Partial Family Portrait

Oscar and I were both very tired, but I still appreciate our first almost family photo. Snowball is a bit in the background. We are missing the other two cats. May be a bit longer until we can get them all together.

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Teaser Photos - Oso - 8 1/2 weeks

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Oso's Coming Home Story

It has now been over 24 hours since we brought Oso home.

This is his story:

October, 25, 2011: Chicago, Illinois - Oso was dropped off by his foster mother Michele Sideris at the O'Hare Airport at around 8:00am. He had been sleeping in his crate for four nights so far, but this would be the longest time he would spend in the crate. He wouldn't be landing at LAX until 3:00pm Illinois time, 1:08pm in Los Angeles.

His adopted parents had chosen Tuesday over a Friday delivery so that they could both be there to pick him up at the airport. Unfortunately, they didn't know they could not get him until possibly two hours after the plane landed and if Oscar (his new father came) he would be late for work. His new mom was so looking forward to the ride home with her husband and new puppy, but felt it worked out better this way in the end. Eager to see her puppy, Francine (me - adopted mom) got to the United Cargo section of LAX an hour early and was pleased to find that Oso was ready to come home.

She was shocked at his small size. He was so much cuter than the photos! Francine had brought a bag of dog food, treats, a plastic bag to pick up food and unscented dog wipes. She also brought her camera and a shirt that smelled like Oscar. What stood out most to Francine, other than the absolutely adorable little puppy that was part of her family was the incredible stench coming from the carrier. Poor Oso, of course, could not hold in his poop for so long and was forced to not only poop on himself, but stay in his own excrement. Despite this, Oso was happy and hungry.

Francine walked Oso out to the car, after signing a few papers, and stopped at the only semi grassy area in sight around the airport. At this point she attempted to take Oso out to use the bathroom, to clean him up with the wipes and give him food and water. Unfortunately, Francine had not accounted for the fact that there would be zip ties holding the carrier doors closed. She was at a loss; she couldn't get them open. She gave Oso water through the cage door and tossed the food in there as well, as Oso was yipping at the food and obviously hungry. She made the decision to drive to a store and get some scissors. The first place she saw was a gas station. She got some nail clippers, but they didn't work on the thick zip ties. While getting gas, trying to feed Oso and figure out what to do, she was "harassed" by people trying to get money at the station. At this point, she was also lost - which way was home? Neither the GPS or the iPhone was working. She pulled over at another gas station, trying to free the disgustingly smelly dog. No luck. However, at this point, the gps started working. After a long smelly ride home of Francine singing oldies to Oso and flinging dry dog food into the container, Oso finally fell asleep.

Francine had a plan for how she would introduce Oso to the house and cats, but because of his dirtyness, she had to change plans. It didn't seem like a good idea for him to get the whole house smelling like poop, so brought him straight through the kitties room to the bathroom. Oso wandered around while Francine stripped herselves of most of her clothes and cleaned the disgusting carrier. It took many simple green and paper towels - MANY!! Unfortunately Oso's wash cloth that smelled like his brothers and birth parents had to be trashed. While Francine cleaned out the carrier, Oso explored the puppy-proofed bathroom and chewed on his bully stick. He displayed a healthy curious and happy disposition. Snowball, one of Oso's feline brothers, meowed outside the bathroom the whole time. His other two feline brothers stared curiously. Francine kept popping her head out to reassure them. Oso then got a bath, was wrapped in a towel and then gone over head to toe with baby wipes. He then got to explore the home.


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What I learned about Shipping Puppies

What I learned about Shipping Puppies

- Officially, it takes an hour or two after the plane lands to get to your little guy. I spoke with three people on the phone and everyone told me it would be pointless to get there before 2 hours. I got there an hour post flight just in case and Oso had been ready and waiting. I would have gone earlier had I known.

- Bring scissors! I was all ready to go with my baby wipes, leash, collar, treats, food, water, etc. However.... I couldn't get Oso out because I didn't have scissors or even a pocket knife to cut open the zip locks with. I didn't realize this until we were already away from the airport (so I couldn't borrow theirs). I stopped at a gas station and got nail clippers, but they didn't work on the bigger ones.

- If you get a towel with the mom and littermates scent on it, make sure the breeder tapes it on top of the carrier. Oso had pooped in his long journey to LAX and the scented towel went straight in the trash.

- A 4 hour flight can have little effect on a puppies personality. Oso was happy and curious and none worse for the wear after a very long traveling experience.

Things we did right
- His breeder got him used to the crate as a "home" several days before the flight. Oso definitely felt like it was his little home.

8 Weeks, 2 more days to go

Looks like he's going through a big headed stage. Looking forward to getting this cutie home.

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Ingredients for Potty Training

What's Needed:

- Bell
- Notebook/Pencil or Pen
- Treats
- Nature's Miracle

Optional: Timer, Pooper Scooper

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Why Puppies Should Never Be Punished for Potty Mistakes

"Imagine this: You are an eight-year-old child. You reach to touch a doorknob (a completely normal thing to do in your world) and a family member runs up to you screaming. he takes your head and forces it toward the doorknob continuing to scold. He may smack you on your butt or give you a shake but at no time does he tell you what he wants from you.

Now since you have to touch a doorknob from time to time and you have no idea what the problem is, what do you start to do? How about wait for that person to be somewhere else before you touch the doorknob? Because clearly, he has a big problem with doorknob touching. So whenever he leaves the room, you use the doorknob. Now that person is probably calling you "sneaky," "stupid," "spiteful," and "stubborn." If they come into your room you may lower your head a bit or turn away. Now you'll be accused of "knowing what you did wrong."

This is a puppy's experience with housebreaking. If you yell at him, smack him, or rub his face in his mistake, it will teach him - that you are crazy around urine and feces. It will not teach your puppy to think: Gee, I need to go. I should probably ask the person to let me outside. It will teach your puppy to think, Gee, I need to go. Better get as far away as my person as possible. She has a weird aggression problem.

What can you do? Interrupt the behavior. If you catch your puppy in the act of squatting in the house, make one sudden, loud sound - slap a wall or table with the flat of your hand or make one loud clap - with the goal of startling him into stopping midstream. Then rush him outside, where he is praised for finishing the job. If you find a mistake after the fact? It's too late. Clean up and learn from it.

*This is an excerpt from My Smart Puppy: Fun, Effective and Easy Puppy Training by Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson. We bought the kindle version on amazon and downloaded the free Kindle PC program so we can read it on our computer. The book comes with a DVD, an you don't get that on Kindle, but the kindle version only costs $3 and that's worth it for us.

p. 220/320, Location: 2855 of 4510 on Kindle


Just like with good parenting and teaching, we need to focus on what a child SHOULD do, not what he should NOT do. I would also add, that you should attempt (as best you can) to control your emotions while interrupting a pee, from what I read puppies are very aware of these. Cesar Millan recommends an assertive calm, i think that would be perfect for interruption and then praise good for outside.

I really liked Kilcommon and Wilson's personification and illustration of the effects punitive punishment can have.

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Vizsla 101

Great intro to the breed!!

Bath Time with Vizslas

Tips from Fellow Vizsla Owners

- When dusty, wipe down with unscented wipes from Costco, can also just try an old towel.
- Put oil caplets in food every few days to prevent dry skin.
- Bathe after rolling in something (like mud or poop)
- Make sure to give him a bath during the socialization stage and make it fun with toys, etc.
- When bathing use warm water or puppy or baby shampoo (Johnson's Lavendar, recommended)

** Vizslas typically only have to be bathed about 6 times a year. They lick themselves to stay clean and are prone to dry skin.

How to Help Gun Dogs Train Themselves

This book appears to be a must read. It is $20.00 and although that is not much, I am not sure we should be training our Vizsla to hunt in the first place. Since, however, it was bred to be a bird dog, I feel it is only right to encourage its natural instincts to take place.

I am highly interested in the steps encouraged for first-time owners to take place in the first year of the doggies life. I'm going to hunt around and see if I can find this at a local library or discount store. It is supposed to have excellent information.

Instead of a regimented training plan, it recommends exposing your Vizsla or dog to certain experiences which will support its growth as a hunter.

Socializing with Peers - Need Supervision

Shiba Shake blog, which I just discovered and adore, did a post on appropriate and supervised peer socialization. I really appreciated it. I have heard negative things about dog parks and will stay away.

Shiba Shake's dogs are so beautiful! We decided to stay away from heavy coat dogs, but the look is gorgeous of both their Shiba Inu and Husky

Otto's Training - Youtube Video

Looking forward to Oso's arrival. This dog is so beautiful!

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The Importance of Teaching "Come"

Well put, Jenny Peacocke.

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Pedigree Research

Peter faxed us Osito's pedigrees and I haven't uploaded them to the computer yet. I may post them though.

I intially checked out the legitimacy of the pedigree through:

While non show dogs are not listed here, many are listed along with their OFA health clearance for hip and elbow. I even found a photo of his great grandma.

Pretty much, Oso II has a great line on his dad's side: Junior Hunter's, Senior Hunters, Champions all the way up. The only exception is his dad's grandma (on his mom's side). His mom's mom's side seems to be unknown completely, but his mom's dad's side has master hunter's and champions.

I wonder if there are other sites for the OFA. I'll have to look into that.

**UPDATED** I looked up the OFA website and was impressed to find all the dogs in Oso's pedigree which were not listed on the Vizsla Pedigree website. This makes me feel so much better about little Oso II's health. I highly recommend this website for checking out pedigrees. It does not show the championships, but has both parents and siblings listed.

Before getting Oso II, we were considering another little Vizsla puppy. I was sold on the little guy until I started digging into his pedigree. At first I couldn't find any of the dogs on the pedigree on the vizsla pedigree website. I then started to search for the names of his parents breeders. Unfortunately, they were both associated with selling to pet shops and had had dogs of poor health associated with there names. I did not want to support any puppy mill or backyard breeder and I did not want to invest in a little puppy who may not have a very good health record.

More Socialization Tips

I thought this was well done. Maybe a repeat of other stuff, but well done!

Advice from Cesar Millan

I am well aware of the controversy regarding Cesar Millan. When I began reading this book, however, I was not. Upon first reading, I found the book very informative and intended to use his recommended techniques when introducing Oso II to our house. I have already learned about some techniques of Millan's that I will never use, right now this advice seems ok to me.

Unless mentioned, this information is summarized from A Member of Your Family, Ch.3 The Homecoming. There is also some great information about choosing a puppy for your family. The way Millan speaks about realistically matching energy levels is the clearest way I have read. We had already put our deposit down on Osito before I rented the book. My only hope is that we are truly the athletic people I believe we are (and this is not only my ideal).

Puppy's First Day Home

Getting into the Car

When you place the puppy in the car on your way home, don’t just place the puppy in the box and carry the box to the car. Take the puppy to the car, put the front two feet down and the brain will automatically want to put four feet wherever the other two landed. If you wait for that moment, the puppy will be able to figure out how to be on a human lap, in an automobile or in a new environment. By introducing a puppy to new places the way the mother would, the puppy instinctually understand, “Okay, this makes me feel the way I used to feel at home.” You become the puppy’s last link to this mom, or first pack.

*He will want to explore first with his body and then with his nose.

*If you want to transport him in his kennel, lure him in with food.

Getting into the House

Place the puppy just outside the apartment door and wait for him to follow you inside.

*Patience is key. (hesitancy is normal – don’t force the puppy)

*Keep calm and assertive energy.

Once inside, watch to see how the puppy adapts.

*Some will look around and begin to whine, they are saying, “I’m not familiar with this place!”

*Some may cautiously explore in a small space. (remember you MUST go first. If the puppy tries to go ahead of you, block him with your foot)

*Some puppies may come in and immediately shut down out of fear and confusion. Do NOT feel sorry for him, stand nearby, remain calm and assertive, and let the uppy go through the transition period on his own (this is how he builds self-confidence). If you pick him up right away to pet and comfort him, you are thwarting him from developing the necessary self-esteem he’ll need to be able to handle new situations in the future.

*Use scent and food to get him to follow you and to unlock the brain when it shuts down. Lead the upppy to where you want him to go both by your presence and by waving food in front of the nose. Once the puppy moves forward towards the scent, you give him the food, and quickly he will realize that if he follows that scent, he gets fed. You area lso making the association between moving forward and a safe, positive pleasant experience.

Introduce Him to the House

If he is confident and happy, lead him around the room with food until he gets tired. Then, introduce him to his kennel with food/treats. If he’s already tired, lure him into his kennel right away. DO NOT just pick him UP!

Advice for Happy Sleeping

Keep a strong pack leader in close physical proximity to the puppy.

Include scents of his litter mates, us (the new parents) and the cats.

Look into a beating heart toy or a clock to put in the bed.

Tire him out before bed

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Durable and Safe Ball

This is the next thing on my shopping list for little Oso II.

After reading about doggy's have dying from choking on balls and the build up of tennis ball fuzz, I decided this one was the way to go. This ball is supposed to float, be bouncy, easy to clean, durable and goes with the mega ball launcher.

I'm not getting the launcher yet. I haven't had a big dog in a while and I'm not convinced I'll need it. It has great reviews though.

*If you have a smaller dog, the medium balls would probably be fine, but I read one person who had a lab who died because of choking on a tennis ball. That was enough for me. Mega ball, it is.

Here's the info for the launcher.

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Socialization Check List

Dr. Sophia Yin created this great checklist for socialization.

Download it for free on her website.

I will be printing it out and filling it in as we raise Oso II. It's really well done and I highly recommend it!

She also has an e-book, I haven't bought it yet, I'm not sure if I will. I am inundated with reading material. I am truly enjoying the information on her blog and learning a lot though, so I may consider it.

Mountain Biking with your Vizsla

Will Oso II, be able to do this?

Mountain biker with his vizsla doggy, pretty amazing!

Interactive Treat Dispensing Chew Toys

Ian Dunbar's amazing e-book, After You Get Your Puppy (I will most likely write a review later), recommends using chew toys to dispense your puppy's daily amount of food for the first few days at home. He wants your dog to become obsessed with chewing their toy (instead of your shoes, furniture, etc.)

What better way to reinforce his chewing than through intermittent reinforcement? Your puppy chews and food comes out. VERY reinforcing! This will also give your doggy a job and help with separation anxiety (if given when you leave for the store, work, etc.)

We plan to do this with Oso II (although, I am checking on the safety of leaving him/her with a toy when we are at work for a few hours).

Ian Dunbar, recommends stuffing a typical kong the following way in Before you Get your Puppy, p.80.

1) Squish a small piece of freeze-dried liver in the small hole in the tip of the Kong so your puppy will never be able to get it out.
2) Smear a little honey around the inside of the Kong.
3) Fill it up with kibble.
4) Then block the big hole with crossed dog biscuits."

On my shopping list:
The original Kong - some reviewers said heavy chewers went through it in a couple hours - but they said that for the extreme too. Since, we don't know if Oso II will be a big chewer or not, we'll try it. I think someone said you can send in your broken one for a replacement if it is destroyed right away.

Freeze Dried Liver - not sure how many oz this is, but Dunbar recommends it for potty training, meeting strangers and putting in the chew toys. It has good reviews.

Dr. Sophia Yin recommends "throw[ing] your dog's food bowl away." She says naturally dogs spend hours searching for food in the wild. She says to save food for training or treat-disbursement toys.

Kong Dental Dog Toy - This has less reviews, but also no reviews of doggies ripping it to shreds immediately. I really need to see Oso II before getting all these. He may be a candidate for some of the less durable ones.

Premier Busy Buddy Funny Bone - This one looks great! It's supposed to be safe for even the biggest chewers. I'm pretty sure we'll get this one for when we are at work.

I'm sure there are more, but it seems like a lot of them aren't good for strong chewers. I will have to continue this search later. Until then....

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Our New Header

We've go to get some Vizsla puppies on that header. :) Let's see if this works.

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Peter Sideris & Photos

Choosing a breeder was ridiculously difficult for us. We ended up going with Peter Sideris of

I was and am very wary of adopting a puppy online, however it seemed like the best option at the time. As the future unfolds we will tell.

Peter's enthusiasm and love for his dogs was apparent over the phone. He explained to us that, "he wants us to be happy, but it is more important to him that the puppy is happy." - DING!

The conversation went well. He said all the right stuff, referred us to others who had purchased from him in the past and responded to my calls and emails with lightening speed. He also had pictures and videos of the doggies showing them in the home being socialized appropriately.

We get last pick of the male puppies (so Osito will be our little left over) :)

He is one of these 3 week olds:

And one of these little guys: (Peter emailed us the photos today)

His Mom's name is Ruby:
And this is a video of us his daddy, Jack:

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Osito - Our New Vizsla

My husband and I are embarking on a new journey in our life - we are getting a dog!

After weeks of searching through breed after breed we settled on a Vizsla. Their energetic level seemed to match our own. They are supposed to be sensitive, intelligent and "velcro" dogs which want to be with you all the time. They also require a huge amount of exercise.

I feel like I researched about 60 breeds before deciding on the Vizsla and the above site gave me a great quick summary on each. I just typed in, "German Short Haired Point - What's good about em" or "Vizsla - What's good about em" "Whippet - What's good about em"

etc. etc. etc.

As I'm preparing for this new journey, I am overloading myself with information. I thought posting it all on a blog would help. I truly do adore blogs.

As for the name. I will be "Oso II"

I am more of the type who wants to see the puppy, baby, fishy, kitty, etc. before naming them, but Oscar has wanted a dog named "Oso" since he left his original "Oso" in Mexico as a child. So, being the nice wife I am, Oso is the name. Plus, how cute is that. BEAR - But, with style. And little bear - how cute. I think our little Osito will be quite the teddy bear, but we won't know for sure until he comes home on the 28th.