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Soggy doggy in the shower
Mom takes me to the dog park almost every day for exercise. I get pretty muddy since it has been raining a lot this spring. If there is water in the rain garden, I make a bee-line to splash and play with the other dogs. This is especially fun on a warm day. All the parents groan a little because it is kind of stinky, but start to laugh when they see how much fun we are having jumping around like kangaroos. When we get home, mom leads me right upstairs and tells me to jump into the shower. I get a treat for that. Then she sprays me with warm water and sometimes uses shampoo to get rid of the stink. I got used to the shower pretty fast and get two treats when we are done. I have short fur and towel dry quickly, even without a doggy shake! 
 
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
 
I love to play games. Mom taught me how to play hide and seek with toys and mittens in the house months ago. We also play "Find Her" with little sis. She hides behind a tree or  bench outside, around a book shelf at the library and recently we we started playing the game at the dog park. Trainer Lynnda advised the command should have the same intensity of voice that mom would use if little sis was really lost. Last week at training mom asked how to get  me to stay with little sis after I found her. Lynnda had some great ideas. Big sis had several days off of school this week and helped by being the hider at the dog park. She gave me a treat when I found her and then told me to sit/stay. After five seconds she gave me the second treat. By then mom was arriving and gave me another treat because I stayed put. I am really getting the hang of it! 
 
Mom and Dad think I am the best dog ever. They were so impressed with my manners on Thanksgiving. Mom smiled as I went to my rug every time she opened the oven door. She cooked most of the food the day before the holiday and I got to sample some broth from the cooked turkey bones and savor fresh cooked sweet potato. On Thanksgiving morning, mom put everything into crockpots and then took me to the dog park. I ran and played for over an hour with lots and lots of dogs. When the family starting arriving, mom tossed kibble on the floor as they entered and I didn't jump on anyone! I took a nap on the couch for most of the noon meal.  When I woke up they were serving pie, so I went and parked under mom's feet like we do when we go to food courts. The new kittens were locked in a room because they would not stay away from the buffet table. I am so grown up I didn't touch anything. I just turned two, but I do remember that last year I was tethered to a brick in the porch to keep me away from the food. Mom had me show off some tricks, like having people drop their napkin and allowing me to get it for them. And she made a sneezing sound so I would get her a tissue.  Grandma likes how I oblige mom a kiss before she gives me a treat. They gave me chews all afternoon, practically every time I asked! Wow! However, the next day, they went back to saying no. Sigh. I wish everyday was a holiday!
 
I love to play and play big, but for some reason not every dog wants to play with me. I get very excited when I have recess at training class or am at the off-leash dog park. Unfortunately, I jumped on a couple of people and they do not want their dogs to play with me anymore. This usually happens when I first get to the park and especially if there are loud barking dogs or circling border collies.  Some of these dogs are older and some are protective-reactive if I get too close to their parent or they are protecting their ball. I don't care about balls and mostly want to run. So mom is trying to help me learn how to calm down when I get over-excited with a short time-out and to redirect me away from the dogs that don't want to play.  My favorite dogs are the big ones that like to run. I play well with most of the golden retrievers and labs, a Russian wolf hound, one young boxer and an Old English Sheepdog. Bull dogs don't seem to like the way I look and most of the pointers and hounds don't care to play.
Mom takes me to the off-leash park every day she can. After about a half-hour when it is warm or an hour in cool weather I am content and ready to focus for whatever task is asked.  We often go to a store on the way home and the people complement me on my fine public access manners. Then I go home and have a nice long nap. 
 
Mom takes me to the nine-acre park most mornings for a 30 - 40 minute run. Usually there are some dogs that like to play, but the weather turned cold and there are not as many dogs. I was able to run with a few dogs who were chasing balls and mom took me to the gated pond where I jumped in and out hoping to engage the ducks. Dang, they kept swimming away! On our way out, mom was walking towards the gate when a family with a boxer and an older dog was walking by. I wanted to play and danced around doing  my "ready" bow and "play with me" bark. The boxer didn't appreciate my invitation and pounced on me.  Mom thinks I need to learn better dog language when the other dog doesn't agree to play because I just kept jumping and asking. The boxer got upset and the parents had to pull us apart. The boxer was mad and answered me with bites and growls.  I quickly resorted to "I'm submissive" body language but the boxer was so mad it kept attacking me. I was so scared I was frozen while mom grabbed my collar and lead me to the gate. There was bloody saliva on me so mom checked me all over, but there were no apparent bites. Mom waited for the other parents to come out and asked if everything was ok since she had seen blood. They appreciated mom asking but retorted that I need better park manners. Many dogs there just want to walk with their owners while I want to run and engage play. Mom is concerned and says if I don't behave we may not be able to go there anymore. What? Chase that squirrel! Mail-carrier with treats! Street walking dog to engage! Chase that chipmunk! Send the black birds flying! Woo hoo! Oh, remind me, what did you say?
 
I love the outdoor off-leash dog park! Mom takes me most mornings to run and play now that the Bark Park closed in August. I now sit politely every time Mom asks me to sit at the gates and to remove my leash. I am getting to know the regular dogs and their owners as well as the paths in this nine-acre park. The parents walk the trails while I zig-zag around chasing any dog that wants to run. I am super fast, so far the only dogs that out-run me are a pair of Afghan Hounds that show up now and then. Most of the dogs just trot along beside their parents, but I hear they are older than me. Trainer Lynnda said I should learn to check in with mom instead of her asking for my attention. So she walks along with the human group and I remember I am supposed to return with eye contact every 5 -10 minutes or so. I run hard so we only stay about 30 - 40 minutes. When it is time to go, mom calls me once and walks towards the gate. I am tired, so I have learned to trot along beside her and she gives me a treat at the gate when she puts my leash on.  I have learned many new skills during the last month and a morning playtime run helps me focus on my tasks.
 
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.