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

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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.

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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

Changes in Accommodations

Hello everyone!

There is a major demolition and construction project going on here at Countryside Cavachons! We are tearing down our old garage and having a new one built!

Garage Front 7

This means that, for the present, Shasta’s (our Border Collie’s) and Nikki’s (our Cavachon’s) doghouses have to be put somewhere other than the garage, and our cats’ kitty-houses can no longer sit on the high shelves in our garage.

This called for some temporary accommodation changes for the dogs and cats! So, we created what I call “Dog-Town,” and “Catville,”

Here is Dog-Town, complete with three “hotels” and a “diner.” Please don’t ask me why we have three dog houses when we only have two dogs…. May I add that they LOVE the igloo-style doghouses compared to the regular doghouse?!

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And here is Catville, way up high on a shelf in our woodshed. The cats like this new arrangement so much that we may even leave it for them after our new garage is built!

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You may be wondering what strange sort of cat houses these are. They are built from sturdy boxes, taped together with duck-tape, and lined with warm towels and kitty-blankets. The cats love them, and all they cost is a little creativity!

You may also be wondering why we don’t just bring our dogs inside. They do usually spend the night indoors, and are both housebroken. However, they really love being outside in the fresh air and sunshine, Shasta our Border Collie especially, but also Nikki our Cavachon.

Cavachons are a very hearty breed that not only enjoys being a cuddly lap dog, but can also handle romping and playing outdoors, going for walks, and napping in the sunshine. No doggy-stroller needed for this breed–Nikki can keep up easily on as long as a three-mile walk!

Many of you are asking if we have any puppies currently available. We are planning for an early spring litter next year, so stay tuned for updates!

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

Video of the Puppies!

An all-new, exclusive content video has been released! This is something you don’t want to miss!! (Don’t worry, it’s only about 4 1/2 minutes long.)

Check it out on YouTube, and let me know what you think!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFf-tE9ErZc

By the way, Mackenzie, Danny, and Hudson are still available, but that won’t be for long, so contact us right away if you’re interested! 🙂