Posts filed under Uncategorized

Dog Bite Prevention This dog bite prevention video illustrates why so many people are bitten by dogs every year. In this animation, a child approaches a dog in spite of the fact that the dog shows many body language signs showing that he's scared. Because the child keeps approaching and the dog feels cornered, the dog turns to aggression in order to protect himself. To learn more about the signs of fear and anxiety and how to prevent being bitten visit Dr Yin's web site at

Posted on May 21, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

What to do if you find a lost dog at the dog park

There was an incident at the park (Magnuson Off-Leash Park) today I wanted to share with everyone so that hopefully it will be handled differently in the future. Please feel free to share with anyone you know who frequents the park. This afternoon, a dogwalker came in with her pack of dogs and was picking up after them while they meandered around the grassy hill by the small dog park. Minutes go by and she realizes one of her dogs is missing. He obviously couldn't have gone far in the couple minutes it took her to pick up some poop. She walks around the park looking for the dog and asking all the other dogwalkers if they had seen the dog. While she is looking for the dog she comes across someone who says they had just talked to a woman who found a dog and called all the numbers on his tags and since nobody responded she was going to take the dog back to her daycare. She didn't ask any other dogwalkers if they knew of the dog or anyone missing a dog, she just left with the dog that was not hers. This should have never happened.

One of the best things about Magnuson park is the community of dogwalkers. For the most part, we all know each other and know each others dogs. If there is ever a dog missing, most likely one of us will either recognize the dog and know who it belongs to, or start spreading the word to all the other walkers to keep an eye out. I have told a dogwalker down at the water that I was looking for a dog, and somehow the next 4 dogwalkers I passed on the way back up to the field asked if I had found the dog yet. How did they know already? I don't know, but between passing one other, calling and texting we can play a pretty damn efficient game of telephone when we need to.

A note about "lost" dogs. When they're at the dog park, they usually aren't lost. It's easy for dogs to get turned around with all the excitement going on and then all of a sudden they don't know which direction their human went. One second they are walking with you, the next someone drops a treat they have to investigate, then a squeaky ball conveniently rolls their way, then another human tries to take it back, and then where is their human??!!? Things happen. The important part is that we work together and help each other when these things do happen. Sure, there are the rare times when someone intentionally leaves their dog at the park, or when who knows what else, but here are some simple steps to help you determine the best way to get this pup back to their human.

1. Ask a dogwalker! There's a good chance we will recognize the dog, and if not, we will get that massive game of telephone started. There's a chance their human is just on the other side of a mound picking up poop and is out of sight but not out of hearing range.

Also, there are dogwalkers at the park most hours of the day, so if one dogwalker is watching the "lost" dog and has to leave, they can pass the dog off to another dogwalker who is still there to keep an eye out for their human and continue the search process. Dogs are in good hands with dogwalkers.

2. Stay close to the front gates. Anyone looking for a dog will want to make sure the dog doesn't leave with someone else, and anyone that forgot their dog (?!?!) will be running back.

3. Follow the dog, but don't leash them. They may be trying to wander back to their human.

4. After asking around, call the information on the tags. No tags or no luck? You can take them to the closest vet and see if they have a microchip with contact info.

5. If all else fails, call Animal Control to have them picked up. They will be taken to Seatlle Animal Shelter where they were will in good care, and anyone who is missing a dog will know to look for them there. *Do not* take the dog to your house, nobody will know to find your dog at their house!

Whether a dog is lost, taking a self guided tour of the park, or trying to escape from their human who is horrible enough to make them leave the park, that dog came there with a human and should leave with that same human. We have a wonderful community at the park, of dogwalkers, park patrons, and of course dogs, and this is one of those times where we should take advantage of it. Let's help each other out and keep the pups safe and sound!

Posted on April 6, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

It's all fun and games when Harley ends up in a cone


Todd, Harley's owner, told me a story yesterday that I have not been about to get out of my head. I have been literally laughing out loud at random times since he told me yesterday. Obviously, I had to share. Harley, if you're not familiar from Facebook pics, is an adorably grumpy looking brindle French bulldog with one front tooth that peeks out at all times. Simply looking at Harley makes almost anyone smile. Once he starts dancing around and doing his Harley thing, if you're not laughing, then we are clearly not on the same page as to what's important in life.

So, Harley-man has been in a cone the last week or so. He got a hot-spot in some of his frenchie face wrinkles and has been wearing the cone to try and heal. Harley goes to daycare twice a week when he is not with me. We had a change in schedule last week and he went on one of his normal "me" days. Todd thinks the different schedule must have meant a different crowd of dogs or something, because they gave Harley-man quite a hard time.

Todd says he got a call from daycare around 11:30am saying Harley had to be placed in isolation. The other dogs were using Harley's cone as a toy and the only way they could make them stop it by getting him out of there. Harley is a good dog and I can't imagine he would ever be put in isolation for any behavioral issues. Todd says when he picked up Harley at the end of the day that the cone was in very rough shape, holes, tears, just a complete mess. Although I'm sure Harley didn't enjoy isolation, its a good thing the folks at daycare take such good care of him!

I can just imagine poor Harley-man being the center of a tug-o-war game (which he usually dominates). Definitely a grumpy face, probably a few snorts, and his stubby musclely (i know its not a word) little legs trying to get traction on the daycare floor. Harley-o-war. Seriously wish I had been watching the webcam for that.

I guess at daycare it's all fun and games when Harley ends up in a cone!



Posted on April 3, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

South Lake Union officially has an off-leash park!

reblogged from Seattle Dog Spot

City opens new off-leash area in Denny Park

March 31, 2012 | by seattledogspot

The 12th off-leash area for dogs in Seattle is officially open.

Yesterday, the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation and Citizens for Off-Lease Areas presided over the opening of the Denny Park Off-Leash Area, a.105 acre park located at 100 Dexter Avenue North in the north-central sector of Denny Park, off John Street.

Denny Park is just a temporary home for the off-leash area until a permanent location can be developed. Currently the site of the old Greyhound Bus Station near REI is the leading candidate.

The 2 companies spearheading the explosion of development in the South Lake Union neighborhood, Amazonand Vulcan, donated $95,000 for the project. No taxpayer money was used to build the park.

The need for the park in South Lake Union was due to the area's increasing permanent resident population and influx of Amazon employees (who are allowed to bring their dogs to work) which account for an increase in the daily dog population in the area by approximately 1000 dogs.

Despite the rain, about 60 people and a couple of dozen dogs showed up for the opening. Here are some pictures I took of the festivities followed by a video of the "leash cutting" for the park's official opening and dogs frolicking in the park for the first time.





Vulcan and Amazon provi


Treats from Scraps Bakery
Treats from Scraps Bakery



Citizens for Off-Leash Areas oversees maintenance of all Seattle's off-leash areas and worked for years to make a South Lake Union off-leash area a reality
Citizens for Off-Leash Areas oversees maintenance of all Seattle's off-leash areas and worked for years to make a South Lake Union off-leash area a reality


Posted on March 31, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

adventures of ballwalkpark: no toys = no fun? no way!

I was looking forward to writing this blog all last week but somehow time has passed me by once again and here we are, almost onto the next week! This past week or so I did an experiment with the dogs - no toys. I wanted the dogs to get back to basics; running, playing and interaction with one another, not relying on me for their fun.

My toy philosophy used to be the complete opposite - I had a whole array of the newest, coolest dog toys to spoil my dogs with at the park. I picked toys from my collection based on what dogs were on that particular park trip and who would want to play with which toy and who was going to get the most exercise and most fun with whatever toy. I know a lot of dogwalkers who have certain toys that they can't go without because it is a tool necessary to keep a dog focused and well behaved. Or we get stuck into the routine of having a squeaky cuz ball with us so that our dogs don't steal a squeaky cuz from another dog at the park. It's almost as if the dogs and their owners or dogwalkers have developed a dependence on these toys. I decided it was time to break the habit! At least for the week...

Miles loves the frisbee, Chesa loves the Jolly Ball, Harley loves the squeaky Cuz ball, Milkshake loves the Chuck-it... Each dog has a particular toy that really gets them going. I love finding these toys and seeing what makes that dog "tick" so I can understand them a little better and know the best way to get them exercised and have fun. While I love watching the dogs play with their favorite toys, it changed the whole dynamic of the group, and the dynamic between myself and the dogs. The dogs would look at me just as the toy and treat lady. As soon as we got to the park they would just stare at me and bark because they knew I would eventually give them the toys they wanted. So, out of curiosity and frustration with the barking, I decided to forgo toys (at least 90% of the time) for the week.

The results were amazing! The dogs stopped barking and became much more responsive to me. I was worried they would just ditch me and steal other dogs ball to play with but they actually listened to the "leave it" command better than ever. The most wonderful part of this experiment was seeing how the dogs played so much differently without the distraction of toys. They ran and ran and ran and chased each other and played and wrestled and were just dogs! Even the dogs who normally would just sit and stare at a chuck it were playing.

Here's one of my favorite videos of the dogs doing their favorite run at the park. Julie, look for Tucker in here! Favorite part of the dog park!

I hear from my clients all the time that when they take their dog to the dog park on their own that all their dog wants to do is play fetch with them and not really interact with other dogs. I totally understand, Bailey is very much the same way. One of the really cool things about having such a strongly bonded pack is that they play with each other. Not just chasing after the same ball, but chasing and wrestling and play bows and all of that. This type of play  is really important for ongoing socialization and fulfilling a need for interaction with their own kind.

The dogs treated me with much more respect since it was clear I was the pack leader, rather than the toy distributor. It's funny, giving them less of what they want, they actually had more fun with each other and were better behaved for me. I loved watching them just run and be dogs... instead of throwing the ball I was standing on the sidelines as their cheerleader trying to get them to keep running!

While I think there is a time and place for toys and we will definitely still be using our favorite "tools" like the chuck-it and frisbee, it is nice to know that we can kick the habit and enjoy the simple life a few days a week.

So you want to be a dogwalker, huh? Pt 2: Stay on your feet

I have a thing with Tuesdays. I call them Terrible Tuesdays. This started years ago when I had an office job - my reasoning was that on Monday you were fresh from the weekend and ready for the week, Wednesday you were half way there, Thursday is like the new Friday, and then there is Friday! Tuesday was nothing to look forward to and the weekend was nowhere in sight. Well, I have maintained the idea of "TT", and I am pretty sure these days I cause bad things to happen on Tuesdays just to fulfill the expectation that it will be a terrible day. This Tuesday lived up to that expectation. 

I got to the park this morning with a great crew of spunky energetic pups. One of my favorite things is watching the dogs run in circles and chase each other for no reason - not chasing a toy or trying to hump another dog, just simply running for the fun of it. While the dogs were doing just that this morning, I was tromping around the extremely muddy field picking up after the dogs, or in this case, "bobbing for poops", as a dogwalker friend would call it. Just as I was thinking I should probably go back to the car and put on my rain pants since they dogs were getting so muddy and I would have a lot of hosing off to do, I got a big surprise. I started to turn and walk towards the truck, and the dogs ran right behind me, hitting me right behind my knees, causing me to fall backwards. It was all in slow motion, I felt myself going down, I tried to unsuccessfully grab onto a dog to break my fall and save myself from the inevitable mud bath, yelling out some sort of profanity as I went. Before I knew it, my butt was submerged in cold, wet, mud and "water". If you are familiar at all with the dog park, you know that the mud isn't exactly a typical water + dirt combo, ya know what I mean?! As I'm on the ground, I look around to see who witnessed my graceful landing. Nobody. Seriously!? This had to have been one of the highlights of my dogwalking career. Not something to be proud of, but you have to laugh it off, right? 

In that we had just arrived at the park, I had at least an hour left to walk around the park with my freezing cold, wet, disgusting self. At least I wasn't concerned about the dogs getting me dirty! As time went on, I started to think in more and more detail how incredibly disgusting what I had just experienced really was.... and the fact that "it" was still on my skin. I've experienced a lot of nasty things working with dogs, but not many of them have actually made contact with my skin. 

On the way home from the park, I took my dogs home as quickly as possible. When I was at Milkshake's house and taking him out of the truck, I noticed that one of the dogs smelled like they had been freshly bathed. I was envious of how clean they smelled, even after the park. I realized how wrong it was for me to be envious of how a dog smelled. So incredibly wrong. I did not see this coming when I was a girly-girl cocktail waitress...  I stopped by the store on the way home, bought a 3-pack of dial bar soap, and instead having lunch, took a mid-day shower when I stopped by my house. Then took another after the 2nd park trip. Contemplating another before I go to bed. 

I always tell myself, and the dogs, that I always win. No dog can out-stubborn me or out-smart me. At the end of the day, I am the human, I will win. Except today. Today, I have to give it to the dogs, they definitely won. It's like they hit the target and dropped their teacher in the dunk tank. Locked the babysitter out of the house. Knocked down the dogwalker. 

Moral of the story? Don't stand in the mud. I have braced myself from dogs on a daily basis and prevented many falls, but the 3-4 inches of mud was just more than I could handle. Oh, and keep a change of clothes in the car. And a lof of anti-bacterial products. 

Posted on February 22, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

Preventing Bloat in dogs

I came across this great article today and had to share. Bloat is a potentially life-threatening condition which can affect active, healthy dogs in the prime of their life. It can be deadly within hours and is a very serious condition which all dog owners should be aware of . You can read more about bloat here.

While I have read a lot about bloat, I have never read about how to prevent it, which is why this article was so interesting to me. It has some really great tips, some of which ar

  • avoid grain based kibble, or ideally, any kibble.
  • poultry, lamb or other small to medium size raw bones may be one of the best steps towards prevention of bloat, and also make for a happy pup.
  • don't feed your pup fruit and protein at the same time; they digest very differently
  • avoid vigorous exercise for 3-4 hours after eating
Read the whole article here

Posted on February 20, 2012 and filed under Dog Health, Uncategorized.

Valentine's day heartbreak

I have a new rule here at ballwalkpark. My clients are not allowed to move away. It's a condition upon signing your pup up for service. It should be added to the contract. I have lost Oliver (Vizsla) to San Francisco, Mr. Cooper (Vizsla) to Chicago, Stella (Golden Retriever) to Boston, Walker (Vizsla) to Madison Valley (Ok, it's just out of my service area, but I still get to see him at the park all the time!), and now Violet (Frenchie) to Boston. Did I mention this is all since August? 

Sure losing the business isn't great, especially when they are such great dogs as all of these guys happen to be, but what's worse it the heartbreak. I know, don't get your heart too involved in business, but it's pretty hard in this line of work. Most of these dogs I have known since they were puppies, I've watched them discover the world, go through teenage terror days, and come out to be wonderful adult dogs. I spend my days with these dogs, they see me more often than my fiance. They are the reason I am excited to go to work every day and what puts a smile on my face while covered in mud and braving sideways rain. The last time Cooper walked out of my house I burst into tears like I just got dumped by the love of my life. Michael, the actual love of my life, looked at me like I had lost my mind... Not getting attached is not possible, and to be honest, i would be cautious of any dogwalker who didn't get attached! 

Today was Violet's last day with ballwalkpark and she is getting on a plane for Boston tomorrow morning. It was especially fitting that her last day was Valentine's day, as she is Bam's most loving best friend. These two met when Violet was just three months old, and Bam was six months old. We met when Violet was walking down the block in front of our house. We let the dogs run around in the front yard, and as they were playing we saw the first snow fall of the year. Over the past year and some months, these two have grown up together and been best friends, neighbors and almost sisters. They play with each other in a way they don't play with any other dog. See their final goodbye playdate here. We are going to miss Violet and her family so very much. Poor little Frenchies have no idea what heartbreak this Valentine's day is for them. Have fun in Boston Violet, and look up Stella if you ever need a ballwalkpark buddy ;) 


While it is so sad to see my beloved (client) dogs move out of state, I learned today the downfall of having them move out of my service area and still seeing them at the park. As I was bending over to pick up after a dog, I saw Walker out of the corner of my eye starting to lift his leg on me! He was trying to mark me as his territory, something that I suppose could be taken as a sign of affection.... 


Hope you all had a Happy Valentine's Day! 




Posted on February 15, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

The dog park is not a cafeteria

It's that time of year again... The sun is out and more and more people are coming to the dog park. Not only for their dogs, to enjoy their lunches as well. To many of you, lunch and dog park don't belong in the same sentence, but apparently not all... Here are the top three reasons I beg you, your coworkers, and anyone you know to NOT eat your lunch at the dog park!!! 1. There are parks and picnic benches all over this city, but only a few dog parks. The dog park is one of the only places in the city where a dog can be a dog and run, play, sniff and smell. Basically, they want to eat your food and this is the one place they think they can get away with it!

2. Dogs crawl all over that table all day every day. Not to mention it probably has the highest concentration of dog pee covering it in the whole city.

3. There are two garbage cans full of dog poop three feet away from you. Pounds and pounds of dog poop. I can't imagine how one can have an appetite with that smell.

There are some great picnic tables and benches a few hundred yards down by the lifeguard station and I promise my dogs will be on leash while you enjoy your lunch :)


Posted on February 6, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

Pawsicles -- taking care of your dogs paws in the snow

This has been the craziest week of weather for us in Seattle! At the first sight of snow the dogs and I were esthetic to go play in the fluffy white stuff. Now a few days later, the honeymoon phase of the snow has faded, and it's time to start being practical! Ok, to be fair, if it were still all fluffy snow I wouldn't be complaining, but this sheet of ice covering the city kind of has me concerned. My main concern today, that I want to share with you, is our poor little pups paws in this weather. Here's a few things to look out for and suggestions to remedy/prevent potential problems:

  • {ice will cut paws}the situation we have right now with a couple inches of snow and a covering of ice on top is dangerous for the pups paws b/c as they break through that layer of ice they can cut their paws. Also, snow and ice can get in between toes and stuck in the hair on the bottom of their paws.  In deep snow a dog will spread its toes and depending on the type of snow it can actually cause small cuts in the soft areas between the toes. Ice can be rough underfoot and also sharp, so it can cause abrasions and cuts.
        • {solution a} Booties - there are little rubber foot liners such as Pawz Dog Boots that are just little liners - they are cheap and disposable. While they don't help with warmth all that much, they will keep the snow out of the hair in their paws. I have seen them available at All The Best. Another option is Ruff Wear Bark'n Boots, these are much more durable and actually real boots for their paws. They provide great protection from the snow as well as the sharp ice. They are pretty spendy, and you will have to train your pup how to walk in them and get used to them. Here is a video of our buddy, Walker, learning how to walk in his snow boots: Vizsla in snow boots
        • {solution b}  Try and trim any excess hair in between paw pads to prevent snow/ice balls from building up. You can even even applying a small amount of petroleum jelly or olive oil to the area prior to the walk. Be sure to use an edible ointment/oil, as dogs often lick their feet and ingest what was applied. This will help to prevent chapping, cracking, and soreness.
        • {solution c} If you are in winter weather more often than we get here in Seattle, this may be something to look into, but considering this may be our only snow of the season, you may not be able to get this in time. With a little online research, Musher's Secret is all the rage for dogs in snow... They are invisible boots made of a clear wax. Sounds like a great idea!
  • {ice melt toxins} many of the de-icing products, as well as anti-freeze and other chemicals that are mixed in with snow on city streets are toxic to our pups. When dogs come inside they may lick their paws to try and soothe the irritation from cold snow and ice in their paws, which causes them to ingest the toxic chemicals. {solution a} Keep a bucket of warm water by the door and soak their paws and dry off with a towel before coming inside. Make sure to rub the pads to get off any harmful chemicals. {solution b} read the ASPCA's guide on top ten winter paw skin care tips {solution c} try the booties mentioned in section above!

{snowed in} If you and your pup are going crazy without your normal exercise routine, or possibly due to the fact that your dogwalker has cancelled due to snow (sorry...), you can try some indoor activities to provide some mental stimulation. This will help keep them busy and eventually tire them out. 

        • {solution a} indoor hide and seek or find the toy. depending on how much time you have, you can hide in the house and have your pup find you. Or you can show them a toy (something with treats inside helps so they can smell it better) and hide it then tell them to find it.
        • {solution b} any type of puzzle toy or interactive game toy. All The Best has a great selection of puzzles for dogs. They have to work for the treats in the toy and have to figure out how to work the toy right to get the reward. A good old bully stick can do the trick too.
        • {solution c} teach your pup a new trick! A few short 10-15 minute training sessions will provide mental stimulation and strengthen your bond. Have you ever wished your dog had a fun trick to show off? Or maybe teach your dog to close the door and turn out the lights at bedtime? Yes, I know a Vizsla who does this. Genius!  While you're both stuck inside together, now is the time! Here's a great list of dog tricks and how to teach them.

Have fun and be safe! Can't wait to see you all back at the park soon! 

Ten tips for bringing home your new puppy

Did you or someone you know get a puppy for Christmas this year? Are you sitting with an adorable puppy snoozing away in your lap right now, wondering what exactly you are supposed to do with this thing for the next 10-15 years? That puppy breath with be gone before you know it, but don't worry, with my top ten tips to a new puppy you will be ready! 1. The first night: your puppy may very likely cry. I know it's heartbreaking, but you just have to let him cry it out. I suggest to set an alarm every 3 hours and get up and take him out to potty (you shouldn't have to do this more than the first few nights). You don't want to ignore a cry if he really has to go, but you also don't want to reward crying. Put a blanket, towel or sweatshirt in the crate that they can snuggle up with. I also like to put a warm water bottle (a Nalgene or some other hard plastic they can't chew) and also a clock with a second hand that ticks - these two things act like the warmth and heartbeat of his litter mates and can be very soothing.

2. Potty training is a full time job. Some puppies pick it up much easier than others - it can take 2 days or 2 months. As a general rule, take your puppy out to potty within a couple minutes of eating or drinking. Their little bodies are so tiny whatever goes in comes out almost instantaneously. When you go outside, wait until they go to come back in. If they try to play, ignore them. Use a command, I say "go potty", and use it consistently. After they go potty, praise them in your best cheerleader voice with love and treats. 

3. Socialize, socialize, socialize! According to Dr. Ian Dunbar, "as a rule of thumb, your puppy needs to meet at least a hundred people before he is three months old." (read more here). Socializing your puppy will play a huge role in determining your puppy's temperament for years to come and you only have about 4 weeks before the socialization window closes! This article talks about socialization with people mostly, but I think it is important to expose puppies to people, babies, sights, sounds, other dogs (as long as you know they are fully vaccinated and healthy), car rides, etc...  You can't socialize your puppy enough during this time and please believe me that you will be very glad you did in the long run. If you think I'm a little too excited about this socialization thing, maybe you can relate to this: excuses to not socialize your puppy.

4. Bite inhibition. Puppies like to bite, partly because they are exploring their world and biting is how they play with their siblings, and partly because they are teething. Those little puppy teeth can be needle sharp, but not nearly as painful as a grown dog, so now is time to teach them how to have a soft mouth. This is surely something you will go over in your puppy kindergarten class, but here is a great article to give you a head start.

{my life of dogs} when I was 9 our black lab had 11 puppies at our home. It was summer and I spent most of my dogs playing with the puppies. We have a hilarious home video of 11 puppies chasing me down the hill and I am screaming and running full speed to dive onto the hammock. My legs were full of bloody little scratches from the herd of puppies biting at my legs.

5. Puppy classes. Your puppy may be a very quick learner, he may have mastered "sit", "down" and "stay" at 9 weeks, but I still highly recommend a puppy class for these reasons: 1) the training is more for you than the pup, 2) it's great socialization and supervised play - it's easier to prevent behaviors than try to fix them later, and 3) you have a professional to answer all the questions that come up over those crucial 4-6 weeks - google has it's limits ;) Here are a couple I recommend:

Jeff Tinsley and Sound Animal Services

Paws 4 Training first week at home

6. Teething. Your pup isn't necessarily trying to be a troublemaker, he may be teething and actually be in pain! Try giving him an ice cube. Also, you get a rope toy wet, put it in the freezer overnight and let you pup work on that for a little numbing relief.

{my life of dogs} My lab, Bailey, used to love to push an ice cube around the hardwood floors and slowly gnaw on it.

7. Toy basket. If you are anything like me, the 2nd most exciting thing after getting a puppy (1st being the actual puppy of course...) is going on a dog toy shopping spree. Make sure to pick up a toy bucket or basket while you are at it. Only let you pup have three toys out at a time, and rotate them every couple days. If they are all laying out at once, your pup gets bored of them and can possibly think that everything on the floor (your shoes?) are fair game. 

8. Pet Insurance. I know, this may sound crazy, but this is essential. I hate to break it to you, but something, at some point, is going to happen with your puppy. Maybe they ate a lego and now aren't eating or pooping right, or maybe they get a cough, or who knows.... but it will happen, and you will feel a lot better about swiping your credit card knowing that you will be getting up to 90% of the bill back. I highly recommend it to all of my clients and every time they go to the vet they tell me how happy they are they have it. My favorite company is Healthy Paws Pet Insurance - use this link and save 10% off for life. Another great company is Trupanion - both are local!

 {my life of dogs} My fiance has a 9yr old German Shepard without insurance and he has spent over $20k on surgeries from eating socks, tire biter toys, etc.... Don't learn the hard way!

9. Keep a routine! Dogs are very routine based animals and they like things kept the way they are supposed to be. Routine will keep your puppy happy, so try to feed them, walk them and everything else as consistently as possible.

{my life of dogs} Bailey knows when I pick out my clothes whether we are going to play or I am going to do something out her. She dances or pouts accordingly.

10. Don't get overwhelmed! As I'm sure you are already aware, a puppy is a huge responsibility and a lot of work. It will get harder before it gets easier. It can be frustrating trying to communicate with a little pooping/peeing/chewing/barking/whining creature that just looks at you with that head tilt and puppy eyes after chewing your couch cushion. The time and commitment you put into this puppy will all be worth it one day. Bailey was one of the most stubborn trying puppies I've met to this day - but I consider her (and her faults) my biggest accomplishment and every day I look at her and am proud of how far we have come. If you need a hand, hire a dog walker! One of the services I provide at ballwalkpark are puppy visits - myself or Nancy comes over for a 20 minute visit and help reinforce potty training, provide socialization and play time, and help guide you through the stages of puppyhood. I also provide a puppy package that are two puppy visits a day - timed to be 3-4 hours apart so your puppy is never alone too long while you are at work. There are a lot of great dogwalkers in Seattle - set up consultations and make sure you are a good fit with your walker and it is someone you feel comfortable with.

Training a puppy can seem like dieting - there are hundreds of books and methods and opinions on how to teach the same thing. It can get really frustrating and if you try to take everyone's advice you will lose your mind. Figure out what works best for you and your puppy and stick with it - consistency is key. We are all a little different and so are our dogs - what works for one dog may not for another and there is nothing wrong with it.

And most importantly, take lots of pictures!!! Puppies grow up way too fast - capture these precious moments!

Happy Birthday Bailey!

My baby Bailey is turning 7 years old today! For those of you that don't already know, I get overly excited about my dog's birthday. I find it more exciting than my own birthday. I really like to celebrate her birthday, and despite what everyone says, I am convinced that she knows it's her birthday. On her first birthday, I remember we went to the Lower Woodland dog park and it was a miserable December day - freezing rain, windy, just horrible. I forced myself to spend at least two hours there, throwing the ball up and down that hill, so that Bailey could have a great first birthday. It wasn't until after that day did I learn that dog's don't have a concept of time like we do, and she didn't understand that I suffered through two hours of cold her for birthday celebration. Although I now know better, it hasn't changed how we celebrate.

When she turned 6 last year, someone mentioned that she was reaching her senior years. You would have thought someone just called her an old hag the way I reacted. I tried to defend her and say how active and energetic she is and how she could not possibly be considered a senior. Maybe if she was a Great Dane, but no way my little girl. Well, now that we have reached 7 years old, and her white mask is more noticeable, and her naps are more frequent, I am starting to accept the reality. My little girl is growing up.

This has been a pretty great year for Bailey and I. We did a lot of growing together, and even after all these years, I feel like I have come to understand her so much better.

First of all, age isn't going to calm this dog down. She is insane, intense, neurotic and 100% retriever. While at a neighborhood park, she was off leash and a couple of our dog friends were chasing her around to play - she took off on the other side of the fence, went into the 6' tall shrubs and started  frantically jumping up and down. I knew she had some sort of a plan, and seconds later, she popped a soccer ball off the top of the hedge that she must have smelled from 30 yards away. Honestly, I am totally amused when she does these things, but when we are at someone's cabin and trying to relax and she is scaling a tree to find the ball someone hid from her, I just really wish there was an "off" button. I'm afraid those instincts are with us for the long haul.

Second of all, we have learned how precious our time together is. The moment I decided to start ballwalkpark, it was after a long horrible day at the office and I came home to go on an "adventure" (think 2-3 hours trying to get lost on Queen Anne) with Bailey. I realized that walking with her and my iPod was the most therapeutic wonderful thing in the world and the one thing that could never fail to change my mood around. People ask me why I don't bring Bailey to the park with me every day, and while she definitely hates me walking out the door without her, we both enjoy our walks together much more than with the pack at the park. I've never seen a happier dog than when we are out walking, just the two of us. People stop me all the time and say "your dog is smiling!". She can go to the park every single day, but she is never more sweet, relaxed and just generally happy than when we have a lot of time together to go on walks and adventures. With that being said, you can probably imagine how she feels about "The Boot".

Third of all, she has learned to cuddle. After we brought little Bam home and everyone wanted to hold her and cuddle with her, Bailey finally caught on and realized why I was always trying to grab her and lay with her. When she was a little puppy I remember I asked the breeder why she didn't want to cuddle with me - she said some dogs just aren't cuddly dogs. I have to admit I was disappointed. I grew up laying by the fire with our labs and thought that was kind of a part of the deal. These days, she has no sense of personal space. I think she learned a little something from her little sis. When I wake up, she always comes to greet me, and in the past year she has decided that the best way to wake me up is to lay on top of my head and borderline suffocate me/not let me get up. I love it.

Lastly, Bailey has learned that I am not going to leave her. This may be our biggest development in the past year, and possibly in her life! I have always wanted the kind of dog that I could take everywhere, and could sit outside the coffee shop while I run in, or that could sit outside the grocery store while I go and grab dinner. I have never given up on this mission, but for the past 6.5 years she has sat outside and anxiously panted and barked at the top of her lungs - I swear it is the loudest bark I've ever heard. It has been described by many as "intense" - such as, "oh that's your dog outside? Wow... she's really.... intense." Needless to say, it was humiliating and made it hard to take her places. Especially when I tell people I work with dogs for a living, but yes, that is my beast outside. Well, all of a sudden, a few months ago, she realized she could just relax and I would come back. I kept looking at the window expecting her to have escaped or something horrible, but she was just laying there watching people go by.... My heart melted. For whatever reason, that was a turning point for her, and now we can go everywhere together. She loves going to the grocery store and seeing the rest of the Queen Anne dogs tied up at various locations along the ave. This simple little thing makes both of us so happy and able to spend even more time together.

Bailey may drive some people crazy, but I am pretty damn proud of this dog I have raised.  For 7 years I have paid more attention to her health issues than my own, bought her new toys when I couldn't justify buying myself anything, decided to use my college degree to give her the best doggie life possible, and nearly seriously put my relationship with my fiance on the line when bringing her on long car rides.... I never knew it was possible to love anything as much as I love my little girl.

Here's to turning 7 B- I hear you're supposed to be "mature" and in your "prime" now.... yeah right! 

In case you haven't heard enough about my obsession with my dog, here is her birthday blog last year :)

Bailey turns 6!

Posted on December 8, 2011 and filed under Uncategorized.

Adventures of bwp: thanksgiving week

Yesterday was the downpour of all downpours! My rainproof gear passed the test, the boot failed miserably. I don't think have never been that wet in my life. I would try to wipe the water off of my face and by the time I did it was dripping wet again! The dogs stayed clean despite running in lakes of mud because it was raining so hard it was like a non-stop shower. That was a perk! The morning trip was raining, but nothing compared to the afternoon. We brought Floyd for his second park trip, his first with my pack (was with nancy yesterday). That dog has so much energy! He's a young labradoodle,so I'm not surprised. He was just adopted into a new home two weeks ago and was named Floyd- it fits him very well! He seems to be a very smart, well trained dog, but still is adjusting to a lot and very very excited about the dog park! The main thing we are working on is recall and considering he is still learning his new name, and has a pack of new friends, it's understandable that he's not totally reliable yet. We kind of had a break through yesterday and discovered that he may have been trained "touch" instead of "come" as ER have been using. He heard me say " touch" to another dog and came running over and sat perfectly at my feet waiting for a treat. And did it again, and again... I love moments like that :)

During our drop offs and pick ups, or "lunch", we found a lost dog walking in front of my house. He was a little chug (chihuahua/pug) and his name was Larry. We called the number on his tag and left a voicemail. I posted on Facebook and twitter. We kept him with us waiting to hear back from the owner. Long story short, he snuck out of my neighbors yard who was dog-sitting and after some cuddling in the car with me, he went home safe sound. He was a sweet little guy with a Mr. Fletcher-ish underbite.

So, I'm having kind of an off week, and am apparently physically falling apart. I was lifting a dog in the truck on Monday (which I do 15x a day, every day, and have never had a problem), and pulled something in my back. I've never done that before and feel like I'm turning into an 80yr old! I learned my lesson on lifting. I have been so lucky to have Kendal helping me- I thought the boot was difficult, but this is much worse. I think, in the world of "everything happens for a reason", it's helped me let go of a little bit of my control freak ways and let Kendal take the reins. She has been amazing and it is really good for me to stand back and watch a bit... I can't believe how much she has caught on to the crazy chaotic life of the dogs. All the dogs love her and listen to her and she has been such a trooper with the long days bad weather. That's how you know someone truly loves the dogs!

Yesterday afternoon, I had to take a break and sit down and rest for a minute. I had been chasing the dogs around trying to get their toys to throw and finally gave up. As soon as I sat down, every single dog came over and said hi and checked in on me. They are so sweet. Milkshake brought his ball, dropped it, and barked in circles around the bench, in protest of my resting moment. If a barking dog dancing in circles doesn't get you back in action, I don't know what does. He's intense!

The rain either energizes and excites the dogs and they just go crazy, or sometimes they have just had enough. Pepper was over it. Her sad little eyes said "I'm not cut out for this. Take me home to cuddle!" I posted a video on YouTube and facebook of the pups romping in the rain.

In other news, Cooper took the worst smelling poop I have ever smelled. Even after it was bagged and thrown away, I could smell if for a good 50ft radius. What did he eat?!

Nancy walked Mokee yesterday afternoon, in the downpour, and apparently did the best towel off job ever! His mom texted me last night asking if he went to the park (he does both on Tuesdays) - she said he looked like he just got back from the groomers he was so clean! Good job, Nance!

Ok, back to the park to test that rain gear again....

Posted on November 23, 2011 and filed under Adventures of ballwalkpark, Uncategorized.

Week 1: Dogwalker in a boot

Whew... what a week it has been! True November weather with cold, wind and rain. Everyone is starting to make plans for the holiday next week. And your dogwalker got put in a walking boot. Why the boot? I hurt my ankle over the summer and it just didn't seem to get better. I went to the Dr, got an X-ray, and turns out I have an extra bone in my ankle and a tendon got stretched/torn over it and just couldn't heal because I walk so much. So as an alternative to not walking for weeks on end, I am in a boot to hopefully give me extra ankle bone and tendon the rest it needs! So, dogwalker + boot = thank god for Kendal and Nancy's help.

Kendal is my psuedo-little sister, Nancy's daughter, and my best friend Hilary's little sister. She has been a part of my dog park trips and dogsitting on the side for years now - she watches my dogs while I am out of town. Luckily, she will be helping me at the park so I don't have to run around as much and give my foot a little more rest.

The first day with The Boot, on Tuesday, was not easy. I did two runs by myself. I have never actually realized how much walking I do in a day until I strapped a huge boot to myself. Luckily it wasn't raining so it stayed pretty dry. I did however step in dog poop, and that was a pleasure to clean up.

Wednesday was the first day of Kendal riding along with me and picking up dogs. A huge help! Nancy was taking care of her crew - she met us at the park with Pepper, Mokee and Woody. Her little pack has developed it's own dynamic and it's so fun to see how differently the dogs are in a smaller pack. Pepper, who when she is with my pack, loves to chase Bonita and Chesa and grab their tails and then eventually possibly hump them, is a totally different dog in Nancy's group. Although she has her golden retriever opportunity with Mokee, she and Woody are best buds. Woody is Nancy's Jack Russell, and he is a fraction of Pepper's size, but those two just love to run and chase. Pepper is also highly addicted to Nancy and when not in chase-mode can almost always be found as Nancy's shadow. Mokee has taken to his new position of ring leader of the crew. He marches proud with his head held high and greets my pack with tons of excitement!

There was no preventing the inevitable mud bath that was Magnuson park yesterday, so we just made the best of it and Kendal got lots of practice hosing the crew off before we left :) Michael, my boyfriend, was kind enough to thoroughly wrap my boot in industrial size Saran Wrap - he found it more amusing than I did and I think I was wrapped at least 50 times.  My toes broke through and were soaked in dog park mud within minutes. Coco was relieved to see that the rain had finally accumulated to make enough of a puddle for her to roll in. Bickie, I swear, I was right there when she dropped in that puddle and started to roll - I was yelling "No Coco!" and she looked at me for a brief second and considered it, but instincts won her over. Luckily the mud hasn't thick and gross yet :/ Bonita and Rex took turns being ball thieves. Otis got to make a guest appearance since his mid-week dogwalker was out sick. It's always fun to have goofy Mr. Otis around. Dexter learned that Kendal is his new best friend - she hasn't learned that at a certain point, sitting perfectly still and smiling with that toothy grin doesn't always warrant a treat. He's having Thanksgiving feast early. All in all, it was a great day and Kendal was a champ hosing off all 8 dogs. My muddy, soggy foot went home to dry off. After two days of wearing that boot, the padding part on the bottom had already torn up and a chunk in the front had scraped off. Something tells me that boot was not made for dog parkin it... Miles' mom sent me a link for a waterproof boot cover - I definitely need to invest. On my to-do list for tomorrow.

Today was another double dog park trip day. Luckily I had Kendal's help, not only with the dogs, but with properly duct taping my boot. Much more effective. I brought my good camera and was able to take some fun pictures while Kendal learned to manage the group. They all respond to her really well - it's great! Nancy came with Pepper and Woody. I was trying to get some good pictures of Pepper to help out with her feature of her holiday card - the theme is "holly jolly" so I was trying to get something goofy! I don't know if I got "the picture" for Pepper, but I certainly got a lot of other goofy pics... between Hastings, the extra gooberish looking Great Dane with know from the park to Harley, an English Bulldog we ran into with a huge underbite. Chesa and Bailey were trading off their yellow lab fixation between the Jolly Ball and the tennis ball. Chesa loves to push the Jolly ball around on the ground and has scratched a little spot on her forehead from it! She is not bothered in the least... Coco found yet another puddle... Gracie hopped from dog to dog with her puppy energy, checking in frequently for a treat. Rex loves to go after the big dogs - the bigger the better for him to wrestle with, and Hastings was just his type. He got quite a good romp in. Poor Miles... we weren't quite expecting the drop in temperature and we didn't see his coat by the door. He got cold so I tried to cuddle with him and keep him warm - he clobbered me with kisses - typical Miles. We will definitely have the coat tomorrow! I offered my jacket to "cozy cave" under, but apparently he only likes to do that with Michael, not me. Kendal's dog, Maddie came along too. She is obsessed with Kendal and the herding instincts in her say that she needs to protect Kendal at all times. I think today was really good for her because she kind of started to branch out and play with other dogs. She rode in the truck on the way home and did just great! A new ballwalkpark addition within the family.

Confessions of a dogwalker: So something strange and gross happened to me today. I've had a lot of gross things happen at the park, or due to the park, but this was a first. In between trips, I was adjusting my many layers, and realized there was a small bit of dog poop in between my pants and my tank top that went over it. I have NO idea how that happened, it's never happened before, but in the world of a dogwalker, it's unfortunately not out of the question....

So, moving on.... For the afternoon trip, we went to pick up Sammy, my doberman. He and I have been working together for about 4 months. While he has possibly been one of my most difficult clients, he may also be the most rewarding because he has come such a long way. In the beginning he wouldn't let me touch him, wouldn't get in the truck, wouldn't come, drop it, wanted nothing to do with me. All those problems are solved now and he is my buddy. I was so happy to see that he is already adjusting to Kendal much quicker. He is, however, terrified of the rain, and I was worried about that today. You'd never imagine such a big tough dog to be such a scardy cat! When the rain started at the park today he hid under a tree!

One of our next stops was to pick up Milkshake. He is staying with me for the next couple days while his parents are out of town, so he had lots of food, toys and a bed to bring along. I got some great pictures of Shakes today - if I call him "Mr. Milkey-Shakey" in a really high pitched (annoying) voice he starts jumping like a jumping bean - its adorable.

Luckily, while Kendal was running in to grab us some lunch, I was scrolling through facebook and saw a friend post a link about the Occupy Seattle Protests planned to close the University and possibly Montlake bridge as well. I am so glad that I saw that post and was able to plan accordingly. Unfortunately for Walker, I had to call his mom and reschedule him for tomorrow - he was my only guy going back to Eastlake and I was worried I would get caught in hours of traffic trying to get him home. Sounds like it was a good call, and I am so grateful that Michelle was OK with the change! We will make up for it with an extra wonderful park trip tomorrow. Just another obstacle in the day of the life of a dogwalker!

We had the park nearly to ourselves, especially after the rain started. Sammy, Cooper, Tucker and Milkshake stuck together and chased/snuck the ball away from one another. Violet pranced around with the ball she happened to find that hardly fit in her mouth. Dexter stuck by Kendal's side, peppered in with some full out sprints with the other pups. The rain really started right as we were leaving the park. That was cold rain!! It felt good to get back in the warm cozy car and finally dry off. Cooper and Violet were sitting in the back seat, cuddled and so adorable... I took a great picture but for some reason those last pics won't upload to my computer! Ugh... project for another day. Time to wrap this day up! Snow tomorrow....?!

Thanks to Nancy and Kendal for all of your help this week! A gimp dogwalker definitely needs some help...

*Vet's news -- Stella (King Charles) doesn't have Addison's disease! Yay! Huge relief for the sweet little girl and her mama.

**Client quote of the week: "Seriously, you have full permission to smack the neurotic pet owner in me the next time we see you!" ... obviously I never would, or even think of it, but it definitely made me laugh!

Check out pictures from today at:

Posted on November 18, 2011 and filed under Uncategorized.

Adventures of BWP: Monday 11/14

I hate to disappoint, but this post comes in place of pictures today. I know it's not a fair trade, but it's the best I could do. I unfortunately chose to go to the park during the wettest, windiest part of the day and the it was not ideal conditions for the iphone. Today reminded me of the equivalent of college kids playing flag (or tackle!) football in a mud pit. They dogs did not mind the rain one bit, they were running wild with their usual "Monday crazies" and tumbling in the mud with no hesitation. The "Monday crazies" are a common term in the dogwalker world - as the weather turns to the cold, wet, dark days people tend to spend more time inside, which means their dogs do as well. By the time Monday comes around and they go back to the park with all of their friends, they have lots of bottle up energy to run off. Today, the dogs were half running after the ball or frisbee I was throwing, and half just running to chase one another and tumble into the mud. Cooper (black lab Cooper - there are 3 to be confused), was loving life today. He is an English lab and very hefty, yet short and stout guy. He is absolutely adorable - he looks like a giant teddy bear, or a linebacker. He loves to go after one of the running dogs and when he finally catches up, he essentially body checks them. The dogs love it! Rex and Bonita just keep going back for more.

On days like this, there is no avoiding bath time. Winter bath time at the park is pretty difficult - there are normally three hoses to use, and during the summer they aren't nearly in as high of demand as muddy days like today. During the colder months, the park department turns off all but one hose. This means that during the months where dog walkers have possibly up to 6 dogs to hose off, we all have to wait our turn, and make sure any park patrons get a chance to use the hose without having to wait for us. I'm sure you can imagine the lineup.... without waiting for anyone else, it typically takes me about 30 minutes to hose my golden retrievers. For those of you that have heard me talk about the Magnuson Dog Walkers Association (yes, dog walkers unite!) - this is the type of thing we would talk about and try to change. On a positive note, I am so proud of how well behaved my pups are about getting the hose down. Some of them are so tolerant that I can just set the leash down on the ground and they don't even try to fight it. Good dogs!

I found a new favorite product today - FURdry by Furminator.  It is essentially a towel that you can wrap around your dog like a shirt so that when they come home wet, they don't get your couch or carpet or anything else wet. I towel dry my heart out of these dogs, but it's hard to get those long haired dogs perfectly dry. I highly suggest these wraps to help keep your pup dry and your house clean! Let me know what you think!

In health news.... Miss Stella (King Charles) had to go back to the vet today to get some testing done - something having to do with her food absorption. Results will come in tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed!!! Miss Bonita ate a bug again this weekend and her poor little face got all swollen and she had to go to the vet and get an IV and is on steroids. This is the second time it has happened in a couple of months. They don't know if it is a bug or a spider, but it's not good!

I don't have anything for client quote of the day! Send me something to make me laugh!

Hope you all had a good Monday!

Posted on November 14, 2011 and filed under Uncategorized.

An old(er) dog learns a new trick

My little girl Bailey and I have been through our fair share of struggles and triumphs as a team together. Her puppyhood was so memorable just about everyone I know called me when "Marley and Me" came out and I got about 9 copies of the book in the first year. She dominated so much of my life that I decided to forgo a college degree and years of hard work in the corporate world to devote my life to her world. The one thing about her that I always wish I could change, and no matter how much we tried to work on it never would, just finally happened one day. Bailey, like myself, is a pretty anxious and high-strung creature by nature. She's a homebody and whenever she's not at home she is so excited about the possibilities of who she may meet or where a tennis ball may appear she just can't settle down. This has proved to be a huge problem in trying to tie her outside when going to a grocery store, coffee shop, even sitting on a patio having lunch right next to her. I know it typically isn't a great idea to leave your dog tied up outside, but really, when are there not at least a couple dogs tied up outside Bartells or Met Market on Queen Anne? So anyways, Bailey has made it very clear that this was not to be a part of our routine since day 1. The second I tie up her leash, she starts wiggling and panting and dancing, and before I can even turn in the other direction she is barking at the top of her deep chested lab lungs "DON'T! GO! DON'T! LEAVE! ME! MOOOOMMMMM!!!!!!". This isn't your average dog bark, this is the kind of bark you can hear loud and clear all the way in the back corner of Met Market. The kind of bark where you hear someone at the next check out register say, "Geez, whose dog is that", like she is being brutally abused on the sidewalk of Queen Anne Ave with the floral dept girls. The kind of bark, that when I sheepishly admit she is my bundle of love, almost every time the response I hear is, "wow, she's intense".

This tiny little flaw of hers has really driven me crazy because for the lifestyle that I have, and we have had together, because it makes it so hard to be able to take her everywhere with me like I want to! So often I think of walking to do some errands on QA Ave and want to take Bailey because it would be a good walk and I know she would love it, but ooooh... I have to stop in Bartells and she can't go in there.... it puts a ka-bosh on the whole trip for Bailey and she has to stay home. Sometimes when the weather is nice Michael and I like to take a huge "urban hike" and walk to Ballard and get lunch - obviously this is a trek Bailey would immensely enjoy (not so much Bam, too much work for her little legs and she is lazy, she prefers to sit that one out) but I have to either commit to taking her on the walk and not have lunch or go purely to have lunch and not take her, which takes most of the fun out of the walk for me. I have never had a gym membership since I've had Bailey because I feel that whenever I am getting exercise she should too.

So what's the reason for all the rambling? A couple months ago Bailey changed her ways. I met a friend at Paragon to meet about some stuff and I decided to chance it with Miss Bailey. I put her outside and snuck up on her in the window every ten minutes, where she couldn't see me, and to my surprise, not only was she not barking, she was actually sleeping! This is unheard of. She was always in a panicky panting fit when I left her, barking or not. I was so proud of my sleeping beauty. After this success I just started taking her more often - now if I have to run to the grocery store, I just bring her. I can bring her anywhere and she hasn't started barking once. It is SOOooo wonderful. For whatever reason, those few minutes at night when we walk to the store make me so happy. Tonight I walked out of Bartells and she was laying down on the sidewalk with one paw crossed over the other, head resting on paws. My heart melted.

I didn't train her to make this change in behavior, I have no idea why it happened. Maybe she just got comfortable with good old Queen Anne Ave and decided it was an OK place to be. All I know is that just as soon as I thought I couldn't love my intense, spastic, ball-obsessed dog any more, I do. Everyone told me that labs hit their "golden years" around 7 (which she will be next month) and this one little change in behavior makes me believe that is true.

Now... if you are walking down Queen Anne Ave tomorrow and see a yellow lab barking her head off.... just know I'll be somewhere kicking myself for jinxing it.

Posted on November 10, 2011 and filed under Uncategorized.

ballwalkpark wins Best Dogwalker in King5's Best of Western Washington for the 2nd year in a row!!!

We're Competing badge  

Thank you for voting ballwalkpark the #1 BEST DOG WALKER in King 5's Best of Western Washington contest! Your votes paid off and WE WON 1st PLACE for the 2nd year in a row! This is a huge honor and was greatly unexpected. Your votes and support mean the world to me- I am so greatly appreciative - friends, family, clients, ballwalkpark picture fans, you guys are amazing!!!

  Best of Western Washington results

Stay up to date with the adventures of ballwalkpark on the facebook page!

Posted on October 30, 2011 and filed under Uncategorized.

The Dos and Don'ts of the dog park

This post was taken from Trupanion's twitter - you can see the full article here. This is the best "Dos and Don'ts" of the dog park I have read. Summer is here and the park is getting crowded on nice days - these excellent tips will help the humans enjoy the dog park as much as the dogs - maybe not that much, but you get the point....

Please feel free to forward this post to any dog owners you know who may appreciate these tips :)

10 Tips to Take to the Dog Park

On April 10, 2011, in Tid Bits of Fun!, by Guest Blogger

The following guest post comes from Kadee G.:

While dog parks are the ultimate playgrounds for pups to play off-leash without a glaring eye from mom and dad, bad habits and doggie disputes can break out fast. Luckily, most people are aware if their dog is socialized in a public manner, keeping all-out brawls on the low side of the scale. However, a few bad experiences, for pet and owner alike, can keep newbie dogpark-ers at bay while others are blissfully/obliviously unaware.

So who’s responsible for the spats or the rough housing? The fresh pile of doo unattended? What are the etiquette rules to follow? Below is a list of some doggie do’s and don’ts to help the newbies stay on the right track and the good side of the regulars.

Disclaimer: Some of the pointers may sound obvious, even common sense, but I wouldn’t add them if I hadn’t seen them myself. Read on.

1Scoop your poop. If you don’t, the poop gods will get you. And trust me, it’s not fun to clean the doo from the bottom of your multi-indented sneakers.

2. Don’t bring food. And no, this is not obvious to everyone. What’s worse, people get annoyed/irritated when they’re swarmed by a dog pack wanting a piece of their Subway sandwich. So just don’t.

3. On that note, when you have treats, expect to be followed and totally sucked up to. They can sniff you out a mile away. It’s okay to have them, sometimes even necessary to get Fido back from the pack, but just expect that you’ll get beggars. And if you feel the urge, make sure it’s okay by the owner to give their pooch a treat . . . not all will want it.

4. Don’t leave the wee (human) ones unattended. Most dog parks are wide open spaces and dogs, by nature, are hunters and even as a puppies will chase anything that moves. A small child, running at a distance in the wide open looks more like prey than a human being. At best, keep the kiddies an arm’s length away. Which leads me to my next point . . .

5This is not a park! Bring your kids, of course.  It’s great socialization, but never forget this is a DOG PARK. It is meant for the dogs to run and play, it’s not a community park. Not all dogs are kid friendly and as long as they’re in the correct space for their behavior, you should respect that.

6. Digging is rude. The dog park isn’t the place to be a passive owner and chit chat with fellow dog lovers. You have to watch your dog like you would your child. Make sure they’re safe, playing nice and not ruining the property that everyone enjoys. If you don’t let them do it at home, don’t let them do it at the park.

7. If your dog is shy, small or young, it may not be able to handle the flurry of excited pups ready to meet and kiss their face or tangle with the rough-housers rolling around. If this is the case, seek out places that accommodate the shy and quiet types. Dogs do play hard and that’s okay. But it’s also not for everyone so find a park that caters to your pup’s needs.

8. If you don’t want your dog’s brand new ball/toy stolen, the dog park is not the place to bring it! Know that other dogs will chase the ball you throw, will jump at the toy inyour hand and will often steal the ball from your dog to get a reaction and entice a game of chase. It’s not always right or respectful on the thief’s (or their owner’s) behalf but it happens. Fair warning.

9. Be aware of your dog’s level of roughness. Again, the park is not the place to be an innocent bystander, you have to watch your dog. If it’s bullying or playing too rough for a submissive or young pup, be weary. Find the owner and make sure that it’s okay that your dog play in that manner.  If not, get your dog’s attention on something else e.g., you, a ball, a new dog.

10. Most importantly, don’t bring brand new babies (anything under four months) to play with the big boys. It may be tough not to bring the newest member of your family to show off and introduce to the neighborhood “kids” but if they’re too young and/or do NOT have their complete puppy shots – you need to wait. It’s your dog’s safety that matters.

In most areas, the dog park circle is small. Very small. If you let your dog go rampant, disrespect the rules or worse, others, you’ll be remembered and talked about for a while. No person wants that and no pup wants blackballed from the local hang out. My list of ten is just a shallow dive into the “proper dog park protocol and procedure”.

Dog park people – they’re usually friendly. If you don’t know, just ask . . . my guess is they’re more than willing to help out.

Posted on July 7, 2011 and filed under Uncategorized.

Puppy Parade at the Fremont Fair - this weekend

Who wants to go to the puppy parade this weekend? It's at the Fremont Fair on Sunday at 2:30pm. I haven't been before (I think this may be the first year they are doing it) and have no idea what to expect, but anything that has a high population of dogs, where they encourage you do dress your dog in costume, sounds like it is right up my alley. Let me know if you want to go together or meet up there!

Posted on June 16, 2011 and filed under Uncategorized.