Monday, September 9, 2013

The Last of the Summer Fun and Lacey Update!

Oh Summer. I wait for you all year long and before you know it – poof! – you are gone.

Our summer got off to a weirdly slow start due to the constant heavy rain. Husband and I tag teamed a few necessary business trips so Lacey would not be face her greatest fear – being left behind. 

Lacey’s behavior is not consistent enough to earn the privilege of a vacation or to keep us from being kicked out because of her behavior. Husband and I took long weekend staycations instead because we still need time off to unplug, be silly, and recharge.

We started with short trips to the dog park. Lacey thinks she has to challenge other dogs and get them before they get her - a classic case of Little Dog Syndrome.  We keep the dog park trips short so Lacey won’t get overwhelmed.

LaceySummer2014
Some of Lacey's summer adventures!

Just like with human kids, there are well behaved dogs that play well with others and sometimes there are bullies who try to challenge the other dogs or dominate them. It is critical you keep an eye on your dogs at all times to head off any potential problems and be ready to leave to avoid them even if it means you are only there for 15 minutes.

Sometimes we had to leave the park shortly after we arrived with our tail between our legs because our kid was the one whipping the other dogs into a frenzy. It doesn't happen often, and it is part of the process as we puppy step her in the right direction.


To help set Lacey up for success, she wears a calming dog collar to help her when she is nervous. The collar has mother dog pheromones, lavender and chamomile essential oils in it, The dog’s body heat activities it and releases the calming influence when they are nervous just like the plug in pheromone adapters.


I like the collar better because it goes with Lacey when she needs it unlike our adapter which only works at home. There is a difference in Lacey’s behavior when her calming collar runs out at the end of the month which makes me realize how well it works. Then we put a fresh calming collar on her and she more well behaved.

I’m not giving up the calming collar but the thing that does the heavy lifting and has allowed us to take Lacey more places without her freaking out is her Thundershirt (learn more about it here.)

I was getting a little antsy when my shirt got loose. I felt better when Husband adjusted the velcro on my Thundershirt to make it more snug after I got it wet playing in the muddy lake. Also, MUD!

I am not a dress your dog up in clothes kinds of person (except Halloween.) The Thundershirt has a money back guarantee, which made me feel better about trying it because I was convinced it wouldn't calm my dog anxious dog down.

I could not be more wrong.

I swear the Thundershirt is made of magic

The Thundershirt is a compression shirt that calms anxious dogs like swaddling calms a fussy baby. The way Lacey went from freaked out to calm during 4th of July firework noise, you could have sworn we pumped her full of Xanax.

If I wasn’t there to see it I would not have believed it.  I do not have all day long panicked dog when the neighborhood sounds like a war zone on lawn mower day, or freak outs on garage and recycling day either. I’m not being paid to say this or promote it. In fact, Thundershirt doesn’t even know I exist. I want to let you know because it is incredibly helpful.

The Thundershirt allows Lacey to experience the fun side of our socialization adventures without much worry. Lacey went to her first Doo Dah Parade and enjoyed the art cars. 

Pass the glue, I have a use for my wine cork collection!

We taught Lacey how humans celebrate things by dropping food on the ground for dogs to sneak before their humans (pretend not to) notice at the Jazz and Rib Fest.


Husband ate ribs so he was happy, I played with power tools at the Craftsman booth so I was happy, and Lacey found more bits of food than we realized so she was happy.

Best of all, our behaviorist got to observe the three of us in the wild before he came over and said hello. I think we got a passing grade. Lacey was such a good girl and liked all the pets she got from meeting new people.

Later, Lacey beat Husband playing giant tic tic toe at the arts festival.

I win!

Lacey stayed calm and well behaved at Wagfest. We got ideas for dog sports and activities to allow our high energy sporty gal to work off nervous energy, help her focus, and gain confidence.

Lacey thought that was fine and all but she was more interested in cooling down in the big ice cube dog playground and rolling in the dirt after she splashed in the lake.  

Chillin'

By August Lacey was ready to start another new and critical lesson  –  patio training! We need to fuel these out and about adventures with food and best place to do that is a dog friendly restaurant patio. This is so important Husband, Lacey and I are determined to practise as much as possible, besides it is fun!

I like this kind of training!

As much fun as it is to take Lacey with us everywhere we can, Husband and I need to work on her separation anxiety by leaving her home alone. Husband and I went to Gallery Hops, spent his birthday at the zoo, and we took our nephews to the Mythbusters exhibit at COSI. I made more than my fair share of trips to my favorite farmer’s market too.

Good friends and locally grown veggies!

My One Small Green Change for August is to unplug more often.

I learned this summer if I take a break from computers, smart phones, and tech, I’m more productive, creative, and a less stressed, nicer person to be around.


Besides how can spending all of my spare time on the computer ever compare to this?

Just me and my gal.

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