Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


For some people grooming a Standard Poodle can be very scary. But I groomed Miniature Horses for 9 years, so the Poodle is EASY =)

I'm going to share with you the grooming "stuff" that I use. Just to give you an idea of what you may need for your Poodle Grooming needs...

First I use an old desk for my grooming table. My Aunt gave it to me and it works perfectly and I didn't have to pay for it!!
I bought a rubber welcome mat and put it upside down on the top of the desk. It gives Gentry something to hold onto. I put all my grooming stuff in the drawers (my blades, blade cleaner, scissors, ect.)

I have an old pin brush that I'm using now...
And a Greyhound comb. I LOVE my Greyhound comb =)

I'm saving my mula to buy one of these brushes...
I love my Andis two speed clippers. They make my job sooo much easier.

I love this spray. It's a nice skin conditioner and it smells soooo good...

I spray this on Gentry whether he is wet or dry. It keeps his skin nice and his hair silky!

And last but NOT least, my nail grinder!! This thing is awesome! Soooo much better than nail clippers. Neither of my dogs mind when I do their nails now.
I got mine from Pet Edge. It's a great deal.

To make brushing easier I taught Gentry to lay down flat on the floor. I brush him like this and do his nails this way.

And Gentry all done!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Book Reviews

Okay, so I've been doing some heavy reading. Usually I LOVE historical fiction, but lately that is just so boring to me (except Dianna Gabaldon, SHE could NEVER bore me.)

Books about dogs, real stories about people and their dogs, dog training books, dog behavior books, these are what is holding my attention lately.

"The Daily Coyote" by Shreve Stockton is a wonderful read. I really enjoyed losing myself in her wonderful descriptions. The simplicity of her life with Charlie really captured my attention and held me spell bound through the whole book. (Ask Hubby, he could barely get a word in edgewise this weekend! He practically had to pry the book from my grubby little fingers...)

"Be The Pack Leader" by Cesar Millan is also a really great book. I enjoyed the stories that he shared of the dogs (and people) that he has helped. I gobbled up what he says about us, as owners and how our actions and feelings are mirrored by our dogs. I highly recommend this book to anyone that desires to understand their dog better.

"The Other End Of The Leash" by Patricia B. McConnell Ph. D. has been a fun read so far. Usually sciency books make my eyes water and my brain turn to mush. But this is a great blend of science and humor. She writes in a wonderful, everyday language that is easy to read and absorb. I also LOVE her blog and read it daily.

All of the above books get 5 stars from me... Let me know if you read them and what YOU think!

And for a fun send off... dogs playing in the snow!

Saturday, February 27, 2010


I ordered this cute little dog tag "pawket" from Dang ol' Dog on etsy. It protects the tags from wear and tear and also keeps the quiet. That's my favorite part! The jingle jangle of tags drives me crazy. I wonder how it effects them since they have such sensitive ears?

Friday, February 26, 2010


I have an aversion to the word "Come". So I don't really use it.

When I want Gentry to be beside me I say "With Me." This means come be beside me, on the left hand side of me. This command is issued when we are walking or when he is off sniffing and I want him back to me. When he does it he gets a treat. Every time. SO, he loves to be "With Me."

As we walk along, if he is "With Me" he gets a treat, sometimes three or four. I like him to sit when I stop walking. If he offers this to me without me asking for it, he gets a treat. He offers the sit A LOT. In fact he will just walk up to me and sit neatly in front of me ALL THE TIME. If I have something that he desperately wants to see, he will sit quietly, in hopes that I will show it to him.

Today it was this that he NEEDED to see, smell, lick and nudge...

He was so VERY gentle and sweet with the puppies. He sat quietly, with just his tail wagging and wagging with joy. What an absolutely wonderful dog I am blessed with!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I am OBSESSED with collars and leashes. I can't stop looking at them, bookmarking them, wanting them.

I want leather...
This one can be found at Bold Lead Desings. Gorgeous isn't it!?

Then I love martingale style collars...

I bought mine at Trendy Hound.

I am always shopping, looking to see the latest colors, styles, ect. I tell myself that I need a Traffic Lead (super short for walking tall dogs in the heel position) then I need a 4 foot lead, then I'll need a 6 foot leash. Really it all gets ridiculous!

What I have:
A beautiful Martingale Collar and a soft 6 foot hemp leash from Earth Dog. And they both suit us just fine. Amazingly I find that I don't actually NEED any of the other things... I just WANT them =)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


There are A LOT of dogs in our town. It seems that there are at least two dogs at every other house on our daily walks. Most of these dogs bark. And they bark A LOT.

This upsets Gentry. He gets nervous and anxious as we get closer to the yards with the barking dogs. Gentry doesn't bark or lunge on the leash, but he whines and may lag behind me a bit, gently pulling on the leash, like he wants to turn around.

I've been watching lots of Cesar Millan lately and one thing he does with an aggressive dog who lunges and screams at the end of the leash, at the dogs barking in a yard, is to approach the yard and have the aggressive dog turn it's rear to the yard dogs. This is a dogs' way of showing submission. Cesar doesn't get the dog close enough to the fence for any smelling and touching (obviously!!) but it's amazing the effect it has on the aggressive, on leash dog.

SO, I decided to try something. To help Gentry with his anxiety and nervousness around the barking dogs, I have him turn his back to the yard and sit. I give him a cookie. Then I tell him to lay "down". Then I give him a cookie. While he is laying down, calm and submissive, I stroke him a little, then I stand up, Gentry continues to lay down. The most amazing thing happens to the dogs in the yards...


Every time, they stop barking and sit down, watching us. Sometimes we are across the road from them, sometimes we are right smack in front of their fence. But every time they quiet down and relax. Even with me standing. I don't make eye contact and I don't talk to them or my dogs. (Angus is usually just hanging out beside me, sometimes I ask him to sit too, that way he can have a treat!)

This has been amazing. When Gentry starts to get anxious, he may start to whine a little, then it's like a light bulb goes on and he looks up at me, focuses in on my face and watches me. When he does this I give him a cookie. If he goes straight to nervous, pulling on the leash a little, lagging behind me, then I'll do the sit, down method. He gets up calm and submissive and ready to continue on our walk!

Cesar's extreme methods are for dogs that have gone beyond normal. They are emotional wrecks, so they need extreme handling. But for a mostly stable dog, you can take some of the methods, tone them down and use them. Does Gentry wear a choke chain? No. Do I pull on his neck? No. Do I pet him when he is barking, showing anxiety or whining? No.

I know that I am not a balanced person at this time in my life. I have some MAJOR stresses going on and I have to learn how to deal with them in a more healthy way. But that doesn't mean that I should allow my dog to become anxious, nervous and out of control, if I can help it. So I do my best! Cesar has really helped me to see how my feelings and behavior effect my dogs.

He isn't unstable, but he is goofy!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Walk

I believe that walking your dog is very important. Even before I had heard of Cesar Millan I had thought that walking my dog changed my day. If I was having a BAD day and I put everything aside, walking out the door with my dog, could change my out look immediately.

The dog I had then was a "Pound Puppy" that was so happy go lucky she made friends with EVERYONE in the neighborhood. I remember one time I was walking her and a neighbor of ours came walking out to her mail box and greeted me. I stopped to talk with her. Lilly was wandering around sniffing and looking and checking out the bushes. Suddenly the neighbor got anxious and said she better get back because her dog Smokey was coming. I told her not to worry, he and Lilly were great friends.

We walked by there all the time and Smokey would run down the hill to make sure we were doing what we should be =) The neighbor was shocked to see him bound up to Lilly, wagging his stumpy tail, obviously happy to see her.

She would wag her big fluffy tail like a Peace Flag and dogs would lower their tails and their ears and instead of fighting they would just greet her.

Our Lilly

I walk my dogs every day. Most often twice a day. We walk the boys to school in the morning and then walk to school in the afternoon to pick them up. Then we walk down to the city park and play with our Wubbas while the boys play at the park. This exercise helps EVERYONE to sleep well at night. It's good for the dogs emotionally and physically and it's good for the boys emotionally and physically. And CERTAINLY it's good for ME! (I've lost more than 10 pounds since we moved to Ennis!!)

Snuggley, well exercised puppies!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bring on the Kongs!!

I finally broke down and forked over the money for a couple of Kongs. The dogs are rather hard on toys. They destroy all the toys I buy them. BUT the Kong is pretty much indestructible. They are MEANT to be chewed. I stuffed these with peanut butter and dog food. The first time I gave them to the dogs they just looked at me, looked at the Kongs and walked away!

WHAT!? These things are reeking of peanut butter and the dogs WALK AWAY!

It took about an hour for Gentry to finally sit down and spend a little time with his Kong.

Angus figured it out first and had his clean in about 30 minutes, after walking around it for about 20 minutes.

Look at his little tongue!

Silly dogs.

Now they clean them out in about 20 minutes.

Smart dogs =)

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Just for fun I had Hubby take a couple of conformation shots of Gentry today. I thought I would discuss them. I'm going to use the book "Poodle Clipping and Grooming" by, Shirlee Kalstone as my refrence. I LOVE doing things like this!

The poodle should be nice and square. Squarely built means the poodle is the same length as it is tall.

Oh My Gosh! You do NOT know how long it took me to get this picture formatted to work here!! Geesh! It took me seconds to put the box on the photo, then about an half an hour to get it here... Whew!

Okay, in the above photo you can see how Gentry's chest and back of the butt fit into the box. That is good! The top line is a little long however and he is a bit sway backed. Also he has a low set tail. It should come directly out of the top of his back, it's a few inches below his back bone.

Now for the head shot. He is a little "jowly" which means that he has too much skin around his mouth. He has WONDERFUL ear leathers, they are long and full. The measurement from the end of his nose to the spot between his eyes should be the same as the measurement from the spot between his eyes to the back of his head. It looks pretty good in this photo.

His ears are set nice and close to the head, when viewed from the front...
His head is a little too broad as is his muzzle. (He looks manly to me!)

His neck is a little bit too long and it's a ewe neck, which means that it sits too far forward on his shoulders. The correct neck starts back more between the shoulder blades. He is a tiny bit butt high, but has a nice muscular hind end and a nice deep chest. (The chest should come down and be equal to the elbows.) And he has a nice tuck up, where his stomach goes up into his hind quarters.

Front View should be nice and straight, toes pointing forward, not in or out...
He has nice straight legs in the front and nice tight feet. His toes are a nice oval shape and his nails are nice and short. (Thanks to my nail grinder!)

The hind end is supposed to be nice and straight, legs parallel with eachother. I'm sorry this is a terrible shot. I didn't check before Hubby snapped and he didn't say anything. (He thinks I'm obsessive/compulsive about these things. WHATEVER!)
But in reality, he has nice straight hind legs and again, very NICE feet.

I think he could have a little more angulation in his hind legs, when viewed from the side. His hocks are a little straight, but nothing to worry about. He will stay nice and sound!
Actually once I put the line on the picture, his angulation looks pretty good! His hock is a good distance from the line and there is good bend in it. With the hair a little long, it makes his leg look straighter than it is. If I was a PROFESSIONAL groomer, I would be able to enhance that leg instead of making it look like a post! lol (and this picture didn't take me near as long to figure out as the first one did! I can LEARN!!)

Movement is very important. That is hard to show since I don't have any action shots of him except this one...
And it is hard to see his wonderful fluid trot. He has what we call a "Daisy Cutter" trot in the dressage world. Meaning that his toes would snap the heads off the daisy's as he skimmed the ground. Pretty picture!! Now I just have to get an actual picture of him trotting!

Hopefully you enjoyed our little Conformation Education ;)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cesar Millan

I have become HOOKED on Cesar Millan. I can NOT believe what he can accomplish with an unstable dog. It's truly amazing and life changing to watch him working.

Today I bought his book, "Be The Pack Leader." I JUST started reading it, but wanted to share something from the first couple of pages.

"I want to acknowledge all women, and the special power that all women hold- even though they may not realize it yet. I worry about the fact that my kids are growing up in a very unstable world; a world that is going to require some incredible pack leaders if it is going to be made right again. I believe that women hold the key to helping put our world back into balance. But they can't do that until men truly acknowledge and honor the unique wisdom and the leadership women have to offer- and until women can embrace the pack leaders within themselves. More than most men, many women seem to instinctively know that leadership doesn't mean negative energy. It doesn't mean pitting one person against another, one country against another, one religion against another. I also believe that women are more likely than men to act for the good of the pack. And like dogs, we humans need to remember that without the pack we are nothing. I have seen more compassion from women in my life than I have seen from men. Women have taught me true calm-assertive leadership, and because of them I have become a better, more balanced leader in all areas of my life, not just with dogs."

What a powerful statement to be made for women! WOW!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ear Problems

Gentry has had an ear infection since I got him. When I took him to the local vet to have his ear hair plucked, they told me that his ear was "just waxy". But the next day his ear was all inflamed, red and blistered. There was black gunk coming out and the stink! I don't know what that vet was thinking, just waxy!!?? What ever!!

Yes there was wax in there, but after I cleaned this part, huge black clumps came out from deeper in and the smell!! Ugggg... by the way, this picture was taken the day after I went back to the vet for an ear cleaner that they sell, which I promptly used. The cleaner caused Gentry's ear to get so inflamed and blistered that I could barely touch the OUTSIDE of his ear.

So I did a little research of my own and one thing that I learned was that dogs prone to ear infections shouldn't eat food with Beet Pulp in it. I went straight to my dog food bag (Kirkland Lamb and Rice) and there within the first 10 ingredients was BEET PULP. Great, I had JUST bought a 40 pound bag of food at Costco. Luckily, my Aunt feeds her dog Kirkland Brand dog food and was more than happy to take the bag off my hands. Her dog doesn't have any chronic problems =)

I did some searching around on line, looking into what other Poodle owners are feeding and came across Flint River Ranch dog food. It's $38 for a 20 pound bag and that includes shipping! I was thrilled. The other brand of food that I had found was $48 for a 20 pound bag and I would have had to drive an hour to Bozeman to pick it up at Pet Smart. I LOVE having my dog food brought to my door!

With lots of cleaning, I use coconut oil for it's antibacterial healing qualities, then spraying the infected ear with an essential oil spray my Aunt made for Gentry, his ear cleared right up. I also did not feed him one more piece of the Kirkland Brand dog food. His ear has stayed fairly clear since I switched food.

I think that the original infection is not entirely cleared up yet, but yesterday I reached as far as my fingers could reach and cleaned and cleaned with coconut oil, then sprayed the spray in. Today it looks and smells way better!

This picture was taken about 2 weeks later (which was today) after cleaning with coconut oil and spraying with the essential oil blend my Aunt gave me. HUGE difference!

SO the moral of my story, if you are having a chronic problem, check the ingredients in your dog food!! It's amazing what kinds of things dogs are allergic or sensitive to.

My Aunt that made me the essential oil blend is also writing a book about using essential oils on animals. This will be a wonderful book when it is all done! I'm doing the editing and it is in the final stages!! Check her website for more information... Natural Remedies for Your Four-Legged Friends.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Secret Life of Dogs

I found this video on another Dog Blog that I watch. It's fascinating!

It's amazing what they have discovered about dogs and how they think. It's really worth an hour of your time to sit down and watch this.

The Secret Life of Dogs.

Oh! And I clipped Gentry last night. He has been way too hot, panting and having a hard time getting comfortable. So I clipped him with a #5 skip tooth blade after carefully brushing him with the pin brush and then combing through his hair with a Greyhound comb. I clipped his body abd left hair on the top of his head, his legs and his tail. THEN we hopped into the bath tub. FUN! I was soaked even more so than the dogs =) After the bath I brushed Gentry and blow dried his hair with my little hair dyer. It worked alright. I think he looks great!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Planet Dog

I thought I would right write a little about our favorite toy! This ball is INDESTRUCTIBLE! Seriously, my little dog, Angus can shred a tennis ball in about 3 minutes. I was going through them like crazy. I saw the Planet Dog ball at a local pet store and decided to fork over the $7.95. It was the BEST $7.95 I EVER spent on a dog toy! He LOVES his ball. I bought one for Gentry as well and he loves it too. Highly recommended!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

So far we've worked on Gentry learning his name. By that I mean, when I say his name he looks at me. Or even comes to me. To encourage that I make sure to give him a treat whenever he does either. I say, "Gentry" in a happy voice, he looks and usually bounds over to me and POP a treat goes into his mouth.

Here he comes!

I haven't really introduced "come" as a command yet. Of course my little Shorkie, Angus, knows this one. I taught it to him when he was just a baby. I would say, "Angus, come!" in a happy voice and whenever he came he got a treat. If he ran to me happily, then he got more than one treat. He learned that FAST. Now he comes at high speed whenever I call him, which of course has helped Gentry come as well. As Angus got older sometimes he would get a treat and sometimes he would just get a "good boy" and a lot of petting.

One thing I never do is get angry at either dog for not coming. If they don't come the first time I call, then I do something interesting, like play with one of their toys, or hide myself. This usually has them looking for attention very quick. Then I say "good boy!" and give them a treat. That way they always think that coming to me is wonderful.

I can't wait to start taking lessons with Gentry in Bozeman. I hope they start soon!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Poodle?

This blog is going to be a diary of our walk along the Obedience Trail. So far we haven't walked very far, but have enjoyed every step we've taken.

Gentry came to me at the age of 10 months. I was more than happy to get an older puppy! No house breaking or chewing up EVERYTHING. We are renting so the less destructive behavior the better =)

And his temperament... It's wonderful! He is very willing and wants to please me. Teaching him to walk on a leash was a breeze! He mostly always walks with his shoulder in line with my leg. He learned to sit in a day and lay down the next day. We haven't worked on heeling yet, but we're getting there. I'm hoping to start taking lessons in Bozeman in a couple of weeks.

Come along with us! All the trials and tribulations. I'm sure there will be many.

So far I've read several books, and now feel even more confused that before I started reading! Right now I'm reading, "Remembering to Breathe" by, Willard Bailey. Now this is proving to be a VERY helpful book and a really fun read!! I HIGHLY recommend it.

Next I'm tackling "Treats, Play, Love" by Patricia Gail Burnham. I'll let you know...

About Me

My photo
I am a stay at home mom of two beautiful boys and the wife of Hubby, the love of my life. I am an amateur photographer, a wanna be writer and the house keeper. (I'm not very good at that last one...)