Tag Archives: Dogs

Day 13 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

Happy Howl-oween!

We finally made it! It’s Day 13 of our 13 Days of Halloween celebration.

We’ve had some treats, performed some tricks, shared costume as well as non-costume costume ideas, introduced new pack members (even if they both “meow”), celebrated Rosee’s 6th birthday, and remembered a beloved pet in honor of Dia de los Muertos.

All that’s left to do is to wish everyone and their pets a very Happy Howl-oween!

Happy Howloween
From everyone here at Play Hard, Bark Often–Happy Howl-oween

I think everyone needs a nap after this…

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Day 11 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

“Costumes are for the suckers”—Simon, Play Hard, Bark Often

I know that costumes aren’t for every dog. Some dogs don’t enjoy being dressed up, wearing silly things, or at least having something on for an extended period of time. Simon and Rosee tolerate us dressing them up because they know they’ll get a lot of treats during the process—;).

As a result, I came up with something that (I think) any dog could wear (or at least tolerate): A Cape. This is a quick and easy solution to help make your dog look festive and ready for Halloween.

Final Cape

All you need is some festive fabric, elastic, fabric adhesive (and an iron if you use iron on adhesive like I did), scissors, and a needle and thread.

Cape Essentials

  1. Measure a piece of the elastic fabric that is just a bit shorter than the length of your dog’s neck. I measured the elastic against one of the pup’s chain collars. You want to measure the elastic a bit shorter, so when you fit it around your dog’s lower neck it will stretch to fit and stay in place better.
  2. Cut a piece of fabric that is a bit longer than your elastic piece. This way the fabric will scrunch a bit when you thread the elastic through.Cape Construction
  3. Take the fabric adhesive and lay it on the backside of the fabric about 2-3 inches below the top. You want to make a smallish opening at the top that will be big enough to thread the elastic fabric through. Then fold the top of the fabric over and iron in place. I did end up using a pencil as a guide while I ironed in order to ensure my opening remained the right size.
  4. Once the fabric adhesive is set, thread the elastic fabric through your opening.
  5. Using the needle and thread, sew the two end pieces of the elastic fabric together. I ended up leaving about 3-4 inches of the end of either side of the elastic free of fabric and sewed all of it together. It may not look the prettiest, but despite what my mother says, no one’s going to see it.Cape Opening
  6. Fit the cape around your dog’s neck and you’re done!

The best part of this cape, besides the ease of making it, is its versatility. Of course, it could be worn by itself simply as a cape. However, it could also be accessorized with a festive hat if your dog is willing, or a black mask. This way your dog, like Simon, could pretend to be a superhero—the way he really feels inside, if he’s being honest.

Cape Accessorized

Costumes may not be for every dog, but that doesn’t mean they can’t celebrate Halloween either!

Day 7 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

The jack-o-lanterns are going to the dogs (and cats)!

I absolutely love carving pumpkins for Halloween. It’s always a lot of work, takes too much time, and is incredibly messy, but the finished jack-o-lantern(s) prove themselves worth the effort every year. I especially enjoy showcasing my love of dogs and pit bulls in my pumpkin carvings.

This year was no different and when it came time to carve some pumpkins I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Except this year I decided to change things up a bit. Instead of using real pumpkins to carve and turn into jack-o-lanterns to show off my love of all things dogs, pit bulls, and yes, even cats, I decided to use craft/synthetic pumpkins. That’s right I’m using pumpkins that can’t go bad, decompose, and most importantly, won’t attract bugs. As much as I love carving pumpkins each year, I’m always so disappointed how quickly my freshly carved jack-o-lanterns go bad and become infested with bugs—literally it’s in a day’s time—and how short of a time I can actually display my pumpkins on my front porch. So, rather than using fresh pumpkins to carve that only lasts a couple days, I used synthetic pumpkins that can last as long as I want. In fact, I can even save the pumpkins and use them again next year!

To carve some completely adora-bull, and long lasting jack-o-lanterns this is what you’ll need:

Pumpkin Supplies

  • Synthetic/craft pumpkin(s)
  • carving tools such as a small knife, and shaving tool
  • stencil(s)
  • tape
  • scissors

Ultimately, I chose three different pumpkins in which I could carve. I chose two small sized pumpkins (one orange, and one black), and a larger orange pumpkin. Then, I found three stencil designs to carve into each pumpkin. I did recycle the pit bull stencil I used last year and found it was perfect for my smaller orange pumpkin, went with a paw print stencil for my larger orange pumpkin, and thought a cat sitting on a moon design was just right for the small black pumpkin. Also, I chose the synthetic pumpkins that have open backs because this made the backside of the pumpkin flat. Therefore, carving was much easier since the pumpkin could lay flat on its back and not move around like a traditionally round pumpkin would.

Pumpkin Stencils

First, take the stencil and tape it to the front of the pumpkin. Using a small knife, carefully poke holes along the stencil outline. Remove the stencil, but keep it for reference as you carve.

Pumpkin Carvings

 

Next, begin to cut along the outline of holes that has been previously poked into the pumpkin.

Then, shave any parts of the pumpkin that are meant to be shaved for more definition and dimension.

Finally, clean up the mess of shavings, put a LED candle light in your pumpkin and light up the jack-o-lantern.

Jack-o-Lanterns

We’re officially surpassing the halfway point in our 13 Days of Halloween journey…keep checking back until October 31st for all things Halloween!

Day 6 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

What are treats without tricks?

Tricks and treats just go together when it comes to Halloween.

In particular, treats are even sweeter when they’re earned after performing a trick.

Tricks aren’t always easy to teach your dogs, but simple ones like “shake” or “high-five” are fairly quick, and easy to teach your dogs. Plus, many general commands such as “sit,” “lay down,” and “stay” are also considered good tricks that dogs perform each and every day—ones that come in handy when trying to take pictures, let me tell you.

Here I’m going to provide easy steps to teach your dog the simple tricks of: shake, high-five, and beg.

Dog Tricks

What you’ll need: treats (lots of little treats, and preferably something that is of high value), and patience (probably even more patience than treats, to be honest).

Shake

To teach your dog how to “shake” simply put them in a “sit” position and offer your hand. When they give you their paw then give them a treat. If you’re a fan of using a clicker, you can click when their paw makes contact with your hand and then immediately give them a treat. After you are able to accomplish this a few times, then you can start saying the command “shake” when offering your hand. This way your dog can start to associate the action with the word.

High-five

To teach your dog to “high-five” the procedure is pretty similar to “shake” except this time instead of offering your hand, simply hold your palm upright. You may need to tap on the center of your palm so your dog better understands to target your palm, but after learning “shake” it is typically fairly easy to then move on to “high-five.”

Beg

To teach your dog to “beg” can take a bit more time and patience. Also, it is best if your dog is able to balance on their back legs—Rosee is great at this, but Simon not so much. To start, have your dog in a “sit,” but make sure that it is a full sit meaning that their back end is leaning to the side since it is easier for them to sit back and balance in an upright position. Then, hold one of your arms parallel to the floor and ask your dog to place their two front paws over your arm. Treat (and click) when they do what your ask. Practice this a few times until your dog can easy sit and balance their front paws over your arm. Finally, you can begin to take your arm away while still asking your dog to sit and balance on their back end while holding their front paws up.

Now, while dog tricks are definitely a treat, I can’t end this post without mentioning the biggest Trickster of the pack.

I present to you…Shadow!

Shadow Tricks

Shadow is one of our cats who we rescued about four months ago. He’s a former neighborhood cat that, once again, adopted us as his family. He is curious, mischievous, and absolutely fearless. Despite his small stature he is unafraid of Simon and Rosee, and will do anything for food (he’s kind of like a dog in that sense). His best tricks so far include: “beg,” and stealing food off of the kitchen counters.

That’s all of the tricks I have to offer for this Halloween 2018 and make sure to let us know in the comments any tricks your dogs (or cats) are known for!

Day 3 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

One of my favorite parts of Halloween is all the costumes. Specifically, I love the dog costumes. From Weiner dog costumes, taco costumes, or the dogs dressed up as cats I enjoy seeing all the different characters and things dogs can be transformed into.

So, this year I have gathered four costume ideas that can easily be put together. I’m going to share the first two costumes today because they are individual, standalone costumes and couldn’t be simpler (cheaper) to put together. They are more DIY rather than store-bought because I have two big dogs. Simon and Rosee weigh about 70-75 lbs each and with wide necks and more muscular builds, courtesy of their pit bullish natures, it can be difficult to find store-bought costumes that fit, ones that don’t have to be ordered online or ones that don’t cost a small fortune. I mean really, it’s only going to be for one night. No matter the size of the dog though, I think these costume ideas can be made to work for any size dog and will only take a few minutes to put together.

Before we start I have to say that as much as I love dressing Simon and Rosee up, costumes are not for every dog. If your dog is not into being dressed up, then just don’t make them. You can try to encourage their acquiescence by the use of treats (preferably high value treats) so they learn to associate dressing up in costumes with a positive association. However, don’t force your dog to do something they really don’t want to do. Otherwise, maybe they’ll allow you a few minutes in costume at least to take cute picture!

Costume #1: Ghost Dog

This costume idea is pretty simple. All you need is a white sheet/cloth(I used a pillowcase I bought at the local Dollar Tree), a pair of scissors, and a marker.

Day 3 of Halloween 2018

First take the white cloth and using the marker mark where the eye holes as well as a nose/mouth hole will be. Next, carefully cut the three holes out (you can also cut out ear holes if you want). If the cloth you use is a little too long, now is the time to figure out where to cut it so it fits your dog the way you want it to. Also, I did end up cutting slits in each side of the pillowcase as it allowed Simon more ease of movement.

Extra tip: To help keep the cloth from moving around too much it can be helpful to cut small slits around the part that will sit at your dog’s neck. Then, take some decorative yarn/ribbon and weave it through the holes and tie a small bow at the front of the costume. This will help the costume stay on your dog and not move around too much.

Finally, fit the cloth over your dog. Arrange the eye, ears, and neck areas appropriately. Voila, you have yourself a Ghostly dog!

Ghostly Simon

Costume #2: Beauty Queen

As the only female of the house (at least of the pet variety), Rosee is definitely the ruling Queen Bee. Therefore, it’s only natural that for Halloween she should be a Beauty Queen. All you need is a crown (I chose a Halloween-inspired spider crown), a long strip of white fabric (or even paper could work), a marker, a piece of string, and some fake flowers.

Day 3 of Halloween 2018 (2)

First take the long strip of white fabric and make sure that it can fit your dog appropriately. Ensure that it can wrap around your dog like a sash without being too long. After fitting the sash, take a marker and write “Queen Bee” (or whatever you choose) on the sash. Next, fit the sash around your dog and tie the two ends together with the piece of string. Then, place your desired crown on your dog’s head.

Extra tip: If you want to help ensure that the crown stays on your dog’s head, take apiece of string and cut it in half. Tie one end of one of the pieces of string to one side of the crown and do the same thing with the other piece of the string to the other side of the crown. Then, when you place it on your dog’s head you can take both pieces of string to tie it underneath your dog’s head. This way the crown is more likely to stay on your dog’s head…at least for a little while.

Finally, give your dog a bouquet of beautiful (fake) flowers, and they are definitely ready for their close ups!

Queen Bee
#QueenBee

Make sure to check back tomorrow for two more DIY costume ideas that everyone can take part in.

Come on a Walk with Us!

Lately, the weather in California has been hot, hot, hot! On our daily walks with Simon and Rosee we haven’t been able to walk for very long or go very far. Yet, this morning the weather was warm, but pleasant enough that we could go on one of our favorite walking routes. So, come on our walk with us today and definitely don’t forget your sunscreen!

We started off by going out our front door and down our street. Simon and Rosee were especially excited and couldn’t wait to go…
Picture 1

We walked down, down, down past the local high school, a bunch of bushes that Simon particularly likes to rub against as we walk by, and even a yard sale sign that kind of freaked Rosee out (she wouldn’t walk by it)…

Picture 2We ended up at a local park about a mile away from home and spans across two blocks and has tons of trees which offer lots of shade from the California sun along with numerous spots for the pups to leave their marks…Picture 3We continued through the second block of the park (technically a different park), which is where Simon decided he needed a break in the grass (it was still wet from the early morning sprinkler), but it did put us a little behind Monica and Rosee who was eagerly sniffing her way down the grass–Rosee, not Monica, by the way…Picture 4Then, we started to make our way back home and decided to continue down the side street (instead of back through the two parks) that runs along the west end of town since it’s still pretty shady from the many trees planted along the sidewalk and that just means so much more to sniff…Picture 5As we made our way home Simon started to slow down a little, but Rosee kept her pace (she’s much better at conserving her energy and maintaining her pace unlike Simon)…Picture 6

Ultimately, we had a wonderful morning walk and ended up with two tired pups who were happy to indulge in afternoon naps!

 

Thanks for joining us on our Saturday morning walk and you can totally tell people you went on a 3 mile walk this morning (we won’t tell anyone)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy 6th Birthday Simon!

To the mutt that stole our hearts,

(And tore them all to pieces),

May you live on forever,

(If only so our patience never cease . . .-es).

Seriously, patience isn’t always a given virtue–it’s a hard-learned skill that can only be shaped by ear-shattering whines and never-ending sessions of fetch.

Happy Birthday little man! (Don’t ever change.)

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