Monday, November 30, 2009

Chapter 8: Puppy Kindergarten Continues...

Things went well after the first two weeks of Puppy Kindergarten and my hu-mom and I practiced the "Sit" and "Come" commands until we had it down.  In fact, this wasn't part of the training that Lisa gave us, but my hu-mom heard about using hand signals, so in addition to voice commands, she also would give me hand commands, for "sit" and "come". 

Here is the hand command my hu-mom used for "Sit"...

She started with her hand down at her side, palm forward, and as she said "Sit", she would bend her elbow and raise her palm up so it was parallel with the ground. 

The "come" command was a bit more dramatic...

but she said it was necessary so that if I was off at a distance or there was too much noise and I couldn't hear her, she could put her arms out to the side (a big movement), and I would come running into her open arms.

So, as I said before, we had fun practicing the "Sit" and Come" commands, but now it was time to learn the "Down" and "Stay" commands, and follow it up with Puppy Massage....aaaahhhh....

The "Down" command was taught by having us sit -- then a treat was placed in front of our noses, and our humans pulled the treat down and away from us, so that we would follow with our nose...  As soon as our elbows hit the ground, we were given our treats.  My hu-mom learned quickly that she had to move the treat away from me a couple of feet, otherwise all I did was look like the hunchback of Notre Dame, but didn't accomplish the "down" command.

Instead of saying "No" to me all of the time, my hu-mom would say "Augh!" whenever she wanted me to NOT do something.  I must confess, the "Stay" command was filled with lots of "aughs!"...

My hu-mom was instructed to have me sit, then she would place her palm in front of my nose and say, "Stay".  She would then take a step back, wait a couple of seconds, then call me with a "come" command.  At first it was a little confusing, because she had a treat in her hand and I wanted that treat, so when she started moving away from me without giving me the treat, the foodie in me took over and I would follow her to get that treat!  She would "augh!" me, and take me back to the starting point, have me sit again...give me the "stay" command...again...then take a step or two away from me, wait a couple of seconds, then call me to "come."  I finally got the hang of it and she could more and more steps away from me and I would wait until she called me.

I must confess that after hearing so many "Aughs!" in one session, I was ready for the puppy massage.  Lisa showed our humans how to give us a deep, but gentle massage using small circular motions from our head to our tail, down our legs, in the little indentation just above our paws, and how to rub our muzzles, ears, face.  She told our humans that as they touched us, they built trust, and got us used to touch.  Lisa said that it would help us to not be afraid when other people tried to touch us, including the Veterinarian.  All I can say is THANK YOU LISA...I LOVE MY MASSAGES!!!!!  (If you want to learn more about puppy massage, click here)

In fact, it's time for one now, so I'll be in touch again tomorrow.  BUT, before I go, there is just one thing.  A reminder to Vote for Liberty!  Today is the last day of the contest, and I would really like to see Liberty ride on a Rose Parade float, so if you haven't voted, please click here and do so today.

Thank you and have a WOOF-derful day!  ~Zoe

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday's Weave: HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Wednesday's have been about weaving together two different stories into one. Today, as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, I wanted to thank you, for becoming a part of the fibers of my life. 

Through this blog, I have gotten to meet so many wonderful people and animals, and I am so thankful that you are a part of my life.  I love getting your comments and emails, and learning more about you...and enjoying the fact that we are all connected in a way.

So today's post is short, but sweet.  Thank you, for sharing your life with me.  May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy celebrating and appreciating the blessings of your life.  ~Zoe

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday's Telling: Hot Temperatures Can Be Fatal to Your Dog

Good Day! Today I want to share something with you that will hopefully save lives everywhere.  My hu-mom came home from the grocery store yesterday incensed because in the car next to ours, was a dog, all alone, in the sun, with the windows up.  The dog was barking and my hu-mom was concerned for the dog's health, because of the heat. 

She carries around the following flyers, and wanted me to share them with you. 

I've never been left in the car under those conditions, so I don't know what it's like, but I imagine it could be very uncomfortable. 

Anyway, if you would like the flyer that she carries, it is available at the My Dog is Cool website (  The flyer is two-sided and can be downloaded and printed from your home printer.

On behalf of my fellow canines, thank you!  ~Zoe

Monday, November 23, 2009

Chapter 7: Puppy Kindergarten

I didn’t know what to expect from “school,” but when we arrived at the outdoor classroom, there were other puppies and humans to sniff and play with, I knew I was going to love it!

My teacher, Lisa, didn’t hold back and shared as much as she could with our humans.  Based on the type of collar that our humans had purchased for us (pinch or slip), she showed them how to properly put them on and use them, so we wouldn’t be hurt.

My hu-mom preferred the use of the pinch collar (based on the training she had received from Nick), but she did learn the proper way to use a slip collar (if she ever had need).

Lisa also shared about the “three voices” our humans should use when working with us: 

  1. First there was the low-pitched “correction” voice. She said this voice is used with authoritative and domineering (but not threatening) body language, with eye contact and no smile.
  2. Next, there is the pleased or neutral voice.  It is more high-pitched and enthusiastic.  It is accompanied with a smile and the body can be lower to the ground.  This is the “Good dog!” voice.
  3. The third voice is the “command” voice.  The voice is calm, confident and firm, and the body language is upright, not domineering, with eye contact.  This voice is one that makes statements and not a question voice.  For example, it is NOT “ssssiiiiiiitttt?????  it is a simple “sit”.  Period.

The last thing that Lisa shared before we got started with our “education”, was the importance of timing.  She explained to our humans that treating and praise must be immediate, following a positive response to a command.  She said that waiting any longer than a few seconds wouldn’t allow us to connect the treat/praise to the command. 

Now that our humans were armed with how to properly put on our collars and leashes, how to use their voice, and how to reward us in a timely manner, we were ready to start working together.

First on the list was the ‘sit” command.  Our humans were armed with treats and they were instructed to hold a treat near our nose, then move it up towards the top of our head, so that we naturally raised our heads and lowered our bottoms.  As soon as our bottoms hit the ground, our humans said, “sit” and rewarded us with the treat.  We did this over and over again until we “got it.”  If we “failed” to respond, Lisa showed our humans how to gently pull up and back on the leash to get us to respond.

Once we had the “sit” command we moved on to the “come” command.  Our humans would ask us to “sit” then take a step away from us, hold out a treat and say, “come.”  We were given the treat, and our humans were encouraged to greet us with much praise.

We did this over and over, with our humans taking more and more steps away from us as we became consistent with our response. 

Lisa said that the “come” command is very important and could save our lives, one day, so she encouraged our humans to practice this command often, and be sure they kept their voice happy (never frustrated or angry), and gave us lots of praise when we responded.

Lisa had us switch humans, so we could practice responding to other people…and so our humans could also learn how to work with puppies of other breeds.  She also would try to distract us with a toy, puppy, talking, etc., when our humans called us to “come”—she wanted to make sure that no matter what, we responded to our humans.

My hu-mom and I had great fun learning together, and as we learned “commands” together, it was wonderful knowing exactly what my hu-mom and hu-man meant when they talked to me.  I loved the treats and praise that I received whenever I responded appropriately to the “sit” and “come” commands.

Next week, the “stay” and “down” commands, along with puppy massage.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday's Favorite Foto (and update about Zoe)

Today's favorite photo if posted by my hu-mom....

She says this is a favorite photo because I am "on the mend."  It has been a long and hard week.  I have been having trouble with my intestines and my humans were very concerned.  All I was doing was laying around -- I had absolutely no appetite, and whenever I would try to eat I would lose it at one or both ends.  I had no energy for anything at all, not even looking out the front window, which is one of my favorite things to do when in the house. 

My hu-mom is thankful for Dr. Stephens and the staff at Coast Veterinary Clinic, for taking such good care of me.  I'm thankful too -- thank you!

So my hu-mom says this is a new "favorite" photo because I've made it through the worst and here I am with my shaved stomach and pink bandage (hiding a catheter port used to give me fluids), looking out the window.  I must confess, I did sleep some, while in this position, but my hu-mom was happy that my body is responding to the treatment, my appetite is back (as of this morning), and I'm starting to do those things that are more normal for me.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!  ~Zoe

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Zoe Update


I think this photo says it all….

Zoe’s hu-mom here…poor little Zoe had a rough night and will be going in to see the vet again this morning. 

Your continued thoughts and prayers are appreciated!  ~Deborah

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday's Telling

Hi Everyone...This is Zoe's hu-mom signing in for Zoe. She is sick today, but she asked me to check in and give you all an update on Cooper. She said we don't have an update yet, for last weekend's Ride for a Reason, but she will update you on that just as soon as she has some info.

In regards to Cooper, thank you, thank you, thank you! So far $6,150 has been donated towards Cooper's allergen-alert dog. From what we understand, Cooper has been tested to determine all known allergens, and the dog is on order and will be trained specifically to detect Cooper's allergens.

And now, as a concerned Mom, please keep Zoe in your thoughts and prayers. She has an intestinal infection and hasn't eaten anything since Saturday night. She saw her veterinarian yesterday and they examined and x-rayed her and sent her home with some antibiotics and strict orders to not feed her for the rest of the day, and begin a bland diet today. She's not her usual self, so again, your thoughts and prayers are appreciated. ~Deborah

Monday, November 16, 2009

Chapter 6: Puppy Kindergarten - Orientation

Yes, that first spring arrived and my hu-mom told me it was time for me to go to school -- Puppy Kindergarten to be specific. My hu-mom signed us up and we attended at the local community college.

My teacher's name was Lisa...and she was so nice!

She met my hu-mom and the other humans before meeting us puppies, and she gave them a welcome packet -- complete with resources needed to help us puppies build a successful and rewarding relationship with our humans!

Lisa shared about the importance of trust, leadership, and leadership! Yes, according to Lisa, if we canines sense that our humans are not going to lead us, we fill in the void ourselves...and that will NOT turn out well!

She also shared that every puppy is unique and learns at it's own capability, speed and need -- just like humans! I think she shared that with our humans just so they wouldn't get so frustrated when one puppy in the class picked something up faster than another...

Lisa also shared that, "When people don't make time to train or establish structure, dogs become unruly, at times impossible to control." Sadly, this type of situation accounts for a number of the dogs taken to animal shelters by their owners.

And with that, Lisa told our humans that "behavior CAN be changed" and asked, "How much are you willing to work at it?"

And best of all, she encouraged our humans to let the classes and training sessions be a special time for us to bond and have fun.

Our class schedule:
Week 1 - Orientation (humans only)
Week 2 - Come command
Week 3 - Sit command / come command with distractions
Week 4 - Stay command / toy gauntlet / puppy massage (my favorite!)
Week 5 - Down command / combination exercises
Week 6 - Graduation

Equipment list:
collars / leashes
food / water bowls
premium puppy food (i.e. some food that is really good & motivates your puppy!)
Grooming items (including Dental)
Books / videos

Well, that's it for orientation. Now it was time for our humans to go home, read through the packet of information that Lisa provided, and arrive next week with puppies in tow, ready to work!

And for today...Something to make you smile...

"What a dog hears"

Next Week -- Puppy Kindergarten -- from a puppie's perspective...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday's Favorite Foto

I've been pretty quiet on Fridays, but decided to start posting some "favorite photos". Friday's postings will be short, but I hope you enjoy them nonetheless...

This photo is a favorite because it is part of my morning "ritual." My hu-man sleeps with a t-shirt on (sorry dad, I hope I'm not sharing anything too personal!). Anyway, in the morning before he takes his shower, I jump up on the bed and he lays his t-shirt over me. It is like getting a warm hug from my hu-man. I usually fall asleep and enjoy the hug. ~Zoe

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday's Tip: Lab Puppy Training Course

Hello! Thank you for checking in for today's tip. Actually, today tip is that there is a wonderful 10 day puppy training course to help you "Have a Happy, content Lab Puppy in 10 Days (or Less) -- starting your new life with your Puppy as stress free as possible.".

Susanne at Lab Puppy Training ( offers a 10 day course for training not just your Lab puppy, but all puppies. The course is FREE and includes positive training methods for:

  • Puppy proofing your home
  • Things you need to buy for your puppy
  • Puppy car safety
  • Puppy toilet training
  • First night with your puppy
  • Puppy crate/cage training
  • Stop your puppy from biting
  • Puppy leash training
  • Puppy bonding
  • Puppy recall training
  • Puppy Aggression

and a host of other subjects.

My hu-mom and hu-man received a lot of good information from my dog mom and dad's humans, but my hu-mom says Susanne's information is great for anyone just starting out with a new puppy, because "we can always learn."

I would also like to add that you can tell Susanne loves her dogs, because her training methods are humane and make learning fun. So, please check out Susanne's Lab Puppy Training course at and you will be on the way to enjoying your early days with your puppy. ~Zoe

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday's Weave: Liberty

So far, Wednesday's have been devoted to weaving together the story of Kip and me, but today I am going to deviate a bit.

Today I'd like to share with you about Liberty, "the scholarly dog."

My hu-mom's friend Maggie, from high school, is Liberty's hu-mom. Maggie works for the U.S. Government, so it's not surprising that she would name her dog Liberty. Liberty comes from a line of patriot dogs -- there was Justice (his grandfather), Freedom (his father), and of course his girlfriend's name is Betsy Ross.

My hu-mom and Maggie were in the marching band in high school. Their high school band was invited to participate in the world famous Rose Parade, but due to circumstances beyond their control, their band didn't participate.

So now, Maggie's dog Liberty has a chance to participate in that famous parade. Liberty, "the scholarly dog" has been entered in the Natural Balance pet food contest, to win a spot on a Rose Parade float, but he needs your vote!

So today I ask for your vote for Liberty...the scholarly dog. To vote, please click here to go to the official contest page, then all you have to do is click the "VOTE" button above Liberty's photo. The contest ends November 30, 2009, so please vote soon.

Thank you, and may we always know Liberty! ~Zoe

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday's Telling: Rescue Ride at the Ranch

First, an update on Cooper's allergen-alert Dog -- it has been ordered! Thank you to everyone who purchased PawPrintArt cards during the month of October -- together we contributed $20 to help Cooper get his dog! To learn more about Cooper and his need for an allergen-alert dog...and to help support the cause, please click here.

For the remainder of the month of November, we will be supporting Equine Rescue -- specifically, Miller's no-kill sanctuary for rescued and unwanted horses.

Miller's takes in unwanted horses, evaluates, retrains or nurses them back to health, and then gives them a purpose. Miller's sanctuary horses are available for sale, adoption, fostering, using as a companion, or sponsored to work in Miller's programs.

"Miller's is a rescue facility. They work with Animal Services and other non-profits to provide a home for all types of horses that would otherwise be sent to slaughter or put down due to circumstances other than terminal illness."

So how can you help? Well if you are looking for a reason to visit California's Central Coast this weekend, Miller's is sponsoring a "Ride For a Reason" on November 14th at Santa Margarita Ranch. Details about the ride can be found at the Miller's Sanctuary Website (

For the month of November, 30% of the profits from my PawPrintArt cards will be going to help support Miller's Sanctuary, so if you need any Thanksgiving (or animal related) cards, please consider PawPrintArt cards.

Thank you for caring for animals everywhere! ~Zoe

Monday, November 9, 2009

Chapter 5: Clicker Training

I've explained that my hu-mom and hu-man were not what you call "dog" people, so when I came along, they had no experience with children, or puppies, so they read books, watched The Dog Whisperer, sought out advice wherever they could, and trained me as best they could.

My hu-mom learned about clicker training, and this turned out to be something that really "clicked" with me = ) She did two things: 1) she watched my natural tendencies, and when I did something that she wanted me to "repeat", she would click the clicker and put a name to it; and 2) she used treats and the clicker to form a response from me.

For example... when she wanted me to sit, she would take a treat and place it near my nose, then move it back towards the top of my head. In order for my eyes to follow, I had to sit down. As soon as I sat, she clicked, said "sit" and gave me a treat -- followed by a lot of praise.

My next command to learn was "down," for lay down. Again my hu-mom took a treat and while I sat, she put the treat in front of my nose, then pulled it down towards the ground...and away from me a bit. This made my nose follow the treat and as soon as my front elbows hit the floor, she clicked, said "down" and gave me the treat. We practiced this for quite some time, then she put the two together in what she called "puppy push-ups."

What are Puppy Push-ups you ask? Well, they are calisthenics for dogs, silly! My hu-mom would say "sit"...then "down"...then "sit"...then "down" Puppy push-ups were fun, still are, tiring, but you should see my biceps!

My hu-mom and I spent hours clicker training and as a result I can do many tricks on voice command...and hand motion command, but that's another story and I'll share more about that later.

Until next time, have fun with and challenge your puppy, then give him/her lots of loving! ~Zoe

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thursday's Tip: Traveling with Your Puppy/Dog

Ah, there's nothing like the feel of a puppy or a small dog -- so cute, soft and cuddly.  Yes we are cute and cuddly, but the car is NOT the place to hold and cuddle us.  Just as there are baby seats to protect small babies when traveling in the car, there are ways to keep us safe from airbags, flying objects, or from becoming a flying object.

Today we turn to an article posted by Susanne at to share the proper way to travel with your puppy.  To read the article, please click here, or watch the following video for the Cliff Notes....

Until next time, have fun traveling and living life with your pets!  ~Zoe

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday's Weave

Kip was living the good life with my hu-mom and hu-man, along with Goldie the cat and the chickens. Kip and Goldie roamed in the yard constantly, and the chickens dug and scratched around the yard during the day, but were put away into their chicken coop at night to protect them from the possums and racoons.

All were fine until the neighbor decided to replace the fence that separated our yards (unfortunately they neglected to tell my hu-mom and hu-man about it...) Anyway, they hired a work crew who came and tore out the fence and set about to replace it. Well the fence line is long and they didn't finish in a day, so they leaned something up against the railing. Well, at that time we had a neighbor who let their dog do pretty much whatever it wanted, and it decided that what it wanted was our chickens. So it pushed through the temporary barrier that was the fence, entered our back yard, jumped over the picket fence that surrounded the chicken coop, broke through the wire that enclosed the chicken coop and killed the chickens.

By the time my hu-mom and hu-man got out to the chicken coop, the dog was nowhere in sight and all that was left were chicken carcasses and the dog's collar and ID tags. My hu-man went to the owner to tell them what had happened and return the collar, and the human offered no apology and absolutely no remorse. I shared earlier how the chickens came to be a part of the family, so you know how much they meant to my humans, so I'll just take the opportunity to remind you that if you are a pet owner, you are the human and it is up to you to be responsible and watch, protect and train those who are in your care.

Sorry, I didn't mean to jump on my soapbox...okay, back to the story....

With the chickens gone, it was just Kip and Goldie to roam around in the yard and keep each other company. That is until my hu-man learned that his friends had "lost" their cat. They raved about how much that cat meant to them and how much they missed it. Well, the man ended up going away to heaven, leaving his wife all alone. My hu-man felt sad for the lady and offered our loving Goldie to her, to help her with her grief.

So after the chicken's demise and Goldie's change of address, Kip was all alone. Oh, my hu-mom and hu-man would invite Cadence (a yellow lab who lives down the street) over for play dates, but they knew it was not enough. Kip needed a companion, and that is what opened the door for me to come live with my hu-mom, hu-man and Kip.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesday's Telling: Cooper's Dog Update

For those of you checking in for the first time, we have been following Cooper, a four-year old little boy with severe asthma and allergys. To help Cooper live a more normal life, we are doing what we can to help Cooper get an allergen alert dog, to help detect and protect Cooper from his particular allergens.

The price of this specially trained dog is $10,000.00, and Cooper's family is more than half way to their target. At $5,000.00 they had enough to order the dog, but now, they still need $4,700.00 to pay for Cooper's dog in full.

We are so thankful for everyone who has contributed directly to Cooper, Angel Service Dogs, or through the purchase of my Paw Print Art Cards.

Cooper's allergen-alert dog will be trained by Angel Service Dogs -- if you would like to know more about them, they will be on the Today Show this Friday (November 6th).

Today's posting is short, but sweet -- there is hope for Cooper thanks to Angel Service Dogs and you!

Have a terrific tuesday! ~Zoe

Monday, November 2, 2009

Chapter 4: Let the Training Begin

I had a lot of energy when I was a young pup, and my hu-mom, with no dog experience, didn't know how to walk me. Oh she tried, she hooked on a leash to my collar and I pulled her down the street. Next she tried a halti collar, and I absolutely refused to move with that thing on!

Since the walk wasn't happening, my hu-mom knew I needed exercise, so instead of the frustration of trying to walk me, she started putting me through a one-hour workout in the backyard every day. She would throw the ball, play tug, and anything else she could think of to get me to run around and get rid of some of my energy. Our play time eventually became a trick training time and I learned how to respond to a clicker. I knew that if I did what she wanted me to, I would get a treat -- and I loooooovvvvveeee treats!

Although my hu-mom and I had a great time playing in the backyard, she heard about "The Dog Whisperer" show on the National Geographic channel, and she learned the importance of "the walk." So, she strapped on the leash and tried again....and again.... I continued to pull -- afterall, I was just a young pup with lots of energy, and I wanted to explore the world! After much frustration on my hu-mom's part, she finally called "Nick" to teach her how to walk me.

Nick came to our home and the first thing he did was tell my hu-mom that I was using the wrong collar. He pulled out a pinch-collar and when my mom saw it, she broke down in tears. She thought it looked like a torture device and she DID NOT want that thing around my poor little puppy neck!

Nick explained how the "device" worked and placed it on my hu-moms forearm. He showed her how if I walked "nicely", the collar just sat on my neck, however if I started to pull, all she had to do was give a quick "correction" (that he demonstrated on her forearm), and how that would get me back on track to walking without pulling. He also showed her how it would feel if she used the collar and allowed me to continue to pull -- it was not pleasant!

My hu-mom saw that the collar could be "good" or "bad" depending on how SHE used it. Thankfully I have a hu-mom who loves me, so she agreed to use the collar in the "good" way.

Nick showed her how to walk and correct me, and after one session, we were a much improved team and able to walk -- and walk we did!

...what mom? time for a walk? Well I guess that is it for today folks. Check in again tomorrow for more from the Zoe-Chronicles. ~Zoe