Sunday, October 7, 2012

Driving Miss Doggy

I've been wondering what the best way to transport your little doggy might be.  It has become apparent that an unrestrained pup in the car can be a distraction to the driver, or in the case of an accident or sudden stop, a flying object that can do harm to others, or self.

If you're driving a van, I suppose you could urge the dog into a crate, but that might not be viable for sedans and smaller cars.

Any recommendations as to how to keep Fido safe and sound?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Dog is a Climber

Now over 40 pounds, Gunnar has developed a new bad habit, reaching up on to the kitchen counters.  We've laid land mines for him in the form of socks or such tied to penny bottles, but he has learned to ignore them.  Even worse, while Mary was making a batch of cupcakes, he stood up to the counter and got himself a taste of lemon curd cupcake batter. 

When grizzlies get accustomed to human food, they relocate them.  Not an option here.  Any thoughts?

The climbing / jumping isn't limited to the counters.   He seems to have increased the frequency and diligence in jumping on members of the household.   We've tried to react by shuffling our feet into his body and pushing him backwards, off balance, but that hasn't stopped the behavior.

Anyone else dealing with this issue?   Any tactics that might work?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Taking the Dog Camping

For over 30 years our group of Wisconsin friends has been going for a week of camping at Rock Island State Park off the tip of Door County.   With our children all grown or working, it looks as though our caravan this year may be limited to just my wife, Gunnar and me, a seemingly more manageable total than when our 4 children accompanied us.  I can anticipate the obvious pitfalls, such as coming prepared with enough plastic bags.  We'll need to keep Gunnar on leash a lot, as the island has a lot of poison ivy, so there are definitely areas where he can't be left to his own devices.  Raccoons are the only critter that we have encountered on the island, so we'll have to take care with the dog food.   Other than that, does any one have any suggestions or warnings from your camping experiences?  Gunnar is not a barker, so I don't think we'll have to worry about campground courtesy issues.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Shredder

I'm wondering if anyone else is having issues with their dog destroying stuff.  We're not having so much of a  problem with him trashing the house, but he'll tear the bedding in his crate into little pieces.   Leave a towel out?   He'll gnaw on that and tear it apart.   Gunnar's also partial to small rugs.  Seems to like to gnaw on them and pull the yarn out.   We've removed most of those rugs from the house.  Spraying stuff with the bitter apple deterrent hasn't had much impact.

Playing catch with a plastic Frisbee is similarly frustrating.   Gunnar isn't at all good about dropping an object.  He finds more sport in gnawing on it, literally tearing it into tiny pieces of plastic, which if digested, I'm assuming would not be good.  Tennis balls are objects to be similarly torn apart.  He hasn't punctured one yet, but he's good at stripping the green fuzz from the ball.  We're told by friends that this is normal puppy stuff and that he'll grow out of it.  Sigh!

Monday, May 21, 2012

It's all About Pacing Yourself

We had a few other dogs join the group for morning run on Saturday.  Gunnar decided that he couldn't abide being BEHIND any other dogs, so he took off.  That was fine and I was willing to let him run a bit faster, but he wasn't content to being in front of those dogs, he wanted to be in front of the other humans as well.   Again, I gave him a little time to pass them as well, but he wouldn't back off into a comfortable pace.  He strained at the leash to the extent that he breathing was strained, and frankly, it was a pace I didn't care to run at.  He gave no sign of backing off, so I did.  I stopped, and we let the rest of the group go.  Gunnar certainly didn't like THAT!  But, we sat where we were for a few moments.  Then, we reversed course and ran by ourselves.  Gunnar again decided to charge out like the proverbial bat, but I stopped.  Every time he would run faster than he could handle with comfortable breathing, and without leash strain, we would stop.  Sometimes we'd walk, sometimes dead stop.  Until he would run at the pace I wanted.

Not sure if this is right or not, but it seemed to work.  Seems to tie in a bit with the leash training we did this past Sunday, though.  Anybody with other suggestions for pace control?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Little Squirt

Legend holds that a spray bottle can be a useful tool in discouraging certain undesirable behavioiurs in dogs.  Finding myself in the local Menard's store's garden section, I spied a spray bottle for the exorbitant sum of about $1.88.  Gunnar provided the opportunity soon enough to test the bottle, as he started nipping at Mary whilst sitting on her lap.  From that stage forward, just showing the bottle is enough to send the pup scurrying.

Simple, and effective.!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Gunnar Goes to College

After some change of heart, we decided that Gunnar would accompany us to his sister, Bailey's graduation ceremony at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN.  There was a bit of anxiety being crated up on the way up there, but after about 20 minutes, he calmed down, and I took 3 breaks in the course of the 400 mile drive so that he could get a walk and stretch his legs.   The way home was beautiful.  I think he may have slept the entire way. 

He did get to meet a number of collegiate types and professors, and made appropriate impressions and was very well-behaved.   No bites.  As is the case with us, I think he's wiped out after his travels.  After this afternoon's walk, he entered the house and flopped down on the wood floors.

On a completely unrelated topic, I took him to PetSmart to get his nails done.  The folks claimed his nails were too short already.   Hmmm!   They did take a Dremel tool to his nails, though.   Quite the eventful day for the pooch.