Sunday, 28 October 2012

The Hockey Sock

I've had my little PWD for almost 17 months now.  In all that time, he has never lacked any toys.  He has a collection of balls, Kongs, antlers (!), stuffed toys, unstuffed toys, bones, the very occasional rawhide chew, and of course, his many, many other doggy buddies.

Because we walk our little guy 4 times a day, he knows absolutely every dog within a 5 km radius of our home.  Actually, just yesterday, one of the other dog owners rang our doorbell.  He was in the area and he asked us if our dogs could have a playdate.  He left his dog with us and off he went.  About a half-hour later, we walked her back to her house.  Yes, this is a very typical day in my doggy's life.  Plenty of toys, friends and love from everyone in my family.  Believe me when I say my dog lacks NOTHING in life.

Yes, he sure does love to play with toys, but, being a typical Porty, he gets bored rather easily.  He'll play with something for about 10 minutes and either completely destroy it, or leave it under the sofa and completely forget about it.  He does this with almost everything....except...THE SOCK!

You see, although he's a Portuguese Water Dog, soccer balls are not really his favourite toy.  My little guy goes absolutely berserk for HOCKEY SOCKS!!!  It must be the Canadian climate we live in.  Last winter, one of the other dog owners brought a hockey sock to the park.  He tied it in a knot and through it up in the air.  My dog got one end and another little bulldog got the other.  This was about 10 months ago and I swear I still don't think either one has let go yet.  They pull and pull for hours.  No A.D.D. here.  My dog never loses interest.  He loves the sock.  He craves the sock.  When we go to the park, he runs past all the other dogs and goes straight to the dog-owner that brings the sock.  

The sock started out looking quick nice.  You could clearly see the stripes, and it's shape was intact.  Now, it's barely a shadow of itself.  It is raggedy and threadbare.  The knitting is all loose and you can barely make out what it use to be.  Many other socks have been brought to the park over the months...but the original HOCKEY SOCK, the one connecting my dog to the bulldog, that wonderful, smelly, torn up sock...well, that's my doggy's favourite toy in the entire world. and he just won't let go!!

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Sunday, 30 September 2012

Your Crotch or Mine?

I happen to think that dogs are brilliant.  They are totally in tune with themselves and their environment.  They pick up on silent cues and clues, and they seldom get themselves into dangerous situations..(with other dogs, I mean).  Oh yes, they get into all kinds of dangerous situations like trying desperately to run onto an oncoming car while I'm holding him back with all my might...but they seldom get themselves into trouble with other dogs.

As soon as I take my little 18 month old PWD to the park, he'll run to the other dogs and proceed to sniff them before playing with them.  When a new dog is introduced to the pack, the dogs will surround the newbie, sniff him from all angles..oh and of course, especially the crotch..and then decide how to play with him.

I really think this is brilliant.  By sniffing, they get a good sense of the type of dog they are dealing with.  They know when to be rough or submissive, they know if the other dog is too young to understand them, and, most importantly, they know when to STAY AWAY!!

I think that people have a lot to learn from doggies.  We spend our lives trying to impress people with our words, our athletic skills, our dance moves, and our money.  But, no matter what we do, there will always be that one person that you will never win over.  We'll try and try to do everything in our power..what a colossal waste of time!!! 

To illustrate my point, I've detailed below a typical first date scenario.  The first with people, the second with dogs..You decide which one makes the most sense:

Scenario #1:
Two humans getting ready for their first date.  Both shower excessively.  Woman frets over what to wear.  Man gets his car cleaned inside and out.  They meet.  Words ensue.  Man tries to make woman laugh.  Woman tries to act flirty.  Both order two completely different meals.  They try to pick up on each others cues.  "Hmm", the guy wonders.."does she really think my jokes are funny or is it just a nervous laugh"?  "Hmm.", the woman wonders.."should I really have worn these heels?  Now I'm 2 inches taller than him"  And so it goes.  They make plans for a second date..they want to keep learning about each this THE ONE?

Scenario #2:
Two dogs meet in the park.  They've been out all day so they are definitely emitting a few fumes.   The smellier the better!  They meet..nose to nose.  One goes over to the others crotch...They sniff, sniff, sniff.."Hey.. you're my type of dog..let's play!!"  A match made in heaven.  These dogs will play together well into their senior years.

How easy would it be for humans to do this.  Think of all the time and energy we'd save.  We'd go to a friend's party..sniff out men and women alike and then decide on the spot who would be our BFF and who we'd like to spend the rest of our lives with. much to learn from our doggies..

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Sunday, 16 September 2012

So...whatch guys doin?

 All my life, from the time I was about 3 years old, we always had a cat in the house.  These cats were always curious and always stared at us.  I use to feel that they could read my mind.  When I got a little older and first heard the saying, "curiosity killed the cat", I could totally relate and knew exactly what that meant.

Also, all my life, I had heard that cats were completely different from dogs.  In some aspects, I agreed (dogs eating everything, dogs needing to be walked, dogs wanting to please), but, I also disagreed on certain things. Not all dogs want to be pet 24/7, and like cats, when dogs have had enough, they will either walk away or nip at you...that's just the way it is.

But, in the year since becoming a Portuguese Water Dog owner, I've also learned that dogs can be just as curious as cats.  No matter what I'm doing, my little PWD will peak in just to see what's going on.  He wants to be a PART OF EVERYTHING!!  If my hubby and I walk from one room to the next, our little Portie will get up from his deep sleep, just so he can be in the same room with us and check out what's happening. If we decide to go into the home office and work on the computer, doggy is right there behind us..following our every move.  He'll be quite curious..and when we're doing something he can't quite understand, he'll tilt his head to the side and stare.  I did read once, that PWD's are notorious "starers"  They'll look at you almost human-like, trying to understand and take in your every move. 

The other day, I had laid down his food and I walked into the living room to read the paper.  I could hear him munching happily away.  My 15 year old son then joined me and we began to talk.  I guess our little doggy could hear us through his crunching, because he didn't seem to mind that we were in a different room.  Well, let me tell you, as soon as son and I decided to move to the kitchen, doggy stopped everything he was doing and came by to watch us.  He just HAD to know where we were and what we were doing.

Sometimes in the evening, while hubby and son are watching football and I'm reading, my little doggy will come up and just plop down in the middle of the floor so he can see all 3 of us at the same time.  "Whatcha guys doin'?"  He'll ask.  "Mind if I tag along?"   

And so it goes.  My little PWD is the most curious of them all.  Curiosity may have killed the cat, but my little doggy won't rest until he knows every minute detail of our lives.

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Sunday, 9 September 2012

Usain Bolt

My little 17 month old Portuguese Water Dog is the fastest dog on earth.  well, actually, that's not entirely true.  What I mean, is that he's the fastest sprinter on earth.

Just like Usain Bolt, our doggy is built for speed in short bursts..he's not a long distance kinda dog.  When we take him out for his morning walk, he walks dutifully by our side for about 40 minutes.  Lunch time is a bit shorter as my time is limited.  However, he's good with the distance and the pace.  At about 330pm or so, he goes out for about an hour.  The pace is always a brisk walk..and once again, he's dutifully by our side.


In the evening, well, that's a whole different story.  Every evening, every dog in my neighbourhood gathers at our local soccer field.  This is the only place where our town allows us to run our doggies off-leash.  Let me get off track for a bit..  I live in an area where there are more dogs than people.  There are parks and green spaces every few blocks.  But, we are the only neighbourhood in the city that DOES NOT  have a dog park!!!  So, every night, a few of us would gather at the parks closest to our homes, and let our little guys run free and interact with other dogs.  We always cleaned up after our doggies and we made a few friends in the process.  Well, that came to a screeching halt when the home-owners next to the parks started complaining to the city.  We always found that incredible as most people living near the parks had dogs of their own...but hey, you can't fight city hall..and it was interesting that the Mayor was also one of the dog owners banned from the public parks!!

Anyway, to go on with my story, every evening, we all meet at the soccer field.  My doggy is brilliant by the way.  He knows that the evening walk is like no other.  He starts to get excited right after dinner because he know what's coming up.  So, once the garage door opens, my doggy starts pulling me down the street on the way to the field.  Every now and then, I remind him with a slight snap to the leash, that he's supposed to be walking by my side.  He slows down for about 15 seconds, and then starts to speed up again.  And so it goes...pull, snap, slow-down, speed-up..pull, snap, slow-down, speed-up..pull, snap, slow-down, speed-up..all the way to the soccer field.  Once there, he's like a car revving his engine.  He's ready to GO!!  His foot is on the accelerator, and he's just waiting for me to unhook his leash from his collar.  The minute he hears the click..HE"S OFF!!!  He sprints down the length of the soccer field.  My little Usain Bolt catches up with other dogs that are 50 feet ahead of him.  He runs circles around one can catch him.  He runs, he runs, he runs.  But, because he's not built for long distances, he just plops down on the grass when he's tired, and he DOESN'T MOVE!!!

All the other dogs run up beside him, they nudge him, they try to play..but my little PWD just sits there, panting.  Every now and then he'll get a second wind..but most of the time, he just sits on the coolness of the grass, watching all the other doggies play around him.

One last thing you should know.  The soccer field is about 20 minutes from my home (walking).  In the evenings, with my eager dog, it takes us about 10 minutes to get there because he's so eager to run.  However,  when it's time to leave the field, it can take up to a half hour or more.  Doggy just doesn't want to MOVE.  I have to drag him off the field, and then try to pry him off every lawn in the city as he runs onto other people's propety and just lies down on their grass!! 

Like I said, my little Usain Bolt is quite the sprinter...but when the race is's OVER!!

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Monday, 3 September 2012

You Must Pet Me!!!

My little 17 month old PWD is very demanding.

When he was just a little bitty puppy, he use to jump up on us an bite us.  Nothing we could do or say would ever discourage him from his task at hand.  As he got older, he would run to the end of his leash and pull and pull until he made choking noises.  But, once again, no amount of us snapping the leash or telling him to "sit" would work.  (By the way, for all you harness-loving fans...he "listened" even less to us while wearing his harness...he would still run to the end of the leash, only it was harder for us to stop him as he fought against us with every ounce of his strength).

Now, as he's older and calmer, he is still quite demanding, but in a different way.  He loves to get PET.  This is his favourite pastime.  While I'm reading..he nudges me to pet him.  If the family is watching TV, he goes from person to person all the while demanding attention.  He starts off with hubby.  You see, hubby is the head groomer.  Every night, my little PWD goes to hubby for his nightly brushing of his coat and his teeth.  Once the task is over, he lies down between hubby' s legs (as they are both on the floor) and stays there getting pet until he falls asleep.  Hubby is pretty good at this, but after about 30 minutes, hubby gets real TIRED!  So, he stops.  Once our little PWD gets wind of the fact that he is no longer being pet, he gets up and goes to our 15 year old son.  Son then sits on the floor and continues with the petting.  The PWD, turns this way and that, he needs to make sure that not an inch of him remains unpet.  Son does this for about 10 minutes, but, as with any 15 year old boy..the allure of his cell phone is stronger than the urge to pet the dog for hours on end.  As is the case every night, son makes up some excuse to leave the room so he can concentrate on the ever important texts coming his way.

Well, with hubby back on the couch and son nowhere in site, our little PWD turns his sights to me.  He starts to lick me...sending out a signal that his is not yet done with the petting.  I playfully ignore him to see how far this will go.  He licks my hands and forearms.  I pull them away.  He then starts licking my knees and shins.  The more I move away, the more excited he gets.  It becomes a game of "cat and mouse" to him.  He stands up and starts pawing at me.  I can read his thoughts..."what does a cute little doggy like me have to do to get pet around here??"  As I'm siting on the couch, he puts his head on my lap.  He looks at me with big brown eyes..."hey lady!!  Can't you see how darned cute I am??How can you resist me??"

Then I break down..the petting starts.  I can see the look of relief in my dog's face..."holy's been a full 3 minutes since I was last pet"  He plops down.  He rolls on his back.  His arms stretch over his head and his knees open up.  His favourite place for me to pet him is the inside of his knee. He can lie like that for hours.  I scratch his knee until he finally goes to sleep..

Now, as I'm writing this blog, I'm sitting in the office.  My doggy is right next to me..his head on my lap, and he's pawing at me...I see the look in his eyes..."Hey you see me here???  You MUST PET ME!!!"

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Sunday, 19 August 2012

The Licking...Oh the Licking!!!

For most of my life, I have had cats.  I am very well aware of their habits, and the way they express themselves.  Whenever I would pet a cat, their little gritty tongue would come out to lick my hand.  Then, after about 5 minutes, they'd flip over, stop licking, and either bite or scratch me!!  Good times!!

I always knew that dogs licked as a way of "kissing" us humans.  But, it wasn't until I got my very first dog 14 months ago, that I realized the extent of their licking.  Sure, they try to lick your face, but my PWD licks everything!!  He licks our hands and feet, he licks the carpet.  He licks the wall where it forms a corner.  When he's lying on the floor and I'm petting him, he turns his head to the side and starts licking the floor.

Just yesterday, my family and I were sitting in the basement/family room.  Hubby and son were watching a football game, and I was reading.  My doggy was sitting on the carpet between us.  He got up, walked over to hubby, and started licking his hands.  After a few minutes, as hubby saw that doggy wasn't about to stop, he pushed the dog away in the direction of our son.  The dog walked over to our son and started licking his head (son was sitting on the floor).  After fighting off the dog who was licking his head, neck, ear and hair, son got up and sat on the couch.

This left me!

Doggy came over and started staring at me.  I started petting his head and back until he plopped down on the floor and gave me his belly.  While on his back, he turned his head to the side and started licking the carpet.  At one point, he forgot I was petting him as he flipped over, and began to lick the carpet with a fierce intensity.  I kinda poked him to snap him out of his licking frenzy.  He then got up and started licking the seat of the couch that I was sitting on.  I redirected his focus by giving him one of his chew toys.  This listed for about 7 seconds as he dropped the chew toy and began to lick the leg of my pants.

So much licking???  What does he get out of this??  I've observed him in the park with other dogs and absolutely no licking goes on.  When I walk him, he may lick the sidewalk occasionally but really nothing of note.  He does tend to lick the grass in the morning, but that's only to lap up the morning moisture.

So, why the licking of humans, and everything humans own??  Only my little PWD knows the answer to that one!!

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Sunday, 12 August 2012

Too Bad they are Born as Puppies!

I love my little doggy!!. He is sweet, loving, playful, and for the most part, obedient.  Thanks to him, hubby has lost close to 30 lbs, my 15 year old son is out all day with him, and I do look mighty fine in a skirt (if I do say so myself!)

But, sadly, life wasn't always so picturesque.  There was a time, when our little 16 month old PWD was just 8 weeks old.  Yep, he was 2 months old when we brought him home.  He was a absolute terror.  Within the 1st 4 weeks of bringing him home, he had:

  • Eaten every throw pillow we had in the house
  • Gone through 2 leashes
  • Started eating our baseboards one room at a time
  • Ruined our slippers, flip-flops, and sandals (we got him in June and by August we had to replace everything!)
  • Ate our bath towels as well as dish towels
  • Ate our plants (both in the house and in our garden)
  • Peed and pooed on every carpet in the house
  • ...And bit us...very much...bit..bit ..bit...especially ME!
Now of course I know that he was only a puppy and had to be trained not to do these things.  Fast forward 14 months later and he is a dream dog.  But one morning, as hubby and I were having our coffee, we began to talk about the (good!) ole days, when our little doggy was a pup.  We then thought, "How wonderful would it be if dogs were born as adult dogs?  How great would it be to completely by-pass the puppy stage and have a full grown dog?"

Now I know, this can always be a reality if you want to adopt a dog.  Many people I know have adopted, 2, 5, and even 7 year old dogs.   But that's not what we meant.  We thought it would be great if puppies weren't part of the natural progress.  It would be great if an 8 week old dog was full grown.  Just think, no accidents in the house, nothing destroyed, obedient..and we'd still have the luxury of sharing our life with him for the next 15 years.

But, alas, the darned puff-balls are born as puppies.  Something we had to live with, but boy oh boy am I glad that puppy stage is over!!!

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Sunday, 5 August 2012

The Zone!

Many moons ago, before I had ever become a dog-owner, I never thought it possible that a dog could be so focused.  What I mean is that, I knew dogs could perform tricks and jobs (IE-rolling over, sheep herding, aiding the sight-impaired, etc), but I never realized just how much concentration they were capable of.  ( I know I shouldn't end a sentence in a preposition but I feel it makes sense in this case!)

Ever since we got our doggie at the tender age of 8 weeks, we realized that once he set his mind to something, there was very little my family or I could do to distract him.  He would get into "The Zone" and absolutely NOTHING could snap him out of it.

Case in point:

1-Puppy wants to go into my bathroom.  I tell him "no"..He continues towards the door like he doesn't see me or hear me.  I block his path with my body.  Puppy walks around me and tries to get into the bathroom that way.  I physically turn his body around so that his nose faces into the room and away from the door.  This does not distract him.  He continues to go for the door...he has been doing this for 14 months, even though he knows he is not allowed in there.

2-Doggie like to hump the pillow in the guest bedroom.  He has been fixed and technically should have no desire.  However, doggie feels he must profess his love to the pillow.  He pulls the pillow off the bed, wraps his front paws around it and humps it for the next millennium.  I have taken the pillow from him..he finds it.  I have substituted it for another toy..he discards the new toy and looks for his beloved.  I have changed the pillow cases..he doesn't mind the new look.  I have put Tabasco on the pillow...he loves that extra "kick" the Tabasco has.  He has bonded with the pillow and wants to make it his mate for life.  We do not tell our guests when they sleep over.  We just casually change the pillow case and suggest they keep their door closed for privacy reasons.  Our guests feel very welcomed thinking that the only reason that the dog is always in their room is because he likes them...only my hubby and I know the truth!!!

3- Doggie sees a used Kleenex on the street while I am walking him.  He pulls towards the Kleenex, he tries to run to the Kleenex...even after I've walked half a block away he still keeps looking back for the Kleenex!  I am amazed.  I wonder, "If he can remember, 10 minutes later..that a Kleenex was once on the street...if he can keep looking for it, then why oh why can he not remember to heel at my side or sit just before we cross a street?"

I then finally came to the realization that the Zone is selective.  My doggie chooses his OCD.  Bathroom, pillows, Kleenex (only the used variety, of course), are what drive him.  All the other stuff that I've been trying to teach him for over a year is just not that important to him.

Like I said at the beginning, he gets very focused, and NOTHING I can ever do will distract him from his mission.

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Sunday, 29 July 2012

Dogs eat EVERYTHING!!!

My dog is a lean dog.  He's got that perfect doggy shape where you can see his butt, legs belly and ribcage perfectly.  Also, because he's an extremely active dog, you can even say that he looks rather cheetah-like while he's galloping across a field or playing tag with other doggies.  We try to give him only the best food available.  He gets exactly what he needs for his size, age, and activity level.

We didn't use to give him snacks but we broke down.  He only snacks just before or after a walk and once again, his snacks are the healthiest we could find.

So..why is it that dogs will eat absolutely everything off the street?  They eat tufts of grass, worms, sticks, rocks..and occasionally, I'll have to try to get him to drop a bottle cap he may have picked up.  I just don't get this.  They don't have taste buds so what are they getting out of this experience.  Don't even get me started on what he eats out of my wastepaper basket in my bathroom.  But somehow, everything goes in their mouths.  They can't possibly be hungry!  At least I don't think so. 

This brings me to something strange I saw in my doggy.  He has always eaten a particular type of dog food.  But, we slowly started phasing it out and changed his diet to something just a little more healthy and suited to his lifestyle.  It was a very slow introduction so that we wouldn't upset his tummy..(mind you, I don't know how we would be able to tell if an upset tummy came from the new dog food or the snails he was eating after a rainfall!!)

Anyways, once the phase out was complete, doggy ate this new dog food for about 3 days and then he stopped eating all together.  I couldn't believe it.  Here he was, ready to eat any garbage he could find, but he just wouldn't at his new food.  I had to start slowly giving him his old food.  I went back to the pet specialty store and told them my story.  They suggested I buy 2 sample bags of 2 different types of meats.  I had to put them side by side in 2 different bowls and I was supposed to see which one my doggy preferred.  I could not believe that this garbage-eater was so finicky when it came to real food!!  But, we tried it and it turns out he hates chicken, doesn't care for lamb, but is ok with beef.

And so it went, we started giving him the beef daily when all of a sudden he decided he didn't like it anymore.  After about 2 days of hardly eating, I had to re-introduce his original dog food to the blend....and so it's been going.  One week he loves the all beef flavour, and the next week he wants nothing to do with it.  Remember, this is the dog that eats used Kleenexes off the street!!  Somebody suggested to me it's because the weather has been quite warm and he's probably not all that hungry.

We'll see how it goes.

Which brings me to yesterday....We were at a friend's cottage for a BBQ.  Tons of people and food everywhere.  As I mentioned, my doggy only gets healthy food and never, ever, people food.  But what did he do?  As soon as we got there he jumped on a little 7 year old girl...tossed the plate out of her hand..and ran off with a ketchup covered hotdog!!!  First time he ever has people food..and it's the worst kind around!!!

Oh yeah, and he never touched his own (good) food...

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Monday, 16 July 2012

Dogs do NOT speak English!

When I first got my little PWD, he was all of 8 weeks old.  I had never, ever had a dog before so I was really clueless as to how to raise him.  I'd see people walking down the street, being dragged by their dogs..and I'd think, "Wow, that's how I'll happily walk my dog!!"  Like I said, I had no clue.

Whenever my little guy would so something I didn't like, such as pee on the carpet, or chew on the coffee table, I'd yell "no" to him.  I figured that if the "no" word worked when hubby and I were raising our son, then only naturally the "no" word would work on the dog!!  Whenever the doggy would tear across the house with a slipper in his mouth, I'd yell "drop it" to fact, every time I'd yell anything at would only make the puppy more excited!!

At that point, I started watching Cesar Milan episodes.  I began to notice that Cesar never actually spoke to the dogs..he would just use his body or the leash to correct unwanted behaviour.  Cesar would talk up a storm to the owners..but his communication with the dogs was always silent.  I decided I was going to try that!  Hey, if it worked for Cesar, it would work for me.  However, things on TV always have a way of working out way more quickly than they do in real life.  The first time I decided to go out with my new "silent" attitude, my puppy saw a squirrel across the street.  In the blink of an eye, he was at the end of his leash..making choking noises..never letting the fact that he couldn't breath stop him..while all the while I was yelling at him to stop..or sit..or stay..or heel..whatever words I could think of.

The leash would always get so taut on our walks, instead of snapping the dog out of his "squirrel" zone, I would just pull and yank him.  All the while, not only using words...but using them very loudly!

At 3 months old, we enrolled our doggy in a puppy class.  The first thing I noticed was that the only time the trainer actually spoke to the dogs was to give them praise.  She never used her voice for any corrections.  Somehow, that just never sank in with me.  Of course I would always praise him when praise was merited, but I would continue to use words for everything else.  A year went by and I was still yelling at my dog to stop doing things he wasn't supposed to do.  My goal, at his point was no longer about the furniture..I figured I could always get new cushions for the couch.  Nope, my goal was to keep the little nutball alive.  For over a year, I tried to keep him from running out on the street in the path of oncoming buses.  I would never let go of the leash so I could yank him back onto the sidewalk before any serious harm was done..but his behaviour was borderline suicidal!!

Both my hubby and my son had figured out that our doggy didn't speak English.  They'd just magically snap their fingers and doggy would do whatever they wanted.  I guess I wasn't as quick as them..until one day, I was walking the dog, alone, and lost in my thoughts.  At one point (and I swear it only took a split second), doggy was pulling so hard on his leash..he almost fell from an overpass 20 feet from the ground.  I felt myself come out of my body..I was looking at myself...holding the leash taut..yelling at the little guy whose tail was wagging with delight at all the excitement!

At that moment, I took it upon myself to re-register for another doggy class.  I finally realized that doggy would never would be up to me to be able to communicate in a canine fashion.  Well, week 6 into the course and our walks are fantastic.  Doggy no longer has a death wish as he walks dutifully by my side.  I've learned to recognize the signs and I'm able to snap him out of the "zone" before he tries to run across the street.  Once I finally "got"  that my dog does not speak English, we've never communicated so well with each other.

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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Dogs are NOT Cats!

Welcome to Clueless Puppy Owner's new blog!!

Technically, my dog can no longer be called a puppy, given he's 15 months old.  But, because it is cathartic for me to keep on writing about my trials and tribulations, I've decided to start up a series on what I've learnt over the year since becoming a dog owner.  My older blogs can still be found on  and if there is enough of a demand, I'll go back to my posts describing the torture my little fluff ball keeps putting me through.

So, what have I learnt?  Well, the one point that has jumped up and bit me in the nose is that "Dogs are NOT Cats"!!   Let me explain.

I have had cats for most of my life.  When I was a little girl, we had a little male cat that I loved very much.  We had him for about a year, but then he ran away.  I was devastated.  I guess someone must have left the back door open, because the cat was no longer in the house.  About a year later, an identical cat  appeared in our backyard.  Difference was, however, that this cat was female!!  We took it in where it stayed on as our pet till her last days.  I'll always remember my parents telling me it was a "miracle" that our cat went from boy to girl, and I always believed them.

Since then, I had a goldfish for a couple of years until I finished elementary school.  In University, my younger sister brought home a cat.  That cat stayed on for many years, even after my sister and I had both moved out of the house.  That cat had become my parent's subsitite child and certainly enjoyed more priveldges than we ever did!!

Living on my own, I got a my own pet cat.  Once again, this little fluff ball lived with me for years until I met my future husband.  Poor hubby was sooo allergic to her.  He landed in the emergency ward more than once during our 2 year courtship. Hubby and kitty cohabiting was not an option.  When our son came along, we got ourselves a goldfish.  That darned Cynprinidae tried to outlive us all.  He lived for about 5 years, although the last year and a half  he was floating mainly on his side!!!

Then finally, after 8 years of coaxing my hubby, son and I were finally able to convince him to say "yes" to a doggy!!  We had done tons and tons of research.  Hubby didn't want to be placed in a situation where he would end up in the Emergency ward on a weekly basis.  We found that the PWD was probably the right dog for him, but just for good measure, we spent 4 hours at a PWD breeder's house, where about 6 dogs were running around.  Hubby was great with them.  Then, he also visited a PWD from the same breeder (IE lineage), that didn't live too far from our home.  Once again, hubby was fine with we made the decision to finally get a dog!!

OH MY GOD!!  Nothing would ever prepare me for that 1st night!!  This was no goldfish, and no cat!!  Dogs BITE!!  He was all of 8 weeks old when we brought him home..a little 11 lb ball of fluff!  But, high energy..holy smokes!  He tore through our yard and through the house like he'd owned it for years.  He jumped and bit and snarled and peed everywhere!!

Hubby an I looked at each other and in that moment, we knew our lives would change forever.  I realized then that I had better learn canine language fast, if I ever wanted this to be a success.  None of those Cesar Milan episodes on dog training would help me with my doggy.  Even Cesar didn't deal with puppies (only adult dogs), because in his words, "Puppies are clueless".   I had to endure the "advice" of every single well-wisher I would meet.  What none of these people would realize, however, was that most of these "training" techniques work better for older dogs.  Eight  weeks is just too young to start establishing the Alpha role..puppies just don't get it!!  I know this now because I see how my doggy (now 15 months old) deals with dogs he meets for the 1st time..and how he dealt with them back then.  Night and day!!  Back then, the new dogs he'd meet would either turn their back to him or try to bite him.   He had to LEARN how to play and interact..and also had to LEARN his limits.  It took me a full year, but I finally got to understand that part too.  I was even more clued-out than he was!!

And so the name "Clueless Puppy Owner" came to be.  It took me a while to realize that my dog was not a cat...and thanks to his training of me, I've learnt a little about communicating in the canine world.  It's taken a year, but I think I finally love the little guy.

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