Friday, December 28, 2012

A White Christmas

We stayed snuggled in all weekend long. 
Mom and dad were supposed to visit friends on Christmas Day, 
but the weather turned frightful, and they stayed home.

Yea, that's dad in shorts. Thinks he's still in California, I guess.

They stuck me in a tree for a picture. A TREE!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Busy, busy, busy

Mom's been busy adding new products to her CafePress Shop

Head on over to her design blog to see some of the latest.

In the meantime, here's a shot of me doing agility.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Giving more Thanks - better late than never

I never finished filling you all in our great adventure over Thanksgiving weekend.

After the zoo, the humans came home and ate dinner. We got some nibbles, which was worth the wait, for sure.

The next morning, me, Arnie, Suki and our moms headed to agility. Yup, Suki was coming to watch us play agility. She'd seen me run the first time we met, and we'd practiced a bunch. But we were all going to a real, live show.

Heading to the show

And it wasn't just us. Izzie, my roomate from Pug Nationals in California was going to be there too! It was a reunion, for sure.

We got to the show bright and early, and Arnie was up first. He did a great job (mom says he always does), even though he didn't qualify. Then it was me, and I rocked it.

Izzie and her brother, Caesar, did great, too. Mom keeps threatening to trade me in on a black girl Pug if I don't shape up. After seeing Izzie run, I can see why. She flies over the jumps, fast as lightning.

We stayed and watched all the pugs finish their runs, then we were back home for dinner. Then the humans were flying back out the door, to go to Fort Worth for dinner and to see the parade.

They took the train there (easier than finding a parking space). Then they walked around, looking at the decorations. Then they ate dinner at Traverna. Mom and Aunt Julie eat at the Austin Taverna a lot, and wanted to try the FW one. It was delicious (or so I hear, since I got NO doggie bag). Dad declared that they have the best lasagna he's ever eaten. He's still talking about it.

Sunset. You can barely see Fort Worth from the station.

Here comes the train

Julie and dad waiting for the train home. 
Pardon the blurry photo. 
Mom's still getting used to her new phone.

They got home late, and the next day Suki and her mom left for home. We had such a great time, and we are so thankful to have such good friends to spend the holidays with.

A new blog for mom

I'd like to invite you over to mom's new blog

She's decided to branch off on her own because, frankly, 
ScreamingK9 is all about me. And pugs. And training.

As it should be.

But design is a large part of her life, 
so she started a blog to talk about it with all of you.

I hope you like her designs as much as she enjoys creating them.

Monday, December 3, 2012

So Little Time....But Lots of Gift Ideas

Mom's been busy, and hasn't had a chance to fill you in the rest of Thanksgiving weekend.

Here's what she's been up to:

Designing and updating her CafePress Shop.

Head over to and check out all the fun designs.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

More Thanks

After we got back from the dog park, the humans left us to watch the turkey cooking, and headed to the Fort Worth Zoo.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gave lots of thanks

We had very special guests for Thanksgiving. Suki and Aunt Julie were coming to stay with us, and we had so much fun, it will have to go into more than one blog post.

The weekend took awhile to get here, though. Usually, the drive takes them 3 hours. But traffic was so bad, it took 6 hours! Poor Suki hadn't eaten dinner, so the first order for business when they finally arrived was to get the girl some food. Then came some beers for the humans, and lots of catching up.

The next morning, we hit the dog park.

We met a pug as we were walking in!

He really liked to play

Arnie's always ready for some fun

The chase was on

There were lots of dogs to play with

Arnie couldn't quite figure out what this guy was doing

Suki and I just hung out with the humans, so the photos are pretty much all Arnie. He loves meeting new friends at the park, and had a great time.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Training Tip - The Bar is Open

The Bar is Open

(Mom's taking over the blog today, for a little training tip):

Often, when we adopt a new pug, or take in a foster pug, they have pre-existing fears, phobias, likes and dislikes. These issues can keep them from being adopted, or make the transition to a new home difficult, sometimes resulting in the pug being returned to rescue. It's not just rescues that can have these fears. Sometimes pugs are just afraid of things.

While every case is different, there is a technique that works in many cases to eliminate fears and anxieties in your pug. It’s called “The Bar is Open”. Well, technically it’s called classical conditioning, but “The Bar is Open” is a lot easier to remember.

The technique involves giving reward (in the case of pugs, it’s usually in the form of FOOD) whenever the scary thing is around. Eventually, your pug will learn to tolerate, then like, then look forward to, the scary thing. The “thing” can be an object, a situation, a noise or another dog. Really, anything that causes your pug anxiety can be helped with classical conditioning.  

I don't think I want to get near that thing

Let’s take a look at an example. My PROS rescue pug, Gracie, has a fear of machines that make noise. That means the vacuum, electric broom, and hair dryer were terrifying to her. Whenever they would turn on, she would run cowering under a chair, shaking like a leaf. So I decided to make the “Bar Open” whenever those machines were running. I cut out most treats while I was working on this, so the only time reward came was when the loud noise happened. Then I filled my pockets and started vacuuming. While I ran the vacuum, I would toss treats around the room. At first, I would toss them far from the vacuum, but as Gracie grew braver, I made her come closer and closer to the noise for her treat. The key is to use LOTS of treats, and dispense them as randomly as you can. Then I moved on to the hair dryer, using the same technique. Whenever the noise happened, the Bar was Open, and treats flowed. When the noise stopped, the Bar Closed Up and no more treats. 

It took about a week for her to overcome her fears. I knew she had conquered them when I opened the closet I keep the vacuum in, and she shot off the couch to join me, ears up, spinning madly – we were going to vacuum! The pug that cowered from the vacuum now couldn't wait to hear the noise. These days, when I vacuum, I have to push her out of the way with the big, scary machine. She stands in front of it, blocking the way, until it gives her a treat.

Hey, when are we going to do some housework?

A note about classical conditioning: some people don’t believe it works, because they theorize that you are “rewarding” the dog for acting fearful. The difference between rewarding for a fearful behavior and conditioning your dog to enjoy something fearful is subtle. But there is a difference. In classical conditioning, you are rewarding your dog when they are doing a wide variety of behaviors. You aren't waiting until they are not fearful, or come a certain distance from you. They just get random treats while something they fear is happening. 

Sometimes we pet and comfort our dogs when they are afraid. That is a case where you may reward that fearful behavior, because you are not rewarding for any other behavior than the fearful behavior. 

In classical conditioning, you are rewarding all sorts of fearful, non-fearful and benign behaviors. You’re creating an association, instead of rewarding a certain behavior.

You can use this technique for all sorts of fears. Take nail trimming. At first, get the trimmers out where your pug can see them, and give them lots of treats while they’re in sight. Soon, your pug will look forward to seeing them. Then pick them up, and reward your pug. Then touch their foot while you hold the trimmers. Then while you trim one paw. Then all the paws. You may never get them to LOVE nail trimming, but they will be less fearful if the Bar is Open when they are getting their nails trimmed. Pugs are notorious nail trimming haters, but all my pugs have tolerated getting it done. It’s not because they are born that way. I make a point to create a positive association, and that’s made nail trimming much less stressful.

Using this technique can relieve stress your pug may have, make their life happier, and make their transition to a new home easier.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The 3 Pugateers

After a week of catch up, mom and I headed down to Suki and Aunt Julie's house to get Arnie. I tried to convince mom that were just fine without him, but she missed her "little man".

We drove down after work on Friday, and it was a great reunion with Arnie and Suki. Mom was so glad to see both of them (and Aunt Julie, of course).

The next morning, we had to get up and get out of the house. The 3 Pugateers (Aunt Julie named us) were walking for Alzheimer's, and we had to sign in and get in line to walk. While we were waiting, lots of people made a fuss over us, and a few wanted to have their picture taken with us. We were famous - someone told us they'd heard there were three cute pugs there. That was us!

Hanging out before the walk. 
The humans had their purple shirts, 
and we had our purple bandannas.

It was a 3 mile walk through a beautiful neighborhood, up and down Austin's hills. We were troopers, and made it the whole way, no problem. We even saw some deer run down the street. Crazy, huh?

Suki posing with our custom shirts.

We went downtown to get some food, and ended up at Coal Vines. It's a great pizza place, and we've eaten there before. All I can say is "yum".

After lunch, we headed to another adventure. Mom wanted to go to the Container Store. She'd heard they are very dog friendly, and she's an organizing junkie. So we headed there, and what should have been a 15 minute in-and-out turned into an hour long fanfest. Yup, we were famous again. People came up to us every few minutes, wanting to pet us and talk about us. One woman even called her daughter to come see us. It started as soon as we got out of the car. A man stopped us to take our picture, because his wife loves pugs. Really, who doesn't? The employees could barely do their jobs, they were so busy fussing over us, too. Two workers stopped moving boxes to see the pugs they'd heard were in the store. Word spread fast.

We finally made it out, but not before everyone waved goodbye as we headed out the door with our purchases.

More relaxing at home, then mom and Aunt Julie went to drink margaritas, listen to music and eat some good food.

The next morning, the humans took pity on us, and went back downtown without us. They ate brunch, did some shopping, then headed home. We packed up the car, Arnie said goodbye to the toy box, and we drove home.

Arnie was a little quiet that night. I think he missed Suki. But he'll see her soon. They're coming up for Thanksgiving. Can't wait.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pug Nationals - Day 10

Yup, you guessed it. Up early again. Off to the airport, because we were going home today.

Rush, rush, rush to get the suitcases into the car. Rush, rush, rush to return the rental car. Rush, rush, rush through security. (Dad got the patdown, but mom managed to make it through without incident. Apparently lotion triggers the hand scanner thingies.) Rush, rush, rush to the gate. Rush, rush, rush onto the plane.

Me, practicing in my Sherpa

Sorry folks, we've had a maintenance issue, so we won't be leaving for an hour at least....argh. Oh well, we all got some much-needed shut eye while we were waiting. We finally took off, and I stayed quietly in my Sherpa, even though the top was opened (just like I learned).

We landed, got the car, and drove home. Dad had to go to work that night, so we just hung out. We played with Snap and Puck (well, mom did. I hate them both, so, you know....) and lamented about not having Arnie here when we got home. He's at Suki's house, enjoying himself with her great toybox.

Snap says, "What? They're home?"

So that was our Nationals Adventure. Lots of action, and lots of fun. It's not quite over. We still have to drive to Austin and get Arnie next weekend. There's another adventure planned, so I'll fill you in on that soon.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pug Nationals - Day 9

Do these humans EVER relax? Seriously, I'm dragging some rear here. We were up bright and early again on day 9.

We were off to an all-breed Agility Trial this time. Mom entered so she could spend some time with her non-pug friends. I know, right? She actually has friends without pugs?

The pugs were all set up in one area (thanks to my friends Tyra and Bambi's moms), and we had quite a presence. The trial was HUGE - 4 rings, and on the day we entered there were 1060 runs. Yikes!

I was up early (which meant it was nice and cool). I ran my little legs off, and came up with a qualifying score, and some MACH points. Yay for me.

Watch my run here.

Then we waited and waited for my second run. The other pugs were running too, so we got to watch a lot of action. The best part of the day came when dad showed up! He brought his whole family to watch me run, and they were very impressed with my performance. We did some more shopping, and lunch (I got more nibbles), then I went in to run again.

This time, it was pretty hot out, and when I hit the weave poles, I jumped and wouldn't go near them again. Mom thinks I burnt my feet on the hot metal. I'm not saying what happened, since it was pretty embarrassing  I'd gotten all my weave poles all week, and blew it in front of dad. He was OK with it, mom said "I was done" and I went back to being dad's little princess, carried around everywhere.

When everybody's runs were finished, we said goodbye to the family, then headed back to the hotel. There was an Award Banquet, and mom and dad were going.

They had a lot of fun at the banquet. They sat at the "international" table. There were only 3 people speaking english, and 2 were mom and dad. The others spoke German and Japanese. Made for an interesting evening. Luckily, mom talks with her hands, so they were able to communicate OK.

Mom got to go up and get some awards. Both me and Arnie got title plaques, and medallions for high scores. Dinner was pretty good, and they saw some people they'd missed at the show.

Then, it was back to the room, where I relaxed. Because, you guessed it, another big day tomorrow.

Day 10 tomorrow.....

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pug Nationals - Day 8

Yup, we're on day 8, and still no sign of slowing down. We got up bright and early this day, mom grabbed my treats, collar and leash......wait, is that my Rally collar?

The Rally ring

It was. Seems mom entered me in my very first Rally competition. We've only been practicing for a short time, and mom told me there was no pressure - just do my best and have fun. Well, have fun I did.

I do everything fast, and this course was no exception. We flew through, with me pinging off the end of my leash, and mom trying desperately to hang on. And in the end, we qualified! My first Rally leg.

After Rally, we decided to head over to the Del Valle dog show. There was lots of shopping, and 4 rings of agility. We were coming back to compete the next day, but knew there wouldn't be time for much shopping. We ate lunch (I got a nibble), then we headed back for more work.

The Showcase was tonight, and mom was helping set up. She hauled, lugged, carried and dragged all sorts of things. But it was soooo worth it. The set was spectacular. The theme was goldrush, and we used to live right near where gold was discovered in California.

Quite the set. Worthy of Hollywood.

The details were all great. These are little chicks in a box.

Check out those gold nuggets!

Where the pugs and their humans entered the ballroom

After setting up, there was practice. Mom was playing roadie, so she had to practice, too. Then it was back to the room for cleanup, a quick bite to eat, and time for the Showcase.

The Showcase highlights the top Pugs in conformation, obedience, rally and agility in a show just for them. Someday mom says I'll make it to the Showcase, but we need to get our act together first. My brother, Levi, was in the Showcase in 2005. She still has his ribbon displayed in the dog room.

Then it was early to bed, because you guessed it - another action-packed day tomorrow.

Day 9 tomorrow.....

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pug Nationals - Day 7

Another early morning. I'm not sure who set this schedule, but I'd like to have a little talk with them.

On this morning, mom was working in the obedience ring. She brought me down to the ballroom, but I was put into my crate. Yes - I got to go back to sleep!

The obedience awards table

She spent the morning watching pugs show they really CAN obey. She said it was funny, inspiring, silly and impressive. Then she told me I could learn from them. As if.

After she finished working, and putting away her gift for volunteering (another cute stuffed pug toy), it was time for the humans to do some sightseeing. Mom's roomates wanted to see San Francisco, so off they went.  We got to sleep in the room while they were gone.

She's been bunches of times, and says it's her favorite tourist town. They drove along the bay, then made their way to Fisherman's Wharf. They ate lunch, then walked around a little. They got back into the car, and drove down Lombard Street. After that, it was off to Coit Tower. Mom says it has the best view of everything from the top. They drove around a little more, then it was time to come back and feed us.

On the way, they drove past Candlestick Park, where the Giants were playing in the playoffs. The place was lit up like, well, a candle.

Relaxing in our room

Another evening of hanging out, drinking some beers, and visiting with friends. Then it was off to bed. Yup, you guessed it. Another big day planned tomorrow.

Day 8 tomorrow.....

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pug Nationals - Day 6

Six days into our adventure, and we've FINALLY reached the reason we even went in the first place.

The Pug Dog Club of America's Agility Trial!

Yup, I get to compete in an agility trial with ONLY PUGS in attendance.

I've only been one other time, and I wasn't even training in agility yet (mom and dad had just adopted me). Arnie showed (it was his first time in the ring. Let's just say, things didn't go quite as planned).

This year, mom was the co-chair, and her partner in crime, Donna, had everything ready to go. They have a deal worked out - Donna handles everything up to the day of the trial, and mom handles everything on the actual day. This is their 4th time handling it this way, and it's working out so well, they're doing it again next year.

The morning of the trial, we pulled up to a beautiful facility. It was an indoor soccer facility, and the AKC World Team practiced there. The footing was perfect (soft and flat), the lighting was great, and the set up area was right near the rings. There were even bleachers for spectators.

The worker bee's unloaded the trailer, the trophies were put out on display, the courses were set, the camera guys were in place. And we were off and running.

Ribbons and awards, waiting to be handed out

I won one of these cute stuffed pugs

4 Legged Flix was there to tape our runs

Here's my Excellent Standard run

Here's my Excellent Jumpers with Weaves run

Here's my FAST run

Here's my Time 2 Beat run

There were 16 pugs running 52 runs this year. They ranged from beginner pugs, on a course for the first time, to experienced pugs that knew the ropes. Everyone did great, and our owners and fans cheered and laughed the whole day long.

Getting the crowd excited

I even got to see a pug, Enzo, get his MACH 2 - that's an agility championship TIMES 2! It's a special achievement, and it was so cool that it happened at the Nationals. We all cheered and hollered as they ran around the ring for their victory lap.

After we all ran our runs, we had awards. I got a first place ribbon in FAST (where you have to do obstacles at a distance - that seminar must have helped) and the cutest little stuffed pug as a price. My roomie, Izzie, and her mom Tracey, got "team having the most fun". It's a special award that the judge hands out. They sure deserved it. You could see the big smile on both of their faces as they ran really fast on the course.

After awards, we had a group photo taken. 4 Legged Flix captured the hilarity of getting all the pugs in a row. Check it out here.

After we loaded all the equipment back into the trailer, packed up our loot, and unpacked our gear, we relaxed a little with friends, in the beautiful courtyard of the hotel. Good thing we're resting. Tomorrow is MORE excitement.

Day 7 tomorrow.....