Who Let the Chihuahuas Out?

Sometimes you want to meet someone just like you.  At least the Chihuahuas do.  Okay, maybe the Chis don’t really care, but Chi owners do.  I mean really, if dog breed is at all indicative of anything about you, then there should be some similarity among you and other people that own the same breed.  Right?!?!  Ahhh, that’s a question for Wanda.

So I’m guessing that even the most unengaged owner has looked online at least once to learn something about their dog’s breed.  Well that’s what Wanda did.  Eight years later she’s the organizer of the Dade County Chihuahua Meet up Group.  How cool is that?  For the past eight plus years Chihuahua owners have been gathering monthly with their Chis and 300 others to share stories and allow the Chihuahuas to play.

Check out what some people are saying about it:

I think others should join the group because it’s fun to take your dogs to a place where they can socialize with other Chihuahuas.  It’s a good experience.

Good place for your dog to socialize and meet other people who love the same kind of dog you do.  You can make play dates with others.

The more, the merrier I say.  It’s not about the people.  It’s about the dogs.  They all sniff each other and play with each other, you can’t do that for your dog, so see you at the next meet.

 

A Story About a Golden

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Here she is retrieving and then effectively guarding.

Since I’ve been thinking a lot about resource guarding and trying to understand it a little better.  I started to think about ways I could make Goldie willingly, on her own give me her toy.  One thing that occurred to me is that she first has to trust and like me.  So we spent the days in the park going for walks.  I would walk, call her and when she came, I would reward her.  The whole time that she walked by my side, I’d verbally mark her behavior with a high, happy pitched “Goooood”!  Constantly using the same verbiage, which consisted of “Goldie, Come”, “Gooooooood” and “Let’s Go”.  Remember, English as a second language for these guys.  She did well with that.

Next step was bringing out the frisbee.  The first few times she got the frisbee, she was clear with Stella and Rocco that they weren’t gonna have it.  I tried going over several times and she ran even further and shoved the pups away.  So I turned the other way, called Rocco and Stella and created fun for us away from her.  Pretty soon she found herself all alone with the frisbee.  Yikes!  What fun is that?  Meanwhile, Rocco and Stella are over here having all sorts of fun, running and getting praise and rewards for doing all kinds of neat things.  She soon realizes she wants to be part of that and rejoins us.  When she does, frisbee-less, she is welcomed, praised and reinforced for following using the same verbiage of “Goooooood”, “Let’s Go” and “Goldie, Come”.

The next step…drumroll please!  I introduced a game of trade.  I gave her the frisbee and asked her to trade for a treat.  And SHE DID!  So I gave it to her again, and asked to trade for a treat.  SHE DID AGAIN.  So I did it again and again .  You may know the drill.  If you’ve heard me say it once, you’ve heard me say it a million times.  Two times two is four.  Two times two is four.  They made you do it so much, you learned it.  Someone asks you now, “what’s two times two”?  You don’t even think about it.  “Four”.  IMHO repetition is key when you work with your dog.

As we drove home on Goldie’s last day with me, I thought she came along way and did really well with these exercises.  I could say that for her, holding on to toys is a very emotionally charged experience, but suffice it to say that it’s just a very big deal.  And this game of “trade” is certainly a better alternative to being rough and helps to develop a nice bond and a trusting relationship.

Rocco’s Pack Out ‘n’ About: West Kendall Dog Park

So we ventured out looking for some new places to hang out and we found this fun spot in the heart of West Kendall.  It’s called West Kendall District Dog Park at 11255 SW 157TH Ave, Miami, FL 33196.

Our new hangout
Our new hangout

The goods: Plenty of space, lots of doggy exercise equipment.

The bads: No poop bags…Please people, don’t steal the poop bags.  The county is already being super generous by letting us have this big space for our dogs!!

Cristina Perez Photography

Cristina
Cristina

Twenty years later, my friend is a talented photographer and beautiful person.  She tells me, “everyone is beautiful” and her lifestyle photography captures the beauty of people doing what they love.  When I asked exactly what IS lifestyle photography, she described it as studio sessions incorporating objects used to fulfill the passion or talent of the person she’s photographing.  See for yourself: http://www.cristinaperezphotography.com/

When I was in her studio, I also got to see some of the beautiful landscapes she’s captured.  Dumbfounded and in awe, I sheepishly asked, “but how do you know if what you see, is going to make a good photo”?  She explained that a good photographer has the gift of knowing a good composition when they see one.  “oh”, I replied, “well, are you ever surprised”?  She thought about it for a moment then began to tell me about her Chihuly abstract pieces taken at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.  She said, “I was blown away when I saw them on my monitor and even more so when I printed them”.  So I asked to see, and when I did, I thought one thing followed by a million other things.  First I thought, “this is the kind of work seen in a gallery”.  Then I thought, “I want her to photo me”, “I want her to photo Rocco” and “I want to share her talent with everyone I know”.  But the most brilliant thought I had was, “I want her to join the pack”!  That’s right!  Rocco’s Pack!  We’re cool, hip and groovy.  Aren’t we?  We are ONE cool pack!  She’d love to be part of us!  I told myself this several times and then finally, got the guts to ask if she’d come to Rocco’s Birthday/Holiday Party.  To my surprise, she agreed and I was elated.

Ladies, gents and hounds from near and far, we bring you Cristina.  She’s my friend from seventh grade, she’s talented as heck and she’ll be at Rocco’s Celebration this Sunday.  She’ll be there to capture you and your pooch in your best holiday look.  Don’t miss it!  The best part is, out of pure kindness and generosity, she’s agreed to one complimentary digital image.

Learn more about my fabulous friend at http://www.cristinaperezphotography.com/  and “Like” her page on Facebook where you can learn about and contribute topics for her ongoing photojournalism series https://www.facebook.com/cristinaperezphotography.  But most importantly come out and meet her this Sunday.  Here are the details:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

1:00pm- 3:00pm

Bone Zone at Gwen Margolis Park

17815 North Bay Road

Sunny Isles, FL 33160

Street Girl to Lure Course Champion

Have you ever chased a dog after it almost got run over? If you’ve caught it, and then thought to yourself, “maybe I CAN have another dog”, or “how will my pack react to a new dog at home?”, then you should read on. Bella is a sweet female Basenji mix who didn’t always have it good. She was found in the streets of Bal Harbour, slashed face, hookworms, and running from everyone and everything. After struggling for hours to get her, Susana, in true private investigation mode, was determined to find her owners. She called on everyone from city officials to fisherman. She put signs and ads up all over the neighborhood and internet. She took her to the Humane Society and checked with other rescue organizations and after exhausting all options she made an agreement with a local pet resort for temporary housing of Bella.

The Fabulous Susana and Bella
The Fabulous Susana and Bella

After her experience with Bella, Susana said to me, “She taught me real dog things. The Chis just wanna shop and sip cappuccino, but Bella’s different. It took Susana over a month to properly introduce Bella to her 3 dogs. Baccarat, the eldest in Susana’s pack, had the most trouble. Susana did everything from Google searches to basic obedience and socialization classes. She read lots of books and learned in depth about Basenjis. “Learning about Bella’s breed helped me understand her behavior and how best to create situations where she could exercise her natural instincts”. Hmm, I thought, maybe instead of chasing after that retriever when he picks up things with his mouth, why not teach him to “give it”? Retrievers are very mouthy. And I know from experience, mine is always looking for something to put in his mouth. His new thing now, is he greets me with anything in his mouth. I can picture him as the key slides into the key-hole, perking up and thinking “must retrieve her something, STAT! Remote control. DONE”. Well, at least we’ve stopped the jumping. I hold my hand out, ask him to “give it” and he proudly, feeling like he’s a superstar, complies and proceeds to find something else he can bring me.

Check out these photos of how Susana’s made Bella a superstar at what she does.

 

Where Dog Training is Done Using the Brain, Not Pain 786-309-5109