Todd goes "swimming"

Yeah, we love Todd... but he is not the brightest! Maybe we can turn it into a trick though!



As the daily temperature drops many of us start to consider buying coats for our dogs. Toby made it through last winter only shivering one day, so I know he will be fine without a coat. Todd on the other hand, has already shivered this fall! It was about 50 degrees out and  Todd was out for a few minutes, since it often gets much colder around here during winter, we plan on getting Todd a fall sweater and a winter coat. None of us are big fans of dressing up dogs but it's apparent that he would appreciate the warmth! But not all dogs will tolerate or need coats. Toby would tolerate it if I thought he needed it but his undercoat keeps him warm and his top coat keeps him dry. If you have thought about getting your dog a coat put a little research into it, see if his breed (or main breed in the mix) has a good winter coat or not, watch for shivering as the weather cools down. You also don't want to start putting on the coat too early. If your dog was hot during the summer he will be hot in a coat during the early fall.


Technical Difficulties

My computer has been causing lots of trouble for me lately so I got out of the routine of writing for a while, but I am back and hoping to get back in the routine again!
Toby and Todd are pretty much best friends now! Todd seems to have bonded most with my dad, a little odd considering he is home the least, but he is always staring at the last door dad went out. His crate training hasn't gotten much better but his house training has reached the point that I can trust him to sleep in my bed so that I can get a full night's sleep again! Toby has taken the new dog situation very well, only developing one new bad habit; when Todd barks at the door, so must Toby.
As it starts to cool down I plan on posting about cold weather tips, tricks and products I have found and new ones as I discover them. If anyone out there has any requests/ideas for new posts I would be glad to hear them (Mom, I already have your ideas on my list).



The past couple days I have been working at a nearby golf course with my dad. Getting up at 5:40 and shoveling dirt for five to seven hours is NOT easy! I have been so exhausted! Luckily, Toby and Todd have been helping me out by playing with each other all the time and wearing themselves out so our walks are easier! It's hard to believe that a couple weeks ago these two could hardly get near each other without getting into trouble! They are playing together very nicely these days. Todd's crate training is making progress...slowly but surely. It is always much easier if he is worn out, but that is usually only at the end of the day. Now that the boys are getting along much better and Todd is house trained I usually don't have to put him in his kennel during the day. If I do it is because I am leaving and then I don't have to listen to him bark so it doesn't stress me out as much as it was. He has started barking a little when people knock or come in but since that is new I should be able to stop it before it gets too bad. Over all things are going great with the boys!


Attention Treasure Valley!

Anyone near Boise thinking about adding a dog to their family? Idaho Humane Society is having a "Fall in Love" adoption event tomorrow through Monday, Sept. 13. Dog adoption fees will be lowered to just 39.95! Their kennels are too full and all these (and so many more) dogs need loving homes! So if you have the room, money and love for a dog (or a foster dog), please consider the Idaho Humane Society! Plus a drawing will be held and one lucky new owner will get a three hundred dollar gift card to the IHS veterinary clinic!


Shout out for BSU!


Might have to get one of these for each of the boys! Ha ha, if I can find extra money for it! Toby would look amazing in Bronco Blue! That is one advantage to black fur, he looks gorgeous in just about any color :) we put him in one of our old BSU shirts for a little while today (mainly for a facebook picture) and he didn't mind wearing it around the house but he would need one made for dogs if we ever have a game party here!

Update on Todd: We noticed some blood in his urine and took him to the vet. They found a urinary tract infection and an ear infection. He has been on meds for a few days, he is going to the bathroom less (we had assumed that he had been marking everything not that he just had to go that often), and seems to have more energy (again we figured he was just lower energy). We don't know if he had the infections when he got here or what but it wasn't easy to spot the changes in a new dog, if there hadn't been blood we may not have noticed.
Once again I have to say I love Canidae! When Todd got here his fur was stiff and wiry. We switched him to Canidae when he got here (normally I would mix in the old food during a switch but he picked the Canidae out and left his old food) and almost all of his fur is already softer! In just over a week! Love it!


Busy busy busy!

If anyone out there is reading this blog on a regular basis, I apologize for not writing lately. With two very different dogs in the house now it has definitely been busy. I have had to watch Todd to make sure he doesn't mark any of the furniture, and I have to make sure Toby stays off of Todd! Not to mention extra walks! Todd had no crate training when he came to us and since he also wasn't house trained we couldn't leave him loose in the house for one second! So we had to put him in a crate, where he barks and barks and barks. The only way to avoid the barking is to walk him first to wear him out. In addition to the two before-meal-walks we went on before we are taking before church walks, before shopping walks, before bed walks and "April needs a break from constant dog surveillance" walks. Thankfully we are seeing some improvement! Todd only barked in his kennel a little today, and the boys actually played together, twice!! One of the games ended in a little argument but the fact that they actually played gave me hope! It is definitely a learning experience for all of us, the 40 pound, high energy dog, the 12 pound, low energy dog, and the 120 pound, now exhausted girl!


The boys.

It has been a little stressful around here the last few days. Toby and Todd are having a hard time learning how to get along and Todd is being difficult about crate training. The first day he was here Todd was doing fairly well at crate training. He was going into it for hot dog bits and sleeping in it very well. Unfortunately he can't be supervised 24/7 and we had to put him in his crate longer than he wanted to be there and now he is only getting worse. He won't go all the way in on his own and if you shut the door and get up to leave he starts whining then barking. I have tried feeding him his meals and treats in there, giving him a bone to chew in there, a kong type toy stuffed with food, I even tried putting a little device in my room that is supposed to stop barking. Nothing is working. I have tried going back to the basics of crate training but before I can get anywhere we all have to go out somewhere and he has to go in his kennel. His stress is even stressing Toby out.


Todd is here!

Todd got here this afternoon. He seems to be settling in well! He walks well on a leash, is calm in and out of the house, is taking well to crate training, and likes the food we have for him. He does need a little house training work, but it should be taken care of within a few days. Toby wasn't sure about him at first and now he can't sniff Todd enough! The next few days are going to be pretty busy, Todd doesn't know any commands as far as I can tell but he is pretty well behaved :) I am looking forward to doing some learning myself.


National Dog Day!

Tomorrow (Aug 26) is National Dog Day! So give your dog a special treat and maybe make a donation to a shelter/rescue. We will (coincidentally) be celebrating by adding a second dog to the family! Todd will be arriving tomorrow and we couldn't be more excited to meet him! Toby of course has no idea what is in store but he will soon understand why there is an extra kennel in my room that is too small for him!


Update on Reuben

Reuben was our featured adoptable dog a couple weeks ago. The IHS just announced on their facebook page that Reuben's IDAPI class has graduated and Reuben, along with some others, is available for adoption! As an IDAPI dog owner I know that these dogs make great additions to the family! They are already trained in the basics including house and crate training. All you have to do is maintain and build on that foundation! In over a year, Toby has only had three accidents in the house, not bad for a dog adjusting to a new home and schedule! From day one he would go into his crate on command, he also knew sit, down, stay and come! These dogs not only know commands but they know how to learn. The more Toby learns the faster he learns new things. When I first got Toby, I could not get him to Roll Over but I taught him more tricks and worked on his basic training with him and now Roll Over is nothing!


Been busy!

Haven't posted the last few days, we have some relatives in town getting ready for my cousin's wedding Saturday so we have been pretty busy.
Toby and I have been getting ready for Todd's arrival! Kayleen, who will be his owner, is in college so she is trying to save any where she can so we have been buying what we can at yard sales and with coupons. So far we have saved over 30 dollars of the initial supplies cost! A new kennel would have been about 25 dollars, we got one at a yard sale for one! All it needed was to be hosed down and the gate/door needed WD-40. A new leash would have been six dollars, we got one for 25 cents. Bowls we bought at the dollar store and he had a collar already. He will be eating the same food as Toby and we just got coupons for that! For chew bones we are buying Busy Bones and cutting them down to his size, normal price they are $2.85 for 2 full size, but with coupons we can usually get the two pack for 85 cents! So far I must say we are doing a pretty good job at getting a dog on a budget!


More to love!

A few days back I posted about how much (and why) I love Toby's dog food, Canidae. This Friday he ran out of food and I went to buy another bag. I had gotten an email with a coupon from Zamzows for five dollars off any purchase of 25 dollars or more and the 35 lb bag of food I buy qualified. I got to Zamzows and they were out of the 35 lb bags of Canidae so I had to buy a smaller one. It was $23.99, one dollar short of qualifying for the coupon, so I started looking for something that cost a dollar.
Toby has always treated all food the same, it is all really, really good. I usually just use his kibble for treats but every once in a while I like to get him something different.  So I was looking at whatever treats I could buy a pound or so of in order to use my coupon, when I spotted a bin of biscuits that said Canidae on them! I knew Canidae made quality food so I trusted them to make quality treats. I bought enough to be able to use my coupon and headed home.
As usual, Toby gobbled up the treat I gave him after he gave me a high five, and I set the bag of treats on the counter. Later, I was in the living room talking with my family and out of the corner of my eye I saw Toby looking at the bag of treats on the counter, he had only counter surfed for food once and got in trouble so we have never worried about him taking food off the counter. Suddenly he hopped up on his hind legs and put his feet on the counter so he could sniff the bag of treats! Startled, I told him, "No!" and he dropped to the ground. Not two minutes later he did it again!! This time I told him, "No, leave it!" and finally he left them alone.
They have clearly become Toby's favorite treat (I never thought he would pick a favorite food) and they are also my favorite treat because I know they are good for him. Plus when I looked them up on Canidae's website I found out that the factory they are made in is wind powered! Just one more thing I love about Canidae!



This is Honeycomb! She is one of four puppies still waiting to be adopted from the Canyon County Animal Shelter. They are just over two months old and are Australian Cattle Dog mixes. They are also just a few of the puppies at the shelter right now.


K-9 Health Solutions

k9healthsolutions.com is a website shop run by a former police K-9 handler and his wife, the shop features supplements and other dog products. Right now they have several items on sale including Nylabones starting at 25 cents. In addition to having some awesome sale prices K-9 Health Solutions also writes a blog! They have many dog advice posts, treat recipes, product and blog reviews, Ask Rakker (their dog) and more! So if you are all caught up on Mixed Up Mutt and have some free time check their blog out here. And be sure to come back here and let us know what you think! :)


Amazing Animals

I know this is a dog blog but when a story like this comes up you just have to share it! 

Some say the cat should have been put down rather than remove all four legs but this cat seems very happy and healthy and the vet is clearly looking for just the right home for her needs so I am very happy with the results :)


Toby gets a friend!

A year and a half ago, if you had told me that my parents would allow a dog to live in their house, I would have had you committed. But as luck would have it they have not only allowed Toby to live here but are now going to allow a second dog! Now that I have had time to figure out this topsy turvy new world I seem to be living in, Toby and I are getting ready to welcome a new member to the family!
Todd is a little chihuahua mix (not a breed my family would normally go for, but this one sounds great). Most likely, Todd's owners could no longer afford him, so they drove him out to the country and said farewell. Luckily for him, Maggie lived nearby! Maggie found him and took him home. Unfortunately her mom said they couldn't keep him, so Maggie started looking for a home for him. She had told my sister Kayleen about him but knew that Kayleen could not have him at her house. Knowing my love of dogs very well, Kayleen showed me his picture and told me that she was already attached (though she hadn't met him). Feeling bad for the little guy, we decided to give it a shot and ask our parents if he could live with us. Amazingly enough they said "Yes" and Todd will be here August 26th.



This is Reuben! Reuben will soon be available for adoption from the Idaho Humane Society! He is a sweet lab mix who loves tummy rubs and petting! Reuben is currently in the IDAPI training that Toby went through! That means when he graduates and is available to adopt, he will know his basic commands, house training and crate training, and maybe a few tricks! Learn more about him and the program here.


Love it!

Every once in a while you find a product that you just love! I LOVE my dog food! It took me a lot of research, and time to find a really good food for Toby and a few months ago I found something great! Lots of dog foods you find these days are full of corn and grain fillers when many dogs are allergic to these grains and  we all know dogs are carnivores. But to feed your dog a home made diet, raw or cooked, is time consuming and complicated, so most of us choose to feed whatever kibble we can afford.
When I first got Toby I was feeding him a popular brand's "natural" formula, the ingredients were decent (top ingredient was meat, no by-products etc) and I could manage the price. He was doing pretty well, but I was feeding him a lot more than the recommended amount for his weight just to keep his hips from sticking out. I knew that with his active lifestyle and being part whippet would keep him thin, but his ribs showing some was my limit. He was otherwise completely healthy so I knew it had to be his food that was the problem. So I tried another brand. No change. That is when I went on Dogster and asked around about affordable, quality dog foods. Several brands came up that sounded good but were pretty expensive. There was one brand that many people suggested that sounded great but I couldn't find a price or a store that listed it online, Canidae.
I was about to just give up and stick with what I had, when I saw that Canidae's website said they only sold to independent stores, not big corporate chains. I clicked on their store locator link and entered my zip code. Zamzows popped up, the one place I hadn't checked. So I ran out to Zamzows expecting to be shocked by the price of such a great sounding dog food, and I was. It was significantly cheaper than what I was feeding him!
-  More after the jump -


Toby and Kashka

7 years ago my family got a kitten, and named her Kashka (Russian for cat, more specifically a girl cat), it turned out she was a he but the name stuck. Kashka was an outdoor cat, but after a 280 dollar vet bill after he wandered off for a couple days, he became an "outdoor" cat, meaning he lives in the garage and comes in the house sometimes.
After being the center of all pet attention for six years, Kashka was not too thrilled about Toby moving in and cramping his style. Toby on the other hand is fascinated by Kashka. Toby loves sniffing him until Kashka smacks his nose (no claws out though), and then Toby acts like he is surprised and tries again. I personally wanted them to be comfortable with each other and if not make friends at least live in harmony since Toby frequently goes into the garage with me and Kashka likes to come in the house when he can.
So I had to figure out how to train a cat! Not an easy task! Dogs are happy to do any trick they can for a "Good Boy!", cats want to get something for doing something that they wanted to do in the first place.
I tried kenneling Toby and letting Kashka wander the room and get used to Toby's presence, I tried kenneling Toby and putting bits of ham and turkey near his kennel to entice Kashka over. Kashka sat by the door ready to bolt.
So I was just going about my business, and letting Kashka get used to Toby at his own pace, when I saw a little progress (Toby and I went out to the garage and he and Kashka sniffed each other nose to nose) I decided to try something new. I took Toby out to the garage and got him some food. Kashka was laying on his big box that is just taller than Toby's head. I grabbed Kashka's favorite treats and alternated giving Toby a piece of food and giving Kashka a treat while they were about a foot apart. I slowly had Toby move closer to the box and kept feeding them. Within minutes I was able to put a cat treat and piece of dog food in the same hand (one on each side of my palm) and Kashka and Toby would eat them, nose to nose! They may not be best friends, but Kashka seems more at ease these days.



On the Dogster blog today, there is a post about dog growls and their different meanings. The Dogster blogger then asked if readers knew their dog's growls. It got me thinking about Toby and his growls. When I thought about it I counted three situations where he growls and the more I thought, I realized that they all sounded different.
The easiest to distinguish is his play growl. I have only heard it a couple times when he was really into a game of tug. It is a much lighter growl and sounds a lot like my "grrrrr" (yes, I play growl when I play with my dog). His other two growls are more similar, and more intense. One is the growl he uses when he hears someone else in the house at night (I think he thinks we live alone), or when someone comes in the front door unannounced day or night. This growl is more intense, and deeper than his play growl, but still short and to the point. The last growl is the most intense. Toby doesn't like strange dogs, this is something we have been working on since I got him, and though he has improved he is not a social butterfly, yet. His third growl is the one he uses before he goes after a strange dog who has come too close. It is deep, loud and intense.
Toby is definitely an example of why puppies need to be well socialized and adult dogs need to keep being socialized. It has taken a year to get Toby to a point where I can introduce him to a new dog. Even now it takes time and preparation to get him to sniff a new dog long enough to realize they are not a threat. But it is all worth it every time he makes a new friend. He loves his dog friends so much! Once he makes a friend he is always ready to play with them, he shares his toys, and waits patiently for his turn for a treat. My goal with him is to get him to a point where he can go to the dog park and play fetch, and I believe it is possible, with more work and time.


Kong Wobbler

This looks like something Toby would love, mainly because it involves food! And I would love it because it would keep him occupied for a few minutes and slow his eating! It sits up on its own until the dog nudges or paws it, then it wobbles, and rolls, and the food bits come out the small hole. Plus they say that the unpredictable movement keeps it challenging! Unfortunately, like many good dog toys, it's a little overpriced for me right now! But perhaps I will save a couple dollars here and there and pick one up!


Draw the Dog

I am sure most of you dog owners out there can think of one or two funny stories about your dog, why not submit them to Draw the Dog! Draw the Dog is a fun site that makes daily (minus Sundays) dog cartoons! Readers send in stories about their dogs to inspire these enjoyable cartoons that "draw themselves"! Toby starred in a cartoon back in April check it out here and while you are there wander around the site a little, check out other cartoons, submit your stories/pictures and maybe have a laugh!



This is Rex! Rex is a Shar-pei/ German Shepherd mix up for adoption at the Idaho Humane Society. Rex is loving and gentle once he bonds with you, gets along with dogs, and seems to be house trained.

To look for other dogs in your area check out Petfinder.com.


Doggie DIY Week: Day 5

Flirt pole! A flirt pole is basically a stick with a rope hanging from one end with something fun tied on the end. A very simple version you can make with stuff around the house uses a broomstick, rope/string, and a toy. Tie one end of the rope securely to the broomstick and the other end securely to your dog's toy. Use the broom stick to move the toy across the ground/air (preferably in a large space) and watch your dog enjoy chasing it, just make sure to let him catch it once in a while ;).
If you can spend a few dollars, try using a length of pvc pipe (or something similar), some rope and a toy. Thread the rope through the pipe and tie a knot at one end and tie a toy to the other. With this version you can control the stick part, and you can pull the rope as well making it more difficult to catch the toy.


Doggie DIY Week: Day 4

Keeping cool in the summer heat can be tricky, to help your dog cool off after a walk try a frozen treat! Some dogs like to munch on plain ice cubes (Toby thinks its a special treat, don't tell him it is water), but other dogs have no interest in flavorless treats. So why not spice things up a little! I like to get a plastic cup, put a little water in it, add some kibble/treats/meats/veggies, freeze it, then do another layer. I like to do layers because all the food bits tend to sink/float to the same place so layers get the food into the middle too. Once the last layer is frozen I run warm water over the cup until the icy treat pops out. In the end Toby gets a big ice cube with layers of yummy treats that looks something like this:

To make it more enticing try making a light broth by adding a bouillon cube to a pot of warm water to use when make your treats, just make sure its not too strong so there isn't a lot of added salt in each ice treat. For smaller dogs, or for quick treats, use an old ice cube tray or for longer lasting treats use a bowl! Add anything your dog likes for a refreshing and tasty doggy popsicle!


Doggie DIY Week: Day 3

Since day one with Toby I have been trying to find new ways to keep him from inhaling his meals! I bought a ball that dispenses kibble as he rolls it around but I had to refill it four times to use it for a meal. Not wanting to spend more money on a larger version, but also wanting to be able to fill it only once, I started looking for alternatives. An idea came to me when my uncle was visiting and mentioned that his son's dog loved to play with plastic water bottles when they were empty, as he tossed the one in his hand toward Toby. Toby mouthed it a little, decided it wasn't food and picked it up to have someone throw it again. He played with it for quite a while with out damaging it, so I decided to try cutting a couple small holes in it and filling it with his food. I got out a utility knife and cut a hole slightly larger than a piece of kibble. I ran my finger along the edge of the hole, testing it for sharp spots and found none. I cut another hole and checked it for sharp edges too. Then I put a handful of kibble in, and replaced the lid. Toby eagerly took the bottle when I offered it, set it on the ground and sniffed at it. He saw and smelled the kibble inside and set about getting it out! He soon discovered that if he pushed it around with his nose, kibble popped out! He emptied it and brought it back proudly. The next one I made, I only cut one hole so that it would keep him busy longer.

If you make your own kibble bottle be sure to check it frequently for damage and sharp edges. For stronger chewers I recommend a Vitamin Water bottle or a similar, thicker bottle.


Doggie DIY Week: Day 2

Yesterday's project had some leftovers, two sweatshirt sleeves. To save money I have taken to buying Toby's stuffed toys at yard sales, and I have saved a lot but when I had these two sweatshirt sleeves left over I knew there had to be a way to make them into free stuffed toys. Most dogs LOVE stuffed toys, unfortunately most stuffed toys don't stand a chance against those teeth! So we doting owners buy toy after toy to keep our pups happy. I couldn't pass up this free stuffed toy opportunity. The hard part was figuring out what to stuff them with without spending money. The idea came to me while folding laundry one day! I don't know about you but I always have mismatched socks lying around. Whether the match was thrown out because of a hole or it disappeared into the abyss of the unknown, it is definitely gone for good. Rather than throw out these matchless or hole filled socks, I figured, why not use them as stuffing, that way it would be machine washable and free! So I sewed one end of the sleeve shut, stuffed it full of no-match socks, and sewed off the other end and passed it off to Toby for the test run...

                                            He approved! 

                                        Action shot!

With the other sleeve, I think I will stuff it fuller, and maybe wait until he destroys his current squeaky toy so that I can put the squeaker in the new toy.


Doggie DIY Week: Day 1

This Monday - Friday I will  post a simple, money saving, eco-friendly project that you and your dog will enjoy! Try them out, and let us know how you like them!
I am starting today with a bath robe!
If you bathe your dog at home you know how difficult it can be to keep your house dry once the bath is over. Most dogs love to shake, rub, and drip water all over the house after a bath. To cut down the amount of water Toby spreads in his wild after-bath antics I made a simple bath robe out of an old sweatshirt.
At first I just put the sweatshirt on with no adjustments, but it wasn't too long before Toby was tripping all over himself in it! So first I cut off the sleeves (and saved them for another DIY project). That helped quite a bit but even my small sweatshirt was baggy around Toby's tiny waist, so I put a button on it. With a button on the side near his shoulder and a button hole on the waistband, I can slip it on easily then wrap it up and button it for a better fit. Pictures below (warning: I am by no means a tailor, my sewing is completely basic, I'm not good at it!):

Toby modeling the finished product! That face is not because of the shirt its because he has to hold still. The hood is optional, I usually turn it inside out to keep it off his eyes.

Figuring out where the button and hole should go.

 Where the button and hole are (and my lovely sewing skills on the button hole!)

TIPS: When you first try something on your dog take small steps and encourage him/her to tolerate it. Once it is on the first time, praise your dog then take it off and try again later, leaving the clothing on a little longer each time, always praising! If your dog is afraid of or does not like wearing clothes do NOT make them wear it! Always supervise your dog when they are wearing clothes!



This is Kolo! Kolo is a 7/8 month old Chow Chow mix available for adoption at the Idaho Humane Society! He is trained and ready to find a home!


Chew on this!

Every so often when I am at home with Toby I need a few minutes of calm but all he wants to do is play! If I just can't get him to relax I give him something to chew on. Sometimes it's a dollar store dental stick, but usually it's a Purina Busy Bone they last a few minutes even with my pig of a dog, and are easier to digest than raw bones or raw hide. And best of all they almost always have a coupon out, either in the paper or printable online! These days my mom is quite the "coupon-er" and it can really pay off! I have gotten Busy Bones for less than a dollar a piece and they are bigger, and there is more variety than the dollar store types. Check our "Printable Pet Coupon" section on the right side of the page for current coupon links!


Go for a ride in the car!?

Some dogs love going for a ride in the car (Toby included) so sometimes its fun to let them hop in the car while you run errands. Unfortunately if you aren't careful this can be fatal to your dog. Sadly many dog owners are unaware of just how dangerously hot their car can get and every year many dogs die from this mistake. So before you take Fido with you check out this site and find out if the temperatures outside are dangerous. For times when you are taking your dog somewhere like the vet, petco/petsmart, or the dog park on a hot day try one of these tips for keeping them comfortable: run the a/c a few min prior to getting in the car, keep a towel in the freezer and toss it on their seat to keep them cool until the a/c has time to cool the car, bring a large chunk of ice for them to munch on, and a no-spill bowl like this filled with cold water is always handy. But even following these tips never leave your dog in a hot car even when you think you will only be gone a couple minutes. Even with four windows cracked open the temperature inside the car quickly jumps up to fifteen degrees hotter than outside. So keep your dog cool, comfortable and safe this summer and spread the word! For more info check out mydogiscool.com.



Today was supposed to be the beginning of Doggie DIY week, but I got a little caught up with writing other posts that I didn't get this week's done! So I am moving it to next Mon-Fri. On the bright side Toby was being his usual self, getting into trouble and making us laugh on the way! My parents and I were working on dinner, and being the food junkie that he is, Toby was close by. My mom picked up a raw steak that was extra and went to get a bag out of the drawer. Toby seized the opportunity and latched onto the steak, before I utter a single syllable! I nearly shouted, "Toby!" as my mom realized what was happening. Toby dropped the steak at the tone in my voice. My parents and I were laughing, looking at the bite mark in the steak as my mom turned to rinse it in the sink. The steak dangling from her hand as she paused to look at it was too much temptation. Toby popped up on his hind legs, and snatched it again, the weight of him pulling it from my mom's hand. It dropped to the floor and I used that split second to grab Toby's collar and pull his nose away from the raw meat. Laughing again my mom picked up the steak and got it quickly to the sink, rinsed it, and put it in the freezer saying, "Now it's tenderized!"


In the Mix

Soon after Toby and I got home from the shelter, one of many things on my mind was what the "mix" in "lab mix" could possibly be! I had always been interested in dogs and had a general knowledge of many different breeds so that gave me a starting point. The shelter had estimated that he was over 2 years old so I knew he was done growing and I studied Toby's appearance and personality then researched breeds I thought might be in the mix. Dogbreedinfo.com definitely came in handy during my search! I started with Labrador Retrievers because he looked a lot like one, and sure enough he has a Lab type coat, a pretty Lab like face, and a perfect Lab tail. He even acts like a Lab, he is energetic, loves fetch, likes swimming and is a pretty quick learner.  His body, though, was not very Lab at all, and he was well under the weight range.
I thought about it some more and his large chest, tucked up abdomen, skinny legs, and slightly visible ribs reminded me of a Greyhound. I looked them up and he was way too small for a Greyhound, so I looked at other breeds in the same group, Sighthounds. A few were too big, one was too small, and then there was the Whippet. Toby fit perfectly into the Whippet's height and weight measurements, his legs, and chest met the standard exactly. His personality also has a touch of Whippet, he is a fast runner (can't quite tell if he has a whippet's gait though, he's too fast!), and a little timid with strangers. I am sure there are other breeds in Toby's mix but at this point I think I can safely say he is part Labrador Retriever and part Whippet. Maybe one day I will buy a dog DNA test to have a more scientific idea of his mix but for now I will stick with the free version ;) Do you have a Mixed Up Mutt? Tell us about them in the comments!


Just for Fun!

I can't help but crack up when I watch this! :D I think Toby is a little too big for this trick though!


Blog the Change!

Today, July 15th, pet bloggers across the country are blogging to spread the word about different animal causes and organizations! My Mixed Up Mutt & Me will always have a soft spot for the Idaho Humane Society and their IDAPI program. This shelter helps so many dogs and cats every year with different programs and promotions to help each animal get adopted into a good home. There are annual See Spot Walk, and See Spot Splash fundraising events, discounts for senior citizens, the IDAPI training program and much more check them out today, and any time you are looking to add a furry friend to your family!
Or check them out on Facebook here.

Also check out more Blog the Change posts after the jump -

What's In a Name?

Toby wasn't always called "Toby". During his training at IDAPI, he was called "Elliott", before that he had at least one other name. When I picked him out online, "Elliott" wasn't my favorite name but I wasn't sure if I should change it because that is what they used in his two-month training course. Then I remembered the dog in the yard behind us...Elliott. How confusing would that be for the dogs? At that point I decided to change his name, but to what? I thought about it a while, looked up some ideas online, and finally sat down with my family to ask for their help. Right away my sister, Kayleen, suggested "Toby", but that was the name of my English teacher at the time, so I thought it might be weird. Everyone started throwing out names, my mom's personal favorite was "Diego". I had a few I liked, "Toby" was one of them (thanks to my sister's persistent persuasion), and figured I would name him when I got to know him a little.
For the next couple weeks, while I waited for a call from the shelter, Kayleen often mentioned reasons to name him "Toby", she referred to him as "Toby" and insisted that she would call him "Toby" no matter what I named him. So "Toby" it was.
Finally the day arrived, I adopted him and decided to try out his new name. I had heard that when you change a dog's name, it helps to add the old name on to the end for a while, so we called him "Toby Elliott" a few times on the drive home. Maybe one hour later he was responding to "Toby" better than he did to "Elliott", I guess it was meant to be.



This is Brody! A purebred Wirehaired Pointing Griffon available for adoption at the Idaho Humane Society in Boise! He knows obedience commands and is crate trained! Learn more about him here.
Learn more about his breed here.

Work out!

When my parents said I could have a dog for my graduation present there were some rules involved. The main rule was that the dog had to come from the IDAPI training program at the IHS. One of the downsides to that was that you picked a dog out from a few dog profiles online, applied for it, then met it instead of being able to meet the dogs yourself and pick the one that best fit into your lifestyle. Fortunately, Toby and I were a pretty good match, otherwise I would have to have gone through the whole process again with another IDAPI class. But Toby and I both like to sleep late, and hang around the house most of the day, one thing we didn't quite match up on was energy. Toby does not stop moving unless he is told to!
The first few months I had him, we went on two half hour walks every day and he was still wired all the time. Toby is a runner, he is built for speed and he craves a good run, constantly! I on the other hand enjoy a nice leisurely walk. So after months of struggling to keep him in the "heel" position on our walks, and watching him bounce off the walls, I bought a treadmill at a yard sale and taught him to run on it to supplement our walks. It helped, but barely at all.  Desperate to get him the exercise he obviously needed, I pulled out my bike and held on to his leash as he ran along, it worked really well! He was surprisingly unafraid of the bike and was very excited to be running outside.
A few weeks later, we were on our bike ride when some ducks suddenly flew up out of the canal next to us! Toby lunged forward and across the front of my bike sending me to the ground. Amazingly, Toby was untouched and I just had a couple scrapes and bruises.    -Find out what I did, after the jump-


About My Mixed Up Mutt & Me

Just over a year ago I adopted Toby, a lab mix from the Idaho Humane Society (IHS). My parents had agreed to get me my first dog as a high school graduation present (I had only been begging for one since I was first able to do so).
At the shelter, I watched the volunteers bring in the dogs one by one, these dogs were all in a class from the IHS's Inmate Dog Alliance Project of Idaho (IDAPI), a training program. I was waiting for the face, whose picture I had studied for weeks, to appear. Finally, I saw his shiny black nose, alert eyes and floppy ears come around the corner. I felt like I could explode with joy!
The dogs and their potential adopters were given a few minutes to get to know each other before we went to a quick lesson about their training. During the training, the instructor took Toby to the middle of the circle of dogs and people and told him, "Sit. Stay." then went on with teaching. Toby stayed and looked around the circle, sniffed a little patch of grass then looked at me. He wagged his tail a little, looked back at the instructor (who had his back turned) then quietly got up and walked back to me. That was when I knew that we belonged together, and that he knew it too, but neither of us knew just how much our lives would change that day.
As a first time dog owner I have learned so much from Toby that I want to share, from favorite toys to training tips, and everything else in between.