Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ask a Trainer

Saturday I had my first "Ask a Trainer" session. It actually went quite well. I spent some time last week making a bunch of homemade dog treats, and Mom came over Friday night with pizza and a movie to help me bundle them up. We paired the biscuits and each pair had a business card tied to it. I did have a few people ask me some questions, and I ended up giving away quite a few cards. All in all I think it was a success. I'll be in the West End this coming Saturday and back in Southside on the 5th.

Other than that, things are going well. I really feel like all this marketing is really making a difference, and I can only hope that things just continue to go up. Hans took off last Friday and yesterday. That made for a very pleasant weekend. Granted, while both Friday and Monday we both did some work, Saturday and Sunday were slightly more relaxed because we didn't have as much to worry about. Sunday, actually, we took long naps on the couch. I'm telllin' ya, it was beautiful.

It does look like Hans and I may be planning a trip to Chicago here soon. Unfortunately, it's not for the happiest of reasons. Hans' aunt passed away. I know Hans is concerned about his dad and his uncle, and I'm sure he wants to be there for them. I know he still needs to check in with work and make sure he can actually go, but I know he's going to do everything he can.

If we do end up going, we then have to figure out what to do with Cody. Of course, I say we should take him along, but that could get complicated. Plus, not everyone is as fond of dogs as I am, and they wouldn't understand why I feel Cody should come on a 15 hour car ride (other than just for pure enjoyment, he's also great protection). Plus, if he came, we'd probably end up having to put him in day care for a few hours since I doubt we'd be able to leave him at the hotel. He'd love that, of course, but I don't know how I'd handle it. Mom's always willing to watch him,and that might be the best option, but, like I said, I love having him with me. Oh well, I suppose we'll just have to play it by ear.

Alright, I suppose that's enough of my babbling. Hans and I will figure it out.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cody Update

I thought I'd just let everyone know how Cody's doing. He's been on antibiotics since last Friday and he's really showing some improvement. He's not itching nearly as much now, and when he does he only scratches for a little bit (rather than the 30+ minutes he was before). His skin is looking a lot better. The coloring is returning back to normal. Of course, there's still a bit of discoloration since so much of his skin had peeled, but it looks a lot better. Oh, and one other thing we'd noticed lately is that he'd been really ticklish. Cody was never extremely ticklish as a pup, but all of a sudden the majority of his belly was a ticklish spot (something I was actually worried about). I guess it's just because his skin was so sensitive. Anyway, he hasn't been kicking that leg at all recently.

Oh, and I suppose I should ask the vet, but here are a few questions. Is as staph infection contagious to other dogs? I know people can get staph, but can they get it from a dog? Once I'm out of the cephalexin, how do I know if he needs more? Will he always be a carrier of staph or will it actually go away? Hmmm, so many questions!

On another note, I'm ordering shirts for Impawsible Pups. So, who wants a shirt? You can order anything you want. There are polos, t-shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, and many more! I'm unsure of the final cost, because it's really dependent on how many people order things. Right now we're looking at around $10 per item, but it could be less depending on what you order and how many total are ordered. Oh, and there's quite a range of colors and sizes. Again, choices differ depending on what you order, but most items go from xs-3XL, and I've seen a few that go up to 5XL. Anyway, just let me know if you want one!

Alright, off to train another pooch!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's Official

I am officially a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT).

I am officially a vendor at Bark in the Park 2009

I will officially be setting up a booth twice a month at Critter Town.

I will officially be setting up a booth twice a month at For the Love of Pete!

I am officially having a banner and car decals made.

I am officially having t-shirts made.

Yay for lots of work done in two days!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

100 Posts!!-a.k.a. Marketing Mayhem

So, I just realized that this is my 100th blog post. Yay me!!! Considering the fact that I don't think I have 100 journal entries for my entire life, that quite an accomplishment. Really, though, I had just planned on blogging about my day-to-day life, so here it goes.

August, as to be expected, has been extremely slow business-wise. Everyone's going back to school, so no one wants to start something new like training the dog (or getting a new dog for that matter). Anyway, that means I've been racking my brain with marketing ideas and then spending more time putting them into action.

Last Thursday, Mom and I spent the day going to different vets offices and leaving brochures. I am currently signed up to be a vendor for a Henrico Humane Society event called Bark in the Park. Plus, I've been going to area pet stores to see about setting up an "Ask the Trainer" time on Saturday afternoons. That would basically be a chance for me to sit in front of or in the store and allow people to approach me with their dog-training questions. I'm already all set for this Saturday! I'm also having a banner made (for Bark in the Park and similar events) and I'm getting two car decals so everyone can see my business as I drive through town.

So, as you can see, I've been busy. I'm hoping this will help business this month and will send business soaring in September. Does anyone else have any other ideas?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Staph Infection :(

No, neither Hans nor I have a staph infection. Much worse, actually...Cody does. He's always had somewhat sensitive skin and tends to itch easily. Hans and I have an armory of anti-itch products which typically seem to do the trick. A couple of months ago, though, he started scratching...and kept scratching...and kept scratching. We pulled out everything we could think of, and we even tried a few new things, but nothing worked. That's when I noticed the bumps.

I noticed a few reddish bumps (pustules really) and, of course, everything horrible popped into my mind. I was actually just really worried that it was an allergy. Can you imagine Cody being allergic to grass? However, I did a bit of research and found that it wasn't uncommon for dogs to develop what is commonly referred to as summer eczema. You know, heat and humidity get caught in the folds of a dogs skin and irritate it causing itching and bumps and what not. This made perfect sense to me because he'd had similar symptoms this past winter when I took him swimming and he hadn't had a good opportunity to dry off completely. How did I solve that? I shaved him. Well, I just shaved the problem areas (naughty bits and chest). These areas are the same that are being affected now, so I figured that must be the solution. So, I shaved Cody again.

I shaved him (he looks great) but the irritation was much worse than I realized. He'd actually caused himself to bleed in some areas (light enough for the hair to cover, but never a good sign). He was red all over, and his skin was peeling in multiple location. I figured, even if I had eliminated the main cause, I should go to the vet and get some serious meds to help with the itch. The vet took one look at it and uttered, "It's a staph infection."

Anyway, to make a long story end (I can't make it short anymore) he's now had shot of cortisone and he's on antibiotics for the next 10 days. Actually, that's probably a good thing, but I accidentally nicked him with the razor in one spot and it's a little infected. So, hopefully this helps my sweet boy. I know he's scratching a lot less now!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I hate sugar. I really, really hate sugar. Actually, I loathe sugar.

Ok, that's the farthest thing from the truth ever. I am absolutely addicted to sugar which is why I hate it so much now. You know how a recovering alcoholic can be just fine, but then just one sip of alcohol can send them over the edge? That's how I am with sugar. I'll be just fine. I'll be happy, working out, having a good time when BAM! I taste sugar. Then, of course, I start craving sugar and everything changes.

It's interesting what sugar does to the body (or at least to my body). Sugar tends to make me dislike myself. It's odd, and yet I completely understand. When I have a lot of sugar I feel kind of sick. It makes my body tired, but I'm also on a sugar high and so I can't just relax. Then, comes the crash. I just lay around, somewhat comatose for a few hours (days) and try to recuperate. So, since I end up not doing anything, I also end up with feelings of worthlessness. It's quite a difficult thing to get through.

The bad news is that I end up feeling like crud. The good news is that I can recognize and understand why. Isn't admitting you have a problem the first step to recovery? After a weekend such as the one that just past (a party was held, cake was made, cream puffs were devoured), I may feel terrible about myself, but at least I know why. Plus, if I then just go a few days without too many processed foods I'm typically fine.

As a matter of fact, I can already tell that today will be a much better day than yesterday, and tomorrow will probably be better than today. Yesterday I did virtually nothing. Today I may take Cody for a walk (or maybe to the park), but tomorrow we may go for a jog. Thursday I might jog in the morning and play tennis in the evening (nothing happens in the afternoon due to heat), and I already have outside plans for Friday. Now then, if I can only keep my hands off the cake that's in the fridge, I'll really be set!

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Baby Issue

Here's the deal. Lately, I seem to be surrounded by babies. If not babies, then people who are pregnant or trying to be. Of course, for some reason, this means that plenty of people are asking me what my plans are, or, worse, assuming I'll be next. So, I thought I'd set the record straight.

It all started when a college classmate of mine became pregnant. Of course, at that time everyone kept saying they sure were glad it wasn't me. But then, my neighbor had a child, a coworker had a child, my SIL had a child and numerous other friends and relations are entering motherhood. So, maybe it's because I'm the only one in my close circle of friends who's married, or maybe it's because I actually like kids, but almost everyone I know, from friends to my ob/gyn, is assuming I have the baby-bug. I say "almost" because, thankfully, my parents and in-laws are quite happy with the way things are, and they are not bugging Hans or me for grandkids.

So, what are my thoughts on parenthood? I do want to be a mother...someday. That day is not today, not tomorrow, and probably not anytime in the next few years. My goodness, I'm only 23! There are still to many other things I want to accomplish before children come along. Besides, any mothering/nurturing needs that I may have I take out on Cody (making him the most spoiled pooch on the planet).

I have a business that I'm starting (also my baby), and trips I want to take. I'm nowhere near ready. Hans and I both have a lot of evolving to do, not just financially but physically and emotionally too. Heck, we can't even agree on how many children we may want (I liked being an ony child, he liked being in a family of 3). I know the saying goes, "First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes the baby in the baby carriage." The reality is something more like "First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes the scramble for a steady, well-paying job, life-stability, and some feeling of purpose." At least, that's true in my life.

Like I said, yes I want children. And, yes, the goal is to have kids before I'm thirty. But, no, the goal is not to have one in the next nine months, so I would really appreciate it if everyone just understood that. Until that day, when someone says to me, "Oh look at you talking about your nephew (neighbor, friend, baby on the street, dog, etc.). I'm sure you'll be having a baby next." I'll just smile and laugh and say, "Oh, I doubt that" while actually thinking, "Good God! I hope not! Please don't let that happen yet! It wouldn't be fair."

Oh, and to all you mothers out there, no matter what your position is. Whether you're rich or poor, young or old, married or not, I think it's really cool that you are a mother. I respect you and I do think you're lucky. I'm just not ready to join your ranks. Not yet anyway!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

To Sit or Not to Sit- Plus Some Other Stuff

Let me start off with the other stuff. The biggest thing happened on Tuesday. It was Hans' birthday. He feels he's growing old, whereas I have to keep reminding him that I was once mistaken for his mother (long story involving a very stupid Starbucks Barista). I hope he enjoyed a very nice day. I did the best I could by making him pancakes for breakfast and surprising him with cupcakes at work. Unfortunately work could have been better that day, but I think he had a good day anyway.

Other than that, there's not much going on. We're having a little get-to-know-your-neighbors party on Saturday, and I'm hoping we have quite a few neighbors show up. I'll have to let you know how it goes.

Really, though, the point of this blog is to get some opinions. Lately, I've been considering adding pet sitting / dog walking as one of the services I offer. I've almost decided to pass on the option at this point, but there's a lot to think about. Pet sitting would stay busy during my typical slow seasons (beginning of summer, back to school, etc.) but it would also be busiest during the holidays, and, honestly, I enjoy having holidays off. It would require slightly longer hours, but I think I could handle that. Plus, Hans could work with / for me if needed, and that would bring in some extra cash for us. I think I'd enjoy just basic dog walking more, but I'm not in the best market for that. People who'd hire a dog walker would more than likely take their dogs to day care instead. Otherwise, a lot of people leave their dogs in backyards or come home during their lunches. Then again, it probably wouldn't hurt anything to try it.

Something else I'd been considering had been offering an in-home training where I'd come in everyday and train your dog while you're at work. You know, kind of like a dog walking / training service. Of course, I'd have to charge more for that, and I'm not exactly sure how I'd price it. Should I price it as one flat rate or should I charge per session? An on-leash course would probably take about 3 weeks, and an off-leash about 4 weeks, but what about the dogs that take longer? Right now, training is guaranteed, and I keep coming no matter how long it takes. What would I do if I were going out every day though? Oh, and do I keep it limited to a certain area, or do I travel like I do now?

GRRR! I need some advice! Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Day Off

It's so rare now a day that I have an entire day off- free from appointments. That's why I was so shocked when I saw my calendar for yesterday and no one had booked it yet. That's also why I was THRILLED when Hans told me he was taking yesterday off too. You see, Hans' birthday is on Tuesday, but there's a company staff meeting on Tuesday that Hans should be at, so he took his birthday off yesterday. It was so nice!

Let me start off by saying that we did NOT bum around the house. Of course, we wanted to, but we didn't. We got up early and took care of all of our errands first thing (bank, grocery store, library). Then Cody had a play date.

I'll tell you. Cody and his play dates are so much fun to watch. He tends to release all his energy in one big burst. He'll run and run and run and then collapse. It's cute. Plus, he's super tired at then end, and he has a chance to socialize. There are so many positives!

After the play date, we drove back to the apartment and did something we hardly ever do. We made pierogies! Actually, for the most part I made pierogies and Hans cleaned the apartment a bit. For those of you who don't know what a pierogie is, it's basically a potato dumpling. Some people will tell you it has flour, eggs, potatoes, cottage cheese, butter and onions. Really, though, it's made of small bits of happiness in different flavors. Geeze, they're good. That being said, they are a bit time consuming to make, so we have to have energy and large blocks of time in order to make them. Anyway, we invited Dad and his girlfriend Sherry over to try them. Sherry had never had a pierogie, so it was quite an experience for her. I think they were enjoyed by all.

Hans and I ended the evening by watching Scrubs and then going to bed at a reasonable hour (we were quite pooped ourselves). Doesn't that just sound like a great day. We were productive, but we were also relaxed. Our apartment is clean, our bellies are full, and our dog is tired. You can't really beat that!