Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tale of the Collarless Puppy

Bella seems to have an aversion to collars and harnesses, as we have mentioned with the chewed through collar.

Well it has happened again. This time with her pink harness. This is the EZ Walk harness and it matched the replacement collar I got when she ate through the monogramed one.

Both times it happened when she was in her "house" aka crate. Dave left them on and then when I went to let her out, found them chewed up.

Here is what is left of the pink harness:

We made sure there were no metal parts missing and it seemed that most of the plastic was accounted for.

I don't remember this happening with Draco and Hunter....

Did this happen with anyone else's dog?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Draco's Cousin?

It might just be me, but I've always thought these two resemble each other.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Perfect Storm

Yesterday, we took Bella to the Giant Shopping center parking lot and walked her around. As her CGC test nears, she has to be able to walk through a crowd. We've noticed over the last couple days that she seems to be scared of everything. We took her out and just got her feet wet, and she seemed to do well. She wasn't scared of anything even as cars we driving by, so we think it was an accomplishment.

The real story begins after we got home. As we pulled her out of the car, I decided to take her on a walk. Chassie told me that she would open the basement door so I wouldn't have to walk around to the front of the house when I finished. Bella and I went off down the sidewalk toward the main road. I noticed as we neared the main road, she started to pull. I thought this was because she was getting nervous of the cars, which has happened in the past, so I pull her along. As we get to the corner and turn around, she's squatting in the grass. I let her finish her business as I realize I don't have a bag to pick it up. I'll just go get one and come back to pick it up, no problem. We start back for home and I notice that there's a few little turds on the sidewalk.... so that's why she didn't want to continue on.

We walk back briskly to the house to get a bag. I put her in the crate and look for a bag where they normally are, no bags downstairs. I head upstairs and grab a bag, run back downstairs and out the door, heading back to the scene of the crime. As I near the first site, I notice that it's no longer in the original shape. Awesome, someone or something found it with their foot or paw in the three minutes since it happened. I pick it up and move on to the next one and then finally to where she completed her business. I tie up the bag and start walked back toward the house when I see another gentleman walking his dog toward me.

"I see you picked up the dog mess," he says to me.

"Yeah. I didn't have a bag with me."

"Well, I stepped in it," he says and lifts his foot to show me the poop on his shoe. "I'll just rinse off the shoe. Thanks for picking up the mess."

"Sorry about that," I said. What I really wanted to say was, "Watch where you're walking." My mom raised me better than that though.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Coming Together

We have not mentioned it here a lot but Bella and Draco don't play well together. In fact they are rarely in the same room together.

It is not that they don't like each other. They do. It is just Bella wants to play rough and Draco doesn't. So we keep them separtated.

After some research and discussions with Sarah our trainer, we decided to train Bella to be calm around Draco. And our hiatus from formal training was the perfect time to start.

On Suuday something amazing happened. Dave and I were able to get both Draco and Bella to sit on the big dog bed. And then to "stay" as we walked 6ft away. They sat there together and Bella didn't jump and play bite Draco!

It was so reassuring that we are doing the right thing and it also showed some hope that one day they would be able to hang out in the same room together!

And finally, yesterday morning when I let Draco into the house (from being in the backyard) Bella went to the bed and sat down. Which is our regular routine, but she did this unprompted!

It seems that it is all starting to come together...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Prince(ss) of Darkness

We named her Bellatrix. She goes by Bella. I've added the nickname Bells to which I frequently use and I have noticed that Chassie will sometimes call her that as well. And then there was the short lived Pooper- that was fitting. I've also used Nutzo quite frequently to describe her and her actions. And just the other day, I decided on Bellzebub. Yes, that is in reference to Beelzebub of the Satan variety.

I hope this nickname of hers will not last and I can move on to a new one, maybe with a nicer connotation. She has, in Chassie's words, been a "terror" these last couple of days. At first, I said "terror" was the wrong word. Now, I'm just not sure. It started when she tore open MooMoo. MooMoo is a cow that has five squeakers and is about two feet of the stuffing free material. She was quickly becoming the go to replacement for Bucky the Beaver. It held up pretty well until she went at it and put a hole in its nose. That happened Friday night. Since then it's been a whirlwind of activity that has culminated in her chewing through her collar. We had noticed she was attempting to put her tags (rabies and ID) in her mouth and chewing on them, so we had been taking her collar off except when she went outside. I forgot to take the collar off when I put her in her crate on Monday morning. Monday afternoon Chassie found her collar chewed completely through.

Then there was Tuesday night. There's a normal schedule for the evening. You all have it, it may vary by a few minutes here and there, but for the most part you know what's going to happen through the evening. Bella and I have a schedule as well. She's in her "playpen" when I get home around seven o'clock and stays there until sometime between eight and eight thirty. She's figured out that when she's in her "playpen" it's quiet time. She'll nap or chew one of her toys. After I walk Draco (most days), I take Bella downstairs and we hang out. She has free-reign of the main room in the basement. I expect her to get her energy out. Let's just say her energy never left her. She's a puppy so I expect chewing, I expect to call her out of the corner, I expect her to get into things she's not supposed to. Even in the basement, where we've tried to "puppy proof" things, she still has those opportunities. It gnaws on you when it's constant. That's what Tuesday was like.

Then the final straw...

 I took her outside twice within ten minutes after she sat by the door, which I thought was the sign telling me she needed to go out. I stood out there for three minutes at a time and she just ate leaves or mulch or those seed pods I think of as helicopter rotors. After the second time, I call her bluff and it backfires. The thing that irritates me the most about it was that she didn't give me warning before she peed by the door.

Chassie happened to come downstairs shortly after the incident and could sense my frustration. She asked, maybe only half joking, "Do you want to give her back?"


I did think about it before my reply. My answer was honest. At that point in time, it was what I felt. Her follow up question, "Do you want to wait a day or two to see if it changes?"


Sometimes she is the devil incarnate. Then there are times when she is an angel. I've been told that I am a patient person, Bellzebub here is testing that patience.

We're not giving her back. It's that empty threat that Chassie used on Draco oh so many years ago.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

CGC Test

As Dave mentioned in the previous post, we have been negligent in updating The Puppy Files. I am going to add to Dave’s updates…
On June 16th we will start Advanced Training Class. In the Advanced Class we will continue to enforce sit politely for petting, advanced loose leash walking and heeling, add increased distractions to sit, down, stay etc and learn specialized games to build reliability. At the end of the class Bella will take her Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test. This is a big step, it is the precursor to her Therapy dog career.
The CGC test has 10 test items, all of which are required to pass. If Bella doesn’t complete one item, she will fail the test. That is a lot of pressure.
Here are the CGC test items and if she can currently pass them:
1. Accepting a friendly stranger—FAIL
2. Sitting politely for petting—FAIL but we are getting better
3. Appearance and grooming—PASS but not always
4. Loose Leash walking—PASS as long as the ez walk harness is allowed
5. Walking through a crowd—FAIL
6. Sit and Down and Stay (20 ft)—PASS at 10-15 ft. We need to work on 20 ft
7. Come (10 ft away)—PASS
8. Reaction to another dog—FAIL
9. Reaction to distraction—PASS
10. Supervised separation (3 mins)—FAIL
As it stands now…it is 5 Fails and 5 Passes. So we still have a lot of work to do. And one of the most difficult items will not be on the test, it will be the immediate fail if she “eliminates” during the test. And as you know if you are a faithful reader, she has a tendency to pee in class.
Bella is still very young and we thought she would have an easier time with the test items if she was a little more mature. We will have 7 weeks between the end of the Intermediate and Advanced Class and the advance class is 6 weeks long. This means Bella will be just over 10 months old. And Dave and I think she will be ready for the test then.
Wish us luck!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Force of Nature

You may be wondering what's been happening with Bella. If you are, I'm here to catch you up. The last time we spoke, I told you about her latest "episode" and I haven't given you an update since. I feel bad, you deserve more than that. So here we go, let's catch up on the last two weeks. It may be a slow, multi-post process but I'll get you there.

She graduated Intermediate class. I suppose it is an accomplishment, she (and we) have learned quite a bit because of the class, but I'm almost positive it's impossible to fail at this stage. The next stage, however, may prove to be more of a challenge. The last class of this Intermediate session consisted of Bella and Harley, Starbuck was absent which proved to be beneficial for us. Starbuck never fit in with the group, she just wasn't a social butterfly. Since she was absent, Bella and Harley finally got to play. And play they did.

The two of them went at it for a good fifteen minutes, running back and forth, jumping on each other, biting one another, sliding across the floor, banging into humans, they were having a great time. Harley was in control of the action, Bella ran at her with reckless abandon and was shoved aside or contact was absorbed harmlessly. Harley has to have a good fifteen to twenty pounds on Bella, not to mention almost a year and a half more experience. At one point I looked out the glass window that confines us and noticed that there were four people just watching them go at it. Eventually, they stopped the carnage and separated to their separate corners, almost like boxers in a title fight. At this point the trainer, Sarah, gets some water. As soon as she puts it down, both dogs are lapping it up. I've never seen Bella drink so much. Drinking so much at once had a price that had to be paid. I think you may know what happens next....

After the water break, round two began. It definitely did not last as long as the first one, but it was still pretty intense. I think it was cut short because Bella did what we all knew she would do and that was pee on the floor. Sarah went to get the mop, cleaned the floor and took the mop back. As she was doing that Harley turned her back on her owner and peed against the wall. The mop made a second appearance.

Round three commenced and was much tamer than before as both dogs were worn out. Harley seemed to have the edge as she was able to pin Bella to the ground on a number of occasions. I have to attribute that to a stronger strategy in the first round, as she allowed Bella to use her energy in attacking with a ferociousness that easily wore her out prematurely. However, the third round was again cut short, this time by Harley Quinn as she appeared to need another bathroom break. This time, she wanted to go outside. At first, she squatted in the corner and then looked around, took a couple steps and then squatted again. The owner's response, "Oh, no, Harley you don't have to do that, do you?"

Harley did. The way she went about it, truly is amazing. She then shuffled her way to the door where she thought about squatting again. She looked over her shoulder as if to say I have to go outside. The talk amongst humans continued as Bella sat down on the floor and watched us, giving Harley her much needed space. Harley again moved a couple steps and squatted again. I thought it was going to happen, right there. Everything is moving in slow motion and then Sarah says, "Why don't you take her outside?"


"Can I?" the owner asks. The leash goes on and she's heading outside. Chassie says to me that I may as well take Bella out. I oblige. We walk outside, wait a few minutes, no action to report, so we head back inside. Harley and her owner join us. She made it outside. I'm still shocked that dog had enough control to poop where she was supposed to, even though she had to go.

There's a break in the fight that occurred after that. That break was actually the class. I think it was just a final refresher of what was taught during the six week course as nothing new was added. After "class" we head back into our glass classroom and we did a little sit with distraction and then it was graduation time. This is where we learned the devastating news: There was no hat. NO HAT!

If you don't know what the hat I speak of is, please take a look at... The Hat. I'm so shocked by the fact that there is no hat, I forget to ask why there is no hat. Did someone steal the hat? Did someone chew the hat? So we conclude the graduation class the same way we conclude every other class, she hands us a piece of paper as Bella sits and gets greeted. This time the paper says Bella has completed Intermediate training. It's completely anti-climatic. I wish I had more for you, I truly do.

On our way home, as Chassie and I are talking about what we are going to do to celebrate Bella's big achievement, Chassie turns to me and asks, "Did you fart?" I know I didn't so I turn around and look at Bella who is buckled into her seatbelt, but on the other side of the seat where I left her. She is fighting the seatbelt, trying to get away from the puddle of pee she has just left on Chassie's seat. Luckily, Chassie put down a seat cover which absorbed the majority of the accident.

Just before the celebration, the realization that more work is still needed. Stay tuned, it's still a work in progress.