a wide selection of Muttluks dog boots for your dog. Click on the banner below and then do a search for Muttluks at their website.
Get Dog Boots In Advance
If you live in a snow region, I would recommend getting a set of dog boots now in advance of the full force of winter. This way, you and your pet will be ready for all that winter fun out there without irritating his or her paws or getting too cold.
Believe me, it’s no fun when you are out there and your dog suddenly feels irritated in one or more of the paws because of salt or snow pellets or ice sticking to the bottom. I’ve had to carry both Chester and Roxie home (once had to carry both of them at the same time) because they could not walk anymore because of paw irritation.
The Muttluks also keep them nice and warm too as our sets have fleece lining inside the dog boots. Both Chester and Roxie appreciated their Muttluks during the winter.
I have no problems with Christmas puppies finding good homes during the holiday season if everything is done right. Families and their new dogs will benefit greatly for many years to come.
Where there are problems is when families get dogs during the holiday season without really doing their research on the realities of dog ownership in advance. In such cases, parents give into their kids wishes for a Christmas puppy but when that bundle of joy arrives, everyone soon realizes that the little dog is not like some stuffed toy. Instead, the little doggie poops and pees everywhere as well as chews up all the rest of the Christmas presents.
The kids soon break their promises to care for the puppy and of course, the parents end up taking on the major responsibilities for the pet. Without really knowing how to train the new puppy, things just get worse and worse each week until the family realizes that they have no control of the dog.
Holiday Season Dogs Given Up
The end result is that many holiday season dogs are given up by the families and end up in the animal shelters. Of course, our animal shelters are already at full capacities and unwanted animals will eventually be euthanized. So much for the holiday season bundles of joy.
This is of course, a serious disaster because the families did not prepare in advance for dog ownership. They failed to take the proper responsibilities involved and took no efforts to get trained themselves on how to train a new puppy, who is completely innocent.
Education For Christmas Puppies Arrivals
I applaud those who are taking efforts to get the right education for Christmas puppies arrivals this holiday season. Many of my new readers are actually getting my book and videos program in advance of the arrival of their new pet. These folks are doing the right thing to properly get prepared for their new addition to the family.
If you are thinking of getting a new puppy because of the urging of your kids, don’t give into them so easily yet. Make sure that everyone, including the kids, will be fully committed to learning what is required for successful dog ownership.
Study my free dog obedience training video available through the info area at the top left of this blog page as one of the resources to help you become educated.
If you are thinking of giving somebody else a new holiday season dog, think first whether the intended recipient will be a responsible dog owner or not.
So please, let’s prevent any further Christmas puppies disasters. We must not let our human ignorance and irresponsibilities result in holiday season dogs ending up at the animal shelters.