Sunday, November 15, 2009

Finding Fun around the House and the New Trainer

Hi Friends! Skyler and I have had a ton going on. We apologize for the silence, but don't think the craziness has quieted. I've been really busy with school work and preparing for our move back to Massachusetts. So, for the past two weeks, we haven't had time for much of anything. We have our morning walks and Ryan and Skyler have their night walks, but no Frick. That's right ladies and gentlemen, no frisbee, no tennis balls and no free reign squirrel chasing. It's been driving Skyler nuts. 
       At times like these, the little angel finds his own fun with socks, shoes and my collection of Brides Magazines.
       By this afternoon, I think all three of us were getting a little tired of sitting on the sofa doing work. Sitting between my fiancee and I typing on laptops is not Skyler's idea of a fun afternoon. So, we played hide-and-go-seek. My fiancee and I were the hiders and Skyler always the seeker, but you'd be surprised to learn how long this went on for before it got old. 
       We talked to another trainer back in Massachusetts. We'd like to bring Skyler and my parents new puppy to classes each week. Upon our first discussion, the trainer established that I'm making some pretty significant boo-boos with the munchkin. 
       In his eyes I shouldn't be:
       1. Sleeping with Skyman: He said this diminishes my power as the alpha. He said Skyler should be sleeping at the bottom of the bed or even on the floor, but that we should definitely not be spooning. And while I can see his point, I don't think the sleeping situation is going to change anytime soon. We have to draw the line somewhere and snuggling is a top priority.
       2. Skyler shouldn't be fed by hand anymore. Now, this directly opposes our last trainer's method. But we'll try it.
       3. Limit the snacks. He said that giving your dog snacks all the time is not something that happens in the dog world. He said a dog typically gives another dog their food when they're intimidated by that dog. I'm not sure if I buy the intimidation deal, but I do believe in dog obesity and I definitely don't want to be faced with that someday in the future. So we'll monitor the snack giving. I'll admit I share dinner sometimes. This is a behavior I have to work on. 
       Doggie opinions anyone?

Skyler Solves the Case of the Missing Person Video

Check out Skyler's most recent antics. New Video!!  

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Crazy Man Day

I don't know what's gotten into him today. He's finally napping, so let us just cross our fingers that the rest of the day goes by smoothly. 

I woke up this morning with plenty of dishes to do. So, I put my ear phones on and while singing Tiny Dancer started my scrubbing. (Little did I know, Skyler had also started on his own "project.") Soon later, looking at an almost empty sink, I got that excited "there's only a few spoons left" feeling. "Finally," I thought, "I can sit down with my coffee." 

Well, Mr. Man had different plans for Mommy and it wasn't long until I discovered a living room of toilet paper scraps. An entire roll to be more exact.

While I finished vacuuming up the tiny pieces, he destroyed a pencil he found on the table. And he did all this before he had me chasing him around the apartment with the movie Ryan and I rented last night in his mouth.

I put in his favorite movie and this kept his attention for a short bit:

But a loud truck clunking around outside lured him to the bedroom window and sure enough he started with his "I'm the boss of this place" barking routine. This is a fairly new routine that Ryan and I really have to work on. It's the first time in a while that Skyler hasn't been enrolled in classes. So, I've been searching around online for some advice on addressing this new behavior before it gets too out of control. I did find some great advice for big mouth doggies. And while I don't agree with leashing him and giving him a yank when he barks, I do agree with the concept of distracting him and giving him something better to do. He'd still much rather train and get treats from Ryan and I than bark. So my homework for a few weeks will be to try this method out. Anyone have any other ideas?

He's napping now. I tried to snap a picture, but he opened his eyes and lifted his head quickly. Terrified that I had woken the monster, I wisely tip-toed away.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

New Video Post

I just posted another video to the right. It's documentation of one of Skyler's crazy "terrier moments."  Check it out!

My Punkin' Picks His Very Own Pumpkin

We picked our pumpkins today! Skyler was a crazy man sorting through the waves of orange.
       I've been incredibly busy with school, but it was a nice break to enjoy the beautiful weather today. We went to a small church on Fifth that had a TON of pumpkins. Skyler was really pushy to begin with. He wanted to suck in all the action. But once he realized he wasn't going to miss out on anything, he calmed down and sorted through the pumpkins. 
      My fiancee and I chose a larger one to carve. Skyler picked out a smaller one with a long stem. (He's been doing some carving of his own since we left the lot. If you look closely you can see the teeth marks!)
     Although I didn't have too much time to play, it was nice to get out of the house. As I type, Sky's rolling his new pumpkin around the living room!

So, now that my family has officially dived into the Halloween-season festivities, I'm wondering about costumes. We only have a week and I'm still not sure if we'll spend Halloween carving or if we'll dress Sky up and go for a long walk. Any ideas for costumes? Shall we get into the great debate about whether or not its OK to dress up our four-legged friends? Skyler doesn't have a thick coat and gets cold very easily, so he already has a hoodie, jacket and Christmas sweater—what's a costume going to hurt?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Separation Anxiety

I had to board Skyler.

I'm attending a communicators conference this until Tuesday and my fiance is back in MA visiting family.
       This wasn't a rash decision. I did my homework and found a great fit for him. He's overnight camping at Camp Bow Wow while I'm gone. They have webcams so I can watch him from the conference, which helps. And they are really understanding and sweet with the dogs. I had to set up an interview almost a month ago. They had a three hour evaluation process in order to clear him for registration. It puts me at ease that they want to make sure all the dogs there aren't aggressive or protective.
       And Skyler loves playing with other dogs. This place is literally a Chuckie Cheese for dogs. Skyler will have tons of other campers and toys to play with. I know I shouldn't worry. I just don't like to leave him. I dropped  him off about an hour ago. I'll admit I was upset. I knew he didn't want to go. He was hiding between my legs and after trying to lure him with treats and noises and even pulling him gently, one of the helpers had to resort to picking him up and carrying him away.
       I realize I sound like a crazy dog lady. To be honest, I was full blown sobbing by the time I got back behind the wheel. I'm doing OK now. I packed him an overnight back with blankets, his toys and some treats. I measured and bagged his food for each meal. He'll be fine. I have to think of the positive. It'll be another great opportunity for him to socialize with other dogs.
       My fiance has already been on the webcams. He said Skyler's doing great and is playing around with the dogs. Check it out! Doggie Cam. Skyler's usually in the Kennywoof room.

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Video

I find bones in my bed sheets, under pillows and in-between my couch cushions. Skyler can be like a secret agent when hiding them. He's very methodical and he whines until he's found the perfect spot. If you walk in while he's hiding.... that's it.... he's off to find a new spot.

Check out the video "Skyler hides his bone" on the right. 

It's Me or the Dog!

I'm living in an "It's Me or the Dog" episode. Yesterday my fiancee took Skyler out while I was doing some homework. I was sitting in front of the computer and it shocked me when he burst into the room and slammed the door behind him.
     "I'm sick of this bullshit! He doesn't listen to a thing I say!"
       He complained about the pulling, the barking, but mostly the ignoring. Skyler's graduated from two different obedience schools now. He knows "sit," "down" and "come." He gives high fives, walks on a loose leash and drops things from his mouth. BUT only when he wants to or if there's a treat involved. (He loves Lil Bits. An older trainer of ours recommended them because they're strong smelling and are small enough that he won't hurt his stomach after training.)
       I calmed my fiancee down. I've never gotten that angry about it, but I knew exactly what he was talking about. 
    Skyler's yanked me down the street after birds and squirrels plenty of times. And the moment he hears me turn on the shower, he raises havoc. He's chewed pens until the ink explodes, chews holes in my comforter, destroyed high heel shoes and gotten into my fiancee's DVD collection. I know what you're thinking, put him in the cage. But he cries and whines. I feel so awful cooping him up.
       With our current financial situation and the horrible experience I had with the last crazy trainer, I wasn't convinced that school was the best choice. We negotiated that we'd make a trip to Barnes and Noble this weekend and pick out a book to follow. Don't get me wrong, we play with Skyler all the time. We aren't looking for the PERFECT dog. We love his energetic personality. (I've added some more silly videos to the right.)
       I would never want a robot dog that just waits for his next command. I just want to be able to go on walks without so much chaos.

If you have any similar experiences, I'd love to hear them! Book suggestions and photos are welcome! 

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Neighbors Move Out

This week the neighbors from the apartment next to us moved. I watched a few moving men buzz in and they were gone within a few hours. I'm know Skyler misses the kitty that lived there. 

He loved running up the stairs after walks and waiting at the door for the cat to come over and greet him. We didn't know the neighbors too well, so we weren't really even sure what the cat's name was. My fiancee and I just called him Kitty. "Where's Kitty?" we'd ask Skyler. He'd tilt his head like he was listening. 

They didn't know each other that well—just the few moments of playing in the gap between carpet and the bottom of the door. The cat would tease him by showing just enough of his paw and then try to slap him. (Watch the YouTube video to the right "Skyler Makes a Kitty Friend" to see the two of them playing)

We hiked through the trails at Frick today for an hour or so. Skyler loves chasing the birds and squirrels just off the trails. He waits at the bottom of trees looking up at the animals he's chased up the trunk, as if they are going to fall for his whines and puppy eyes and come back down to play. Unfortunately, for Skyler, they aren't a sucker for his games. (I'm pretty sure he learned these behaviors from the treats I give him at the dinner table. Unlike the squirrels, I can be a sucker.)

My fiancee and I were hoping that Skyler would get all of his energy out at the park, but no such luck. He napped for a while and is now back at it. Before coming back in he waited at the door next to ours for kitty.  

Monday, October 5, 2009

Welcome to Muddy Paws!

A little over a year ago, I moved to Pittsburgh with my fiancee and 10-week-old Jack Russell Terrier, Skyler, so that I could attend graduate studies. I rode in a Penske Truck for a little over 14 hours with a fur ball the size of a softball in my lap. 
He's much larger now — people ask if he's part Greyhound or Dalmatian — but throughout all of his puppy stages, doggie schools and day camps, the constant has been his rule of the house.
With Skyler's energy level being so high, I've learned to take advantage of the pet perks of Pittsburgh, so that he can get out, meet other dogs and play. If you, too, have puppies that run laps in the living room, be sure to keep an eye out for the Local Events links I'll post on the right sidebar. I promise you they'll nap after.
He's made me pull at my hair for all the ear phones, door stops, prescription glasses and DVDs he's chewed up, but I have absolutely no clue what I would do without him. 
Here I'll share all the frustrations, laughs and love I share with my Pup. And I'd like to hear your stories as well.