Five Tricks for Navigating My Mom’s Dementia-Filled Days

When my mom had her mini-stroke a few weeks back, it negatively impacted her dementia in a major way. She went from exhibiting mostly mild symptoms with a few moderate ones thrown in, to exhibiting mostly moderate symptoms with a few severe ones thrown in. If I was gulping about being a caregiver before, I’m triple gulping about it now. I had hoped some of this was related to the stroke and that in time she’d come back to me. But she’s not shown any improvement. If anything, she gets a little worse each day. This has presented major challenges … Continue reading

Easy Picture Hanging Tips

Hanging a picture shouldn’t be rocket science. Yet, to me it is still intimidating. I am never sure if I will hang the pictures correctly or leave a gaping hole in the wall. I’m worried that I might smash a finger or two, since I can be a bit accident prone. My hesitation is obvious when you come to my house. The only pictures that are actually hanging on the wall are the ones where nails or hooks already existed when we moved in to the home. Needless to say, this arrangement doesn’t give me much flexibility in my decorating. … Continue reading

Teach Your Dog How to Dance

If your dog likes to jump up, you may find it easy to teach your dog how to dance! I’m currently working on this trick with my Lally — she is a boxer mix who lives up to the “boxer” part of her heritage. When someone comes to the door, she likes to jump up and “box” them in greeting. I’d love it if she only did that sort of thing on command! The advantage of dancing on command is that it becomes a replacement behavior for jumping up. Many dogs who learn to dance don’t end up putting as … Continue reading

Teach Your Dog to Fetch

My dog Lally learned to fetch from an ex-boyfriend’s dog. She watched him chasing a ball around the yard and soon started chasing it herself! You don’t need a dog to lead by example, though, in order to teach your dog to fetch. Teaching your dog to fetch will probably be easiest if your dog already likes carrying things in his or her mouth. But that isn’t a requirement! Tell your dog to sit. If your dog doesn’t know how to sit yet, you can teach him that first. Bring a toy a few steps away from where the dog … Continue reading

Teach Your Dog How to Lay Down

If your dog already knows how to sit, it will be relatively easy to teach him or her to lie down. This is especially easy if you have some kind of irresistible treat to work with. (For my dogs, that would be anything involving chicken.) Step One: Ask your dog to sit. Always start with the basics! Step Two: Stick that irresistible treat in front of his nose. Step Three: Slowly move the treat down towards the floor. Step Four: Say DOWN or whatever command you’ve chosen as your dog begins to follow the treat and lie down. Step Five: … Continue reading

Teach Your Dog How To Shake

Once your dog knows how to sit on command, you can use that as a starting point for other tricks, like “lay down” and “shake”. Whether you want to call it “shake hands” or “give paw” or “high five”, teaching your dog to shake on command is an easy trick that will get you (and the pup) lots of oohs and aahs. Get your dog to sit. Hold his attention with a treat. Pick up one of his front paws and hold it VERY loosely in your hand. Say SHAKE (or whatever command you want him to learn). Reward him … Continue reading

Teach Your Dog How To Sit

Sit is an easy command — and a useful one for your dog to know. There’s more than one way to teach your dog how to sit. Method One: Face your dog with a treat or toy in your hand. Show him the treat. Chances are, he’ll come to get it. As he approaches, raise the treat up and over his head. Chances are, he’ll sit down in order to keep his eyes on the food. Say SIT as soon as he starts to sit. Reward him with the treat! Method Two: Face your dog with a treat or toy … Continue reading

Teach Your Dog Tricks: The Basics

Teaching your dog to do tricks can be a great bonding experience. It can also help build confidence in your dog! Dogs like having jobs to do, and they like pleasing their people. Time, patience, rewards, and reinforcement will get you through the training process. After the age of twelve weeks, your dog should be read for some basic training. Don’t believe that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” line — dogs of any age can learn. Some breeds and some dogs are faster learners than others. Some dogs are motivated by food; others are motivated by play … Continue reading

Compiling Your Own Bag of Tricks From Your “Trade”

I have always liked that saying “tricks of the trade”—it implies that each industry or type of business has its own vernacular and its own secrets that can be accessed by those who specialize in that field. Some of those secrets or “tricks” can be compiled based on hard-won personal experience, while others can be passed on from mentors and others who are successful in your industry. So, how do you go about getting together your own “tricks of your trade?” The most important thing is to ask questions and listen to the answers. Not everything you hear or every … Continue reading

Handy Home Hints and Tricks

Simplify things with these easy tips: Mark the Spot If you’re hosting a potluck or otherwise having guests who are bringing food along, ask them to mark their containers so you’ll know who belongs to what. A simple return address label intended for mail is great for marking containers. Label makers also work great, so have one handy and apply a label to containers that haven’t been marked as guests place their offerings in the kitchen. Friendships have been damaged by un-returned Tupperware! Use Protection Pick up some felt at any craft or fabric store. It’s very affordable and easy … Continue reading