Tag Archives: Jackson

The Happenings

Since our return from Jackson Hole at this time last week our schedule has been fairly mellow. It has been a much easier re-entry to reality than after our trip to Mexico last month.

{our new compost bin! we are so excited about this funny addition to our kitchen -- it is now illegal to throw food waste in the garbage in the city of Seattle...}

{our new compost bin! we are surprisingly excited about this addition to our kitchen — it is now illegal to throw food waste in the garbage in the city of Seattle, so we figured we should probably comply, plus it’s a good thing to do…}

I had a huge fundraising event that I helped put on for my work on Friday evening. The event was really fun, but an enormous amount of work. We hosted a wine, beer and spirits tasting event, along with a silent auction, and had 200 guests come to support the great work that the organization does. It was a very successful event in terms of the attendees enjoying themselves, and of course, raising some money.

{me with Bre, one of the board members who helped put on the event}

{me with Bre, one of the board members who helped put on the event}

We had a really quiet, relaxing weekend at home to get caught up, which was wonderful because I was absolutely exhausted after Friday’s event. Alex went for a long bike ride on Sunday with some friends, which kicked off his bike training to prepare for his July bike ride to Vancouver. Since we have a pretty low-key spring we made a gigantic spring cleaning list and have come up with some projects to tackle in the next few weeks. We got a slow start to the list, as we’re in no hurry to get all of the tasks accomplished. Probably two months ago we were debating hiring a landscaping company to come overhaul our backyard. Since then, we have come to realize that Jackson is the cause of 80% of the problem, with the wet climate accounting for the other 20%. We decided that the best option for us is to simply try to grow the grass as thick as we can back there to create a solid yard for Jackson, throw a few new plants in there and call it good. That said, we’ve got our work cut out for us in getting our yard and house in ship-shape for spring and summer!

{spring cleaning list!}

{spring cleaning list!}

In other news, we had been monitoring some strange behaviors in Jackson over the last few months, to which we referred to as “episodes.” Jackson had been exhibiting uneasy motions and it almost seemed as though he had lost control in his movement, particularly his left front side, and after observing this a few times we started to notice his face twitching and his eyes dilate. During the “episodes” he was cognitively aware and responsive, but lacked full command over his body.


This sounds more dramatic than it is to experience it – it actually was really subtle when we first saw it and because he’s so aware it almost looks like his limb is asleep. Ultimately we became concerned when these “episodes” became more frequent, so we checked in with our vet, who diagnosed Jackson with epilepsy. Again, this sounds really dramatic, and it’s definitely cause for concern, but our vet assured us that epilepsy is extremely common in male golden retrievers and can be effectively managed with anti-seizure medications, which he will have to be on indefinitely.


We’re bummed that Jackson has been going through this and that he’s not perfectly healthy, but having experienced far more difficult health issues, this is a walk in the park. It’s manageable and it’ll just be a blip on the radar screen. Otherwise, Jackson is very healthy, extremely happy, and we’re about to celebrate his second birthday!


On a more positive subject, Alex and I just hired a Spanish tutor who will come over to our house once a week to hopefully kick our butts and help us become conversationally fluent in Spanish. It has been a goal of ours for a number of years to be able to have a conversation in Spanish and we’re on track to making that happen. We also aspire to participate in an immersion program in a Spanish-speaking country sometime in the hopefully not too distant future to solidify our skills.


I have been going to a Pilates studio in my neighborhood for about 9 months now and since January have been taking mat classes, yoga and reformer classes four days a week. I have been absolutely loving it. Unfortunately the studio just increased the price of the membership that allows you to take unlimited classes by $100 a month (!!) and I am unwilling to pay that much, so I’ll be dropping down, probably to once a week. I think the timing will work out okay, as I have decided to run a half marathon at the end of the summer. Training begins next week! And Jackson is my training partner… not sure if he’s the best choice 🙂

{taking a rest after our first run of the year around Green Lake}

{taking a rest after our first run of the year around Green Lake}

We have some spring cleaning in store for us this weekend, along with a birthday celebration for Jackson on Saturday {I foresee a steak with his name on it!} and then a joint birthday celebration in the form of a boozy brunch full day for my friend Mary and me on Sunday. I can’t wait! Hopefully the forecast turns around for the weekend and gets back to being sunny now that it is officially spring.

{daffodils mean spring!}

{daffodils mean spring!}

Let’s Get Caught Up

Not a whole lot has happened since our trip to Mexico. Amidst the transition to my new full-time job, decompressing after our trip, watching House of Cards season 3 {honestly, we watched it fast so we could be done with it…}, enjoying the ah-mazing weather and trying to get into a new routine I neglected to keep up with our blog. So, let’s catch up!

{The weather was nice enough to warrant an early-season opening of the Bottlehouse patio! We indulged this past weekend.}

{The weather was nice enough to warrant an early-season opening of the Bottlehouse patio! We indulged this past weekend.}

The weekend before last was awesome – we had a great time reconnecting with some friends through a night out in Ballard, a trendy neighborhood in Seattle, and then drinking wine in Woodinville on Saturday.

{We went out in Ballard with four other couples and had an awesome time! Mary, Ian, Ryan, Alex and I shared this weird lava punch bowl - it arrived to us on fire!}

{We went out in Ballard with four other couples and had an awesome time! Mary, Ian, Ryan, Alex and I shared this weird lava punch bowl – it arrived to us on fire!}

{Dog park days are back!}

{Dog park days are back!}

{The girls enjoying a very sunny, warm afternoon drinking wine together}

{The girls enjoying a very sunny, warm afternoon drinking wine together – Trish, me, Mary and Carrie}

{so thankful for these beauties! what an awesome day we had in Woodinville!}

{so thankful for these beauties! what an awesome day we had in Woodinville!}

This past weekend was more leisurely, but we headed up to Stevens Pass for what we expect to be our final ski day in Washington. It was around 50 degrees on the mountain and in the mid-60s in Seattle, so the conditions were spring-like. We met up with our friends Carrie, Patrick, Chris and Diane, all of whom are fantastic skiers. I love spring skiing – it’s such a fun, low-key and relaxed day on the slopes, and that is exactly what we had!

{Carrie and me stopping for a quick pic}

{Carrie and me stopping for a quick pic}

{ski buddies!}

{ski buddies!}

Last night we brushed off the dust and cobwebs from the grill and officially started our grilling season. Our cat and dog were ecstatic. Henry cat kept running in and out of the grill cover and Jackson tried to eat everything involved with the grill. I think this means spring has truly come early and we are going to really need to stock up on charcoal.

{This guy is so loving the time he has been spending outside!}

{This guy is so loving the time he has been spending outside!}

Along the lines of our backyard, we are trying to decide what to do back there. Initially we had discussed hiring someone to do an overhaul. At this junction we are not interested in the investment it would take to complete that project, particularly because we have realized that Jackson is the culprit and he’s not going anywhere, so it makes us nervous that if we fork over all of this money for a complete renovation back there, that he might just wreck it next winter and we’ll be back where we started, but several thousand dollars poorer.

{Henry running along the fence while Jackson follows along from inside the backyard.}

{Henry running along the fence while Jackson follows along from inside the backyard.}

{Maybe someday we'll have a nice, big yard for this guy to play in.}

{Maybe someday we’ll have a nice, big yard for this guy to play in.}

So, right now, the popular idea on the table is literally just to throw some grass seed back there, keep the dog out of the backyard for a month and water like crazy to see if we can build up the grass again. Another idea is to do the work ourselves and build out our patio and either lay sod or grow seed and do some additional landscaping. I have a feeling we’ll go for the former.

{Henry cat is loving being back outside - he mainly hangs out in our yard and has been a real trooper through his recovery.}

{Henry cat is loving being back outside – he mainly hangs out in our yard and has been a real trooper through his recovery.}

For this week, we are enjoying the weather and getting ready for one final ski trip. Our summer plans are really starting to take shape, so those will need some finessing. We made a big spring cleaning list, along with some projects to tackle after our trip. Otherwise, we’re just taking things a day at a time and enjoying a more calm schedule.


The Happenings

While life has slowed down immensely over the last month {thankfully!} time still seems to be zipping right along. Alex and I have been thoroughly enjoying down time at home, trying to make the most of our empty schedules before the holidays and ski season and a crazy travel year sneak up on us, which I think they just did!

{Jackson has been getting extra attention and lots of walks this week!}

{Jackson has been getting extra attention and lots of walks this week!}

Ski season in Washington is officially kicking off tomorrow. December is upon us. Thanksgiving has come and gone, which means the holidays are in full-swing. I’d be willing to bet big bucks that you’ll find us at Crystal mountain for day one of Allen Family Ski Season next weekend.

{Random photo... we got these cute little pots for growing herbs in our kitchen.}

{Random photo… we got these cute little pots for growing herbs in our kitchen.}

Alex and I can’t wait for Christmas, but more than anything, we are both just so excited to embrace the holidays this year. It is a big year for us – we’re hosting a swanky holiday party, then both of our families are coming out for Christmas in Washington. I have been busily planning for our party, our week-long Christmas celebration and several trips we are taking between now and mid-March. We’ve also got a couple of tentative trips and a really exciting project we’re working on. Oofta! It’s going to be a great winter!

{Holiday drinking begins with homemade Irish cream!}

{Holiday drinking begins with homemade Irish cream!}

That said, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We spent the day over at Ryan and Mary’s house, alongside Ryan’s fraternity brother, Mike, and his girlfriend Priya. It was such a relaxing, calm day filled with great company and food. And wine.


In all this down time I have had, I have been rather lax about posting what we’ve been up to. Last weekend I got together with Carrie, Mary and Jamie to have an afternoon at the new Hobby Lobby, then ran over to Carrie’s to see the beautiful result of their recent kitchen renovation. At some point recently we had a really fun night out in Capitol Hill with the Buffingtons and the Millers, but I can’t remember which weekend that was!

{Cocktails at The Old Sage, a whiskey bar in Capitol Hill.}

{Cocktails at The Old Sage, a whiskey bar in Capitol Hill.}

Last weekend we met Mary and Ryan, as well as Jamie and Evan at Marymoor dog park for a little puppy play date. Our little ham and Berkeley, Mary and Ryan’s dog, decided to have a contest to see which pup could get the dirtiest. Berkeley won.


Thankfully this dog park is so baller that they have a dog wash station, which we were very happy to pay a visit to.

{This is the coolest thing ever - they have about 5 huge tubs and then a sprayer that you can switch from water to shampoo to water, then you switch it to vacuum to dry the dog! Awesome!}

{This is the coolest thing ever – they have about 5 huge tubs to wash the dogs and each one has a sprayer that you can switch from water to shampoo to water, then you switch it to vacuum to dry the dog! Awesome!}

After our dog park sesh, both us and the Millers realized we were going to pick up our wine club release shipments that day, so we met up in Woodinville to taste at Darby, where Ryan and Mary are club members, then across the street to Trust, where Alex and I are members, then next door to Fidelitas, a winery none of us had ever been to.

So far we are thrilled with our newest wine club, Trust Winery. They do two shipments each year and in each shipment you get three bottles of two wines, so six total wines but three of each. I love that concept. We haven’t tried anything yet – I think these ones will hang out in the cellar for a bit…


Aside from Thanksgiving this week, Alex and I have really just been home for the most part. Alex had Wednesday and Friday off, whereas I worked at home on Wednesday. He woke up on Wednesday and made cinnamon rolls! Yes, from scratch! Love him.


Friday we got up, lit a fire and decorated our house for Christmas {I’ll do a separate post with photos of our house all jazzed up for the holidays – we got a ton of cute new stuff this year that I can’t wait to share, but not everything has arrived yet!}.


Just as I was waking up on Saturday morning Seattle was getting covered in a light blanket of snow. I grabbed a cup of coffee and positioned myself in front of the window to watch the big, wet flakes slowly fall. It is very, very rare for it to snow in Seattle, so I was treasuring the moment.


The rest of the weekend has been so super relaxing. Alex read a book in front of the fire. I finished up my Christmas shopping and have just been doing some planning. We had our Pilates class on Saturday. We are relaxed and well-rested… Let the holiday season begin!

A Jackson Update

We have come a very, very long way with Jackson since this time last year. By November 2013 our wildebeest dropped out of puppy class, was always near us or on top of our feet, weighed 55 pounds, was 6 months old, didn’t have the slightest interest in playing fetch or with tennis balls, was the biggest cuddle bug ever, and loved to challenge us in any way he could.

{Full-grown and ready to play ball!}

{Full-grown and ready to play ball!}

Today, Jackson is a year and a half, weighs 80 pounds, is always near us or on top of our feet, is absolutely completely obsessed with any type of ball and/or playing fetch, is the biggest cuddle bug ever, loves to challenge us in any way he possibly can and has a mind of his own.

{I'm fairly certain he thinks that if he can't see me that I can't see him...}

{I’m fairly certain he thinks that if he can’t see me that I can’t see him…}

So, as you can see, not much has changed! In reality, there really is a lot that is different about Jackson and his behavior these days. He has gotten into a pretty good routine, though he still has bursts of uncontrollable energy and moments where he is so obsessed with a ball, squirrel or other dog/inanimate object that he can’t focus.



For the most part, he is a darn cute furry bundle of love who just wants to play ball and hang out with his humans.


Exercise is the key component to Jackson’s success and good mood {therefore our good mood too}. Right now our routine consists of taking Jackson for a 3ish mile run or playing fetch at the park with him each morning (plus a 20 minute walk to and from the park), then mid-afternoon or early evening I take Jackson for a shorter training walk, do some training at home, then we play ball in the backyard or basement.



When Alex gets home he plays ball in the backyard with Jackson and usually ends up wrestling and playing ball in the basement with him later in the evening before they curl up into a ball of dog/man cuddles if we watch a show.


Our amazing dog trainer, Katie, recently paid us a visit to check in on us and Jackson and give us some updated tips for our defiant pooch. We were very excited for her to see all of the progress Jackson had made since she last saw him in early May.



That said, we are always in favor of getting more ideas of things to do with him to keep him behaving nicely and to calm down his crazies. Katie’s biggest suggestion for us is to just be consistent and maintain the rules, as he is in another period of “testing us” right now. I feel like that’s just his life, though. Good parenting practice!


We are really looking forward to ski season with Jack man! He is such a snow dog and is so in his element as he is bounding through the snowdrifts, running back and forth as we throw ice chunks for him to catch. We are also very much looking forward to Jackson calming down a bit. He is such a goober, but we are so, so, so, so lucky and thankful that he is our crazy pup.

{No, Jackson is not aloud on the sofa!}

{No, Jackson is not allowed on the sofa!}

{Nor is he aloud on the bed!! Jackson waits until I get up in the morning and then jumps in bed with Alex because he knows Alex won't throw him off the bed... Stinker! He sure has us trained...}

{Nor is he allowed on the bed!! Jackson waits until I get up in the morning and then jumps in bed with Alex because he knows Alex won’t throw him off the bed… Stinker! He sure has us trained…}

A Perfect Weekend at Home

We are still recuperating from our very busy summer, so that made it extra nice to have a quiet, relaxing weekend at home. As if that wasn’t great enough on its own, the weather was absolutely fantastic. We are having quite the Indian summer here in Seattle and I am loving it, though I have to admit I wish it was a tad bit cooler…

{These leg warmers will be great this fall once the temps actually do drop...}

{These leg warmers will be great this fall once the temps actually do drop…}

I was a bit under the weather for most of Friday. I realized {on Saturday} that I had been having some eye troubles. I have a condition called strabismus, which means I am cross-eyed. I had corrective surgery as a child but every now and then it flares up out of nowhere. I am having a pretty good flare up now, which started last week {yes mom I’m going to the eye doctor, please don’t worry!}. Friday was the worst of it and at that point I hadn’t connected the dots that it was my eye that was causing my awful headache and nausea. Anyway, this is not a blog titled “Whining with the Allens” so I’ll move on…

{got these fancy new reading glasses to try to help!}

{got these fancy new reading glasses to try to help!}


After sleeping for the better part of the day, I eventually rose and felt well enough to attend dinner/drinks and the movie premier for Almost Ablaze, a Teton Gravity Research ski movie, with our friends. Ski movies are always really fun and get us stoked for the impending ski season. The best part of the night was when Alex won a shotski! It’s pretty high-tech and I’m sure it will make a few appearances this winter.


The theme of Saturday and Sunday was nothing. We had no agenda, nothing to do, and we were so relaxed! After a quick breakfast on Saturday we decided to head over to the dog park and throw the ball around with Jackson and take a nice walk through the trails over there.

I have been shopping at Whole Foods more lately and there is a really nice one near the dog park in Redmond. I have loved Whole Foods for some time now, but more recently I have been realizing how surprisingly affordable it is. Yes you read that right. I have been shocked the last two times we were there with how much I bought and how little it cost. And the best part is that Whole Foods in our area just partnered with a company called Insta Cart that is basically a personal grocery shopper. See ya later, Amazon Fresh!

Anyway, after our excursion I set off to the kitchen to whip up some chili while Alex took our new carpet cleaner for a spin. We had a really fun last two weeks with our pets {insert sarcasm} which led us to purchase our own carpet cleaner. The results are in and it is AMAZING. This is the one we bought. We love it not just because it works well {should be obvious}, but also because it has a separate compartment for clean water and dirty water, it’s easy to use and the attachments are fabulous.


In other fun household purchases, I got these incredible silicone baking cups {aka muffin liners} recently and I just cannot get enough of them. If you ever plan to make muffins, cupcakes, egg cups or anything using a muffin tin ever again in your life you must consider these. They are a game changer in my kitchen!


The rest of the weekend was oh so relaxing. Alex spent some time playing his video game. We took Jackson for a run on Sunday through the arboretum. I made a killer Mexican egg scramble on Sunday morning. We made a killer batch of pad Thai on Sunday night. I did a little fall gardening to freshen up our front porch. We even squeezed in another trip to bottlehouse for a happy hour glass of wine on Sunday afternoon. Oh it was a great weekend!


Summer So Far…

The days have been coming and going so fast lately it’s hard to even recall what we have been up to over the last three weeks since we’ve returned home from our big Euro trip.

{I got an ice cream maker!!}

{I got an ice cream maker!!}

Seattle summers are awesome. We put up with 9 months of rain for 3 months of perfection {shhh… don’t tell anyone! The traffic doesn’t need to get any worse…} and try to enjoy every minute of the sunshine while it sticks around.



Because it doesn’t really get very hot in Seattle it’s pretty rare to see air conditioning. Our pets have been using the tile floors and the cement to keep cool on the hotter days.


It seems like I have been extra busy with random little tasks. Here are some things that have been going on lately:

  • I just started a new workout program at the Pilates studio in our neighborhood. My friend Mary finished her Pilates certification so now my classes with her are done, but that leaves me in need of an exercise program! I am taking barre classes and reformer classes and am loving the new studio.
  • We’ve caught the decorating bug and I have been coordinating {read: shopping} a bunch of home decor stuff, painters, tile guys and other tradesmen. It’s the perfect excuse to hang out on Pinterest and Houzz! We hope to “finish” our house {that will really never happen} by the holidays… Stay tuned to keep up with our progress!
  • The berries, stone fruits and tomatoes are so phenomenal right now! I have been taking Jackson down to our neighborhood’s farmer’s market every week that we’ve been home and stockpiling as much produce as I can carry home. I’m going to try to find a good gazpacho recipe for tomorrow’s tomatoes…
  • It’s that time of year again when Jackson and Henry need to go to the vet. I took J in for his rabies and bordatella shots {of course two separate visits}, Henry went in today for his rabies shots, then Jackson goes in tomorrow for his first of two leptosperosis shots. I am always amazed at how often we visit the vet!
  • Alex has been getting back into biking now that his broken wrist and ribs are healed. He is loving it!
  • It’s hard to believe that fall is just around the corner… That means ski season is getting closer! Alex and I are planning on getting new ski gear for the upcoming season so I’ve been doing a lot of shopping and researching, trying to find the best gear.
  • This is really going to be the busiest year we have ever had in terms of trips and travel, not to mention out of town guests, so I am trying to stay ahead of things and plan our trips… Shocking, I know 🙂


{celebrating Patrick's birthday}

{celebrating Patrick’s birthday}


A Jackson Update

We have officially survived a month without our dog trainer. It has been really awesome thinking back to where we were with Jackson on his first birthday and how much things have changed in the 9 weeks since then. Certainly our dog is not perfect but he is so much better behaved. Alex and I have been exchanging a lot of high fives in the last couple of weeks for many small victories.

Our silly dog!

Our silly dog!

We are now well equipped with tricks {and treats!} to keep Jackson in line while we’re on walks. Our walks are substantially shorter now, but they’re more meaningful. Typically we walk up to the park to play ball and that’s how Jackson gets his exercise.

Keeping Jackson well-exercised has been a huge key to his success.

Keeping Jackson well-exercised has been a huge key to his success.

For the most part we can now go outside without Jackson and he will remain calm and collected. This is a huge milestone, as any time we would go out and do yardwork without him he would just cry and bark until we came back inside. Our neighbors love us.

Hanging out together on the porch.

Hanging out together on the porch.

While we have seen major improvements we still have a lot of work to do. Two of the biggest things we are working on are solidifying his ability to walk nicely on a leash, chill out when he is by himself and really just extensions of our biggest victories to date.

Our 80 pound ham!

Our 80 pound ham!

So, overall, we are beyond thrilled with the progress Jackson has made, but he still has a ways to go!

The Rest of the Weekend

On our way home from our trip to Vancouver we made a pit stop at Overlake Hospital to visit baby Conner. Our friends Ali and Tyler had just delivered him that morning. Ali and Tyler are our only friends in Seattle who have kiddos and we just adore their daughter Vivian. We are both looking forward to watching Conner grow up, as we have Viv. We’re so happy for Ali and Tyler!

Such a cutie!

Such a cutie!

He's a natural!

He’s a natural!

Baby Conner :)

Baby Conner 🙂

From the hospital we drove out to the boonies to pick up Jackson from the farm. Both of us were a bit nervous about how Jackson would do overnight with our sitters, but we got an amazing report that he was “a joy” and that if we had other dates to add to the list for summer to let them know. It is so reassuring to know that he did well and that we have a confirmed spot for him to stay this summer while we’re in Europe.


We got a ton of photos of Jackson on the farm and it’s safe to say, Jackson is turning in his skinny jeans for a pair of overalls! He LOVED it there. I didn’t think he was going to get back into our car when we came to pick him up. But, when he did, he crashed. I have never seen him so tired!

Sleepy pup!

Sleepy pup!

So tired he didn't know what to do with himself!

So tired he didn’t know what to do with himself!

A Low-Key Week

I have a feeling we’re in the midst of the calm before the storm right now. It’s a bit strange for us to not be overwhelmingly busy. We call the months of May, October and early November our “shoulder season” because it’s sort of the gap between our always busy summer and winter. I think this is our last weekend of calm before the summer craze kicks in.

This past week has been very low-key as we have been nursing Alex back to health after his bike accident. We had another great training session with our dog trainer and then kicked off the weekend with an early Saturday morning trip to the dog park.

Dog Park days are back!

Dog Park days are back!


This week we hired a landscaping/lawn service company to help us in our yard. The timing of us hiring them couldn’t have been better since Alex is unable to mow the lawn with his broken wrist. We had them pull out all of the crabgrass and weeds in our yard and level off the yard with new topsoil then re-seed. We will be having them mow our lawn, trim our hedge and keep up with basic lawn maintenance while we’re away this summer so we thought it would be good to give them a shot early on in the season to get our yard looking nice.

Here is what our backyard looks like right now... I am hoping we get a good combo of sun and rain over the next few weeks to jumpstart the grass seed.

Here is what our backyard looks like right now… I am hoping we get a good combo of sun and rain over the next few weeks to jumpstart the grass seed.

Our rhododendrons, azaleas, peonies and roses are all on the cusp of blooming. I can’t wait to see what our yard looks like this summer! Maybe next year we won’t have to put so much into it to make it look nice?

Hoping for some blooms in the next day or two!

Hoping for some blooms in the next day or two!

We have a summer full of weddings, our monthlong trip to Europe, a few weekend getaways in the Pacific Northwest and a couple bachelor/bachelorette parties to look forward to. I am trying to get ahead of the game and plan as much as I can right now. Our Europe plans are really coming together and we are getting more and more excited as the trip is getting closer. We have an extremely busy year coming up so right now I am just enjoying the rare moments of solitude. Who knows, I might even just curl up and read a book this weekend!?

A great morning playing ball at the park with Jackson.

We enjoyed a few great mornings playing ball at the park with Jackson this week.


A Training Update

We are currently halfway through our dog training package with our private trainer and I have exciting results to report! It has been just over a month since Jackson turned one and we really stepped up our game to curb his unwanted behavior. This month has been extremely challenging, eye-opening and amazing. The biggest “wins” we have had have been more awareness about why Jackson is behaving the way he is in each scenario and making sure that Jackson gets enough exercise.

Jackson getting  some training while we enjoy the nice day.

Jackson getting some training while we enjoy the nice day.

On the first day of training, we were asked if Jackson gets enough exercise. Both of us answered “yes” knowing that we walk Jackson anywhere between 5-7 miles a day. We were schooled when our trainer informed us that while that’s nice, it’s not the type of exercise that Jackson needs. It turns out he needs 30 minutes of heart-pumping exercise like running, playing fetch, swimming or playing tug. Honestly, that alone, has been the biggest change we have seen in his behavior. When he is actually well-exercised he is a totally different and much more amazing dog!

Handsome man fresh from the groomer!

Handsome man fresh from the groomer!

Our trainer has armed us with more confidence and tools to build a better relationship with our pup and make sure he remembers that we’re the one’s in charge! Here is what we have been working on:

*Walking, walking, walking and more walking. I thought that Jackson did pretty well at walking on a leash in our neighborhood. I was so wrong after now seeing what it looks like when he is actually listening to me and “walking nice” as we now say. Katie, our trainer, gave us some invaluable advice on how to teach Jackson to “walk nice” and a week and a half after my own personal boot camp session, I can safely say that Jackson listens to me and actually does “walk nice.” Now we just need to step it up and practice in more distracting environments, like down by the lake,

*Anxiety. We thought that Jackson had a pretty great deal of anxiety. It turns out that he’s just a huge brat who is trying to manipulate us. Yep. He sure got us! Katie taught us how to tell when he is actually anxious versus when he is exhibiting demand behavior. While he definitely has some anxiety in certain situations, most of what we thought was anxiety is really him just trying to get what he wants.

*Jumping and door manners. Jackson is the friendliest dog I think I have ever met. When he meets another person or dog he just wiggles his body like crazy and then likes to greet the person by jumping up on them. It’s lovely and not embarrassing at all. Kidding!!! Jumping on people is one of the behaviors that Alex and I have been working on since the first day we got him. He rarely jumps on us because we have no tolerance for it, but I think he was reinforced so many times by people thinking he was so cute that it taught him that it was ok to jump on other people. We are going to be focusing on this in tomorrow’s training session, but we have already begun working on it a little bit.

It sure takes a lot of time, dedication and hard work to raise a puppy into a nice, well-behaved dog. We are absolutely committed to that and are enjoying working with Jackson on basic commands and our training regimen. We are so lucky to have such a bright, smart dog and the last month has really solidified his spot in our home.