Thursday, July 28, 2011

our thundershirt™: so far, so good!

for those of you who haven't heard me blathering on about this on facebook or twitter, we won a free thundershirt! this was courtesy of a little giveaway run by the good folk over at (and the thundershirt company, of course).

this news was ├╝ber exciting, because we had been wanting one of these bad boys for a while but were afraid to try it for fear that it wouldn't fit desmond's odd body quite right and then it would just be a hassle to deal with exchanging it (not to say the customer service peeps at thundershirt would give us a hard time! we have no idea what their CS is like; though i'm sure it's just lovely, as i have found it to be true that dog people are--99% of the time--just lovely. what we do know is that we are a bit lazy; ergo, repacking and shipping back would be a hassle for us.).

for those of you who aren't familiar with the thundershirt, it's basically a tight wrap your doggie wears that helps to keep him calm and reduce his anxiety. the pressure from it feels like a hug to him, which makes him feel better about the world at large (um...can i get a thundershirt for me? that sure sounds nice.). there's a bit more to it, of course, so i definitely recommend that you click through to their homepage (i linked to it at the top) and read up. actually, i recommend that you click through even if you have no intention of buying a thundershirt ever--just to see the cuteness that is the different doggies wearing the shirts.

desmond's separation anxiety could still use some help, for sure. could this be the end of wacky wednesdays forever??? and the thundershirt could come in handy next 4th of july. the prospects are groovy.

you probably think i was exaggerating about the cuteness factor mentioned above, but i am not. i promise.

look at the skinniest of butts and the wonkiest of legs!

"OK, mom, you said 'a picture' not 'a photo shoot'. how long is this gonna take?"
"hey, wait a minute, whatcha got up there?"

"oh, biscuit! you are so close, yet so far..."

"FYI, i do not find this at all amusing. now gimme my treat or i go eat dad's other sneaker."

come on! that is some cuteness right there, and you know it. don't lie. other than the horrific lighting in our dining room, i'd say that was a fairly successful photo shoot. (little does desmond know that i am hoping to schlep him over to a real photo shoot at petco in a couple of weeks...) also successful? the thundershirt!

so far, anyway.

we have only had time to introduce the shirt to desmond, but that went really well. we cheated a little by leaving it on for longer than instructed for the dog's first time (they recommend about 10 minutes), but it seems to have turned out ok.

the instructions tell you to give the dog a chance to get to know the shirt before putting it on him and to use treats while doing so. desmond was thrilled about that, of course.

we took it out of the package and let him smell it. then we unfolded it and placed it on top of him while we were all hanging out on the couch. we gave him some love while he was under the shirt. after that, i busted out the treats. he had a few as he was still lying down with the shirt on top of him, and then i folded the shirt back up and used it as a "plate" for treats, as the instructions suggest. it wasn't long before the shirt was covered in desmond slobber. this whole process probably took us around 20 minutes.

some people would put the shirt away and wait for the next day to continue the intro. on this particular night, dad would be going out soon, which usually resulted in desmond whining, running to the door, whining more, sitting at the door, whining, lying down at the door, sighing and/or harrumph-ing, soft whining, and more lying down. often, i have to drag him back to the living room or to bed or wherever, because he's so fixated on the fact that joey left (i keep saying this dog likes my husband better than he likes me. jerkface!). by putting the shirt on a few minutes before anyone was actually leaving, we might be able to see some results.

a good sign: it fit him! this was a little miracle. i'm not going to say i did a happy dance or anything, but i sure thought about it.

and then? results. desmond was definitely still aware that joey was leaving and he was still whining a touch as the exit took place, but he stayed with me on the couch. after joey was gone, all whining stopped and desmond chilled out. as far as i'm concerned, that's the shirt's doing. previous bribery attempts involving treats and petting always ended with the dog making noise at the back door.

after about a half hour, i took the thundershirt off of des, praised him like it was going out of style, and put the shirt away.

over the next few days, i would like to get him back into it for longer and longer periods of time. ideally, i'd like to be able to leave it on him in the house when we go out at unusual times (weekends or after work, which we really haven't felt comfortable doing at all).

it would also be great to put the thundershirt on him on car rides. driving in the car with desmond is kind of like driving the bus in the movie Speed. everything's cool as long as you don't brake. brakes = standing, whining, pacing, attempts to get in the front seat. admittedly, this is not as dramatic as an explosion, but sometimes it feels like my head is going to explode by the time we reach our destination. he must think he's at risk of us stopping, getting out, and leaving him there. as if. that dog has no clue how he's got us wrapped around his wonky paw.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

What is a blog hop?

A blog hop is a linky list that is SHARED ON MULTIPLE BLOGS.
When several blogs put the same linky list code on their blog, the
exact same list appears on each blog.

Blog visitors can submit their entries on any blog that contains the list.
The entries will appear on each blog where the list resides.

Blog readers see the same list on each blog, and can "HOP" from blog
to blog seeing the same list of links to follow: BLOG HOP!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

camping with doggie BFFs

recently, a bunch of us human BFFs got together so our pups could join forces on the swimming front. a couple of the dogs had not been swimming yet at all or had been to the water but hadn't wanted to go in at all or hadn't liked it all that much. our hope was that our resident olympic freestyle gold medalist, luca, would lead the way and the rest of the dogs would jump in after her.

that is, more or less, what happened. i would call it a success, the only loser of the day being one of our inner tubes, who sadly didn't make it out of the creek sans fatal injury. RIP big blue inner tube with the little handles. you will be missed (though probably replaced. sorry, just being honest.).

photos? mais oui! but before we get to that, let me show you this fool in the car on the way upstate. mr. wonky legs is not a fan of the car harness, because it forces him into silly positions for his nap.

lookin' good there, wonks

desmond is so not a fan of the harness, in fact, that he has figured out how to free himself from its stifling grasp.

see the highlighted area?? yeah, we have no idea how he did that.

he performed this trick twice on our ride. twice. maybe next year we can try out for America's Got Talent (i mean, if the lady with the parrot can get through...).


camping pix:

here's our swim team captain, luca (credit: m. menzer)

desmond's the only one who needs to wear safety gear, but i love nerds, dorks, geeks, and dweebs, so i'm cool with that. his girlfriend, jackie, is on the right, standing at the edge & pondering life. the dog in the middle is a random pup who came in fast with his owner, caused a stir, and left just as quickly. the upside to random pup's arrival was desmond wanted to chase after him/her (sorry, never got that info) and so he went back into the water. (credit: m. menzer)

here's jackie and kona having some fun on the rocks (credit: m. menzer)

here's kona looking cute and overjoyed about the world, as usual (credit: m. menzer)
and some more kona-jackie funtime (credit: j. romanyenkov)

i bet desmond was jealous and wanted to get in there but his parents were too busy trying to get him to swim to notice that his lovers were running off without him (credit: j. romanyenkov)

here's desmond looking all sad and wet and cold post-swimming (credit: j. romanyenkov)

here's mom and dad trying to explain to him that it's 90 degrees and he should be happy to be wet and cold (credit: j. romanyenkov)

and here's desmond looking off in the distance toward a cliff where there had been a little schnauzer puppy earlier in the day. an elephant never forgets. neither does a funny-shaped dog, for that matter. (credit: j. romanyenkov)
back at the campsite, the pups socialized just like the humans (minus the beer) (credit: j. romanyenkov)

spooky doggies at the campsite (credit: j. romanyenkov)

and here's a bonus shot of jackie being adorable with her sock monkey (credit: j. romanyenkov)

water fun and campsite fun was not the only fun to be had, however. no no no. we made a point of stopping at a new dog park that just so happens to be on the way to gilboa: Shandaken Dog Park & Agility in Glenbrook Park. we noticed it on opening weekend and just hadn't had a chance to take advantage yet. yay for making time!

desmond got up the dog walk--and then got distracted by some birds, right as i was taking the picture of course

this was right before he jumped off the dog walk. we're not sure if he didn't understand that he should/could continue; if he wanted to jump off because he likes jumping (he does this on the ramp at the dog park by us all the time); or if he was nervous and bailed. 
happy doggie and daddy

making quick decisions on the a-frame

attempting the seesaw. "attempting" being the key word, because he got to the point where the board moves and he hightailed it out of there. next time, des, we'll bring treats--and we'll try the seesaw first so you're less hot and tired. that's the one thing this dog park is missing: shade.

as you can imagine, a long weekend of playtime in the sun and water equates to a very very very tired doggie. behold desmond on the last night upstate:

all snuggled up and tucked in like the baby he is. yes, that IS a pillow. and, yes, he gets his own in the camper. an extra-special treat. make fun of me all you want.

Friday, July 22, 2011

my dog ate my homework purse


look what desmond did:

i keep trying to tell you guys he's a jerk

i felt something wet on the straps when i was walking up from the train this morning, but i assumed it was actually just cold instead of wet (the LIRR is like 30 degrees in the summer). eventually, i looked at my bag after i kept feeling the same coldness/wetness, and that's when i discovered that someone had been gnawing on it.

well, joke's on him, because that purse ain't real leather! ha! you chewed on synthetic crap. who's laughing now? oh right...he is. because i'm the fool who has to go buy a new bag. this is why i can't have nice things. well, actually, no. i can't have nice things because i am a slob and a klutz, but i can blame whatever i want on the dog now, so, there.

the straps being still wet lead me to believe that this happened not that long ago, although our bedroom was cold (and somehow still pretty humid), so it may have happened in the middle of the night and never dried. then again, desmond was hanging out in there most of the morning, so it may have happened when we were up getting ready.

why oh why does he do this stuff? he has chewed on two of joey's sneakers also. these three bouts of the munchies occurred when we were home, so that's a little bit like, "hey, jerk, how about you just come sit with us instead of chew on our stuff because it smells like us? come over here, sit down, chew on a toy, and we'll rub your belly, you dummy." i may start rubbing my own belly, actually--with his toys. perhaps that will help.

(oh my gosh, i just realized there was a typo in my original post title. i want to die a little bit.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

belated Blog the Change day

Blog the Change day has come and gone and so has our four-day camping trip (more on that & Mr. Personality later), but the need to highlight wonderful people doing wonderful things has not ended.

Ruff House Rescue is a non-profit no-kill shelter in Oceanside, NY. Ruff House saved desmond's life and, subsequently, completely changed ours. we were never planning to go to Ruff House. we didn't even know it existed when we first decided it was finally time to go get a furry son. a few weeks before our official dog-acclimating vacation weeks, i sort of begged the husband to go and visit some local shelters to get an idea of what the adoption process would be like and see what our options are. in the back of our minds, we really thought we'd be adopting from North Shore Animal League because of their large selection and the tendency of folks from around here to get their pets there. (little did i know that upon actually visiting that place, i'd burst into tears and have to leave the premises, but that's another story.) he pretty much agreed to go on this little tour of local shelters because i'm cute when i beg (kind of like desmond) and i agreed to just window shop.

Ruff House was our first stop simply because it's the closest shelter to our home (our home that we moved to not that long ago, relocating from NYC. i really like to think it was fate). even though it was march and not all that warm out, there was quite a bit of action at the shelter--volunteers and prospective adopters were all buzzing about and a few dogs were out meeting, greeting, and hanging out in the early spring sun.

we met some of the staff and told them what we were looking for in a dog, personality-wise. they suggested that we meet desmond (although his name was david at the time). this cutie needed some extra TLC (and a few cheeseburgers!) after having been through a less-than-stellar past (more details of his story are in the right column of the blog page) but was a sweetheart who loved to snuggle. we knew he was a younger pup than we intended on adopting and he actually didn't look anything like the dog we thought we'd get (we thought we'd be bringing home a smaller, scruffier, scrappier dog), but what can you do when someone steals your heart?

desmond on the day we met

the Ruff House staff made the process easy without it seeming like they hardly cared about the dogs. they not only understood our predicament of having already planned our weeks off from work more than 10 days from when we met desmond, but they were more than willing to work with us during that time so we could come back every few days to walk him and hang out with him. they didn't even think about turning us away because we needed more time, and they didn't harangue us with threats about other people who were interested in adopting desmond. they were all very patient with us as we started to bond and fall madly in love with mr. wonky legs. they also put up with all my stupid questions and incessant emails (actually, they still put up with my incessant emails!) and worked around our schedule so we could come by when it was best for us .

every person we spoke to there knew things about desmond. he wasn't dog #4763 in a cage in the top row of the east wing. they knew a lot of his history and nearly all of his personality. they knew what he liked and didn't like. they knew what he had been eating that was working for him--and what wasn't. they knew his quirky tendencies and what made him anxious or nervous or excited. they knew his "i swear this is my happy face" happy face. they knew that he had great use of his wonky legs but still needed some strengthening. they knew he was housebroken, for sure. they knew he was good with kids, noises, crowds, and being in someone's home. they knew he was also a nervous nelly who just wanted to be loved, for real for sure forever.

one of the volunteers took desmond in as a foster dog while he was recovering from his neutering surgery, so she knew even more about him than anyone else, and she was especially invested in his well-being and future. she was in contact with us often, both during the adoption process and after we brought him home. she provided us with advice and reassurance over the first few days when desmond was acting more like a kangaroo than a dog with wonky legs. she loves desmond very much and wants him to succeed. her family loves him, too. they keep up with his antics, here and on FB/Twitter, whenever they can (as do some of the other volunteers). they miss him and would love to see him soon, and i have no problem with that at all.

you're not going to find this kind of care and attentiveness at a lot of other shelters.

at Ruff House Rescue, you can be sure that the volunteers want all the dogs to be happy in their forever homes. these aren't just a bunch of kids fulfilling school requirements for community service hours (though there certainly are some wonderful young volunteers there)--these are people who love dogs, who have jobs and families and many other responsibilities but who still find the time to spend at the shelter and with the animals. they're spending money out of their own pockets on quality food for the dogs (these pups are not eating low-grade supermarket kibble) and vet bills and toys and bedding and hygiene. and they are seemingly never not pulling dogs in need of rescue from all over the country. and they've got plenty of happy tails to show for their efforts!

like so many shelters, wonderful things are going on there with little resources. imagine what they could do with more?

but this is desmond's shelter. this is our shelter. i'm not going to just talk about them--i'm going to help them. we're going to help them: me, joey, and desmond (yup, desmond, too!). we start volunteering there tomorrow, once a week. it may not be much, but it's a start. be the change.


want to learn more about Ruff House, see their dogs who need forever homes, or help out? here are a bunch of ways to do just that (please note that RHR has recently moved to a new Oceanside location. not all links reflect that. they are now on Lawson Blvd).

RHR on Petfinder

RHR on Adopt a Pet

RHR on Dogster 

RHR has two FB pages; one you can Like and one you can send a friend request to. they are here and here.

Donate to RHR!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

a post for Blog the Change Day...

is not looking good right now. i likely will not be able to access the internet at the right time to get a post for this blogger event in tomorrow. if i miss the official deadline, i plan to write something up next week, because i think it's important enough.

separation anxiety? boredom? curiosity? puppy-ness? aka the return of wacky wednesday

i may have mentioned that my dog is a jerk. as of last night, he is the jerk who came between us and at least two episodes of Big Brother. this is unacceptable.

this chair used to be shoved right into the corner here, blocking access to that box--the box which brings in the signal from verizon to our dvr, router, and phone.

"i keep trying to tell you to pay attention to me and not your stupid computer. this is what you get."--Des

all kidding aside, we don't know what to make of this. we feel angry that he has ruined more of our stuff but confused as to why he did it this time.

i haven't mentioned it to many people yet, but our attack plan of no-go spray, boundary spray, and a DAP diffuser, plus nightly trips to the dog run was working perfectly. perfectly. since june 28th. we were coming home to no destruction or surprises at all.

then, this week started off poorly with us not spraying the no-go on monday. desmond peed in the house every day this week--even after we sprayed again on tuesday and wednesday and, of course, cleaned up thoroughly with the proper pet odor elimination products.

plus, he ate our cable. and internet. and phone. (in essence. don't judge me for exaggerating. he took jordan away from me and is delaying our camping trip by making us have to wait for the verizon guy to show up and fix his mess. by the way, Dear Verizon: Why can you not be a peach and just overnight us a new plug? It seems to be that simple from what we can tell. We'd pay shipping; you'd save on resources. You kind of suck right now. Love, Desmond's parents)

[it is at this point that i'm going to start inserting random photos of desmond being cute to help lighten the tone and break up my very wordy post.]

desmond chillin' in his new favorite spot. "what, you never seen a dude passed out on your bathroom floor before?"

so, yes, we are very thrown off by the pee situation (though he has been drinking a lot more water recently, so maybe he simply has to go), but the wire thing is even weirder. if you look at the picture, you can see that one of his treat-dispensing toys is at the scene of the crime. our theory is that he was knocking around over there, trying to get the food out, and wound up pushing the chair to the side. this gave him access to a spot of the house where he has never been or even known about. he must have started sniffing around over there and decided that would be a fun wire to chew on.
this theory makes us believe it's not a separation anxiety thing, and we're not even sure it's boredom, because he wouldn't have been over there if not for the food. can we say it was a combination of curiosity and puppy-ness? if this had been the first wire he'd discovered, would he have chewed it, or did he chew it only because he's sparked a love for wires? (see what i did there?)

in any case, this poses a problem bigger than a chewed wire and missed POV & HOH competitions. we feel like we're back at square one, before we had all this progress with the sprays and diffuser. we were at a point this weekend where we discussed when we would start bringing some things back into our living room or dining room to see if we could begin getting our lives back to normal now that the dog was calm all day. is that no longer a possibility? is he going to keep going back there now? is he going to get to other wires? and, really, when is he going to just eat the tv?

"what? he doesn't need to breathe to be happy."

what do we do? dog walker? new trainer? sedatives? crate? wait it out and take our chances? install an industrial door? doggie daycare? hire a bouncer? completely empty the majority of the first floor of our home? hypnosis?

of the non-jokes listed above, there are few options that are realistic for us for various reasons, and i still hold my stance that crating is a last-resort solution (for us. again, i want to be clear that i am not saying crating is abusive or negative or not a fantastic option for many, many people and their dogs). putting desmond in a crate is something that will work only if his actual issue isn't separation anxiety anymore. if he becomes calm all the time but simply bored and/or curious, continuing to get himself into trouble, i will consider a crate. until crating becomes absolutely necessary--our only option before drugging him--i will try other approaches.

look, we got a dog knowing that something like this could be the turnout. we can't blame desmond. it's hard not to be upset about the things getting damaged or ruined, but he's not spiting us. we don't care for him any less because of the destruction. we need to figure out how to get him to understand what is and is not appropriate behavior while we're out, which is easier said than done.

desmond enjoys his new "bed"

we discussed putting up a regular door between the living room and dining room so that at least we could stop worrying about our tv and other things that simply cannot be removed from that room. the door that is between the spare room and kitchen has been safe from harm ever since we put the doggie gate up in front of the door (thanks again to aunt jane for that suggestion), so that combination should work for the living room. however, because desmond chewed the wire to the AC in the kitchen, a door at the living room entrance would cut him off from air conditioning during the hot summer days.

yes, we could just replace the air conditioner, but that is not a cheap or easy thing to do, especially when you add in the purchase of the door and the new gate. this option is not entirely out of the question.

yes, we could hire a dog walker. it's something we are currently looking into, for pricing.

we have agreed that we don't think hiring a new trainer is the answer. we have both done a lot of reading and don't feel that desmond's problem is necessarily going to be solved by training. we also fear that most trainers are going to tell us the answer is to crate him. um...thanks?

and again i say, why did we spend $80 on a dog bed?

our plan of action at this point is to further desmond-proof the room as much as we can and then cross fingers and wait it out. maybe get a door & new AC. maybe get a dog walker. we feel like we want to give him up to a year to settle down. he's 16 months old--still a puppy in many ways--and he missed out on a lot of what would have been a normal puppyhood, so he may be on some kind of developmental delay or like a child who was raised in a stern household and rebels when he goes off to college. if he's still doing this stuff by the time he's 2 years old, we'll have to seriously consider crating him. i don't like to think about that, so i won't start here.

if we all get lucky and he seems to go back to being calm and normal, i want to test him by putting objects back into the room and seeing if he feels compelled to explore them with his teeth. by this, i mean objects that are not our actual belongings, but random items we can buy at the dollar store or something, so that if he does destroy them, no one cares. i'd hate to put our actual stuff back when we think it's safe, only to find out we were quite wrong.

don't worry, desmond, we still love you.

"what? they're on the floor and they're soft. what am i supposed to do--ignore them?"

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Because the blanket needs the bed more than he does

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An update regarding pee on my floor

It's back. We sprayed the No-Go this morning, but he peed anyway. Bad doggie. What happened? It was working so well. Le sigh. Maybe it needs another day to kick in again? We shall see.

Blog the Change Day is coming!

it's time to talk about animals--not just desmond, but all animals. specifically, it's time to talk about helping animals. more specifically, it's not really time yet, but it will be on friday. confused?

Friday, July 15, is Blog the Change Day. be, blog, and read the change for animals.

Blog the Change

you can participate, too, even if you don't usually blog about pets. heck, you can participate even if you don't usually blog at all. use your twitter (hashtag #BtC4A) and facebook account statuses to highlight something you have done to help animals; someone you know who helps animals; or something you would love to do to help animals. you can even just talk about an animal you love dearly, and maybe you'll inspire someone else do to the same. appreciating the animals in our lives is something we should not forget to do.

this blogging event will, of course, have a link-up tool where you can add your post's URL, read other blogs, and meet new animal lovers. what's not to like about that?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pee on my floor

Since June 28th, we have been spraying this stuff on the floor in the area where Desmond was peeing sometimes while we're at work. He is totally housetrained (never goes while we are home & never wakes us during the night to go). Today, we did not spray--and he peed. Is it safe to say this stuff works??

networking & a free e-book

hi all! just a quick post to let you know about some of our new affiliations here in blog land and access to a free e-book with some tips on how to keep your pooch happy and healthy without spending tons of cash. exciting, no?

in fact, i'll be extra nice and post about the free book first.

want one? of course you do! you can grab a copy thanks to the lovely folks over at

speaking of Dog Tipper, we are now a part of their pet blog directory! we are also a member of the BlogPaws Community and we're linked up on NetworkedBlogs with auto-posting to our desmond FB page and Twitter feeds. i very much hope that i'm not somehow double-posting on FB or Twitter when i publish here, so feel free to let me know if you notice that, and i'll fix it (it can be difficult to remember to check on these things when there's a delay in the posting, which i think there is).

on another note, desmond is doing just lovely recently, although he has taken to lying down on the bathroom floor mat far more often than makes sense to us. it's not even cool in there, most of the time. strange doggie.

a camping trip is coming up this weekend, and we will be graced with the presence of kona, jackie <3, and luca. hopefully some fun swim time will occur.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

desmond & fireworks

i am happy to report that desmond did not go totally berserk during the fireworks show in our village. we took him down to the waterfront, where they set the fireworks off. there were other dogs around, including one who lives on our block, and i was hoping he'd feel comfortable around them since they seemed fine with everything going on. and he was doing OK for a while. then when he realized the booming wasn't going to stop, he started to back up into the people behind us. we promptly took him away from everyone, down the block. 

we found a little spot where he could lean on a fence, and we crouched down next to him and covered/rubbed his ears, while we watched what we could see of the fireworks from behind a building. desmond definitely wasn't super thrilled to be there, but he seemed like he was more or less doing all right. when the show was over, we went back to our yard with some friends and family, and that's when desmond let us know he wasn't feeling this whole gunpowder thing. 

he no longer wanted to stay outside with us. instead, he wanted to go lie down in his bed in our bedroom in the dark alone. it seemed really weird to us, since he usually doesn't prefer to be in the house when we're outside--never mind that he would be basically hidden in a dark cave--but we knew it was possible he'd want to run and hide, so we let him do his thing. 

at some point later on, he came back outside but rather quickly changed his mind and headed back to his bed. still, there are a lot of more serious reactions he could have had. this was on saturday. two days to go...

sunday's rain put the kibosh on our plans to go upstate and visit nala & her parents, so we had a low-key day at home and hoped that the rain would deter some people from exploding stuff that night. it didn't. but desmond seemed to be pretty much fine with that. i mean, he definitely noticed the noise, but he didn't run away to any dark depths of our house or otherwise act strange. not bad. one day to go...

monday we went to visit cosmo & his parents, and almost immediately upon arrival desmond wanted to go inside. but we made him stay out with us, since nothing was going on, and we were hoping he might want to go swimming in the pool. verdict? yes. however, he wanted to get out of the pool shortly after going in and swimming around a little bit. was he cold again? or just uneasy? not sure. when cosmo came out a little while later and started swimming, desmond wanted to get back in the water, so in he went. he was so excited to go swim with tiny cosmo, that he didn't realize how close he was to the little dog and one of his doggie paddle strokes pushed cosmo down into the water. a scary moment for everyone--including desmond, who immediately wanted to get out of the water--but cosmo was absolutely fine and just kept on swimming and smiling.

right after desmond almost drowned cosmo, there were little cracks and snaps and very small booms going on around the neighborhood. all desmond wanted to do was hide in aunt jenn & uncle sean's bathroom. he had absolutely no problem hanging out in there--even when people needed to use the facilities (thank goodness they didn't mind his company)--but really did not want to come outside again after that. he also didn't really want to eat, the poor guy. when we dragged him outside and were packing up to leave the party, i thought he was going to run out and start driving the car himself. he wanted to GO. meanwhile, shortly after we got home, seemingly everyone in our neighborhood started setting off fireworks. i'm sure he was like, "OH GREAT!" 

we actually had a fantastic view of a bunch that were going off in the park next door, so i stood inside our back door and watched, thrilled to finally be getting to see something good. joey stayed in the living room with desmond where our A/C and loud television drowned out the noise fairly successfully, except for the really loud stuff. desmond was tired and pretty much just slept in a chair, occasionally looking up when a boom took place. 

maybe we can try to desensitize him to the noises, because 4th of july is my favorite holiday, and i'd really hate to have to leave him home to suffer alone or to have to miss fireworks from now on, but until we can do that, i think we may have to start going camping for this holiday, so we can all hide in the quiet mountains.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Tire-Him-Out Tuesdays aka My Dog is a Jerk

many weeks have passed since our training has come to a close (and, yes, i know that i have not yet posted about the last three lessons & what exactly we did for the down-stay, come, or heel sessions. i'm working on it, but i'm mad, and you're about to find out why.) and our dog is still crazy. not a little crazy, like i advertise in our blog description. no. he has surpassed "a little crazy" and landed squarely in "deranged and fully bonkers" territory. our trainer's promise that his obedience methods would calm desmond down and make him understand he has to wait for us to come home--and that's his job to do in a relaxed state--has not come to fruition.

Wacky Wednesdays have become Wacky Whenevers. desmond has become entirely unpredictable in regards to what he will and will not do while left alone in the house. and it seems to be that the main thing he will not do is go the f to sleep and not destroy our lovely home. why?????????

OK, i know why. separation anxiety. SA is going to be the death of us all, or probably the death of our very precious television if desmond's recent antics are any indication, and we are at our wit's end. we have no idea what to do about it at this point.

i have stopped taking pictures of every single thing he has chewed up, because i'm too frustrated (and sweaty, now that it's basically july, and we walk almost a mile from the train) when i get home and discover the damage. i'm also too busy--because he has taken to pooping or peeing or both in the house on an almost daily basis. again, he never does any of this stuff while we are at home with him, and he is fully housebroken, so these accidents must be bouts of losing control due to anxiety.

here's a list of the stuff he's gotten into since we last discussed this:
  • pipe insulation
  • the wire that connects our ipod speaker dock to the outlet (not plugged in, thank goodness)
  • the wire that connects an A/C to the outlet (again, not plugged in)
  • an old, broken printer (not plugged in, has no ink)
  • plastic wire covers (that were meant to be used to cover our TV wires once we had the thing mounted on the wall)
  • plug-in air freshener (this is probably pretty stupid to have around anyway, with a dog, but he had never cared about it before--same as all these other things)
  • a photo-frame box we used at our wedding to hold note cards (in lieu of a guest book. it functions in our house as a place for Wii games, remotes, batteries, etc.)
  • the spare room door--twice. twice as in two doors. he ruined the first one, we replaced it (we had to) and he's already started on that. 
and here's photo evidence of some of those things:

spare room door #1

it took him some time, but he finally got through

we came home to find him not in the spare room, but in our bedroom, in his bed. so...he went into the spare room (probably to get to his food), knocked over our garbage can (which we stash in there while we're out) while trying to get to his food container, chose NOT to eat any of the garbage (not even the leftover pizza crusts that were now on the floor), never got to his food, and then just took a nap in the next room? um...ok...

i was kind of amazed that he was able to fit through that hole, actually, because it wasn't all that big. not that he's so huge, but still. we also were able to deduce that he started tearing up the door and then stopped and walked around the house, because there were wet pieces of wood all over the house, on the couch, etc. obviously, desmond went back and finished the job, but we found that a little odd. odder still? this happened on a sunday morning when we were out of the house for maybe 4 hours at most. he seemed totally unfazed by the whole thing and was just happy to see us when we got home. as i said, we replaced that door. we got a new door to match the new bathroom door (seen on the right), and because he never again touched the bathroom door after we replaced it, we thought we'd be all set. apparently we were wrong. he seemingly really wanted to get at either his food or his bed (which he really really loves) or both. the new door does not have nearly as much damage on it, but it's enough that we will probably have to replace that one, again. however, we have not yet painted either the bathroom door or the spare room door, so maybe (and that's a big maybe) we can fix it with putty or spackle or something and paint over it. who knows. we're not even going to attempt to fix any of the doggie damage in the house now until, like, next april. not worth the trouble and money, just in case.

here is some more evidence:

"oh, you weren't hoping to feel cool air on your skin this summer, were you?"
keep in mind that the plug was folded up and shoved between the A/C and the windowsill. and the curtain was closed. and it was not plugged in. what a jerk, right?

"oh, you weren't hoping to listen to music anytime soon, were you?"

by the way, here is what he had to get through to get that wire--also not plugged in. the wire was wrapped up behind the bose player (the gray speaker on the shelf), which was facing the front of the shelf. that big case on the left was pushed up against the shelves and the empty pot was pushed up against that. so he moved the pot, case, and bose to get at that wire. nice, right?

i may be forgetting stuff. it's amazing to me that it's things he has never cared about/noticed before. and we keep removing things from the living room in hopes of curbing this behavior, but that seems to just give him reason to focus on new items to chew that do remain there. this is why we are convinced the TV is on its way. it must be on his chew-to-do list somewhere. and it's one of the only things left in the room, so how long will it be before he gets mouthy with it? and what will happen then? will my brain explode? will joey's? will i cry? will joey? (i'm voting yes on all four counts this time!)

oh, and we have another reason to think the TV may be in danger: reflections. desmond has recently decided that he is afraid of his own reflection. there is much barking and some lunging to go along with this, as we randomly learned just the other day while i was getting ready in our bedroom and he was relaxing in there with me. i have no idea what sparked it, but all of a sudden, he jumped up from his bed and ran to the other side of the room where our full-length mirror is (a mirror he has been next to many, many times). then he stared into his own eyes, silently, menacingly. then, barking. so much barking. and growling. and lunging. then he realized he could see me in the mirror's reflection, too. he started barking in my reflected direction--not sure if he was trying to say, "hey, stupid, don't you see this strange dog here to attack us? don't just stand there!" or, "HEY, STRANGE LADY THAT I DON'T KNOW! GET THE HELL OUT OF MY PARENTS' ROOM!" either way, it was damn funny, but once we realized it could become a problem if it became a habit, we felt a little...unsettled... the only thing we have going for us is that the TV isn't really too reflective. famous last words, right?

angry dog

obsessed with himself
(pardon our mess, but we wanted to get the pix in a hurry, and i'm just trying to keep it real)

so, with all of this stuff going on, we've started to feel a little...desperate. we know we need to call our trainer back and be like WTF? especially since he said that we have a lifetime guarantee if the dog ever reverts back to old behavior. we're working on that. in the meantime we had decided to initiate Tire Him Out Tuesdays, because we were having so much trouble on Wacky Wednesdays. we were taking him on extra long walks/runs on tuesdays and spending a lot of time playing with him. that apparently needs to be kicked up a notch. so THOT is over. now we are starting THOED--tire him out every day. or at least every weeknight, since he usually gets pretty tired out over the weekends anyway. we began this plan a little bit last week, but are going to go full-focus starting on tuesday after the holiday. desmond will now being going to the dog run every night after dinner, since playing with dogs is one of the only things that really gets him exhausted.

we have also gone out and purchased a few more treat-dispensing puzzle toys, as well as a spray that allegedly makes the dog stop peeing and pooing in the same spots in the house and a spray that allegedly keeps the dog away from "forbidden" areas. we are spraying that on the stairs and pipe/insulation that he seems to like, as well as all around the TV stand.

in addition to that, we picked up one of those dog-appeasing-pheromones diffusers. will it work? who can tell. all we can do is try. i hope it does work, though, since it was freakin $52. if it works, it's still going to be costly, since you have to replace the oil every four-six weeks and the refills are about $30 (or, these are the petco prices anyway. i haven't shopped around yet.) but that's still gotta be cheaper than replacing all the crap he keeps destroying. we should know in a week or so if our new plan is working. so, if everyone could go cross their fingers and whatnot for us, that would be great. i really really really like my TV.
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