Monday, December 31, 2012

Love It: Tiennot Knits Sweater

Athena's grandma (my mom) loves her granddog Athena.  She especially loves to buy lots of things for her.  So, of course when Emily from Our Waldo Bungie visited Portland in October, my mom HAD to place an order for a Tiennot Knits Sweater.  After much discussion while eating at the food carts, we decided that Athena needed a sweater that would scream "I'M A GIRL!," so we went with pink, green, and yellow for the yarn colors.  I call it Athena's girly Oregon Ducks sweater.

Athena definitely looks like a girl while wearing this sweater!

Girly Oregon Ducks sweater

Tiennot Knits offers a variety of styles of sweaters as well as many yarn colors.  I specifically wanted a sweater that wouldn't have to go over Athena's head when putting it on, so it was just my luck that Tiennot came out with the Eshe style right before we ordered.  The sweater is so easy to put on Athena with two large buttons that attach at her chest and one that attaches across her stomach.

Athena modeling her Eshe style sweater

Since receiving our sweater over a month ago (this post is far overdue!), Athena has worn her sweater out and about on the town and around the house.  She was even featured on our local news while wearing her Tiennot Knits Sweater.  Everyone always stops to compliment the beautiful workmanship of the sweater.  People also just stop to appreciate a pit bull wearing such a fancy sweater.

Athena loves her Tiennot Knits Sweater!

If you have yet to check out Tiennot Knits, you can find them on Facebook where you will see loads of pictures of dogs wearing their custom sweaters along with instructions for placing an order.  These one-of-a-kind handmade sweaters are custom made to fit any size and breed of dog.

You know you want one too =)

Did you know that Tiennot Knits will soon be launching a new product?  You can catch a sneak peak of their super cute knit bow ties over at Our Waldo Bungie's Giveaway-a-Day!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Success (and a Giveaway Announcement!)

I don't know about you, but I feel like Christmas zoomed by so quickly this year!  This was Athena's first Christmas with us, so we weren't quite sure how she would react to houses filled with lots of people, plates full of delicious food, and presents decorated with sparkly bows.  As expected, Athena was a superstar and enjoyed a wonderful Christmas holiday!

1.  Athena got dressed up for the occasion

Being her first Christmas, I wanted to make sure that Athena was in full holiday spirit and dressed for the occasion.  On Christmas Eve I attempted to sew my first ever flower to attach to Athena's collar.  The flower turned out well for being my first attempt, so Athena wore it on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  She also sported a very festive red tutu and a pair of reindeer ears that complete her holiday outfit.

Fancy collar flower & red tutu

Athena modeling her reindeer ears

2.  Athena visited with lots of family and met some new people (including her first toddler)

We went to different family members' houses on Christmas Eve and Christmas day which meant that Athena got to visit with lots of people.  She did great reuniting with much of our family that she has already met, and she was fairly calm when meeting new people (she is sometimes fearful of strangers).  Athena even met her first toddler and was totally in love with him.  She was his shadow for all of Christmas day and was extremely gentle with him even when he bonked her a few times and screamed really loud (this reaffirms our belief that Athena lived with children in her past).

Athena watching her toddler's every move

3.  Athena was spoiled

Of course you knew that this would happen, but Athena was totally and completely spoiled for Christmas.  She got so much stuff I'm embarrassed to even post a picture of everything.  A few items that I'm most excited about are a 5 day pass to her doggy daycare, a Buster Food Cube, and Musher's Secret Paw Wax, along with a slew of other fabulous gifts.

Just a fraction of the many toys that Athena received for Christmas

4.  Our Waldo Bungie is hosting their Giveaway-a-Day this week!

And we are first up on the list of giveaways!  If you visit their blog today, you can enter to win a custom Pitlandia tutu handmade by me!  We are so excited to be a part of this year's Giveaway-a-Day and hope that you head on over to Our Waldo Bungie to check out all of the awesome giveaways.

************************THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED************************

How did you and your dog spend Christmas?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Santa's Helper: As Told by Athena

Hi Guys!  Athena here.  Can you believe that it's already Christmas Eve?!  It seems like just yesterday that I was writing about all of my pre-Christmas cheer and my special letter to Santa.

This weekend was very special because my mom, dad, and grandma did some last minute gift wrapping and I was invited to their wrapping party!  They have been impressed with how I don't bother with any of the wrapped presents under the Christmas tree (wellll....unless a present has a shiny bow on it), so I got to be around while they wrapped some more presents.

I'm a very good girl and don't eat any ribbons or wrapping paper

My favorite part about wrapping presents is when the wrapping paper runs out because then I get to have the JUMBO toilet paper roll!  You might not know this about me, but I LOVE chewing up toilet paper and paper towel rolls (mom lets me have them because I usually don't eat any and she says that they are free toys for me to destroy).  Well, yesterday I got to chew up THREE jumbo toilet paper rolls during the present wrapping.  It was pretty much the best day ever.

Jumbo toilet paper roll #3!

How come I didn't notice that bow on my bum?!  I would have tried to eat it if I would have known!

Chompin' on my jumbo toilet paper roll!

Something very silly about my family is that they said they celebrate Christmas Eve AND Christmas day.  So, tonight I get to open lots of my presents even though it's not really Christmas yet!  I guess Santa comes early to their house or something.

Merry Christmas to all of my bloggy friends!

Even though I'm super excited about getting lots of presents tonight, I'm mostly feeling very lucky that I have my new family to spend Christmas with.  I hope everyone out there who celebrates Christmas has a very happy holiday.  My mom and I will be back to blogging after all of the festivities!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Athena: Dog Aggressive or Dog Social?

Exactly five months ago we adopted Athena from a local shelter.  It feels like just yesterday that I was writing about Athena's two month Adopt-a-Versary and all of the struggles and accomplishments that we had faced.

Five months ago as B and I stared into Athena's kennel at the shelter, I noticed a pile of pee on the floor next to her and a glaring label on her information sheet that read: Dog Aggressive.  I remember turning to B and saying something like, "I don't know if we want to get a dog that's aggressive.  Isn't that bad?"  He of course assured me that this wouldn't be the end of the world (although I now realize how hindering dog aggression can be for everyday activities such as a walk around the neighborhood or even a play date with a friend's dog depending on the severity).

Dog Aggressive?  Who, me?!

Before placing a hold on Athena, we decided to get all of the facts from the shelter workers about her dog aggressive label.  Apparently she received it from the previous family who had adopted her for three weeks and determined that she wasn't the right fit for their family dog.  We were then told that although she came with this negative label, Athena did well with other dogs when introduced into the shelter play groups.

So, with these mixed signals, we adopted a Sorta Dog Aggressive dog.  From that day forward I have continued to be extremely cautious with Athena around other dogs whether it be a dog that we see out on a walk, or a friend's dog that we introduce her to play with.  I'm always wondering if someday she will exhibit the aggressive signals that she showed the family before us who returned her.

Athena loves walking with our dog walking group RespectaBulls

Whenever B and I discuss Athena's 'dog aggression' with others, everyone seems to come to the same conclusion.  They think that Athena wasn't properly introduced to the previous family's dog which may have caused some tension between the two.  If B and I decided to ever get a second dog (or foster) we will most definitely be following some strict dog-dog introduction rules such as those set forth by Bad Rap in their guide A New Dog in the House!

To this day we haven't seen any aggression from Athena.  I will actually go as far as to say that I consider Athena to actually be Dog Social at this point in her life (seeing as she's still sort of a puppy, she could move towards being more dog selective as she matures).  She is the kind of dog who is just DYING to meet other dogs because she loves friends so much.

Athena with one of her doggie BFF's Bingley

When the time came to take Athena to daycare for the first time, part of me thought that I might get a call saying, "Please come pick up your aggressive dog!  She's not allowed back!"  But of course, Athena had a stellar evaluation and was described as a "Daycare Pro."  We now take Athena to her daycare once a week for socialization (both dog and human), exercise, and time away from home.  Each time we pick her up, we hear nothing but rave reviews about how easy she is to incorporate into the pack and how well she plays with her friends.

Pictures sent to us from Athena's daycare
Athena playing with a daycare friend!
Pictures sent to us from Athena's daycare

Even though Athena has proven herself time and time again at being friendly towards other dogs, she will always carry her dog aggressive label.  I always wonder how many people passed by her kennel before us and thought that she was not adoptable based of her label.  To be totally honest, I'm sure many people walked by and thought that there's no way they would adopt a Dog Aggressive Pit Bull.  I also constantly think about the many dogs in the shelter system who may be mislabeled or who receive a label without much to back it up.  A 'dog aggressive' label could be a death sentence for any dog, but especially a pit bull type dog.

So with that, I'm curious if any of you adopted a dog (or know of any in the shelter system) that was mislabeled?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Athena Gets Elfed

Call me crazy, but every year at Christmas time I MUST elf my entire family on  I sit and roar with laughter at the computer screen as their little heads bob around.  This year I've been super busy (hence the lack of blogging), so my mom so kindly elfed Athena, B, and I.  Of course, I practically fell on the floor laughing at Athena as a dancing elf!

Am I the only one who participates in this Elf Yourself tradition?  If you've already elfed yourself, or if you decide to do so after seeing our silly dancing, I would love to watch your video.  I would especially love to see other dogs who have been elfed!  E-mail me your videos at (or post the link to your video in the comment section below for all to see its hilarity!)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Santa Baby

This picture was taken during Athena's weekend of holiday cheer.  Clearly she enjoyed posing with this Santa a bit more than she did with this Santa.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sniffing for Kibble

It was only a couple of months ago that we said goodbye to Athena's food bowl and opted to feed her meals in food dispensing toys such as the Contempo TessaKongJW Hol-ee Roller X Extreme, Kong Wobbler, StarMark Bob-a-Lot, and the Busy Buddy Magic Mushroom.

Not only have we incorporated food dispensing toys as a form of everyday mental stimulation, but we also engage Athena in many other activities that mentally exhaust her such as:

  • Short at-home training sessions
  • Walks around the neighborhood
  • Car rides
  • Trips to the pet store
  • Obedience classes
  • Scent games

One mentally stimulating scent game that Athena particularly enjoys is 'Find It' which we play indoors on rainy days, in the yard, and at the park.  I begin by putting Athena in a down-stay and ask her to 'wait.'  I then walk around the room (or outside) and hide pieces of kibble (and other delicious treats) in corners, under chairs, on top of short pieces of furniture, and in the grass.  Athena is released from her down-stay with the 'find it' command and she is on her way sniffing to find each piece of kibble.

'Finding' her kibble

Because this scent game requires Athena to use so much nose power, she gets a very large mental workout.  Even after she has found all of the hidden kibble, Athena will continue to sniff around the house or yard in search of any leftover food that she may have missed.  This game keeps her occupied for quite a while.  Our next step is to advance the 'Find It' game and incorporate some scent identification.

Looking for leftover kibble

We are obviously not the first to discover the many advantages of using scent games as a form of mental stimulation.  Here are some of our favorite posts and videos that give examples of different types of scent work:

Find It! from Peace, Love, & Fostering
Sara Lee Find It from Animal Farm Foundation
Nose Work Games from Center for Shelter Dogs

Do you play any scent games with your dog or incorporate nose work into their daily routine?  What other ways do you provide your dog with mental stimulation?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Athena Finally Gets Sirius

Ever since discovering the world of dog blogging, I have admired the beautiful collars that many of the famous dogs wear.  Our Waldo BungieTwo Pitties in the CityLove and a Six-Foot Leash, and Kate with a Camera all showcase their dogs wearing stunning Sirius Republic collars.

So of course, a Sirius Republic collar has been on my wish list for many months now.  I will admit that I am an obsessed Sirius Republic fan and stalk check their website frequently for new fabrics and styles.

However, being the fabric addict that I am, I contacted Sirius Republic and asked if I could have a custom collar made with the fabric of my choice.  They so kindly obliged and so I set out to my favorite fabric store in search of a perfect fabric.  My main objective was to choose a fabric that would make people ask, "what's her name" instead of the "what's his name" that we typically get asked.  Of course I couldn't pick just one fabric while at the store, so spoiled Athena received TWO custom collars for Christmas!

I chose to order one 1" martingale and one 1.5" martingale to mix it up a little.

Athena has been wearing her new collars as an early Christmas present.  Both collars turned out perfectly and we receive tons of compliments on them wherever we go.

Do your dogs wear Sirius Republic collars?  What style of collar is your favorite (martingale, limited slip, buckle, etc.) ?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Bug

If you couldn't tell already, we have caught the Christmas bug.  With posts about Athena's holiday shopping trip and her plea to Santa to resume on the 'nice' list, the blog has also caught the bug.  And as if we haven't subjected Athena to enough of our Christmas festivities, she joined me last week to help decorate my grandma's tree and we also partook in another photo shoot with Santa over the weekend.

On Saturday we took Athena to Personal Beast where they had a Santa available to take pictures with.  It was much more casual than the Santa picture event that we attended last weekend because there wasn't a professional photographer.  We simply brought our own camera and set up Athena in front of Santa for some pictures.

Athena wasn't as interested in this Santa as she was of the one last weekend, so we had a hard time getting her to sit near Santa for pictures.  But, she did a great job fulfilling her duty as one of Santa's reindeer from afar.

Athena even practiced her newest trick in front of Santa..."jump!"  Too bad he doesn't look very impressed.  Perhaps he's still contemplating her naughty/nice status.

This weekend Athena also joined me at my grandma's house to help decorate her Christmas tree.  Athena surprisingly had no interest in the Christmas tree or ornaments.  She simply sniffed them and went on her merry way.  She did however have an incident with the tree topper which happens to be a collectable Muffy Vanderbear angel (it's a stuffed bear!).  My grandma set it on the ground for one minute and as soon as she turned around Athena had the bear in her mouth!  Luckily we have no plans for trying to sell the bear on Ebay anytime in the future.

Seeing as Athena has a pouty face in every one of the pictures above, I'm thinking that she may not have been hit with the Christmas bug as bad as I was.  Have you and your dogs caught any holiday bugs lately?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Are You There Santa? It's Me, Athena

Dear Santa,

Christmas is quickly approaching (only 20 more days left!), so I thought I would send you a quick letter to confirm my gift receiving status for this year.  You see, it's my first Christmas living with my new fer-ever family and I've been trying REALLY, REALLY hard to be on my bestest behavior all of the time.  But, sometimes my puppyness gets the best of me and I get in a smidgen of trouble here and there.

Sometimes my mom and dad say things like, "Naughty this and naughty that.  No, no, no Thean.  That's so naughty Thean.  You are not allowed to do that, Thean!"  I try real hard not to do things that will make them say the naughty word because I definitely don't want to be on your naughty list, Santa.

But here's the thing.  Not only do my parents talk about the naughty things that I sometimes do, my mom has even started to post the evidence for the world to see!  She got this new thing called Instagram on her phone and now all she does is post pictures of me doing the naughty things.  I need to make sure that this naughty evidence is not tampering with my 'nice' status, so I would like to explain myself:

This toilet paper roll was left in my reach while my mom was taking a shower, so I decided to surprise her with a toilet paper confetti party.  Naughty NICE!

After the confetti party, I went and found mom's fluffy slipper.  I decided to pick some of the white fluffies out for her because I think her feet were getting too hot with all that fuzziness!  Naughty NICE!

Mom has recently been indulging in lots of holiday chocolates.  I make sure to keep a careful watch over the bag of chocolates so that none of the chocolate elves come to steal her stuff. Naughty NICE!

I found this cardboard packaging from a new blanket that my mom bought for me.  I shredded it to pieces to let her know that I love the blanket so much that I don't ever want her to return it to the store!  Naughty NICE!

So you see Santa, I have not at all been a naughty girl this holiday season.  It's all just a misunderstanding.  Please continue to hold my spot on your nice list.


Thean the Bean (AKA Athena)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pulling and Snorting Wins the Race

This past weekend was a very busy one for us.  We went holiday shopping and took pictures with Santa, completed our beginning C.L.A.S.S. training, and joined RespectaBulls for a December group walk.

Ready for the rain on our RespectaBulls walk

Since Athena still gets very excited in the presence of other dogs, we have used the RepectaBulls walks as a way for her to learn that her whining and pulling are not going to earn her the privilege to meet and play with other dogs.  The pre- and post- walk have also served as a great controlled training environment where we can practice all of Athena's commands in the presence of one of the toughest distractions: other dogs.

Athena gets a lick of her Leanlix treat while training at our RespectaBulls walk

Another issue that we are dealing with during the walks is Athena's leash pulling.  We really don't have an issue taking Athena on walks around the neighborhood.  She's actually a fairly polite walker when we use her Gentle Leader.  However, as soon as the RespectaBulls walk begins, Athena thinks it's time to race.  She pulls and snorts (the Gentle Leader causes some major snorting action!) as she tries to race to the front of the pack.

Athena's Motto: 
Slow & Steady Wins the Race 
Pulling & Snorting Wins the Race

Even the Gentle Leader is no match for Athena's pulling.  Therefore, we have found this piece of equipment to be useless during pack walks.  Because of this, we have started to explore other walking equipment that may help Athena to stop her pulling.

Move it mom, we are almost in the lead!

As much success that we have had with the Gentle Leader, we have decided to try the Holt Walking Collar as an alternative.  It was suggested to us by multiple RespectaBulls members because unlike the Gentle Leader, the Holt only applies pressure to the dog when they are pulling rather than applying pressure the entire time they wear the collar.

Sookie modeling her bright pink Holt Walking Collar

The Holt Walking Collar arrived in the mail yesterday, so we will be giving it a try over the next few weeks.  We will give you a comparison between it and the Gentle Leader soon.  What walking equipment have you tried to eliminate your dog's pulling?  Have you ever used the Gentle Leader or Holt Walking Collar?

*So far we've tried the Easy Walk Harness (it causes hot spots), the Gentle Leader (it causes pulling and snorting on group walks), and we will soon be testing out the Holt Walking Collar*

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Love It: Leanlix

Sometimes I feel like I need to carry a doggie diaper bag when we take Athena out for a walk.  With the poop bags, Spray Shield, treats, hand sanitizer, cell phone, house key, flashlight, and not to mention the dog itself, there's a lot to juggle.

Treats are something that we never leave the house without when going out for a walk because we are always working on training with Athena.  Sometimes we use our OllyDog Treat Bags to store treats in, or if I'm lazy, I just stuff treats in the front pocket of my purse.  However, it can sometimes be a bit inconvenient to riffle through my treat bag (the magnetic snap gets in the way of opening the bag) or purse (it's usually so stuffed that it's hard to reach in the pocket) with one hand to pull out a treat.

We recently found a treat that has solved the walking treat debacle.  It's called a Leanlix.  This low calorie chapstick tube of a treat is so genius that I'm a little jealous I didn't think of the idea myself!  Instead of pulling treat after treat out of a bag, I simply carry the Leanlix in my right hand (with the cap off) and hold Athena's leash in my left hand.  Whenever it's time to treat Athena for something such as a "heel" at the corner or a good "leave it" as we pass a barking dog, I simply give her a couple of licks of her Leanlix and she's good to go.

I purchased the Leanlix at one of our favorite local pet stores, Personal Beast, for only $11.  Yes, that's more expensive than a typical bag of training treats, but this thing lasts a loooooong time!  The Leanlix sticks come in six different flavors (fish, bbq steak, hot dog, turkey, strawberry, and raspberry/vanilla).  We first bought the turkey flavor called Dishwasher Diner and then couldn't resist buying a second in the One and Only Strawberry flavor.  Athena loves both, but she is a bit more partial to her turkey stick and sometimes tries to get her little front teeth in on the action because it's just so yummy.

Another added bonus is that the Leanlix company is located just a short distance away from us in Seattle, Washington and the sticks are sold all over the country and online (check their website for a list of retailers).  Not only does the Leanlix work great out on our walks, but we have used it during obedience training classes and at our most recent RespectaBulls walk.

What are some ways that you manage all of your doggie essentials (treats, poop bags, dog, etc.) while out on a walk?