Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolutions For Me & The Dogs

This is NOT my dog. My dogs would never go for this!!
It’s New Year’s Eve!

I’d like to take a few minutes to reflect on the past year.
What went well?

·       I was the show steward for our Club shows in Orlando last January. I didn’t mess it up and I learned a lot!
·         We had new members join the German Shepherd Dog Club including Breeder, her husband and sister -- all of whom I absolutely adore.
·         I started blogging!! Regular followers or not, this has been an incredible way to focus my thoughts and document the doggie part of my life.
·         After 9 months of flying solo at work, I finally got a new partner.
·         I’ve read a lot of good dog-related books (and several not-so-good ones too). Thanks!
·         Roxy and I participated in Dogtoberfest. We had fun and helped raise money for homeless animals.
·         Jedi!
What wasn't so good?
·         I’m still fat. Diet and exercise are tough and my willpower is weak.
·         We lost Logan. My heart still aches over it.
·         My organizational skills are about as good as my diet and exercise skills.
·         I suck at puppy-proofing.
·         Apparently I'm not that great at housebreaking either.
So now it’s time to make those New Year’s Resolutions. Every year I half-heartedly say “I want to lose weight, save money, and declutter the house.” I'll do really well until Valentine’s Day, and then completely peter out by Easter. (In my defense, I did save for two years to get Jedi, so I’m not a total screw-up!) I’ve been told that my goal setting isn’t S.M.A.R.T. enough (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound), so let’s try again. I’m going to make the same three personal goals this year, trying to be more specific.
My goals for 2013:
1.      I will lose 35 pounds over the next 12 months. (It’s not nearly all I need to lose, but I need to start somewhere. Besides, the goal needs to be realistic and attainable, remember? Three pounds a month sounds doable.)
2.      I will save $500 -- to use on something frivolous next December. (That’s roughly $10/week. If I cut back on buying lunch during the week I might be able to fulfill #1 and #2 simultaneously!)
3.      I will reorganize the computer room and dining room, having both usable and presentable by my birthday. (This is harder than it sounds. Remember, I don’t live alone.)
 This year I would also like to add some dog-specific goals as well.
My goals for Roxy & Jedi in 2013:
1.      Jedi (and possibly Roxy) will earn Canine Good Citizen by Christmas 2013.
2.      Jedi and I will enter an AKC Conformation show. (P.S. This one scares me to death.)
3.      I will teach Jedi one silly trick or a game each month for the next year. (Why? Because it’s fun!)
4.      I will take Roxy for a car ride three times a week – even if we’re not going anywhere – just because she loves it so much.
I'm posting these goals publicly, hoping that it will make me accountable and keep me on track. I'll share my progress here and on Facebook. I'm also giving you, my faithful reader(s?) permission to gently nag. Suggestions on how to do all this are also welcome!
OK, enough reflecting and planning. I’m off to ring in the New Year with friends and family. Unfortunately, the dogs are staying home. See you in 2013. -- K

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Training Updates

According to all I've read, our socialization window is quickly closing. Soon Jedi will no longer accept things so freely. I'm trying to introduce him to as many different people and situations as possible before the "fear phase" kicks in. Today we broke out the ramp. We originally got it when Pepper became too old (and fat) to jump in and out of the SUV. Logan was also starting to slow down, so we thought a ramp would make everything better. WRONG. At first Pepper and Logan refused to attempt it. And even with super yummy treats it was more trouble than it was worth. Roxy was only 2 at the time. When she saw there were treats involved, she ran up and down the ramp with enthusiasm. She was also the only one who could easily jump into the SUV! We tried a few more times but eventually just stowed the ramp in the garage, relogated to lifting the dogs in and out of the vehicle. We've held on to the ramp for years. (It was expensive!) Hubby found it the other day and suggested we show it to the puppy. Jedi wasn't too sure about it, but when I pulled out some leftover turkey he gave it a try. He is really food motivated. I wonder, is this a puppy thing he'll grow out of, or will he always have a strong food drive? I learned with Pepper that a strong food drive makes training easier, but everything else a little harder. We couldn't leave anything out with Pepper around. She dug in the trash, chewed out pockets, emptied purses, raided Easter baskets and ripped opened Christmas presents without hesitation whenever she thought there was something edible inside.
Speaking of food, I've started making Jedi work for his midday meals. He wasn't eating much at noon anyway, so I thought we'd make it fun -- or at least funny! His dry food is put inside a Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble (I know, dumb name). It's an egg-shaped ball about the size of a small cantaloupe. There are holes at the top and bottom and Jedi must roll the ball around to get his lunch. I also pack Kongs with kibble and cream cheese and freeze them for an entertaining snack. I tried using peanut butter in the Kongs but Jedi didn't like it. I told him that dogs are suppose to love peanut butter; he didn't believe me.

Jedi and I had our first Puppy Kindergarten class together Friday night. His brother and sister were there, both just as lanky as Jedi. There were a dozen beautiful puppies there, including a 5 month old leonberger who was already the size of Roxy! We worked on attention exercises and collar grabs and loose leash walking. Jedi did great. Now if only he can explain it to Roxy . . . -- K

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ears and Legs

Jedi is growing daily. We took him to the vet for his 12-week check-up. He's already 28 pounds. He has put on 10 pounds in 4 weeks! Right now he's a jumble of legs and ears. The right ear stands up more often than not these days, so I finally got a picture. How cute is this?! -- K

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Jedi's First Christmas

The German shepherd ornament looks like Logan
We made it through Christmas without any major incidents. I'm impressed. Jedi didn't try to climb on or pull down the tree like I had feared. whew. This year we put up the 4-foot Christmas tree (I have three trees -- don't ask) and barricaded it with an old shelf to protect the electrical cords. We also left the fragile and most precious ornaments in the storage box this year, just in case.

I've been collecting Christmas ornaments for over 30 years and each one has a story. It can take hours to decorate the tree because we reminisce about each ornament as it's unwrapped. Yeah, it's a corny tradition, but the boys and I love it. This year Son #2's girlfriend gave me an ornament in honor of Jedi joining our family. (See, she gets it. That's why I adore her.) The ornament is a snowflake, but when you look closely you see it's made of Yoda heads! I thought it was so interesting -- and thoughtful -- that I had to share.

Jedi is VERY food motivated.
The dogs got presents this year too -- mostly from other people, so I guess my goofy dog sickness is contagious! There were several squeaky toys and tugging ropes under the tree. My cousin sent a couple of really cool leashes in Star Wars and Batman themes (are we that transparent?! Yes -- but we're fun!) I worked Christmas day and was bored stiff. I guess the rest of the City had better things to do than let dogs run amok. The only store open Christmas day was Walgreen's. I popped in to get a Coke and look around. They had a dog puzzle toy on sale for $4.99. It's a round wooden box with a lip. Under the lip are flat, sliding wooden disks that cover holes in the box where you hide treats. The dog is suppose to figure out how to move the disks to uncover the treats. I've seen similar toys online for $30-40. The verdict on this one: It was too easy. Jedi and Roxy figured it out right away. The treats were gone in 30 seconds and then they were no longer interested in the toy. Another waste of money. sigh. At least it's not a creepy Sponge Bob balloon. That thing floated around for days before somebody finally popped it! Bummer toy aside, it was a good day. I hope you  -- and your dogs -- had a Merry Christmas as well. -- K

P.S. Holiday festivities can wear a dog out and I have pictures to prove it!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Puppyhood Goes Fast

It’s been a while since my last post and many things have happened. For one, my pupturnity leave is over and I had to return to work last week. I miss my puppy something fierce during the day. Occasionally Hubby sends me updates, and that helps. Fortunately we have a busy household and there is usually somebody home with the dogs, even if it's not me. Jedi has never been in the crate for more than 2-3 hours at a time. I was worried Sunday because everybody was working and there was nobody at home. Luckily Jedi was able to spend half a day at work with me. He charmed the police officers with tricks and good behavior (he saved the “Devil Dog” routine for home -– good boy!) He also got to patrol the beach with me in the animal control truck. He was not impressed and promptly threw up.
Gucci -- NOT puppy friendly
Jedi is growing quickly. I would bet he's pushing 30 pounds. I’ll get an official weight from the vet this week at his 12 week check-up. He can now reach Roxy’s raised water bowl and jumps on the couch with no effort. (Yes, we let dogs on the couch). Jedi’s face and legs are noticeably longer, making him look gangly and disproportional. His fluffy puppy coat is being replaced with the shiny, coarser hair of an adult German shepherd. His ears are trying to stand up, but never when I have the camera handy. It’s usually the right ear, but the other day both were up, leaning on each other like a pair of drunken club girls at closing time. And last Friday I caught him lifting his leg while peeing. Again, I didn’t have the camera. On a not so cute note, Jedi has discovered the joys of digging and raiding the bathroom trash can. He thinks that used Kleenex and panty liners are buried treasures. Jedi also met Gucci face-to-face for the first time. I don’t know exactly what happened between the two of them, but apparently that 10 pound cat kicked his ass. Jedi came running down the hall screaming like a banshee. Curiously, there wasn’t a mark on him.
Jedi's first hole
We also signed up for puppy kindergarten classes out at K9 Obedience Club. Our first meeting was the day before I returned to work. It was people-only and there was a lot of information given out over the course of three hours. It made my head spin. Our first class with dogs is this Friday and I am very excited. Jedi sister, Pinky, and brother, Dozer (orange), will be there too. It’ll be fun to see everybody again. I haven’t been as diligent with Jedi’s training as I would have liked. Hopefully this will get us back on track.
It’s Christmas Eve and I have a lot to do (I’m working today, tomorrow and Wednesday – ugh) so I’ll catch up later. Merry Christmas to you all, -- K

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Baths and Balloons

Good news: Roxy has really warmed up to Jedi and they play constantly now. Bad news: Jedi's coat had gotten a bit crusty from all the spit Roxy leaves behind during playtime. I know, eeew! I couldn't stand it anymore, so yesterday was Jedi's first bath. I filled the tub with warm water, broke out the puppy shampoo and pulled a stack fluffy towels from the linen closet. Hubby grabbed the camera. Let's just say that Jedi was not impressed with the "bath experience." He whined and wiggled and looked totally pathetic the entire time. When all was done, Jedi gave a good shake and we rubbed him down best we could. It was kind of chilly (it is December, after all) so I broke out the hair dryer. Jedi didn't like that at all! Show dogs are bathed and groomed all the time. Yikes! I hope we get better at this!

Later I saw the picture Hubby took of me and Jedi before his bath. My little puppy looks so big! Hubby says he's growing, but I don't see it. For giggles we went to the vet's office to have him weighed. 22.5 pounds! Jedi has put on four and a half pounds in two weeks. Wow. He's going to be a big boy! Anyone wanna take bets on how big he'll get?

On a different note, I try to introduce Jedi to something new every day. I've seen lots of dogs freak out over balloons so I thought I'd add balloons to the "weird stuff" list. While at Winn Dixie this afternoon I bought the most disturbing Sponge Bob Square Pants balloon I could find, freaky face and everything (see picture). I brought it home and Jedi couldn't have cared less. Hubby even batted it around Jedi's head while he was eating. No reaction whatsoever. This guy is fearless. My first thought was: what a waste of $4!! Unfortunately, now I've got this creepy yellow smile floating around my living room. -- K

Monday, December 10, 2012

Fun Dog Toy

I just found the cutest dog toy for Jedi today -- at Lowe's of all places. It's a Holiday Hide-a-Squirrel puzzle toy. It comes with a hollow, semi-rigid plush stump and three squeaky squirrels that fit inside. The dog is suppose to figure out how to get the squirrels out. OK, it's cuter than it sounds. Trust me. Apparently the manufacturer, Kyjen, makes all kinds of puzzle toys for dogs. Why haven't I heard of them before? I love puzzle toys! I wonder if the dogs will like them too. I'll keep you posted. -- K

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Silly Puppy

I caught Jedi actually sleeping in this position earlier this evening. I thought it was so funny that I took a picture. Even funnier was that he had his favorite toy -- the cheap, Dollar Store stuffed hamburger -- next to him. Not 20 minutes before he was in Devil Dog mode, running around the house pouncing and chewing on everything in sight. Then, just when we couldn't take it anymore, he passed out right there on the floor. Puppies can be so exhausting!

One of the funniest things to watch is Jedi with his stuffed gator. If you set the gator upright (like in the picture) Jedi will stop in his tracks, run across the room and attack the gator with extreme prejudice. He'll grab the gator's snout and give it a good shaking, growling the entire time. I guess my puppy is a Gator Hater too. What a good boy. Go 'Noles!! -- K

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Puppy's Progress

It's been a while since my last post. Sorry. My excuse: the dogs!! Jedi takes up most of my time. He has graciously pointed out all of our puppy-proofing shortcomings. (There are many.) He also lets us know when the carpet needs vacuuming and the trash needs to be emptied. He is so considerate! My office IS NOT puppy friendly, so I only check e-mail when he is sleeping. I should be sleeping when he's sleeping -- as he still doesn't sleep through the night -- but I am a Facebook and Pogo junkie. I need to log on regularly to get my fix.

Roxy gets along with Jedi most of the time. It's really cute to watch them play. However, Roxy tends to be territorial in the house and has been more aggressive than I would like, so we don't allow them together unsupervised. She bit Jedi pretty hard the other day. In just a few months he'll be bigger and stronger than she is. I wonder if that'll change her attitude.

We went to Howell Park today and my friend took some really nice pictures of the dogs. I especially like the picture above of the two of them together. Obviously my friend is much better at doggie photography than I am.

Jedi's training is coming along nicely. He knows his name and sits very well. We're working on "down" and "stand." He's also picking up "outside" and "house" from our frequent potty breaks. ;Jedi hasn't pooped inside since we brought him home 10 days ago. Peeing is a bit more difficult. He tries to tell us he needs to go, but there seems to only be 5-10 seconds between the whine and the squat. We're getting better at predicting his needs, and hope that his bladder control will catch up soon. Until then, we are stocking up on Nature's Miracle and paper towels.

We're taking short car rides daily to get Jedi acclimated to the car. Our family travels around town a lot, and I want him to think the car is no big deal. We're also trying to expose him to other strange things -- different people, umbrellas, skateboards, uneven surfaces, the sound of traffic, etc. -- during this short socialization window. So far he's taken everything in stride. The only thing that has really startled him was a Coke can on the floor. He barked at it and stalked it for several minutes. Once he realized the can wasn't a threat he pounced on it and showed it who was boss. Puppies are more entertaining than cable television!

Oh, I think Jedi is waking up!! Gotta go. -- K

P.S. I want to share a fun picture Hubby took of Jedi and Master Yoda (our only Christmas decoration this year). Yeah, I think we're a little nutty -- fun, but nutty.