Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Yellow Labs Are Not just a Handful: They're a Mouth full!

Bugg's Yellow Labrador Side...

Bugg came into our lives at the end of January 2010, he is a absolute joy. Bugg's dad is a yellow labrador retriever and his mother is a American white shepherd but, he seems to have inherited a lot of the yellow lab traits. As with most Yellow Labradors, Bugg is full of energy, gets bored easily, will eat before he tastes and always, has to have something in his mouth. 

He must have the attention and demands it, that is why we call him Bugg aka (you must say this with a British accent), Buggah. 

I told my daughter a few weeks back, you have not lived a full life, unless you have raised a yellow labrador retriever. I have had a few dogs (of other breeds) before and I love them all but, the love a yellow labrador retriever brings to the deal, is above and beyond far greater than I have ever witnessed. 

Though they 'must' be trained.

I have been thinking of adding two puppies from the same litter to our family but, after Bugg and I's experience with Khloe and Sandy, I have decided it is not for me. I am sure many people have found it to be a wonderful experience.

I found it to be a exhausting experience for all of us, including the puppies.

Khloe and Sandy were visiting our family here in Alabama from Texas. Their family left them with us, so they could (as a new family) go sight seeing around Georgia and Alabama. 

Khloe and Sandy are 13 week old yellow labrador retriever puppies. They're cute that is for sure but, there were some drawbacks.  Having them the same age and having been from the same litter is two of them. 

I have found with those two things in common, it can only bring on bad behavior, if not addressed early on. Khloe and Sandy sure came to us full of (as we say in the south) piss and vinegar.

My Jackie gave birth to 9 puppies October 6, 1995. The one thing I had noticed is that, the mother keeps them in line to a certain degree but, it is still not enough once they become a member of their new human being pack.

Bugg is a Big Guy

Khloe and Sandy never left their dog pack mind set and have yet too be trained to live with their new non-furry family pack. 

I noticed one puppy led the other and that always seemed to be trouble in the end. 

At first, I had no control what so ever with them, and then add Bugg (7 1/2 months old) into the mix. That left me with 2 untrained puppies and 1 trained but, anxious puppy, whom is already in the 100 pound range.

When they first arrived here on Monday, they would do the 'sit' command half of the time but, they would get bored easily then start to play with each other, not giving me no mind and doing as they pleased. 

So yes, I needed to establish that, 'I am' the alpha in this pack. 

At first I worked with each puppy in a separate environment. When the puppies were together, they had strength in numbers and you will never win in this situation. 

So first make it clear that you are the pack leader and the best way to do this, is for you to be in control. 

You give the commands and they obey.
Teach Human & Animal

Your first command to teach your dog, happens to be the easiest to conquer and that would be, sit.

Walk over to your puppy, cupping a piece of chicken (or any treat they like) in your hand and as you say "sit.", in a firm (not mean) voice.  

Bring the chicken above their nose, in a forward motion. As you say "sit" and as they start to go into a sit position, make sure you then say "Good sit, atta girl/boy!", while giving them their treat. 

Puppies have short attention spans and if you do not tell them right away, why they get this treat. The command will go out the window in a matter of seconds.

If you have one that wont sit, go to your knees (or sit at their level), put the piece of chicken above their nose and gently push their butt down and at the same time, saying "sit.". Give them their treat and praise, as soon as their bottom hits the ground.

You should have one person do the initial training and then they train the rest of those that will be around your dog.

Especially the children: they also need to be looked at, as higher in the pack than the animal.


Make them sit and then walk back with your hand in front of you, while saying "stay.".

If your puppy does not want to stay.

Start them over with sit, praise them and walk away again, saying "stay.".

Do not make the puppy 'stay' too long when you first start, remember, they have short attention spans.

I would give them about 2 seconds of staying in the same place, then give them a treat, while praising them for doing good.
One Bowl Please!
One of Khloe and Sandy's biggest problem was, they were being fed in the same bowl. I was against those two being fed in the same bowl from the start but, they were only staying for 6 days.  The owners wanted me to do so, so I tried it.  It had taken me one time of feeding them this way, before I changed this. 

The first time I placed their food down on the floor, I was attacked by both of the puppies and they were out for blood.  In their minds they were still having to fight for their food, as they did while in the litter.  My hand ended up all scratched up. 

After I went through this painful first feeding, I decided to feed them using their own bowls and not a community bowl. 

Our dog Jackie had a litter and yes, we did feed all puppies out of two community bowls for the first few weeks but then, they all received their own bowls of food.  It is just like weening, you must break them of this habit and have them go it alone.

Both puppies were then feed in two rooms, they were told to sit and after they sat, they were given their food.  If they didn't sit then I would turn my back to them for a fee seconds, turn back and give them the command 'sit' again.  We will repeat it until the puppy/dog gets it right.

If you want a good puppy, then you must do the hard work.
Humans First!
After I taught Khloe and Sandy, to sit and stay for their meals, I then made them sit (As Bugg does) at every door opening, so I am able to go out first. 

If you go first, then they see you as the leader of the pack. Doing this one step will also give them more confidence.  

They can stop fighting to be the lead dog, since you have already established that.

Make your dog sit & stay and then you go out the door, turn to them and say "Come.".  If your dog gets up and they do not 'stay', then enter the house, close the door and repeat.

Do this until they stay in the sitting position and you have time to say "Come.".   Then as they get better at it, make them stay longer and longer.

This might take 100 times or just once but, no matter how long, this is key to you becoming their leader. 
Remember: A 6 week old puppy is still just a baby and they too need naps or they get overworked and then they will do destructive things.  Just imagine a tired child, they get cranky and want to lash out because, they need to rest their body and their minds. A puppy is exactly like a child.

When the puppies would finally fall asleep, Bugg and I would take this time to go outside and I would allow Bugg to get all of my attention. He has been a tremendous help with the girls and he deserves to just have one on one time with his mommy.  Bugg really seemed to enjoy this time.
One Command, Different Word
Bugg will 'not' go for the cracker by his foot
I have also found that when you have more than one dog, you can use different commands for the same tasks, so you don't confuse the dogs.

We found this out while using our normal command of 'off', when we didn't want Bugg to touch some thing.  

The problem with that is our blind dog Max would think we were talking to him and he would act like his feelings were hurt.  

I mean, he wasn't doing anything wrong and yet he was being scolded. You see, this had been Max's command for 11 years, so that was when we came up with 'leave it' for Bugg.

Bottom line is: Work with your puppy daily and remember they're like children, they will forget, they have a short attention span.  So have some patience.
Play, Yes, Rough, No!

This picture is of Khloe and Sandy resting while driving back to Texas. These are two well contented puppies.  I find that if their owners give them some guidance and a lot of love, they will be just fine.

I must tell you, Bugg and I were downright exhausted after these girls left.  Bugg and I then followed their lead and we also had taken a nap when they left.

I do want to add another dog to our family right now but, I think having Bugg is enough for me right now, maybe one day..

If you do decide to get two dogs from the same litter, then I suggest that you have a lot of energy because you will need it.  Make sure you start training them 'separately' from day one.

Also one of the most important things to remember is...

A puppy loves to play rough but, as cute as it might seem, it could also hurt you or even worse, a child.

Stop this behavior if it already exist or just do not rough house with them from the start.
A Mouth Full

Remember: Yellow Labrador Retriever's, open mouth, insert everything. Especially when they're teething. to combat this issue, ice cubes work great plus, the puppies enjoy playing with the ice cube. 

When your puppy starts to chew on your hand (because they will), say "Ouch, no bite!", This should stop them in their tracks, if it does not work, then dab a little bit of toothpaste (mint flavored) on the backside of your hand. As they go to bite your hand, still say "Ouch, no bite!", then allow them to get a little bit of the toothpaste.

Between you reprimanding the puppy and the toothpaste, this problem should be solved in no time.

Also, yellow labs are prone to mouthing, it is their nature, so we have supplied Bugg with a lot of toys he is able to carry around in his mouth and he does this all day. 

The girls were a pleasure to have but, I am glad it was a short visit. We will eventually get another dog but, Bugg and I must rest up from this last adventure, as we are dog tired.

More Bugg...

Bugg Wants Food!

MeMe Head:  Dog Biscuits

All photographs are the property of Denise O.  Do not use unless you get 'my' written permission. All written material is owned by Denise O, it will not be 'used' (sharing my article is different and acceptable) without 'my' written permission.  Just keeping it real folks.:)

Lentil & Vegetable soup: Vegetarian or Ham Bone!

I like recipes that give you a choice of either having it vegetarian or as a meat dish and still taste good, no matter which way you choose to make this recipe.

When I was young, I loved to visit my grandmothers home in New Mexico, she was such a accomplished cook and the aromas that were always floating in the air in her home made my stomach growl.   Not just in my Grandma's house but, all through the neighborhood. One thing l learned from grandma is, do not add everything to your pot at once.  Let the flavors develop, one step at a time and an also a good broth is key. 

If you would like this soup to be vegetarian, omit the ham bone. Replace the 4 1/2 cups of water with vegetable stock, homemade or store bought, your choice.


1 ham bone
1 1/2 cups dried lentils
1 onion
1/2 cup grated carrots
1 cup of chopped carrots
2 14.5 oz cans of fire roasted tomatoes
2 14.75 oz cans of cream corn
2 cups frozen spinach, thawed
1 cup rice
1/2 green bell pepper
1 teaspoon chopped garlic 
2 teaspoon dried oregano 
1 tablespoon chili powder 
1/2 teaspon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
3/4 teaspoon ground chipotle peppers
3 tablespoons honey
6 tablespoons Olive oil
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
A pinch or two of red pepper flakes

It will be Just fine...

Do not let the amount of ingredients deter you from making this lovely soup. 

It is really easy and I will guide you along the way.  Soon this soup will become second nature to you. 

Basically there are very few steps you must go through and in the end, it will be well worth it, I promise.

Dice onion and garlic.

Grate 1/2 cup of carrots. 

Slice carrots and set aside.

Grab all your spices and head to the stove.

Fry it up in a Pan

On medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a 5 quart pot. 

When the oil gets hot, add your onions, grated carrots and saute for 3 minutes or until your vegetables have started to brown around the edges. 

After 3 minutes, add to your pot, garlic, chili powder, cumin, sweet paprika, black pepper, chipolte pepper, dried oregano, 1 tablespoon of salt and red pepper flakes. 

Saute on medium heat for 1 minutes.

Ham it up!

Place your ham bone in your pot, cover the ham bone with 4 1/2 quarts of water and add your bay leaf. 

Bring your soup base to a boil, turn down the heat to low , cover and cook for 1 hour.

Take off your lid, turn your burner up to medium high, cook for 20 minutes.

Almost There

After your 30 minutes is up, remove the ham bone.  When the ham bone has cooled a bit, you can remove the bits of ham and add to your soup.

Add 2 cans of tomatoes and 2 cans of cream corn.  Add your sliced carrots.  Cook for 30 minutes, on medium heat.

Add those Lentils

Rinse your lentils in a strainer, add your lentils and 1/2 of a green bell pepper (or any other bell pepper you have) to your pot. 

Bring to a boil. When it comes to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer.

Cover with your lid and simmer for 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes, add your rice and bring to a boil. When your rice reaches a boil. place your lid back on your pot, turn your burner on low and simmer for 20 minutes or until your rice is cooked all the way through..

While your Soup is Simmering

Place your spinach in some cheesecloth and squeeze the water out of your spinach.

In a frying pan on medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When the pan gets hot, add your spinach. 

Saute your spinach for 3 minutes. 

Watch out, the spinach might splatter and it does hurt a bit.   Add your lemon pepper, 1/2 tablespoon of salt, honey and saute for 2 more minutes.

Add your spinach to the soup. Cook your soup on medium heat for 5 minutes and then serve.

If you don't have lemon pepper available then just add the zest of 1/2 of a lemon and about 1/2 teaspoon (or more if you like) of 'fresh' cracked black pepper.

Dig on in!

With a nice piece of bread of your choosing, this lentil soup makes a wonderful meal. Soups and stews are very healthy and I find them economically low for a large amount of hot goodness. 

For a few more of my soup/stew recipes, please visit my pages...

Succotash Stew 
Potato, Squash & Carrot Soup

All photographs are the property of Denise O.  Do not use unless you get 'my' written permission. All written material is owned by Denise O, it will not be 'used' (sharing my article is different, it is acceptable and appreciated) without 'my' written permission.  Just keeping it real folks.:)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Bacon, turkey, Ham & Fix'ins: A Great Club Sandwich!

There are very few sandwiches that I will order when I go out to eat and one would be a club sandwich   The problem though was...
I hated paying $7.00 for something I knew I could pull off on my own and for a lot cheaper.  I have also found out that in the end, my club sandwiches are even better than the ones I have eaten in any restaurant. 

Man Size Sandwich

I was a bit intimidated when I decided to tackle this delicious sandwich but, it ended up being very easy. This club sandwich always comes out looking so pretty and delicious.  Now there is no longer a need to pay seven bucks for one sandwich that you can make for fraction of that price and is actually better.


8 pieces of turkey sandwich meat (Deli style, thin sliced)
8 pieces of Bacon. (Your choice)
8 slices of tomatoes
1/2 head lettuce
12 pieces of toasted bread ( white or wheat, your choice)
4 slices of cheese ( American or cheddar slices)
Salt and pepper

Start Stacking...

                             Just Layer the Goodness

Place your lettuce in a colander and rinse, after the lettuce is well drained, put it through a salad spinner or dry it off with some paper towels.

If you do not dry the lettuce well you will end up with a soggy sandwich.

Slice your tomatoes and set aside.

                                     Fry That Bacon

Cook your bacon the way you like it. 

Each one of my family members like their bacon done from soggy, to crispy and even, almost burnt. 

Make sure you drain your bacon on some paper towels. 

I have decided to use turkey bacon.  Only because that is what I had on hand, so why not use it up.

If you would rather use pork bacon, it will work just fine and I use it at times myself.

Lay it Out!

                                                      Make Your Assembly Line

Toast your bread slices and place your toast in the first position on your assembly line.

Then place your meat and cheese on a plate and in second position of your assembly line and in the third spot place your plate of tomatoes and lettuce.

place your mayonnaise, salt and pepper, at the top of my plates, so your family/guest will be able to use at any time.   After you have completed these easy tasks then start to assemble your sandwiches.

                                        First Layer

Lay one piece of toast down. Put a thin layer of mayonnaise on your toast.

On top of your mayonnaise, place two pieces of turkey, 2 pieces of ham and a slice of cheese.

Add mayonnaise to one side of the second piece of toast.

Put the toast on the cheese, mayonnaise side down.  I always add a bit of cracked black pepper to each piece I add mayonnaise to, they pair so well.


Spread some mayonnaise on the top of your bread,

Sprinkle the top side with some black pepper.

Place two slices of bacon on top.

Place 2 tomatoes slices on top of the bacon. 

Pepper your tomatoes, I find adding salt is not necessary with the added bacon.

You can add more of each ingredient or take some away.  This might not be Burger KIng but, it is your sandwich so, you 'can' have it your way.

                                        Almost There

Add a few pieces of lettuce.  Take your last piece of toast, add Mayonnaise to one side and do not forget the fresh black cracked pepper.

Place the piece of toast, Mayonnaise side down, on your lettuce.

                            MMMMMM MMMMMM Good!

I usually use toothpicks but, for demonstration purposes I used medium sized skewers, so you can get the gist of it.

Place four toothpicks in the sandwich to help you secure all the goodies inside. 

Cut the sandwich on the diagonal, both ways.   See, It wasn't hard at all.

For a few more delicious recipes, please go visit a few more of my pages...

Lentil Soup:  Ham Bone or Vegetarian

Southern Succotash Stew

All photographs are the property of Denise O.  Do not use unless you get 'my' written permission. All written material is owned by Denise O, it will not be 'used' (sharing my article is different and acceptable) without 'my' written permission.  Just keeping it real folks.:)

Our (My) Business, our (My) Employees and the Alabama Scanner

I would like to introduce you to our (my) production company, the crew (mostly me) makes this all happen.  As you will see, my (mostly me) employees are very dedicated (even I must laugh at this) and have been very instrumental (as a kazoo with a marshmallow stuck in it) in helping our (my) company thrive.

As the CEO of this new company, I would like to thank my crew (mostly me) for all their (once again, me) hard work and to show our (my) appreciation, we (I) would like to introduce them to you.

If not for "The star", we would be no where that is why we (I) must (kiss butt) keep "The star" happy.  So first up is Bugg and he has been a valued employee for 2 months.  Bugg asks for very little while on the set. 

A bowl of ice, dog biscuits, 4 breaks a day for chow, work 10 minutes, stop, play until tired and then break for 15 minutes.  A ice cream break at 1:30.

The most important thing in keeping "The star" happy (kissing his butt) is, making sure you watch him at all times because, you do not want to miss the opportunity to tell him just how wonderful he really (<eyeroll>) is. 

If his fragile ego (<eye roll>) is shattered, it could shut down the set for hours. 

It's a Bugg's world, as you (we all do <eyeroll>) know.


Billy has been a valued employee for this company for 2 months.

Billy is 'usually' on time for work, his boss the set manager (Me) feels he has done an exceptional (Who else is going to do it) job.

All Billy asked (no choice) for in pay was, room and board, able to watch wrestling four (flippin) times a week and a lot of hugs.

Even though his pay (does not exist) is low, he rarely (constantly) Complains. 

Billy honestly feels that one day our work will be as big as his nephew's (my son) work was during the week they (selected by his 6th grade teacher) displayed Marc's fine art work in the Columbus (Georgia) Museum.

           The Lighting director Yells "Move"!

Happy Employee
The stage manager (Me) honestly tries not to over work her crew (mostly me).  She knows, without them (mostly me) this company could not be the finely oiled (as a rusty door hinge) machine that it is.

We (I) found out in our early testing that, our (my) photo lab could not be used inside, so we (I) took the lab out side.  The only problem with having the lab outside is... 

It has to be moved throughout the day.

We must follow our lighting director (the sun).   

Photo Lab

Here is our photo lab. It consist of the vital essentials for us to put out the best (half baked) photographs that we are able to.

A drink for the photo lab tech (Me).  

A person gets thirsty guiding (yelling at) the crew
throughout a whole day (as if they ever worked a whole day) of shooting.

A cup of cigarettes.  Don't judge!  It is stressful having to keep this company thriving.

Back up tape, name tags, card table and a chair. 

A phone.  I don't know why (no one calls) but, we (I) have it. 

An ashtray, the photographer (Me) has it in her contract.  So just deal with it!

Alabama Scanner

Bottom of the Alabama Scanner
We (I) treasure our (my) employees (mostly me) so much, we have added a new scanner to our photo lab.

We want to make our lab tech's (Me) job as easy as possible because, even though they're (me again) not "The star".  They (Me) are very vital to our (my) company and we know with out their (My) hard work, none of this could happen.

This is our latest addition:  The Alabama scanner. 

We (I) are so proud of our (my) latest investment.  We (I) wanted to provide our (my) crew (mostly me) with the best possible equipment out there.  We (I) want to make sure their (my) job will be the least demanding (as if) as possible. 

We (I) called in our (my) equipment manager (Me) and asked her (me again) to get the equipment we (I) needed

She (Me) had to use her (my) precious time, as she (Me) walked all the way back up the ramp, walk back into the house and look for those darn name tags we had left over from the baby shower we (I) had 5 months ago.

It was a cost she (Me) just had to swallow.  We (I) are building a business here.

We had to Update

We (I) had noticed a lot of the pictures had a gap on each side after they came out of the scanner. 

The lab manager (Me) called in our (my) technical team (Me) to fix the problem. 

The technician (Me) sat down and started to work on the problem.

As the technician (Me) worked hard making the new side thing a ma jiggers, to update the Alabama scanner...

The producer (Me) had to be called in.

                 Remember:  He is 'The Star'

The producer (Me) had to watch Bugg, as Bugg had taken another one of his play breaks. 

The producer (Me), a company woman, stayed on the set to (be bothered) make sure 'The Star' knew he was a good boy (<eyeroll>) a pretty boy, just the best dog ever in the (flippin) entire world.  

As we all know, running makes you tired but also, hungry. 

So, the caterer (Me) was called in to supply "The star" with some goodies.

You must keep "The star" happy.

Top of the scanner

Top of the Alabama Scanner
The top of the Alabama scanner (mostly me) consist of four parts.

A camera. 

A steady hand 

one eye ball and...

A finger to push the button.

We just know with our new Alabama scanner...

Our photo lab crew's (Me) work performance will only improve (as much as this shoddy camera allows) as time they (me) get use to the new equipment.

Few Kinks, Still!

Even with the new adjustments our (my) technician (Me) made we have still been experiencing a few difficulties. 

It is still a hit or miss (9 times out of 10, a miss) game.

We (mostly me) will not let that stop us!

We (mostly me) are a team!

We (mostly me) have a business to build!

                   Making Bugg Gorgeous

The person in charge of our (my) hair and make-up team (Me) has a wonderful staff (of 1).  Our head hair stylist (the only one) Dan, has also been with the company for 2 months.

His boss (Me) feels he has been there (I am his 'wife, no choice) when needed.  His boss (Me) also informed the head office (my head) that he has no demerits on his record, this month.

Dan told his boss (Me) that he would volunteer (no choice) his time, for the good of (his marriage) the company, until (I say so) we (I) are more established.

               So, This is Our (MY) Crew...

Crew in the Green Room
This is our (my) crew, I could (lose a few and be fine) not do it without them. We are sorry our photographer (Me) was unable to also be in the photograph. 

We know that every time a persons finger clicks on the mouse, we are closer to building a bigger and better business.

Well, this was our (mine) first company report, we (mostly me) have been around for a few years since but, I thought since y'all are new to our (my) company, I would share our first report.  Y'all come back now, ya hear!:)

More Bugg

Alabama Scanner II

All photographs are the property of Denise O.  Do not use unless you get 'my' written permission. All written material is owned by Denise O, it will not be 'used' (sharing my article is different, it is acceptable and appreciated) without 'my' written permission.  Just keeping it real folks.:)