Cura and I have been together since 2009. We want to thank all of you who followed the early days as well as those who popped back on occasion during the long hiatus. Training was done, the days passed, and we were settling into our life together.
Fast forward: Cura is slowing down and a new member of the family is in training. On top of that, we are all busy with our new calling . . . Running the Training Department for Paws and Stripes. Join us on our journey!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Creatures of Habit . . .

Cura is a mobility dog, so she needs to have strong, healthy joints. To that end, I try to do everything I can to help keep her joints healthy. For example, I give her joint supplements daily and make sure that she has comfortable surfaces to relax on as much as possible. Another thing that I did very early on was to get her an elevated feeding bowl. She is quite a tall girl, but I was conservative on my first purchase and only got a bowl that was 7" tall. I figured that would be fine, but what I didn't realize was that the height measurement indicated the top of the bowl. Since the bowl was about 2-3 inches deep, it only really raised her dish about 4-5 inches. She still had to hunch when eating. On top of that, her water bowl was still at ground level.

So, I recently purchased a elevated twin bowl set. This one has two bowls, one for food and one for water and stands 18" tall. It is perfect! It puts her bowls as head height so she does not have to bend down at all. There is just one problem . . . she is hesitant to eat and drink from them!

As I mentioned, she is quite tall (which is one of the reasons she is able to do her job). So, with very little effort, her head can reach many tables and at least parts of the kitchen counter. So, from the very beginning, she was taught that she was not allowed to counter/table surf. To be fair, it was never really a problem so it wasn't like it was hard or anything, but we did the work anyway. So, now it is a little confusing to her that she is being asked to eat from bowls that are so elevated. Fortunately, eating is progressing well -- though it has taken some coaxing -- in fact, tonight Cura just hesitated briefly, glanced at me to make sure it was really ok, and then began eating.  I think she is finding it rather comfortable. 

Unfortunately, we are having a harder time with the water.  Part of the problem is that there are other (shorter) animals in the house, so we need to keep water sources at levels that they can reach.  Initially, we just put another bowl of water under the elevated dishes with the intention that Cura would use the tall bowl and the other animals would use the one on the floor.  Yeah, well, THAT didn't happen!  Cura kept trying to use the bowl on the ground (it was actually kind of funny to watch because she not only had to hunch down, but maneuver around the elevated bowls as well) and no one else wanted to drink under the elevated dish.  Finally, the humans got a clue and lifted the bowl on the ground (there are other bowls that can be accessed by everyone in different areas of the house -- but Cura tends to mainly drink from one location).  Finally, Cura has begun to use the elevate water bowl.  I'm going to wait a few days before putting the other water bowl back under the elevated bowls.  Hopefully, it will be enough time for Cura to break the habit of drinking from the bowl on the ground and take advantage of the elevated water bowl. 

They say that the animals in our lives tend to exhibit our characteristics.  I am a creature of habit -- it looks like Cura is too!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Romping in the Garden

Frequently, I am asked if Cura gets any 'time off' or if she has to work all the time. As you can see below, she can play just as hard as she can work.  Watch as she speeds by Nonna Ear Rubs.  Then, of course, there is Skye who starts to jump into the fray and then gets camera shy.  Enjoy!


Oh, and if you are wondering about those straps you can sometimes see, that is her anti-jump harness -- if all goes well, by the end of the summer, she will no longer be wearing it!