I'm not known for being an opinionated person. Rather than take sides on many issues, I tend to stick with the middle ground or represent diplomacy.
However, when it comes to dogs, I find myself with a lot to say. Frequently, there are stories, advice, and ideas pertaining to dogs that I feel like I could talk about for hours - at least, if anyone is out there to listen. So, you can imagine how delighted I am to have friends like Tory; friends who share in my passion and interest and never get sick of talking about it! Even though she lives far away from me, we frequently connect to share our common ground with one another.
It is for these reasons that we decided to launch this blog. A project to work on together, a way to share with others while furthering our own knowledge of dogs, and a tribute to the creatures that we both love so much. We hope you will read and learn along with us too!
For starters, here's a little about us - in the form of an interview!
1. Describe your first dog: I was actually born into a family of 4 Australian Shepherd mixes. They were a mom, dad brother and sister. The two puppies were only 1 when I was born so I grew up with them as if they were my siblings! Most of the time I thought I was one of them. I would get in their dog houses with them, eat cereal in a bowl on the floor next to them when they would eat dog food, come running when my mom whistled etc. They all lived to be at least 18.
2. How did you first get involved working with dogs? Really just from being raised with them. I've had a total of 13 dogs in my life so far. My mom taught me most of what I know, as well as books. I was into dog books from the time I could read. I got enrolled in dog 4-H when I was 10 and that's where I got more formal training on how to handle dogs.
3. Do you have a favorite breed? Why? I like different breeds for different reasons but overall I'd have to say Dachshund. Why? Because they turn me to putty.
4. Describe your current dogs: Mud is loyal, devoted and mellow. Cinderella is happy, curious and playful
5. What would be your dream job? I don't really know, I have too many interests. Someday I think being a stay at home dog mom would be pretty ideal.
6. In your opinion, what is one piece of advice every dog owner should adhere to? You can never know everything about dogs, so always be open to learning
7. What's your favorite dog sport? Conformation. I have always been totally fascinated by purebred dogs. I love the art of conformation showing, the way it feels to gait a dog around a ring and free stack. I just have so much appreciation for purebreds and I love very "typey" looking dogs. I love that when you go to a dog show, the popular breeds like goldens and labs look completely different than the ones you see just walking down the street!
8. What do you envy most about dogs? Their athletic ability and the way they can defend themselves. I wish I could be really scary when needed!
1. What's your favorite breed of dog?: It's so hard to choose! But I am a sucker for Retrievers and a lot of herding breeds. My purebred dream dog would be a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, but I am pretty crazy about dog rescue, so the chances of owning one are somewhat slim since they are relatively rare as a breed. Additionally, I LOVE mutts! I love how one-of-a-kind they are and some of the perks of owning one.
2. What's your favorite dog sport?: Definitely agility. It's super fun to watch and also to do! It's especially neat when you see a dog competing that really loves running a course. Really, to see a dog doing anything they love is a joy.
3. Tell me about your first dog: She was a Dalmatian named Princess. It was a dream come true for me, since I totally went through a 'Dalmatian phase' like so many kids do. But knowing what I do now, I'll probably never own one again. She was very high-strung, territorial and did suffer from being half-deaf, a common trait seen in Dalmatians. Didn't stop us from loving her though.
4. What was the most eye opening thing you learned at Triple Crown Dog Academy?: Again, almost impossible to choose just one thing. Probably one of the most fundamental things I took away from my experience was simply knowing how crucial baby steps are when you are training a dog. If you want your dog to hold a down stay while you are standing 30 feet away and your friends are doing cartwheels and throwing tennis balls for other dogs, you have a lot of baby steps to work up to that point. Initially, your dog may only stay in position for 2 seconds with little or no distractions. You have to first focus on rewarding for those successes, no matter how small. Then, maybe the next time around you aim for 3 or 5 seconds. You can't skip a step, because you have to build off of the block you previously conquered with your dog in the last training session. It's definitely a great way to practice patience!
5. What do you envy most about dogs? I think the amount of sleep they get is to die for! I would love to be able to lounge and nap all day, and also to be able to fall asleep so quickly like a dog! Then again, it would also be great to have their energy and stamina when they go for a run...
6. Who is your favorite celebrity dog? That depends on what we're basing it off of! I've always thought Murray from 'Mad About You' was a really cute dog. But sentimentally, Benji and Lassie get me every time. There's also a dog named Kuma that's in commercials and movies that looks a lot like my dog, Gabe. It automatically gets him about 2 million points :)
7. How did you first get involved working with dogs? I was always crazy about dogs, volunteering at the animal shelter, pet-sitting, and teaching our dogs the tricks I could think of off the top of my head. My formal learning started by enrolling in dog 4-H. I gained some further experience training and learned some of the ropes of showing dogs.
8. Describe your dog, Gabe, in 3 words: Cute, loving, goofy.
9. What would be your dream job? There are several jobs that sound pretty appealing to me - training service dogs is high on my list. There is something so beautiful about the way a dog can give a person with a disability a better independence in life, not to mention an unbeatable companion. I would love to be a person who facilitates those matches.
10. In your opinion, what is one piece of advice every dog owner should adhere to? A dog needs physical stimulation, mental stimulation, and communication to live a fulfilled life. A dog's owner is responsible to provide these things!!
Tory is going to introduce our dogs in the next post, so be sure to check back!