Josie enjoys Key West, especially in winter.
With the weather too cold to walk much, I decided to get Josie one of those dog treat puzzles. Many years ago, I got one of those clear acrylic balls that you load with treats and the dog rolls it around until some come out, and she was not a fan. She’s not much into balls, and treats that are in a container are off limits, and she is not much of a rebel – more of a groveler. So I gave that toy to Carly’s Shih Tzu, Roman, and it was a big hit. Roman is not a groveler, and when he wants the ball refilled, he carries it in to where his people are and slams it down on the floor.
For Josie’s second foray into treat-oriented puzzles, I bought the Trixie Dog Activity Flip Board. It’s an intermediate puzzle, which I figured Josie could handle, and wasn’t terribly expensive at about $12.25. The reviews were positive, unlike those for the puzzle made of pressed board of some type, which had cut some dogs’ noses. Ouch. Also, beging plastic, this thing is very washable.
It came with very specific instructions, and I followed them to the letter. Make it positive, don’t pressure your dog, give it treats just for interacting with the toy. I left the sliders partway open in the beginning, and she pushed them with her nose at first, but then moved on to using her paw. I had taught her “touch” just a few days before, and that helped. She would touch the yellow lever and I would take a treat from the compartment and give it to her, so she could see there were more in there. Eventually she opened it quite by accident, and I told her it was all hers and gave her an even higher-value treat in addition. I got it about a week ago, and it’s taken her this long to get really good, mostly because she’s not bold, and had to get used to plastic things making noise.
I wanted something that would entertain her without me being there, and that hasn’t panned out yet. Josie is very submissive, and I still have to reassure her that it’s okay for her to just take food out of this. I imagine she’ll get over that in time, but she’s not going to be opening kitchen cabinets anytime soon. Ever, really.
One final thing – Josie weighs 3.5 pounds. This puzzle is a great size for her, but I’ve seen some by the same maker that have large cones that can’t be knocked over, and she wouldn’t be able to get her bitty mouth around them to pick them up. Just an FYI.
She has a very gentle mouth.
Our Chihuahua’s currency is kisses.
To strangers, she offers a demure lick,
A kiss on the hand from
A prospective Latin lover.
“I would like to know you better.”
Relaxing at home,
Her tongue strokes my arm
Like a painter realizing her muse.
“How beautiful you are.”
Or a parent, stroking a child’s head.
“I will protect you.”
Always a questionable promise.
When we return from the unknown,
She is frantic with love.
Standing on hind legs,
She clutches my face between her paws
And kisses like a wife
Who thought herself widowed.
Our separation ended,
She no longer needs to be strong.
We pay in kind.
A primal press of primate lips
Against that tiny cheek,
Plush and yielding with fur.
She droops with pleasure.
Lying on her back in the sun,
Limp and heavy-lidded as a corpse,
She seems not to notice
Nibbling kisses on her belly,
Even when they stop.
There will surely be more.
— Copyright Esri Allbritten, 2016
The flaming hoop was made from a Styrofoam wreath base and flame-patterned fabric, both purchased at Jo-Ann Fabrics. I cut the fabric into strips (reserving some for the separate flames) and wrapped it around the wreath, then secured it with straight pins. Cutting the individual flames out was a little tedious, but worth it. The hoop was part of our family Halloween costume. Afterwards, we bought a PDF on Etsy on how to make an agility course for your dog out of PVC pipes, and Joe integrated the hoop into that.
I took this photo with my Samsung Galaxy 5 on a tripod, using burst shot, iso 800. Told her to “sit” in front of the hoop, then “wait,” then “hoop!”
Josie considers anyone who visits the house a bonus person. It’s like getting a free restaurant dessert on your birthday, if it were a whole cake. “Bonus people!” So exciting.
Kristen and Shasta stopped by this evening. They are two of Josie’s favorite bonus people. After Josie stopped being a wiggly blur, Shasta got these two pix.
The face that launches a thousand “Awwww!”s.
Here I am nuzzling her back, and…what is that expression? Submission? Fury? The determination to get revenge on the dog who killed her sensei?