Keep Austin Dog Friendly

Through Responsible Dog Ownership.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dinner with your Dog at Cru wine bar to benefit Austin Pets Alive!

Please join us on Tuesday, September 29th, for a 3 course wine dinner for you and your pooch! We are featuring the wines of Mutt Lynch Winery paired with the superb culinary creations of Executive Chef Patrick Taylor. Portions of the evenings proceeds will be donated to AustinPetsAlive!  Crú has partnered with Lofty Dog Boutique to create this Uniquely Austin Pet Experience. Dr. Erin Homburg of Austin Urban Veterinary Center will be available for an "Ask the Vet" moment & have a special gift for each attendee. Leashes required. Limited Seats Available... Please make your reservation at or 512-472-WINE (9463) $55 per person including your well behaved dog!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Austin's Best of party at a Best of Austin winning bar, The Gingerman

I'm still in shock that I wound up as the Austin Chronicle's Best of 2009 Most Diverse Portfolio.  With that said, @windaddict thinks it is high time that we celebrate the recognition by having beer and food made beer.  The eats menu has not been finalized, but I'm guessing that there will be cupcakes.  :o)  This party is not just a celebration, but a big thanks to those who helped get Keep Austin Dog Friendly, Austin Drive Clean, and MisoHungry where it is now.  We hope for many more fun-filled years to come.

Location: The Gingerman 301 Lavaca St Austin, TX 78701 (512) 473-8680 
When: Sunday, Sept. 20th, 2009, 5-7 pm
Why: Because we love you.
What to bring: yourself and some cash for booze, also some room for grub.

Below is @windaddict's facebook event. Feel free to RSVP, but not necessary.  It is also dog friendly.  Hope to see ya there!

Come celebrate Jennie's Best of Austin '09 Award at a Best of Austin '09 winning bar. To thank all of you for your support, Jennie will bring a selection of her beer creations for everyone to enjoy. We hope to see you there!

Read about Jennie's award:

"Most Diversified Portfolio: Jennie Chen
What would your life look like if you could focus your energy on your favorite things and then become an expert in all of them? With a résumé that reads like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel, MisoHungry Makes It With Moonshine blogger and veritable modern Renaissance woman Jennie Chen might know exactly what that feels like. MisoHungry is primarily foodie-focused, touching on topics such as cooking and baking with alcohol, specifically local craft brews, as well as restaurant reviews, food event notices, and cheerleading her own favorite delicious finds. She's probably best known for throwing this year's Cupcake Smackdown, pitting local purveyors of the delightful nibblies in a copious contest of crumb. But hold on to your leash! Chen is also the force behind Keep Austin Dog Friendly, an informative website listing dog-friendly restaurants, businesses, off-leash park locations, dog events, and more. Not impressed? Chen also created the Austin Drive Clean group, open to anyone "who wants to learn how to live green and drive clean." And dig this: While Chen's not practicing fuel-efficient driving, spending time with her pooch, or flashing her local foodie-finess, she splits her time as a DNA collector for the University of North Texas Health Science Center, through which she has worked with the Texas Attorney General and state law authorities, and as a research assistant and graduate lecturer at Texas A&M. So you have a choice: Look at what Jennie Chen has accomplished as inspiration to follow your own dreams, or sink deeper into that couch, potato, and give up now.,, "

Doggone it to Summer Festival!

Doggone it to Summer Festival featuring Dog Parade and Costume Contest
Bring your dog with you to Austin Farmers' Market on October 24th!
Doggone it to Summer Festival
October 24, 2009
10:00am - Dog Parade and Costume Contest
Austin Farmers' Market downtown at Republic Square Park, 4th and Guadalupe
Free parking is available in the state garage at 3rd and San Antonio
Dogs do not need to be in costume to participate in the parade at 10am, but if they are, they'll have a shot at winning one of the three categories: Most "Look-Alike" (Dog & Owner), Weirdest and Best Overall.
Doggie "Happy Hour" will follow the parade, featuring hand-made dog biscuits and cupcakes from Austin Farmers' Market's own Paw Bakery. Lucky Draw - Limit One Entry Per Dog - for a free 6-inch birthday cake on winning dog's next birthday, baked to order and fresh to the bones!

Austin Farmers' Market is a project of Sustainable Food Center. It runs year-round on Saturdays at Republic Square Park, 4th and Guadalupe from 8am - 12pm through daylight savings time in Oct., and from 9am - 1pm through daylight savings time change in March 2010. Also, Wednesdays at Triangle Park, 4600 Guadalupe at 46th and Lamar from 4pm - 8pm through daylight savings time in Oct., and from 3pm - 7pm through daylight savings time change in March. Free parking is available in covered garages and along the streets at both locations immediately adjacent to the market.

About Sustainable Food Center
With roots dating back more than 30 years, SFC is involved in every step of the local food system from seed to table.  Our mission is to cultivate a healthy community by strengthening the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable food.
Contact Information
Susan Leibrock
Community Relations Director
Sustainable Food Center
512-236-0074 ext. 111

Sunday, September 6, 2009

More dog training goals for Mouse and Basil - Private lesson notes from August 2009

Mouse and Basil had another private lesson on August 29th with Judy Ramsey.  We sure do have quite a bit of homework to do.  Here's my notes from our lesson. 

 For Basil:

1. Handler Error: I haven't been giving her very clear signals as when to when we are working, and when we aren't. I need to give obvious signals as to when she needs to be on task and when it is okay to chill.
2. Basil hesitates before jumping up and tends to swing out to the left when heeling instead of staying very close to my leg.  To fix this, I will heel to the right.  Either by pivoting or by veering to the right or by spiraling to the right, Basil will be challenged to keep right next to my leg.  I will do this at very short intervals, and release her to treats on the front of my calves.  That will teach her to wrap around close to my left leg. 
3. Right and Left Pivots.  I'll pivot to the right or left and release her immediately.  The goal is to teach her to not hesitate and to reinforce the heel position.  Teaching her to move to move with my left leg when I say heel (instead of just going forward) should reinforce that heel is a position, not a movement. 
4. Step right when I heel will also reinforce the heel position.  It should not matter if I step right, left, back, front, or pivot, Basil should stay glued to my left leg.
5. Shaping heeling - I haven't done this before as I started with other methods of heeling with Basil.  To shape it, I'll take a couple of steps and treat her. Take more steps and treat. More steps and treat. This is rewarding her for being by my side, but not necessarily teaching her the exact position. 
6. Building drive on starts - Starts are essentially the start of each exercise.  In competitive obedience, each exercise starts with the dog in heel position and the judge asking "Are you ready?"  At that point, my dog should be up (focused and attentive).  I start training for this by putting my dog in start position, then doing something fun.  I can play with a toy. Throw her a treat. Jump around. It needs to be something that makes my dog go "WHOA! What was that?" Over time, start position should be associated with something fun and interesting.  Start position = good things to come.

For Mouse:

1. Mouse also needs motivation on the line up.  This is a fairly common issue.  Many dogs can lose focus when sitting at the start up.  By pairing line ups with something fun, the dog will start to anticipate fun stuff during line ups, thus keeping the focus.
2. Alternate exercise with drive games - doing this increases endurance for motivation and speed.  By alternating adding a drive game after exercises instead of treating, this will build more endurance for focus, energy, and the expectation of working even after an exercise is completed. 
3. Teaching Mouse to motivate himself - This is a fast paced, pre-planned training method.  It is a mixture of changing positions mixed with exercise.  I should give Mouse a command, treat fast, then throw a toy, then give the come command, treat, throw toy, give command, push and play, throw toy.  This is should teach him endurance, as well, as focus to switch quickly from one activity to another. 
4. I need to do the same thing with sits to achieve faster sits. I should give the command to sit, fast treat, I change positions but not move far, sit command, fast treat, change positions, sit command, fast treat, change positions, sit command, etc......
5. Mouse needs more work on right turns. There are two different methods: the 270 turn and treating right out of the right turn.  We started 270 degree right turns after the last private lessons, but they are exceptionally difficult for any dog.  Dogs will have a tendency to lag, and the goal is to keep the dog right on your left leg or hip, depending on the size of the dog.  I'll start with the right turn, and treat Mouse upwards and almost across the front of my body as I'm turning.  As I turn, I'll shift my eyes, shoulders, upperbody, before turning.  Mouse is picking up on these cues when I turn slowly, but he isn't quite doing it quickly yet.  After he has mastered the right turn, we're going to move to 270 degree turns.  Using the same basic concept, I'll treat Mouse immediately out of the 270 degree turn, keep trucking it, 270 turn, and keep heeling, 270 turn, etc....

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dog Etiquette when out and about in Austin

Now that the weather is cooling off, more people are bringing out their pooches out to enjoy the relatively cooler weather. Since when is 97 degrees cool? :o) With that said, a reminder of good dog etiquette is due. Unfortunately, over the last few weeks, I've only noticed an increased number of irresponsible dog owners. Let's Keep Austin Dog Friendly by following a few simple guidelines.

Keep your dog on-leash at all times (unless otherwise specified). I cannot stress this enough. Keeping your dog on leash will prevent entire hosts of problems, particularly at locations where the parking area is not physically separated from patrons. These places include South Austin Trailer Park, South Congress area, Sunset Valley Farmer's Market, and Draught House. Problems with off-leash dogs (even friendly ones) can result in car accidents, dog fights, or someone's lunch or dinner being eaten.

Here's just a few excuses I've heard regarding not leashing their dogs:

  • The management allows it. Perhaps the management doesn't notice or maybe they don't want to upset customers. Business owners contact me about this issue regularly. Regardless, it is city ordinance. Should an incident occur, you were breaking city ordinance. That's a citation.
  • I'll watch my dog. That's what this young woman said right before her daschund ran into a moving car headfirst. The little dog's head was crushed. Even a very large dog is difficult to see in the rear view mirror. Allowing your dog off leash not only puts your dog at risk for being hit by a vehicle, but it also put the mental pain and guilt of hitting an animal on the driver of the car. Dog watching skills also decline dramatically after drinking alcohol. Drunk human and unsupervised dog is just a recipe for disaster.
  • My dog is friendly. My dog has never done that before. That's what dog owners say right after a dog fight or aggression incidence. Truth of the matter is that most people cannot read canine body language accurately; a dog may be giving signals that it is unhappy long before it reacts. Also, dogs are not 100% predictable. Even the most well-behaved dog can have a bad day.
  • My dog likes other dogs. Allowing your dog to run up to other dogs is just plain rude, it is not expressing like. It can be seen as a challenge, and the dog that is run up upon may become apprehensive or confused. It is the same as if I ran up to a stranger's table at a restaurant, jumped on the table, and started throwing insults. That's poor dog behavior. While it usually turns into nothing more than sniffing, it can turn into something much worse.
  • Nothing has happened before. Consider yourself lucky then. Prevent car accidents and dog fights from happening. If you love your dog, leash your dog.

Keep in mind that it is a privilege to bring our pets to these businesses. If the businesses cannot accommodate you and your dog because they are busy, please be understanding and gracious. If you and your pet is asked to leave due to behavioral issues, please do so in a gracious manner.
Only bring well-behaved, human and dog friendly pets. Please seek professional training to address those issues before taking your dog out. Aggressive dogs have been one reason businesses have changed their policies. Do NOT bring aggressive dogs out in public. See our supporters page for training recommendations. Canine Good Citizen Testing is also a good idea for all dogs.
Keep your dog under control, always on leash per city ordinance. Do not allow your dog to go wherever he pleases. Do not allow your dog to pull you around. If your dog is not under control, please seek training prior to taking your dog out. Do not allow your dog to bark incessantly. See our supporters page for training recommendations.
While you may allow your dog to eat human food, don't allow your dog to eat other people's food.
Makes sure your dog is reasonably clean. No one wants to have lunch next to a stinky dog. Nor does anyone want fleas.
Make sure your dogs are up to date on shots. Carry your rabies certificate in the car.
Please only allow your dog to only potty away from the main areas, and please clean up any accidents.
Not everyone loves dogs. Respect those people's wishes. Please do not allow your dog to approach people without their permission.
Not everyone has common sense or decency. People will yank on your dog, sit on your dog, feed your dog things they shouldn't eat, and hurt your dogs in other ways. Don't be afraid to correct those people's behavior for the sake of your dog.
Do not allow your dog to socialize or play with other dog unless it is safe. Do not allow your dogs to romp and play when it is crowded. Someone may get side swiped. Do not allow your dog to approach other dogs without the owner's permission.
Please follow these guidelines with visiting dog parks. Support City Code 337 and Bull Creek Clean up. Keep our parks clean.