Barking, the one thing that both of my dogs do best! When I only had Dickens and he was a young pup, I taught him to bark when I gave him the ASL (American Sign Language) sign for it. It was great! He didn’t bark at anything or anyone. But along comes his adopted brother, Eddie and at 10 months old he is out of control and a barker! He now has taught Dickens the bad habit of barking at squirrels, at unseen wall thumps, at leaves falling and anything Eddie deems necessary to bark at. Even if Dickens doesn’t see it, he will race around the house, barking at some unseen foe. Every time a person walks by in front of my house, opens their door across the way or even opens a curtain, it is important enough news that I need to know about it right away! I guess it is OK, as everyone wants a dog that will scare away strangers. But when they bark at every leaf that falls and every snowflake, well THAT presents a problem.
So since it is too late to teach Eddie sign language. I now say “that’s enough”, even when I hear a hint of a growl. Sometimes I have to say it louder than I want to. But lately I have been doing what all of the training books tell you to do. I have been giving them a treat every time they respond to my “that’s enough” request, when they are quiet. So now when they bark, I casually say, “that’s enough” and immediately afterwards it is a mad,mad rush for the two of them to fight for the best sitting position in front of my chair to get the treat.
Sometimes I think Eddie will bark just so he will get the treat for being quiet afterwards. For this I am painfully aware that he is much smarter than I give him credit for.
Eddy has become an escape artist! He knows not what he does. It is 85 degrees outside and I am getting ready to take my springer, Dickens outside for a walk. I usually tell Eddy to ‘wait’ when I go outside with my other dog, this time I forgot and so it goes. As soon as I open the door, Eddy makes his move and darts out behind me, knocking me against the wall and running out the door. He makes a run for it and heads out around my condominium building for the back common area and the creek! My other dog Dickens and I return to the interior, where I leave him and then go out the back through the garage. There I find Eddy running away from me as fast as he can. I go back inside to release my other dog and retrieve a coupling lead. The hunt is on. Eddy as big as he is, will soon run out of gas. He gets tired and hot easily. My springer spaniel Dickens will go ‘find’ him and bring him back. I slowing walk towards the two of them watching to see where they go. I call Dickens name occasionally to get him to stay closer to me which he does. I crest the hill in back and turn around heading back towards my garage, encouraging them to both follow me. Calling them by name, whistling, patting my leg as I continue to walk back. Eddy is starting to yearn for water and the safety of four walls as he does not seem to like being outside. Dickens and Eddy both start to run in my direction. Their tongues are hanging out, and their running has turned into an amble. When Eddy reaches me he stops so that I may attach his leash. He is proving more and more that he is a reliable four-year old. Both boys will receive much love and a rawhide chip for coming home.
This week Dickens went to the vet to have a cyst removed from his lower back. Originally the vet thought it was a cyst caused when two layers of his skin grew together and dirt and dander got in between the two layers to form the cyst. But it turned out after getting it out that it was a cyst that had no active cells with only scar tissue inside. Yea!!! No bad cells or cancer either! That’s my boy!
Dickens was a good boy during his ordeal! I tried to hold him while the surgery took place, since it was an out patient procedure, but standing up for longer than 10 minutes did me in so the vet technician took over. When I left the room, you could hear him starting to whine and going into his talking mode as if to say ‘mommy where are you going’?
I was given some pain pills to give him later if he needed them. (Which he did) Then we stopped off at the pet store to buy a cone to go over his head so he wouldn’t chew on his stitches. Wearing the cone lasted for about two days!
What a good dog Eddy is! So photogenic, he should be a model, don’t you think? He does make a fine companion though for his mom and brother for Dickens!
Eddy had to go to the skin doctor today. He has some weird growths growing on his head, tail, face, back and hips. Mom has been dosing him with Benadryl to help with the itching and chewing. She has also been putting apple cider vinegar on the sores and that has seemed to be helping. Amazing what good old household products can do!
Mom told the nurse that she just wanted to find out what was wrong and then to treat it the best we could. Well, Eddy doesn’t have mange, that was ruled out with a scraping from his ‘owee’. Next is the biopsy. Mom said it would cost a lot of money buy she told Eddy that she would work it out somehow. The skin specialist doesn’t know for sure but he suspects that Eddy has skin cancer or a similar skin disease which requires steroid treatment to minimize and stop the sores from spreading and reproducing. Mom has to put petroleum jelly on his sores to keep them moist. Good news is Eddy can be bathed and clipped now, I know he will like to hear that news!
They are going to call mom back in a month to set up an appointment for the biopsy and see how Eddy is doing. Poor Eddy.
How many of us have traded in our grownup children for a pet? I have no children but I have had lots of pets. My pets have always gotten the best care that money can buy, ‘cos they are MY children! I have a lot of friends who have had both and they have still found themselves treating their pets better than they did their kids. Or at least equal to their kids! But who really got the better end of the deal? My friends, their kids or the pets? I say all!
Think about how much stuff is out there for dogs in particular. You can dress your dogs in designer leather wear by Bret Michael’s, rock star. Cute little dresses or matching collars and leashes. You can train your dog from on-line videos, books or take them to a private training school. Just like children, dogs should be taught about boundaries and have structure in their lives. Training a dog is much like training a child to behave. When you put your child in a time out how different is that from putting your dog in a crate when he misbehaves? Not much, really! One of the best things about a dog versus a child is they rarely talk back! My Springer Spaniel, Dickens, has been known to sass me but it is more like grumbling and it still doesn’t get him anywhere. For the record I have only put Dickens and Eddy in rabbit ears for Easter, or holiday scarves.
We can feed our dogs cheap junk food or we can feed them expensive premium dog food. Considered gourmet food in some circles. Some people even feed their dogs raw meat which has been proven to be a bad choice! I have a friend that has a Bulldog that she spoon feeds out of a can, believe it or not! She claims the dog will only eat it this way and not out of a bowl. I have told her that she has conditioned her dog to behave this way and that if she put down other food, like dry, that her dog would not starve itself. My dogs eat the same dog food every day, twice a day. I have yet to hear a complaint from them!
What does this mean? Do our dogs really have the best of both worlds? Dog and human? Do we really treat our pets better than our children? In some cases I say yes. But I am sure that there are some current parents out there of young human children, that would disagree, until later down the road…when THEY trade their own children in for a dog!