Sunday, February 27, 2011

Photoblog: Stitch Around the House

I've been too busy to take pics of Stitch using my fancy camera, until today. So we had a few photo sessions outside (since the storming has stopped, for now) and inside the house. Enjoy!
Shade-bathing Stitch
Model Stitch
Romantic Stitch
Happy Stitch
Serious Stitch

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Puppy School: Part 3 - Graduation

Stitch ended his Beginner's Puppy School last week. I can't believe he's learned so much in just 6 weeks. Some of the basic commands he's learned include sit, down, stay, release, come, and leave it. We still need to refine these commands, but he knows them pretty well. On Stitch's final evaluation, Trainer Ally wrote, "Stitch is a very bright boy and so fun to work with! He has learned a lot of new things in the past 6 weeks and you have both been great students." As you can imagine, I am one proud mom!

So on the last day of class, Trainer Ally "tested" the pups on some of the things that they test for on the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program. For those of you who don't know, the CGC is a program administered by the American Kennel Club that recognizes doggie good behaviors and doggie owner responsibility. It involves a 10-step test that is conducted by an evaluator. If a dog passes, they get a certificate stating they are canine good citizens!

More information about the test can be found on the AKC website (linked above), but here is a summary of the ten things that are on the test.
1. Accepting a friendly stranger- Stitch did this really well
2. Sitting politely for petting - Stitch did this well, too
3. Appearance and grooming - not tested
4. Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
5. Walking through a crowd - Stitch gets distracted when a crowd of people and other dogs walk by him
6. Sit and down on command and staying in place - Stitch did well on this
7. Coming when called - Stitch did this well in class, but needs to practice it in "real life" :)
8. Reaction to another dog - not directly tested, but Stitch is not always comfortable with other dogs. He also tends to prefer big dogs over little ones like him.
9. Reaction to distraction - not tested
10. Supervised separation - not tested

Stitch waiting for his turn at the walking test, photo by BFF

Stitch and I are having so much fun learning good doggie manners and other dog tricks that we've enrolled in the intermediate training classes, which begin this week. We hope to work on the commands he already knows, and learn some new ones, too!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Stitch recommends: Tailored Dog Training

If you and your canine friend live in the SF East Bay Area and are looking for an excellent dog trainer, look no more!

Stitch and trainer Ally

Stitch's trainer, Ally, provides private, hour-long dog training sessions, either at your home or at a local park. Her rates are very reasonable and she trains dogs of all ages, sizes, breeds, and temperaments.

Why do we like her so much? Because we have seen Ally in action. She's very gentle, but she's also very authoritative - the dogs respond to her really well! I saw Ally work with a reportedly "difficult" and "problematic" chocolate lab, who responded to her commands as if the lab had been doing them for years. I also saw proof of Ally's effective training methods in her own dogs, two very well-behaved border collies who often assist her in demonstrations for class.

Ally uses positive reinforcement like treats and praises and works not just with the dogs, but with the dog owners as well. She really does tailor her training methods based on her clients' needs. Aside from training, Ally also lends her expertise on things like canine nutrition and addresses specific behavioral issues her clients may be facing with their dogs.

Now if you're into the technical stuff, here it is (info obtained from Ally's website):
Ally has her bachelor's degree in Animal Sciences with an emphasis on Animal Behavior.  She is a current member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), a certified evaluator for AKC's Canine Good Citizen Program and the STAR Puppy Program, and is also a certified trainer through a big-box pet store.

So if you're ready to sign up for private dog training lessons, I encourage you to contact Ally - ask her some questions and find out if she's the right fit for you and your pet.

For additional information, visit Ally's website, Tailored Dog Training (

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy President's Day!

Happy President's Day, everyone!

Here's a picture of Stitch and his middle-namesake and look-a-like, Pres. Grover Cleveland, our 22nd and 24th president.

Stitch Grover

Grover Cleveland

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Funny, Silly, Lovey Valentine

I meant this to be my Valentine's day entry, but didn't get a chance to post it.

This is my Stitch, sitting by the window and watching me head to work, as he does so every morning.

He then gets back on his same perch every afternoon/evening as soon he hears my car alarm beep, signaling my arrival. As soon as I walk through the door, I am greeted as if I'm the most important person in the world (at least in his world) and I've just returned from a long, arduous journey.

Now how can you not love the little goober?

That's love.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stitch Marley

My BFF was trying to take a snapshot of Stitch using her cellphone camera. Wiggleworm that he is, this is the resulting image:

She sent this pic to me while I was at work with the caption “your dog on drugs.” I burst out laughing (which of course garnered the attention of colleagues around me, who wanted to get a glimpse of my dog. Which then resulted in me telling Stitch’s story again to those who hadn’t heard yet). One co-worker suggested I do some creative Photoshop work with the pic. I’m no whiz at photoshop, but here’s the result:

"Whatchu tink, mon?"

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Stitch recommends: Zuke's Z-Filets

I'm always in search of yummy, healthy treats for Stitch. He loves the occasional Milk-Bone and Beggin' Strips but we recently found a treat that both Stitch and his cousin, Boo, love! It was recommended by Ally, Stitch's trainer, whose doggies love them, too!

These delicious treats are Zuke's Z-Filets High Protein Dog Treats. They are dehydrated but very tender strips of chicken, beef, or venison and have tons of flavor (not that I've tried them, but I can definitely smell them and they smell delish!) So far, we've only tried the chicken, but we'll probably pick up a beef and venison at some point.

Zuke's Z-Filets High Protein Dog Treats, Basted Chicken, 3.25 Ounce

Zuke's Z-Filets use natural ingredients like rice flour, maple syrup, garlic powder and salt. They don't contain wheat, corn, and soy. Although, in the spirit of full disclosure, ingredients include phosphoric acid, sorbic acid (as preservative) and mixed tocopherols, which are "chemical compounds of which many have vitamin E activity," according to Wikipedia. Zuke's also donates a portion of its profits to the Dog and Cat Cancer Fund.

If you get a chance, pick one up today for your pet! They're usually carried by big-box pet stores like Petco and Pet Food Express, but you can also find them at REI or some of your local independent pet stores.