Lately…

I always love posts from some of my favorite bloggers where they just catch readers up on what has been going on with them lately. Here is my version…

1. I have been having so many bursts of creativity. All of a sudden, I just have a plethora of ideas I would love to put into place. I am not sure how good they are or not, but it is pretty amazing that I have been on this streak of ingenuity. I have some new ideas for my current blog design (which is desperate need of a makeover) and ideas are popping up about where to take my other blog Spiritual Bahanas, (check out the premiere of Music Monday: here ).

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I also have tons of thoughts about new things to implement for work, my yoga classes and at home. It is difficult to find the time to put these all in to place, but it sure is nice to know my brain is still flowing.

2. I fear that I constantly smell like garlic and no is telling me. I cook with large amounts of garlic and cannot seem to get enough of it in my food. Yesterday, when I came home, I realized my house really smells like garlic (I used tons in the tagine dish I made. I also included; quinoa, lentils, squash, red bell pepper and carrots + tons of spices).

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This made me question if this is what I smell like and I just no longer notice. I guess I should pay more attention to if people move spots away from me in yoga class or if my students scoot away from my desk, when I am talking to them.

3. I am really, really trying to train my dogs to walk appropriately on a leash (i.e.-not jump and try to bite the leash [PENNY] or pull me down the road with freak-like strength [SUZIE]). I read Cesar Milan’s book over the summer and felt ready to tackle the task ahead of me. I am wondering if he should put a disclaimer on his books: “these methods WORK for all breeds, except bulldogs,…good luck with that.” 

I am still having a very hard time with appropriate walking behaviors. I have seen small (very small) improvements, but Suzie still yanks me down the street if she sees a cat. She pulled me so hard last week, I hurt my neck trying to re-gain control and it threw me into a migraine the next day. I had to leave work early to see my chiropractor, who is well-versed in the damage those dogs have done to both my husband and I . They are lucky they are so dang cute.

15382092575_53fed50c61_oPS-so help the next person who “jokes” “whose walking who? Hahahaha“…just.stop.!!!

4. My next essential oil purchase will be Clary Sage. I have been having worse cramps than usual the last couple of months, and found that this may help. Has anyone else every used it before? I would be interested to hear feed back.

Well, that’s what has been going on in my life. Tell me something that has been going on with you.

 

 

 

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When Your Dog Beats You Up

Has your pet ever made you feel like a complete fool? Have they ever embarrassed you in public? My dogs have done this to me on more than one occasion.

Penny definitely got me last week. As I laced up my shoes to go for a run, I look over and see these pathetic faces. They have perfected the look of feeling completely despondent, I felt guilty and decided to multi-task and take them along for my morning exercise.

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This was an error in judgment.

Since there is no way I can handle them both at the same time, I usually walk Penny first, then Suzie immediately after.

I really cannot start off running with Suzie, she talks off like a horse released to race and will pull me along at her insane speed. Sometimes, if she is tired out and I am feeling extra energetic, we can meet in the middle.

Any runs I have done with a dog have mostly been with Penny. Penny & I seem to run about the same speed, although she tires out after about 3 miles and lags behind.

On this day, when I let their sad faces get the better of me, I decided to start out with running with Penny, then I would walk briskly with Suzie.

Bulldogs are known for their fierce loyalty, overwhelming (almost smothering) love and protectiveness.

They are not known for their intelligence.

I have been working with Suzie for almost three years and Penny for two years, on appropriate walking behavior, and they still do not get it.

Penny goes absolutely berserk when she sees the leash. I am not sure what she has against it, but she immediately starts to bite it and will.not.let.go. She thinks it is the perfect time to play tug of war.

She started this the first time I ever put a leash on her. Those first few walks were filled with constant re-direction and discipline for biting the leash.

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Now, this only lasts for about the first five minutes, then she calms downs, walks beside me, and it is the picture of all I ever wanted when I thought of walking my dog.

However, those first five minutes have grown more intense. Penny is much bigger and stronger, so it looks like we are in a five-minute fight. She jumps to get the leash, and usually pushes me in the process. She has stepped on my foot causing me to stumble, slammed against me, giving me bruises or scratched me up while jumping.

I usually tighten up the leash so much that she can barely see it and re-direct her to keep walking. Once she gets into a groove, she forgets about the leash and enjoys her walk.

Last week, I did not give her enough time to calm down. I wanted to get my run over with before it got too hot and I wanted to get back to walk Suzie, before the sun was blazing down. I started running with Penny too soon before she got all her crazies out.

We were running in the street, she jumped to get the leash and completely tripped me. I slammed down on both knees on the gravel, and she ran off, fighting with the leash.

I quickly got myself up and saw she was in the middle of what looked liked an epileptic episode, fighting with the leash. I thought this was a good time for me to take her home, she thought it was a good time to play tug of war. With my knees gushing blood, and my pride completely gone, I tried to wrestle the leash from her. We got some concerned stares from passers by.

Luckily, we were only 1 block away from home. I started walking and she followed close by, still fighting with the leash.

She ended up biting it completely in half before we got home. I went inside to wash my wounds. Penny felt like she had a successful morning and Suzie became even more pathetic, wondering why she didn’t get a walk.

I will save you from injury pictures (one of my pet peeves is when people unknowingly foist injury pictures on you. Sometimes, I am enjoying my morning tea, browsing Instagram, and BOOM, blood!). I have two deep cuts on both of my knees, and road rash on my right leg. My right hand also got a bit cut up, as I must have tried to break my fall.

I immediately iced both knees, in hopes that they would not swell. This seemed to help and I just have had to deal with disgusting knees that I cannot put pressure on. I have been frustrated with not being able to do any of the yoga poses that require direct pressure on your knees, and I visually shake my fist at Penny during yoga, when one of those poses are cues (not very Zen like).

When it comes down to it, I know it was my fault. I started off running too fast when I should have known better.

Obviously, my dogs still need training and work, so I need to make their walk times completely about them, and not about what I want. They need my full attention, and maybe, just maybe, they will learn more appropriate behavior.

Any suggestions on her to get her to STOP thinking the leash is her sworn enemy? Have you ever been beat up by your pet?

PS-Here is a cute picture of Suzie from her 3rd birthday, celebrated last week:

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All About Penny

When I first got Suzie, a co-worker told me, “now you need to get another dog.” I thought he was nuts. Growing up, I only had one dog at a time. Suzie started to prove to be more and more work and I thought, why would I want to double this?

I soon realized, my co-worker was right. Suzie needed someone to play with and keep her company, especially in those long hours when we are at work and she was home alone. I started looking for another dog before Suzie was a year old.

I begin looking at shelters and in the newspaper, one thing or another would happen and something would fall through. The person I got Suzie from informed me that his dog was having another liter soon, and I asked for another bulldog. Suzie & Penny have the same parents, but were born about one year apart.

Penny’s birthday is August 12th and I brought her home on September 30th, 2011. She was timid and scared, just like Suzie and I was nervous that Suzie would overwhelm her.

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She did at first. Suzie was so interested in this small creature. She kept sniffing, inspecting, licking and pawing at her. Poor Penny was shaking and hiding from her.

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I knew they had to get used to each other, and they quickly did. Within a day, Penny grew extremely attached to Suzie. My heart melted when I say them cuddled up together their first night and they continue to sleep like that till this day.

Penny followed Suzie EVERYWHERE. As the oldest child with 3 younger siblings, I felt for Suzie. Penny wanted to be anywhere Suzie was, doing exactly what she was doing.

Suzie let her, even though she still did not quite know what to make of this small creature.

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Penny would CONSTANTLY bother Suzie. Her main goal for most days was to get Suzie to play with her. She was not intimidated by their size difference. Penny would bite and paw at Suzie wherever she could to try to get her to react, this was quite the upset to Suzie’s previous life of laying in the sun all day.

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I started noticing how unique their personalities were early on. It is one of my pet peeves when someone says “animals do not have feelings.” If you spend any amount of time with animals at all, you notice how unique and similar to human beings they really are.

Penny has her own unique, errr “attitude.” I wanted to teach her commands early on. I would tell her to “sit” or “stay” in a stern voice, and she would make it clear that she did not want to do this. She would bark back at me as if she were an adolescent talking back and run away. After some time (and many treats), she has finally learned to sit, stay and even shake (something Suzie never could get), but it took awhile to break her rebellious streak.

Another example of her rebelliousness, this is a picture of the first walk we ever took Penny on. She immediately begin biting the leash. She bit it throughout most of that first walk and constantly had to be redirected.

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It took a great amount of time to break her of this and I am still struggling with it! As soon as I put her leash on, she thinks it is time to play tug of rope. She gets wild and bites the leash, if I pull it from her, she pulls harder and gets extremely hyper. I have tried a few different techniques, but have not found anything to eradicate it, seriously, ANY tips are appreciated.

However, once we get started walking, she does fine, she just has to get distracted and forget about the leash. I often take Penny for short runs with me. 3 miles is about her limit, I sometimes can get 4 out of her, but she starts dragging behind. It is pretty hard to run with Suzie, she takes off and makes feel like I am on a treadmill.

Penny has grown to be a happy and peaceful dog. Where Suzie has perfected the art of looking pathetic, Penny always looks dopey happy. She frequently has a smile on her face and always comes to the fence to happily greet us as we come and go (Suzie sometimes cannot be bothered to walk ALL the way to the fence). Classic Suzie & Penny faces:

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Penny is the baby of our family, in every way. She gets scared pretty easy of everything. She hides in her house from loud noises, strangers, dogs walking by, etc. She takes it for granted that Suzie will be the protector (which she is) and she relies on her big sister to handle guarding her, the house and the family. She will still try to hide behind me, if we are walking and a big dog barks at her or if a big truck drives by.

I hope you have enjoyed reading all about Suzie & Penny. They are definitely part of our family and have brought much joy, laughter and love to our lives.

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Fun fact: Penny’s middle name is Lane.

All About Suzie

I am one of *those* crazy, dog ladies. I hope everyone does not mind me sharing a bit about my pups.

I have 2 American Bulldogs. Today, I would like to introduce my older of the 2. Suzie is now 2 years old. Her birthday is July 19th (I am also one of *those* people who celebrates her dogs’ birthday) and I brought her home on September 30th, 2010. She has the most perfect black spot over her eye and a curly tail, like a pig.

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This was Suzie the day I brought her home. She was timid and scared, but quickly warmed up to me and wanted to be cuddled. I took her to work with me the first few days and she stayed right at my feet the whole time. She still does not get the concept of personal space.

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Suzie grew FAST. She did not stay a little puppy for very long. Her body grew way faster than her brain. Bulldogs are not known for their intelligence, and Suzie seems to fall short in that area, even for bulldog standards. The bigger she grew, the more energy she had. She was soon jumping all over us, and pulling like crazy on the leash when we took her for a walk. I often had bruises and scratches from her crazy energy.

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Other examples of Suzie’s lack of intelligence; she once ate a bee and her face swelled up. The picture of her under the canoe is because she is hiding from the water hose. She is deathly afraid of water, as soon as she hears the hose turn on, she hides. There is no logical explanation for her fear.

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I soon realized that we could not train Suzie on our own, we definitely needed help. When she was about 10 months old, we enrolled in Puppy Training at PetSmart. We had an excellent instructor. We worked HARD. It took a lot of patience, Suzie just does not quite “get” things as fast, she is a pretty slow learner. We were not surprised when we were “talked to” after class one day and informed that Suzie was probably not ready for the graduation test the next week. We were offered additional classes (at no extra charge) to get her to graduation level.

We took the extra classes and finally, Suzie passed her final tests. We probably learned more than Suzie did from the whole experience, it was essentially training for us on how to be consistent and firm with her. She will probably never learn to bring us the newspaper, but she no longer jumps on people and she exhibits so much more self-control.

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Suzie has grown into a very loveable, loyal and protective pet. Her main focus is to make sure that all of us and the house, are always OK. She is fiercely loyal. We can confidently hike with her off of the leash, because she will never go further than she can see us. She will take off running, but is constantly coming back to make sure we are in view.

Suzie still has amazing energy once we go for a walk, run or a hike, but the rest of the day is spent “conserving her energy.” She has more than earned her “Lazy Suz” moniker  Her absolute favorite activity is laying in the sun. A close second, is resting her chin on the fence and looking as pathetic as possible. She also sighs loudly when she does this, for extra dramatic effect.

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Suzie is very much the big sister to Penny. When she was a small puppy, Penny would constantly want to play with Suzie. She would bite her face, ears, legs, anything she could reach, to bait Suzie into activity. Suzie would play back, but never rough. It was like she knew Penny was still a baby and she could only go so far with her.

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They act like sisters, in every way. They fight much rougher now and are competitive for attention. However, at the end of the day, they still cuddle and sleep together and kiss each other wounds, if they have hurt the other during play fights.

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I hope you enjoyed hearing about my Suzie and that your eyes are not glazed over from the crazy, dog ladies’ ramblings. Please let me know if you have any questions about American Bulldogs or anything pet related.

Fun fact: Suzie was named by Elton John. “I remember when rock was young, me and Suzie had so much fun.”