Friday, August 29, 2014

Breaking News: Badger is not a dog!!

It's been all over the internet these last few days - apparently Hello Kitty is NOT a cat.

I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight on Badger - he is NOT a dog.

He is an alien.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Catching Up: Badger and Mushroom on Candid Camera

It's actually pretty hard to take candid pictures of the Badgershrooms because they'll hear me reach for my phone. I have no idea how they differentiate between me just reaching for my phone to check a text vs taking a picture of them, but somehow they know.

Then, they'll do one of three things:

  • Badger will start mugging for the camera and making his most ridiculous faces.
  • Mushroom will first turn her head and then completely walk away.
  • Or if there are treats involved, they will ignore the camera and stare at the treats, both making the most pitiable hungry dog faces.

Here are some rare moments when I managed to sneak photos of them doing what they normally do - laying around like furry lumps.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Look what we got in the mail!

The game, not the dog
The best thing about weekend online shopping sprees is that it's like Christmas in your mailbox for the next week. This was the first to arrive, and the only non-dog-related item. I just finished playing Mario & Luigi: Dream Team for 3DS.

Quick review: Combat is different from most Mario games because you don't defeat enemies simply by jumping on their heads. Instead, meeting an enemy means you go into a separate battle screen where you and the enemy take turns attacking. You can dodge enemy attacks or power up your own attacks. I thought this game was a lot of fun and lower stress than your typical platformer. I hate dying because I missed a jump and fell into lava, and this game didn't have that at all. If you miss a jump and fall into lava, it just starts you from where you were before you fell. I usually play games on the PC, and one thing I liked about gaming on the 3DS, aside from being able to play in bed, was that games are very polished, with no bugs or crashing. This game would probably be a bit easy for skilled hardcore gamers, but it's got that Mario nostalgia factor. For kids or people like me who don't like difficult games, this was perfect.

Whew, maybe not as quick as I thought. Anyway, the next game I play on 3DS is going to be Bravely Default. I hope to keep this blog updated with the rest of the items we bought as they get shipped to us.

Have you bought anything cool lately?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Mushroom gets a 2nd chance

A typical night for us involves putting Badger and Mushroom in their crates for bedtime. We started doing this when Badger was a puppy (and Mushroom wasn't even with us) to get him used to his crate and keep him out of trouble during the night. But the dogs don't get into much trouble these days, being older, more used to our apartment, and more settled in their routines. So at the start of summer, we decided to try out letting the dogs sleep uncrated in our bedroom.

The first night was a disaster. As L was moving the dog beds from our living room to our bedroom, Mushroom actually peed on one of them. This was unexpected considering that we always take them out to potty before bedtime, and the dogs almost never have indoor accidents. I convinced L to let Badger stay in the room, but Mushroom went back to her crate for bedtime.

That became our new routine - put Mushroom in her crate, then we would go into our room with Badger. Mushroom didn't seem to mind, but we felt a little bad for her. We decided to let her have another chance last night. Despite me having to shoo her off the bed three times, we considered it a success as there were no accidents. Well, I consider it a success. I think L might have gotten up several times during the night to make sure everything was okay.

I'm not a morning person, but this face gets me out of bed

Do your dogs sleep in your room at night? How does it affect your sleep?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Catching up: Hiking

Badger and I had quite the adventure on the 4th of July last year. We were supposed to meet up with friends and drive up to the White Mountains in New Hampshire, but I was running late and told them I'd meet them there. As I neared the White Mountains, I realized that I did not have any cell phone reception. A few text messages managed to get through, and I finally found the right hiking path, but about an hour or two too late to meet up with my friends. As a result, Badger and I did the hike on our own, which included splashing through a stream, getting coated in mud, and a pretty steep climb. We never did find my friends, but we still enjoyed the hike!

My two shadows

Badger slept for the entire three-hour drive home. Amazingly, even though he was muddy from the hike, when we arrived home, he was completely clean. The mud had dried and fallen off (into my back seat). Unfortunately for Badger, we gave him a bath anyway.

Looking extra fluffy after his bath

This year for the 4th of July, we stayed home.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Catching up - town dog event (from last year)

I have a whole year's worth of pictures of Badgershrooms on Facebook that I'm going to start slowly posting to this blog. Here we are at our town's "dog rally" in June of last year. (Are these showing up for you?)

Here's what I remember: We spent most of our time hiding around the side of the DJ booth and clicking/treating when they saw another dog. Some kids came over and petted Mushroom (Badger was too excited). And the DJ asked what breed they were. We gave our typical answer of "they're rescued mutts - they could be anything". (He thought they were some specific breed because they look similar to each other). Overall, we left thinking it was a good training experience.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What cool trick should we teach our dogs?

Badger and Mushroom have been showing a lot of improvement in our Control Unleashed class, the third of which we attended this past Saturday. I've been handling Mushroom while L handles Badger, so most of my observations are on Mushroom. She was easily distracted by the scents on the ground, so for this last class, we gave her higher value treats (microwaved hot dogs), and she responded well. As a recovering reactive dog, I'm proud of her for not reacting to the other dogs in the class, including a little Schipperke who occasionally barks at her. She's also seen a few dogs in the parking lot of the training school (which is attached to a dog shelter), and she was interested but not barking, pulling, or whining. Badger has had trouble staying calm during class and will start whining, but he seemed quieter than he was in the last two classes.

Slimy, yet satisfying

At one point, the trainer had us practice listening skills with our dogs. We were to call out different cues at random so the dogs would have to pay attention to which action they did. They had to be cues that didn't involve a hand signal or an object, which narrowed our list to just "sit" and "down". (Perhaps this was helpful for Mushroom because she already has trouble distinguishing the two.)

Some of the tricks that the other dogs in the class did were "speak", "spin", and "sit close" (which makes me assume there is a "sit where you are" cue to go with it). I think it would be nice if our dogs picked up a new trick for this exercise, and just in general. (Well, maybe just Badger. I don't want Mushroom to be too confused.)

Mushroom slept like this through the rest of Saturday

The question is - what trick should they learn? We've avoided teaching cues for some behaviors that we don't want, such as pawing, standing on hind legs, and barking, because we've been afraid of reinforcing them. That leaves tricks that the dogs don't do as part of their normal behaviors, such as spinning in a circle or sitting in a particular location, and we have no idea how to teach those.

Does your dog know a cool trick? How did you train them to do it?