Magnus Makes Friends With Maizey

When I brought Magnus home, Maizey was somewhat less than thrilled. I thought she may have a hard time adjusting to this big of a change, but she has really done awesome.

"You're right Crazymomlady, this little guy isn't so bad!""

At first she really didn’t know what to do with this little ball of fluff that was dying to play with her. Basically she spent the first two days running from him. She never reactively barked or lunged at him, but she certainly didn’t want him getting close to her.

But today I am happy to say they are playing nicely. They played tug for the first time yesterday, and today she deigned to be in the same picture with him!

You can see even in the pictures that she still isn’t her normal perky self when she is right next to him, but I am leaving the choices up to her how much interaction they have she is starting to accept him and even initiate play.

And now at the end of the day they are both sleeping at the end of the bed, the very picture of peace.

I am so proud of my little girl. Even though it is a source of stress for her, it’s good because she is learning to manage nervousness in a way she never had the opportunity to before. Since he isn’t a threat to her and he also isn’t going away we have a chance to work together on building calm confidence in a lot of new ways.

And it really is paying off, it makes me so happy to see her enjoying him. I know I have to be careful that he doesn’t catch her reactivity, that he doesn’t cause so much stress that she is further traumatized, and that they build a happy friendship. But so far I just couldn’t be happier with how things are coming along.

So you can see for yourselves, this is a short clip of the progress we have seen. You will notice in the “EEEW. . puppies are gross” clip that Maizey was feeling quite stressed, but I love the very last shot of her. It’s as if she is saying, “See crazymomlady? I played with him, and it was fun! Aren’t you proud of me?”

And I am, so very proud of my little princessface!


Princessface Maizey Meets Magnus The Destroyer

True he doesn’t look like a destroyer, he puts on a good show of irresistible puppy cuteness for the masses, but Maizey is sure she knows the truth.

"You are an interloping destroyer!"

Meet our new boy Magnus, 4 pounds, 21 feet worth of personality. Born July 17, 2010 in St. Louis Missouri at a puppy mill, Magnus was rescued at eight weeks old and listed only as “blenheim boy” on Petfinder.

It may seem unexpected for us to bring home a little boy. Honestly mine and Maizey’s heads are still swimming a bit too! I had been keeping a pretty constant eye on petfinder at the Cavalier baby’s and had applied for quite a few before I saw him.

But he caught my eye and the dedication of his rescuer made it a done deal. Before I knew it I was giving my Maizey a good bye snuggle and hopping a plane to St. Louis. The rescue met us at the airport and after getting to know little blenheim boy for a few hours we boarded the plane and came home.

That was on friday, the days since have been a whirl wind of puppy heaven and chaos.

Magnus is a wonderful boy, loves all 4legged friends and is quickly gaining confidence with his 2legged friends. Since he spent the first eight weeks of his life in a cage at a puppy mill instead of getting the loves and snuggles he deserves he is very unclear on the roll humans play in his life.

When I first met him he clearly didnt know I was relevant in his life at all. He doesn’t orient to human voices, avoids human legs when he’s walking and has yet to master eye contact. All complete opposites of Maizey, who was my shadow from the first minute.

But what a very fast learner he is! I started by letting him hide in his carrier, just talking and petting him. As he gained confidence I started snuggling him under my chin and clicking at him with my lips. Within an hour he was orienting to my face and starting to give my chin kisses.

So we have spent much of the last two days laying flat on the ground playing an interesting version of the puppy come game/puppy in the middle and rewarding him for coming to us with the treat right at our face. Tonight was the first ah-ha moment when he started coming back to me faster and faster and all on his own.

But the best part was when he walked BACKWARDS to me! Yup, backwards for two feet while he ate the treat. Such a funny boy!

Maizey has been another story, but she is doing well and making much progress already. She hasn’t reacted with her typical reactivity, but she is struggling to make sense of this new little ball of fluff chasing her around and grabbing her tail.

I am very proud of my little girl. Her life has changed drastically in the last month and she is handling it very well.

So despite the lack of sleep from all day flying on Friday, middle of the night potty training, and all the other fun of chewing playing puppy we are very happy and constantly laughing at our new quirky boy!


Puppies Take Lots of Exercise

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of PlayStation MOVE. All opinions are 100% mine.

It’s nothing new that puppies take lots of exercise. What somehow manages to slip my mind every time I have a puppy is how much exercise puppies make for ME!

I would never claim to be in the best of shape, but chasing around the scampering Magnus is really showing me just how pathetic I am. I’m getting so desperate I may even try the Playstation Move to get some exercise.

I have friends who love to workout using their gaming systems. Though I don’t even own a Play Station, if I did have a PlayStation®3 I could use a bundle package to add MOVE for for only $99.00.

My friends always say it’s good exercise for the whole family, I wonder if I could get the dogs in on this workout? Pilates for puppies? It could happen! I have a friend (whom I sure would rather remain nameless) whose little 4legged friend helps her while she does pilates. When she does a plank he jumps over her like she’s a modified jump. Very cute I’m sure!

Hmm. . . I’m not sure if that would work with Magnus 13 second attention span, I may have to stick to his mini wobble board and teeter. Still, for me it may turn out to be a good option!
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Uses For Doggie Zen

Contemplating potential Cavalier puppy #2 has me thinking of all the things I wish I did different or better with Maizey.

Maizey came home at nine weeks and I was determined to do things right with her from day one. I can think of many things I could have done different. But one thing I did well was instilling a good Zen from the beginning.

Zen is one of the most important lessons a puppy can learn. It can be applied to many areas of life from things like not snatching up that prescription pill you dropped (potentially life saving for your pup) to not rolling in that dead stinky thing on the side of the trail. (Life saving in that it may save YOU from dying from the stench!)

Sue Ailsby has a great explanation of doggie zen she says, “Zen”, as we use the word in dog training, is so important as to be virtually the foundation of civilization. It means “self-control”. An untrained dog is a dog with no self-control. . . A trained dog understands that the way to get what she wants is to control herself, and a trained handler knows that true control of an animal must come from the animal herself, not from the handler.”

The other night mehusbandy called me out to see Maizey doing an impressive “leave it”, her zen cue. She was parking it on her bed and he had placed a chunk of his steak on the floor about 3 feet from her nose. Impressive? Certainly! But my favorite part was that she wasn’t even looking at the steak, but had him locked in an unblinking stare. What a good girl!

Zen can be shaped to be many things and I have changed my criteria over time, but one thing I have been working into her zen is instead of just orienting away from the desired object, she now needs to find my eyes and watch me. This was added for use of zen with the “mean scary-scary dogs!!”

Below is a list of some of things mentioned on a recent Training Levels yahoo group thread called “uses for zen”. If you haven’t checked that group out it is well worth a look!

  • default leave it on stuff on the ground, dogs and people.
  • food- ever need to set your plate down and grab something else?
  • prevent major fights between dogs
  • squirrel, swan, geese, duck, sheep, cat. . . any other small tempting animal
  • default for open doors and gates
  • toy zen
  • four on the floor greeting people zen
  • not chasing cars, bikes, skateboards etc

Truly the list could go on and on. So what is your favorite use for doggie zen? Check back soon and learn about Maizey’s next zen adventure. . . kitchen table zen?


Training Challenge Week 7: A Reactive Maizey Victory

This is an exciting training challenge for me to post.

We have loved being a part of Ricky’s Training Challenge, it pushes me to be creative and I am learning so much from following the others challenge posts. (For a real treat check out Ricky’s challenge this week, his mom must be a super hero for hauling his chute around to so many places!)

As for the exciting part?

Maizey and I walked three miles past numerous dogs and how many barks did we have? 2, 406?

Wrong! Two!

Two you say? Yes literally two barks!

How can that be possible of the Princess-Of-The-Shrill-Bark?

Honestly I don’t know what brought the change. Let me tell you how it went.

Because I new this walk was for our challenge I chose a route that I knew had more dogs on it, but would not be TOO much of a challenge. On our street alone we must pass Mr.’s Red Pit Bull and White boxer, who feed each others fence fighting into a frenzy, the fluffy Aussie mixes whose main joy in life is frenzied fence chasing, my friend Baxter, whom Maizey believes is evil incarnate (she really hates all Labs) and Baxter’s friend Thelma who doesn’t believe any dog in the world is her friend. And that was just who was out on the night of our walk!

Because of the level of difficulty on our street I always take the precaution of having Maizey wear her Halti until we pass that major test. Usually we will have barking and lunging but with careful reinforcement it is getting less.

Until the night of the famous walk. That night we still had some lunging, but I added her leave it cue, and maybe that made a difference, because for the first block past six barking dogs-not one bark!

Well at this point I was flying high with pride at me little girl. I switched to her buckle collar to do some loose leash work. So when we walked past the black lab in a rod iron fence who always sends her over the top and still barely a lunge and not a peep out of her, I pretty much figured someone had replaced my girl with a voiceless impostor!

Still though it got better! Through three miles, past two dogs loose in their front yards, and others in their fences, the only time she barked was at the Big Black Scary Boy on the corner. Since it was dark by then and he wasn’t there the first time we passed, he even scared me! So she got out her two barks, but with a leave it she trotted along with me.

A big part of helping reactivity is always being aware of the environment, looking out for triggers and being prepared to deal with them. This can be very tiring, but by choosing a route where I could anticipate where many of the “big mean scary dogs” would be I could be prepared. So I started rewarding for attention early, putting the most distance possible between us by moving to the far side of the road, and then when I saw her start to orient to the dog I cued a leave it marking correct response with a calm, yet emphatic “Yes” and reinforcing fast and furious until we were past the dog.

Did adding her leave it cue make the difference? I have avoided using it with reactivity for fear of poisoning one of her strongest cues. Perhaps that could still happen, I will certainly have to keep an eye on it. Maybe she is maturing, and that is helping her be more confident.

Regardless, I was happy with her progress and happier still when we had a repeat performance with slightly more reacting on another walk later last week.

I just get giddy thinking of it again tonight. There is a 4legged lesson there, one I visit over and over: our pups joy is our joy, their success our success.


Puppy Meanderings And A Plea For the Input of Your Wisdom

Since this is overwhelmingly on my puppy driven mind I am posting this instead of our Ricky’s Training Challenge, but worry not Ricky, Maizey and I have an exciting training challenge post for you coming soon!

I have always known I am not a one dog person, and Maizey is not a one dog dog.

When I knew I was going to lose Little Man I had already started the search for Maizey, though of course I didn’t know she would be Maizey yet. But I knew exactly I what I wanted.

Losing Meeka came so much faster than we expected that the start of the search for our next family member had not been well considered. Here’s what I knew:

I wanted to rescue.

Yep, thats it. Breed? Well I played around with looking at other breeds than Rottie’s and Cavaliers’s, but you know that make your heart sigh feeling you get when you look at the breed you love most? Well, that feeling for me is in Rottie’s and Cavalier’s. I love Koikers, but seriously? That is one dream that just isn’t going to happen this lifetime.

So to Petfinder my fingers took me. Rotties. Cavaliers. Rotties. Cavaliers. . . and round and round I went.

But then we lost her, and it has been so much harder than any dog I have ever lost, the grief a physical ache. And we realized while we long for another Rottie girl, we are not ready for another Rottie girl.

And so that leaves Cavaliers. So now in my decision making I am up to: Maizey needs a play mate, I want to rescue and the breed for our new family member right now is Cavaliers.

But what of all the other details?

Male or female?



Temperament that is best suited to be my little Turbo’s best friend?

How will she react to a new puppy?

How will a new puppy react to her dog reactivity?

Will  a rescue consider us?

Some of these questions are of lesser importance in the long run of things, some have no answers until the time comes, some can be and have been answered by research and soul searching.

But since you folks are so wise and experienced I hope I can pick your brains on the matter. For those of you who are or have ever contemplated adding another family member how did you settle these questions?

How did you decide upon adding another girl dog or a boy dog to be friends with the 4legged friend you already had?

For those of you with a reactive pup: how did you decide what was best for her? How did you do introductions between the two?

Please lend me your insight into the answers of these questions or any I am forgetting, and in return I will lend you my answers to this universe altering issue.

(Yes I know I am so generous in my repayment of your time and effort!)

"Of course you want another one of me-who wouldn't?"


Post 100: A Trust Walk

100 posts! Stories of fun and many lessons learned. Some happy some frustrating but all illustrating the value of loving a dog.

Stories like this one that starts with a long, long drive through Wyoming. The drive home from vacation is often so much longer than the drive to a vacation location, though the same in distance and route.

Is it because you played too hard and are tired out from the swimming, hiking, canoeing, and all the exhausting time spent eating marshmallows around the fire at night?

Whatever the reason Wyoming seems a big state when you are hauling a tent trailer and your husbandy and your Meeka are already home waiting for you and the little princessface.

It seems too that when you are traveling tired is when your Grandpaman decides the perfect place to set up camp will be at the reservoir that is 27 miles down a twisty tiny two lane road instead of the one that is five minutes off the highway with the oh-so-beautiful camp sites within seeing distance.

And so you and your crazymomlady blast the Moody Blues, childhood memories blossoming, and settle in for the long haul with little complaining.

Grandpaman deserves that kind of respect.

Until it starts to rain. And you are setting up camp at the reservoir 27 miles down the twisty road only two camp spaces away from two big dogs crazier than your own Princess-Of-The-Shrill-Bark. Then the complaining starts, even if only in your head and, okay, a little out loud.

But the tent trailer gets set up and the crazy dogs keep to themselves, you rescue the turbo from digging up that red ant hill before she is in too much trouble and thinking you deserve a break from all the wonderful togetherness, you set out.

It’s sundown, and with the lake blushing into pink you realize it is a much prettier and less populated lake than the ever so close to the highway one that looked so attractive earlier. Less populated with humans, but overrun with cottontail bunnies. Who thankfully are smart enough to know when to stop hopping and blend into the sage brush scenery before Turbo turbo’s off after them.

Down the hill to the beach you tromp, following the wagging Cavalier ears and tail, both of you so glad to be free of the truck and the leash. Following little bird foot prints in the sand until you are alone with your little dog and her happy tail.

Onto the rocks you both climb, sinking into the silence with only the waves lightly lapping against the rocky shore. Laughing and laughing when she gambols down to the waterline only to turn and give you the, “Hey hurry up crazymomlady! There are sniffs to be sniffed here!” grin.

So you let her follow her spaniel nose, she too has earned a break, but then she stiffens. Another cottontail? No, just the silhouette of tall ears and glowing eyes. Eight alert ears, and eight yellow eyes on the heads of two does and two babies.

They too have stiffened when they spotted you, not with your ears standing alert, but with two human eyes glowing and two Maizey eyes locked onto those deer. But not a sound is made.

Not a peep of a bark or wine, nary a growl, barely an exhalation of breath. Just watching you and your 4legged best friend, as they go back to grazing and getting a last drink of the night in the now still and darkened lake. Then they move, nibbling their way up the beach away from the water.

And you move with them, willing your pup to be silent, affording you more time to watch these beautiful 4legged friends of another variety. She moves with you, quietly. Perhaps sensing to pace her movements from the quiet delibertness of yours.

Then you see it, the yearling buck with his antlers so new and still covered in fuzz. He is so lean and carved of smooth muscle, and he is wary of you. More so than the doe’s and babies were. He appears and then disappears into the brush, leading them with him to more safety, away from your prying intruders eyes.

So on that breath of beauty and peacefulness you give your pup a “lets go” and set off for camp. Except now it is dark and of course in your haste to be off you never grabbed your flashlight. The rocky beach you clambored over cant be a good way back in the dark, can it?

But the road must be right over that hill, and it will take you both straight to your camp and your bed.

Or so you think when you set off across the hill, winding your way through sage and barely changing rabit brush and still following that waving white tail of your friend.

But it is very dark and even she can’t see where she is going too well, plus she doesn’t know the dangers of the prickly pear cactus. How will she know to avoid it? The worry starts. Not for you but for her little fuzzy feet.

Then you realize you are no longer following her waving white tail, but she is following you so close as to touch your left ankle now and then, but not close enough to get stepped on and trip you both up.

How does she knows to trust your judgment of where to step and what to avoid? When did she become so wise to know to keep quiet and observe? She must be growing up!

What could spell trust better than following your 4legged friends’ lead into a wonderful walk and then leading her through to a safe warm dinner and bed? And because that trust should never be attacked by a prickly pear cactus you pick your friend up and carry her to that elusive road. Then you let her go and follow her tail straight back to camp and a hot dinner cooked by your not so little anymore little brother.

In the end what do you realize? That crazygrandpa man was right again! This walk of friendhip, trust and wild 4legged beauty was worth the extra miles and the rainy camp setup.

And what else do you know? No matter how little your happy pup is, no matter how close and wonderful your 2legged family is, trust in the form of 4 legs and a happy tail is invaluable too!

(Post 100 is a special for my Mom, who is also my friend, and my Grandparents. Without whom I would never had what turned out to be one of my favorite walks ever.)