My Pups are Playing!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I'm trying to watch Josh Gates on Destination Truth, but because I have two happy pups frolicking around and making so much noise, I can't exactly hear it. I'm not complaining- far from it!

These two are having a ball. They are chasing each other around, nipping at ears and necks, knocking each other over, and taking turns pining each other down.

What's noisy is the sound of nails on tile and wooden floors and the clink of collars and tags. Periodically they come in to the family room and stand there looking at us, with goofy grins on their faces.

This is a good sign! They like each other, they really like each other!! I never had any doubt, but it's wonderful to see them having a good time together.

From "Unhealthy and unhappy dogs do not play, so play serves as a barometer of their well being, indicating that a dog is well fed, in good health, and content. Dogs, like humans, do not play when they're sad or distressed." Amen to that!

Not bad for 4 days together, is it? :)

Penny's Puppy Pen

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Last night I mentioned I put together a wire dog enclosure to make Penny a nice comfy bed area where she couldn't roam free at night. Again, this is just to help her learn the rules and also for her to feel safe in our home. This is the kind of thing I'm talking about. It's great for taking to the park if you need a place to park a pack of puppies. Peter piper and pickled peppers. . . yes, I get it.

I think I got mine at PetSmart a while back. I used to have a pair of lop eared rabbits who were house broken and I would put them in this pen out in the yard so they would be safe.

Anyway, I remembered that I had this about 11pm last night. It was in the shed in my yard. So I snuck out very quietly so as not to bother my neighbors (I really try to be a considerate neighbor-succeeding is a whole other thing). I got the pen, turned around with it, tripped over something in the dark and dropped the whole thing on the patio. Loudly. Ooops.

After getting it in the house, I set up Penny's nighttime "puppy pen." She has her crate so she feels safe, food bowls, and a dog bed if she wants to come out of the crate. There is also a red, fuzzy dog shaped toy my my daughter got her the other night. Penny seems to be happy in her puppy pen. Can you see in the picture she's napping?

As I said last night, this worked great for puppy Ninja while we trained him. Unfortunately he got big quick and he learned that if he pushed against the sides of the puppy pen he could move the whole thing. My plan was to kennel train him for 6 weeks after he came home with us. We made it 4. The day I came home and the puppy pen was literally blocking the front door was the end. He was ready anyway.

I don't see Penny doing that. She doesn't seem to want to tear the thing apart to get out like Ninja did. She's happy to settle down for the night in her little puppy pen.

The First Night. . . and Today

Monday, March 29, 2010

Today as soon as I got on the computer I ordered a new camera cable, thus ensuring that the minute I got home I would find the old one. And I did. It's a win win because now I have a backup camera cable for when I misplace the first one. Hey, it works for the battery charger!

More good news is that I can post pictures! Here is Penny Lane (her full name), resting on Ninja's bed in our family room while we are watching TV. She was so tired her eyes kept closing but she was still just a little too nervous to let herself go.

As I write this tonight, Penny is curled up in the same spot asleep, so I hope she will learn to relax just a little bit more around us day by day.

Here's a shot of her and Ninja together at the park when they first met on Saturday. She is laying down so she looks tiny compared to "Ninja-zilla." She is much smaller than he is but I think they make a handsome couple.

We had a quiet night, but I made a few training errors. I, for some reason, forgot that a new dog should be confined to a small area of the home at first while house breaking rules are enforced. I suppose fatigue (remember my weekend?) is partly to blame. At any rate, for my mistake there I ended up with a few doggy "mistakes."

Isn't it funny how we forget after such a short time all the things we did to train a puppy? I had to text my friend whose husband is a breeder to get tips on how to get Penny house trained properly in her new environment. I'll share those tips soon, because Ninja simply does not have potty errors and hasn't in a long, long time. I know Penny was house trained with her last family so she just needs to learn where to go in our house. I'm guessing it won't take long at all! You can't expect a pup with so much going on at once to be perfect in her new home from the first second. She's such a little love I can barely stand it!

The dog door will be a big help. I really admire people who live in apartments or places without yards and have the perseverance to take their dogs out whenever they need to. I'm not sure I would have the patience to take out the dogs in the middle of the night and as often as needed every day. With the dog door, Ninja comes in and out as needed and I don't have to do a thing. At least about taking him out to do his business. Once Penny gets used to the dog door and learns our house breaking rules, she'll be a happy lil dog, going in and out when she wants.

After dinner tonight we went to the dog park and Penny and Ninja ran and ran and played "let's herd each other." They were so tired by the time we got back they both flopped and went out, much earlier than last night. They were both a little restless last night, partly because I think they were getting used to each other but also I think a coyote was prowling the hills behind our house because all the dogs in the neighborhood were going nuts. Don't worry, our fenced yard is safe from coyote attacks. They can only walk by and look. Ninja would probably try to make friends with a coyote anyway, so it's just as well.

For tonight I'm making a kennel area in the kitchen with a metal fence/kennel thing that clips together. I'll put her crate in it, a blanket, and a dog bed, as well as her water dish. Penny can sleep in her crate, but if she wants to come out there will be more room for her to move about. I used this method with Ninja when he was a pup and it was very effective. I just don't like to lock up a pup in a little crate all night. It seems too small to me.

I was just thinking tonight how happy I am. These two pups and my family just make me happy. And that is a very good thing. More soon! Sweet puppy dreams. . .

We have a New Family Member!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The lovely Penny is now a member of our family! I'm so excited. She looks like a red tri. She's definitely a mini and about half the size of Ninja. Granted, Ninja is over 50 pounds and is totally too big for a mini Aussie. He's more like a small standard. But since his mum and dad were both minis, he's a mini by default, right?

So the bad news is that I cannot find the camera cable to save my life. I've spent an hour searching for it and since it's been such a busy weekend, I'm simply too tired to keep looking. I hate that I can't show you are new little darling! The best way I know to find the cable is to order a new one. As soon as I order the new one, the old one will magically turn up!

So yesterday we met Penny's original owners and Penny, of course, at a local park. Ninja and Penny seemed to really like each other. They played together and walked a bit, and seemed to really enjoy each other. We agreed to meet again on Sunday.

This afternoon we went back to the park. We were a bit late due to some strange circumstances (like my husband losing track of time at another park while practicing baseball with our son!) but when we got there, Penny came running to Ninja like they were old friends. So sweet!

Penny's first owners then sent this little girl home with us. She is a little timid, but very sweet. I think she'll come out of being timid after a bit of time with our very active family and the amazing and mischievous Ninja!

When we first got home we played in our front yard first. Penny went under the car and watched, but we decided to ignore her for a minute and played Frisbee, and within two minutes she came out to see what was going on. That was pretty neat.

I'm reading Cesar Millan's book A Member of the Family and he says to take the dogs on a walk before letting them in the house together. So off my daughter and I went to the park. As soon as we got there, I thought I would let them off leash for a few minutes to let them run.

Bad idea. Penny decided to run full speed, up the hill on the side of the park and hide in the bushes. Ooops. So I climbed the hill and leashed her up. She gave me no issue with that. She's really so sweet! But I had to get back down that hill sitting down. My daughter called Penny and down she went to her, as I inched down the hill. My wouldn't she do that before I climbed the hill? :)

When we got home we walked her through the house on the leash like Cesar says. Then we left them alone to rest and do their own thing (we didn't leave- we just let them be while I made dinner). They are so cute together! They play, they snuggle, and they romp in the yard.

My daughter and I worked with Penny and the dog door, but she's not ready to tear in and out of it like Ninja does. But remember all the coaxing and training we had to do with Ninja to get him to use the dog door when he was a pup? We'll get there.

For now, we are thrilled with are tiny little lady pup and I cannot wait for more walks, dog parks, and sheep herding, which we will do in the next few weeks.

Life is good. :)

Pictures soon as I can get the darned cable! I'm off to order one right now.

The Best Laid Plans. . . and News!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My neighbor told me about this really neat wildlife preserve close to our home with lots of trails and great places for dogs so I headed out right after work. I checked the website earlier and it said they were open until 8pm. Perhaps those are Summer hours, and even though it is warming up, it's still the tail end of a Southern California Winter, and the park closed at 4:30. How disappointing! We'll have to save that for a weekend trip.

We ended up at a local dog park and of course I forgot the camera in the car, and since we had to park a half a mile away I gave up. There was a grumpy husky who was terrorizing everyone so we didn't stay long. What's with owners who don't correct their dogs? "They're just playing" doesn't cut it with me when every time this dog "plays" the other dog growls and snaps at him. That's dog speak for "Knock it off!"

My news is something exciting, but I almost hate to write it in case it doesn't work out. But here goes! I'm meeting with a couple this weekend who are looking for a new family for their 1 year old female mini Aussie. Apparently the kids are leaving for college and the parents are working a lot, and they feel like the pup would be better with a family with another dog and a people who had time for her. I'm so excited- I can't even tell you!

Last year I found a red merle Aussie female at the local animal shelter, and rushed over, only to find she'd been adopted the day before. I got in the car and cried. Isn't that silly? I've been waiting for the right pup to come along. I thought I might wait for the breeder where we got Ninja to have another litter of pups. . . but taking in a young Aussie that needs a home would be great too. I hope that the two will see each other and it will be like music playing and they are inseparable from that moment on. It's a nice dream, isn't it? I just want them to be happy. Ninja loves other dogs and apparently so does this other pup.

I've also been looking into sheep herding. There is a local group where you can take your dog and let them herd sheep. How cute would that be? Apparently it's quite a work out for the owners too. I guess you get run over by the sheep from time to time. I'm sure my husband will bring the video camera to catch his wife being knocked over by sheep while the dog (or hopefully dogs) run wild, nipping at the sheep. I'm sure we'll be on YouTube in about 30 seconds after it happens!

So wish me luck about the new Aussie. I can't wait until Saturday. I'm like a little kid who can't wait for something to happen. :)

The Paw Spa

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I found a fabulous place to take Ninja for his bath here in my town. It's called The Paw Spa and it has self service dog washes.

I cannot say enough good about this place! The staff is wonderful. You don't need an appointment for self service. You head in, they put your dog in the tub and away you go. They also have grooming and will wash your dog for you, but it's a bonding experience, getting drenched with your dog, right?

Donna is the owner and she helps you through the whole process. My daughter and I are pros now, except last time I accidentally sprayed the water past Ninja and drenched my daughter and the employee washing a dog at the next tub. Ooops.

You start by combing out all the loose fur. It's warming up so Ninja is starting to blow his coat. I read somewhere it's a light thing, not a heat thing that makes them shed, but regardless, shedding he is, so the combing took a long time this past trip.

Once that's all done you use the sprayer to wash him down, then lather him up. They have these neat scrubber massager thingeys that you can use to get him good and soapy. He loves that. What dog wouldn't love two ladies massaging him and getting him all clean?

Then you rinse. Donna says this is the most important part. You take the sprayer and put it very close to the dog's skin and wash away all the soap. Then you wash his face with the blueberry facial. Ninja tries to eat this. I can hardly blame him- it smells heavenly.

After a good towel drying you clean his ears. Donna taught me that if you want him to shake the water off, just tickle the insides of his ears and he'll shake for you. Neat trick! It also means that if you don't get his ears wet during the bath, he won't shake. Somehow I always get Ninja's ears wet and I get drenched int he middle of the bath.

It's off to blow drying after cleaning the ears. They have dryers that don't use heat. It takes forever, and with all that hair Ninja ends up a huge fluff ball, but clean and shiny as can be. Finally we spray him with a little doggy cologne. We like sugar cookie best. Yummm. . .

The whole process take about an hour and is so worth it. And it's very reasonable! When we went to visit my MIL on New Year's Eve we took Ninja with us and visited the Paw Spa just before we left. Let me tell you that was a much nicer trip! Two hours in the car with a clean dog is easy compared to two hours with one who isn't so clean.

As soon as it warms up I'm going to take him in and have Donna's staff groom him. I'm going to have his coat shortened up I think. Yes, it's just beautiful, but with the amount of hair he sheds it's a bit crazy trying to keep up with it all.

So if you have a self service dog wash business in your town, check it out! Or if you live anywhere near Corona, California, come visit Donna and her staff. It's the best!

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