Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Day Off

I love taking pictures of Mason playing frisbee. My parent's backyard is so photogenic with the green grass and the patches of dirt and the weeds and the shadows from the trees.

Also here's Mason and I from earlier today:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Boy's All Grown Up!

I don't really have any exciting new pictures to go with this, but Mason has graduated to not needing his crate! He could've probably ditched it months ago, but I waited to be safe since we just moved into a new home.

I finally started a job at my cousin's store, so I've been gone most days lately from 10-6. Today I really wanted to get out after work, so my mom fed him and I went immediately from work to eat with Allison and her boyfriend, Evan, and then went to The Hunger Games. She put him in my room when she went to bed, and I came home to him laying on my pants I left on my bed wagging his tail. She also left him alone earlier while she was at work, and came back to him on my bed. I'm glad to know he's missing me while I'm gone!

I'm very proud of him, I'm glad he is finally calm enough to be trusted alone while I'm gone! I'm sad to say this, but he's growing up! I guess he's still technically a puppy for another few months to a year, but he feels like he's in his young adult phase. :) He's not a baby anymore! YAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!! Time for another!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Bike Check

Cara told me to put Beetlejuice up on The Pedal Room! After having her explain to me what it is, here's the page! I still haven't looked to see what type of brake I'm runnin', I haven't gotten to ride between the rainy days and working. But there it is!

Reprimanding Your Pup

I know reprimanding your dog is a controversial subject, and I'm kind of worried about talking about it but I'm going to talk about what works for me.

I will not and do not hit my dog. Don't hit YOUR dog. It's not ok. I spanked Mason ONCE in his whole life, I'll be honest--he ran out the front door and almost got hit by a car. I was so upset and mad at him almost killing himself I whopped him on the bottom like my dad used to do to me when I was little. I immediately felt like a shit head, but needless to say he has yet to run out the door like that ever again. But that is not the way to teach your dog not to do something--he'll associate it with something bad, he often won't understand the connection between the two things, and it can make him afraid. It's just not a good combination, and that was my BIG mistake.

Now fortunately, I was blessed with a puppy that immediately responded to a negative tone of voice. By consistently using that to reprimand him, (a firm "NO MASON.") he quickly developed a shamed look whenever someone told him no. One thing I did subconsciously that I've happily seen develop into his form of reprimanding is the fact that I ALWAYS snapped my fingers whenever he was not listening and he needed to do what I was saying before I whipped out the angry voice.

This leads to the reason why I decided to write this post--as he's 1 year old, I've started to notice things that work for him. When he doesn't listen, I snap my fingers and repeat the command and he does it. When he's out to pee and wants to sniff something and I snap and say "COME" loudly he'll come running. I had never noticed it before, but I guess I accidentally clicker trained my dog with my snaps. I think it's a good method--just as you reward when your dog does something right, it's good to have something associated with when he does something bad, so he knows quickly to correct.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mason's Identiy Crisis

(Mason dealing with his identity crisis. "WHO AM I? WHAT AM I? WHY CAN'T I EAT ALL OF THE THINGS?")

I have always been of a firm belief that Mason is a Cardigan Welsh Corgi. When he was little, the vet's concurred. My discussion with a breeder went well, but it all depended upon his 1 year mark onward as to if he would fill out and look the part. Well...he isn't. He's built leaner all over--legs, chest, stomach, face, everything. His ears are still set too high.

When he was younger a lot of people asked if he was a Border Collie mix, but I didn't buy it. I've seen "Borgis" as they're called and he doesn't fit the type. Then I looked into the Karelian Bear Dog breed. It'd be a longshot if he were a Karelian Bear Dog Corgi mix, but it seems like it! He looks just like one, but with bigger corgi ears, short corgi legs and the corgi personality. Karelians even seem to have that underlying brown in their coat like he does.

At this point, that's probably my best guess. He's still my guy, and who knows what he really is, I can't prove a thing about his lineage since he came from a shelter.

Below are examples of the two breeds--a C-Myste Purebred Cardigan and a purebred Karelian bear dog. I feel like Mason is if the two of them had a baby:

After his initial emotional breakdown after I told him I suspect him to be part Karelian, or just not all corgi, he seems to be adjusting fine:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dog Fur and How to Deal

If you have a dog like mine, you have fur on your everything. Mason has a double coat and is always shedding. His fur isn't sticky like a cats though, so it falls right off of my shirts, but I still make sure to brush him at least once a week. I can't recommend the Furminator enough. I know a lot of people pimp it, but seriously it deserves its hype. They're pricey, but worth it in my opinion. Cara was telling me how she liked the kinda rakey-circle types, and the design is much like that, but with two layers of the rakes, and I believe they're finer and it just works really well.

I do have to say do NOT over Furminate. I've heard of it damaging coats, but I think that's from just going overboard. No matter what you do, you will always pull out fur. Know when to stop, and you're good go! I've found this is the best at getting out the dead fur, preventing a lot of shedding and it's not painful for Mason. Normal wire brushes he hates and I can tell it hurts him, but this just seems to go fine, even if he does get bugeyed every time I brush:

I e-mailed Furminator to see if they'd send me free products to review, since I'm too broke to afford their other new brushes, but I doubt that's gonna happen. A girl can dream though! But I've heard their curry combs are equally as awesome at smoothing out the fur after the initial combin'.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Secret Project

Cara and I have a secret project in the works--a hopeful webcomic! I won't reveal many details, mostly because we're still working on it, but it's gonna be sweet. It's kind of on the backburner at the moment since we're both pretty busy, but it's ALWAYS in the back of my mind. I spent a few days nonstop doodling for it, and we figured out the designs for the main characters!

The last pic was one of the many tossed designs for her, we went with a shorter ponytail to kind of give an approachable appearance--one thing I really wanted was a girl that wasn't typically pretty. Someone relatable. She has a bandana to mirror her dogs bandana, and she wears jean shorts and kicks. Her dog is a mix of our dogs, he has Didgeridoo's coloring and one floppy ear, medium length legs and he has Mason's pointy ear and his blaze! I think they make an adorable baby.

To give a brief hint, it's a girl-and-dog adventure story with some mythical overlays and it's going to be set in Australia!

EDIT: 3/27/12: Here's an illustration of the two main characters by Cara! I LOVE IT:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Baby Mason

So I have just a couple photos from Mason's puppy dayz. I wish I had kept his photo from when I first saw him online, he was tiny and dirty and one of his ears was floppy. But, here's 4-5 month old baby Mason, for your entertainment:

To me he just looks like the midget version of what he looks like now. I wish I could have seen him at 2 months! A couple photos feature his sister Miss Darcy Cordelia Walls-Barton, and the one with three of them at the couch features Bingley, his brother. (Mason top left, Darcy right and Bing bottom left). They were all dumped at the same shelter in the middle of nowhere Tennessee. I was originally going to pick Bingley, but he pissed on my new Marvel tshirt so I chose Mason instead. We left Bingley and went back trying to find someone to take him since it was an extremely high kill shelter. My friends who picked Darcy got one of their parents to take him, they put him on reserve and when they went and got him they said the place was desolate. When we originally went for Mason and Darcy, it was packed (at least 4 dogs in every kennel, and they were even housing them in the dog run). It's really scary.

I do have to hand it to them, the people that worked there did the best with what they were given. They weren't funded very well, but they advertised their dogs and cats the best they could, but there were just too many. When we originally came they had just gotten several baskets of kittens and tried to pawn a handful of them onto us for free! They were doing the best to save the animals, and I felt horrible for what they were given to do so. They were also very sweet--given their facility, they of course couldn't accept cards and that's all I had brought, so they trusted me to mail them the check for his adoption fee when I got home. How many places these days would do that? They gave me the greatest little guy I could have ever asked for. (Even if he was covered in 20+ ticks, fleas and had kennel cough and severe hookworms hah.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fetch and Frisbee

So I'd like to think I have one of the smartest dogs alive. Mason is a PRO at fetching, but he's always been afraid of frisbees. The other day I spent 2 minutes throwing a frisbee to my mom and making it look like it was the coolest thing ever while her dog ran around and acted like he wanted the frisbee (he didn't), and Mason instantly started going after it. After a few minutes of just going up to where it landed and pawing at it, he started catching it. In total, it took under 10 minutes for him to start catching the frisbee. I took him out today and practiced--he's not doing as well as he did that first time, but I'm sure it will take some time for him to get used to jumping as high as he did every time for it. Here's a video:

I was going to just write up some advice on how to teach your dog fetch, because had he not been a SUPER longtime pro at catching a tennis ball and returning it, it would have made that endeavor a LOT more difficult.

Mason learned how to play fetch at a relatively young age. Honestly those super baby days of his life kinda blur together to me now, but I remember spending a long time throwing a ball and having to go get it, and him refusing to give it to me.

The ball I used to generate his initial interest in going and getting the ball (because why would he? BORING!) Was a 2 dollar Kong squeaker tennis ball. Like most dogs/puppies, Mason is nuts about squeaky things, so he was all over it (before it got destroyed by a dog at the dog park in under a minute one day, then we moved to normal balls, which he had laying around at home and chewed on). Also rolling around a normal tennis ball to a puppy gets them chasing it short distances, and builds up interest.

To get him to return and drop--well, it sounds like a simple and basic concept, but honestly I used cheese. I was all about using cheese when he was little to get calcium to his ears so they would stand up, and now they form a little triangle sometimes as you see in that video. He LOVESSSSSSSS cheese, and I would just treat him every time he'd go get the ball, which would make him run back WITH the ball for the cheese, and then I'd say drop it when he dropped the ball for the cheese. Tons of practice and patience later and he was a pro. You basically have to find your dogs one vice--the food he will go NUTS over, and use it against him repeatedly.

Mason is a fetch FANATIC now, and I really do believe it gives him a job to do and he is more satisfied after a good round of it.

Here are some photos from the day he learned how to catch a frisbee, where he puts that video to shame.

He busted those 2 frisbees in the photos, by the way. They were hard plastic normal frisbees, both alleged for dogs but obviously not able to withstand any sort of catching. I went to check out the Kong frisbee, but at 15 bucks my cheap ass was like HELL no. So I checked out Petco's cheap frisbees and they are sort of soft and flexible plastic, and so far no busting and they seem like they'll hold up a long time and be cheap to replace. (3 bucks for a big one, 2 bucks for a mini one).

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Mason Fetch Photodump

Friends and Junk

So, my friend Cara finally got her blog up and running again! She's the author of Monster of All Cakes over to the sidebar to the right there and she wrote the sweetest entry where she mentioned me, Mason and Beetlejuice here! I've actually been waiting for her to post and mention her pup, Didgeridoo so I can write about her as well so here goes!

Cara and I have been friends since my freshman year of college, and although we had our falling out and whatever, I'm really glad to call her my friend once again. We've always had an insane-lot-in-common (and still do evidently, even with our time apart!), and I'm sad that we managed this and then I left Memphis so we never get to hang, but we still talk often about dogs, bikes and a potential comic that we wanna start, which is exciting beyond BELIEF because I've been wanting to start a new webcomic with a friend!

She got Didgeridoo, what is possibly a catahoula/lab/aussie mix a few months ago, and he's wonderful. He started my love of catahoulas, as mentioned in my last post about what kinda dog I want:

(Photo from facebook!)

To nerd about him for a moment: he has the cutest floppy ears, the most handsome merley-patchy-coloring-with-tan-points and the sweetest face! I wish so badly I could have snatched up one of his siblings, but he's definitely made me really want my next dog to have a bit of catahoula, because I'm a sucker for him! (Him and a dog I follow on instagram named Charlie--he's a catahoula corgi mix (his owner refers to him as a corgahoula) and he has Didgi's face on a short lil body! SO CUTE!)

He apparently gets some flak for his breed and barking (some people say he has cattledog in him, which I also mentioned in my last post where most people judge them to be sour tempered), but I know he's a sweet boy. Cara has raised him really well, socializes him regularly and he gets plenty of exercise.

Cara also rides bikes waaay more than I do and for way longer, and she does Hardcourt Bike Polo and Fixed Gear Freestyle, both of which I find crazy awesome. I'd like to eventually do some tricks, and I've been practicing my trackstanding and riding backwards in the garage the past few rainy days!

Anyways, I don't know if many people read this, but I wanted to write a bit about her in hopes you'll enjoy her blog as well. We both will be writing about our dogs and junk, so I know they'll both be fun reads!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Second Dog

So I spend a lot of time drooling over various dogs and thinking about how much I want another one. I spent a long time wanting a second corgi--specifically a blue merle cardigan, but I threw that out because they are REALLY expensive (800-1000 bucks) and I'd rather wait till later in life to get another cardi. Then I was thinking a red and white pembroke, which was what I had always wanted, but being involved in corgi rescue really makes me attached to the mixes. It's sad to see how excited people get about purebred dogs needing rescue and how fast they get snatched up, but mixes rarely get commented on and I end up being one of the few people trying my best to make sure the dogs don't get euthanized.

I then heeler-corgi-mix...aka Cowboy Corgi. But today when discussing that with my brother, he told me he knew someone who had a litter of purebred Heelers and they all ended up mean natured. I had always heard they were a little harder to socialize than most, but he made it sound like these guys were just ROUGH. That their working drive is really hard to contain...which made me kind of think of the fact that the only ones I know that are in homes are on farms, and the one I saw at the park was the same way--it kept picking fights with everyone. Not that I intend to breed generalize, since I know for a fact I have some wonderful friends on facebook who have raised cattle dogs and love them dearly (all of which are corgi owners, which is why after a little research and knowing this I thought that since I raised a herding dog with a SUPER high energy level that I'd be able to handle it), but I'm not sure if that is the right dog for me after that discussion.

But then I concluded; I don't know what I'm going to get. I'll know when the time comes. Right now I'd like a corgi-heeler-catahoula-australian shepherd-shipperke-white german shepherd-wolf dog-dire wolf. So who knows. But I think I've decided after a while of pondering going to a breeder that I want a mix. I want to rescue another dog, like I did Mason, but not a purebred. Mason was in danger because he was in a small SUPER HIGH KILL shelter and no one but I knew about him. But all the other purebred corgis I find get fucking FOUGHT over. And the poor adorable mixes (like one I saw the other day online) get euthanized and threw to the wayside because they don't fit some stupid standard and don't come with stupid sheets of paper. And to those who respect and follow AKC standards--I am not downing on you, I'm just downing on the fact that every dog isn't treated as being as special as they really are just because of their lineage. And every dog should be treated with the same respect. A mixed breed is just as loving and lovable as a pure bred dog from champion lines.

I like to think of the story my friend Becca told of when she found her dog--from my understanding, I don't think she was looking for anything in particular, but she found him as a puppy and knew that very instant he was hers. I thought about it, and that's much the same way I found Mason--I went in going for a red and white pem, and found him and I saw his one floppy ear and his big brown eyes and I knew he was mine. And I know that it will happen again (but this time Mason has to approve too, and this time I'm going in without any specific idea...just the thoughts in the back of my mind of my current favorite pups!)

I don't care if the next dog I get has corgi in it, I don't care if it's big, small, tall, short, ugly or cute. I just want to search and search and when I find the right dog I'll know. I'm coming to find I am total dog dork, and no matter how many dogs I see, I'm changing my mind day to day what I want because I love them ALL. Every dog is special, and when I find the perfect addition, I'll know it. And for now...Mason is quite enough love for me. It will probably be at least a year until I get a second, I just like daydreaming about getting him a brother to play with.

Or I just want a corehound.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Harnesses vs Collars

So I've always had trouble deciding what kind of "dog containment" mechanism I want to use on Mason. I started with regular collars (and bought tons because I like changing them up) and then switched to a single martingale collar for a while to help to teach him to not pull on a leash. If you don't know what martingale collars are, here's a good explanation.

Here's a picture of Mason in his bandana print Lupine brand martingale.

I liked them for a while, especially the fact it has two loops--one for identification and one to clip the leash and that tightens the collar when they pull. I was starting to have issue with it, because Mason still sometimes pulls when he sees certain things (sheep, or when he wants to run since I run with him in a certain area but sometimes I just want to walk so that isn't always conducive to what we are doing) and I felt like he was choking himself, and it wasn't to teach him anything anymore, since he wasn't pulling constantly--just when he thought he should be getting to something (IE herding sheep/running) so I decided to try a harness.

I have heard mixed reviews about them, some people say they encourage pulling and others say they give more control to the person. I've found them to be very helpful, and I just FEEL better about a harness. It's not putting any pressure on his neck, just his whole chest area, and when he does pull he's not really able to since the whole harness is around his body so he stops.

I got Mason a step-in harness, which doesn't also wrap around his torso/belly, just around his arms and his chest. It's Dog Whisperer brand, which is SO lame in my opinion but it was the only pattern I liked and it was made of a soft floppy material, and a lot of the others were stiff and I didn't want them to rub up against him and rub his fur off or be uncomfortable. Here he is in it:

He doesn't mind it at all. Then again, I always make him wear bandanas and shit, so he's probably used to random things being put on him. But I think it works a lot better. I wish it had an extra loop to put his identification on the front, but I'll probably just put his collar on him too if we go somewhere unfamiliar or just get an extra tag for the loops that attach to the leash.

It doesn't restrict him from running or rolling around, and I'm not as concerned about it getting caught and choking him or something...I don't know, I was really weirded out by the concept at first but I find myself more satisfied with the harness and I feel like it's a lot safer as well.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Two of my Favorite Things

I'm going to write a post dedicated to the two things I will probably write about the most: my bike and my dog.

The other day I took Mason to see his cousin, Cash. Cash is a 4 month old pitbull, and he's adorable. I took some quick shots with my phone and instagrammed them up, and I was pleased with what I managed to catch. I can't believe that Cash is already as big as Mason, and I swear he weighs twice as much. He's ALL muscle. I can't express how proud I am of Mason and how much I love him. He's such a good dog, he's friendly to every person and every dog he meets (unless a tennis ball is involved, in which case he is all business). He's growing up so fast too, he's mellowed out a little overnight it seems and is finally not going 110% 24/9...more like 100% 24/7, so that's been a relief. I'm glad to know there's a light at the end of the cracked out puppy phase.

I also finally got to ride Beetlejuice for the first time the other day. I walked up to the top of the hill and rode around on flat ground to get used to the whole fixed gear thing, and then did something incredibly stupid: went down a hill. Needless to say, my legs couldn't keep up with the pedals because my bike weighs like 5 pounds or something ridic and I had to stick my legs out and slowly brake. It almost ended in disaster, but I really am so glad for bike brakes. WHEW. The bike itself still needs a few paint touchups (removal mainly on the logo and stem) and a new saddle, but is done otherwise.

After this, my friends Tristen, Sam and I decided to go riding in town at night around the housing and retirement home. It's kind of like a little quiet suburb area, so it was an easy ride for the most part. It was definitely different--Tristen kept powering ahead with Sam and I was doing my best to catch up, it's HARDER to pedal on a fixed gear, but once you get going, you're much faster than everyone else is my experience. I like the control with it. We rode for a while, we rode to a playground, stopped, rode to a friend's house, stopped and rode back on the sidewalk so we wouldn't be riding on a main road without reflectors/helmets/lights/etc. (Hey Memphis--up here the sidewalks are unmarred and flat as can's amazing). We were going to go again tonight, but I had a shitty day and it was really late when Tristen finally asked me to go (10:30 lol). But here are the photos from that, and I hope to do it again soon but since Tristen and Sam both go to school in DC, I don't know how often it will happen. I may end up driving up to Hburg every coupla nights to ride on my own, because that was a really good area to practice my riding in. OH and the other two bikes are the ones they rode--old ass cruiser type bikes they keep there for the residents to ride. They were a hot mess, and it was really good I brought my tire pump because they were FLAT.

I'm also getting back into World of I'm sure there will be a post about that soon. :D