Monday, February 28, 2011

The Longest Day

Today was very long and very dull. I did this a lot:
The only thing approaching excitement today was when mom proved to be serious about the whole vacuum thing. She plugged it in and turned it on. Then she made me get closer and closer to it, stopping when I got upset and staying in one spot until I relaxed. In the end I had to lay down right next to it. Then I had to do a couple of puppy push-ups while it was running! She's trying to kill me, I know it!! It was really hard not to freak out, but I did it. Then she let me go. She says we are going to do that every morning until I can lay down calmly next to it while it's moving. Pam, my teacher at school, said I needed to be bomb proof. Mom is taking that seriously. She says if I can handle the vacuum and the snowplow, everything else is a piece of cake. I don't know what cake is, but I hope it's good.

Other than mom tormenting me with the vacuum, the sky was gray and it rained all morning. But not just rain - it is something called freezing rain which apparently just means that I don't get to go out very much, and when I do it isn't a lot of fun.
The snow was frozen this morning, but melted underneath in the afternoon. I fell through a lot and it was not comfortable. I like to walk on the snowbanks, but that was hard to do for most of today. There was ice on everything. The steps, the railings, the trees. It smelled cold.
After lunch we went out again to get the mail and do chores. Dad was home all day, so he made sure the path was safe before we went outside. He also carried the orange water bucket for the chickens which was nice for mom. I am not afraid of the bucket or the water any more. I notice that it's turning on, but I don't care at all.
After chores we came back inside and were dull again. I tried to play with my hoof and my squeakies and my tennis balls and my rawhide for a while, but I just ended up doing this:
Because dad was home I got to play with him a lot more than usual. We played fetch and I also started learning how to jump over things some more. He makes me jump over his legs by teasing me with a toy. I like the jumping. We also practiced catching with small apple bits again, but I wasn't feeling it. Gray, dull day!
I found one spot where it stays cold all the time, so the snow doesn't melt. Look at me! I'm the KING OF THE WORLD! I bet you knew that, though, didn't you?

I'm hoping Grandma Judy can bring Max to meet me, or we can go there to meet him. He's closer to my age and size, and I bet much more fun than Boo. I could use a regular friend who's more my speed to hang around with. Cross your fingers for me!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Snow Day! There's Lots of Those Here.

Edited to add a very important note. I cannot recommend the Boots and Barkley Pop-Open Dog Kennel featured in this post. In fact, I consider it to be an unsafe product that should not be on the market. This morning after breakfast and playtime, Yoshi went into the pop-up crate for his nap. I have left it open since Sunday so he could get used to it. He stretched and turned to lay down and the whole crate collapsed on top of him, leaving him trapped between two spring loaded layers of nylon. Because he has free-range access to the crates, the front was not zipped and I was present and able to extricate him without any injury. However, had this crate been in my car at the time, and had be been alone as I visited a restroom or grabbed a quick bite in a dog-unfriendly establishment he would have very likely been injured. Please do NOT try to cheap out and purchase this item for your dog. A better choice for portability, is the Firstrax Port-a-Crate E2.

It turns out that Sunday is a day of rest after all, or at least this week it is. It snowed all morning. I played catch with snowballs that mom threw for me. I had my nails clipped and got brushed and practiced standing on the table. Mom checked my teeth and made me stand very square. It gets easier the more I do it. Dad helps to hold me when she does my nails still. I really don't like that part, but I get better at that too. Boo had his toes done after me and got he brushed too. Mom says that in spring we will have baths. Not every week, though, because too much washing is apparently bad for dogs.

Mom cut up a small apple into pieces. She gave dad about 3/4 of it in slices, and then cut the rest into little pieces. She made me sit and wait, and then walked away from me. I was mostly patient. Then she tossed the apples to me... and I CAUGHT them!! Well, some of them. I am not perfect at this yet, but I think it is something I will be very good at in the future. I like catching snow, and I try to catch the ball. Mom says it will probably be easier for me to learn with small bits of apple or treats instead of the ball which may be too big for me.

My Lupine has been ordered. Mom ordered it from Midwest Shiba Rescue. She said that if we were going to order it anyway it may as well come from someplace that we can help by buying. That makes sense to me!

I love my new small car crate. In fact I may like it better than my regular crate. I took naps in it today a lot. Mom thought it was too small for me when she first opened it, but I went right in. it is very cozy. I may outgrow it when I get big, but for now it is perfect.
Dad vacuumed the basement today and I barked a lot. I think I may have barked too long because when he was done he brought it up and put it next to my crate. It's off, and the cord is all wrapped up, but he doesn't seem to be interested in moving it. I tried to stare it down. But it doesn't move. I wish it would.
We worked today on sweeping, too. This time mom swept and dad helped to keep me from attacking the broom and the dust mop. It's a good thing they let me be a dog other times or I would be so over this whole "no" thing. No, you can't eat the dust mop. No, you can't bark at the vacuum or the plow or dad shoveling the back deck. No, you can't get into the cat box. Boring!!

It's going to be bad weather tomorrow. I hope dad stays home and plays fetch with me ALL morning!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Strange Sense of "Weekend" Here.

It seems like we do stuff almost every day. That includes Saturday and Sunday. I guess tomorrow it is going to snow again, so that means a quiet day at home. Today was not exactly a quiet day at home.

Last night I found a sheep in mom and dad's room.
It is my job to kill it. I know this, even though mom says I may not.
I figured if she wouldn't let me have yarn, I could at least have sheep? Maybe not.
Today we went for a ride to Keene. I have not been to Keene before.
I like riding in the front. But I like the back too because my crate is there.
And when we take the truck I can hang my legs over the seats and watch the world go by!

We started at Achille Agway for Zuke's treats for me. I got to go inside. People petted me and talked to me. At Target I had to wait in the car. Mom got me a hoof at Agway so I was happy to lay in my crate and chew on it. Mom got me a pop-up crate, which is even easier to carry than my folding crate. She says that juggling my folded crate, the eggs, her bag, my bag (I have my own bag with water and treats and poop bags and things in it) was too much. This new crate folds into a little circle that fits IN my bag! Then mom and I walked from Target to Borders, past a string of other stores with sliding electronic doors and lots of people and movement and noise. We saw a lot of strangers. A lot of people look at me and smile. They must be saying nice things because mom says "Thank you!" ALL the time! Some people ask to pet me, and some people ignore me, so I ignore them. There's a lot of cars and noise. After we walked mom put me back in the truck and I waited while mom and dad shopped at Borders. They didn't come out with anything, and I wonder if the whole thing was just about making me wait in my crate.

We stopped at another store, but I got to wait in the car with mom while dad went inside. Mom said that I had been very good and she did not want to push it. I listened to the cars and people and noises from her lap. It gets easier the more I do it. I got so comfortable that I moved into dad's seat and laid down and relaxed a little.

We came home and I worked on playing with my new tunnel. Mom remembered this morning that she had a tunnel from when Aidan was small and she had dad bring it inside. I don't think Aidan is a dog, because it does not smell like dog. It smells like toddler. Or it did. Now it's MINE!
It's pretty cool. Agility, I think, will be fun!
Dad should do it with me, I think, because it seems like it will be so much FUN and he's a fun kind of a guy. Mom is more about being good and working. He will have to come to those classes too and see if it's something he wants to try with me.

Although sometimes dad does work stuff too. Today I found out that the stove, which keeps me warm during the day, needs to be cleaned sometimes. Dad empties it with a little shovel into the big bucket that I sometimes lose my tennis balls in. Those tennis balls, they jump around a lot!
Anyway, I wanted to help, so I got my face right in it. In fact, I got my face in at exactly the wrong moment and sniffed some ashes. I decided that maybe supervising was a better job for me instead.
Yeah. I liked this MUCH better!
I bet tomorrow mom and dad put me back on that table again and trim my nails. They are nothing if not creatures of habit. I need to go rest up so I am prepared for my token resistance!


Friday, February 25, 2011

Thank Dog It's FRIDAY!

It snowed almost all day today. I like the snow. I don't like it when it is in my eyes, though. It blew around a lot today and that made it not always the most fun.
I do like romping and running in it though, even though it was the thick heavy kind.
And I tried to catch snowflakes on my tongue.

Because we could not deliver eggs today (mom won't drive in the snow and dad took the truck to Keene for work, so even if she wanted to go she didn't have the right vehicle) mom had to work on thinking up something new and fun for me to do today. We did chores, which I am getting more used to. Mom hooks my leash to the dog park hook that dad put in the barn for Dazee so I can't run over to the door while she's feeding and watering the crazy chickens. Boo is loose in the barn, which seems unfair to me.

Mom also shoveled some of the snow that had fallen from the roof onto the walkway. She made Boo and I stay in the barn with the door closed while she did it. I was not impressed. I wanted to help, but she said that my way of helping wasn't really helping. I think she just has a very narrow view of what "help" really is.

When mom does chores, this is what happens. We fill up a bucket with water and we bring the bucket and the egg basket up to the barn. I get parked on the hook, mom closes the barn door so we are all locked inside and she gets to work. She refills the chickens' waterers and their feeder, and sometimes gives them treats, like bread from the bread store in Brattleboro. She buys a LOT of bread at one time and it lasts the chickens for a long time in the winter. The like it because it is different than their normal boring food on days when they can't get out to play. It gives them something to do.
This is Chicken Spot who waits for mom every day on the waterer. She has to be petted before mom can change the water. She likes to be rubbed around her head and under her chin. I think that's weird for something that's not a pet.

Then mom gathers the eggs (she calls it "stealing all the babies") and puts them into the basket, and we leave the barn and usually then we get the mail. Today there wasn't any mail, just snow.

On the way back to the house Boo always acts like he is really interested in the basket with the eggs, which I never quite understood. Until today.

MOM GAVE ME AN EGG!! ALL my own!! She gave it to me and I tried to take it inside, but she said no.
Then she made me take it down into the yard, and I had the BEST time playing with it!!

She gave Boo an egg too.

He didn't eat his. He dropped it and laid down on it. He's strange sometimes. And boring.

I played with me egg for a long time. I threw it into the air, I dug for it in the snow, I carried it around. After a really long time it all of a sudden popped open! I thought that was pretty gross until I got a taste of what was inside. Maybe I am a fox, because mom says foxes steal eggs, and that egg was a really good thing to eat! She made me leave the shell behind, which made me kind of mad, but I let it go. I didn't forget though, and I won't. Next time she better watch me close!

Mom has almost chosen a Lupine for me. She says she likes Lupine a lot, especially their combo collar which is a lot like my martingale - really hard to get out of. Every dog here always gets their own Lupine print that they have for their whole life. Boo has moose on his set. It's called Moose Tracks. Dazee had two; Flutterby that Nana bought her and then Cherry Blossom that mom bought because she liked them better. Kioshi's is so old that when mom tried to show me the picture on the Lupine site it wasn't even there! Anyway, she has had a hard time deciding which one is right for me. Apparently even if I manage to chew through my leash, Lupine will send mom a new one. She knows it's true, too, because Kioshi once chewed through her leash when someone (not mom) left her tired up outside unsupervised. Mom learned a lesson and never left her with anyone again. But Lupine replaced the leash for free, anyway, so now mom really believes in them. It's now a choice between a brand new pattern called Earth Day one called Peace Pup, and another one called Silverado. Mom says that if she were rich she would buy them all, but one is enough. I think if she bought them all dad would need to get her therapy. I can only wear one at a time after all! It's a tough decision, though. Which one do YOU like?

Tonight we had supper kind of late because mom was waiting for dad to come home and play with somebody named Ginger. I never met Ginger before, and I did not understand what Ginger has to do with my supper. I did not like waiting.

Dad came home a while ago and I heard a lot of noise outside, new noises, that mom said were "Just dad and Ginger". I still did not know who Ginger was. After some more time, mom let me and Boo have supper. Then we went out for our walk, and then I saw Ginger.

I hate her. I tried to run back in the house but mom would not let me. Instead she picked me up to carry me past Ginger - dad had just left her sitting there making a TON of noise and being very rude - and then Ginger TRIPPED MOM on the stairs! I know it was Ginger because mom has never fallen down like that before. Mom didn't say anything, she just got back up and carried me around Ginger so I could go potty. Once we were far enough away I did what I needed to do, and mom brought me back toward the house. I got about three feet from Ginger, nervously, but then I had enough and tried to climb a snowbank to get away from her. Mom picked me up again and carried me onto the deck and set me down. I put my ears flat and my tail between my legs and I went right to the door and waited for mom to open it. I do NOT like Ginger at ALL!

Mom says soon the snow will be gone and Ginger will stay in the garage until next year. I hope the snow goes away soon. Mom and dad talk about hiking in the woods in the spring, and I think I will like that a lot!
For now I am going to go rest with my Sock Monkey. This has been a very busy day, and we didn't even leave home!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I Was SO Good!

How good was I? I was SO good that mom got tears in her eyes! I did a perfect recall! Pam held my leash and mom called my name. There were people standing along the path from Pam to mom. I did not stop even once, I went right to mom and she was VERY happy. We worked really hard all week, and it paid off!

I was good in my other stuff, too. I did my sits and downs and stays... I had a little trouble with the one minute stay, but the 30 second one went ok. I was also a little cranky about "stand for petting", which we did on the table to get me used to being up there. I wanted to sit. I was unimpressed with the new thing, which is sit and stay while being petted by strangers, but we'll work on that this week and see how I do. It's hard to be sitting when I am so young and people are so happy to see me. And it's going to be hard for mom to train the people to ignore me or walk away if I DON'T sit and stay for petting. But we'll work it out. My loose lead walking is a lot better, but I still need work, mom says. I think I did pretty good, though.

Tonight was the first night with the training collar and I really am not sure I like it at all.

I put my ears back and got kind of cranky for a little while, but the change made me pay better attention, which I think now is maybe what mom was trying to do. She tricked me, really. This is a very fuzzy picture, but that's me and mom.

Mom finished her big work thing today which I think means we can get the focus of life back on me where it belongs, which also means she will have more time to take pictures of ME!

These are my friends, Emma and Ama. I think that's how you spell it. Emma is the white and brown dog (she's a spaniel) and Ama (she's a mix of breeds) is the black dog. We get to play before school starts, which is a lot of fun. We run and jump on each other, and I get my nervous energy out.

I like Emma a lot. We played alone last week until Ama got there for class (she was late) and then this week when Emma thought Ama was getting rough with me, she jumped in and told Ama to stop. Then when mom had me on the table for my stand practice, Emma was watching very closely. The humans all talked about whether Emma had maybe had babies of her own before she came to her forever home. She was "found stray", which I think means her first people were not paying very good attention. Her new people seem to pay a lot of attention to her, which I think is good.

Today mom left me home all alone in my crate while she went to mail her book. It's the first time I've been really, really alone. Usually Girl and Gerbil are here when mom and dad go out, so I am in my crate, but there's noise and people. I've been good, so mom thought it was time. I did really well, but I was glad when mom came home!

After school mom got eggs ready for Girl to take to the yarn store tomorrow. I guess it is going to snow, so we are staying home. I am kind of bummed because I like the people, but I guess it will be alright. I can rest up from my exciting night at school. Anyway I was playing in the living room by myself behind my gate, but I was not exactly thrilled about it. Dad came and got me and carried me to the kitchen to see what mom was doing. I like being carried, but when I saw mom I wanted to get down. Dad told me to stop being a wiggle worm. I am a wiggle worm. It's hard not to be. Now that mom is here with me, though, I am kind of tired, so I think I will close my eyes for a little bit before bedtime.

I hope mom takes me out to play in the snow tomorrow! That would be fun!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It Had to Happen

I am a public figure now, you know, and so a lot of people have been asking about me and saying that they want to have a dog like me someday. Mom decided that today I should talk about Shibas, choosing the right dog for you, and why a Shiba is not the dog for everyone.

There are some things you should know about the Shiba Inu before you bring one into your life.

First and foremost, if you're looking to find a purebred pet of any kind, please find a responsible breeder. There are websites that explain what a responsible breeder is and what it is not. And this isn't just about puppies, either. Girl and Gerbil got their rats from a rattery in Andover, not from a pet store. For most companion animals, the same rules apply. Pet stores just are not good places to find a pet. Even stores that say their puppies do not come from puppy mills can't introduce you to the parents, or at least one parent, of the pet you're bring home. A responsible breeder can, and should. A pet store has a bunch of different kinds of animals taken care of by people who may know a little about dogs and a little about cats and a little about rats and mice and fish and turtles, but not a lot about the pet you're looking for, or a lot about matching a pet to your desires and needs. Responsible breeders can match you to the right companion, and can tell you if the breed they have isn't right for your lifestyle - and if they say no, don't take it personally. They know a lot more about the animals they breed than you do, and you should trust them. Pet stores are staffed by people who know very little about the pets they are selling, and often give misinformation in an attempt to sell their "product", which is US, animals. That doesn't meant they don't care about the animals they sell, but it does mean that they don't have the expertise or experience to give you the information you need to make the best choice. Most breed-specific groups and societies have a listing on their website of breeders who have proven that they are dedicated to improving the breed and to placing quality, healthy puppies in good forever homes. Most pet stores have very limited health warranties on the animals they sell. Responsible breeders are very careful about the health of their animals. I could go on, but you get the point. Breeders, not pet stores. If you're looking for a pet that's not a purebred, then a shelter or rescue organization is a good choice. Just be sure to ask them lots of questions, get references, and make sure before you adopt. With the internet, it's very easy for anyone to set up a website and say they are a shelter or a rescue; whether they are or not is a different story. If they don't have a place you can visit, and see the animals in rescue, but instead want to meet you in a parking lot to deliver your new companion, they probably are not a very good choice.

Second, Shibas (that's me!) are one of the so-called Ancient Breeds. This means that we are one of the breeds that have, so far, been identified  as being the closest to wolves in our genetics. In some ways this effects our behavior, or so many people believe. They say it shows in our behavior and our reactions to the world around us. Within about twenty-four hours of my being here, mom commented to my breeder, my first mom, Charleen of Cape Cod Shibas, that I seemed very feral in my reactions to things. That is to say that I still have a lot of natural instinct. For example I don't, when scared, run to a human, even mom. In fact, I am not sure I would even run to my biological mom and she's a Shiba! My instinct is to run away, fast, and far, and if I can't run my instinct is to fight back. It's called fight or flight, and humans have it too, but I have it more. Now, this is changing some the longer I am here, but it's unlikely that I will ever be able to be off a leash or outside of a fenced-in yard. Like in my whole life, ever. Compare that to Berner Buffalo Boo-Boo, the "farmer's dog", who never has a leash on unless it's dark or he's going to the vet. He has no desire to run away anywhere. If something scares him, he runs straight to mom - that's part of his breed's characteristics. Even when I am older and doing performance work in Rally or Agility where dogs have to be off leash, it's kind of a risk. Mom plans to take me mostly to places that run their Rally and Agility classes indoors for my own safety. Mom chose my breed knowing this, and had planned from the very beginning to find a dog that needed the kind of work and discipline she had in mind for me. I am also going to get my Canine Good Citizen certificate, and I hope to be a Therapy dog someday. There's a lot of work in my future, which is good, because Shibas need a lot of work to keep their busy minds and bodies occupied.

Which bring me to the next point. Shibas are very, very smart dogs. My little wheels turn endlessly, even when I look like I am asleep. You'd think I am just relaxed and not alert, but every part of me is in tune with my environment. Mom can't even stand up, or sometimes shift in her chair, without my head popping up and my tail coming up and my body springing into action. Smart dogs need a lot of direction. Girl just said this evening that I am "...a lot of work", and she didn't say it exactly as a compliment. I am pretty sure she sighed heavily. Now, before me, mom had Kioshi, an Akita, who taught her a lot of what she needs to know about me. Mom did a lot of research before she got Kioshi. She found out, for example, that a lot of Akitas end up in rescue for killing the family cat. But she also found out that they were bred as a hunting dog, so leaving them unsupervised with something that looks like prey seemed a little unfair to the dog in mom's opinion. If it doesn't seem unfair to you, then an Akita (or a Shiba) may not be a good choice for a companion. See, I have the same problem, if you want to call it that. Shibas were used for hunting everything from small game like birds and rabbits to wild boar. I have a lot of what's called prey drive. This is a little different, and a little harder to manage, than a herding dog, say, who has a drive to control and herd livestock. If it moves, I think I should chase it, and that extends to "kill and bring home to mom".

Mom and dad took Kioshi everywhere; into the city, to fireworks, parades, hiking, in the car, to the beach (I can't wait to go there!), the lake; any and everywhere. She was a lot like me at times - afraid of new things in a different way than a "regular" puppy. One time she was afraid of some orange cones that had been set up on a hiking path to warn hikers of a slide area. Mom had to walk her back and forth, over and over, with a lot of patience and calm talking and ignoring her scared behaviors before she relaxed and wasn't afraid any more. She's done the same thing with me a few times. All the time, every minute, every day mom has to be aware of me, because I am always aware of everything around me. This doesn't mean mom is nervous - in fact, she's very relaxed and calm, and spends a lot of time ignoring my antics, while at the same time being very aware of and in tune with my body language and behavior. She says it's a little like walking a tightrope. I don't know what one is. I suspect it would freak me out if I saw one.

Mom has heard people say that it is unfair to have a Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Aussie Shepherd, or other herding dog if you don't have sheep. She hasn't quite found a corollary to describe what you need to have to have one of me, but she's making a list of things you need in order to have one. Here's what she has so far.

In order to have a Shiba, or be owned by a Shiba, a person should have:

1.) Lots of dog experience, or a willingness to learn everything you can about dogs and canine instinct and behavior.
2.) Endless patience so you don't lose your cool and send a dog like me into some kind of behavioral tailspin, because if you get angry that's just what may happen.
3.) Energy. Energy. And more energy. Because we don't ever really stop.
4.) Enough money to pay not just for vet care, but for classes. Obedience with a dog as smart as me is critical, and socialization in my early days is vital to how successful I will be as an adult.
5.) Endless love. You need this because I will make a LOT of work for you, not just the typical peeing on the floor puppy kind of work either, and the love will make sure you remember why it's good work.

That's all she has so far. I would add some things here myself...

6.) SALMON! Lots of salmon - fresh, cooked, treats, you name it. I just LOVE fish. Kioshi loved fish too and mom is beginning to think Japanese dogs just have an affinity for fish.
7.) BALLS! Tennis, squeaky, hard rubber, soft and pop-able; you name it. I love balls.
8.) STUFFIES! Preferably with squeakers, and bonus if I can pull all the "guts" out, which you will then have to pick up and throw away.
9.) CHEWIES! I need to sharpen my teeth for that cat. Ok, really a growing puppy like me teethes, just like a human. Our baby teeth fall out, and chewing makes that more comfortable.
10.) CRATE! I love my crate. It feels like a safe place when mom and dad go out. Most dogs who have a crate will hide their good stuff in their crate. I do already. And it's a nice place to take a nap or get away from people and other animals in the house.

I think that's it.

When it comes to choosing the right breed of dog for your lifestyle, it's a good idea to get a lot of input, meet a lot of dogs and talk with friends and family. The internet has a lot of cool resources and tools about how to choose the breed of dog that's right for you. Mom, for example, thought she wanted a muppety, floppy dog, but after some research about temperament and breed characteristics, and with a little nudge from Auntie Kathy, she realized that what she really wanted was a huge amount of work, a fox-face, and a brain almost as big as her own, so she got me! And I am glad she did!

Now, there's no pictures of me today, just that stuff up there. And the only new thing I did today was to go outside, in the dark, while dad was unloading the grain and shavings into the barn (because mom is Wicked Lazy, she says)... this involved strange noises, dark, the truck (running!) and my orange raincoat for practice. It was a lot to take in. I did pretty well. Mom had to pick me up when I started to spin around and wanted to run back to the house at first. Then she put me in the truck and we drove back to the garage with dad - a whole 100 feet or so. I watched dad spread sand on the driveway with a shovel, too, which was very interesting. But it was too near the running truck for me to get too-too close!

Also today mom swept with the green dust mop, and instead of just letting her do it or being nervous and barking, I decided it needed to be attacked! That was FUN, until mom said I needed to stop. No sense of humor sometimes. She THINKS she has one, but she's all rules sometimes!

We practiced loose lead waking as well as sit, down, stand and stay. Mom also is making me wait at every meal for my food. I can stand or sit, as long as I do not move a muscle until she says it's time for breakfast, lunch or dinner. She makes Boo do it too, so it's at least fair. Sort of. I mean, it's MY food and I should have it NOW!

I hope you'll all continue to follow me - mom is going to stop posting my blog updates to Twitter and Facebook every day, but she will be posting just about every day for my whole hundred days, and probably beyond that. If you want to follow me, consider using Google Reader (which is my reader of choice!) so you'll know when there's a new post.

Mom says tomorrow there will be pictures, which is good because I like it better when there are some. Let me see if she has any in here...

Wait! Here's a good one!

Remember, every dog should be a wanted dog, not just today when we're cute and fluffy but tomorrow when we shred your toilet paper tubes, too.

Much love, fan-base, and please keep on reading! You inspire me to be the best dog I can be!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Something Special

That's ME! Today mom worked for a while in the morning, and I was very bored. I was so bored that I started lapping the woodwork. Mom made me stop. She STILL has no sense of humor. I gave up and laid next to her in the office again. She promised me an outing, so I agreed to nap.

After she was done working, we went to the Farmer's Cooperative Exchange for grain and shavings and dog food (YUM!). I had never been here before. The people liked me a lot. Mom got me a training collar and a raincoat.

Really, a raincoat! It is very me, don't you think? Mom says that rain is coming and she says she is not having a soaking wet stinky dog in the house, and we're not stopping walks just because of rain. Apparently a thing called "spring" brings rain. I think that's ok, although it also apparently means that the snow goes away and really, I am not sure where I will pee when there is no snow. She also says that it is something called "hi-viz" with reflector stripes, which apparently makes it less likely that I will be mistaken for something huntable when we hike in the woods around here. I don't really want to get shot, so I wear it when she says. It isn't bad, really. Better orange and shiny than dead, I guess.

After we shopped at the feed store we went to The Arbors to see Nana and drop off some recipes for her. I met a bunch of ladies. I don't even remember all their names. I met ladies who live there. like Nana does, and I met ladies who work there. Some of them answer the phone and some work in the kitchen and some help the people who live there.

Nana holds my leash most of the time. I think it reminds her of Dazee. I didn't ever meet Dazee, but mom has talked to me about her.

She also calls her friends over to meet me. They all say that they love me. There was one lady that she did not call over. The lady does not like dogs. Imagine!

I liked this lady's socks. It turns out that she has seven or eight pair, and her daughter knits them for her. Her daughter also has mom's first book. Small world!

Nana has a lot of friends. Some of them walk on their own, and some have walkers and wheelchairs and canes and things. I also meet a lot of family members of people who live there.

After we visited for a bit mom had me walk around the building a little. I went to the elevator, and into the living room and the pub. There were normal things, like tables and chairs and sofas, and strange things that I wasn't sure about at all, like big orange signs that said "WET FLOOR". I barked at the sign once, and my hair stood all on end. Then mom made me go and see it up very close. She walked me around it in circles until I stopped looking scared and the hair laid smoothly on my back.

When we got in the truck to come home, I hopped in the back and laid down in my crate. The shavings make a sort of a safe den around my crate so it's even more comfortable than usual. I slept all the way home.

We also practiced all my commands today, and we did some walking on the leash in the heel position. Apparently when mom says "Halt" I have to stop AND sit down. If she says nothing, I just stand beside her. I hope I can remember this. It is important, she says, that I not always sit beside her when she stops if we are walking. There will be times when she just wants me to stand and stay, not sit and stay. It's all very confusing and I am very glad that she takes her time with all of this. We practiced turns too, and I am getting much better at them. And she's stopped giving me treats every time I do something right. This annoys me, because I LOVE food. As long as she throws something my way now and then, I guess it's OK, though.

Like I said, growing up around here is a lot of work. But I am more and more certain that I am up to it!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Recovery Day

That's what mom is calling today. She says I needed a break after the excitement of Thursday, Friday and Sunday. I am pretty sure this is an excuse for more of her work stuff.
This was today:




All of this was next to mom's desk while she was working. DULL!

In between there was some ball, some short walks, lots of petting and cuddles, some psycho dog, and a visit with Grandpa Dan and Grandma Karen.

But mostly it was: Chew. Nap. Chew. Crash.

I have the whole run of the first floor now, but I prefer to be near mom. Sometimes she takes a break and throws the ball for me. Other times she picks me up and hugs me and kisses my fur. I like that. We took a walk but it was not as long as it could have been. It is cold and it was snowing this morning.

Oh. I should tell you what psycho dog is. Psycho dog is when I race the length of the first floor in a big loop with my tail partway down and flying like a flag behind me. Sometimes I do it when mom is playing with me. Other times I do it when I am bored. Whenever I do it it is FUN and it makes mom smile.

I'm hoping tomorrow is more fun than today was. Mom has errands and she says I can go. I think there may be another field trip planned because I heard her say something about grain and shavings and dog food and I haven't been anywhere that sells that stuff yet. I think it will be fun!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Today is Sunday.

Mom is threatening to give me a bath and the only thing that's restraining her is the cold weather. I am glad because I really don't want to be sopping wet when it's 20 degrees outside. I still had to have my nails clipped and my coat brushed and my teeth checked. Apparently this is some sort of family ritual. Dad and mom both get in on it, Boo gets his nails done, too, and in the end we get treats so I guess it's OK.
Not my favorite activity, but not the worst thing they've thrown at me either. Mom seems to think that eventually she will be able to do this without dad helping. We'll see. I'm not planning on being that comfortable with the whole thing just yet!

I am starting to really get along with my brother. He doesn't understand me sometimes, and other times I don't understand him, but we are working it out. I definitely have issues with anything edible around him, and he definitely is stealing my stuff every chance he gets. Mom says it is sad how quickly he backs down when there's a "discussion". She thinks he should paste me one, but he just runs away and lets me have my own way all the time. I think this is as it should be.

Clancy the tortoise, whatever that is, makes noise in his tank all day. Mom says he has just come out of hibernation and it full of vinegar. Someone should wring him out. he bangs and crashes randomly and I don't like random noises. It makes me jumpy. I'm adjusting, but not impressed at all.

Today we went for a ride to Home Depot and I was left in my crate in the car while the 'rents went inside. I laid down and was quiet the whole time. Really, what else was there to do? As long as I have my crate and can feel safe I don't mind sitting there for a little bit. It's cold today, and they were gone for about ten minutes.

After Home Depot we were going to go visit Grandma Judy and Max and Mila, but Grandma Judy was working. Instead, we went for a walk on Federal Street. There were a lot of cars but not a lot of people. I was very nervous, but mom made me walk anyway. We walked until I started to loosen up and feel comfortable. My head came up and my gait relaxed and I stopped weaving and darting (or trying to dart - she keeps a grip on that leash, mom does!) around. I guess they are going to do this with me at least once a week until I "adapt". Mom said it was so much work for her that she needed a mocha from Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters (where dogs are not allowed). Dad and I went to the car to wait, and I fell asleep on her seat as soon as we got in. When she came back with her mocha and dad's cinnamon bun thing, I did not want to move into my crate. I slept all afternoon. Cities make me very tired, and mom says I have to keep going back until they don't make me tired any more. That could be a long time if I have anything to say about it!

Tonight we are going to be peaceful at home. I've played a lot of ball today with dad and mom and Girl and Gerbil. I am practicing coming when called, which is not my favorite thing but I am improving. When mom calls I come right away when we're home. I respond to everyone else, but not as fast. After all, they're not MOM!! I am getting really good at "off" and am working on "wait" and "stay". We walked on our road today too, and practiced stopping and turning. My leash is not as loose as mom wants, but I will get there.

Oh! This afternoon I got to be a fox! A chicken jumped into the garden and got stuck. The garden is very deep with snow; way over my head if I was heavy enough to fall through it. Mom and I got into the garden and I chased it out. It was so afraid of me that it went right over the fence without even thinking about what it was doing! This is how cold it is today - mom didn't even fall through the snow, but you could tell she was afraid she might. She walked very carefully!

I think tomorrow may be pretty boring. Mom's working now and she seems pretty intent on working more this week. Then she says things will slow down and we can do more stuff away from home. I am not sure how I feel about that, but she's the boss. She thinks!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Weekends Were Made for Confusion

I think it's weird that five days a week dad leaves and it's just me and mom for most of the day, and then all of a sudden dad is here and doing strange things, like laundry. Mom never does laundry. She does a lot of dishes and a lot of cooking, but she does not do laundry. But dad does. But only on something called "weekends". Sometimes these people confuse me.

Take today, for instance. Mom spent most of the morning in her office doing the work thing, but dad, who usually leaves home to do work, stayed here all day. He wandered in and out doing laundry and something called "trash" and something else called "snow removal". See, confusing! I spent most of the morning in or near the office with mom. She moved my crate in there so I could nap by her desk, but she really ignored me a lot. I really do not like being ignored.

In the afternoon dad decided mom needed a break from work and so we went for a ride. But here's the really weird part - usually when we go for rides it's about ME. We go to school or we go to the yarn store to deliver eggs (but really it's about me learning new things and meeting new people). This time we just went to someplace called New Hampshire and I did... nothing! Dad got out of the car and made a bunch of noise that mom says was "just getting gas". Someone came along on a thing called a snowmobile which I was not impressed with, but mom said he was just getting gas too. Then mom and I stayed in the car while dad went into some store and bought stuff. Thing is, none of this was about ME. It was all errands that had nothing to do with ME!

I was pretty bored. I moved into dad's seat and napped. Mom just sat there. Boring! Cars came and went, and there were loud sounds, slamming doors, shopping carts, people talking. I don't really get what this was about, but mom says it's more of this socialization stuff. She seemed really happy that I was relaxed about the whole thing. I wasn't nervous at all.

After this very strange trip and I had to take a nap in my crate while mom and dad went to a birthday party for someone called April. I don't know what an April is, but it sounds lovely. I want to meet it soon.

When they came back I had supper and went potty, and then mom said we had company coming. I love company - so far, company has been all about ME! Mom said I would get to meet my spister. I didn't know what this meant. Apparently mom has what she calls a spid, which means "Spare Kid". The Spid and Girl (my sister) are spisters (spare sisters), which is something they made up on their own, and this means that the spid is my spister too. Are you following this? It took me a while, but I think I get it.

This is when I really got it:

Spister means FUN! Spisters are not like mom and dad. Spisters are giggly and cuddly and have no agenda. They are quick and they like to run and chase and throw and laugh and play! Spisters are AWESOME! My spister played with me - she threw my ball and I brought it back. She played hide and seek, but I found her before she was hidden. I lapped her face a lot. She laughed a LOT. She and I played with a new ball:

which I killed. I just wanted to pick it up, really. I bit and bit and bit and then POOF! There was a big puff of air and no more ball, just a loose floppy plastic thing. Not nearly as fun as a ball. Now it's just a big yawn. Mom had to throw it away.

Today was fun. I wonder what they have in store for tomorrow. For now it's time for bed, though. Good night!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mom's Day? If you say so.

I had this whole great plan to challenge mom this morning and howl like a banshee in my crate, but I forgot all about it. When mom went to take her shower instead of whining I got very quiet. In fact I was so quiet that DADDY got up after a little bit and let me out of my crate and praised me for being very, very good. Then he took me out to go potty. I love dad. He plays ball really well, and he likes to make me go fast chasing things, which I love to do.

Last night I had a kind of a rough night at school. First, there's the loud heater which I don't like much. Then a train goes by during class and I really do not like it. The whole place shakes and it makes all kind of squeaks and groans.

And then, well, really I am a baby and this whole thing where I am expected to pay attention for a whole hour really doesn't work for me all the time. The good news is that mom knew from the beginning that I would have to repeat class at least 2 times and probably 3 before I was grown-up enough to behave for the whole class time. I am still very little. She better not forget that. But I don't think she will.

Anyway, I got so bored that I laid down and wouldn't get up. Now, in my defense, this was after I spent 15 minutes playing really hard with another dog AND we were halfway into class. I had done a series of really perfect puppy push-ups both with mom beside me and in front of me. I also tried some loose lead walking, but since we haven't done a lot of regular walking this week (mom's so busy with her "work" nonsense!) that I didn't do so well at that, but I tried hard. But then I was pretty much done.

I was trying to let mom know that I was really done, and she totally did not get it. She kept right on with the happy voice and the treats I didn't even want any more. So I peed on the floor. And she didn't even notice it until after. I bet she got my point then! Dad even took my picture while I was peeing. Mom said "Gee. Thanks, honey." and dad laughed at her. That made me wag and wiggle a lot. I figure peeing on the floor at school is not the same as peeing on the floor in other places. I can tell that a lot of other dogs have peed there before me, so really it's like an obligation that I add myself to the mix.

Today was errand day and I LOVE errand day. After we visited the yarn store and delivered eggs we went to deliver eggs at the Elgar place. last week, remember, I stayed in the car. This week I got to go in. Something about mom and Katy having lunch or something. Well, here is what I know about this Elgar place. There are women.
LOTS of them. And they LOVE ME. I need to go back here again, for sure. (These pictures are not great because mom has flash issues, like she doesn't like to use it. And she forgot to change the settings on her camera. But you can get the basic drift. Adoration all for ME!!)
After the Yoshi Love Fest (that's what I call it) I needed a little nap, so I rested in Katy's office while she and mom took pictures of socks.
Then I decided to help, because I am like that!
I love to make people laugh, and Katy has a great laugh!

When they were done with the socks, we walked to Osaka (not the actual place in Japan, but a place in Northampton that has sushi) from Katy's office. Now, this is not a walk like at home where there's maybe a car or two. This is a city, with lots of cars, trucks, air brakes and even strange dogs. Two strange dogs came and met me. I was terrified and so I misbehaved and got very snappy. Mom told me that it was not ok to be mean even if I am scared. She has so many rules! Anyway, I made it to Osaka and back and didn't die even once, although I thought I was going to. Mom says now we have to walk in the city every week. I wonder if I had just toughed it out if she would have let me never go back there again. Oh well, too late now! Northampton, here I come! Hope you're ready for me!

Well, I have to go to bed now. Dad is taking mom out - apparently it is her birthday. I didn't get her anything. I hope she doesn't hold it against me. I know. When they get back from dinner, maybe I will let her pet my ears. That always seems to go over well.