Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Leash : Public Enemy #1

So here's the scoop.  My dog walks 4 times a day.  Lots and lots of exercise.  One would think that after almost 4 months of daily walks, pup would be used to his leash by now....sadly, no!

Most of the time, he's pretty good.  He knows the "sit", "stay", "down", and "heel" commands pretty well.  Most of the time when I'm walking him, the leash is loose and he's walking right beside me.  Sometimes he'll quicken his step, but all I have to do is say "heel", and he slows down until he's walking beside me.  Most of the time, when he ventures onto strange lawns (to sniff around..not do crucial bodily functions), all I have to do is snap the leash, and he's once again by my side.

Most of the time....

Then there are the times that "crazy-eyes" kicks in.  There are the times when pup becomes possessed by the idea that the leash must be eaten.  He will not let go of the leash.  He will bite it, growl at it, and pull at it.  Puppy, now weighing in at almost 40 lbs, makes snapping the leash out of his mouth really difficult.  Because I  never stop walking..don't want to go back.. for the next 30 minutes, "crazy-eyes" is growling, walking in front of me and pulling, barking, baring his teeth...all the while holding the leash in his mouth.  I desperately try to remember what the trainer had told me.  She said to try to snap the leash out of his mouth..the logic being that if the dog finds it unpleasant, then he will stop doing it.  Well, it's been 4 months of unpleasantness, but pup doesn't seem to mind.  In fact it's become somewhat of a ritual.  The trainer had told me to poke the pup..take my thumb and 2 first fingers..create a cone (if you will), and jab the dog on it's side.  The idea is to "snap him out of it".  Yeah well, either I'm doing it really softly, or the dog thinks I'm massaging him for his efforts, because it makes absolutely zero difference in his life...he hasn't even noticed.

Because pup wraps the leash around his snout and then puts it in his mouth, when I snap the leash the only result I get is either dragging pup closer to me, or making him jump high in the air.  He loves this...the higher he jumps, the more excited he gets...the more excited he gets, the tighter the leash around his mouth......the tighter the leash around his mouth, the higher he's a vicious circle.

Every now and then, a police car or a fire-truck will slow down to look at us.  Sometimes, I will see the pity in their one feels sorry for pup, oh no..he's in full control.  They feel sorry for me!  Every now and then, they'll turn their siren on..just long enough to distract pup..and, once distracted, we go on our regular walk as if the last 30 minutes never happened!!!

The ones I feel most sorry for are other people walking around us.  While pup is growling, pulling and jumping up high, I'll see mothers gather their little children and cross the street.  People waiting at bus stops will either enter the shelters, or go behind the shelters.  Sometimes, people will give me a wide girth so I can get by with demon-dog (aka "crazy-eyes").  All the while, I look at them with a forced "nothing wrong here" smile.  I tell them, "Oh don't worry, we're fine, it's all good!!!"  They just nod at me with the same forced smile all the while crossing the street.

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Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Walk

Those of you who have been reading my posts for the last 9 weeks, know what a dedicated dog owner I am.  I give pup only the best food there is, no snacks or people food,  I make sure he gets plenty of love at home, I make sure he gets lots of socialization (with other people, other dogs, etc.)...and, I give him plenty of exercise.

Pup walks 4 times a day, roughly 8km per day.  This pup will never be overweight (not if I can help it!).  PWD's are notoriously energetic.  Believe me, if you are the type of person that likes to relax at the end of a long stressful day, kick back, put your feet up and turn on the TV or read a book, then a Portuguese Water Dog is not for you.  These dogs are extremely agile, hyper and full of life.

So, because I do like to kick back at the end of the day, what do I do?..I walk him, and I walk him a lot.  I run him when I can, school-yards, dog parks, you name it.  I walk him early in the morning (what else do I have to do at 5am anyway), I walk him at lunchtime (who needs to eat at wonderful restaurants with co-workers, when you can chew on a Power Bar in the car on the way back to work).  He gets walked in the early afternoon (thank goodness that one's not mine), and I walk him after dinner.  Do I look good in a skirt?  You betcha!!  However, do I wish I could wake up an hour later, eat lunch down-town and put my feet up after dinner, oh YEAH!!!

But I do this for the express purpose of tiring out a very high energy pup.  Does this always work?.., no.  Some evenings he puts his head down and doesn't wake up until it's time for bed!!  However, when hubby (aka Pup's lord and master) is not home, it doesn't matter how long or how hard puppy has been walking.  He has enough energy to tear through the house, tear up the cushions, chew up the shoes, and take a few chucks out of me.

And me....I just kick back, put my feet up, read a book, and put myself in my "happy place"

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Sunday, 11 September 2011

His Bite is Worse than his Bark

So here I am, week 13 of being a full fledged puppy owner.
We've been through 2 crates (he's grown so quickly, he was out of the 1st crate in 5 weeks!!)
We are currently on leash number 6 (chewed through the 1st 5)
His new toys barely last him one hour (he completely demolishes them)
He's gone through 6 weeks of puppy training school.  Passed with flying colours.

But here's the thing...although I am the only one who feeds him, and I am the only one who walks him on 3 out of his 4 walks (yes 4!!  Darned pup walks 8 km/day), the one who picks up his poop, takes him to the vet, and pets him, this lovely sweet gentle puppy BITES me.  Yes BITES.  I'm not talking gentle playful nips.  Full fledged bites.  There have been times when I'll be standing with my back to him.  He'll come up behind me and take a chunk out of my leg (usually my thigh).  It HURTS.

Usually, the biting pattern begins like this...I'll calmly be reading on the couch.  The 2 other males in my home will not be in the same room as me.  (Pup would never dare try this behaviour with so much testosterone in the room)  So there I am, calmly reading on the couch, not even aware that pup is around.  Pup puts his paws on the couch (he knows he's not allowed on the he does this on purpose).  I remove his paws from the couch..he puts them back on.  He thinks this is a game.  I stand up to show him my authority (hah!). PWD's are notoriously agile.  Pup stands on his hind legs for about 10 seconds..all the while pawing at me.  I push him down.  He crouches, starts barking, and begins to bite my ankles.  I try to use canine body language, try to ignore him (hah!)  He sneaks up behind me and tries to take chunks out of my arms and legs. I give him a chew toy to distract him, he spits it out and lunges.  I try to go back to the couch, but he's way ahead of me..he's jumped on it and proceeds to annihilate the cushions.

I don't want to put him in his crate, but the temptation is too strong.  I feel it is the only way he will calm down.  In the 13 weeks that I've had him, I've been bitten more often than a lifetime of mosquito bites!  Because I don't want him to see the create as a punishment, I start tossing all his favourite toys in there all the while faking a smile and moving closer to the door.  I want him to see it as a happy place (hah!).  Once he gets close, I nudge him in and lock the door behind him.  He's got all his toys in there and is super happy. He immediately lies down and goes to sleep!!  Yeah, after a good meal I like to sleep too!!

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Sunday, 4 September 2011

Mua ha ha....we're alone!

Pup turned 5 months old this week.  That means, I've had him for exactly 3 months now.  Long enough, one would think, to have bonded with him.  Long enough for him to see me as alpha, long enough for him to listen to me.  Oh, how wrong I've been...

Every morning we have the same routine.  Pup goes out for a very long walk with hubby and me.  He walks like a dream.  He gets pooped!  Once inside the house, pup finds a comfortable corner where he curls up and "pretends" to  take a nap. Hubby then has his coffee, a quick kiss goodbye and he's off to work.  I'm alone with pup.  Then the fun starts.  Pup runs into the kitchen, takes a quick look around, notices no hubby, and he smiles (I swear it...I see the glint in his eye).  Pup quickly runs upstairs, takes a look around.  Sees 14-year old son still sleeping..and he smiles again.  He runs back to the kitchen and the dance begins..every morning exactly the same.  He grabs the dish towel that's hanging from the stove.  He takes it to the living room and precedes to annihilate it.  I grab the towel from him.  Pup then starts running run through the house in circles.  The open concept suits him well.  He runs from kitchen to dining room to living room in one complete motion.  He moves so fast it is a blur.  This goes on with me chasing him for about 10 minutes.

Once he's sufficiently tired, he goes under the coffee table in the living room.  The ONLY place he's not allowed to go to in the house is on the living room carpet.  He never goes near it when hubby and 14-year old son are around.  With me, mua ha ha..we're alone!!!  He looks at me from under the table knowing I can't get at him.

I then go to the laundry room to get his leash.  He follows me.  As a much younger puppy, he always chewed on our shoes.  2 months ago, we started putting our shoes on our dryer to get them out of the way.  Well, now at 5 months old, puppy is long enough so that when he stands on his hind legs, he has no problem at all getting to the shoes.  This is our routine..every darned day.  He grabs the shoes while I'm getting his leash and runs with a Croc back up to the living room carpet.  I walk over to him, put the leash on him, and take him outside.  I tie him to a railing with a long enough leash that he can play, pee, or sleep without ever becoming uncomfortable.  Once inside, alone, and before son wakes up, I too, get to finish my coffee.  The one I started with hubby 1 hour prior to my daily ordeal...

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