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Fireworks: no need to fear!

29 Dec

New Year’s Eve is fast approaching and while this is an evening of excitement and festivities for people, it can be down-right frightening for dogs. Fireworks can be confusing and scary to almost any dog. The sounds are unusual and out of context occurring only on rare occasions in most places in the world.

We live in a townhouse (keeps life interesting with two vizslas 🙂 ), and recently the unit behind ours was renovated. During this time, many days were filled with the sounds of hammering and banging. Of course, this caught the attention of Ilsa and Gumbo, and while they normally aren’t startled by sounds (we do have city dogs after all), the construction noises sent them into hysteria. You could tell by the looks on their faces that they were just utterly confused. They don’t understand that someone lives on the other side of our wall. Luckily, we have a game plan for anytime they become unsettled. We instruct Gumbo to go to his crate (we keep one in our living room in addition to the one in our bedroom just for this purpose) and Ilsa to go to her “bagel” (a round plush dog bed that I wouldn’t mind sleeping on myself ;)). This practice developed as a way to calm them when someone knocks on the front door. Now, they almost dive toward their respective locations because it is considered a safe place and always associated with a treat.

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Doggone Good Weekend!

3 Oct

Thank you for coming back to A Tail of Two Vizslas! This is our first real post, and we are excited to share the details from our “Doggone Good Weekend!”

Our goal every weekend… to have as much fun with our vizslas as possible and take advantage of two work-free days to enjoy the outdoors and excitement offered by the greater St. Louis area.

Our Saturday morning started off with a walk at Clayton, Missouri’s Shaw Park. After roaming the park and taking care of all potty business, we headed into downtown Clayton. Our walk took us around the city center for about 45 minutes. We ended with scones at Companion bakery. We try to mix things up on the weekends and challenge our pups with city walking as well as park walking. After working all summer with some “A” level treats, we can walk past hotel valets, diners enjoying meals at sidewalk tables, and other dogs/people. We have also worked with Ilsa and Gumbo so they can sit quietly while we enjoy a quick breakfast from a local bakery. Yum, chocolate chip scones!

Our next great adventure took us to the Rock Hill Fall Festival and parade. Ben and I were very focused on Ilsa, who has some fear issues, but were surprised when Gumbo became very upset by the marching band. Years of working with Ilsa have taught us to always have “an out.” Gumbo took off when the drums and cymbals started to play with me attached to the other end of the leash. He and I found solitude down a side street where he quickly recovered. We waited for the rest of the parade to pass by and then joined Ben and Ilsa. Miss Priss, on the other hand, did fantastically well with the 2 marching bands, the baton twirling girls, the boys scouts, and the Shriners in their small cars. One of the Shriners even hollered, “Hey Pup!” and waved to Ilsa! She, of course, enjoyed the attention!

We ended Saturday and started Sunday the same way… at Canine Country! This is a fabulous dog park about 35 minutes from our house that has 220 acres of fenced open fields for dogs to run and play. We are in our second of year of membership and it is worth every penny!!! Saturday night was just off leash playtime while Sunday morning was spent working on birds. We, along with Ilsa and Gumbo, are learning how to properly hunt birds. This was our first time out with our new remote controlled bird launcher… Totally awesome! Ben and I are following the guidance of John Hann from Perfection Kennels via his DVD series called The Perfect Start and The Perfect Finish. John teaches the proper way to use a remote bird launcher and check cord to start your training and he is right! Ilsa pointed the last 2 birds we had for her and Gumbo pointed the last 3. This is HUGE progress! [Side Note: We promise several posts on learning how to train our bird dogs and a full review of the DVD series.]

The final dog gone fun activity was the 21st Annual Canine Carnival sponsored by the APA of Missouri. What fun! This was our third year participating J At our first carnival, we spend $7 to have Ilsa drawn in 10 minutes by a local artist, and the picture turned out AWESOME! Today, we had Gumbo drawn in charcoal by the same artist! Yay! I now have a matching pair of vizsla portraits! Hopefully, I can find the same frame for Gumbo’s picture that I have for Ilsa’s. I’ll keep you posted!

While this weekend was a little more exciting then normal with the fall festival, parade, and carnival this is the normal amount of time spent with our vizslas. We try very hard to devote weekends to fun and new activities. We have such a wonderful time as a family of 4! Have a magnificent Monday and a wonderful week!

A tired vizsla is a happy vizsla!