Sunday, 29 April 2012

I'm Putting my Foot Down!!!

There are not too many things in life I hate.  I dislike a few things (traffic jams, obnoxious people, sour milk after it's been poured into my coffee), but not much I hate.  I guess I could say I hate not getting enough sleep, or growing older, but those are things that many people have in common, and it's always easy to vent to a co-worker or friend, and feel better afterwards.

But, I can say without hesitation, I HATE walking my dog.  I really do.  It's not the going outside in all types of weather, or even the waking up early, coming home at lunchtime, or even the after dinner walk.  I totally get the health benefits of doing that.  I know that if it wasn't for my little pooch, I would always come up with an excuse for not going outside to exercise.  The weather, the time, my schedule would all play a nice role in keeping me from exercising.  Therefore it's not the walk that I's the walk WITH my dog that sends a cold shiver down my spine.

Hard to believe we've had him for almost a year now, but it's true.  We picked him up from the breeder on May 28th, 2011.  A little 8 week old munchkin just waiting to be taken home to a nice, loving happy family.  Now one would think that after having had a dog for almost 1 year, and, said dog not having had any prior experiences with any other owners, one would think that life would be easy for everyone...WRONG!!!  Life is easy for hubby.  Life is easy for 15 year old is a nightmare for me!!!!  After almost a year of living in our home, our dog still does not respect me.  True, the biting has stopped, but the nano-second that hubby leaves the house, doggy goes on a rampage.  I have to lock up all the sofa cushions in the guest bedroom, have to hide the dish cloths on top of the stove, have to put all waste-paper baskets on top of tables, have to put our shoes on top of the dryer.  When doggy sees he has nothing but his toys to play with, he tries to take the carpet out of the hallway and drag it up the stairs.  Once I roll up this carpet and put it in the closet, doggy starts eating our plants!!!  It NEVER ends!!!  He only does this when I'm alone with him!!!

Now this is why I hate my walks.  When I go for a walk accompanied by hubby or son, doggy just walks between us like an angel.  But, when I'm alone, he goes for the leash in the nanosecond it takes for me to step out of the garage!!  I've tried everything.  I've tried staying in the garage with him for 40 minutes waiting for him to go into a calm, submissive state.  That did not last long!  I've tried being very assertive when the leash is in his mouth, that is, snapping the leash, making him stop walking, being firm.  That never worked.  I've also tried ignoring him when he's biting or yanking the leash, but that works even less.  I longer I ignore him, the more excited he becomes by having the leash in his mouth and he works himself into a frenzy!!  I've tried the harness too.  That worked great up until doggy turned 45 lbs.  Then it was harder than ever to control the pulling and biting.

One day I was walking him when hubby called me.  As usual, I was fighting back the tears as doggy was trying his best to dislocate my arm from its shoulder.  Then, hubby suggested I step on the leash.  So I did.  As doggy was whipping himself up into a leash biting frenzy, I stepped on the leash and brought my foot down as close as possible to the start of the leash nearest his neck.  Doggy did not like that one bit.  I never heard him growl like that.  Actually, I was sure he would bite my foot off, but he never did!  I stayed like that for a few minutes and started the walk again.  He began with the leash again, so I stepped on it again.  This time I stayed there for 5 minutes.  Cars driving by pointed and stared, but I didn't care.  My doggy was actually lying down and was going into a calm state.

So now, this is my life.  Sometimes I only have to step on the leash once, sometimes I have to step on it more than 7 times, I'm just hoping that one day, doggy will make the correlation between leash biting, and not being able to move.

Only time,( and a steel belted leash) will tell.

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Sunday, 22 April 2012

The Sound of Grinding, Crunching Metal

My year old doggy pulls.  He pulls and pulls during our walks. Sometimes, he pulls like crazy just until he poops, and then he's calmer.  Most of the time, however, he's just crazy!!  The pulling never stops.

So, I do what any one in my position would do...I'm constantly on the lookout for twigs that I can give him during our walk.  My rationale is that if he's busy with something in his mouth, he won't pull so hard.  This plan has been know to backfire however.  Because he's so use to having something in his mouth when I'm walking him, his nose is always low to the ground.  He runs onto any lawn he sees and constantly tries to pick something off the front yards.  Most times it's twigs...but, many, many times it will be blown over Kleenexes, Q-tips, paper bags, empty cigarette packs, or Styrofoam coffee cups.  Doggy just loves recycling day!!

He's a clever little guy, my little doggy.  He knows that once this stuff is in his mouth, he has to run to the end of his leash to keep as far away from me as possible.  He knows that he has to pull with all his might against me (as I try to reel him in), because once he gets close to me, I'm going to be prying his jaws apart trying to get the foreign objects out!  He just HATES that.  He looks at me with a rather puzzled look thinking, "OK Lady.  Twigs-yes, Kleenex-no?  C'mon, what's the diff?"  And he's right.  I should never have started this on our walks, but now I don't know how to stop it :(

Yesterday, I knew I had to end this practice.  There we were, walking our usual walk...pulling, yanking, biting the leash...(I keep waiting for that wonderful bonding moment between master and doggy...), when, in the blink of an eye, doggy ran onto someone's lawn and snatched something off the front stoop.  At first, I didn't think anything of it.  We just kept walking and doggy was quite calm.  Then, I noticed that he wasn't closing his mouth!!  There was something in there!!  It was small enough to fit in there, and I couldn't see what it was.  As soon as doggy got wind of the fact that I wanted to peer into his mouth, he ran to the end of his leash and pulled as hard as he could.  There was NO WAY he was going to let me look into his mouth and take away the tasty mystery morsel!!

And then, it started...the grinding, crunching sound that made my stomach turn.  I had absolutely no idea what was in there, but doggy loved it.  For close to a dozen times, I tried to get him to open his mouth so that I could see what was in there..but to no avail.  This was one time that doggy was NEVER going to let me win!!  This taste was too new...too different.  The sound went on and on.  Crunching, grinding..sounded like he was crushing his teeth against a metal beam.  It was so gross.

Each time I looked at him, his mouth was opened but the mystery object was not about to come out.  This sound, and thus the chewing, continued for about 20 minutes.  I kept imagining this steel object making it's way through my doggy..trying to come out the next day!!!  That evening, after explaining to my hubby, we put doggy on watch.  I was petrified of what would come out of him.  The next day he was fine, and the day after that as well.  Whatever he had eaten, did not seem to have affected him in any way.

The next night, as we were walking, I saw a snail on the street...I closed my eyes and made a secret wish that it was a snail (shell and all) that puppy had eaten 2 days ago.  I'll never know for sure, but I'll start carrying around garlic butter with me...just in case.

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Sunday, 15 April 2012

I Saw that Look!

So, anyone that has been following my blog since July, will know that I have not had an easy time walking my little PWD.  I've had good periods...which consist of maybe 2 good walks in a row (out of about 1 trillion), but for the most part, it's been a nightmare.

It's not that my little PWD is a "bad" dog either!  He's great!  He's very respectful of other dogs, he knows when to play and when to walk away.  He definitely knows his place in the complicated echelons of the canine world. He knows his place in our home too.  In the grand hierarchy of his mind, at the very top is hubby (the only person in the family that has no interest in the dog whatsoever).  Hubby doesn't care if we have a dog or not, hubby only walks him in the mornings, and the only reason for that is that hubby wants to get his daily exercise.  Hubby has made it very clear that he doesn't care if we were to give away our little PWD tomorrow.  Somehow, this indifference has translated itself to reverence in our dog's mind.  He WORSHIPS the very ground hubby walks on!!!  Hubby had become the prime alpha member of the family!! Wherever hubby goes, doggy is sure to follow...makes my tummy turn if you ask me!!!

Soon-to-be-15 year old son is next in line.  No matter what antics doggy is up to (whether I'm chasing him around the dining room table trying to get the dish rag out of his mouth, or chasing him around the house trying to keep him from eating the baseboards), as soon as son enters the room, doggy drops everything he's doing, and he just sits there, angelic-like, waiting to be pet or played with.

Now of course, there's me!  I have absolutely no status in my doggy's mind whatsoever!  I am below hubby and son, below other doggies and their owners, below sticks, rocks twigs and moss...I have zero status.  Whenever I take him out for a walk (2ce a day minimum), he tugs and pulls on the leash..bites the leash, plays name it.  What I find has helped my walks a bit, is that if I ignore him for a full day, he will walk slightly better with me.  He'll still pull me down the street so hard that I have to run to keep up with him, but at least he won't put the leash in his mouth..that is...until I make eye contact with him.  I try to avoid doing so at all costs.  Once we establish eye contact, I know I'm finished.  It's in that nanosecond of our pupils aligning, that he jumps in front of me, grabs the leash and never lets go.

When I'm out with him, I look ahead of me, I look up, I look to the side...doggy does everything in his power to make sure I see him.  He runs out in front of me to face him, I quickly dart my eyes to the side to avert his stare.  He runs to my side..then accidentally, I'll smile at an elderly lady waiting at the bus stop.  I see she's looking at doggy, naturally, my eyes go down to him.  Uh oh!!!  I panic.  He's noticed we made eye contact and for the next 30 minutes of our walk, he'll be biting, pulling, tugging...and he'll be oh so HAPPY!!!!

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Sunday, 8 April 2012

Dahhling...the pillow clashes with your scarf....

I've heard it said over and over again , "In my previous life, I was...."  Some religions are based on this belief, others, just believe in reincarnation based on characteristics we have.

Hubby and I think our son was probably a fish in his previous life..based on his love of the water.  In my early 20's, I thought that I was a black panther in my previous life based on the fact that I always wore head to toe black clothing.  I've had friends think they were reincarnated from Egyptian royalty based on the fact that they love to wear a lot of gold.  I've always thought it was funny that we claim to be come we were never the slave that got squished between the 2 pillars while building the pyramids?

I also think it's odd that most of the people that believe in this sort of thing, believe they were an animal first...What if it were the other way around?  What if animals were reincarnated from people?  No question that Winston Churchill was a bulldog, and Phyllis Diller was an Ostrich.

My Portuguese Water Dog was most definitely an Interior Decorator before he became a dog.  He sits there, in front of the couch, eyeing the silk throw pillows.  You just know he's thinking, "What in the world are my masters thinking.  How can they possibly have a rust coloured cushion on this brown couch...Oh no, no, belongs there, on the floor behind the dining room that's Feng Shui!!!"

Then, he'll walk past a runner (a longish carpet that we have in the hallway on our main floor).  He puts it in his mouth, drags it up a flight of stairs and leaves it in the kitchen.   He then takes the dish rag that's hanging on the handle of our oven, and he'll bring that into the laundry room.  "There, much better..I sure hope those pesky masters don't destroy my work...I'll only have to do it over again if they do"..

Our little PWD absolutely hates the guest bedroom.  He's always pulling the comforter off the bed and tries to drag it to the foyer.  I guess I should be grateful to floors are always nice and shiny from all that material being dragged across the floor.

The other day, he decided that he no longer liked the sheets on my son's bed.  One morning, while son was still sleeping, my little portie managed to get the top sheet off him and run downstairs.  I found my son's sheet in the basement, full of holes.  When I went upstairs to check on son, I saw that his pillow cases (the corners) were eaten away!!!   Son had never woken up!!!!

When I was buying my son his new sheet set, I tried to make a careful selection.  I didn't want to get anything that might disagree with my dogs sense of style!!

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Sunday, 1 April 2012

The Birthday Boy little terror turned 1 years old today!!!!  The irony of my little guy being born on April Fool's Day is not lost on me.  From the second we got him , I knew my life would change forever.

I have been feeling nostalgic all day.....

It all began 8 years ago.  My son, 6 years old at the time, and I kept harassing hubby to get a dog.  I had grown up with cats all my life, and son had a goldfish for 4 years (darned thing just kept hanging on!!!)  Hubby, on the other hand, had never, ever had a pet.  Both son and I kept at him, and then one day...he said "yes".

Hubby and I did lots of research on hyper-allergenic dogs.  Hubby and son wanted a medium to larger sized dog, so our list kept getting narrower and narrower.  Then one evening, as hubby was playing softball, a lady and her PWD came strolling by.  Hubby took one look at that dog and he was smitten.  He came home that night and announced that we'd be getting a PWD.  That night, and for the next few months, hubby and I did lots of research on the breed.  We found out about their mouthiness, their tendency to jump on you,  their extremely high energy levels, and of course, their need for constant exercise.  We knew that this would be quite the commitment.

When we found our reputable breeder, the breeder suggested that we spend a few hours with the dogs to see hubby's reaction to them.  Hubby has always been allergic to animals, and suffers from asthma, so we had to be really sure. We got to the breeder, and 6 adult PWD's came running at us.  They were all over us.  They sat on us, they licked us (boy oh boy does that breed like to lick!!), and they won us over.  We knew right then and there, that we wanted a curly-haired male.  And, most importantly, we knew that this breed was perfect for hubby!!

When we found out that one of the dogs was pregnant, hubby, son, and I were beside ourselves.  We were just as excited as if one of us were pregnant (OK, maybe just me since I'm the only female in the family).  We waited and waited until we got that faithful call, the mother had given birth to a litter of 9....5 females, and 4 males...and, of the 4 males, only 1 of them was curly-haired.  When the pups were 5 weeks old, we went over to meet them.  There they were, the 9 of them, falling all over themselves, biting each other, and competing to feed off their mother.  There sat our little guy, on his own.  He was very quiet.  He observed all the sights and sounds around him.  He was not very active at all.  At one point, he found a spot and sat down...only the spot was his brother's head!!  After 10 minutes, he looked down at the lump, and walked away.  I was actually worried that something might be wrong with him.  He didn't have anywhere near the energy level of his siblings.  We asked the breeder if this was a sign of his personalty.  "Was he always going to be so calm, docile and quiet?"  The breeder just laughed, looked at us and said it was just "Marketing".  Pup would show us what he was really like soon enough.

When we finally brought him home at 2 months old, we realized that he was NOT that calm puppy we had met at the breeder's place.  This pup could run laps around the Tasmanian Devil!!!   He could jump down a flight of stairs on a single bound, he could destroy every toy he had in 10 minutes...

In the 10 months we've had him, we've definitely had our ups and downs...but today, looking into his big brown eyes... I look forward to the surprises this new year will bring!!

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