Tag Archives: Video

Relocation: One Penske Truck at a Time

Oh hey guys. Sarah here. Sorry it’s been a while, but things have been pretty crazy with the move back to the Midwest. If you’re thinking to yourself, how crazy can it be just loading your life into a truck and driving it 16 hours? Well, if you want to go ahead and grab yourself a 5 hour energy and a Red Bull, I’ll tell you. And don’t skimp on the good stuff. No amount of coffee will be enough for this ride.

Let’s start back at the end of August. The sun was shining and a yet-to-be named yet storm system was gaining strength out in the Gulf just in time for us to pick up our first Penske truck from the local dealer in Sarasota.

And then, as if Sarasota was showing it’s emotion at our leaving, the rain started to fall. Hard.

As Matt waited for the truck to arrive in the rain, I headed back towards the house to meet the movers, pausing briefly as I drove through an already flooded road just outside the Penske lot.

Timestamp: 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 31, 2016.

Per the advice of Brock at the Sarasota Penkse (let’s go ahead and name each one by location for future clarification purposes), we waited to pick up the car hauler until after the truck was loaded. That meant 3-4 more hours of rain before we had to drive a moving truck and a CR-V back through the flooded road, which was now a full-on river.

Should we have seen the signs we were set for an adventure when we were blocked by floodwaters at the only road that would lead us to Penske?

Or perhaps when they told us the trailer we rented wouldn’t fit on a 22-foot truck and we’d need to swap it out for a different one before we even left? Perhaps. But we documented our exit from the Sarasota Penkse with a hopeful smile as the weather guy reported that I-9 was now a Tropical Storm projected to make landfall as Hurricane Hermine near the panhandle of Florida by Thursday.


We’ll be on our way to Tennessee by that time, we optimistically thought. 

We were just north of Ocala when this happened.

And if you’re asking yourself, well how far did you make it before the first truck broke down?

This far.


A mere two hours in the rain to a truck stop just north of Ocala.

And unfortunately that’s as far as we’d make it for a few hours. Lisa’s husband, or brother or ex-husband informed us that we were not going to make it far with this particular sounds like its going to die, floor boards are melting my feet, jerking, shaking, AC and radio shorting out truck that is currently packed to the very edge with all of our belongings.

Now the good news is we were just 10 miles away from the Ocala Penske where they informed us that they had another truck of the same size waiting for us. We could spend the night in Ocala or they could call another set of movers to come over that night and ‘swap the load.’ We opted for the latter to try stay ahead of the storm, still hoping to make our reservation in Atlanta that evening.

Here’s a snapchat snapshot of what followed:

So they swapped the load and we set off for Atlanta Wednesday night but only made it as far as Valdosta to sleep for the night. The truck seemed better but as we set out Thursday morning, we ran into similar problems around Macon. After a brief stop at the Macon Penske dealership we were told nothing was wrong with Truck #2 and on we went.



By this point I was googling Penske dealers out ahead of our drive and basically calling them to tell them we were coming. Just before the mountains on Thursday afternoon, we made a call into the Dalton, GA Penske and told them we were bringing our second truck in for service as there was no way we were going to make it through the mountains with it.

I’ll never forget the look on the lead mechanics face when he came into the break room and gave us the news as if we were getting a terminal diagnosis from a physician.

Unfortunately we’ve seen this issue on a lot of these trucks before guys and it’s not good. It looks like this truck was just serviced for the same issue a few months ago and they didn’t fix it. It’s not good guys. It’s at least a 4-day job. But you came to the right place. We are the place all of the other dealers bring their trucks because our technicians are diamond certified. 

And then he said the words that became oh-so-familiar to us so quickly.

Guys, we’re going to have to swap the load. 

Why don’t you go enjoy a nice dinner on us while we see about getting the movers here. 

And then he said the words that would save us for the rest of the trip.

We’re not going to give you another 22-foot truck. We’re going to tow a new 26-foot truck down from Chatanooga. It has air brakes and less than 17,000 miles on it and should be a more comfortable ride for the remainder of your trip. 

So we went and enjoyed a nice dinner at Chilis and tried to find humor in the last two day’s events.

Timestamp: 9:00 p.m., Thursday, September 1, 2016

Timestamp: 8:00 a.m., Friday, September 2, 2016


Our new truck was amazing and we finally made it to St. Louis Friday evening, just a few days later (and a few more swapped loads) than we originally planned.

I’ll be back for part two where we unpacked boxes and found out how much of our stuff broke in the aforementioned load swapping.

And if you are wondering whether we would ever use Penske again after three trucks and as many days of moving, the answer is maybe. I don’t plan on ever moving ourselves again so that shouldn’t be a problem, but I will say their roadside and customer service made up for the crappy line of 22-foot trucks they acquired.

Until next time!



Yesterday we took Finn down to Venice to check out a dog beach we had heard about. And while he’s probably still mad at me for the inopportune timing of a large, salty wave that came over both of us as I attempted to get him to swim for the first time, judging by the fact that I had to wake him up this morning, I’d say he still had a blast.

Here’s a slideshow recap:

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow


venice dog beach, florida, swiss mountain dog, beach day, gulf

venice dog beach, florida, swiss mountain dog, beach day, gulf

venice dog beach, florida, swiss mountain dog, beach day, gulf


Happy Monday!


Happy Birthday Jake!

Today is my youngest nephew Jake’s fourth birthday.

jake turns 4, what 4 year olds say, 4 year old funnies

It’s hard to believe we’ve only had four years of this precocious kid, but the laughter and joy he brings to our family is immeasurable.

It seems like just yesterday I was begging the concierge at the downtown Hilton Garden Inn to go wake up my dad so we could make the drive from Chicago to Springfield in time for Jake’s arrival. Fortunately for my sister, he came much faster than his older brother and fortunately for my dad and I, the concierge agreed.

brothers, jake birthday, jake and owen

Jake’s 4-going-on-14 personality can partially be attributed to his older brother Owen. Even with a good role model however, it’s been clear from the beginning that Jake would dance to the beat of his own drum. He’d also beat a lot of things, but let’s save that for later.


Jake is all boy. He has been from day one. If something can be used as a weapon, you better believe he will find a way to use it as one. If an object can be scaled, he will climb it. If there is a song to be sung, he will sing it with utmost enthusiasm. And if there are miscellaneous items missing from any one location, he’s your pirate and those items make up his booty.


He’s sweet too though, often telling his mommy how much he loves her, snuggling with Nana and letting his brother pick him up and carry him even as they get closer in size. Yes that last one is also because he’s incredibly lazy but let’s go with sweet for the sake of this paragraph.


But beyond all these traits, the thing I love most about Jake is his sense of humor. He’s funny. And not just in a toddlers do funny things kind of way, but in a this kid has pure comedic timing and he’s going to get into a lot of trouble over the years kind of way.


I can’t wait to be along for the ride. Happy 4th Birthday Jake!

Jake dances to pitbull from Sarah Murphy on Vimeo.

Big Announcement

Ladies and Gentleman, can I please have your attention? I need you to stop what you are doing and listen…

OK so this news isn’t horrifying and it doesn’t have anything to do with cannonballs, but it is kind of a big deal.

If you know me in real life or just by reading this blog, you know that I tend to err on the side of over-sharing. I suppose committing to a blog makes you a bit of an over-sharer to begin with but in my opinion sharing is caring. I come from a family of communicators (read we talk a lot) so keeping things quiet is not my cup of tea. Now don’t get me wrong when it comes to important things (pregnancies and proposals) I can lock it up and throw away the key, but when the news directly relates to me and my life, well I’m like another Anchorman character you might remember:


So with that in mind, imagine how tough these past few weeks have been not being able to share our big news with you.

I know what you’re thinking,

No one cares Sarah. Just get to the news already.


I’m so happy (and a little bit sad) to finally be able to tell everyone that in just a few short weeks we will be moving to the Sunshine State!

greater swiss mountain dog, moving announcement, florida, simply social blog

That’s Florida for those of you Googling it right now.

florida sunset, lido beach, moving announcement

My apologies to those of you who thought I was pregnant or planning a wedding. I know that’s typically what people my age announce these days but all things in due time. To clarify,

No, this isn’t because we just survived the worst winter ever here in Chicago. We will have plenty of room for visitors next winter should it return though.

No, we did not determine our next home based on our March Madness picks. If that was the case we’d probably never make it back to Illinois. Guess there’s always next season though right boys?

And no, I did not consider living in Florida when I decided to get a greater swiss mountain dog. Poor guy is going to have to learn to love the heat just like his momma.

greater swiss mountain dog, moving announcement, florida, simply social blog

Truth is our move is career-driven and we couldn’t be more excited for the new adventure. I guess we should have known this was coming since Finn’s favorite toy is a Florida Gators basketball of which neither of us know the origin, but believe it or not the decision happened rather quickly.

I realized last week that it was just about this time 6 years ago that I moved to Chicago. Not far out of college, incredibly nervous and excited, nothing could have prepared me for the countless ways this city would steal my heart over the next 6 years. I’ve been feeling awfully nostalgic as we prepare for our move so expect a series of posts in the coming weeks that bid farewell to the city I’ve grown to love so much.

And don’t even get me started on the people. I’m pretty sure a month’s worth of posts wouldn’t do them justice. We leave some of our very best friends and family in this city and we can’t wait to come back and visit them, often.


I’m going to wrap this up before start to cry thinking about being across the country from my family and friends but know that there will be plenty more farewell posts before we depart.

For now I’ll leave you with a behind the scenes video of Finn familiarizing himself with what is sure to be all of our new favorite fruit. It’s a good thing we’re in the soccer business because this kid has some foot skills.

Finn vs. Orange from Sarah Murphy on Vimeo.

Mint Chocolate Trifle

So my oven broke last week just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. I know what you’re thinking perfect timing. But after over analyzing my failed ombre cake this weekend I decided not to let it get to me. I decided to follow the advice of two of the wisest guys I know and just let it go.

Frozen by Jake and Owen from Sarah Murphy on Vimeo.

And then I decided to make a trifle.

st. patrick's day mint chocolate trifle, dessert, brownie and oreo trifle

The best part about this trifle is you don’t have to use your oven to make it. Ideally I would have baked the brownies included in it but when I’m layering one million decadent desserts in a dish to serve as one mega decadent dessert, my need for homemade ingredients goes out the window.

st. patrick's day mint chocolate trifle, dessert, brownie and oreo trifle

Mint Chocolate Trifle

  • 2 C Oreos, crushed
  • 1 C Andes mints, chopped
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding
  • brownies
  • cool whip
  • milk

In a large bowl, whip milk into vanilla pudding mix until combined. Add a few drops of green food coloring. Place in fridge to set up.

Once you are ready to build the trifle, begin with a layer of brownies on the bottom of the dish.

Combine half of cool whip into pudding mixture. Add half of pudding on top of brownies. Add a layer of cool whip. Top with half of Oreo and Andes mint mixture. Repeat.

st. patrick's day mint chocolate trifle, dessert, brownie and oreo trifle

Try to avoid eating within two hours of running.

I’ve got friends in Nashvegas

If this blog was a podcast, you’d probably be able to infer how my weekend in Nashville went within the first minute. Lucky for you the written word doesn’t have volume because I left my voice in Nashville. I also left quite a few hours of sleep on the table so I’ll keep this post short and sweet.

I’d heard people refer to Nashville as Nashvegas a few times over the past few years. It wasn’t until I experienced myself this past weekend that I understood why. I went into the weekend with an open mind, fully expecting us to have leisurely days of site seeing and lunching, followed by a nice dinner and perhaps one crazy night of dancing. I love country music, so I knew I’d be in my element. I had heard there was a good food scene, too. What occurred over the next 48 hours was equal parts unexpected and awesome. Here’s why:

nashville girl's trip

1. 5 of my best friends made the trip from various states for our first girl’s weekend in a long time (I should end the post right here because without these girls, the rest of these reasons just wouldn’t make sense.)

2. We had a fabulous brunch at local spot, the Southern complete with pitchers of Bloody Mary’s AND Mimosas.

3. We ate biscuits every day. Classic American dining is right.

4. This bar. Where we spent no less than 5-6 hours in over a 48 hour period, most of which during the day. Like a casino with loose slots, we just couldn’t get enough.

5. Because they have taverns that you pedal. While sipping on drinks. And woo hooing. We have these in Chicago too but because I’ve yet to try them, Nashville ones get my vote for now.

6. Because my girlfriends don’t let a tummy ache get them down. Instead they devise a strategy and hold themselves accountable by requiring photo evidence. Well done, sista.

7. The Country Music Hall of Fame. And even though we didn’t see any of it besides this gift shop, we can say we’ve been there. It is Music City after all.

8. See #1.

nashville girl's weekend

9. Sunsets like this.

10. A friend who is willing to live band karaoke Ring of Fire at noon on a Saturday.

11. T-shirts that mock your love of salads.

12. Soda shops.

13. A delicious birthday dinner at local spot, City House.

14. Headwraps and southern hair.

Did I mention that they call it Music City? The talent in this town is unbelievable. You have to love a place, where on a Saturday afternoon you can witness something like this:

Young talent in Nashville from Sarah Murphy on Vimeo.

My voice may be an indication of some of the fun I had this weekend, but even without a new city and all the noise that comes with it, I’d probably still have the same things to say about my experience today. It’s hard to put into words how thankful I am to be able to spend a weekend with some of my best friends. Life gets in the way sometimes and many times for good reason. At this point in our lives, everyone has a lot of responsibility. I feel blessed each and every time I get a chance to laugh with them and reflect on the years we’ve spent building our friendships. I know not everyone has friends like that and I feel incredibly lucky to have had mine throughout most of my life.

So if you don’t have a weekend planned now, do it. Or at least reach out and tell you friends how much they mean to you. We all know how important family is, but a good friendship is something to be truly thankful for.

Enjoy your week.

Sad Finn Diary

Last week I came across this sad dog diary video. There’s a cat version out there too. Take a minute and watch it.

Ok now stop laughing. Since I can’t get this out of my head, I thought I would let Finn share his take on this weekend’s activities. That and I realized my phone is chock full of sad Finn photos. So without further ado, I bring you the Sad Finn Diary.

greater swiss mountain dog sad dog diary

Dear Diary,

My human has returned home from Minnesota and started grinding up all of her food instead of eating it whole. I know not yet the reason. She shoves perfectly shaped fruit into a loud machine until nothing is left but a pulp. Perhaps a form of self mutilation? I need more time to research. I have taken to eating items to induce sickness in solidarity. But for some reason my human is feeding me nothing but chicken and rice this week. It is delicious and I feel guilty but satisfied. I’m afraid she will have to learn this lesson on her own. Poor human.


My human shared my ‘tricks’ with the world through a new Instagram video feature this weekend. At least that’s what she told me. I don’t know what this Instagram she speaks so highly of but I don’t think I like it. Aside from the exhausting task that ‘high-fiving’ has on a 75 pound species like me, she asked me to do it twice. I can only assume this is because I knocked her device out of her hand the first time. I don’t think she realized I did it purposefully. I fear the device is brainwashing her. I must stop it.

greater swiss mountain dog sad dog diary simply social blog

I received a new chewing device this weekend. Well two of them. I assume this is a sign that the other items in the house were not meant for this purpose. Specifically those that my humans sit on. I pretend to be interested as my humans try to decide what animal my new chewing device represents. The discussion of lobster versus sting ray goes on far longer than it should. Since I can’t don’t care to add anything to the conversation, I focus on the similarity in taste between my new plastic stick and the ottoman leg. I determine that this substitute will suffice for now. But not forever.

greater swiss mountain dog sad dog diary simply social blog

On Sunday my humans took me for a ride in the car. I didn’t know where we were traveling but I was very excited nonetheless. As the building disappeared and the fields grew wider, I considered that they might be taking me back to my place of origin. I could not be sure. Contemplation makes me tired. I must rest.

greater swiss mountain dog sad dog diary simply social blog

When we arrived at our destination I realized that my humans were meeting with other family members to sit under tents and talk. I spotted two other dogs across the yard. They looked familiar but it would take at least 15 minutes of butt-sniffing to determine how I knew them. Their humans called them by name: Harley and Charlie. According to my human they were my cousins. I’ve yet to determine how that is possible. 

golden retriever simply social blog

I soon realized that this wasn’t just a family gathering but a challenge of superiority between my kinfolk. The smell of grilled meat and beer wafted through the warm air as we clumsily tried to reacquaint ourselves after months of isolation. I chewed a stick to calm my nerves. It tasted much more authentic than the plastic version.

greater swiss mountain dog sad dog diary simply social blog

There were children at the gathering as well. Some newer than others. My human thought they were adorable but to me they smelled of milk and mixed vegetables. To each their own I suppose.

Baby aaron simply social blog IMG_3221

We left the gathering some time later and began our drive back home. Exhaustion from the day’s events soon sunk in. I didn’t reign superior on speed, agility or weightlifing, but I did manage to be the only one brave enough snatch the victory napkin flag from the matriarch. And for that I am proud. I will voluntarily wedge myself into the smallest nook of the floorboard and reflect on how I can improve my skills before the next gathering. 


I am starting to think that my human is afraid of me. Nearly every morning after I show her how to pee outdoors, she puts me back inside and runs away. Just today she offered me a treat but then ran away before she delivered it. Is this some sort of sign? She did glance at that wicked device first.  I will pull all of the dish towels from the counter in protest until she returns home.

greater swiss mountain dog sad dog diary simply social blog

Baking at Inappropriate Times

I’ve been reading a lot of blog posts lately. I love stumbling across new and interesting people through Instagram or other social networks and getting immersed in their lives, even for just a few moments. An entire blog dedicated to your love of chevron? Don’t mind if I do. Oh, you don’t just donate money, you actually travel to other countries to help underprivileged children…every 6 months. Of course you do!

There’s a wonderful community of writers out there sharing their passion with the world. Some have even made a business out of it. As I sit down to write each week, I sometimes doubt whether my blog is worth the time and effort.

Is anyone actually going to read this? And if they do, will they enjoy it? 

And then I come across this blog. And this one. And my confidence is restored.

Let’s get serious. I’m not saving lives here folks. The recipes I share are not revolutionary. Contrary to what I believe, one can only handle so many puppy pictures. But the more I write the more I realize that it’s the process itself in which I find fulfillment. Writing is my form of expression. Well one of them at least. Sometimes I kid myself into thinking I can actually sing in the shower and am quickly reminded that it was my sister who got the vocal talent in the family.

In a world of Pinterest, final drafts and Photoshop, we see a version of a project, recipe or person that has a lot of editing behind it. And just like the real world, it’s hard not to compare your dimly lit eggplant stack to the perfect Pinterest version you were striving for.

The more blogs I read, the more I find myself jumping to the About section after finishing the initial post. I’m interested in the content, but before I get to it I want to know more about the author. What does he or she look like? Do we share any similarities? 

It’s like the little girl in the AT&T commercial says,

We want more, we want more. You really like it, you want more. 

And I’d be a hypocrite if I noticed this tendency and didn’t do something about my own about. If you visited my about page previously you would have seen a very brief paragraph and a photo of Finn and I. And that was it.

OK, so this girl likes food, photography and dogs. Not necessarily in that order.

I know it’s hard to believe seeing as how most of this blog is dedicated to observations about my life, but when it came to making a list of items to help strangers get to know me as a person, I actually had a hard time writing them down. I got a little overwhelmed thinking that the throngs of visitors the few new visitors that came across the page might judge me based on the list.

What if they think I’m presumptuous? What if they think I’m boring? What if they think raisins are disgusting? 

And while I know I still have some work to do on improving the section, I hope that this small list will help you learn a little bit more about me and perhaps just maybe a few things that make you want to read more.


If those random observations weren’t enough to make you judge me, this next one might put you over the edge:

I locked my puppy inside my condo last week. 

It gets worse.

Not only did I lock my puppy inside my condo, but I hopped on a flight to D.C. for a work trip for the remainder of the week shortly thereafter. You may be thinking,

Well don’t you lock your puppy inside your condo everyday, Sarah?

And you would be right (except for the days he goes to daycare). But on this particular day, my boyfriend had a game in Houston and would not return until late that evening, far too long for a large but young puppy to be cooped up inside.

And before you send my information to the ASPCA, know that I wouldn’t have left my puppy locked in my condo without a plan. My mom was in town for work and offered to let the monster out mid-day. We had a belated Mother’s Day dinner the night before and I was so proud of myself for remembering to give her the security key to get into my building. I would just keep my door key so I could get back in that night and leave the door open for her the next day.

Point Sarah? 

But come Tuesday morning, I rushed out the door to get to the airport and, wait for it, locked the door.

Fast-forward several hours later and my phone rings mid-conference set-up.

Mom: Well honey, I think I have the right unit but the door seems to be locked. Are you sure I’m at the right door? 

(confusion, realization, helplessness)

Me: Yes. You are. I ran out so fast. I think I locked it. 

Mom: Oh well don’t you worry about it honey. He will be fine.  

The good news is my mom is sweet even when I’m an idiot. Even better news is that I was able to call in a favor from another family member to open the door and let Finn out before anything bad happened. You know, like the poor puppy having to take an extra long nap instead of a long one that day.

In an effort to begin to show my gratitude to my cousin for letting Finn out for me, I inquired about his taste in baked goods from his sister. She mentioned that he liked Scotcheroos.


I’ll admit, I had to Google the name to figure out what they were. However, once I saw a photo the baker in me laughed. Oh, Scotcheroos. That’s what these blogs call those Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Bar things. Because my version was so much easier to explain all these years.

I had a few hours Friday between D.C. and Milwaukee so I made a batch and delivered them to my cousin and a few friends on foot. Yes, on foot. In 80 degree weather. You might remember the first half of the story when I gave myself a point for proactively giving my mom my security key. And how proactive I was. It wasn’t as though I would need that particular key when I returned to gain access my garage where my car is parked. Or the stairwell. Or the building.

Negative points Sarah. 

But I survived thanks to a keypad and some nice neighbors. And along the way I learned that Scotcheroos don’t melt if you properly load them in a cinch-sack, run fast and deliver to air-conditioned condos early in the morning.

chocolate peanut butter scotcheroos rice krispie treats

Chocolate Scotcheroos

  • 6 cups Puffed Rice Cereal
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter (I used 1/2 C almond butter and 1/2 C peanut butter)
  • 1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 C butterscotch chips
  • Chopped heath bars (for topping)

In a large bowl melt corn syrup, sugar and peanut butter. Pour mixture over puffed rice and stir until combined. Press into a greased 9×13 pan.

In a separate bowl melt butterscotch chips and chocolate chips. I was in a hurry so I melted the chocolate in the microwave on 30 second intervals. I added a little chocolate almond bark at the end.

Spread melted chocolate mixture over puffed rice, top with chopped heath bar bits and let cool. If needed refrigerate for a few minutes until it sets up.

Cut into small squares and serve. Be sure to add the extra weight of Scotcheroos into your calculations for distance traveled as part of delivery. Continue running because those suckers are decadent!

chocolate scotcheroos rice krispie treats

So now that we’ve established the formal name of those token bake sale, tailgate and office treats, we can all move on to memorial day.

As for me I’m just excited to have access to my building again. I received a package in the mail this week that reminded me how lucky I am to have such considerate parents.


I’m not sure at what point my parents decided to have a second child, but it’s times like these I feel pretty lucky that they did. They could have stopped at one, you know. Just enjoyed the peaceful sounds of my sister singing and eating nothing but chicken sandwiches throughout the years. But no. They decided to have always hurried and often forgetful Sarah. And while I’m sure they would say there are other perks to having me as a daughter, I am fairly confident that thanks to me they are on a first-name basis with the key man at Ace Hardware by now. And I think we all know how valuable that can be.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Positive Reinforcement

On January 9th, my rapidly-growing swissy, Finn reached his 6-month mark. For those of you unfamiliar with the Greater Swiss Mountain dog, the breed tends to gain around 10 pounds per month over their first year. They are big dogs. They also are known for their love for weight-pulling. And while I hope to increase my weight-lifting in 2013, I’ve accepted the fact that my pup will be stronger than me in no time.


wasn’t I so cute and tiny?


look ma, 6 months!

I grew up with dogs, but between soccer games, basketball practice, volleyball matches, and the occasional ‘I’m going out with my friends, gosh!’ my mom always ended up with the responsibility of training the dog. (Thank you by the way) When I finally decided to get Finn after years of hold-out, I resolved to be patient and diligent in teaching him the basic skills (and fun tricks) we both needed to live as congenial roommates. I researched online, bought a ton of books and really tried to put myself in his paws position before I reacted to a situation. And I have to say, it works. Starting with this concept from the get-go will make your life and training easier. Plus, it’s kind of fun too.

I didn’t realize I was doing it at the time, but the basic skills I worked on with Finn in those early weeks seem to have paid off. Now at 6 months, he sits, lays and heels on cue–Progress! But because he picked up the basics fairly easily, I figured he he could only benefit from further training. Oh that and within the last three weeks he’s ingested a 5 inch rawhide bone whole, approximately 5-7 small wooden stamps (don’t worry I finished my Christmas gift tags first), and a plethora of paper products.

So after a brief vacation at Nana and Papoo(ch)’s house over the holidays where he ran free in the backyard, dined on Christmas prime rib (Thanks Dad?) , and snuggled on the couch to his heart’s content, I decided to enroll Mr. Finn and I in the canine manners class that our Vet recommended.


The class we signed up for emphasizes foundation skills (targeting, self-control, attention, etc) to reinforce behaviors that dogs either do well naturally or teach them new ones. It’s offered through Animal Behavior Training Concepts and its fascinating. Positively reinforce good behaviors? There’s a concept! And while the class itself is about working with your dog, I was reminded how much these concepts can be applied to our interactions with people as well.

Let’s get serious, most of the time the people need the training more than the pups. I find the human-canine relationship fascinating. Even before I got Finn, I had an ever-growing mental photo album of people who look like their pets (start taking notice-they do!). And living in the city with close proximity to the lake path and a popular dog park around the corner has only added to it.

I think we could all benefit from the lessons learned in our manners orientation this week. Take a step back. Remove distractions. Observe the situation and wait for an offering of the behavior you want to see. And when it does happen, reinforce it positively. Chances are you’ll see it again.

Have a good week everyone!