Training Tip for the Time-Deprived

I’m back in the training stage again, now that Wilbur’s joined the clan!

The other day I was sitting on the lawn trying to read a book while Wilbur wiggled and squirmed his way under the book into my lap (and by no means did he sit still once he got there), Shasta started giving me kisses from the one side, and Nikki sat begging for me to pet her from the other side. I looked over at my mom and said, “Is this what it’s like to have children?” ;-P


The only problem is that I don’t have the time that I used to have now that I’m done with college (isn’t that strange that I actually had MORE time when I was in school fulltime and working part-time than I do now that I’m just working???). How in the world am I going to train this bundle of energy properly?

Well, just in case there’s anyone else out there wondering the same thing, here’s my “Training Tip for the Time-Depraved”: Make training a part of every-day life, rather than trying to schedule in an exclusive training session each day. 

That means that, when I feed the dogs in the morning, I teach/practice the commands “Sit” and “Wait” with them. I put the food in their bowls, and they have to wait patiently until I say, “OK,” before they can jump in and eat.

It means that, when I take my daily walk each day, I work on the “heal” command with Shasta and do some leash training.

It means that, when I go outside to get the mail, and Wilbur wants to jump all over me with muddy paws, I take a few moments to work on some manners training–that he needs to sit before he gets petted.

It means that, when I’m out working in the garden, I practice the “Stay” command with Nikki, making sure that she stays at the garden’s edge and doesn’t come into the garden (which is off-limits).

And it means that, when I’m doing the dishes after breakfast, I bring one of the dogs into the kitchen with me for some exclusive bonding time where I just talk to him/her, maybe randomly say, “Lie Down,” to see if he/she remembers the latest command we’re working on, and give him/her lots of praise and attention.

It’s all about the little moments, all day, every day.  

And for those of you who haven’t done any training before, I highly recommend Dog Training in 10 Minutes.* Not only does this book offer an easy, only-10-minutes-a-day approach to training, but it’s also written in simple, fun language and illustrated with lots of cute, colorful cartoons, making it very appealing to junior-aged children. It’s a great way to get your kids involved (or even completely handling) your dog’s training.

What ways have you found to work training into your busy schedule? Please share!

*This post contains affiliate links.


Happy Birthday, Shasta!

It’s hard to believe that our Shasta Daisy is already 9 years old! I can still remember when we brought her home when she was a little puppy!

How she hid under the table in the kitchen when we first brought her home, glaring at us with eyes that silently said, “You bad, bad people! You took me away from my mommy and siblings!”

2007_04_22 [0970] - Border Collie named Shasta Daisy

How she finally warmed up to us when my dad got home and played “spider” with her with his hand until she forgot to be mad at us….

How she howled that first night when we tried to make her sleep in her own bed in the kitchen… How we decided to let her sleep on my bed after that, until she forgot to miss her family….

Shasta & Ann

How she raised two litters of beautiful Border Collie puppies, and one litter of adorable BorderLab puppies… What a good mother she was!

2008_09_09 [3724] - Shasta Daisy Feeding Puppies

How she loves to “herd” our cats… and us.


How she readily accepted Nikki when we brought that high-and-mighty little pipsqueak home…. How the two of them still romp and play together…. How Shasta lets Nikki think she [Nikki] is the top dog….

Shasta & Nikki

Nine years with this beautiful, intelligent dog! I hope we have many more!

2010_05_04 [1675] - Border Collie Dog Shasta Daisy

Enjoying the Sunshine

This picture was taken about a week ago (back when the weather WAS so sunny and beautiful). Shasta and Nikki were zonked out on the front yard, soaking up the sunshine! It was such a delightful spring day… whatever happened?! Apparently they’re forecasting snow for tomorrow!  :-/

What kind of weather do your dogs like best–snow, rain, sunshine, wind–or do they take them all in stride?

Shasta & Nikki Sleeping

The Results & Christmas Puppies?

Yesterday, February 11th, at 3:10 pm, the vet gave us the disappointing news that Nikki is not pregnant. We are so sad! We were hoping to have at least one puppy! However, the vet confirmed that Nikki did experience a false pregnancy. Basically, because she had been bred, she believed she was pregnant, which caused her body’s pregnancy hormones to kick in. That explains why she showed many symptoms of pregnancy, like morning sickness, increased appetite, and drowsiness. I am so sorry for all of you who have been waiting and hoping with us for a litter! Our plan now is to breed Nikki one last time to the original male with whom she had her first two litters. If she is not able to conceive with Sir Popcorn, we will assume that her mothering years have passed, and will retire her to the position of honored family member.

Please stick with us, folks! Nikki should come into heat again this fall, hopefully at the end of August. If her conception is successful then, her litter will be born the end of October, and ready to go to new homes just in time for Christmas!

In the meantime, we will keep updating this dog-blog with periodical fun, reminiscing, enlightening dog-related posts. For example, enjoy these recent photos of Nikki. (Photo credit to K.B. Photography)

Nikki & Tiger
Nikki and Tiger–best buddies! Cavachons do very well with cats, probably because they are both the same size! 🙂
Nikki After Her Bath
Nikki drying by the woodstove after her bath. I can’t say that she likes getting a bath, but she sure looks cute when it’s over!
Shasta & Nikki
Nikki and her other pal, Shasta Daisy the Border Collie. Shasta herself is a retired mother of three litters of Border Collie and Border Collie hybrid puppies.

You can see in the above picture that Nikki has almost no tummy at all. When she was pregnant with Litter 2014, she looked like this:


So, we must reconcile ourselves to the fact that Litter 2015 is on hold until this fall, hopefully in time for Christmas!!


Bath & Brush Time!

Would you look at these two scamps–dirty as can be!! Shasta (our Border Collie on the left) is in the process of shedding her thick coat, and Nikki (our Cavachon on the right) got extremely dirty chasing after chipmunks. She is supposed to be white. Yeah! These two were in dire need of baths!!

Shasta's & Nikki's Backs (1)Before

Since it was such a hot, sunny day, I decided to do the baths out on the lawn instead down in the basement.

Dog Bath 1

Here is all my bathing equipment. 1) Water, and lots of it, 2) Shampoo (do not use human shampoo–make sure to buy pet or dog shampoo, and 3) Bluing. Yes, normal laundry bluing. This is mainly for Nikki, the supposed-to-be-white Cavachon. Bluing is the key for whitening that fur!

Now for some before pictures!

Shasta Front (1)Before
Dirty Shasta
Nikki Front (1)Before
Dirty Nikki.

This was a two-day process! The first day was devoted to bathing both dogs, and the second day to thoroughly brushing out each one’s coat.

Being that the day was so hot, I put on my bathing suit and got right in there with my doggies. In the end I’d had as much of a “bath” as they had! That was fun!

Dog Bath 2

Dog Bath 3

Nikki’s face looks a little blue in the above picture from the bluing (either that or the water was a little too cold, haha!). When first applied to the fur, the bluing turns the fur blue. However, as soon as water is applied, the bluing gets washed out, leaving the fur very white and clean. It works best to add the bluing to the bath water instead of applying it directly to the fur.

After baths, I gave Shasta and Nikki all evening to dry out, and commenced with their brushing the next day.

Dog Bath 4
Nikki, all groomed out. Shasta getting her turn in the background.

Shasta had a LOT of fur that she was shedding, which made the grooming process take a lot longer. I’m seriously thinking about investing some money in a Furminator de-shedding tool. I was not able to completely get ALL the old fur out with just my regular brush and some minor scissoring. But, Shasta still looks a lot better after her bath and brush!

After pictures:

Shasta Front (2)After
Sweet Shasta, all clean!
Nikki Front (2)After
Cute l’il Nikki–what an improvement!!

Ok, folks! Here is the before and after pictures, side by side for comparison! What do you think? Was it worth the time and effort?

Shasta's & Nikki's Backs (1)Before Shasta's & Nikki's Backs (2)After