Saturday, October 31, 2009

Playing Dress Up

So, once again this year we participated with Pinups for Pitbulls and submitted a photo for the 2010 calendar. Out of the almost 100 submissions, we were NOT chosen to have our own month in the calendar, but our picture will appear on a page in the back. Oh well. Enjoy anyway!

The photo was a huge collaborative effort in tribute to the Elvgren pinup painting, Station WOW. I can't tell you how much fun this shoot was. Everyone who worked on it was great. The photographer, Chris Zibutis is awesome and was assisted by his lovely wife, Monica Zibutis as well as their friend Robyn Martin. The hair and makeup was all done by my sister-in-law, Jenna Hopman. The dog-wrangling and general pup supervision was handled by my husband, Shawn Hopman. We shot at the yoga studio where I teach thanks to the kind owners. The pup models were your friends, Addy and Probert. As you can see, Probert is an old pro at this looking adorable on film thing by now!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Guess who has 4 birthdays!?

Tomorrow is Probert's four birthday! I haven't decided how we will celebrate, any suggestions?

Here is a picture of Probert from when he was first adopted. The toy is his Ellie that he brought with him from the rescue. Um, until Wrigley de-stuffed Ellie. RIP, Ellie.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Probert's Dog

I think I posted before about Probert's problem with coming out of his crate. Every single time he came out of his crate, he had to steal something or have something in his mouth. He would grab laundry, socks, shoes, toys, try to pull the blankets out of the other dogs' crates, etc. So we have remedied this problem by consistently handing him something when he comes out of his crate, so he can just go downstairs without the obsessive "finding something" game he had to play previously. Most of the time now he happily takes his no-eyed, no-nosed, one-eared dog and races downstairs with him. Clearly, he is a well-loved stuffed dog.

In other Probert news, yesterday I threw a ball and he fetched it! I don't think I've ever seen him pick up a ball in his life. Previously he would chase them while they bounced and rolled and then not know what to do after that, but yesterday he picked it up and carried it to a new location! It sounds stupid, but when the Brown Dog Dad came home I showed him and he was equally amazed. Probert might be a dog, afterall!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Yesterday Addy and I went out to Tracy's store, Natural Pet Market in Wheaton, IL for the annual Howl-O-Ween party. Addy did not really dress up for the party, but for my own amusement at home, I dressed her as Tupac. Picture her rollin'.

She also whipped out her adorable high-five trick and won the trick contest! Now we get to go back to Natural Pet Market with a $25 gift certificate! Wooo!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Busy Busy

Well, things have been so busy over here getting ready for the Pinups for Pitbulls fundraiser in Chicago that I haven't been taking many pup pictures or finding time to update. Sorry about that! Hope to be back to catch up with you all soon! :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Working and Training

This weekend was an eventful one for the pups. On Saturday, Maizy made her glorious return to therapy dogging by working at the local library again. We had 4 kids signed up to read to her and she was so so so good. I had bought an extra copy of Demo and brought that along to donate to the library in Maizy's name, so hopefully she will be hearing that story soon! On Saturday we heard part of a Goosebumps story about worms, and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back read by siblings. We also heard Hooray for Fly Guy! about a fly who plays football. The last one was read by a grandmother because the child was disabled and could not read. He did like dogs, though, and he REALLY liked football! Maizy was an angel the whole time we were at the library, so I was proud of her. She was especially adorable while resting her head in a little girl's lap and looking up at her as she read. She is a nice dog.

On Sunday, Probert had his first ever day of school! I took him over for a private session with our favorite trainer, Rendy from Anything is Pawsible. Professional training is part of the program laid out to manage Probert's anxiety by his vet and our session was really productive! We worked on desensitizing him to the Halti, staying with distractions, saying hello, and got a lot of great tips about how to manage some of his more difficult behaviors. Probert warmed right up to Rendy, which was adorable. It was interesting to me to notice how when she tried to get him to play with a toy, he would get excited about her excitement, but not know what she expected him to do with a ball or a rope. Sometimes at home he will pick up a toy and carry it for a second, but he always drops it. He doesn't really understand how to play. I get so used to it, but to be reminded of it is so sad. Then again, I have to remember that this is the same dog who used to move as far away as possible and then flatten himself to the ground every time a car drove by while we were on walks and I know that he has come so far. There's still more work to do, but he can definitely do it.

So, we have a lot to work on and so far, the work at home has been going well. Probert is a smart little dog. I also had some good conversation with Rendy about our decision to medicate Probert which reinforces that we did the right thing. Looking at him now as compared to pre-medication, I could not be happier with our decision. The medication has clearly freed up some space in his mind to work on being a dog without the incessent anxiety and fear. And as Rendy said, "You clearly have not turned this dog into a coffee table." :)

Here is a video of one of Probert's favorite "games," and probably the only one he has figured out how to play. I like it because you can hear all of his snuffling to find the treats. This game is called "Find It" and I throw little treats into the rug for Probert and Maizy to find (they do this well together and the competition keeps them working, but I wouldn't do this with a dog who resource guards from other dogs). The rug hides them enough that they use their noses more than their eyes. They didn't get this game at first, so I contained it to one side of the rug, then expanded slowly. Now we can play this game on the big living room rug or I can start to move treats off the rug into other parts of the kitchen (you'll see in the video that one rolls away and Maizy digs it out from under the counter). This method of slow expansion has worked well to make sure that everyone "gets" what the goal is. Let me know if there are other variations that you play with your dog!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Poor Addy

Poor baby Addison has a poufy face tonight for some unknown reason. We gave her an antihistamine to see if it will clear up by the morning. She looks so uncomfortable. I hope the medicine helps! Send her good thoughts!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Safety Maizy

Yesterday while out and about, Maizy and I stopped and bought her a shiny new dog seat belt for the car. (We also went to Natural Pet Market in Wheaton, which Maizy LOVED and which is owned by friend to pit bulls, Tracy!)

(Yeah, you never want to have to ride in my back seat... it is dog hair city.)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Maizy and Friends

Two pictures from this week:

Maizy and Probert smelling the fall air.

Maizy and Justice both looking nervous about being so close to each other. To be fair, Maizy has the most to worry about because Justice is always the one attacking her. She always acts like a lady.