Sunday, June 18, 2006

Hiking with Baloo

This weekend I took Baloo to South Mountain, a large mountain park on the border of Tempe where I live. Her auntie Aggie drove us on Saturday and we all hiked together. Baloo was a bit nervous about the mountain bikes that whizzed by occasionally. I think what made her most nervous was the sound. The hike was fairly short, just enough to get her acquainted with a different style of walking than our usual park walk. It made me realize just how different the sounds and activities are at the mountain park compared with our other walks. There is so much to expose a puppy to. Afterward, we went to Starbucks to have muffins and great coffee. We sat outside and Baloo was a model cafe dog. Next we took Aunt Aggie to water aerobics. Baloo and I went to PetSmart. Baloo picked out a loofa dog squeaker toy. We checked out the PetSmart Doggy Day Camp Hotel to see what the qualifications were to play for the day. I have a long trip coming up and want to find a place for Baloo to spend a day or two. After our PetSmart excursion it was time to go home and Baloo was wiped out. In fact she slept all day. A tired puppy is a beautiful thing. So far, Baloo needs only a moderate walk in the morning and play time with her pack of dog friends in the evening and she's quite set.

This morning, Baloo and I went back to South Mountain. This time we hiked a little farther. She did really well and was ready for a nap as soon as we returned home. An hour investment in the morning goes a long way for her and I both. Jazz still gets her walks first, but we went to the neighborhood park. Although she's still pretty spry at 12, it gets too hot for her by 7am in the mountain park.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

12 weeks

Baloo is now 12 weeks old and growing fast. Most people we encounter can hardly believe she is only 3 months old! Baloo had several adventures this week, including puppy shots, a trip to PetSmart, and we went to 2 cafes to practice her "hanging out" skills. She is learning to be a good lounger. As we approach week 13, she is beginning to pull on her leash. She is beginning to develop a curiosity about the world, and is getting a little bolder each day.

Baloo's favorite thing to do is go to our neighborhood park and play with the other dogs. Every night at about 7 pm a group of dogs, along with their people, gather for ball chasing, tail wagging, pouncing, tumbling fun. If it weren't for Baloo, I wouldn't have discovered that I have some really nice neighbors. The dogs are typically very well behaved and come in all sizes. Baloo is the youngest, but no longer smallest. Her favorite dog friends are Yoshi, the golden retriever, and Sagey, the heeler mix. She also loves Lola (greyhound mix), Cody (golden retriever/chow), Penny (beagle), Jocko (springer spaniel) Chloe (rottweiler), Holly (lab), Angel (pomeranian), Buster (rottweiler), Sasha (rottweiler mix), Agent (beagle), and Toby (black lab). Other drop-ins include Rocky, Bob, Mocha (all labs), and Wooly Bully (pit bull mix).

A friend loaned me the dog whisperer's audio book. I think it will come in handy as I am willing to do whatever it takes to ensure Baloo doesn't become an unruly 90 lb ridgeback. We already know the biggest key to success (which works quite well in my own life as well): Exercise! A well-exercised dog/human is a happy dog/human. When we exercise, everything else just falls into place.