Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Houdini dog and exercise classes

Well, we discovered today that Joey is a Houdini dog. We put him in his crate (stocked with toys) so we could go to the rec center and avoid a repeat of what happened on Sunday. I even put peanut butter in a Kong toy to keep him busy for a while.

When we got home, however, he greeted us at the door! And there was a huge mess in the living room. He'd escaped from his crate somehow. There are two latches on the outer side of the door, one on top and one on bottom; he apparently unlatched the bottom one and squeezed his way out of the crate.

Thankfully, he didn't damage anything important--he got into the bathroom garbage (so gross), so that  mess was strewn across the living room; and he got into the kitchen sink. He actually grabbed some ceramic bowls from the sink, brought them into the living room and licked them clean. He did ruin my water bottle, but other than that, it wasn't anything major.

I'm shocked that he didn't get into the pantry--I'd left the door to the pantry open, and wasn't worried about it because Joey was in his crate. So, it was another lesson learned ;) We now have another (separate) latch to use on the bottom of the crate door, so hopefully that will work? My brother said that his dog, Bailey, chewed up EVERYTHING when he first got her, but she eventually grew out of it. I'm hoping that Joey does, too. We knew when we adopted him that labs are notorious chewers, so I was expecting it; but he was an angel for the first two weeks we had him, and I thought we just got lucky. ;)

It's super hard to even be mad at him, because 90% of the time, he looks like this:

I love that Chandler is in the background staring at us!
Someone mentioned leaving the radio on while we're gone, and that reminded me that I have a CD of music that was actually made for dogs with separation anxiety! When I went to the Purina Better With Pets Summit, they handed out the CD's, and I got one for dogs and one for cats. Since we didn't have a dog, I had planned to give it to someone, but I forgot about it until I read that comment about the radio. So, next time we leave, I'm going to try playing that. The composers were at the summit, and I was thoroughly sold on the idea after they gave their presentation.


Anyway, Noah went to a friend's house today, so I told Eli he could invite a friend over. Jerry and I took both of them to the rec center to swim in the afternoon. Jerry ran on the indoor track for three miles while I did a deep water run.

Today, instead of doing intervals with the Garmin, I used Jerry's run to do some tough intervals. From the pool, I could see Jerry running around the track above me and to my right. There are 12 laps per mile, so it doesn't even take a full minute to run around the track once. I decided that every time he passed a particular pole, I would "sprint" in the water, running at 100% effort (as hard as I could sustain), until he reached the pole again. Then I'd jog slowly while he ran the next lap. And I repeated that several times--it was an exhausting workout!

While I was waiting for the kids to change clothes after swimming, I picked up a brochure about upcoming classes that are offered at the rec. I've never paid attention to them, because I am not a "classes person". I've always liked running because it's a solo exercise (unless I choose to run with a friend).

As I looked through it, I decided that I'm going to take a class starting next month. This is WAY out of my comfort zone. Even though I'm no longer 253 pounds, I still feel like I look that way--it's hard to explain, but I've always been super self conscious of the jiggling and having a hard time with exercise. I remember that before I lost the weight, I would try an exercise video or something, and I was terrible at it--I couldn't keep up, I was breathing like Darth Vader, and pouring sweat... during the warm-up!

So, when I think of classes, I picture that scene in my head. Even though I am no longer that person, and I'm sure I could handle a class just fine, I still picture myself as I was 100 pounds ago. I'm scared to go, but I think it will be good for me to prove to myself that I am capable of doing it. And who knows? Maybe I'll enjoy it!

The big question is which class I'm going to take. The most interesting to me right now would be either Aquacise or Water Kickboxing because I've been doing the deep water running. The one that sounds least appealing is yoga, because I'm not at all flexible and I really disliked it when I tried it in Bethlehem recently. I'm kind of thinking maybe I should do the yoga--if I'm going to step out of my comfort zone for the class, might as well go big or go home, right? ;) My friend Hilary has been trying to talk me into giving yoga a try, so I know she'd be happy if I did it. The one big benefit of taking a class is that I'll be forced to do cross-training--no excuses! I really want to make cross-training a habit, so an 8-week class will certainly help.

Tomorrow, I'm taking a painting class at a restaurant with Jessica. Should be interesting! I'm glad that I posted about it earlier this week, because I could have sworn it was on Tuesday. Thankfully, Jessica read my blog, because she sent me a text that said, "You know the class is on Thursday, right?" Hahaha, nope--but now I do :)

36 comments:

  1. Oh do yoga!! It's such great cross training for runners. I've noticed the biggest improvements in my stamina and speed when I'm going to yoga once a week :) Can't wait to hear all about whatever you choose to do!

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    1. I'm thinking yoga would probably help me to stay injury-free once my ankle is healed--and I don't ever want to be injured like this again! ;) I'm SO intimidated by yoga, though. We'll see!

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  2. Katie, I know you really dislike yoga- but there are so many benefits to practicing it- including that it is great for anxiety and depression. But truly any exercise class can be fun over time...it may just take some time to get used it it. Also, I've been noticing and loving that you are stepping out of your comfort zone these days! Risking and being vulnerable when trying new things are uncomfortable but SO GOOD for us. Our brains and bodies learn how to tolerate the stress, discomfort, and anxiety on a more regular basis and I believe it reduces our overall level of stress arousal and helps lessen anxiety.

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    1. Yes! I've noticed that the more I do things I am nervous about, the easier it gets over time. Hopefully, that will be the case with the classes.

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  3. Great idea to do a class. My advice is to take the class that appeals to you the most... that way you will have the best chance of enjoying it and sticking with it. I would save yoga for next time. Just my opinion :-)

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    1. That was my first thought, too! They have new classes starting every 8-10 weeks, so whatever I don't do this time, I can always do next time.

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    2. When I started working out, I opted for classes simply because I would be too embarrassed to walk out in the middle of it, so it would force me to give it a real shot. It will be tough, but eventually help with feeling more confident. It did for me. After about 3 classes I felt like I belonged.

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  4. Have you looked into how much, and what kind exercise your labrador actually needs? That means, structured exercise next to simple walks and playtime? Because this is notoriously what happens when you leave a lab bored, with too much pent up energy.

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    1. And putting him in a crate when he is full of energy and bored is probably not the kindest solution if this is the case.

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    2. I did a ton of research before we adopted him, and I feel confident that the 3-5 miles of walking plus an hour of hard exercise (playing fetch) per day is more than enough. Eventually, I'd like to take him running with me, also.

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  5. I highly recommend classes. Personally, I've never had the dedication or stamina to get up and do something like running, but classes help to keep me accountable. Once I'm there, and I see everyone around me, I'm motivated and the time just flies by! Does your gym have Zumba? I'm actually an instructor and I love it. My heart rate monitor tells me I burn between 750 and 950 calories in an hour and it doesn't feel like exercise at all. It may be too high impact for your ankle right now, but you should check it out at some point! :)

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    1. They do offer a Zumba class, but that is scarier to me than the yoga! haha. I'm SO uncoordinated. Maybe I'll work my way up to that ;)

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  6. Hi Katie! First of all good for you for adopting an adult dog!! They so often get passed over and have so much love to give. I foster dogs for a rescue and often times these dogs have lots and lots of separation anxiety. Crate training is so important for Joey and it's really good your trying to get him going on that. I think his issue really is the separation and not the exercise. Here are some tricks we use at the rescue. We feed meals in the crate at first. We also crate the dogs for short stints of time while we are home so they get used to being in the crate and feel safe in there. It really works. Good luck and happy tails :)

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    1. I really do think that it's the separation anxiety that's the issue. He's fantastic when we are home! Thankfully, I'm home most of the day, so even when I crate him, it's not for more than a few hours. He enjoys his crate when we are here, too--I leave the door open and sometimes he goes in there on his own to take a nap. Thanks so much for the tips!

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    2. Good luck Katie! I know he will come around. <3

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  7. Haha oh my that is too funny. We called my dog Houdini for a while too because he got out the same way! Could not figure out how he squeezed his body outta there! We don't use the crate anymore but when we did we would put him in there and then turn the crate around so the opening was facing the wall. So if he did manage to unlatch it again he couldn't go anywhere because the wall was blocking him. Dogs can get into trouble but they are so worth it! Good luck

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    1. I know! He's 60 pounds, and somehow managed to squeeze out of the tiniest opening. That's smart to turn the crate around! Ours is enormous, so I don't know that I could do that, but it's a great idea.

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  8. Hi Katie!
    Love your blog :)
    I started doing yoga before becoming a runner. I now teach yoga and like to remind people that we go to yoga to improve strength and flexibility- you don't have to be flexible at all to go to a class! Just talk to the teacher first and make sure you are comfortable w/ them :) I was very intimidated to go to my first yoga class- I think this is very common. Now I love it!

    Good luck with Joey and crating. My friend's lab also pulled a Houdini when they first got her- animals are so smart and determined! Good thing he's so cute :)

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  9. Chandler photo bombed the picture of Joey, and he doesn't even have that awful smile! Good luck on training Joey, we have a Bulldog who's just past a year and a half, she can be a handful at times, and we have had her since she was 8 weeks old. She has gotten to the point, however, when we leave the house, she just hops up on the couch and sleeps all the time we are gone, at least I guess she does....

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  10. I was going to suggest getting some of the CDs in the Through a Dog's Ear series, but it sounds like you already have one. I've found that they work well. The trainers at the shelter where you got Joey should also be able to give you some advice on separation anxiety and Joey.
    Martine

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  11. Classes always motivate me to keep up. The class that I loved was spinning. The one I took was in a dark room, so I didn't feel like people were watching me so much. Plus they played loud music the whole time, which I LOVED!

    My husband does yoga, but I just can't get into it. I just don't like the quiet...plus I'm always afraid that I'll do something embarrassing like pass gas (ugh I know) while the whole room is silent. That. is. my. nightmare.

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  12. Katie, I had never tried yoga although I have the equipment (mat, strap, block). I did a Jessica Smith video and even as uncoordinated and NOT flexible, I actually enjoyed it! She has some workouts that are no joke and sweat was dripping on the mat. Give it a shot...you never know!

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  13. My mom and brother are yoga teachers, but I just CANNOT get into it, so I totally feel you. I think it's just too slow and boring for me. Like... I know which muscles I need to stretch, and I love to sit down on the floor after a treadmill workout and do just that... at least, that's when I feel best--a bit of cardio and then some relaxing stretch/chill time. As far as the aquatic classes go, I'd recommend the kickboxing one--some of the other water workouts can be pretty mild. I used to teach prenatal water fitness and mostly it just felt like we were all hanging out and bobbing around for 45 minutes. haha.

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  14. Ive been thinking of getting a dog for such s long time and I have yet to do it! Yours is so adorable!

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  15. Carabiners work really well on canine houdinis. We use them with all of our tough dogs at the rescue. You could also try giving him a more interesting Kong. You can find great "recipes" here: http://www.kongcompany.com/recipes/ and https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/how-stuff-kong-toy

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  16. My pup was very calm when we first got him, too! I think that was a nerves thing. He wasn't completely familiar with the environment. That changed after a couple of weeks!

    Those painting classes are fun. I am no artist, but I sort of became addicted!

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  17. I've recently come across a yoga class called "barre yoga". It's like a very intense version of ballet postures (with very little yoga at all). I was thinking maybe you'd like it, because there is no hopping involved, so it might also work with your ankle, but it's super hard and very effective muscle training. Think slo-mo squats. Maybe give it a google :)

    Good luck!
    Long-time-reader and never commented (because my long comments always get deleted when I click publish!!!)

    Laura

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  18. I feel the same way as you about exercise classes, I've always been so self conscious! I recently stepped way out of my comfort zone and decided to give yoga a try and I loved it! It was challenging and I did feel pretty awkward at times but there were women and men there of all shapes, sizes and abilities and it was a very welcoming environment. Hope you enjoy it!

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  19. I know how you feel about classes but once I got over the fear of going in, I have never looked back. I have made some really good friends in classes and now we motivate each other to get to the gym.

    As for yoga, I don't like it, but I agree it has great benefits. I would love to try water kick boxing.

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  20. Yay yoga! Although do what ever class seems the most appealing. I still get nervous trying a new class and I've been at it for over a year! It does get a lot better though. I will say give a few classes a try before you decide if you like it or not. I also has a friend who started doing aqua aerobics while pregnant and loved it so much she kept it up!

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  21. I just about spit my drink all over the computer screen as I started reading this post :o) soooo reminds me of our Barkley who is a rescued Basenji. He was found by a farmer...had been dumped we are guessing. He was feeding himself by killing chickens from a different farmer and they were afraid he would be shot because he was being a nuisance. Our vet told me about him and I drove out to the farm to meet him after doing a bunch of research on the breed. They are extremely rare around here...no area vets had ever treated one (I called them because I did not want to fall in love with him and then the owner show up). Brought him home and then the fun began. Has perfect house manners...waits to be invited up on your lap or furniture, doesn't beg for food, etc BUT...that boy HATES his crate - and he has to be crated. Unsupervised...he gets into everything. Have had him since 2006 nothing has changed. My husband and I work different shifts (so one of us is always available for our son) so the dogs don't need crated for long. 1st time we left him I came home to one corner of the crate wedged precariously on the baseboard...he had slid the plastic tray out the front of the crate...all the way out...and squeezed between the bottom bars because those are further apart. Crate was up on the baseboard to give him some room I guess. Next day we put him at the foot of my sons bed..no baseboards in sight...husband zip tied the plastic tray in...thought all was good. Came home to a SHREDDED quilt...he stuck his paw though and pulled the quilt in and went to town. OK...next...middle of the room...nothing within reach...came home to him running around....chewed off enough of the wires to make an escape route out the side. We ended up buying an expensive "gorilla tough" crate...VERY heavy gauge wire and a unique multi-step locking system (because he also had figured out how to open the simple lock on his old crate). 1st day in that one...came home to the bottom plastic tray broken into many pieces and was only gone a few minutes to take son to school. Husband ended up putting a piece of plywood as the base which make the crazy thing even heavier. Has zip-tied all pieces together in many places...top, bottom and sides and there are days he still gets out if we don't pay close attention and do the locking mechanism just right. All this from a 30 pound dog. He is a hand full but I adore him. Ellen Renee

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  22. Remarkable post, Daily weight loss program is so essential for getting the desired weight loss.

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  23. My dog used to get out of his crate sometimes. I just put two metal carabiners near each lock and that fixed it. :)

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  24. Hi, Katie! Our dog also had the same disappearing act! We leave him out in the house now, but while he was still house training, we definitely couldn't. We tested many crates and he broke them all until we got this one by Kong: http://www.petsmart.com/dog/crates/kong-space-saving-double-door-pet-crate-zid36-6369/cat-36-catid-100086

    The doors actually slide up instead of swing out. Plus, the metal is super durable. It was the final crate we had to get him that he couldn't escape. :) Our new dog uses it now and we still have no issues with it. We also leave on the radio and I'm not sure if it helps, but we do it anyway. Our older dog definitely has separation anxiety and even now when we leave (with him loose in the house), he'll dig at the back door if we say anything to him before we leave. It hurts to do, but we just have to get our things, ignore him completely and walk out the door. If we ever say, "Bye, Jake!" or even look at him, we'll get home to a torn-up back hallway. Anyway, Joey seems like a great dog and I'm sure you'll all be fine. Good job on the obedience class too! :)

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  25. Curious how the anti-anxiety music worked out - our senior dog has recently started the crazy chew-up-everything puppy-like behavior when we have to leave her so I've had to go back to crating her. Think of you on almost every run!

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    1. I'm not really sure how well it worked... Joey was pretty calm when I got home, but he had chewed up his bed inside the crate. So I still don't trust that he'd NOT chew up stuff while I'm gone!

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