Archives for September, 2010

Fun experiments make “Science” fun!

 When you were a student, did you like science subject? When I was a student, science was not my favorite/fun subject to study because it has lots of terms/facts to remember, and for me, the subject was far from “fun subject”,”interesting subject”.

 When I was an University student and when I did student teacher for high school student for English classes in Japan, I found that making the classes fun and give students chance to think by themselves and speak out if they had something they did not understood were the best way to keep the students who often spend time napping on the desk, or students who are concentrating on copying all words I used to translate the English phrases to Japanese phrases etc. 

 While I was a student teacher, I spent some week observing how real teacher carry classes and then, when observation time was up,each student teacher was asked to carry the classes and real teachers were observing classes and gave us student teacher suggestions or opinions on classes.

 In Japan, at the particular high school I was at for student teacher program, teachers had pre determined pages they wanted to cover during specific term and when end of term was getting closer, they did not care how much students were understanding pages they covered in classes and just cared for the pages they needed to cover before the term finish. This is one thing that I did not like about. I felt that giving students a chance to speak out,give them opportunity to think by themselves really make difference in communication level and level of interests in the subject.

 I went to University in Osaka, outside the prefecture where the high school was located and the high school that I have graduated from was the school I did student teacher for, but came back with an Osakan Dialect/accent and students loved the accent I have picked up in the regions I was living in for University. This is similar to a US student living up north going to a school in the south and picking up a southern accent.

 Very first class I stood in front of class as student teacher to carry the English class, I gave them blank papers to write down suggestions on English classes ,many students wrote they want me to carry classes with the dialect I have picked  up so, I did and I covered each textbook page much slower than real teacher and made sure students really understood what we were trying to cover with the textbook. I also called many students names in the class asking questions, or came up some fun games etc .. so former nappers in the class were not napping in the class and it was fun for me also to teach classes.

 So, I think that for teachers, making subject fun and interesting with various way is important and it helps students to learn subjects better.

 Now, recently, when I was flipping TV channels, I came across TV show segment that elementary school’s science teacher was demonstrating the experiments to let his students learn science fun ways. I thought it was cool and fun, and I would like to share what I saw with you.

Science Bob Science Demonstration Part I

If you are a blog subscriber or reading from facebook,please click here to watch the video.

Science Bob Science Demonstration Part II

If you are a blog subscriber or reading from facebook,please click here to watch the video.

 You can find more of Science bob’s cool experiments at his science website here .

 He has his blog too, and I found the static dancing ghost experiment there. I think if you have kids, they would love these experiments.You can find how to on “static powered dancing ghost” here .


Sep 28, 2010 | 0 | Uncategorized

Palette’s note: USA Beef Pizzle sticks

 When you pick up treats for your
dogs, what would you look at? Ingredients? Fancy looking
pictures? Description of the products? Have you ever wondered if you
could actually see how other dogs are enjoying them? Not pictures,but in
video so that you can actually HEAR and feel the treats’ textures?

 Some of you may have already
recognized I have been putting up treats’ taste testing video on youtube so that
people can hear the sound,see Palette in action and get more detail on each 

 With “Palette’s note” series,I like to put taste test videos. This time, “USA Beef Pizzle sticks“.

USA Beef Pizzle sticks..

 Beef pizzle sticks are made in Colorado, USA. These USA Beef pizzle sticks are about 4″-6″ in length in average, and about 1/2″ to 1″ thickness, and very light beef bully sticks. These are perfect for those who are looking for softer chews or small snacks. These are also available in 10 pieces package and 100 pieces package .

 I would say our k9 executive chef “Palette”; the stumpy little Corgi, is a moderate chewer.

 Generally, in her case, she spend about 20 minutes on 6″ buffalo bully sticks , and a little over an hour on 12″ Buffalo bully sticks , and with Free Range Moo! Odor Free supreme beef bully sticks 6″ , she spend about 3 days, and with 12″ Free Range Brazilian beef braided bully sticks , she spend about 2 days. Of course,how long it would last will be depending on each dog’s chewing strength.

 When she did taste testing this USA Beef pizzle sticks,it disappeared in about
5-10 minutes. When she knows I have this USA Beef pizzle sticks with me, she gives me gator jump from excitement, and become very talkative. If she knows it will be her jackpot treats after “Find the toy” game, she will be very excited for the game and you can actually hear her nose sound to sniff out the toy for the exchange with the USA Beef pizzle sticks. After she finished eating the yummy chews,she usually gives me full nose inspection, to make sure I got no more. Personally, I tend to use the bully sticks for occasional jackpot treats for “Find the toy” game.

 Since she liked it so much that We have decided to offer
to others as well.

 If you were looking for long lasting chew, I would recommend Deer Antlers.
With our Corgi “Palette”- moderate chewer, with L size Deer Antler, it
is with her for more than one year with the same Antler. She religiously
spend about 15-20 min 2 sessions per day but still gnawing the same
one. Antlers are more economical overall and one Antler lasts much
longer. No matter how long/thick the bully stick is, one bully stick
will be gone much faster than Deer Antlers would.

 Ingredients: Beef

 Let’s watch Palette in action with USA Beef pizzle sticks taste test. If you are a blog subscriber or reading from facebook,please click here to watch the video. 

 Palette and USA Beef Pizzle sticks

You can see that she decided that she spend her short wait time on her Deer Antler which, she brought it on to her bed to gnaw on by herself. So, you can tell she enjoy gnawing Antlers in this video too.

 What makes me smile in the video above is that you could see her eyes were a little red,and she was getting tired from gnawing the Antlers before her actual taste testing treats.No gator jump or being talkative like other time, but you can see how much she gets excited for the treats.

 I usually make sure I get her attention first when I give her any cues, but I was curious whether she would respond as I give her trick cue or not. It was funny to see her stop gnawing Antlers for one moment with my cue “Kong!” and turned around to go get her “Kong” to toss it to me. She was up for her taste testing time

 Pause with USA Beef pizzle stick.. nom,nom,nom..


 Nom,nom,nom…I am really getting tired, but I am up for pawsome treats!

 I won’t stop!!

 Please wake me up if I fell asleep while chewing this..

 Hmm..THAT was paw-licking good! Slurp!!

 ** Wet Nose Alert!!**

  Just making sure nothing left under my right paw..sniff, sniff..

 And under my left paw..sniff,sniff..

 OK, I am ready for power nap now!!

 Umm.. Can I get quiet time,please?

Please note that due to natural products,thickness of the bully sticks can vary. 

To visit
our store,please click here or paste
and copy the link bellow into your browser.


Sep 26, 2010 | 0 | Uncategorized

Drinks in Japan: Japanese Green tea

 In previous entry titled “Drinks in Japan: Sake “, I wrote that if you were asked to name a few Japanese drinks, things that would come to your mind maybe green tea, sake etc..

 In another previous entry titled “People food for thought Part V:Sodas “, I wrote that in Japan, staple drink for many is tea. You can get packaged loose Japanese green tea leaves, you can get pre measured tea leaves packets, or you can get bottled tea.
 Bottled green tea at stores is simply brewed tea without fructose. Bottled tea or green tea served at cafe here in the states seem to have more than brewed tea and almost always sweetened tea and nothing like real Japanese green tea you would taste in Japan.Popular bottled tea brand in Japan is called “Oi Ocha” by Ito En. You might be able to find them at Asian stores.

 We drink a lot of tea in Japan. Drink tea after meals, drink tea after exercise, bring tea in thermos bottles when you go hiking or attend schools’ sports festivals,or with your bento lunch box to work or school. Many families in Japan brew their tea by themselves using a tea pot.

 Therefore, you might see some shopping cart at grocery stores in Japan that have some tea bottles, but mostly, you will find either pre measured packaged tea packet bags or specially packaged bag of loose tea in many shopping cart at grocery stores in Japan.You can buy tea leaves at grocery store but some people buy at temples. Some regions in Japan are well known for tea leaves.

 If you had a chance to ride Japanese bullet train called “Shin kan sen” from Nagoya station to Tokyo (travel to north from mid region of Japanese main island), keep looking outside at about Shizuoka prefecture. You will see nice bright green tea field from Shin kan sen.

 What is the green tea field look like? I came across youtube video talking about “shin cha”, and you can see the bright green tea field.

Hand Picking Japanese Green tea

 If you were a blog subscriber or reading this entry from Facebook, please click here to watch the video. 

 Like the video was talking about, “Shin cha” is available only limited time because “shin cha” is the very first harvest of Sencha tea leaves. It is hand picked and they are picking very young tender leaves. “Shin cha” is also known for strong grassy aroma unique to tea with less bitterness. 

 In the states, when you hear “Green tea”, you imagine just one kind of tea. However, you will be surprised to find many different kinds of tea in Japan. I came across youtube video talking about different kinds of Japanese green tea. You can learn a bit more about each tea.

 Japanese Green tea

  If you were a blog subscriber or reading this entry from Facebook, please click here to watch the video.

 So, Japanese Green tea is made from steamed young tea leaves, and depending on how it is processed, colors, taste are different. “cha” in Japanese means “tea”. 
 Sen cha

 Sencha is steamed and dried tea leaves and this is probably most popular tea in Japan.

 Ban cha

 Ban cha is made from hard leaves and stem after young tender leaves are picked for “Sen cha”.

 Gen mai cha

 Gen mai cha is Ban cha (above) is mixed with roasted brown rice.

 Mugi cha

 This is the most popular tea during summer and it is served cold,not hot. Mugi cha is made from Barley.

 Houji cha

 This is roasted Ban cha (above).


 This is the tea used at tea ceremony.It is green powdered tea.New green tea leaves are made into powder form. The green tea for tea ceremony is called “matcha” in Japanese and, matcha tea is made by adding hot water to the powder and mix well with whisker made with bamboo to proper consistency. When properly whisked, you should see froth on top of the tea.
 Matcha tea is very bitter and amount served in the cup is much less than you would drink in tea in the glass. You would find that if you attend at tea ceremony, you will be tasting bitter matcha tea along with very sweet sweets to balance out bitterness and sweetness.

 When it comes to preparation of Matcha tea at the tea ceremony, you can find various ways depending on what style you would follow. Bellow is the youtube video where you can see how the match tea is prepared for tea ceremony. At the tea ceremony, you will wear kimonos.

Preparation of Matcha Green tea for tea ceremony

 If you were a blog subscriber or reading this entry from Facebook, please click here to watch the video.

 Now you know some of the tea you can find in Japan, and how Matcha green tea is prepared at the tea ceremony. Here is how our family brew our tea.

 <How to brew & serve Japanese green tea>

 First, we use tea pot called “Kyu su”. “Kyu su” is traditional tea pot in Japan and it is made with ceramic. Popular tea pot style will be the one with side handle, but you can also find the one with top or rear handle for Japanese tea pot. Bellow is the “Kyu su” we use at our house. Ours is with side handle.

Japanese tea pot..

1. Boil the water and pour hot water to tea pot to warm the tea pot.

** At this time, there is no tea leaves in the pot.

2. Pour hot water out, and put spoonful of tea leaves into tea pot and pour hot boiling water in, and let it steep for about 30 seconds to 40 seconds

3. Pour some hot boiling water to each Japanese tea cup called “Yu nomi” to warm them up while the tea is being steeped.

Japanese tea cup “Yu nomi”..

4. Sway the tea pot a bit and pour the tea only a little to each tea cup, and then pour more alternating evenly from cup to cup. This is to serve the equal consistent tea flavor to everyone.

 I have noticed that matcha green tea ice cream seems popular here in the states because you can find them at ice cream section and some Japanese restaurant offer the matcha green tea ice cream.

 If you have ice cream maker, I think you could make it easy at home. I would imagine that all you need to do differently is probably add matcha green tea powder to basic vanilla ice cream recipe. And if you have no ice cream maker, then just get a box of vanilla ice cream and let it thaw a bit in fridge to the manageable texture, and add some matcha green tea powder to it and mix well and test it and if you like the flavor, you could put the green tea ice cream back into vanilla ice cream tub and freeze it.

  Also, green tea frappuccino from popular coffee shop is probably mixture of cold milk,maybe maybe not heavy cream, and green tea powder, syrup or sugar and add some ice and puree some in blender. Basically I would guess it is sort of liquid form of green tea ice cream/smoothie minus yogurt and fruits. This is just my guess and I might be wrong. I have not tried it myself, but someday I would like to test it out to see if my guess is correct or not.

 I love re-creating dishes I enjoyed at restaurants and figuring out what are in the dish is fun part of the process!

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Sep 21, 2010 | 0 | Uncategorized

Why dogs hate vet visit?

 Once in a while, we need to go to doctor’s office. People can tell doctors how they feel, where it hurts, and we can describe about problems we have in detail. We can communicate with doctors well enough to get check out and get opinions about it.

 When table is turned to dogs, they cannot describe how they feel,where it hurts etc with detail as much as we can about ourselves, and we speak to our vets on behalf of our beloved furry friends.

 Imagine you are a dog, and your mom/dad brought you to unfamiliar place, and you will meet an unfamiliar people in white coat. Your nose might smell other dogs’ fear, and other unfamiliar medicine smell, and you might detect nervousness from your mom/dad. Then, without much of interaction with people in white coat, this lady/guy would put you on the cold metal table and take your body  temperature, examining your teeth,ears,eyes..and you might get blood drawn.. Since you do not know what is going on around you, you get nervous, and you might feel fear,and very uncomfortable. Far far away from fun pleasant experience in your mind.

 Then, if you ride the car only to vet office, then, you would become allergic to car ride and try hard not to get on the car or already become nervous and drooling/vomiting in the car on the way to vet office.

 Our stumpy little dog “Palette” enjoy car ride. As soon as she wears her doggy seat belt harness, she knows exactly what would happen next, and she would dash to the door to the garage and get so excited for the car ride. Once the door is opened, straight to the car door and wait for me to open the door for her. She is always be the first in line for the  car ride.

I am ready for the ride,mom! -Palette

 For Palette, car ride is not just to go to vet office. She sometimes comes to post office, pet supply stores, in laws-family’s house etc.. and she gets very excited ,and she loves to hop out to go sniff around very quick and, she just cannot calm down.The car door opens, and she hops out very quickly and  head to her favorite automatic door to the pet supply store and go see kitty first and then, go sniff kitty kibble aisle and she gets her tongue hanging out and brisk walk in the store.

 We meet new dogs, new people and she enjoys that too and, she once was too busy to look where she was going, she hit her head onto Oops! station sign. For us, that place is her place and, I let her lead the way and we walk around every single ail and finally go knock the door of groomers place and get her paws fur trimmed etc. I think that taking her to many places are good for socialization and good idea to let her associate car with happy,fun thing not just not so fun vet visit only.

 So, occasionally, when she find that she was brought to vet office, she might feel “Urgh-oh..” in mind, but she likes her current vet a lot. She gets a little whiny and seeks attention from us for petting when we are in the waiting room, but when vet comes into the room, our vet usually comes in with very happy voice and she never starts her routine check ups right away and always start with petting. She spend some time with just interaction with Palette, so I think that helps Palette calm down a little and not feeling so fearful about whole situation around her.

 Previous vet was opposite to our current vet. He comes in, he might say “Hi” to Palette but he starts routine check ups right away without much of interaction with her and I could tell the difference between the previous vet and current one because Palette wanted to be away from the previous vet, and wanted to be so close to us, while with our current vet, she willingly trot to the current vet and sit around her and enjoy being pet when she hears her name is called in happy fun voice.

 So, I personally feel that some dogs may fight so hard not to be touched/poked by vet, and many dog training TV program or training books suggests to touch paws, touch muzzle etc but before working on that small part, we should look at the big pictures.

 For me, first thing to work on would be associating the car with happy fun places and never take your dogs for  car ride only to the vet office. If they know car ride equal to unpleasant vet office, how cooperative they can be..

 You can read on tips on getting dogs used to car ride in previous entry titled ” Traveling with your dog

 Next thing I would work on would be to find the vet that takes time to interact with your dog before actual check ups. If I were a dog, and if I were put on cold metal table without much of greeting or getting to know the vet, I would be scared and would act out. When dogs get act out, often times, a couple of vet techs might join in and hold down the dog for vet to look at, or they might use muzzle. More unpleasant experience, more feeling allergic to the vet office if I were a dog. Dogs do not know vets are there to help them.

 What I like about our current vet is that, not only she spends sometime petting her for first some minutes while she is listening to us what is going on with Palette, she talks to Palette and praise her in happy voice. And vet tech also pops in sometimes while we are waiting and pet her. I think that adds a lot to Palette’s comfortable level around the vet or vet clinic.

  Next thing would be getting your dogs used to be touched around their sensitive areas such as paws, mouth,ears etc.. When Palette was puppy, just like getting her used to be grooming routine,I worked hard on this a lot at home.

 Many dogs love to be pet and, they feel relaxed when you are petting them.You too would feel calm, and relaxed when you are petting them. Whenever you are petting them, keep treats near you, and even if you had no reasons to exam / touch those sensitive areas, touch them short period of time (start with very very short second), praise them big, give them treats. Start with one touch one small lentil sized treats.

 When I am petting her, I also pretended to look her teeth a second or two and praised her big and gave her treats. So, after 5 years living with me, she stays lie down on her side when I look her teeth, and she yawn, and careless about what I do. I do not look up her teeth as much as I used to, but I touch her muzzle occasionally. I brush Palette’s teeth daily and she usually stay down position while I brush her teeth.

  Just like letting your dogs get used to be handled their muzzle for brushing their teeth, I touched her paws a lot and praised her,gave her treats.

 For paw, I just touched her paw a little and then,if she were okay,meaning if she did not pull her paw away from my approaching hand touch, I then started holding one paw one second and kept doing that over and over with lots of praise and lots of yummy treats.Then, one second hold were comfortable enough for Palette, I held her paw for a little longer and praised her and repeated over and over again.

 As a puppy, I touched Palette’s paws, muzzle, zillions of times.

 Palette gets nervous if our vet try to look at wherever painful area if any, but other than that, she stays still and let our vet do her job and she is an easy dog to deal with.

 Since our vet office is not within walking distance, I cannot do this but if our vet office was within walking distance, I would take Palette for walk and make sure to include the vet office building, and let the building be familiar place and I would give treats every time we would walk in front of the building.

 Also, bringing your dogs’ favorite treats to vet office would help, too. Palette spits out treats from pet supply store or vet office and we take our own to the vet office. Sometimes treats are good to distract your dogs while the vet is trying to check them.

 What do you do for your dogs to get used to the vet office visit?

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Sep 19, 2010 | 0 | Uncategorized

Japanese cooking; Teriyaki Chicken

 In previous entry titled “Bento box culture in Japan “, I wrote that lunch
box is called “Bento” in Japanese, and it is part of Japanese culture and,usually,
parents get up early and make Bento box for kids to bring to school. Also, many grown up people bring Bento box to work, too.

 One of the popular Bento box food was Teriyaki chicken or anything that has Teriyaki flavor to it. You could find those food in many of lunch boxes around you. In fact, Teriyaki sauce is staple/popular flavor in Japan and if you go to Japanese burger joints, you can find Teriyaki Burgers to die for. Whenever we back to Japan, one thing we do is to go to burger joint there and indulge ourselves to our favorite Teriyaki burgers, Shrimp burgers etc..

 People here in the states seem to love Teriyaki sauce and seem to enjoy shrimp a lot and, I always think that if one of the burger joints here in the states start selling Teriyaki burgers, shrimp burger, they would have loooong line in front of the stores.

 Last Christmas, I usually make Pizza for in-law family every year,but l made “shrimp burgers” for a change. It was huge hit and, my stumpy little “Palette” was laying on floor with wet nose near us hoping for a tiny nibble.

 Since I cannot get yummy Teriyaki burger,shrimp burger here in the states, I make them now and then. If you like to see the recipe of those two burgers, you can see the recipe in the previous entry titled “Japanese cooking; Ebi Katsu burger,Katsu burger,and Teriyaki burger “.

 I like those burgers a lot but it is not healthy to eat them day in day out. So, I enjoy Teriyaki flavored dish sometimes. One of the Teriyaki flavored dish I make is Teriyaki Chicken.

 Teriyaki sauce does not need complicated ingredients at all. All you need is 5 ingredients plus whatever you like to cook with; meat, vegetable etc.. You can be creative on how you use the sauce for too.

 You can make meatball and you can add vegetable and add thickened Teriyaki sauce. Or, next day, you can just make pasta and add to the left over meatball and vegetable. Or.. you can grill the Frank steak with simple salt & pepper and slice thin against the grain and toss those in Teriyaki sauce. You can saute vegetable and chopped chicken in skillet and toss plain cooked white rice and you can drizzle Teriyaki sauce and voila! You made Teriyaki fried rice. If you have pizza night, you can thicken up the Teriyaki sauce and use it in stead of pizza sauce.. As long as meat has no strong unique flavor like lamb or Turkey, I think this sauce can go well with any meat or sea food.

 You can order “Teriyaki chicken” at restaurant but do not need to spend a lot to taste them. It seems average price to pay for Teriyaki chicken dish runs about $7-$8 at most restaurant, but you can make them lot cheaper.

 So, how do you make Teriyaki Chicken? Here is how.

 You can make Teriyaki Chicken with rice and have some vegetable side dishes, soup,salad to go with it.

Teriyaki chicken with Kokuho Rose White Rice..


 Make it a little fancier and better on the each plate, you can sprinkle freshly ground sesame seed over the chicken.

Teriyaki sesame chicken strip with sauteed vegetable and brown rice..

1. Place big non stick skillet over stove and preheat with dash of sesame oil with low heat while you are working on the chicken

2. Butterfly the chicken breast and cut in the center

###How to Butterfly the chicken breast###

1. Place the boneless chicken breast on cutting board,smooth side up

2.Hold the smooth side with one hand, cut the breast horizontally from side of the breast

** working way out to the edge with top to down motion and roll top piece over as you go is easier

3.When chicken breast is butterflied (looks like a book), cut the piece in center and make 2 pieces out from one chicken breast

** Other way to make 2 pieces out from one chicken breast is simply pound the chicken breast to thin and cut to two pieces


3. Pound boneless chicken thigh a little

4. Sprinkle Molton’s Nature’s Season (blue cap seasoning bottle) over chicken breast and thigh

5. Sprinkle Molton’s Nature’s Season (blue cap seasoning bottle) into all purpose flour in the bowl and mix well

6. Dip chicken breast and thigh into flour and seasoning mix and pat to take excess flour off and put those to plate

7. When dredging chicken breast and thigh into flour and seasoning mixture are close to finish, bring the heat to medium high and make the skillet hot enough to hear the sizzle when you place the chicken onto the skillet

8. When skillet is hot enough, place the chicken on skillet and let it cook.

** Don’t push chicken, don’t move it around..

** To know when is hot enough, you can wash your hands and splash a bit of water onto the skillet and if it were hot enough, you will hear the big sizzling sound

9. While chicken is cooked in the pan, work on the sauce..

——-<Teriyaki sauce>——–

Mix 2 tbs of sake,2 tbs of Mirin, 3 tbs of soy sauce, 2 tbs of sugar in the small container

You may wonder what essential ingredients in Japanese cooking look like. Here are the pictures.



** You can find these at local grocery stores..

 Extra fancy whole bean soy sauce..

** You can find these at Asian stores..

Jozo Mirin (Sweet Rice Wine)..

** You can find these at Asian stores.. The Mirin I use had Food label translated into English and it had “Sweet cooking rice seasoning” as product name. So, some store might sell with the name if you seem not find Mirin on shelf.

9. When chicken is 80% done, flip each chicken breast and thigh and add splash of sake and shake the skillet a little back and forth and let the sake evaporate a little and turn the heat down  to low heat and put the lid into the skillet to steam.

** You can use any lids for any pans. It just need to be smaller than the skillet surface for lid edge to be able to touch the skillet. And make sure that lid has steam hole so that air inside can escape through the hole.

10. Wait about 2 minutes or till the sake you splashed will evaporate completely.

** Adding splash of alcohol to the skillet and cook this way can intensify the flavor, and makes really good dish plus it also makes meat very tender

11. After sake is evaporated completely and steamed under smaller sized lid, add Teriyaki sauce mixture and cook through.

12. After chicken is cooked through, add dash of sesame oil and serve.

** If you like to sprinkle sesame seed, I usually use sesame seed grinder. Since I grind sesame seed, I do not bite into big whole sesame seed. And, it adds more flavor to the dish.

Sesame seed grinder

** You can find these at Asian stores. How you use it is to fill the grinder with toasted sesame seed,pop the red cap off on top and tilt it over food and hold the white grinder handle on top and move it to ground.My mother use the same tool in Japan.

Bon appetit!


Sep 16, 2010 | 0 | Uncategorized

Why dogs bark at the vacuum cleaner?

 5 years ago, when stumpy little dog “Palette” came to our house, first thing I saw her running away from was when I shut the Microwave door. Then, when we go for a walk, she was uncomfortable to walk close to trash bins that were put out for the pick up. Then, garbage truck that makes loud noise made her stop walking,and stay still until the truck move forward.

 One time, on our walk, we saw a kid’s opened umbrella was rolling around on the street since wind was pushing it forward. She might have thought that an umbrella is a living thing and chasing after us and she started running as fast as she could.

 At house, she was curious about furry friends she saw in the mirror and barked at it, paused and play bow, barked again. For her, it was another furry friends that she cannot smell her scent from in strange object. 

 Sometimes, she encounter a vacuum cleaner with loud noise and she felt the need to herd it,and bark at it..

Palette 3 months old..

 We see things with human concept but, for those little eyes, ears, everything we are familiar with are not familiar to them;sound,shapes,movement etc.., and they could be something that makes them feel stressful, or feel scary, or feel uncomfortable around the objects.

 Just like puppy proof your house , we should see things through dogs’ point of views. What the world would be through dogs’ eyes.. Ordinal objects in the house that we consider normal and nothing afraid of may look very strange,scary to them.

 At about 3-4 months old, Palette got enrolled into puppy training class and we were introduced to clicker training. So, we used the clicker to train at home and got her used to the unfamiliar/former scary objects little by little just like getting her used to being bathed , and number of scary things got less and less as time passes by.

 However, vacuum cleaner was the one that took much longer time for her to feel no need to bark at/herd and just ignore the vacuum cleaner and lie on floor on her side.

Can I be where I am? Do I really need to move?-Palette

 Many dogs would find vacuum cleaner evil and bark at it or try to herd it like Palette used to.

 Lucky and Vacuum cleaner

 I watched many videos on dogs vs vacuum cleaner but many times, owners seem to move the vacuum cleaner to the direction where dogs are at or move the vacuum cleaner as if they would like to make it  view as fun chew toys or just like you saw in the video above, some encourage the dog to bite at the vacuum cleaner..

 I think that some people may feel this behavior around vacuum cleaner annoyed but act the way that may lead to opposite result. In other words, we human are the one that need to be trained. If we want the annoying behavior stops, we should not encourage the dogs to bark at it or herd it.

 First time Palette saw the vacuum cleaner, her eyes were on it, and once she understands it makes loud noise, she started running towards vacuum cleaner from other room and once she is around the vacuum cleaner, she was tensed up. So, I thought she knows the routines already and ready to bark at it, or herd it.

 With little Palette bark loud at it,herd it, it was not easy for me to vacuum cleaning the house.

 So, what I did was putting the vacuum cleaner where she sees daily. That way, she can see the vacuum cleaner without loud noise. So, I thought it would be easier for her to get used to it, visually.

 I also hid the yummy treats near the vacuum cleaner or on the vacuum cleaner head etc when we play “Find it” game.

 You can see how Palette play “Find it” game here. In the video, I did not hide the treats where vacuum cleaner is but you see the idea how you play “Find it” game with your dog at home.

 After she got comfortable enough to go close to the vacuum cleaner on her own will, I turn it on for a second or so, and if she were sit-stay where she is at without any barking, I clicked and treat. I did not grab the head of the vacuum cleaner until she gets used to the sound itself. As time goes by, I turned it on longer and longer and click and treat.

 After she got used to the visual and sound, I started vacuuming but from the room where they are not in. Basically, I was putting distance between loud vacuum cleaner and Palette, and gradually vacuumed closer and closer, but never moved the vacuum head toward her. If she come around in front of the vacuum cleaner, I turned back at her and I did not move the vacuum cleaner and ignored her, just like I ignored her jumping up on me. I tried to be as boring as possible for Palette. And, I never encouraged her via laughing or never said “Go get it!” to encourage the behavior.

 One thing I found it helpful later is to ask her to go in to her crate (crate door is opened) while I am vacuuming. If she comes out to the vacuum cleaner, I stopped vacuum cleaning and told her to go to crate, and continued vacuuming the house.

 When I prepare the vacuum cleaner, she usually look back and stare at the vacuum cleaner as if to say “Why I need to re-locate my comfy place for loud noisy thing?”.

 Another thing that seem to help is to vacuuming after walk. I think Palette is too tired to care about noisy vacuum cleaner.

 She still test me sometimes, but I just need to be consistent in how I react to her.

 Is your vacuum cleaner evil to your furry friends?

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Sep 14, 2010 | 0 | Uncategorized

People food for thought Part V: Sodas

 When you go for grocery shopping, other than “Milk”, what drinks are always in your grocery list? Sodas? Fruits Juice? Tea?

 For us, depending on which store to go grocery shopping for, we buy a couple of Pomegranate tea sometimes. When you look the ingredient list, the first ingredient is tea, and second ingredient is pomegranate juice concentrate, and it looks good drink but since 3rd ingredient is fructose (sugar), I do not think it is best choice of the drink, and it is our occasional drink. If we do not go to store that carry my favorite Pomegranate tea, we get different kinds of tea. So, tea is our staple drink at our house.

 For some, the answer might be sodas. Because I see many shopping carts loaded with many packs of sodas.

 In Japan, staple drink for many is tea. You can get packaged loose tea leaves, you can get pre measured tea leaves packets, or you can get bottled tea. Bottled green tea at stores is simply brewed tea without fructose. Bottled tea here in the states seem to have more than brewed tea and almost always sweetened tea and nothing like real tea you would taste in Japan. Popular bottled tea brand in Japan is called “Oi Ocha” by Ito En. So, our family had occasional sodas now and then, but most of the times we drank tea. We brew our tea by ourselves.

 Regular green tea is a little different from tea at tea ceremony in taste and appearance. Green tea at tea ceremony is green powdered tea. New green tea leaves are made into powder form. The green tea for tea ceremony is called “matcha” in Japanese and, matcha tea is made by adding hot water to the powder and mix well with whisker made with bamboo to proper consistency.

 Match tea is very bitter and amount served in the cup is much less than you would drink in tea in the glass. You would find that if you attend at tea ceremony, you will be tasting bitter matcha tea along with very sweet sweets to balance out bitterness and sweetness.

 Recently, I came across an article in local newspaper about sodas. Many people would know that sodas are sugary drink but did you know that consuming much less sodas are good for reducing your blood pressure too?

 According to article written by Jennifer Motl, researchers tracked over 800 men and women for 18 months and checked how much they would consume sugary drink such as sodas,sweet tea,lemonade, coffee,fruit flavored drink,energy drink, sports drink drinks daily.

 They found that those who cut back those sugary drink to 12 oz each day (which means, one small can of sodas a day) saw the blood pressure dropped for 1-2 points. The more they cut back the amount of sugary drink each day, the researchers saw more drop in blood pressure points.

 As you may notice, Fructose is the common type of sugar find in sugary drinks. I have noticed that Fruit juice that says “Made with real fruits juice”, this high fructose corn syrup were listed as 2nd ingredients and top ingredients were water and as you read the ingredients more to the end, you find more fruits juice in the list. So, package line sounds like real fruit juice might be in top ingredient but fact is, fruits juice is less used than high fructose corn syrup.

 To read the full article by Jennifer Motl on sodas, please click here.

 On the talk of sodas, my grandmother used to say “sodas are bad for your bones” when she saw me drinking a can of sodas. I can see that sodas are sugary and not good for health. But is it bad for bones too? I wondered and found an article written by Dr Jay Adlersberg at abc website on connection between sodas and bones.

 Dr Jay writes, many people who would like to sip a can of sodas but would like to avoid the calories tend to reach out to diet sodas. However, drinking diet sodas is not good either even if choosing the one with  less sugar in the drink. Problems in sodas remain because sodas contain phosphoric acid and phosphoru. Also it contains the bubbles called carbon dioxide,which turn to carbonic acid when dissolved in water.

 According to Dr Loren Wissner Greene of New York University’s Langone Medical Center, Phosphorus helps leech the calcium out from the bone. So, if you drink sodas a lot, not only it is bad due sugar in the drink but also bad for your bone because you get too much phophorus via sodas and reduce the calcium in the bone, and as a result, bones get weaker.

 Dr Jay writes, the darker the color of the drink is, you find more phosphorus, which means Root beer, Colas etc..

 Now, why bubbles are bad for you? Dr Jay writes that the more you drink sodas, you get more carbonic acid in your body and your body needs to neutralize the acid. To neutralize the acid, body would use the calcium from your bones and it weaken the bone strength.

 To read the full article by Dr Jay Adlersberg on sodas and bone strength connection, please click here.

 So, when my grandmother said that sodas are bad for your bones, she probably meant that it could weaken the bone strength in your body.

 A year or two years ago, a nice tea company opened in the mall near us. The tea company is called Teavana, and we sampled a coupled of tea they offer. At the time, we still had Japanese green tea leaves at home so we did not buy any but, you may find the place interesting to explore wide variety of tea. Since you brew your own tea, you do not have to worry about fructose or high sugar amount in the drink and those tea made from loose tea leaves are served without added sugar, it is good for your body,too.

 Many news, articles etc talk about sugar and say that it is bad for your body, but I think that limiting the sugar amount is not the only thing to look into for better healthy diet. Overall diet, life style etc also should be considered. Too much of anything is bad for you and, eating moderate amount of variety of thing would be better.

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Sep 12, 2010 | 0 | Uncategorized

Palette’s note: Hide A Squirrel Animal Puzzle

you ever wondered if you could actually see how other dogs are enjoying
the products before purchasing one? Not just pictures,but in video so
that you can actually SEE how the products are being used?
have started series titled “Palette’s Note”, which you can read about
products detail and see video clips from Palette’s taste test.

  This time,it is not about treats. I like to put out detail on Hide A Squirrel Animal Puzzle .

 Hide A Squirrel Animal Puzzle

Squeaky Squirrels..

 Hide A Squirrel Animal Puzzle is an interactive toy; a toy that let dogs “think” to play. As you can see in the picture above, in the plush tree toys, you can place squeaky squirrels just like they are peeking through the tree hole and idea is that dogs are to use eyes,nose,paws,muzzle and take the hiding squeaky squirrels out from the plush tree.

 Measurement of the toys are 7″x7″ tree size, and the toy comes with 3 squeaky squirrels. The squeaky squirrel is 4.5″ from head to butt,and it has
about 3″ long tail. The hole of the tree is about 2.5″ to 3″. Good size
hole for dogs to put their muzzle in and taking the hiding squirrels

 This toy is actually one of the Birthday present toys I got for Palette. Our dog “Palette” goes nuts enough to do a high gator
jump with half spin in the mid air from too much excitement when she
sees this toy.
This is one of the reasons why I decided to offer this fun toy for other furry friends too.

 Let’s watch Palette in action with Hide A Squirrel Animal Puzzle. If you are a blog subscriber or reading from face book,please click here  to watch Hide A Squirrel Animal Puzzle test video.

Palette and Hide A Squirrel Animal Puzzle toy

 Can you see how much she gets excited for this Hide A Squirrel Animal Puzzle toy? You have seen a bit of jump in the video, and you can hear her sniffing sound, and you see the eyes,paws,nose,muzzle action with this toy.

 After all squeaky squirrels were taken out from the plush tree, Palette walked to the plush tree,put her head all the way into the toy,sniffing a lot and she was making sure nothing was left there.

Sniff,sniff.. Anybody in there?-Palette

 Now, after all the squeaky squirrels were taken out from the plush tree, another fun for Palette. It’s squeaky time! I told her nothing about how to squeak the squirrels. So, she had to figure out by herself.

 Videos bellow were taped when she first tried to squeak the squeaky squirrels. Can she figure out by herself?

 Let’s watch Palette in action with Squeaky Squirrels. If you are a blog subscriber or reading from face book,please click here  to watch Squeaky Squirrels squeaking test video Part I.

Palette and the Squeaky squirrel Part I

 As you see, she is trying to squeak the squirrels but not so successful yet. Can she succeed?

 Let’s watch Palette in action with Squeaky Squirrels. You can hear the sound of the squeaky squirrels. Do your furry friends love the squeaky sound? If you are a blog subscriber or reading from face book,please click here  to watch Squeaky Squirrels squeaking test video Part II.

Palette and the Squeaky squirrel Part II

 Now she figured out how to hold the squeaky toys to give a nice squeak.

 Here goes! Squeak,squeak,squeak!

 This is Palette’s squeaky squirrels’ sound demo for other furriends. – Palette

 This toy comes with 3 squeaky squirrel with one plush tree, but you can put all kinds of thing in the plush tree. It does not have to be the exact squeaky squirrels that come with. You can put other toys in the tree, you can put small bits of treats in the plush tree.. You can be creative with it.

 Other Birthday toys I got for her was another interactive toys. I am a big fan of interactive toys because it lets your dogs to “Think” to play and personally, I think it is good for mental exercise just like training time.

 The particular toy seem to be popular among retailers but would the product gets as much excitement as this Hide A Squirrel Animal puzzle toy? Is it as good as this Hide A Squirrel Animal puzzle toy?

Product A.

This is a plush toy that has..

3 Eggs in the plush toy…

 The Egg is roughly about 3.5″…

 As a concept of the toy, I liked it and, thought it nice toy but..I found a few problems.

1. The opening of the toy is described as elastic opening but it stretched to about 3.5″ , and it is a little tight for me to put squeaky eggs especially the last 3rd squeaky egg

2. If you put the 3 squeaky eggs enough to goes in all the way, when dogs are trying to grab the squeaky egg with mouth, they can use just front teeth to grab about 1/4″ of the squeaky egg and even if using both paws to hold the toy to get the squeaky egg out, it is very tight and hard for them to take the squeaky eggs out  from the plush toys. I wish the opening were more elastic or bigger opening for easy grab and removal. I would think that making the nice size opening on back bone area might be good.

 Palette got so frustrated for the fact that she cannot get the squeaky eggs out no matter how many times she tried with paw holding and grabbing the squeaky eggs with front teeth to pull, she tried to chew on outside of the frog. Maybe she thought if she chew from outside the toy, she could take the squeaky eggs out.

3. Only way they can easily take the squeaky egg out is to place the squeaky egg half way out from the opening.

4. Another one I found is that, when all the squeaky eggs are out, your dogs may find this inside..

 I suppose the white cloth is there to prevent squeaky eggs to travel to too far edge of the toy, but this thing got Palette’s so much attention and she tried to rip if off. I had to take the toy away from her.

 However, not all fun were taken away. Palette and I have found that the squeaky eggs are actually nice for fetch ball game. Since squeaky eggs are not perfect round, when the squeaky eggs bounce on the ground, it is unpredictable where the squeaky eggs would bounce back. Plus, she can come back to me squeaking the squeaky eggs.

 Palette and I have great time playing fetch squeaky eggs game. She put her tongue hanging out from mouth and so talkative and very excited for the next throw.

 So, you would not find the particular toy at our online store, but you might for the squeaky eggs itself someday.

Over all, I like Hide A Squirrel Animal Puzzle better than the particular toy above and Palette loves the Hide A Squirrel toy a lot. She had her nice special day with special toys.

Hello,squeaky squirrels. Here I come!-Palette

Umm.. What on me, mom?-Palette

Hi! Squeaky squirrels. I can see you..-Palette

*** As with any chews,toys, please make sure to supervise when they play with this Hide A Squirrel Animal Puzzle toy.

** Hide A Squirrel Squeaky squirrel replacement pack that contains 3 squeaky squirrels
(each squirrel is 4.5″ long from head to butt with roughly 3″ long tail)
also available

 To visit our store,please click here or paste and copy the link bellow into your browser.
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Sep 09, 2010 | 0 | Uncategorized

Japanese cooking: Sushi and Soy sauce – Updated on September 7th,2010

 *** Updated area in red. Pictures also were added.

 One of the first culture shock when coming over to the states to live was “Soy sauce”. The package is labeled as “Soy sauce”,but it did not taste it right. It had funky taste to it.  I had to try a couple of brands and even kikkoman USA products were not something I felt it right.

 After some search on true “Soy sauce”,I finally found one,and I use only the particular Soy sauce,and  nothing else.

 The soy sauce I use is called ” Extra fancy whole bean soy sauce” from Kikkoman Japan:it is imported from Japan and is sold at Asian stores. It is big plastic bottle. You can see the soy sauce I use in the picture bellow.

Extra fancy whole bean soy sauce..

 The Asian store we go to is about 2hrs drive away,so when we go there,we buy a couple of bottles at a time and stock it up.

 I was wondering why  soy sauce made here is so different in taste for a while. But now I have the answer.

 I found out that the ingredients are different. The one I get from Asian store has 4 ingredients in the label:water,soybean,wheat,and salt. Other soy sauce even kikkoman USA product  has more than 4 ingredients..Chinese brand’s soy sauce has caramel coloring. Here is good site to talk about how soy sauce can be made differently.

 Another thing that made me surprised is “Sushi” here in US is so expensive, and most of the time, packaged sushi has dried out sushi rice, and fish does not taste as good as it is back in Japan. And so-called “Japanese restaurant” is not really offering real authentic Japanese food. If you like to eat authentic Japanese food,I recommend to eat at restaurant where Japanese staff is making dishes. Or you can make on your own for fun. It really not that difficult to make one.Plus much cheaper than  ordering at sushi bar or buying pre-packaged sushi.

 When you look for Japanese restaurant here in the states, often times, you would find the term “Hibachi style” but did you know that in Japan, “Hibachi” is heating device in Japan. Not cooking tool. The word “Hi” means “Fire” in Japanese. “Bachi”means “bowl” so, it is fire bowl if you translate it to English. It usually made with ceramic and it contains charcoal to keep the room warm.
 According to wikipedia, Hibachi cookware sold in the states are inspired by Shichirin in Japan ; small charcoal cooking device, and it was marketed as “Hibachi grill”.

 You can read how to make Teppan yaki/Yakitori just like so called Hibachi style Japanese restaurant here in the states, you can see recipe in the previous entry titled “Japanese restaurant in Japan;Teppan yaki and Yakitori

 When I was a kid,my mother used to make “Sushi Cake”. She used the cake-pan that bottom lid can come off and put sushi rice over the bottom lid,sprinkle whatever topping items were,then,top it off with sushi rice and put the left-over topping on top and made like cake and she served family just like serving cake. This is her version of sushi dish,but you can make rolled sushi like you see at stores.

 If you were not into rolling,cutting and those kind of things,then,you can put sushi rice on plate,pour the topping on top and now you made “Chi ra shi zu shi :meaning sprinkle sushi“.

Zetsy wasabi soy Chirashi zushi

** This is how I normally make. Wasabi soy sushi rice and sliced cucumber,scrambled eggs, sliced ham, and salmon on top..

** For Fluffy scrambled egg, beat the egg lightly in measuring cup, and add dash of heavy cream and mix well and add Molton’s Natures season. I found that using the heavy cream makes most fluffy scrambled eggs. If you had no heavy cream, use milk.

 If you have party,you can make topping,and put each topping in different plate and sushi rice in bowl and party visitor can hold “Nori”;seaweed on hand and scoop up the rice on Nori,and then scoop up topping on top,and they can roll up like cannoli and you just served “Te ma ki zu shi: rolled sushi by hand.

 When you go to store,you find pre-packaged sushi,usually rectangular sushi rice with something on top.That is what we call “Ni gi ri zushi;sushi made by hand. The vinegary rice is formed to about 3″ long log, and top it off with your choice of topping. It can be egg,can be grilled teriyaki eel,can be sashimi(raw fish). So,sushi is not just rolled up one with Nori (seaweed).

 That being said, why not make your own version of Sushi for special occasion without spending a lot for less to eat?? It can be family fun too.

  So, how do you make “Sushi”? Here is how.

 First, rice I use is my favorite brand “Kokuho Rose Rice”. You can find them at International ail at local grocery store.

Kokuho Rose Rice..

1.Cook about 3 cup worth rice.

 ** When rice is cooking, make ” Sushi zu”:Sushi sauce if you will:

2. To the small bowl, if you make basic sushi zu (sushi sauce), add 4 tbs of Mitsukan Rice vinegar,2.5 tbs of table sugar,1 tsp of table salt.

** If you like to try my zetsy sushi zu (wasabi soy sushi sauce) I used in the sushi picture above, mix 4 tbs of Mitsukan Rice vinegar,2.5 tbs of table sugar, 4 tbs of soy sauce, pinch of wasabi powder and adjust seasoning to your taste.

** If you use wasabi paste, you would need to be careful how much you would mix in because it is much more spicy than same amount of wasabi powder. Add little by little and adjust the heat level. If you made too hot, add sugar and adjust vinegar and soy sauce amount if needed.

When rice is done,while still rice is hot, pour vinegar mix,stir rice with wooden spoon.

*** Do not mix like you whip cream,rather,gently scoop up one outer side,fold over to inside,gently,and slice motion;scoop,fold in,slice and repeat it.You do not want to mash the rice.

***  If  your kids or other family member can help you, you can ask them to fan over the rice when you are mixing.This helps rice to cool down faster and helps to make the rice shinier.

3. Now, you made sushi base so,you can make any topping you like and sprinkle over the rice and you have got your own “Chi ra shi zushi”.

 I usually make toppings like scrambled eggs, thinly sliced cucumber,sliced deli ham, and protein such as smoked salmon bits or shrimp cooked in sweet soy based sauce etc. as you see in the dish picture above.

 In Japan, sushi bar we used to go to had topping like corn kernel mixed with mayo,crab mixed with mayo, or tempura shrimp,grilled teriyaki eel, sashimi etc. You can always be creative and make your own version of sushi.

 My special topping,which my mother liked a lot is shrimp bits I cooked in sweet soy sauce base.
Making is easy. You prepare raw shrimp;taking shell off,taking off veins(using toothpicks is easy and not dangerous). Then,cut to maybe like 1 inch bits. Then,in sauce pan,you pour 100cc water,100cc Sake(I like gekkeikan sake),100cc sugar,3 tbs of Soy sauce,a little bit of salt  and cook until sugar is melted and pour in the shrimp bits and cook through. Now you have my shrimp topping at your kitchen.

 Now you know that sushi is not always with raw fish and you can be creative on it,and there are more than rolled up sushi.

 Making sushi is easy,and kids can enjoy making their own version of sushi. Maybe next time for special occasion,why not having a sushi night AT HOME??

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Sep 08, 2010 | 0 | Uncategorized

Why dogs seem not listen to you when you want them to?

 Have you ever had experiences that your dogs do what you asked them to do one time, but next time you asked the same thing to do, they cover their ears with paws and keep doing what they were doing?

 Recently, Palette turned 5 years old. During the 5 years of life with her, she thought me so much. Since she is my first dog, everything we did were new to me and I enjoyed learning many things about her or about dogs in general.

Palette and one of her siblings first pause for camera..

 When she was 3 months old, we have enrolled in puppy training class, and I think it helped Palette to meet other dogs,other people and helped for her socialization. Also, it helped making our bond stronger through training class. The class was to learn basic obedience training, but we had so much fun together.

 Usually, we arrived at training class location 15 minutes or so early and walked around, and let her excitement level down, and we headed to the class. She loved sniffing the puppy training class floor and sniff out the doggy news from previous class students. This way, she was not a barker in the class and she was quiet calmer dog in the class and helped us learn things together better.

Palette’s Graduation picture..

 She sometimes surprised me with unexpected incident, and some chewing issues (She loved eating book edge,leg of stair pole, handle of wooden grooming brush etc) but she was not much of a trouble maker. Maybe daily training session (mental exercise) along with daily walkie (physical exercise) helped to keep her away from all the troubles. Dogs with pent up energy tend to find things on their own to get them into troubles.

Mom, how do I look? The Pal’s custom-made Pee-pad dress!-Palette

 This pee-pad dress incident was definitely unexpected. After the pee-pad dress incident, we tossed all the pee-pad in the house and, we tried being more observant and tried to catch the sign of “I need to go potty” and took her to outside for potty. Once she is trained doing potty outside, I trained her with potty bell.

 Pee-pad is convenient for us human if/when we could not catch their sign of “I got to go to potty”, but it is sort of sending confusing message to them because, pee-pad usually be in the house,which means, they would think that they can do potty in the house, but then, when they go potty in the house, they see you not being happy.

 If you want them to go to potty outside, don’t use the pee-pad in the house and if you happened to see the accident in process, catch them in the act and take them outside and let them do potty outside.That way, potty place is always being outside.

 Feeding at set schedule until potty trained also makes you predict potty time easier too. I remember I wrote down what time I fed her,what time she went potty and tried to understand her pattern of potty time.It helped me a lot. And took her for potty at other predictable times such as soon after nap,play etc.

 If you were interested to read how I trained her potty trained, you can read in the previous entry titled “Gottago gottago ring! ring! ring!; House training dogs “. You can see her ringing the potty bell also.

 At puppy training class, I learned some of basic obedience training cues, how to teach dogs with clicker but, I think that spending time with your dogs a lot is most important thing/first thing before training itself.

 Then, become an interesting people to follow for your dogs. If you could not get an attention from your dogs, you can teach nothing. When your dogs are looking at other family members to beg for something or staring through the window to woof to passersby, or looking at running squirrels, and giving no attention to you, they would not be responsive to your cue no matter how you say the cue repeatedly or loud.

 If you were interested in reading how I became an interesting person to get Palette’s attention, you can read in the previous entry titled “How to keep dogs attention to you “.

 Ultimately, I think it would be best if you could win your dogs attention over squirrels in the yard. Squirrels in the yard is hard to beat for Palette’s attention!

Catch me if you can!-Squirrel

 Another thing that I learned through Palette is that, no matter what you would do; nail trimming,bathing,playing fetch,obedience training etc etc, I think you must be patient and be consistent on things that you do with them.

 When your dogs seem not listening to you, sometimes, it is you that need to be reviewed. Maybe dogs get one word as cue, and other time, your dog gets another word that you expect them to act the same.

 Good example being, lets say you try to teach your dog to sit. You got their attention and you start teaching them “sit”. You try to lure with treats to teach “sit”. But,they do not know what you want them to do, and they may just jumping up to the treats trying to get to the treats, jumping up and down.You get frustrated and goes “Sit,sit,sit” and the dogs finally sat down and you might give treats. What would happen next? The dogs would probably think “Sit,sit,sit” is jumping up and down and sit down.

 What you may want to do is to make sure you say the word only once. If they did not seem to get it, say “Try again”, and try to get the attention from them again and repeat from scratch. The dogs do not know the difference of sit-sit-sit and sit.

 Another thing as example is that lets say you are eating dinner at the table. Your dogs come to you, and interested in what are on the table and they may put the paws on table to look over what you have.Without thinking much, you probably tend to say “Down” to your dogs. BUT, what is real “down” cue mean?

 “Down” is where dogs lie down on the floor. Not paw off from table. We use the word “Off” to tell Palette to paws off from table when/if the food we have were so irresistible for her and she put the paws on the table.

 Also, I think it important that every family members would use the same words for same behaviors and same timing to rewards the good behaviors and everyone in the family must be consistent.

 If you like to give no food from table, everyone must not give food from table. Don’t feed from table one day and expect them to understand that was special treatment and no food from table next day.Be consistent in what you do.

 Now, have you had experience that you seem to get attention only if the dogs know you have tasty treats in your treat bag or hands?

 I think dogs should not rely on treats to listen to you. After all, you cannot have treats all the time to reward them. For Palette, until she learns the behavior, I used treats. Start with click and treats on good behavior and it goes to reward at random pattern and sometimes she gets 2-3 small bits of treats after click, sometimes she gets treats after she could do the behavior couple of times. I varies the frequency and make her prediction hard.

 That way,  since dogs work for things that works, she tries hard hoping she gets click and treats and it enable you to fade the treats away gradually and at the end, you can tell your dogs to sit without treats with you and they “sit” on your cue. I also give cues in different order when training. I change the pattern each time what I ask her to do.That way, I know for sure whether she is learning behavior from pattern or really understand the behavior on its own.You must be unpredictable.

 When I do not give treats for behavior, I give them nice scratch on the head or short petting or big happy praise to let her know she did good. Rewards do not have to be treats. It can be a short fetch  ball game, Frisbee, whatever your dogs love.

 That being said, at our house, for Palette, there is no free treats. Yes, she does taste testing every batch of biscuits or every batch of Jerky for other furry friends, but she does not get it for free. I let her do something and then, give her the taste testing treats. Although, for real training purpose, biscuits are not the good candidate as training treats because they need to chew, not swallow.

 For training purpose, it is best for you to find treats easy to break into small pieces, preferably about lentil size and use those not biscuits that needs to be chewed. Chewing slow down the training speed.

 Another thing during the training with Palette is that, I sometime just show the hand signal. She sees the signal and do what she was asked to.Then, I click the clicker and give her rewards. I think it helps for dogs to learn cue without voice because as they get older, they may have hearing problems and if you know they can see/understand signals, you can communicate well.
 Also, different environment makes your dogs behave differently. Outside the house is full of distraction; squirrels,passersby,neighbor dogs, cats,cars…Even if your dog could do “sit” nicely, it does not mean they can do “sit” outside. Start from quiet place where you can get more attention/focus from your dogs in the house,then move on to a place with bit of distraction. Practicing same cue at many places with distraction.

 Using the same word for same item outside the training time also helps your dogs to pick up your words by themselves. When Palette hear the word “shower”, she trots to shower room and wait for me. When she hears “downstairs”, she goes to downstairs and wait on me.When she hears “trash”, she walks towards trash bin and I toss her poop she did on walk etc..

 These are words I never taught her.She just picked up the words on her own.

 What words your dogs picked up on their own?
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Sep 05, 2010 | 0 | Uncategorized