The Protector

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I've always said that Ninja was more likely to lick someone to death rather than hurt anyone. But I've definitely seen signs that he would protect his family, especially recently.

When he was about six months old, the kids and I took him on our daily walk to the park. It was about 7 pm, but Winter so it was very dark already. As we neared the park, we started down the hill that leads to the entrance. From there you can see the whole park. I noticed a figure dressed all in black sitting on a bench. No one else was around. My warning bells went off in my head, so I made us keep far away from this person.

As we were leaving the park, this person suddenly appeared near us and Ninja bared his teeth, growled, and gave a couple of warning barks. Then he planted his backside and would not let us go near this person. It was the first time I had ever seen him act this way.

Then last month we were walking to the park and some teenage boys were bothering a couple of girls in the park. I told the boys to leave them alone or leave the park. When they smarted off to me, Ninja again bared his teeth and growled at them. My beautiful, pure bred pup turns into a fearsome beast when those teeth are shown.

Just last week I was walking to the door to take out the trash and when I opened the door, there was a young kid there wanting to sell me something. But you know how you get startled when you open a door and someone is there. I sucked in my breath and Ninja barked frantically. My guess is that he picked up on my fear and warned the visitor to back off.

Ever since that night he barks when someone is at the door, unless it is someone we know. It's a good warning system!

The other thing he does which always surprises me is that he growls at people on motorcycles in fluorescent vests. The first time he did this we were in the car. He likes to put his front paws on the center console between my seats and watch what is going on. I heard this low rumble, like a big truck going by. I couldn't see any trucks. I realized that it was a low rumble coming from Ninja. He was looking to my right and glaring at a man in a fluorescent vest on a motorcycle. I've seen him do this several times since. I'm not sure where it came from or why he doesn't like motorcycles, but I'm sure he thinks he's protecting me.

Ninja and the Carwash

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I'm starting to see some changes in my pup. I've been told that 22 months is the magic number for a Mini Aussie. All the training that you pour into them seems to click at that point. We have 10 months to go until that magic number. But good things are starting to emerge from my Ninja. He follows the basic sit, lay down, stay (for a short time), and out commands. He knows to lay down away from us while we are eating. He knows where to lay when we are in the family room and he wants to be with us. All of that is great and getting better all of the time.

I've noticed lately that he is becoming less destructive. Yes, he recently chewed up a pair of my shoes, but it's just not as many things nor as often as before. Could I hope that he is growing out of the chewing phase? I never thought I'd see the day!

As the days are longer and warmer we go on more walks too, and that always helps. Thursday night my husband played a softball game at a field right next to a regional park. The kids and I took Ninja on a walk and he was in heaven. A huge lake, beautiful trees and meadows graced this park and made it a really nice evening. There was so much for a pup to see and smell, and lots of room to walk. There were plenty of other dogs around too. Ninja is really well socialized and I almost never have any trouble with him around another dog or human. Part of that comes from puppy training and playing "Pass the Puppy" where we handed all the puppies around during class to help them get used to people. The only time I watch him very carefully is around a small child. They are so unpredictable and I'd hate to see a child get hurt because they
startled the dog.

Before the walk in the park we stopped for gas and I ran my car through a drive through car wash. It never dawned on me that Ninja would be frightened by the car wash. First he barked at the soap. Then he whined at the water spray. Then he climbed into the front seat on my lap (all 38 pounds of him) and hid his face on my shoulder. Finally he ended up on the floor of the passenger's seat at my daughter's feet. He hadn't done that since he was a tiny puppy. Poor baby was shaking in fear. My daughter calmed him by petting him and feeding him a few leftover fries from dinner. Once we were through with the car wash he was back to his old self. Poor Ninja. I guess he'd rather just ride in a dirty car.

Happy First Birthday!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

It's Ninja's first birthday!

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday, Dear Ninja
Happy Birthday to you!

My little puppy is one year old today. He got to spend the whole afternoon at our neighborhood block party where he was a good boy and the star of the show. The kids played on a racing Slip N Slide - 3 lanes! Ninja raced right along side them in the grass. He does not like to get splashed. He'll run through wet grass and play in a puddle, but spray him with water or get him near the sprinklers and he is one unhappy pup.

We were outside for over 5 hours and it was hot! When we came back inside he flopped down on his side, laid all four legs out, and went sound asleep. But I think he was smiling as he slept.

He and my husband seem to have made up, so all is well in our home tonight. Happy Birthday, my beautiful fur baby!

In Trouble Again. . .

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Not the best of weeks for my darling pup. First he munched a brand new pair of shoes. He likes to chew the heels of my shoes, especially ones with no backs. The result is a misshapen back of the shoe, usually ratty and showing the inside lining that was chewed through.

To be honest, I didn't much like wearing that pair of shoes. They are very cute, but very uncomfortable. I wore them Saturday night to see Indiana Jones and to walk around Victoria Gardens(our local outdoor shopping center) and by the time I got home I was limping. Still, Ninja should not be munching on my shoes. My next step is apple bitters I think. His first birthday is Saturday and he's not showing any signs of leaving my shoes alone. So more drastic measures are required.

Tonight my husband had a rib to offer the pup, so he called him over. He motioned for Ninja to climb into his lap, and the puppy got excited and wet on him. This is a huge no no to my husband. He is absolutely horrified by puppy pee. To me it comes with the territory, like baby throw up or diapers with kids.

Poor Ninja didn't get his rib and was sent outside. I'm not sure how to solve this one. All the dog people I talk to say this wetting when excited is very normal, but it really upsets my husband. I did some research on the internet, and there are two types of wetting- one out of excitement and one out of submission. The submission one is what happened tonight, I think. Poor Ninja- he's telling my husband that he (husband) is the Alpha Dog by urinating. And by getting angry and disciplining, we did exactly the wrong thing. What I've read says that yelling at the dog makes it much worse, because he thinks he should wet more to show submission. I'll have a chat with him tomorrow and hopefully we can both agree to handle this issue the same way.

Hopefully we can all find a happy solution. The good news is that most people say that puppies will grow out of this. Let's hope!

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