Sunday, 25 March 2012

Down, boy, down!!!

Portuguese Water Dogs are an active breed.  Before we got him, hubby and I did lots and lots of research.  We got him, primarily because it was one of the few dogs that hubby was not allergic to.  But, we also knew that they needed lots and lots of exercise.  Needing a lifestyle change, hubby and I decided to kick start our healthy habits and pretty much use the dog to get healthier.

Dogs need to be walked.  They don't care if it's sunny, rainy, snowy, or if it's the end of the world...they have to go out.  Therefore, hubby and I knew we could never use the weather as an excuse not to get out there.  Actually, in the 10 months that we've had our puppy, we can honestly say that we've spent just as much times outdoors, as we do indoors.  Our TV consumption is down to a minimum, we wake up early...and as a consequence, go to bed early.  Hubby had lost 30 lbs, suits that I bought 10 years ago fit me perfectly, and 14 year old son now plans walks with his buddies (as opposed to sitting n front of the TV playing video games)

Pup is still in a pain in the butt, though.  Anyone that has been following my blogs for the last 8 months will know all the trials and tribulations I've gone through.  For the most part, pup is starting to calm down...with one exception. He JUMPS!!!

Once again, hubby and I had done plenty of research before settling on a PWD.  Everything we read stated that this particular breed is very agile, and, it likes to jump.  In fact, that is one of the primary traits of this dog.  At home, we've trained him not to jump on us or the furniture.  When people come over, he does run to them, but once we've instructed our guests to ignore pup for the 1st few minutes, then pup just walks away.  The big problem is when we're out walking the dog (which in our case is very, very often).  He'll see some poor unsuspecting jogger and run to the end of his leash, all the while trying to jump on them.  Because he's over 55 lbs now, the momentum of his run and jump also propels me forward towards the jogger.  I usually get very dirty looks from the joggers because from their point of view, it looks like I'm actually steering my dog towards them and encouraging the jump!!

He doesn't only jump at joggers.  He also jumps at other dogs.  Not so bad when the other dog is taller...but a bit of a disaster if the other dog is shorter.  A taller dog will be able to take my pup's weight...but a shorter dog kind of turns into a pancake.  They get angry and start biting at pup's tummy.   This gets my pup excited and then he wants to play!!  The other dog, however, having been flattened, wants to kill!!  Not the best combination for play-dates!!

Pup also jumps at little old ladies..maybe because he can smell their frail bones.  I've had many a dirty look from these ladies that think I'm sicking my pup on them on purpose in order to rob them!!!  The worse, of course is other dog owners.  Let me explain.  We don't give our puppy treats, but there are legions of dog owners out there that carry bags and bags of treats.  Well let me tell you, one whiff of those bacon, chicken, liver treats is enough to send my pup into a frenzy.  He's constantly jumping on these poor unsuspecting dog-owners.  I try to get him off them, but the leashes always end up getting tangled and pup's nose is usually right up the other dog-owners pocket!!

Yesterday, he jumped up on a 5 year old girl.  They were the same height when pup was on his hind legs.  He kind of put his paws around her so she couldn't  move away, and then he decided to take advantage of his position by proceeding to "hump" her.  I spent the next 15 minutes trying to explain to her father that my 11 month old pup was neutered and really had no idea what he was doing!!!

I've looked up ways to get pup to stop jumping up.  Advice ranges from putting your knee up while he's in mid-air, to grabbing his front paws and walking him backwards.  Yeah, I'm trying to figure out a way to tell that to the joggers as they run from me, or the little old ladies who are trying to swat me with their purses!

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Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Kennel

So there I was...partly looking forward to leaving my 11 month old pup at the kennel for a week...but partly missing him like nuts.

He and I have a very complex relationship.  He relies on me for food, walks, healthcare, love...but he also tries to dominate me every chance he gets.  He has never seen me as Alpha..not in the 9 months that we've had him.  He jumps at me, he pulls away or bites the leash incessantly when I walk him, he tries to occupy my space, he never listens to any of my commands.

So, when my family and I were planning our Spring Break vacation, I looked forward to a "Spring Break" from pup as well.  Hubby and I did lots of research.  We couldn't just leave him with anyone (too many horror stories).  It took us a while but we finally came up with a kennel in the country.  Hubby and I visited it and we liked what we saw.  It was clean, the dogs looked happy, and there was plenty of free space for the dogs to run around.  In short..we were happy with our decision.

When it was time to take pup there, we made it a family trip.  Hubby and I sat in the front seats of the car, 14 year old son and pup sat in the back.  (with lots and lots of towels just in case pup would get car sick).  We also brought along pup's food, his bed, 4 of his favourite toys, and one of the towels from the car (so that it would smell like home).  As soon as we got there, pup couldn't wait to get out of the car...he heard so much barking, all he wanted to do was play and play.  Given it was his supper time, we gave him his food.  He went at it and never looked up as we were trying to say a sweet "good-bye" to him.  He had positively no interest in us.  We stared at him for a while, but when he made it clear he was too busy to give us any attention, we just kind of left.  So much for the tearful good-bye I had envisioned.

That evening was really weird.  The 3 of us ate dinner in silence.  It was strange not to have pup around sniffing at our feet.  It was strange not going out for a walk after supper.  I really missed the little guy..hubby and son..not so much.  But I missed him like crazy.

So today, after a full week, we went back to the kennel to pick him up.  Son went to the car to get pup's leash, so hubby and I were in the office alone, waiting for our dog.  As soon as pup came out, he ran right past me and was all over hubby.  He jumped on hubby, he licked hubby, he stuffed his nose up hubby's private areas...he could not get enough of hubby.  I just stood there, next to hubby, staring.  Then, 14 year old son walked into the room.  Pup left hubby and jumped on son.  He licked son, he played with son, he sniffed son. I started to feel like the 3rd wheel so I tried to get pup's attention.  I tried to get pup off son so he could actually focus on me...the only one who missed him!!  Pup didn't like me prying him away from hubby and son, so he turned around and NIPPED my hand!!!

That's when it hit me.  All this time I've always thought my dog hated me.  Now I know the truth...he doesn't hate me.  I'm just a non-entity to him.  I feed him and walk him, but I'm a NOBODY to him...sniff..sniff..

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Sunday, 4 March 2012

Goodbye Cruel World

Well, it's finally happened.  I think I finally know what's going through my 11 month old puppy's brain!!!  I use to think the answer was "not much", but now I've finally figured it out.  Puppy wants to end it all!!  Yep, he wants to grab his big ole bone, lap some water out of his dish, maybe mark his territory on a tree or two, and then he wants to go out like a flash!!

Let me explain.  Why else would puppy try to run out on the street while I'm walking him?  Why else does he go to the end of his leash, trying with all his might to run onto oncoming traffic?  I can see it now, as he sits by the living-room window..looking out onto the street in front of him.  I can see that bubble forming on top of his head.  The bubble with the words clearly stating his thoughts.  "Hmm", he thinks, "living with these humans has been fun, but now I must go.  All they do is exercise me 4 times a day, groom me, brush my teeth".  Yes it's a tough life for this pooch.  His thoughts continue, "Well, I'm 11 months old now.  I've tasted every Kleenex, I've marked every tree, and I've played with every dog in the world "....true..his is a small world.  "I've eaten really healthy food as my masters don't give me junk or snacks, I've destroyed every room in their home, I've torn all their cushions, chewed on shoes and socks.  I've been to every dog park, soccer field, golf course, and water fountain.  Now I have nothing left"

Then as I take him out for our walks, he starts.  Pull, pull, pull the leash.  Put leash in mouth and jump into the street while I try to reel him in only inches away from an oncoming bus!!.  We have an overpass near our house which looks down 20 feet onto train tracks.  Sometimes you can see the train in the distance, sometimes it's directly underneath us.  Most times, however, there is no train...and what should be a 30 second walk across the overpass, becomes a 10 minute ordeal as pup pulls and pulls...all the while I'm making his leash shorter and shorter so that he doesn't fall through the barrier and 20 feet down onto the tracks!!

I'm not sure if puppy really thinks this way...but for now, I'm just focused on keeping him least long enough so that he can experience his first birthday next month!!

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