Sunday, 30 October 2011

Kleenex....the Final Frontier

So here's the scoop.  My pup will be turning 7 months in 2 days!  He's been in our life for 5 months now.  Over this time, we've bought him squeaky toys, balls, elk antlers, plush jacks, Frisbees, stuffed animals, pull toys, braided toys...the list goes on and on.  Each and every time, the toy lasts about 10 minutes in our home, and then it is completely demolished.

Last week, we went out and bought him toys "designed for the serious chewer" (HAH!!)  These toys actually lasted less time than the regular toys.  PWD are notorious chewers.  Early on, when we first got him, we learnt this real fast.  All our shoes were either locked away in the garage, or they were stored on top of the dryer.  Pup did ruin a couple of shoes...just flip flops and sandals that were left by the back door, but they were never big ticket items.

Pup, did, once inadvertently destroy a pair of my husband's slippers.  How, you ask?  How does a puppy destroy something without setting out to destroy it in the first place?  Well, to make a long story short, pup and I were in the garage.  I was getting him ready for his mid-morning walk when I noticed that pup was eyeing hubby's brand new slippers (barely 3 days old).  Thinking quickly, I put the slippers on the trunk of my car.  I then took pup out for his walk.  45 minutes later, we were back in the house.  I put him in his crate and got ready to leave (a girl's gotta go back to work!).  Later that day, when hubby came home from work, he called me wondering where his slippers were.  "I don't know where you left them" I answered indignantly. Honestly, I thought, does that man rely on me for everything!!!  Then, it dawned on me.....his slippers drove away with me that morning.  I had never taken them off the trunk!!!!  Yes, I know, I'm the one that put them there...however, I blame pup for that one!!!

Besides footwear, pup loves Bounce sheets, toilet paper, lint, straws...but above all...he loves Kleenex (especially the used variety found on the street).  Every day, sometimes as much as 3 times a day, I can be seen on any given street corner trying to pry pup's jaws apart while pulling out bits and pieces of used Kleenex from his mouth.  I do this with my bear hands, all the while telling myself that the Kleenex that's coming apart ever so slowly was not really a used one.  In fact, I concoct an entire scenario in my head.  This is a clean Kleenex.  It was carefully folded and put in someone's pocket.  As this person reached into his pocket to take out a bus pass, the very clean, pure Kleenex fell out of his pocket.  Pup scooped it up immediately before it even touched the ground.....Yes, as my hands rip out little pieces, I imagine that the Kleenex is of the purest's the only thing that keeps me sane.

Why Kleenex??  Why not leaves? (so pretty this time of year)...why not treats? (yes it's true, we never encouraged our pup with treats, but maybe some of his puppy friends at the park have told him about the wonders of liver, chicken and beef flavoured goodies)  Why, why, why...Kleenex???  I'll never know!!!  But for the time being, I'll have to remember to bring gloves on our walks.

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Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Harness-At last, Happiness I have found you!!!

So here I am, a full fledged puppy owner for just under 5 months now.  I've taken pup to training classes, I've tried positive reinforcement, I've ignored the dog, I've tried to be dominant, but every single time, the "walk" has always been a nightmare.

When we first got pup, he weighed in at 11 lbs.  He was light enough to drag around on his leash, but he never made it easy for me.  He would turn his back on me.  I would try everything to get him to turn around, but he wouldn't budge.  As he got older, he would firmly plant his front paws on the ground.  I couldn't pull him even if I used all of my strength.  Believe me, at 130lbs, I was sure I could outweigh a pup.....oh how wrong I was.

Then as he started getting bigger and bigger, he not only pulled me down the street, but if he saw another dog and got excited, he would pull away on his leash so much that he would make choking noises with his throat.  Of course, being the conscientious owner that I was, I would loosen my grip in order to not "damage his vocal chords".  Of course I would never damage them, hubby knew it, son knew it, heck, even puppy knew it.  However, pup would play the choking card just so that I would run along beside him and accommodate his wily ways.

For a while, the walk got better.  Pup would walk very well with me.  Occasionally, crazy-eyes would come in and he'd put every Kleenex (used) he could find on the road into his mouth...but those frustrating times were few and far between.   Then a crazy thing happened.  Pup turned 6 months old..and all the training, walking, disciplining that we had done in the last 4 months kinda flew out the window.  Pup no longer came when he was called, he started biting his leash again (we bought yet another one-#7 I think).  He continually pulled us and tried to get onto every lawn in the city.  Absolutely EVERYTHING went into his mouth.  In short, our lovely 6 month old pup became that 2 month old brat again.  The only difference, however, was that pup was no longer 11 lbs.  Weighing in at over 41 lbs, pup was getting harder and harder to control.

"This can't be happening", I cried to my husband. " I feel like we're going backwards instead of moving forward".  Hubby quickly got on-line and discovered that pups go through a rebellious stage at 6 months.  Call it "terrible two's", call it "rebellious teens", all I knew was that pup was getting harder and harder to control.

Now, two things happen when you're walking down the street with a demon-dog.  Either, people look at you with sympathy and try to console you by telling you he'll grow out of it by 2 years old (what!!!!!!), or, they give you unsolicited advice. Hubby and I seem to get a lot of the latter.  People have told us to control pup with treats...(yeah, like demon-dog needs more sugar in his system).  People have also told us to use the "soft-pull" muzzle.  So, hubby and I went out and bought one.  Of course we probably didn't put it on right and pup had chewed right through it in the time it took for us to close the garage door and make it down to the end of our driveway!!!

I refused to walk him for a while.  It was just too frustrating.  Pup, pulled and pulled.  I was always prying garbage out of his mouth.  Just 2 days ago, he jumped up and put his head in a trash bin by a bus stop.  He came out with a pack of empty cigarettes!!!  I got bitten several times as I tried to pry open his jaws. I pulled the pack out piece by piece.  It was horrible.  I kept imagining my dog taking up a terrible habit!!!!

Then, just yesterday, I turned to my hubby during our morning coffee and suggested we get a harness.  He gave me a "what do we have to lose?" look, and off we went to buy one.  As soon as we came back home, we put it on pup.  I took the leash and led the was the walk from heaven!!!!!

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Sunday, 16 October 2011

Who Shot the Dog?

Those of you who have been following my posts for the last 12 weeks, know what a high-energy puppy I have.  Superman has nothing on this pup.

Superman: Faster than a speeding bullet.
Pup: So fast that pillows get humped, towels get mauled, and toilet paper gets ripped in the time it takes for me to take a second sip of my coffee.. What was once a clean house, now looks like a tornado hit it in a nano second.

Superman: More powerful than a locomotive.
Pup: So powerful that when his leash is firmly clenched in his jaws, there is not a single thing I can do to pry his jaws open.  He's so powerful, that when I take his 41 lb body for a walk, he can pull me down the street and I can't stop him.

Superman: Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
Pup:  Pup can jump from couch to couch...he can jump up in the air and find that slipper on top of the dryer.  He can leap straight up in the air, grab his leash hanging from a nail, and gallop off into the horizon.  And of course, pup can run down the stairs and fly across the room, skipping the last three steps.

Look up in the sky!  It's a bird, it's a's Superpup!!!

That is...until he falls asleep!!

When pup is in a deep, deep sleep, he lies there, on his side, with his legs stretched out in front of him.  He looks like the letter "E".  In fact, I've been told that eye doctors have used pup as an inspiration for their Eye-Charts!!

When pup is in his crate, he really lets loose.  He loves his crate because he can squish up against it, all the while putting his paws through the bars.  He lies on his arm out by his side, the other thrown over his chest.  (I swear he must have been a T-Rex in his previous life).  While in this pose, he takes his right leg and rests it half-way up the bars..his left is slightly higher and his resting comfortably through the bars.  He looks like he's in a bad western..."I'm shot...tell ma hunny I'm a gonna miss her"...he lies there for hours..all the while dreaming of his next foray using his Superpup powers!!!!

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Monday, 10 October 2011

My dog...the ultimate turkey!!!

I was very excited this weekend.  Excited because we would be hosting 15 people for Thanksgiving Dinner.  Excited because my (out-of-town) sister and her family, as well as my Mom, would be staying overnight with us.  Excited because I was going to be trying out different recipes on my finicky family...but most of all, I was excited to see the reaction of my six month old pup in the midst of this commotion.  The sights (different faces), sounds (my family is one loud bunch!), the smells (pies, turkey, ham), might be too much for him.

I wanted to make his day as normal as any other.  Unfortunately, not one iota of his usual routine was followed.  I wasn't able to go on the morning walk with him as I had some last minute cleaning to do.  He did not nap between his morning walk and his afternoon walk as hubby and I were in and out of the house.  I was preparing hors d'oeuvres, while hubby was out back mowing the lawn.  Pup had to walk with our son.  After their walk, pup didn't experience peacefulness and quietude, as the music was on as hubby and I laughed, prepared, and stuck the turkey in the oven.

Besides, how's a pup to sleep when you have all these delicious aromas wafting by?  How's one to pass up licking the floor when so many crumbs have fallen off the cutting board just waiting to be gobbled up by someone who's nose is about a foot off the ground!!  Pup was really happy!!!  Never having given him "people" food before, he was entranced by the different smells and flavours.

I was nervous when the doorbell started ringing, and, as the hoards of family members piled in, everyone was instructed to ignore pup for the 1st 5 minutes of their arrival.  This being done, pup was totally cool and relaxed with everyone.  He was a dream dog...never jumped up, never came to the table, sometimes lay down and played with his bone....but he was never a pest.  Not once did we have to ask him to leave the room.  Not once did he bark, or get hyper.....what a dream dog!!!


It was time for bed.  All the dishes had been washed, the extra chairs and tablecloths had been put away.  The guests were gone.  We sat in the living-room, the out-of-towners, my mom, hubby and son.  Pup sat dutifully on the floor by our side and never said a word.  He seemed to be perfectly OK that he had never napped during the day, nor that it was already over an hour past his bedtime.

Hubby and I brought his crate up to the living-room (from the basement), while sister and her family inflated their makeshift beds, cleared a space to put down the mattresses.  We put the last wine glasses in the dishwasher, hugs and kisses were in abundance, and we all went to bed.

Woof....(5 seconds)...woof....(4 seconds), woof...3 seconds...whimper, whimper.  Upstairs, my husband and I tensed up.  After all, although pup is extremely high energy, he never, ever, barks.  What was wrong?  Woof, (louder), woof-woof-woof (whimper).  I got up, went down the stairs and stared at him.  His tail was wagging and he was super excited to see me. (by this time, close to midnight).  I took him outside and brought him back in, put him back in his crate, and upstairs I went.  Woof...woof...whimper...  "Don't go downstairs" I pleaded with hubby.  "If he gets use to us running down to him, he'll never want to stay in his crate again!" (BTW, he's been crate trained for 4 months, and he absolutely loves it)

Woof, woof, woof, louder and more agitated.  Trying to ignore him, I put the pillows over my head.  I knew that sister and her family couldn't possibly be sleeping with all the commotion.  I felt really bad for them as I knew they had a long drive ahead of them.  Woof, woof , whimper...All of a sudden, mom comes out of the guest-room.  She's gone over to speak to pup.  I can hear her trying to reason with him.  She's telling him it's late (around 2am by now), that people need to sleep.  As the dog gets more and more excited by her presence, she starts telling him what bad owners hubby and I are for giving him a place of his own to sleep in.  I try to ignore this, hoping mom will come to her senses and leave pup alone.  Woof, woof, woof, pump, splat.  Yep, pup puked in his crate.  Somehow, I guess ham juice, turkey, apples, and dog-food didn't mix.

Down come hubby and I.  Out come the rags and the cleaners.  Sister is sitting on the stairs holding her head. I imagine that the circles under her eyes mirror mine exactly.  We clean up, take pup out one last time, put him back in his crate..and off we go back to bed (around 3am by this time).  woof, woof, woof, woof....then it hits us.  Hubby and I have an epiphany.  Pup has no problem with his crate at all.  Pup is upset because we "moved" his crate to make space for sister and her family.  He was upset that he was inconvenienced.  I don't know this for a fact, but I'm pretty sure he didn't give a second though whether or not he was inconveniencing us!!!

And so it went.  At 6am, he was still barking..7am, same. (Keep in mind there was always an hour interval-pup would wait until we were blissfully back to sleep before starting to bark again).  Hubby and I finally got up at 8am after having had a combined total of 3 hours sleep.  We got up and tried to make pup's day as "normal" as possible.  Pup took a long nap after that 1st fact, he never looked so rested and refreshed!!

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Sunday, 2 October 2011

I'm ignoring you!!

Dogs are weird!!
That's it..nothing else.  They are really strange.

So here I am, my puppy just turned six months old yesterday...I couldn't wait to hug him, pet him, love him.  All I wanted to do was shower him with affection and love..after all, he's half way to becoming a grown dog!!!

So what does my pup turning six months old have to do with dogs being weird?  Well, here's the thing...if I show love and affection to my dog, then all he wants to do is dominate, or bite, or bark at me.  He'll jump up, and at 40 lbs, when his paws hit my stomach, I actually get winded.  Therefore, I had to make a solemn oath to myself to completely ignore him.  I came home from work and just walked right past him.  I've been doing this for 2 days now, and I gotta tell ya, our relationship has never been better.  He hasn't bit or jumped up at me at all.  When he walked into my room, all I did was snap my fingers and point to the door, and he just listened to me and walked out!!!  This has been the 1st time in 4 months that he has actually shown some respect towards me!!!

I thought, "Treating someone like a dog" had negative connotations.  But now, I know that dogs LOVE being treated like a dog!!  Their little tail wags, they sit when they are told to sit, they look up at you with adoring eyes...and all the while, I look the other way and pretend he's not there.

Like I said, dogs are weird...but maybe when he's not looking, I'll sneak a peak at him...and casually pat his back.

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