Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

PicMonkey Collage



We were able to cross a few things off of our Summer 2013 Dog Bowl List this weekend! While it was a bit difficult to juggle my camera and two dogs (we took both Tonka & Gaige, but let Miss Georgia enjoy the air conditioning and a frozen kong at home) we had an amazing time! I didn’t think it was fair that I was the only one who would walk away with souvenirs from our fun day at Misty Pines, and so I planted my butt on the bank to capture a few shots of happy dogs and proud owners. Hope you all enjoy!





















I loved how there were so many breeds and types of dogs represented. Dock diving is for anyone and everyone!



Tonka was the resident ball retriever... if anyone left their toy in the water, he would leap in and return it to them!

Tonka was the resident ball retriever… if anyone left their toy in the water, he would leap in and return it to them!




Splash Landing!

Splash Landing!


This sweet pup was handled by a young boy, and their bond was palpable

This sweet pup was handled by a young boy, and their bond was palpable









What a gorgeous dog!

What a gorgeous dog!



This was a beautiful dog! I can only imagine how much time her owner had to spend on grooming when she got home, however!

This was a beautiful dog! I can only imagine how much time her owner had to spend on grooming when she got home, however!









Leap of faith

Leap of faith




This dog loved his job!


Hey, we know them!

Hey, we know them!


We had a few people stop us to compliment Tonka’s obedience and focus, as well as his athleticism. Someone even asked if I was a dog trainer! He always makes me look good. (No comment about our other little black dog…)


Patiently waiting...

Patiently waiting…






So close...

So close…


He caught it!

He caught it!

We had such a great day, and want to thank Misty Pines and the trainer Dan. You did such a great job managing a bunch of energetic dogs and their owners, and the experience couldn’t have been more positive for any of us. I hope you all enjoy these photos! Please feel free to get in touch if you see your dog and would like me to email originals to you. I have plenty more where these came from!

PS- I need more zoom!










Summer 2013 Dog Bowl List

…Because a bucket list just doesn’t really apply, does it?

Ok, whatever.

The point is, as we continue this week’s adventure theme, it gets me to thinking about all of the fun times we’ve had with our pups. And then that gets me thinking about all of the fun things we want to do with them! So I thought I’d share our list with all of you! Tell me… what fun things do you have planned for your pooches this summer? We’d love to hear about them!

2013 Pittsburgh Dogs’ Summer Bucket List

  1. Teach Gaige to dock dive like her big brother: We know she has it in her! jumptonk
  2. Homemade dog treats: Any favorite recipes you’d like to share?
  3. Volunteer at a local shelter: We just haven’t found one that is the right fit… recommendations?
  4. Camping: In the backyard, at least. DSC_0003
  5. Start working on agility
  6. Attend Pittsburgh’s Cinema in the Park cinema_in_parkDSCF2355
  7. Catch fireflies
  8. Kayak Pittsburgh: with one of the pups
  9. Make a new friend (at least 1 with two legs, and at least 1 with 4!)
  10. Tonka. Beach. Vacation. Enough said.
  11. Visit a doggy bakery: Dozen BakeshopWoof Stop BarkeryBone Appetite Barkery, or Doggie Delights

    Dozen Bakeshop specializes in human AND canine varieties

    Dozen Bakeshop specializes in human AND canine varieties

  12. Take Georgia to her first horse show
  13. Visit the Sunday night Pup night at Jergel’s: Dog menus!
  14. Fence for backyard… should be completed before our vacation at the end of July.
  15. Make doggy ice pop



  16. Attend a dog or dog-friendly festival in Pittsburgh. So many to choose from! Pittsburgh Pup Crawl, Food Truck Mondays at Animal Nature, to name only two!
  17. Meet a blog friend in real life! Who’s in??
  18. Attend a car cruise with J’s favorite girls: Gaige, and his ’67 Camaro!
  19. Paint Georgia’s toes
  20. Visit McConnells Mills State Park
  21. Give each of the pups their own day of fun DSC_0007
  22. Take Gaige trucking: Can you guess who came up with this one? IMG_0445

So that’s it. We will keep you posted on our progress! What is on your summer bucket list with your pets? Bonus points if it’s different from ours!

Considering a trip to Pittsburgh? Check out our post on all things dog in this great city!

And last but not least, as we approach the summer, hopefully full of vacations and travel and adventure, be sure to keep some of these safety tips in mind.


Getting our Paws Wet!

jumpusFriends… we did something so, SO cool this weekend!

While visiting family in the Richmond, VA area, we made time to visit the Dominion Riverrock Festival. Set against the backdrop of downtown Richmond’s urban cityscape and river front, the festival brings athletes, spectators, chefs, musicians, and the general community together. It is an outdoor lifestyle festival, making it possible for visitors to experience adventures including trail running, kayaking, biking, bouldering, slacklining, stand up paddleboarding, and (drum roll please!) dog dock jumping. Any guesses as to where this is headed?!

Some of you may know that our Tonka-Tue is a lifelong water lover. His favorite way to spend a day is by running after a stick or ball as it is endlessly tossed into the water. Whether from land or dock, he dives enthusiastically into the blue depths with reckless abandon.


jumpprev1 I visited the Dominion Riverrock Festival a few years ago, and was amazed by the Ultimate Air Dogs competition. I just knew that I had to find a way to make Tonka a part of it!

jumpcollieOf course, life had other plans, and I became busy with school, horses, etc. While each trip to the river would remind me of Tonka’s aspirations, the competitive side of things took a back seat.

Fast forward to 2013… we had already made plans to visit VA this past weekend, and then realized at the last second that it happened to be the same date of this year’s Riverrock. What better way to get our feet wet?! (Literally!)

Look at this little peanut! Any pup can be a dock dog!

Look at this little peanut! Any pup can be a dock dog!

It was amazing to see so many happy dogs and dedicated owners all gathered in one place. Many of the pups were rescue or shelter dogs, and their happiness was palpable. The owners were all so proud of their pups, whether they were seasoned competitors or novice jumpers.

Look at this cutie pie!

What a cutie pie!

jumplabOf all of the demonstrations at the festival, the dock diving dogs certainly saw the most visitor traffic!

jumpmisc2The rules behind the competition are pretty straight forward. The owner throws a toy into the water, the dog runs and jumps into the water to retrieve it. Where the base of their tail hits the water is the measurement that is recorded to be compared to the other dogs. The best of two jumps is the official score.

This pooch was trained to come running at a moment's notice... he would leap into the water to show novice dogs where and how to climb out!

This pooch was trained to come running at a moment’s notice… he would leap into the water to show novice dogs where and how to climb out!

jumpmisc1Tonka, of course, was such a perfect gentleman. In an environment that was at times chaotic and fraught with tension, he maintained his composure and relished the opportunity to show his skills. He remained 100% focused on me at all times… that dog makes me look so, so good. He was definitely a crowd favorite.


Waiting in line for our turn

The 'wonderful' photos that my mother took for us ;)

The ‘wonderful’ photos that my mother took for us 😉

Thank goodness that a kind stranger in the audience happened to get a great shot and share it with us… that’s my boy!!!

Look at the faces of the spectators!

Look at the faces of the spectators!

We are in the process of researching some local groups that offer the dock diving competitions. It is such a great way to let your dog burn some energy, while also building the relationship you share with your pup. I definitely recommend checking this out!

It’s a Dog Eat Dog World

Hope everyone has been enjoying a beautiful and relaxing weekend! At least here in PA, the weather has been perfect. So perfect, in fact, that we decided to head out on a new adventure with our darling pups. We took Tonka and Gaige about 45 minutes away to Misty Pines Dog Park. We had never been there before, but were impressed by their website and wanted to check it out.

The dog park is a full service facility that includes a dog park, dock diving and pond, agility courses, training classes, boarding, and a retail store, to name a few! They are vigilant in requiring every visitor to bring updated proof of vaccines, including bordatella. Additionally, they welcome dogs that are working on socialization issues, simply requiring that they be fitted with a Gentle Lead halter that prevents biting.

We pulled in to a beautiful 25 acre wooded property, complete with safety fencing and many trails. Much of the doggie play areas are set in heavily shaded areas, allowing for fun to be had even in inclement weather. Sunday is the only day of the week that Misty Pines is open by appointment only, which allowed us to enjoy the facility with limited traffic by other visitors. We registered at the main office, and were checked in by a very friendly and helpful staff member. We then walked down to the pond area, which was complete with a covered pavilion and multi-level diving dock! Of course, Tonka was in doggie heaven! He showed off his skills, making impressive leaps and dives to catch toys off of the dock. Gaige watched in appreciation, and tried her best to copy her big brother. There were only two other dogs at the lake, and they politely kept their distance from ours.

Once the dogs had their fill of the water (or, more accurately, once we were soaked and decided we had had enough), we followed the trails to the fenced-in agility area. Although Tonka has been properly socialized from a young age, he has been twice attacked by an intact yellow lab, so he can have some fear issues with other dogs. We let Gaige watch from the sidelines, as this was her first time in an area with many other unfamiliar, unleashed dogs. Tonka entered the area confidently, and was greeted by a young yellow lab. This dog was boisterous and untrained, but harmless, and perceptive to the body language of the other dogs. They played well together. After a few minutes of introductions, we brought Gaige in, leashed. Things went well for a while, until an older woman came in with her aged shepherd mix dog. This dog was unleashed and also harmless, but a bit of an instigator. Gaige, who was still leashed, was working on an agility obstacle with Jonathan. The shepherd rushed up to her from behind, and began barking and nipping at her sides. Gaige turned away multiple times, and let out a low growl. The woman saw all of this, but never once called her dog away. Neither did the dog hear Gaige’s signals, and back off. He kept barking at her and pushing into her space. Jonathan pulled the dogs apart, looked pointedly at the owner, and went to another obstacle. The shepherd lost interest for a short period of time, and then came rushing back to bark and nip at Gaige. She growled again, and when the other dog still would not back off, she did try to bite. Although she never made contact, and calmed down as soon as the other dog backed away, we ended up taking her out of the park to cool off.

We really need some help here from our readers. What are your reactions? We need to take Gaige somewhere to improve her social skills. She has never had an issue with other dogs, and my instinct is that this dog was a bit of a bully. If someone got in my space and refused to back off when I made repeated requests, I can only imagine that I would react similarly. My new worry is that her only association with a dog park is now a negative one. I know that many responsible dog owners swear off of dog parks entirely, due to issues such as these. Do you feel that we could have done something differently? What do you suggest for socializing our dogs in the future? Do you take your own dogs to dog parks? Why, or why not?

I do NOT think that this was a situation of an ‘aggressive’ dog, or a terrible owner. Rather, I think she lacked the control over her animal, and worse, lacked the acknowledgement of this fact. Tonka listens well, and so he has the privilege to go off-leash in safe areas. Gaige, however, has a much shorter attention span, and sometimes lets her own free will over-ride her obedience. Because of that, we do not allow her off-leash in areas other than our own property. She has never displayed aggression with other dogs, but has not been exposed to a large variety of new animals. I am really anxious to hear what some of you might suggest for us.

In other news, we will unveil our foster dog on Monday! Please tune-in then 🙂 Enjoy some pictures of our pups until then. Thanks for stopping by!

Playing keep-away!

That’s one happy pup!

Best friends, always.