How to Give a Dog a Bath

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Actually, this is how not to give a dog a bath. I have friends who have Mini Aussies and they coax them into the shower and bathe the dog while they shower. More power to them- it's just not my idea of fun to be wet and naked and trying to wash the dog. As you'll see, I prefer to wet and clothed, trying to wash the dog. Perhaps their way is better.

Not to mention I can't get Ninja to get in the shower. If my husband thought the dog was showering in our shower he'd probably never get in there again. So he gets washed in our spare bathroom or outside. That is to say, the DOG gets washed outside or in the spare bathroom, not my husband. I wanted to be clear on that, lest you imagine my poor hubby showering outside. As much as I love my pup, it hasn't come to that yet.

First off, I don't use any fancy dog shampoo. Ninja gets bathed in Flex or Finesse or something else that smells good. Usually it's what's on sale or what I can find at the 99 cents store. You know I love my dog (he has his own blog, for heaven's sake!) but I'd rather spend the extra money on his food, which is just so much more important IMO. Balsam builds volume so Flex always gives him about three times more hair. Thank heavens it's just an illusion, since he is blowing out the Winter coat for the Summer one. If he seriously had three times more hair we'd just have to move out. My friend keeps saying if we could find a use for all the hair and sell it, we'd be set for life. Yes, I know I knit, but spinning dog hair into yarn is not something I'm willing to do. At least not right now.

As you recall, we live in Southern California, so when the weather is warm (as often is) we like to bathe Ninja in a tub outside and avoid all the hair in the drain and wet dog running around in our house. Yes, I know you can blow dry a dog. Have you ever tried it? Remember, Ninja has hair, not just fur. Not only does he not really like the hair dryer (unless it's being used on me and then he likes to out his paws in my lap and see what I'm doing) but it takes FOREVER to make any difference. I use at least three towels to dry him off and he still feels soaked.

Getting back to the bath. Here's how to do it. . .or not.

Start with a big enough tub for the dog to fit in. That was really our first mistake. Round tub with a rectangular (long) dog wasn't such a bright idea. As you can imagine, he didn't want to get in. He's a smart puppy.

Next, use a gentle sprayer and get your dog nice and wet. This helps for the shampoo stage. If he's not wet enough, you don't get any lather and you can't get him clean. No sprayer on the hose works even better. Ninja didn't like the spray. Can you tell how thrilled he is by the picture above?

It's not a bad idea to put the leash on him. After chasing a wet dog through the yard and down the street several times, I hauled out the leash.

In fact, you might want to give up on the tub altogether, because if he takes off wet and soapy and rolls in the grass, you'll end up with an even bigger mess. Don't ask me how I know this. Really, don't.

This picture makes it look like I'm torturing him. He did not want to go into the tub. I tugged on his collar and DD pushed him from behind. Nothing. Worse than nothing. He wasn't budging. I ended up picking up nearly 40 pounds of wet dog and depositing him in the tub. Although it appears I'm working diligently to strangle my poor puppy, I'm actually only tugging gently. He's pulling back less than gently, so it looks like I'm dragging him.

Here we are soaping him. This lasted all of about two minutes until he decided to bolt. In order to soap him we had to take off the leash. And he took full advantage of that. Imagine 40 pounds of wet, soapy dog rolling in the grass, the dirt, and then running down the street with a soaking wet woman and a soaking wet little girl chasing after him. The bathtub inside the house was sounding better every minute. At least it has a door.

I found washing him in the front yard sans tub worked even better. But that was after a lot of trial and error. Mostly error.

A final word of advice. Make sure to let him shake off all of the water outside before he comes in. This is important if you value your home, your furniture, your clothing, or your sanity at all.

It's a beautiful day today but I'm thinking Ninja can get his bath in the bathtub and avoid all of this excitement.

Ninja and Bootstraps

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why do dogs and cats not like each other? Is it instinct or is it learned? I've never been able to figure that one out, especially since you can raise a kitten and a puppy together and they are often quite friendly.

So just recently Ninja has started to go after cats. I have no idea what he'd do if he actually caught a cat. Maybe he'd lick it to death- I don't know. He makes a posture of dominance at the orange cats who live on the street below us as we pass by on our walk to the park. They just look back at him.

Our neighbors (the ones who have Bingo the Jack Russell and where Ninja got stuck in the yard) have a black and white cat names Bootstraps. He's a really beautiful cat and is often found sunning himself in the yard near where the kids are playing outside. He was wild when he adopted our neighbors, but he doesn't look like a wild thing. He pretty much won't take any crap from anyone, especially not Ninja.

Bootstraps was outside the other day with the kids when Ninja went outside with me to take out the trash. He saw Bootstraps and took off running at him. Bootstraps retreated into the bushes, but wasn't going to take any more than that. Ninja charged at the bushes and the cat came flying out, with a snarl. Ninja retreated. So did Bootstraps. Then Ninja went back at the bushes and Bootstraps came back at him. I think Ninja got his nose swiped because along with a cat snarl I heard a puppy yelp.

At this point all the neighborhood kids and I were laughing at Ninja's antics and we were all cheering on the cat. I mean, Ninja has almost 30 pounds on this little guy and he was completely holding his own. But before anyone got hurt I decided to call in the dog and give the poor cat a break.

I'm still looking to get a cat to avoid any more rodent issues, but I'm wondering how Ninja will take to him.

On another note, did I mention that my car windows are fixed? I was lucky to find the right part on eBay motors for about $150. DH fixed it in about 5 minutes. I also just orded a new cup holder (to replace a broken one) to help avoid any more spills on the center console, which is apparently rather sensitive to we spills, according to Mercedes. No kidding. We've done pretty well making repairs on our own, since owning one of these beautiful cars can be quite expensive to keep up. The labor is the really expensive part.

Blowing out the Coat

Friday, May 23, 2008

I’m being over run with dog hair. It’s in mounds, piles, and bushels in the corners of my rooms, on my stairs, under my furniture, pretty much anywhere there is a space. You think I am kidding.

You pet Ninja and hair flies through the air. It makes me think of pigpen on Peanuts- thank heavens Ninja doesn’t smell! He smells like a clean dog. I like the smell. He gets regular baths so he often smells like balsam shampoo. Dog baths around our house are always an adventure. But that’s for another entry.

I love the Mini Aussie Rescue Society’s website. They have great info on the mini Aussies and some really cute cups and shirts and things. So I thought I’d look up this shedding thing. From the MARS website:

“Coat: Mini Aussies and Aussies have a medium-length coat adapted to protecting them while they herd. These dogs do shed! They drop some fur year round but lose their undercoat completely twice a year, in the spring and fall. During this time, they can shed heavily for several weeks. Regular brushing can help reduce shedding. Overall grooming of Mini Aussies is relatively simple, and many owners do their own grooming.”

They lose their undercoat completely twice a year. This must be one of the two times because it’s really crazy. It’s not helping matters that our So Cal weather is totally out of control right now. Last weekend it broke 100 and then by Wednesday it was back to 60, and yesterday it poured rain with thunder and lightning and we had tornados in Riverside. Tornados? This is earthquake country for heaven’s sake.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah. Ninja’s coat. So I do the regular brushing. Ninja loves it. He brings me his brush in his teeth and sets it in my lap, and looks at me with those beautiful dark brown eyes, like “Pleeeeeeeease brush me!” 30 seconds into it the brush is covered in hair. Not just kinda covered- it’s so full I can’t get it through his coat. And he waits very impatiently as I pull it all of the hair out of the brush and start again. Last night I brushed him for about 20 minutes and I filled a whole plastic grocery bag with black dog hair. I know you think I am exaggerating, but it’s true. My friend with a red merle shaves him every Summer. I would hate to do that because Ninja has the most beautiful coat, but I’m starting to understand why she does it.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to go sweep the hallway. Again.

Gorilla Glue

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Every morning my pup comes to give me a good morning snuggle and wake me up. Unfortunately he doesn’t differentiate between the weekends and weekdays, so he comes to snuggle me around 5:30 every morning. (Remember Lady and the Tramp?) In case you are wondering, he does not sleep on my bed. I certainly have no issue with that, but DH has a strict no-dog-on-the-bed rule which Ninja is actually afraid to break. If DH isn’t around, he gets to sleep on a blanket next to my bed, but that’s as close as it comes.

One work morning this past February the snuggly pup came to get me up. He always puts his paws on the edge of my bed and bumps my arm with his nose. I usually pet him, rub behind his ears, and mumble something about five more minutes. But this morning he had something hard and crumbly all over is face. My sleep deadened brain kept insisting it was frosting. MMMMM, frosting. No, there isn’t any frosting to get into.

I got up and looked at him and I realized it was some sort of yellow glue. I went downstairs to investigate and remembered that DH had glued some legs to a stool back on with gorilla glue the night before. Ninja must have gotten into it. I found the bottle in the backyard “lair.” It wasn’t opened and was in tact. It had a few bite marks on it, but no glue seems to have come out of it.

I didn’t think all that much about it. I put the glue away, went through my usual morning routine, got the kids ready and went to work. At work I started thinking about it. (This was before the rat poison incident.) How much of this stuff did he ingest? Was it poisonous? So I started looking on the internet. As with the rat poison, what I found scared me to death.

From the gorilla glue website:

“Gorilla Glue is a polyurethane glue. All polyurethane glues foam when they come in contact with moisture and may cause gastro-intestinal blockage if swallowed. This is not unique to Gorilla Glue, but true of all polyurethane glues. If you think there has been a case of ingesting the glue, seek medical or veterinary advice immediately.

For this reason, polyurethane glues must be kept out of reach of children and animals. Polyurethane glues are harmful or fatal if swallowed. Store Gorilla Glue in a safe location.”

From another website about pet safety:

“After being exposed to moisture, this product is able to expand to many times its original volume. If ingested in its liquid form (e.g., by licking up a spill, a towel, or item being glued) it can form a hard "foam-like" foreign body, generally in the stomach. An obstruction of the digestive tract can then occur.”

Now I was scared. Signs that there was a problem included loss of appetite, vomiting, enlarged abdomen, labored breathing . . . and worse. . .

It was about 11am by then and I was really worried. All I could think about was getting home that night and seeing the poor dog in serious trouble. It seems this stuff has a smell and a taste that is nearly irresistible to pets. It seems to me they could easily fix that part, but what do I know?

Anyway, remember that I work for the lady who owns Ninja’s mom? When I told her I was worried she sent me home. So I raced home with all of these terrible worried thoughts and rushed through the front door. . . to find Ninja bounding from the yard, thrilled to see me with absolutely no signs of any distress or illness.

I kept a hawk’s eye on him (and - what fun - all of his bodily functions) for 24 hours and saw absolutely nothing that would indicate a problem. I can only assume that very tiny amounts were on the stool that was being repaired and that most of it was on his fur rather than in his mouth. However it worked out, I’m very thankful that he was not harmed. He’s not a cat but he seems to have multiple lives. . .

When I told the story to my MIL she said she's surprised he didn't get stuck somewhere. Yeah really! What kind of glue is that anyway?

Ninja, Stop! I mean go!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

When Ninja was about 3 months old we would walk down to the park almost every day, especially since it was still Summer. Often we would wait until dark when it was cooler to head down. I liked this time of day because it meant fewer people and dogs in the park, and I could let Ninja off the leash to run and use up some of that famous Aussie energy. It made for better nights for us all.

Little Ninja would always stick close so, thinking that I had total control over him (ha!) I would let him off of the leash on the way to the park. At the time he was afraid of other dogs and would cower behind me if one came around rather than act aggressively.

So this evening it was already dark and we were heading down to the park. DS was on his bike and DD and I were walking. DS got rather far ahead of us on his bike, even crossed he street at the bottom of the hill and waited for us. DD liked to run down the hill, so she started flying down. She knows to stop at the corner and wait for me. Unfortunately Ninja does not.

As soon as DD started to run, Ninja did too. She stopped at the corner. Ninja saw DS on he opposite corner and just kept going. About that time I could see headlights coming and all I could think about was that Ninja was almost all black and any driver would probably miss him in the dark. I must confess, I panicked.

I was about 15 feet from the curb and I screamed and ran as fast as I could go. As I got to the corner I saw Ninja fly across the street and I made the worst mistake I could at that moment. I screamed at him to stop. And he did. Sat right down in the middle of the street (like he thought I wanted) with a mini van bearing down on him. If I had had a cooler head at that moment I would have had DS call to him and he would have just continued to fly across the street and been perfectly safe.

So I screamed louder, waived my arms in desperation, and ran into the street myself. Luckily the lady driver of the mini van wasn't going very fast and she must have seen and heard all the commotion, so by the time I entered the street waving my arms and screaming stop, she had stopped. The poor woman must have thought she had entered the neighborhood of an asylum or something.

I was able to scoop up Ninja, get DD across the street safely, wave thank you to the driver, and burst into tears of relief.

Ninja stays on his leash the whole way to the park now.

Our Daily Bread

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Do all dogs love people food? As Ninja is my first dog companion, I can't answer that. DH says that one of his dogs would eat almost anything except potatoes. Ninja's Mum, Indy, is a picky eater. Give her a tortilla chip and she'll just look at you with the "What else ya got?" stare.

So far I haven't found anything that Ninja doesn't like, except perhaps apples. And that is only to say that he doesn't tear into an apple with reckless abandon like many other foods. Give him an apple slice and he'll hope for better, but if that's it, it gets eaten.

The other night we went to see Speed Racer, which all four of us loved. DH and I are both huge fans from when we were kids and we liked the movie a lot. I know some others won't agree, and that's OK (ala Stewart Smalley). But we enjoyed it.

The point is that we were out later than usual, and Ninja was home, annoyed. When we did get home the kids wanted PB&J. Fine, sounded like a great bedtime snack. Except that there was no bread. I had two loaves of bread when I made lunches the night before, now there was none. No one in my house likes plain old white bread enough to go through a loaf and a half in one day. So where was it? The rat issue has been resolved. Speaking of which, the house next door to us has been abandoned for nearly a year, which makes me wonder if the rats have moved in over there and that's why one ventured my way.

But back to Ninja and the bread. The next day I went out to straighten the back yard, which consists of gathering up anything that Ninja has confiscated that isn't his. And guess what I found? Yep. Two shredded bread wrappers. He must have worked hard to get those loaves of bread off of my counter. And apparently the one didn't satisfy him. Time for a bread box. Oh, I forgot. Ninja has opposable thumbs. Nevermind. . .

Puppies just don't. . .? (Part 2)

Friday, May 9, 2008

When we brought Ninja home, DH and I had a discussion about providing him with a dog door. Even at 8 weeks old, he had been using the dog door at the breeder's house. Using is perhaps the wrong word. Yes, he did go in and out of it. Mostly he just flopped down half way in and half way out of it, generally making a nuisance of himself because his litter mates had to climb over him to get in or out. Plus, being half way in and hallway out left the door open, much to the breeder's annoyance because this let out the cool air-conditioned air in heart of the Summer.

My plan was to have DH cut a hole in the wall by the sliding glass door and install the dog door. The hole is easily patched if we ever decide to move. DH didn't like this idea, mainly because it involves cutting a hole in the wall (well, duh. The dog isn't Cris Angel). Since he would be the one actually installing the door if we did it this way, I decided to listen. For once. . .

He suggested we get a dog door that fits into the existing sliding glass door. The only problem with this is that we have a 7 foot tall sliding glass door, and the dog door that fits in there is quite expensive. I got on Craig's List and got very lucky to find a used one relatively inexpensively. I had to partially disassemble it because it was too long to fit in my car in one piece.

As soon as I got it home I installed it in the sliding door (a two minute job). I was really excited that my puppy would have all this freedom and I wouldn't have to open the door when he needed to go out. There was just one problem. Ninja refused to go through it. He seemed to be afraid of it. It doesn't surprise me. The flap snaps shut as the dog goes through it, and the SNAP! is pretty loud. Even now it sometimes wakes me up in my room all the way upstairs if Ninja goes out in the night. Did you know you have to train your dog to use a dog door? Along with walking on a leash I assumed he would just rush right through it!

DD and I spent hours trying to coax him through it. One of us would sit outside and the other inside with treats and call him. He wouldn't go through it unless we held it open for him. Even bacon and chicken didn't do the trick. Finally I taped it open in desperation. This was in October. OK for the day, but it wasn't going to work at night. Plus I was afraid something might invite itself in from the outside. Like maybe a rat????

Ninja would go through it when it was taped open. So the routine became I'd tape open the door during the day, and as it got chilly at night I'd close it. After about three days I had had enough of this. Plus the tape kept coming loose. I'm surprised it didn't flop down and hit him as he scampered through. So when the tape gave out I ignored it. Ninja whined. I pretended not to hear. Ninja chuffed at the door and barked a little. I ignored him. So he gave up and went through. And that was that. Hours of begging, coaxing, an cajoling boiled down to me refusing to baby the puppy. He decided he needed to go out and out he went.

Now we are slightly sorry, especially when he gets bored and starts taking stuff that isn't his to his "lair." Stuff like remote controls- especially nice in the rain. Stuff like my shoes, the kids' stuffed animals, mail off of the dining room table. I have no doubt this would be shredded in the house if he didn't have dog door. It just wouldn't make my back yard look like a treasure hunt. . .

Puppies don't just. . .?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Let me preface this story with the fact that this is my first dog. DH has had a couple, but not me until now.

On the day I brought Ninja home I had to pick up my daughter from school. If you recall from my earlier posts, my darling pup was delivered to me at work just as I was leaving. He was little enough to fit in a small animal carrier. A friend got a ride home with me and she held Ninja in his carrier for the commute through all the traffic. We even opened it up so he could poke his head out a bit.

After I dropped off my friend, I was on my way to pick up my DD from her after school program. I thought, "How fun! I'll put the puppy on the leash and walk him to where she is and she'll be so excited!" I had the leash and a bunch of other toys and dishes and things I had been collecting for the past few days with me.

When we got there, I scooped Ninja from the carrier, set him on the ground and attached the leash to his collar. Did you know you have to train a dog to walk on a leash? What made me think I'd put the leash on him and he'd come along, I'll never know. I'll chalk it up to inexperience.

It was another cartoon character moment. I set him down, attached the leash and started off. He didn't move. I tugged a little. He dug his paws in. We weren't going anywhere, unless it was for a drag rather than a walk. So I carried him to get my DD and carried him back to the car. He was happy. He was only about 11 pounds then. DD and I spent an evening at the park with him, coaxing him to come along to treats and toys on the leash.

It didn't last long that he wouldn't go on the leash. But long enough. The weekend after he came home, we took him to Dana Point, a local harbor and beautiful spot for walking and picnicking. I walked. Ninja would either be dragged or carried. I opted for the carrying. Soon DH asked me why I was carrying the puppy. I explained he was refusing to walk on the leash. He shook his head and said, "He'll walk for me on the leash." Fine. I caught up to the kids. A few minutes later, DH caught up to us, carrying Ninja. I gave him a look that said, "So? What happened?" He just shook his head and muttered something about being tired of dragging him.

He was the first puppy to show up on a leash to puppy training with his litter mates. I remember the other puppy parents exclaiming, "Look at Ninja! He's so good!" And of course he basked in the praise (didn't hurt my ego either!). He did very well in puppy classes with sit, stay, home, and so on. I was so proud!
Now he's a champion walker. He'll even walk himself if you let him. Put the leash on and off we go. If you set the leash down, he'll pick it up in his teeth and walk. It's funny to see.
Tonight he'll go to the park with us while DS practices baseball. Those are good nights when we come home from long walks and lots of running. Then I know my shoes are safe.

The Frisbee

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

How to teach your dog to catch a Frisbee (condensed version):

1. Roll the Frisbee on the ground and get your dog to retrieve it, like a ball.
2. Begin tossing it in the air lightly in front of your dog until he gets the idea to catch it and bring it back.
3. Begin throwing it like a Frisbee for short distances until he learns to go get it and bring it back.
4. Continue to throw it further and further until he is a champion Frisbee catcher!!

Aussies are known to be great Frisbee dogs. Perhaps Ninja is the exception. Perhaps I'm just a crummy dog trainer. Either way, the Frisbee thing ain't working for us.

Throw a ball and Ninja will bring it back. Most of the time. Usually he'll bring it back about 10 times and then take off with it into his backyard "lair." Then the game is over.

But the Frisbee? He grabs it, he wants to play tug of war with it, he'll sit on it. When I toss it he watches. . .and lays down. Or he'll watch me toss it in the air and let it hit him in the head. I was afraid that he'd get scared of it and not want to play, but that hasn't happened. Probably because I'm tossing it lightly in the hopes that he'll snatch it from the air.

He likes the rolling it on the ground part, just not the sailing through the air part. DH says it's because I can't throw a Frisbee properly. I toss, it goes- what more is there? He won't catch food you toss in the air either. So we keep trying. And trying. . .

Oh, an update on the rat that started the whole rat poison incident. We smelled something foul in the kitchen last night. The poor rat had died in a crevice between two of my kitchen cabinets.

The bad news is that DH's hand would not fit in the crevice to pull the carcass out. Guess whose did? As I donned those HUGE yellow gloves I told him he owed me big time for this one. But it was that or a late night trip to Walmart for a new shop vac to extract it out. Either way, it had to come out last night. No question.

I still cringe over this one, but I just stuck my gloved hand in, pulled it out and tossed it in the trash bag and DH whisked it away. Then I spent about an hour in the shower trying to scrub away the disgusting memory. Blech.

I wonder how Ninja would like a cat for a friend?

Ninja the Stowaway

Monday, May 5, 2008

I was reading on the Internet about Mini Australian Shepherd's temperament. Here's one of the things I found: " Mini Aussies are pack oriented. This means that if you do not want a dog which will insist on following you to the bathroom, you should consider a different breed. Mini Aussies need to be a member of the family."

And this: "The Australian Shepherd is an intelligent, medium-sized dog of strong herding and guardian instincts. He is also a delightful and loyal companion and a great family dog. He loves to be part of the daily hustle and bustle, and enjoys riding in the vehicle just to be with his beloved master. "

No kidding. If you do not want a dog who wants to go everywhere with you, consider another breed. (But in my mind, who wouldn't want an Aussie???) Remember the short circuit incident? That would not have happened if I didn't take him with me everywhere I can. He's my little car buddy. He gets annoyed when I can't take him, but if I'm going to be gone long or it is hot, I can't put him in danger.

Speaking of the short circuit incident, it looks like the window switch module that controls all my windows, the mirrors, and the truck release is kaput. It can be replaced for around $150. It could have been much, much worse. It's not great, but it's not the end of the world either.

So back to mini Aussies being pack oriented.

The other morning DH went out to the car, ready to leave for work. He realized that he had forgotten something, got out of the car, left the door open, and went back inside. He came back outside, shut and locked the front door, got in the car and headed off to work.

He turned on the radio, drove down the hill, and was waiting at the light to enter the freeway when he heard a tiny jingle behind him. He looked back, and for a second he didn't see anything, but then he realized that the white something on his black seat was a paw. Remember, Ninja has so much black on him that if he lays on his stomach on a black surface and tucks his paws under, you can hardly see him. Then Ninja smiled. Dogs smile- they really do. And Ninja has a great smile.

And when he smiled his little pink tongue showed and DH knew he had a stowaway! Luckily he wasn't too far from home and he had time to drive the separation anxiety crazed pup back home. OK, he doesn't really have separation anxiety, he just like to be with us whenever he can.

Fortunately, it wasn't a hot day and DH noticed the little beggar, otherwise he might have had to spend the day in the car if no one had noticed him. DH would have been quite annoyed to make the 20 mile trip back home at lunch to drop him off.

"Aussies are also quite demanding of their owners' time and attention and want to be constantly with them, following them from room to room in the house, and going along in the car or truck on errands. They can be highly territorial and protective of their masters' possessions, which can cause serious difficulties unless controlled with proper training. " Yep. A daily walk saves me a pair of shoes. . . every day.

We're getting there. The training is kicking in a bit here and there. The signs are there. Yesterday we left the front door open while we worked on some new flooring. The kids were playing outside and I told Ninja to stay and not go outside. I could see it was hard for him , but he stayed and did not go outside. He did look outside and kept a watchful eye on the kids. I had to remind him a couple of times, especially when the kids got loud while playing as he inched over to the door, but a few corrections to get his attention and he listened.

That's a good thing.

Ninja and the Christmas Tree

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The ribbons I like to weave into my Christmas tree were just too hard for my puppy to resist. Every year I take the different color ribbons and start from the top of the tree and weave them down all the way to the bottom. They always make the tree look beautiful! About a week after we put up the tree we came home to this.

Ninja sat right in front of the tree and looked so innocent. Gee, they just came off of the tree and I thought I'd sit here to guard them. Yeah, that's it. Right after this picture he swiped a ribbon and took off with it into the back yard.

Then he came back to the scene of the crime, plopped down in the pile of ribbons, this time with my sunglasses case. I put the ribbons back up, but left the bottom third empty so Ninja wouldn't have quite the temptation

Short Circuit

Friday, May 2, 2008

To add to an already harrowing week, last night my car shorted out. And of course, Ninja was involved.

We were on our way back from DS' baseball practice. Since it was a cool evening and there wouldn't be a lot of time waiting in the car, I let the puppy tag along. Aussies are such devoted dogs that they would go with you everywhere if you let them. It's sweet, but it's sad when it's hot and you know it's not safe to take him, and you hear him yelping at the door, as if he is really in pain to have been left behind.

I find that it cuts down on my destroyed shoes considerably to let the pup come along. He rarely tears up anything in the car, but when left at home he'll drag stuff down from the kids' room and shred it, get into my closet and take my shoes, find a skein of yarn and pull it apart. . . you get the idea.

So on the way back DS was munching on chicken strips. Ninja wanted one. Ninja had eaten two already, but that wouldn't stop him from wanting another. Ninja climbed up on the center arm rest and begged. DS commanded him in a firm voice, "Back seat, Ninja!" which normally would have worked, but he made the fatal mistake of waving his hand to the back seat with a piece of chicken in it.

Instead of getting in back, the pup jumped forward to grab the chicken. . . and knocked my iced tea over into my center console. At the same time his paw came down on the passenger window power button. The window went down and stopped. It would not go up. Neither would the drivers' side window. In fact, most of the buttons on the center console don't work now. Not the power windows. Not the power mirrors. Yet the power sunroof and the sunshade in the rear window work fine.

The windows are even now stuck rolled down. When I got home I armed the car and went inside. DH was out for the evening. I went back to open the trunk later to get a bag out of it and the key now had no effect on the car except putting the alarm into panic mode, and it just keep going. It was a fun evening. The car is now parked in the garage waiting for DH to look at it.

Is this Ninja's fault? No, not really. But was he involved? Well, of course. So much for my week calming down. I'm just thankful that tomorrow is another day, and hopefully things will start going right!

The Neighbor's Fence

Thursday, May 1, 2008

This happened back in November, before Ninja "learned" how to open the gate. . .

My family went to Wal-Mart for a few minutes last night. We got home about 8:30 and usually Ninja is at the door to greet us. No puppy. Typically if he's not around, he's gotten into something that he shouldn't have (like my shoes) and he knows he's in for it, so he stays outside. But even that doesn't always stop a joyful reunion. One of the happiest things for me is to see him at the door, little behind wagging furiously. As much as my family loves me, it's not quite the same thing as that complete and total unconditional love that a dog has for someone he's bonded with.

We called him, we looked around, nothing. We all went into the back yard and called him and we kept hearing his collar jingling. Finally we heard a little bark and the saddest whine ever.

It sounded like he was next door in the neighbor's backyard. Sure enough, Ninja had dug under a board in the fence and gotten it loose enough to move through, but it only went one way so once he got in the neighbor's yard he couldn't get back. (I told DH it was like the roach motel. He could in get in, but . . .)

Luckily the neighbors have a Jack Russell Terrier and were totally understanding when I was knocking on their door at 9pm and asking if I could have my wayward dog back. Their dog, Bingo, was inside or it might have been interesting. Bingo is a sweetie, but he gets a bit territorial and I don't think he would have liked Ninja barging in to his yard (very few dogs would!).

I got my pup back and then barricaded the fence with a couple of block wall bricks we had. Our neighbors (who are awesome people) had put a new piece of wood in the fence before I even got up in the morning. They are what I call "born organized." I'm always sidetracked. What was I saying? Oh yes. Ninja.

I think Poor Ninjie had really spooked himself, because he was glued to me all night (even more than usual). I think his time in the other yard had scared him and he was convinced that no one was going to come and rescue him.

I would like to say this taught him to stay in his yard, but we know that he "learned" how to operate my gate and went adventuring again in April.

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