Thursday, April 5, 2012

Q & A - The Final Countdown

We're back and better than ever!  Today I'm wrapping up our Q & A session- but don't worry!  You can always ask new questions any time.  One thing I've always disliked about blogging is that when someone leaves a comment on a post that I want to respond to, it feels too late.  What are the odds this person will actually come back to this post and see if I responded?

Instead, I'm going to include them in my next post.  This way, if you follow our random blog on a regular basis, you can see my response in the next post.  Really, I love getting comments on the blog, but I wish the dialog could continue, and now it will!

So, on to your questions:

Tracy asked: What do you use as treats, and what do you feed?

Ah Tracy, what a Pandora's Box you have opened...

Babies.  We eat babies.

Back in October, I began to consider a raw diet.  It was mainly because Skye has an autoimmune disorder, so even high quality dog food was not giving her the nutrients she needed.  But it wasn't until December that I finally made the switch and starting seeing huge improvements within a few weeks.  Parker is also on a raw diet, though he is healthy in general, so I didn't see the same big changes.  After a few weeks of the same stuff, I started trying to branch out and learned that shopping for raw food is almost fun.  I buy whatever, wherever, and the dogs love it!

As for treats- I'm an addict.  I love trying new treats to use with Parker and Skye.  However, as a professional trainer I really can't go out and spend $6-8 on a bag of treats every other day.  Instead, I buy Natural Balance Dog Food Rolls (turkey).  It's $12 for the biggest size, and after slicing and dicing the meaty goodness into bite-sized cubes, I have about 2 weeks worth of treats.  Plus, this is the Puppy Crack of dog treats.  I have never met a dog that wasn't interested in these little chunks of heaven.


Emily at It All Started with a Pit Bull said:  I'd love to hear about any of your "mistakes" or learning experiences that you had along the way to having such amazing dogs-- or were they always practically perfect?

No.  They, and I, were always perfect. 

Oh wait... I'm sorry, that is only in my head.  Actually, I began Of Pit Bulls and Patience because Skye had become such a stressful part of my life that I needed an outlet for my frustration.  Our first 6 months together were very difficult.  I needed to learn to stop myself when I was reaching the end of my rope.  Even my first post ever, which is so strange to read, has me lamenting my insane pit bull.

Skye still has her moments- but so do I.  What I can say is that no matter what kind of dog you have, there needs to be a relationship built on trust.  While I never caused Skye physical harm, my impatience and high standards kept us from bonding for a long time.  She didn't want anything to do with training or me, and I didn't know how to change that.  Clicker training and agility class really helped us understand each other better and now we work as a team.

Parker, you may have guessed by now, really is close to perfect.  He was easy to train and is motivated to please, so food rewards are just a great bonus.  My only mistakes have been to let it slide when he isn't behaving the way I want because I am too focused on Skye.  I often stereotype my own pit bull- I'm so careful about keeping her on good behavior in public that Parker gets a pass.  His behavior is never all that bad, but recently I've been raising the bar of expectation for him as well.

ZeeFM asked:  What is the one thing that you enjoy doing most with both Parker and Skye ? Name one of their idiosyncrasies.

Parker, Skye, and I love to go places that they can be off leash.  We have a number of spots in New Hampshire and Massachusetts that allow dogs off leash.  We hit the beach, the woods, the other woods, that trail in the woods, and our spot with all the fields in the woods.  Generally we do something like this for an hour every day, unless I force them to do a leash walk.    

Rebelwerewolf also asked about spots to bring dogs.  In the next few weeks we'll be posting about the spots we love in a little more detail- maybe you'll find some to try!

As for idiosyncrasies, they got 'em!  Parker has a truly creepy love of cats.  I really will never understand it.  Skye also has a few, my favorite of which is that she has never quite figured out the Kong.  She will pick it up and drop it repeatedly so that stuff falls out of it rather than just lay down and lick all the goodness out.  Because of this, she is still at a basic Kong level- I can't stuff them really well or she'll give up and cry.  Literally, cry to the Kong for not giving up its yummies.

Plus, she is an awkward sleeper.

And last, but not least!  (drumroll please.....)

The Rufus Way asked:  How has Skye's health been?

Well gosh, thanks for asking!  Skye is continuing to take an experimental drug to increase her circulation and keep the scabbies away from her head, ears, and tail.  Sadly, this means she cannot operate heavy machinery, which has been really hard on her.  Recently all the pollen and nature have been giving her itchy paws, but I wipe her off with an aloe baby wipe after we've been outside to prevent rashes from springing up.

A few weeks ago she had another fainting episode, which makes the grand total 5 in the 2 years I've had her.  My vet now believes it is cardiac related (go team!) and the next time it happens I'll take her heart rate.  But she hasn't got a clue that she's a genetic disaster, and the raw diet has kept her from getting ANY infections!  We averaged 1 a month before the switch, so this has been a huge improvement.  Woot woot!

Look!  My tongue is healthy too!

Well, that's all folks!  We'll begin researching our favorite spots ASAP to share with you.  Like, literally right now.  The dogs are already at the door with their adventure faces on. 


  1. I know how you feel about answering questions! That is why I started "Ask Kolchak". It takes a few extra minutes, but when I am posting a post to answer a reader question, I usually drop them a quick e-mail. That's one of the bonuses about the 3rd party comment system that I use, I have access to people's e-mail addresses. :0) I havd no idea about Skye and her issues! I am amazed at how great she is, even with challenges. I just love her sweet face.

  2. Thanks for answering my question. Can't wait to hear about your adventures!

  3. thank you so much for all the answers to our questions! I didn't know about Skye's health situation but am glad to hear it's better ~ I can imagine it's pretty scary when you don't know just what's going on with your baby. Look forward to reading about all your exciting outings:)

  4. oh skye you goofy girl XD What sort of sleeping position is that ? and parker's love for felines is just wow O_o;

  5. what kind of "raw diet?" Glad there is improvement
    Benny & Lily

  6. I didn't realize you had struggled with Skye! I need to go back and read further. What a long way you have come together! How rewarding.


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