Monday, December 24, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Twas the Day Before The Night Before

Here on the day before the day before Christmas 2007, the weather isn't sure what to do. It poured buckets earlier, and now there are wispy flakes of snow flailing about with little confidence of retaining their form when they hit the ground. So it's a 50/50 proposition of whether here in Cleveland there will be a white Christmas.

My new site is finally launched and I'm going to tweak a few bugs before I make a more formal announcment, but for anyone interested in checking it out and letting me know your opinions of our new look, that would be a mighty nice gift for the end of the year.

If the holiday festivities (or more to the point, the kids home from vacation hogging my computer time) prevent additional posts until we cross the timeline to 2008, have a happy happy.

Warmest wishes from A Better Pet

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


It's coming up to that time of year for resolutions. I am going with modest changes. I resolve to try to keep things less scruffy. I started with Bean. While I am technically qualified to descruff him, I would MUCH rather leave my clippers in their drawer and have my beloved neighbor and amazing dog groomer friend Deb do it for me. Despite some serious health issues she is -- thankfully -- back on her feet and so Bean is once again the clean and descruffed buddy! I think he feels more mature!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Getting in Tune

Metaphors are a great way to better understand the vicissitudes of life. Today's life lesson, somewhat, er, grating, is writing this while Kevin the Piano Tuner plunks away at our newest addition (Trip watching with fascination!). His tireless tuning is painful to hear but the end result will be a harmonious instrument that will enchant the home.

Why, it's almost just like the seemingly endless repetition of reinforcing the positive to get a dog who understands just what it is you do want, instead of what you don't. I think it helps to just assume the dog needs to practice a behavior 3,500 times to really learn it. I just hope the piano tuning is shorter than that!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Part III of 3: The Intimate Dinner Party Dog

It isn't that Lily wants to necessarily eat alone, but Lily, an Intimate Dinner Party Dog, doesn't cotton to too many dogs, even more so as she matures (she's a womanly 8 now).

The Intimate Dinner Party Dog (IDPD) might like other resident dogs, and might even have a good friend or two, but isn't graceful in a moderate or large group situations. Some IDPD's might be victimized and really be miserable, but others, like Lily, can become downright bitchy and aggressive, despite proper socialization and the best of intentions.

Some temperaments are more a result of nature than nurture and so, with respect to the more introverted dog (at least with respect to other dogs; Lily does love most people and is an affection monger in the most delicate of ways), I say manage that they don't have to be put in positions of stress socially and look for other ways to brag about their other accomplishments.

Something to think about if you're looking to add a dog to your life -- know their preferences for dinner!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Part II: Dinner Party Dog

Dinner party dogs do like to party and might have quite a few doggy friends -- they might be living in the same house together, or be neighbors or cousins or friends -- and playing is festive and good. When the party gets too big, say, cocktail party sized, our Dinner Party Dog starts to either get overbearing/overexcited and rude or get picked on/beaten up more than say, you appreciate.

Some dinner parties can be small -- maybe 4 dogs, others maybe up to about 6-8. But larger than that and we can have some trouble.

It's always good to bring refreshments to any dinner party!

Coming next: The Intimate Dinner Party Dog

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Party Dogs - What Kind is Yours?

In my humble opinion and based on my breadth of experience examining the behavior of dogs for the past 40 plus years, I think dogs fall into 3 general categories (I think people fall into the same categories btw). These categories are COCKTAIL PARTY DOG, DINNER PARTY DOG AND INTIMATE DINNER PARTY DOG. I happen to have one of each! What with the holidays approaching, what better time to bring up the party dog categories!

Today's discussion is on Dog Type # 1:

1. Cocktail Party Dog

Cocktail party dogs like everyone and everything. The quintessential dog park pal this dog enjoys playing hard and often -- if another dog doesn't like the party dog, oh well, off to find a more amenable pal. Party in the house, wow, this dog likes to meet and greet wagging and wiggling. A dog might start out as a party dog and change, but in my experience, party dogs usually stay party dogs unless they experience a trauma.

My dog Trip is a total cocktail party dog. He loves other dogs and puppies, cats, turtles, LOVES LOVES LOVES babies, especially in car seats, toddlers, kids and adults. He is charming and popular!

Trip has been a cocktail party dog pretty much all of his 6 1/4 years.

Next installment: Dinner Party Dog (stay tuned)