Our mostly good dog

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Flip Flop

Thus far, Dalton had been fabulously well behaved (since we’ve had him in daycare). We haven’t had anything completely destroyed, and we've been able to have a lot of trust in him.

At night we have been letting him have the run of the house since he’s been so good. We’ve left our remote out, (which is brave on our part, see 2 hours) shoes, jackets, and then there are the kitchen chairs, tables couches etc. All has gone un-touched.
Until last night.
Nate rarely wears flip flops, but we went up to the lake last Sunday, so they were sitting in the living room in what I like to call the “shoe pile”. Its where all the shoes we normally wear live once we get home. I walked out into the living room this morning, and Dalton had chewed up one of the flip flops. The weirdest part about it is that he had a reindeer antler, an esophagus and several toys just lying on the floor. He’s honestly never chewed shoes, so we didn’t think that it would be an issue.
This is what I found this morning.

No remorse.

Sorry, it's a bit hard to see

Notice all the toy options? Still thought the flip flop was a good snack.

Looks like we'll be putting our shoes away at night!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Our Kennel set up.

We realized fairly quickly that Dalton was not a huge fan of his kennel. It’s sized correctly for his weight/height, but he always looks so cramped in there. Not only that, but he just can’t relax in the kennel. We tried our darndest to make it a happy place, somewhere he wanted to be, but it just didn’t work. This is where my brilliant boyfriend comes in. We had borrowed a doggy “play pen” from our neighbor who didn’t use it much. Generally we would use it to contain him in one room or another, or we would take it to friend’s houses so we could keep him contained there. Eventually though, our neighbor needed it back, so we invested and bought our own. Here is the one we have. It’s Top Paw, wire and about 36” high.  

Since D is not a fan of the kennel, but we didn’t quite trust him to have the whole house, Nate devised a genius plan to hook the play pen to the kennel, and section off part of the living room for Dalton. We have about 12 feet between the kennel and the west facing window in our living room, so we spread out the play pen in such a way that it stands up on its own, loops behind a chair (for support), and sits right underneath the window, holding it in place. It’s fairly escape proof, but  if he wanted to he could easily jump over the gate and have free rein of the house. BUT were pretty sure Dalton hasn’t realized how high he can jump, nor has he really had the opportunity to figure it out. Were crossing our fingers that it stays that way!!

 Anyhow, this is how we set the room up. Unless he starts tearing into the molding or walls, or develops a taste for the radiator, were pretty safe as far as chewing. He always has a bone, toy, kong or all three to occupy his time, and it has worked very well for us so far.
Facing West

Facing East, Attached to the kennel

Luckily our windows are the perfect height to wedge it right underneath.

This is facing south, without the play pen set up.

I wouldn’t recommend something like this if your dog has a propensity to jump, or try chew things just outside the wires. The yellow chair (seen in the first photo) has been safe as of yet, but if he wanted to, I think he could really tear into it. We like this set up, because it gives him a bit more freedom, but he is still confined enough that he can’t get in too much trouble.

The play pen is also great for other things too. As I said, we’ll take it to our friend’s homes and use it to corral him and any other dogs, sometimes we have even used it outside when our friend’s yard isn’t completely fenced. This particular style attaches great to the wire Top Paw kennel that we have. It also comes with stakes so you can use it outside. We haven’t tried that yet, but I imagine that you would still need to watch as I doubt the stakes are super sturdy.

We’ve really loved the play pen, and all the different uses. It’s pricey, but it will last us years, and so far has been totally worth the cost. If your pup is struggling with the kennel too, and I really think that some dogs just aren’t cut out for it, this is a great option. (if you have a safe space where your pup can’t get into anything nearby.) I will reiterate that you should have quite a bit of trust in your dog before doing a set up like this. If your dog is high anxiety, or tends to get really restless and try to escape, it wouldn’t be the best option.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

2 Hours


PS3 Controller

This is what happens when you leave your husky alone for 2 hours. We now know not to leave anything important within reach......

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Attention. Pay attention. Pay attention to ME.

I am always surprised at the ways Dalton will try to get our attention. Yesterday I picked him up from daycare, started cooking, and he passed out in the middle of the kitchen floor. (Thanks buddy) When Nate arrived home, Dalton slowly got up, did his combination of a stretch/wooo/growl and went to get pets. When dinner was ready, and we sat down to eat, (on the couch, because were classy) and he immediately started scratching at the couch, wooing at us, and trying his darndest to get attention. Mind you, he did this all while lying down, because he was too tired to get up. Turns out resting our foot on him while we ate was all he needed.

A few days ago, I was folding laundry in our room, when Dalton sauntered in. Our bed is a platform bed (very low to the ground) so Dalton can easily get on it if he wanted to. Well, someone didn’t feel like I noticed his presence, so he plopped his dirty paws and fanny right on the edge of the bed, just to make sure I was paying attention. I wish there was a way I could illustrate to you how he does this. He thinks he’s very sneaky.

Then there is Saturday mornings. He’s figured out that we generally sleep in, and he’s pretty good about leaving us alone, but some mornings he decides that we are not allowed to sleep unless someone is touching him. First he will walk into the room, and I swear that he makes sure to click his nails extra loud on the hardwood, and woooooooo so we know he’s coming. Then, he will come to my side of the bed (ALWAYS) and lick whatever is not hidden under the covers. (sometimes this is a foot, hand, elbow, face, or on occasion, my rear end.) If I bury myself  in the blanket, he’ll usually go to Nate’s side and do the same. Eventually we learned to have him lay by the bed, scratch his head for a moment, and he’d usually be satisfied and doze off. Sometimes though, he’ll go back and forth between us till one of us gets up and heads into the living room. Then, as soon as we sit on the couch, he’ll fall asleep on the floor…… like a dick.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dalton's Brothers and Sisters.

I sometimes wonder where Dalton’s brothers and sisters are. Every time I see a husky around his age, I always ask the owner where they got their puppy. I have this small glimmer of hope that one day we’ll come across one of his siblings. Don’t ask me why I care, I couldn’t tell ya. But I just think it would be fun to watch him interact with one of his siblings.

I wonder if they would get along, if they would know that they were related, would they instantly connect, or would they have an aversion to each other? I think part of the reason I care is because I would like to know that all of his siblings ended up in great homes, with amazing owners. Especially his “twin” sister, when we went to meet D for the first time when he was 2 weeks old, him and his sis would always be snuggling together, in their own little corner of the box. The owners of his parents said they were best buds.

Utah, for being such a small world, is a big place. The likelihood of actually finding a sibling of his is small, but, I’ll keep living in my pink sky world dreaming of a family reunion!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Trusting your husky...

Trust can be a difficult thing for husky owners to have in their dogs. Huskies have a propensity to run if not safely confined or on a leash. They are smart, and therefore get bored easily. I read a book once that said “if you don’t give your Sibe a job, they will become self employed” usually they become home decorators, gardeners, or re-modelers, much to their owners dismay. Huskies are also anxiety prone, they can howl and woo for hours with no regard to nearby neighbors.

Lately we have been trying to trust D a bit more each week. Were diligent about not giving him opportunities to get in trouble, and he’s done fairly well with each chance we give him. The most recent Endeavor is letting him wander at night and sleep wherever he wants instead of kenneling him. He’s old enough now that he can make it through the night, and he understands our bedtime routines so he’ll relax when he knows were going to bed soon. Over all, he’s done fantastic! The first few nights, worrier that I am, I think I was subconsciously listening all night for noises that would indicate destruction, but he didn’t eat/destroy anything. Hurray!

We do have a problem in the evening sometimes though when we go out. I realized a few weekends ago when we took the fun bus to Wendover, that it would be his first time left alone over night. Well, lo and behold, he whined and howled until 2am (we left at 7pm). I feel terrible not only for our neighbors (let’s just say our cookie budget was high that week) but for Dalton too. I think this is something that we’re going to have to work on, but I can’t justify doing it at the expense of our neighbors sleep. Ideas? Anyone, anyone? No…. Me neither.

There are times when I think Dalton is going to do great, and he does, then there are times when he gets a wild hair up his ass, and drives me insane with the things he does.

Off leash training is another area we struggle with. We did some training with a 50’ lead for a long time, and he did really well until he hit adolescence. My worry is whether or not to keep working on it with the lead, or to cease and desist until he’s mellowed out a bit. I feel like this is going to be ongoing, and we may discover that he’ll always be an on-leash dog (I am talking hiking, memory grove, emigration canyon, not ‘round the neighborhood stuff.) I do have hope though; I’ve run into more people whose huskies do great off leash than people whose dogs don’t.

I wonder too if we will always have to confine him somehow so he doesn’t redecorate our apartment. When we moved into the last place, Nate got all new furniture for his “bachelor” pad. The last thing we want is to come home and have $4,000 worth of furniture destroyed. We’d really love to be able to let him have the whole living room when were gone, especially since he hates feeling “confined” (even though he has half the room already) but, I also can’t afford to replace all the furniture, and I don’t feel bad since he’s not actually hurting for space.

All in good time I suppose….

Monday, June 4, 2012

Helicopter parenting-onions.

I never realized how many human foods are toxic to dogs. Over the weekend while we were house sitting for Nate’s sister again, the dogs got into the pantry, and we woke up to onion skins all over the kitchen. I wouldn’t have thought anything of it, but a few weeks ago, a friend of ours mentioned that onions are super bad for your pup. Being the worrier that I am, I immediately got online and looked up exactly HOW bad onions are. It turns out, especially in larger quantities, onions can attack red blood cells and cause anemia. The effects are slow to show up, and sometimes you notice too late. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, disinterest in food, and can cause death if it goes untreated.

My first reaction was to freak out, naturally. I called Nate’s sister to see if she remembered having any onions in the first place, no answer. My second call was to the vet to gauge the seriousness. Articles online have a propensity to go right to the extreme and make me more worried than necessary. The vets recommendation was bring them in right away to induce vomiting to see if they can analyze the vomit and find any onions in their system (the sooner you do this the better.) The second route they would take is to do a blood test to check the red blood cells. Neither of these options inspired me to be less worried.

Eventually we heard back from Nate’s sister. She could only recall having 1 onion, if any at all. She also mentioned that if they had found an onion, they probably wouldn’t have eaten the whole thing, but played with it, meaning we still would have found at least part of the onion. I started to calm at this point, realizing that only 2 out of the 3 dogs would probably eat the onion, and only because they thought that the other dog would find it appealing. I had almost completely calmed at this point, and we decided to wait it out and see how they acted the rest of the day.

The dogs seemed fine the rest of Saturday and Sunday, but I can’t help but still worry about our goofy dog. It doesn’t help that when I let him out after the onion fiasco, I caught him with his nose in a fertilizer bag. I caught him early enough that he didn’t eat any, but still. I swear sometimes he does the dumbest things. But then again, dogs can’t exactly read warning labels. I am sure he is fine, but then again, I am the worrier, so I get to continue running through all the terrible scenarios in my head…..

 I was thinking about it yesterday though and as a kid, our dog would get into all sorts of crazy things. He ate a whole raw turkey once, Christmas ornaments, miscellaneous vegetables out of our garden, cat poop, and many other things he shouldn’t. But this dog lived until a ripe old age of 12, which for a bigger dog (80lbs) is really good. It makes me wonder if, similar to how people are with their kids now, if we worry too much, and try so hard to protect our pets/kids that we almost make it worse. I also wonder if, with age, we start realizing that things aren’t as dire as we make them feel in our head. I am sure that if my mother had been in the same situation with the onions, she would have started worrying if there was any sign of a problem, instead of going from 0-frantic in less than 60 seconds.

 Perhaps with time I will be less of a “helicopter parent” and learn that our dog is going to eat weird shit his whole life, and most of the time he’ll probably rid himself of it from one end or the other and be fine. Until then, I will continue stalking http://www.itsahuskything.com/ to find out what other freaks like me are spazzing out about.