My birthday is November 16 and I turned three!  Everyone gave me hugs and extra special peanut butter cookies. The whole family went to the dog park and played for a long time. Mom knows I am a lot calmer and have grown a lot this year. I do not play with the puppies as much as I used to, and am pretty much done running the fence with the little dogs on the small dog side. I prefer playing with dogs my age and size. Mom notices I plan out short cuts. Instead of following the dogs running large circles around the park I anticipate their path, wait and then cut them off halfway with a big belly bump. Score!
Other things mom notices is that I have more patience when schedules are delayed or changed. I wait patiently for breakfast on week-ends when everyone sleeps in. I accept some days I don't get to go to the park until afternoon or that we stop at a store before the park. Yep, I'm a good ole ' boy and everyone loves me.
 
 
Mom started reading articles about mushing and after talking with friends at the dog park bought me a skijoring harness. Next, she bought a used kick-sled on Craigslist, basically a chair on skis, and started training me to pull it. Mushers strongly suggest starting slow and keeping training sessions short. We started in the house pulling a cloth bag behind me while she sprinkled treats in front of me. At first, the resistance made me stop because mom is really insistent on not pulling on the leash when we go for a walk.  It was very confusing, but she cheered me on when the treats enticed me to pull. The kittens love jumping in the bag and going for a ride. After a few sessions I got used to the bag dragging behind me. 
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dog pulling the kitten in the bag
Next, we practiced pulling the kicksled in the driveway. She lured me with treats and quickly I learned pulling was fun!
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Pulling the kick sled is fun!
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Treats sprinkled every few feet encourage me to pull the kick sled!
We practiced in book store isles with "Gee!" for right and "Haw!" for left and "Whoa!" for slow down and stop. The lakes are not frozen enough yet for safe play, so we all went to the indoor park to pull a razor scooter. I like the exercise and come happily to put on the skijoring harness.  Within a few minutes I learned to pull the scooter. We do a couple of laps and then I get to play. So far, mom plays rabbit and runs ahead of me, but soon she thinks I can learn to pull on command.
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skijoring harness and scooter
 
 
We've been going to the outdoor park this week now that the weather has cooled off to the low 70's in the morning. I start my excited "I know where we are" whine as we pull in to the parking lot, but mom opens the car hatch and makes me wait until she says go before I jump out of the car. She stops if I pull so I have to walk beside her. OK, no one is going to say it is a loose leash, but I am gaining self control and she can hold the leash with one hand instead of wrapping it around her back like when I was younger. She makes me sit at the gate while she takes my leash off and then she lets me go. Whee! There are many dogs to play with and the last few days mom and the girls have talked with the same families. Little sis catches grasshoppers and the people smile at her intense interest in bugs. After about 30 minutes my tongue hangs out and mom tells me we are going to go home soon. I just don't know how to pace myself like some of the other dogs, so mom calls me over and puts my leash on to walk out of the park. Some days we stop at the mall for a little public access training after the run and I mind my manners perfectly. A good run helps me focus and keeps me calm for the rest of the day!
 
 
Now that the winter mud is gone, mom has taken me to the off-leash outdoor dog park a couple of times. Yippee! I love running and meeting new dogs in the 9-acre fenced park. We followed another family through a second fence into a pond area. A flat coated retriever and another dog jumped right in and swam around. It looked like they were having a lot of fun. I sniffed at the water and tasted it, but I didn't want to get my feet wet. A few days later we went back again. This time I chased some ducks and I wanted to get to them, but I only got wet up to my ankles before jumping back out. I guess the Shar-Pei in me isn't fond of water. But there sure were lots of cool smells around the pond. I hope we go back soon!
 
 
Mom took me to the outdoor dog park today. This is my fourth visit to this nine-acre, fenced, off-leash park. I used my manners and walked to the gate and sat while she took off my leash. Once inside, I ran through the whole park to meet every dog there. Playing with other dogs tops my list of  favorite things to do, about equal to eating dinner of course. There are some dogs that don't want to play with me and prefer to play ball with their owners.  That confuses me, but I found lots of dogs who did want to run and play today. The first time mom called me she showed me she had a treat bag. I ran up to her, ate the piece of cheese she gave me, then she told me I was a good boy and could go play some more. Over the next hour she called me eight or nine times. She had a piece of cheese in her hand every time, tickled my chin, and then released me to go play. When it was time to go home, she called me one last time and I ran right up and sat in front of her. Another parent said "nice recall!"  Mom felt really proud. She fed me bits of cheese all the way to the gate and told me what a good boy I am. 
 
 
I love  my jolly ball! 
 
 
I love playtime at the indoor dog park!
 
 
Look at all these leaves! They smell like squirrels and crinkle when I walk on them. I like to chase them when they blow around too. Here is little sis and I playing in a big pile she raked. Yea!
 
 
Mom put me out in the yard and within minutes she noticed I was playing with something. She ran out and grabbed my cable to see what I had. It was a bunny! Well, half a bunny. The head was there but not much else. Maybe that mink got the rest of it? Or our local fox or coyote?  She told me to drop it and I did. But then she put me in the house, bagged up the bunny head and threw it away. She gave me a treat, played with me and told me what a good dog I was. I guess. I think I'd rather play with the bunny some more. Woof!
 
 
Mom is trying out Karen Pryor's game of 101 things to do with a box.  She put a small box on the floor and clicked/treated when I looked at it. By then, Mr. Marbles the cat arrived and showed us knew what to do with a box - paw it, push it, stick his legs in it and tip it over to try and crawl inside, all in about 15 seconds. Mom laughed and put him in another room.  So I looked at the box again and she clicked/treated. Hmm, this must be important I think. So I go over to the box and sniff it. Click.  I put my nose in it. Click. I put my nose in it again and no click. ??? I went to my rug and pouted. I don't really understand what to do.  Pretty soon I looked at the box, click. Alright, I go back to the box. I push it with my nose. Click. I put my mouth on it. Click. Hmmm. I pick it up. Click. I drop it to eat the treat of course. I pick it up again and bring it right to mom. Click and treat party! Woot!  She says I invented this game and it is going to encourage my creative problem solving. Later she brings out the box again and I go over, pick it up and bring it right to her. She laughs and gives me a treat. The thing is, this is not 101 things! She is going to ask trainer lady what to do next.