My goal with this blog is for you to enjoy your time here. Most of the posts talk about my experiences raising my two yellow Labrador Retrievers, some are just for fun, and others share the best dog related information and products I have found.

Use the tabs above for quick navigation. I have imbedded links for as much as possible so that you can find the resources easily from this blog. The links in the side bar are for websites that have been helpful to me. I hope that you find them useful for you and your canine "family member"

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Because I just needed to be reminded today!!

A simple reminder that the seemingly impossible can and does happen. This was one special moment I witnessed in person less than 50 ft. from where I stood on the ships deck.

Friday, August 29, 2008

How to beat the heat!!

With temps in the triple digits there was only one place to go...

On our way down the beach we saw dolphins playing in the breakers. Then on our way back we saw an otter on it's back feasting on some seafood delight.  It was overcast and grey and a beautiful change from the scorching heat of the last couple days.  

As I post this, once again, the temps our tripling our discomfort.  If you are suffering as well in this last burst of summer may these pictures cool you off as best as they virtually can.



P.S. Sorry for the poor picture quality. I was so eager to be at the beach all I had with me was my iPhone - truly not known for it's camera! :~(

Monday, August 25, 2008

A bit off topic... but worth it!!

I have some amazing friends whose son has a life threatening allergy to dairy, as well as several other foods. For those of you readers who carry, at all times, an Epi-pen you know what it's like.

The first time I took care of their son in their house I was anxious, constantly making sure I knew where the Benadryl was and that the pen was where I left it. The first time I took care of him in my house I was a nervous reck. We're talking crumbs on the floor, skin contact level reactivity. 

They have been working on an amazing project this last year and are finally sharing it with the general public.  I know this post is not Labrador or dog related, but this is such an amazing story for children I can't help but share it here.  Please check it out and share it with any parent you know who may have a child with food allergies.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

From the mail bag...

A question I hope will help others...

Hi Sunshine,

I have been combing your website among other resources since this past friday (8/15) when my husband and I adopted two adorable lab puppies. We have two 8 week old male yellow labs that are absolutely adorable! We had planned on adopting two so that they would have a playmate for life -- and company during the day while we are at work. I have to say -- I hadn't done any research into raising littermates before we adopted... I had looked into various dog breeds to match what suits our personality and lifestyle best -- and labs are such wonderful family dogs that we thought they should be ideal!

We have started our two boys in separate crate training already -- from day two with us... they cried all night the first night -- but last night went in and slept soundly all night -- from 12:00 to 5:45 am! I was amazed! And we have them crated during the day -- but have a dog walker scheduled for an 11:00am and 2:00pm walk -- for each separately daily... and I have met a trainer that will be coming to us for a consult this weekend and getting them started in puppy training classes in a couple of weeks -- separately of course.

I guess I am just looking for a little reassurance that if we follow the guidance that these will grow to be good mates for each other... I have seen a lot of information about male and female mates raised together -- but I am wondering if you have any insight on raising two males...

I don't want to do wrong by them -- or wrong by us as we have no children at present -- but will be starting a family sometime in the coming year, so I want to have happy dogs with our family in the future. We haven't been to the vet yet, so I am hoping to receive solid guidance from them regarding whether we need to "un-do" our decision to adopt two male labs at once... I would be heartbroken to do it -- but if it were best for the dogs I think it is still soon enough to find another home for one of our puppies...

I would really appreciate any insight you can offer... I have been on a rollar-coaster of anxiety since saturday morning...

Thanks, M

Here are my thoughts...

Dear "M",

There are good reasons why trainers and veterinarians will often discourage owners from having two dogs.  I'll be the first to admit that ignorant owners have run into some serious problems by raising two puppies not to mention litter mates together.  And it is their trainers and veterinarians that are most active in discouraging it.  There are emotional/behavioral not to mention health risks to maladapted sibling dogs, and this does not take into consideration the financial havoc they can have on ones personal finances.

But that does not mean that it is impossible or the worst possible thing to do.  Breeders do it all the time.  The greatest advantages they have over the average person  is knowledge and the commitment of time, not to mention space if you are raising big dogs. Both these hurdles can be overcome by dedicated caring dog owners willing to aquire the necessary knowledge and skills that raising two dogs requires.

If you are out there looking for information, wanting to do it right you are on the right track already.  The next step is to have a trainer you trust to work with.  I have written about the trainers we worked with both good and bad in this blog.  Just search the blog using the search feature in the right hand column with the word "trainer" to find those posts quickly.  Also realize that if you do not find a trainer you like or the cost of professionally training two is a challenge, then consider the training book by Pat Miller as a good starting point for your basic obedience skills.  Also arm yourself with good books on dog behavior in general.  Hopefully some of the books I have highlighted on this blog are helpful for you. For me they have been invaluable.

Trust yourself!!  You are right, this is good practice for starting a family.  You will have to set boundaries, have fair expectations from day one, and remember constantly that every moment with your dogs is a learning moment.  There are no "Oops, I didn't really mean that" do overs, or "I want today off, please".  Especially in the first two years, every interaction with them teaches them how you expect them to behave.  

But most of all have fun!!  That's why you added two beautiful dogs to your family, so enjoy them and this first fun year completely.

Best wishes,


P.S. If any of my other readers want to chime in with advice for "M" please feel free in the comments section.  I love my readers and they have taught me a lot as well!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

An afternoon at the beach... what we live for!

With my niece here for the past two weeks I remembered to bring my Canon PowerShot with me to the beach. Here's some of the best pictures from our afternoon walk. We had some unexpected friends join us just past the breakers. It was a lucky capture with my camera.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

From the mail bag...

Sorry it's been a while since I posted. Between a lovely vacation at the Mendocino coast and my niece staying with us for two weeks this summer things have been busy. My inspiration for todays post comes from one of you, "my awesome blog readers".

On 7/23/08 Edward said...
I found your blog via google, and 1 month into having 2 lab puppies (boy/ girl) from the same litter.

Did you follow the guidelines in the
second article (feed, walk, sleep, play separately) verbatim, or take some separation more than others?


Dear Edward,
If you read through the posts in the tab "RAISING TWO DOGS AT THE SAME TIME" you get a feel for what we did with the dogs together and what I made every effort to do with them apart as well. But in short here's a recap:

We have always fed them together. Nutmeg always eats on Shelby's right side. They were the ones who settled into the "whose on which side" arrangement and we then kept it that way.

After the first week, and we should have done it from day one, they have slept in different crates. They were in the same room but there was a visual barrier between the crates until they were I believe 2 years old. It was around the time I posted that we had crossed the milestone of being able to leave the crate door open and have them stay in their crate until released in the morning.

I did as much walking, play time, and basic obedience training with them separately as I could. However, I also practiced their obedience skills together. I know I posted a while back about how I felt it was important for them to be able to follow basic obedience commands together and not be distracted by the other being present. I bought two dogs to enjoy two well behaved dogs together. And at three years of age I can honestly say that's what I have. I guess it my case " you get what you train for". They are not perfect by any means, but we all worked hard to have the basics rock solid. The freedom that allows us is priceless!!

As for verbatim... I have followed nothing I've read "verbatim". I think it's a dangerous thing to do. Even in your search for doing it the right way, don't loose sight of the fact they are your dogs and they each have unique personalities and temperaments. Each one has different needs and is going to respond to training methods differently. Also, being your dogs there are things that will be a part of living with you and your family that are unique. You may have a couple rules of your own that it will be important for them to learn. In my humble opinion it is more important to be keyed into them and how they are responding than worrying about following some training/raising formula verbatim. That being said I have strived to follow closely the principals shared in everything Suzzane Clothier has written from her vast training knowledge and experience with dogs. You can see the other "must have books" for me on my bookshelf on this blog. I have read others, but these have been the biggest influence on how I raised my dogs. I believe raising dogs is as diverse as raising kids. My sister and I have had countless conversations about this and we both just laugh when we can relate to each others experiences. I with my two dogs, she with her two boys.

Please don't think I am down playing the importance of doing things separately with your dogs. I had to work twice as hard for a time for not having put in the necessary separate time earlier. I was fortunate to have had the ability to be with them 24/7. It's part of the reason my husband and I were willing to take on two at one time. Do I think that 24/7 is the only successful way to raise two, NO! But don't fail the dogs by taking on more then you can truly manage.

The most important reason you want to have the separate activity time is that you want the dogs 100% keyed into you not each other. It's not about dominance it's about investing enough time in the relationship that they will willing give up what they want to do for what you want them to do. If one decided to chase a squirrel and it is not safe, you are going to want to have the decisive third opinion in this decision. It may save both their lives in any number of possible scenarios. In more general terms you want them to be looking to you, or deferring to you for key decisions on their behavior instead of each other. This can be as simple as how they greet people at the door or out in the community, to stopping them dead in their tracks before they run into harms way.

I know that you are going to raise awesome Labradors. Just the fact that you are out there looking for all any information you can find tells me that those dogs are luckly to have such a great "Dad".

Good luck! The fun has just begun.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Monday, June 09, 2008


It's long over due that I post but ...

• I started a new job in early May
• I got a bad cold the middle of May
• I helped some dear friends move the end of May
• I'm leaving for vacation at the end of this week.

I'll be back soon, I promise!!


Here's a photo from my recent couple weeks helping
to keep the kids happy while mom and dad were
wading through packing boxes. I know I got the fun,
relatively easy, yet very important part of the deal here!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Need I say more ...?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"The Diva"

In case your wondering why I fondly refer to her as "The Diva". Here she is at 8 months making sure Shelby knows who's boss.  Don't let that sweet face and demure personality fool you, she is 100% B ! ^ @ # (aka Diva) when it suits her.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Just for fun ... An amazingly talented dog!

Thanks to Jan over at the Poodle (and Dog) Blog for sharing this on her blog and putting it on my radar.  I loved it and I hope you will love this video too.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Puppies & Grapes... Too cute for words

I know, I know, I know, grapes are potentially toxic for dogs.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A trip down memory lane

I had fun today creating a movie that is  a complication of video clips taken with my camera.  It brought back memories of the countless hours we spent together the first few months of their life.

From the most popular post on this site

 It makes me happy to know that the information here has helped someone else out there. To date "Honey, I think the dog's tail is broken ! ! " has been one of the top 5 most popular posts on the blog. The other is: Raising two Labrador Retrievers at the same time: A few things we've learned.

Here are a few comments from my mail bag:
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post ""Honey, I think the dog's tail is broken ! ! "":

Ok so my husband and I came home from dinner and to our dismay we found our choclate lab acting as if she broke her tail!!! We did not know how she did this she was home with our older dog which is also a lab yellow, Shelby. We were almost ready to take Maggie May to the vet although we thought of $ signs!! I found your web site and we are hoping that the "cold tail" syndrome is the problem! You see last night I bathed Maggie and then let her out before bed. I will be eternally grateful if this is really the problem with her. She has had her first dose of Asprin! Thank you so much!!
Dear Lisa,

And it was for this very reason I started this blog!!

The collective knowledge of many will help each one of us at some point in our journey.

Hope your Maggie recovers quickly.


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "
"Honey, I think the dog's tail is broken ! ! "":

So two days later Maggie May is recovering!! All the information that was given on this site was right! Maggie's tail is getting better she is not in any pain and we have told so many people our story and how we found your website! Thank you, thank you!!
I remain,
Sincerely yours,


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "
"Honey, I think the dog's tail is broken ! ! "":

Thank you so much for sharing this bit of info! My hubby gave our Lab a bath (she got into some sticky pine 'gunk') Fri & by Sat morning it look like she had a 'broken' tail. Scared me half to death! She laid in her crate most the day until I read I could give her aspirin....Easter weekend - vet would have been outrageous ($$$) She is doing much better tonight.


Average Joe has left a new comment on your post ""Honey, I think the dog's tail is broken ! ! "":

Thanks for the post--you saved me a vet bill. We have a black lab mix and my son gave her a bath outside when it was about 45 degrees. (Not super cold, but enough to do the trick, I guess.) She showed the symptoms exactly as you and your link describe. Thanks again.


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "
"Honey, I think the dog's tail is broken ! ! "":

Everything I have read here is spot on. It can be scary if you know nothing about this. My labby girl went swimming in Vermont one evening this fall, the water was not all that cold as I was wading in it, and showed the same signs. Kept us up most of the night and was very sore to the touch the rest of the day. Was fine with time and a little aspirin.


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "
"Honey, I think the dog's tail is broken ! ! "":

Thanks for the great news. We gave our dog a bath yesterday outside but I guess the water was a little to cold. Today his tail is limp. After researching and finding your site we feel alot better. Keep up the good work
Anonymous ...

I'm so glad that the experience we had, that I shared here, helped you!! It has been my sole intent that at least one other person benefit from what we have learned, and are continuing to learn, by sharing it here in this blog.

Thanks for your kind words.

Knowledge is power ... not to mention peace of mind.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

"Spring Cleaning" My Blog

I've been making several changes to my blog template and background recently. 

One of the things that wasn't working as I had hoped was the tabs section that I had at the top of the "post section" on the page. The "blogger hack" required weird labeling that I'm sure did strange things to keyword searches for bring up my pages. So, when I found an awesome "tabs blogger hack", I relabeled all my blog posts and edited the template html for the new tabs. The instructions were simple to implement for my html ignorant blogger brain. Here's the link for all the instructions I followed to put the new tabs on my blog: [Horizontal Tabs]

For "Step 6." I used method B: It behaved better with the template I'm using.

To get the text color to change to white (or any html color # of your choice depending which color tab your choose) when you hover over the tab, I used this additional code found in the comments on the page:
#tabsori a:hoverspan {
background-position:100% -42px;
To anyone else out there in "blog-o-sphere" making improvements to their blog, I'd love to have you leave me a note with a link to, or details for, how you made improvements to your site. I'm always looking for good ideas.

Happy Blogging,


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More Dog & Cat Humor


8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm - Dinner! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!
Day 983 of my captivity...

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.

They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I have made my contempt for these rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I have once again vomited on the carpet.

Today, I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates my capabilities. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a 'good little hunter' I am.

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of 'allergies'. I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today, I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking.. I must try this again tomorrow, but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released, and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird must be an informant. I have observed him communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe...for now.

Spring Break...

It was Spring Break for my fabulous niece. Fabulous because she loves just walking the beach with the dogs as much as I do. Here are some of the best pics from our day at the beach.

The fabulous day!

A fabulous wave!

One of her fabulous pictures!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Some Dog Humor

Thursday, March 06, 2008

New Moon vs. Full Moon - Who cares?

As some of you may know, "new moon" and "full moon" phases often have the same effect on the tide. Which means that yesterday was a perfect day to take advantage of some beautiful warm March weather by heading to the beach.

Who cares? I didn't as "new moon" & "full moon" both = "low tide"!!

It was a -0.5 tide and the dogs had a blast!! It was a winter beach, not because it was cold, it's just the way the beach is different this time of year. Some of you may know what I'm talking about, so sorry I'm not finding the ability to describe it better than that.

Here's a picture that may help. When it's low tide in the winter it's more common for pools of ocean water to be left behind along this part of the coast. This isn't as common other times of the year here. I'm sure there is someone out there that can explain why. Me, I'm happy just calling it "winter beach".
The black lab in the front is Moses' dad, "Doizer" and the yellow lab in the center back in "Moto" his brother. They belong to friends that live near the beach and both were out taking themselves for a walk when we arrived. The four of them had a blast chasing balls down the beach.

It was a beautiful day!! It was definitely worth the drive in the middle of the week. I suppose it helped inspire the recent changes to the blog. Hope you like them.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Thumbs UP - Thumbs DOWN

So, saying that I've made some changes would be a bit of an understatement.

Since I am far from being able to live at the beach I am doing the next best thing. For those of you who have been here for a while, I'm sure you are not surprised.

I hope that the changes are not band-width prohibitive. Please leave a "tail wag" with your thumbs UP or DOWN.

For the best view of the new background image click HERE then scroll down.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Taking a LEAP ...

As many of you, who have been faithful visitors in the past, have noticed it's been a very long while since I've posted.

Having been caught in my own "time warp space continuum" recently (over booked, over committed) I felt it was appropriate to make every effort to post on a special day like today, "Leap Day". However, I promise to post more than once every four years from now on.

I know I'm cheating a bit but since a picture is worth a thousand words I hope that the pictures make up for the lack of new words on the blog recently.

Morning Companion

Fun at the Lake

Because Winter low tides are the best and this last month offered a beautiful day as well here's a collection from our last trip to the beach.  "Moses" is our good friends dog, and "lucky dog" that he is he actually lives steps from the beach.


Perfect Reflection

Foot prints in the sand may quickly disappear,
but the footprints on our hearts will last a lifetime.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A little off topic

For those of you living far far away from civilization, (LOL) who have never seen an iPhone, this post is coming to you posted completely from my phone. Using the web app on the iPhone I have a full feature miniture web page in Blogger. How cool is that?!

Of course this means that I'm lying in bed with Shelby tucked here in front of me, the two of us snuggled nice and warm, while I write this post.

The posting has been scarce due to hosting both sets of the family for Christmas; mine before, my husbands after. It was so nice, though busy, and the dogs took it all in stride like champs. Of course inviting everyone here meant the dogs got to join me up on the couch when I got a chance to relax.

Everything in my house is machine washable especially the beautiful chocolate brown microfiber slip covers my couches came with. Not only is my house dog friendly, it's nephew/kid and holiday friendly. Got'a love it!!!

And on that note I refuse to buy anything that is a home textile that is not machine washable. Does anyone else feel this way? Dry Clean only is as dated as poodle skirts, there's no excuse for it with all the amazing advances in modern materials... but now I've really digressed!!

I hope you all had a lovely holiday!!

We'll be back to our regularly scheduled topic soon, till then happy blog reading.