This post was in no way asked for or sponsored. I just found and watched Kikopup dog training videos yesterday and loved them enough to pass this along. I’ve decided to use the power of my blog to promote stuff that actually impresses me – not just sponsored posts or items (although I love sponsors too).
Since Mr. BFS and I said we’d be open to fostering even untrained puppies, I figured it was time to learn how to actually train a dog. After just a few minutes of searching, I came across the suggestion of finding the “Kikopup” dog training videos on YouTube by Emily Larlham. Have you seen these yet?
Positive Reinforcement Training
Picture found at Emily’s site – http://dogmantics.com/
This lady seems to be a training genius! All of her videos use treats, clickers, and positive reinforcement. Negativity and punishment aren’t necessary to train a dog. I know that may be obvious to some of you, but not to me.
And before you whine at me in the comments, I am not chiding anybody for yelling at their dog. Heaven knows I have fussed at every dog that I’ve owned and even swatted their butts. But from here on out, I am going to throw myself into the Kikopup ways and see if life can go on without the yelling and swats. It doesn’t feel good to be pissed off, so spending a few minutes a day for 2 weeks with a few touch up lessons later sounds like a way better deal than being angry all the time.
All of that said, I zeroed in on two of her videos (but I watched about five more of them anyway, lol). I figure if I can housetrain a dog and teach it to behave calmly overall, I’d have my main bases covered. Plus, any future owners of my fosters would be way less likely to return a well-behaved dog than one that is absolutely nuts.
Although I’ve never owned a dog of my own that needed to be housetrained, it will happen at some point. From watching the video below, I know that teaching a puppy/dog where it can go potty is easier than teaching where it should not go potty.
The first main step is to immediately offer a treat whenever the pup goes to the restroom in the appropriate area. If it starts to go in an inappropriate area, interrupt it and get it to the restroom area and treat it if it finishes there.
If there are accidents where there shouldn’t be, make sure to use enzymatic cleaners to get rid of the scent and then use that area for trick training or even eating and drinking. This helps reinforce the idea that the area they chose is NOT a potty place. Only give treats when they potty in the right place.
Apparently it will take 2-4 weeks of constant supervision and a ton of treats, but in the end, you’ll have a dog that will only use the restroom where it is supposed to use the restroom. There are great tips listed at the end of all of the videos too.
Teaching calmness also takes about 2 weeks. The trick is to put treats on the ground when they are being calm. Ignore them when they are excited but have the treats appear again when they go back to being calm. Then you can move on to sitting next to them and only putting the treats down when the dog is settled next to you. Overall, it’s all about treats when the dog is calm or in trained positions like “sit”, but not when they are being too excited. Over a couple of weeks, a dog’s default will be to settle since that is the most enjoyable. You can do touch up lessons to reinforce once in a while after the initial push.
I actually can’t wait to get started. We may be getting our first foster tomorrow. If I need to do training with her or Mr Pug, I’ll record it and post the videos here in the future along with our progress. Wish me luck!
Have you heard of these videos already? Or what training method do you like?
From 2008 through most of 2009, we fostered Pugs. At the time, we only owned Miss Doxie and felt like we had space for another dog or two. Fostering meant that I could help out while we also tested the pups out to see who would make a great forever fit. It worked out well then, hence Mr. Pug, so we’ve decided to do it again.
Past Fostering Experiences
Since we were a couple with no kids and only one dog, the Pug rescue decided that we would be a great place for the recovering dogs could recover. The problem was that meant that the first 3 dogs we were asked to care for were all either broken or sick. I do not mind temporary issues, but I was not prepared to handle a broken hip, a mental issue, and then undiagnosed pneumonia. It was way too stressful for me. I think it would have been easier if I had breaks between the medical issues.
Flippy was our first foster dog. He was a very sweet boy, but his broken hip meant that he needed to be kept still. Weird that he was the best escape artist of them all then, right? He’d be out for a potty break for 5 minutes and try to dig out every time with the broken hip and all.
What ended up happening is that I drove the poor Pug with pneumonia to their vet, and then waited for a call from the head of the rescue for an update. When she confirmed it was pneumonia, I went a tiny bit hysterical and whined that it seemed like all of the dogs we got to watch were broken and dying. She snapped back that of course they were sick and that’s why we foster them.
She apologized later for snapping at me, and the next dog I received was Mr. Pug. At the time, he was a perfectly healthy Pug that was being given up because the family preferred their lab puppy and the lab didn’t like Mr. Pug. Within 3 weeks, we knew he was the one for us and adopted him. But I continued to foster.
Our next 4 fosters were also healthy, amazing dogs. I actually regret not adopting two of them to this day. Then the 5th one was super dominant and started several fights with Miss Doxie. That ended fostering for me at that time.
These two brothers were amazing dogs. They were perfectly trained and sweet around everybody. We really should have adopted them both and dealt with being a 4 dog household, lol. But they are hopefully still being pampered with a family and their kids right now about an hour away.
These were the mom/son duo that we took care of after Tank and Rox. They were great too, but Suki and Miss Doxie were not great friends. Joey and Suki were adopted out to a guy that uses them to cheer up kids in the hospital.
I realize that I didn’t know enough about myself in 2008 to set my own boundaries out loud with fostering. I allowed myself to be pushed beyond my limits. Then I was just resentful because they didn’t read my mind (and a little because they made me feel like we could never do enough unless we all were taking care of 10 dogs each).
But I do feel like Miss Doxie left a big spot open. We aren’t ready to permanently fill it yet, but Mr. BFS and I do want to open ourselves up to help again. I also know myself well enough now to just lay all of my cards out there from the beginning. I found a rescue in our part of town, filled out the fostering application, and made sure to let them know the full gist of what we can handle. In short, we would like to foster laid back dogs that are 50 pounds or less and won’t kill my Pug. And we can only take in one at a time.
Thankfully, this rescue seems happy to use volunteers based on what their volunteers are willing to handle. They already have a dog in mind for us – a 35 pound, mixed breed, 1.5 year old named Daisy. She is already crate and house trained, and she seems to get along well with other dogs. She was found as a stray, so there isn’t much history. We’ll see if she and Mr. Pug can live together while they find her a forever home. I’ll update you next week.
Have you ever fostered before? How did it go for you?
For three days this week, I watched over two young Boxers.
Other than learning that I don’t have the energy to own a puppy for longer than 3 days, I also figured out that I should have a pet sitting checklist for any future clients just to avoid some issues.
My Recent Pet Sitting Experience
These two pups didn’t have many of the issues on the list below, but I decided I should be thorough for the future. The male only had one main issue. He did not like being kenneled and would whine constantly. Some of my night was spent sleeping on a couch next to the Boxers’ kennel to keep the male quiet.
This little baby boy hated my Pug. Not too surprising since Mr. Pug was being grumpy too.
His little girl is the most laid back lap dog ever…she’s a cool chick. :-)
This little lady was adorable. She also wanted to be in everyone’s lap at all times. :-)
Overall, it was a very successful 3 days, but I am exhausted thanks to the weird sleeping arrangements. I hope their owner wants to use me again in the future over at his home. Anyway, onto my new official checklist of questions…
Pet Sitting Checklist
- Does your pet get along with small dogs?
- Is he/she aggressive towards anything?
- Is your pet up to date with all of their vaccinations?
- How active is your pet?
- Is your pet kennel trained? Specifically, is he/she okay in their kennel or does he/she fight it or whine while in it?
- Is he/she allowed on the furniture?
- Is your pet on any medication?
- Is your pet potty trained?
- What is your pet’s favorite toy or chew?
- Is your pet a grazer or do they get fed at certain times of the day?
What other questions do you think I’m missing? Help me out – this will be the list I ask all future clients before accepting a job. :-) I got lucky this time and was able to manage the cute puppies despite not knowing much about them in advance. Next time, I want to know as much as possible.
I’ve started to feel stagnant in the last few months. Usually that means that I need to tackle something new (as you’ll see below). Right now, I think that means growing my pet sitting side hustle/hobby job!
Past and Current Side Hustles / Hobby Jobs / Careers
I’ve mentioned these before, but I thought you would appreciate the list again if you missed it. I’ve been working in one way or another since middle school.
- Library volunteer in 6th grade ($0)
- Nursing home volunteer in 7th grade ($0)
- Historical museum volunteer in 8th grade ($0)
- Babysitting in middle school and high school ($5 an hour)
- English Tutor in Argentina during late high school ($0 – volunteer)
- Pawn reseller during late high school ($15-$60 per ring) – I would buy rings from the “new and crazy” arena of online auctions in 1998 (like Bidz) and resell those rings to the local pawn shops.
- Dorm 24-hour help desk ($6 an hour) – I actually met Mr. BFS at this job one late night when I pulled him over to keep me company. Found out later that he kept walking by since he was trying to think of something to say, lol. He’s lucky I am social and get bored easily, hahaha.
- Dorm tour guide ($6 an hour) – This was boring and required a lot of walking. Parents also always seemed surprised that dorm rooms are small. Note to all parents – dorm rooms are small and most teenagers don’t care. You can eat, sleep, and hang out…don’t need much space for that.
- University of Houston donation center caller ($6.50 an hour and it sucked for 2.5 months before I quit) – I don’t know how many people hung up on me while saying that they worked for Enron and couldn’t afford anything, much less donations.
- University of Houston Games Room Attendant ($6.25 an hour and I did it for 3 years) – This was AWESOME. Made some great friends and am just super lucky to have ever gotten this position so I could leave the donation center.
- University of Houston Admin Office Assistant ($6.25 an hour for 2.5 years at the same time I worked the Games Room) – This was a great filler position, especially during the summers.
- Black Jack Dealer for Company Parties ($11 an hour but travel time didn’t count..overlapped with my last year of college) – I worked a bunch of company and private parties throughout Houston. It wasn’t as fun as real gambling, like at www.888casino.com/casino-games, but it was a great Friday and Saturday night job throughout my last year of school and first couple of years after graduation.
- Tax Office Receptionist ($7 an hour) - This one overlapped with the Games Room and the Black Jack Dealing for my last semester of college…had 12 hours of classes and 60+ hours of part-time jobs, lol.
- Forms programmer ($26,500-$35,500 a year over 6 years) – That job was pointless but I met a handful of amazing people, and the free time there did lead me to find out about blogging. So yay!
- Pet Sitting on and off for years ($20 per dog per night) – My favorite puppy to watch was Asia the Shar-Pei.
- Baby Sitting on and off ($10 an hour for two kids) – This lasted for about 6 days in one month. Then the kids started acting out since their mom left so often to be with her boyfriend.
- Baby Sitting ($20 an hour for three kids) – This was for a full weekend. I’m looking forward to continuing.
- Blogging and Blog Advertising Management ($100,000+ per year now) – This is by far the best job that I’ve ever had. It fits with my leap frog brain activity and lets me have the flexibility to actually live. The money is nice but the real benefits aren’t monetary. It’s nice to have a job that just finally fits me and not the other way around.
Pet Sitting Again
As you saw, I’ve been a pet sitter and baby sitter on and off for more than 15 years. I posted a classified ad on our home owner’s association (HOA) website last August. It’s been so long that I nearly forgot. But I received a call last Thursday to check in once a day with two new, super cute dogs in the neighborhood for a couple of months. Woot!
That gave me the inspiration I needed to tackle pet sitting all out. I updated my HOA website ad, added a cool picture of me and my mom’s parrot (Penny), and then listed myself on Craigslist too. That’s where I found pet sitting jobs a few years ago.
My Pet Sitting Post
Crystal’s Cozy Care Pet Sitting – Petsitter / Pet Sitter Available
Welcome to Crystal’s Cozy Care Pet Sitting! I’m self-employed and available during the day or night for pet-sitting in Northwest Houston, Spring, the Woodlands, etc.
As for experience:
- I’ve taken care of dozens of dogs through volunteer work and pet sitting.
- We have our own dog, an 11 year old Pug.
- We were just forced to say goodbye to our 15 year old Dachshund that we had for nearly 9 years.
- I’ve volunteered for 2 years with the Houston SPCA (worked the big dog section and worked with puppies and cats if anyone was ill)
- We fostered Pugs for 1.5 years before we adopted ours.
- I regularly pet sit two other Dachshunds and one cat.
- I’m adding two Shiba Inu pups to my upcoming schedule.
- In the past, I’ve watched over a variety of birds, dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, and guinea pigs. The largest has been a 140 pound Mastiff. The smallest was a finch.
I can visit your home 1-3 times a day as needed. If you would prefer to drop off your pet at my home instead, we can work out those details too on a case by case basis. I cannot accept cats in my own home thanks to allergies.
My rates would depend on the circumstances of the job for which you need me. In general, it would be $15-$20 per visit depending on how many animals are in the home.
Please call between 10am-10pm or email me anytime with questions or to schedule a meeting. Thanks!
I posted that ad Friday night and received my first call Sunday morning. I’ll be taking care of two boxers this Tuesday-Thursday, whoo-hoo!!! I love it when my ideas start working quickly. But, I want to make sure that I am communicating well to as many people who see the ad as possible.
If you were just browsing Craigslist for pet sitting ideas, what else would you need to see before you’d contact me? What would you suggest adding or taking out? What do you think about my new page – http://www.dogslifeforme.com/crystals-cozy-care/? All suggestions are greatly appreciated!
Goodbye Miss Doxie
June 1998 – February 2014
We said goodbye to Miss Doxie yesterday afternoon. She hurt her neck last Saturday, but the pain medication and muscle relaxant didn’t help. She was just more tired and more confused than she was already acting. She still yelped nearly every time she needed to move, so her last 3 days were all about being medicated and sleeping while dealing with the loss of independence because of a neck problem and the blindness that had been getting worse for the last 2 years.
Even though I knew it was time to say goodbye, I kept feeling like crap for all of the times I was a bad owner. For example, I yelled at her to stop barking while I was rushing to her kennel yesterday morning to take her outside to pee. I know she just hurting and wanted to go outside to pee, but I was tired and just yelled.
Luckily, she has always been a stubborn mule, so she didn’t stop barking…she just got louder. It was like “B*tch, pick me up and take me to pee. I know you didn’t just yell at me. Ain’t nobody got time for that.” Yeah, in my head, Miss Doxie has always been a stubborn, crafty, strong black woman who liked to get feisty once in a while.
So, if there is an afterlife, I am totally going to be fussed at later. I don’t think I’m hell worthy, but I’m sure going to hear it about a few yelling spells and swats on the butt for doing something naughty. But I’ll remind her that she shouldn’t have bitten a hole in a trash bag and meticulously shredded everything and spread it across our first apartment. Or peed on the runner rug when she was mad at us. Or shredded a borrowed book when she decided that I was giving it too much attention. Yeah, she was a spitfire.
I’ll also make sure to thank her for being a great dog. She was the perfect apartment dog for a married couple 1 month after the ceremony. She was 7 years old when we adopted her from the Houston SPCA in June 2005. She was already house trained and went directly to work on training us. She didn’t mind long walks, or lazy days of movie marathons. And she was always there when you needed a good cry. I did that a lot with her yesterday.
I really hope I made the right decision. I think her quality of life was definitely below her standards. I think she was ready to go. But I feel guilty since part of me was also ready to let go…that just feels mean. I’ve been reminded that all of these feelings are normal.
But I’m the woman that second guessed a dinner order this week…twice. So I am sure as hell going to second guess this. It’s just my nature. I’ll cry it out and be better next week…that’s my nature too.
Hope all of your loved ones and furry friends are doing really well. Thanks for being my online support group.
P.S. If you wonder how much our vet in Houston, TX charges for euthanasia…it’s $135 if you drop them off or $180 if you want to stay. Then add extra if you want their ashes back (we didn’t go that route). Death is a very profitable business. Kinda’ creepy. I feel a little foolish since I could have gone out to my grandparents and taken care of this for free. But I am a suburban girl at heart, Miss Doxie was a suburban dog, so we handled it the suburban way.
This past weekend went from “having fun” to “ACK! WHAT THE HECK?!” in a split second. Our old dog, Miss Doxie, decided to play Superman this past Saturday, and she made a flying leap from the couch to the coffee table…without ever touching the ground. I guess she decided that the doggy stairs were for losers, or that 15-16 years is long enough to be alive. All I know is that the last couple of days have sucked and I’ve been an emotional mess.
I honestly thought for a couple of minutes that Miss Doxie had killed herself. She got up from the floor, wandered about 10 steps, and then just fell over. I freaked the heck out. Then I took a deep breath and called my vet. They were closing in 20 minutes and suggested that she might either be in shock or have given herself a mini-seizure. We agreed that I should monitor her and bring her in on Monday if she wasn’t better.
Well, she was walking around with a slight limp in half an hour. Then she ate and drank and just rested. Sunday seemed about the same. But Monday afternoon, she started yelping anytime she moved and just couldn’t get comfortable. I gave her another doggy aspirin (which apparently is like poison according to my vet, and I have now thrown it away) and kenneled her yet again. She couldn’t stop whining for more than 30 minutes all of Monday night. I got no real sleep.
We ended up getting fit in for an early appointment on Tuesday, and the vet came to the conclusion that she hurt her neck. $85 later, she’s on pain meds and a muscle relaxant. We’ll see if she’s better within the next week…
When you put this on top of the constant steroid pills and eye drops that I have to do with Mr. Pug, and you get a woman that is getting exhausted with broken dogs.
I Knew It Was Coming
All of this whining doesn’t mean that I wasn’t prepared. I knew we adopted middle-aged dogs. Miss Doxie was 7 years old when we adopted her from the Houston SPCA in 2005. Mr. Pug was 6 years old when we adopted him from PugHearts in 2009. That means that they are turning 16 years old and 11 years old respectively this year. Older dog maintenance costs more than those healthy middle years. But that doesn’t take away the pain in the butt.
It’s also getting to be that time where you have to seriously consider your dog’s quality of life. I don’t think Miss Doxie is ready to check out yet, but she is getting a bit closer. She’s becoming completely blind, sometimes acts confused and just stands still randomly for a few seconds, and injuries that she would have shaken off 3 years ago are kicking her butt now. Old age sucks. I’m just keeping an eye on her to make sure I can make the tough choice when “old age” becomes “wasting away”…I rather never make a dog suffer just because I want them around longer…
How are your pets doing? Have they ever hurt themselves doing something insane?
Our Dirty Dogs
Mr. BFS and I own (or “are owned by” as the case may be) two dogs. Miss Doxie is a 15 year old dachshund mutt that likes to shred any food containers that she can find while we’re out of a room. Oh, and as she is getting older, she is prone to getting bladder infections and having a few accidents. Mr. Pug is a 10 year old pure-bred Pug that is allergic to life, and he occasionally pees on random things around the house if he thinks his territory was invaded or he is being ignored. And they both will go Number 2 in secret if they can’t get our attention or just feel like sneaking off.
This is why all of our doors are usually closed and these pups are in the room with us at all given times. Just being in our presence keeps them from being little sh*ts. Yep, yay dog ownership.
Just so you know, they are very loving, sweet dogs 95% of the time…wouldn’t want to paint a completely crappy picture…
Unique Natural Products
ANYWAY, when I was asked to write an honest review of Unique Natural Products, I jumped on the chance. They have a bunch of products to choose from, and I will be trying out a total of 5 of them, but here is the one that I have used so far:
Pet Odor and Stain Eliminator
Over the last 2 months, we’ve had two dog-urine-on-carpet issues to clean up (at least, I’ve found two…). The first one was still a puddle on our cream carpet (probably Miss Doxie), and the second was a dried up section near the wall that I assume was just marked by Mr. Pug. I broke out the Pet Odor and Stain Eliminator bottle each time.
First I sponged up what I could of the “fresh” accident with paper towels. Since I was only treating one small area each time, I then mixed the appropriate cleaner-to-warm-water ratio in a bowl. Then I actually poured the bowl of cleaner onto the areas directly and used a white face cloth to sponge up the excess. I didn’t worry too much about making sure either area was completely dry.
Once the cleaner was sponged up each time, I already could smell how much fresher the carpet was…and I did the nose-to-the-area check of someone who really wanted to make sure their new house didn’t keep smelling like pee. By the next day on each occasion, the carpet was perfectly cream-colored like it should be, the whole area smelled nicer, and I still can’t see either spot where there was a problem.
To me, this a HUGE win and I’ll totally keep using this for all doggy problems on the carpet. I actually am looking forward to using these other products that I have like the Wine Stain Remover and the Carpet Cleaner. If they work as advertised too, Unique Natural Products will have a customer for life.
Have you ever used these cleaners? What did you think?