Tag Archives: amazing animals

Louisiana Hot Sauce – Take 2

jasoninhollywood.blogspot.com

This isn’t Amber, but it could be.

We’ve shifted Amber’s crate and some chew toys into the utility room inside the house so that she doesn’t have to suffer rain, wind, and the coming winter out on the back porch. There is a huge dog bed in there, and Molly and Bambi (our pit) used to sleep on it together. We’re hoping that Amber will use her crate, if she likes, or sleep on the bed with Molly.

Last night was Night 4 of the new regime. My husband was up in the middle of the night, having trouble sleeping, and he heard ”chewing” but hoped she was chewing on one of the several chew toys we make sure are in there at night.

I discovered this morning she was chewing on the baseboard.

When she was on the porch, she started chewing the wood on one end of the porch. I tried all kinds of home remedies and commercial preparations, finally brushing on Louisiana Hot Sauce. That seemed to have worked. I say it this way because we also were bringing her in the house with us a lot more, and the ‘cure’ might have just been a happy coincidence.

This morning I painted a generous amount of Louisiana Hot Sauce on the baseboard where she has been chewing, and along the rest of it, while I was at it. I’m hopeful that our dog is as much of a wuss as her owners about eating hot things….

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Challenge and Laughter

We tend to gauge things around here by “Before Amber” or “After Amber,” since the two parts of our lives couldn’t be more different.

Amber will be 7 months old next week. We got her when she was 10 weeks old and weighed 16 pounds. The last time we weighed her (almost a full month ago) she weighed 62.8 lbs. I think she’s probably around 70 lbs now.

Other than trying to eat the wall of the porch, she has made a LOT of progress in the little over 4 months we’ve had her as part of our family, we’ve ALL done a bunch of changing. Amber is smart and hard-headed. When she was still a baby, she wouldn’t stop barking. Even with her on the porch and the door shut, it was loud enough to hurt your ears and put your nerves on edge. We got a no-bark collar and within days, she stopped barking. In fact, though she whines, she almost never barks now.

She was growing super fast, and we had her on a retractable leash, each walking her several times each day. She is super strong. And did I mention she’s hard-headed? She pulled harder and harder no matter what we did, several times yanking us so hard as she hit the end of the line that we were almost pulled off our feet. Since we’re not getting any younger, we got a no-pull leash. Again, within days, she no longer pulled on the leash. (The one exception to this statement now is when we go to the vet and there are dogs that would like to eat Amber in one gulp.)

She laughed in our faces for quite awhile, making us hoarse and out of sorts after repeating the same command over and over with differing, non-lasting results. We got  shock collar which has a warning sound and then another button for shocking her.  Now, instead of ignoring our commands, most of the time she doesn’t even have to be warned. We pick up the controller and she does whatever we’ve asked her to do without our having to repeat. Sometimes I’ve even just held up my hand as though I’m holding the controller and she immediately decides to do what I asked!

It’s also helpful that she’s food driven and wants to be with her people. She really tries to be good so that she can stay inside with us, go outside with us, go to the shop, ride in the car, or take a walk. She will also do almost anything if a treat is involved. The one exception to this, we’ve found, is getting her to walk down the stairs to the basement. She’ll go up and down the stairs going to the second floor, but will NOT go down the steps to the basement. The biggest difference is that the inside steps are carpeted. I’m not sure why she’s afraid to go down, but she’s adamant. She actually whines and barks as my husband tries to entice her to come down there to him. So far, only two feet on the 2nd step…

Her newest word is ‘out.’ She will come over to me and look at me expectantly. If I don’t respond immediately, she whines. If I ask her, “Do you want to go OUT?” she gets up and leads me to the door. Now we’re trying to teach her to bark when she wants to come in. So far, with the doors open to the cooler breeze, she whimpers and we get up and let her in.  Molly barks to get us to open the door. Maybe Molly will teach her.

Much progress is being made. Much work left to be done. Definitely a difference in our lives before Amber/ After Amber. Interesting, challenging, exhausting, delightful.

lapdog

 

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Hot Dog

hot Amber

With the temp and humidity today, this afternoon will FEEL like 106 degrees F.  UGH. Our forecasters are saying that tomorrow we’ll finally get our first rain in over a month and a bit of a cool down. Hooray! Meanwhile, we turn on fans, A/C, drink lots of cold drinks, and pant a lot.

hot Molly

The cats and the fish are taking things in stride.

 

Abby

 

Smoke

 

 

“The Guys”

So, until about noon, we’ll all just sit under the ceiling fan with the doors and windows open, then be really thankful for the a/c until this evening. Some of us hang our tongues out straight, some out the side.

If we get the forecasted rain tomorrow, we’ll all go out (except maybe the cats and the fish) and dance in the rain while my husband can finally burn some trash….

 

Happy Tuesday everyone!

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Amber Votes, “YES!”

I received the ingredients I needed to try the new gluten-free, low-carb bread today, so a couple of hours ago, I tried the recipe.

I found it a bit vague (for someone of my in-expertise on bread making) because many of the directions were “mix it until it’s creamy.” Well, I ask, “Is this creamy enough?”

Anyway, I got it into the oven, baked it for an hour, then took it out to cool. I made lunch for my husband and me, then took the loaf out of the pan and was pleased that it had risen, though not as much as other breads I’ve made. I sliced into it, cut that piece into four bites. I gave one to Amber, then one to Molly, I ate one and took the last in to my husband in the office.

I grabbed my camera on my way back to the kitchen so I could take pics for the blog. When I went into the kitchen, I found only the small piece of bread on the counter.

 

I went into the living room to find Amber with the rest of the loaf on her bed, happily eating it. I yelled, ran and grabbed it from her, yelling, ‘bad dog!’ while she looked at me with her innocent face, totally clueless. Apparently she just waited until I left the kitchen to stand up, grab the bread from the counter and take it into the living room.  Since it’s gluten-free, I guess I’ll break it up and let the doggies eat the rest of the huge hunk Amber stole.

This is the big hunk Amber stole.

I have a very small bit left. Not even enough for a sandwich. I’m not even sure if I like it or not at this point, and it’s not fair to the creator of the recipe to remark on it.

I’ve  just learned another lesson from Amber – she’s now big enough to reach anything on the counters in the kitchen. We’ll have to change our habits in there, too, and learn to watch her like a hawk.

So – the jury is still out on the gluten-free, low-carb bread, except for a really enthusiastic “YES!” from Amber….

 

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Poor Dog!

Poor Amber! Nothing to play with!

When we brought her into the office this morning, all the toys were in the bin in the corner. 10 minutes later, havoc reigns.

Not only are all the toys out of the box, but she’s decided to chew on, and eat the bin! And she looks so innocent…..

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Treat Driven

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Our yellow labrador retriever “puppy” Amber is 6 months old as of yesterday and officially weighs 61.6 lbs. She will do almost anything if she knows a treat is involved.

This has made our efforts to train her more effective (thank goodness!) but it’s a problem if you go outside with her and find you are ‘unarmed’ without one treat in your pocket.  (See pic above)

I switched to goldfish because they’re small, fit in my pocket more easily, and a double handful will get us through the day pretty well. She doesn’t seem to mind the change. She loves EVERYTHING, but she goes through a LOT of them, so we’re trying to find cheaper alternatives and use the more expensive stuff sparingly.

Lately I’ve discovered that she will stay pretty much by my side outside without a leash if she is sure I have treats in my pocket. I simply show her one and then we take a nice walk. She is also improving on ‘sit,’ ‘down,’ ‘place,’ ‘get the ball,’ ‘come,’ ‘waiting for an ok before she eats,, not jumping up, and other things. Remaining a challenge are teaching her

  • ‘we’ are NOT chew toys,
  • not chewing on things not designated as toys (we’re hosing things down with bitter apple)
  • not dive-bombing our dignified elder dog, Molly, the cats, etc

Especially challenging is getting her to mind us when others are around. It’s as if she is suddenly blind and deaf, doesn’t know who we are, etc.

Lately, one of her favorite things is catching me on the stairs when I’m coming down in the morning. This morning is a typical example – I got halfway down the stairs. She heard me and came bounding up the stairs to greet me. I’ve learned to sit down on the stairs and give her a lot of love and petting before trying to continue down. Last night I left shoes and socks on the floor in front of my chair in the living room. I know better, but she has to reteach me from time to time.

I had to fight my way over to the chair with Amber trying her best to chew on my toes or trip me. I made it to the chair, but Amber had one of my shoes in her mouth. I retrieved the other shoe, plus the socks, and then had to try to ‘trade’ her something for my shoe. I finally got my shoe and then fought my way back to my chair. She tried to get both socks and shoes back as I squirted her with the water bottle and said, ‘place!’ firmly. She finally responded, though she really didn’t want to. I put on socks and shoes and vowed NOT to leave them again…

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Relief

Amber with bit of green plastic bone

I was helping my husband put a gigantic box that the TV came in up into the attic over the garage this morning. After we accomplished that, we swept out the half of the garage that was easy to get to with one of the cars out on the pad.

We went back into the house, but I couldn’t find Amber. I checked with my husband, and he glibly said, “I let her out when we went out to the garage. She’ll be fine.”

I ran out to the front yard and started calling her. I went all the way around the house, calling, but no Amber. I was in tears, still calling when Amber came running across the yard to me, smiling.

I gave her some treats, put her into the house, and then calming told my husband that his life was on the line if he did that again.

(We had agreed that HE could let her run first thing in the morning when breakfast followed. I have taken her out without the leash, walking from the house to the shop. I did it again yesterday, keeping a close eye on her and keeping the walk short. She is coming better now, but I don’t trust that she would come if she were distracted by a rabbit, squirrel, cat, or another dog. We even have COWS across the street that runs in front of our yard.)

My husband gave me the lecture about ‘mistreating the dog’ by not simply letting her out and letting her come home when she’s ready. I told him that we would build to that, but NOT YET!

And so continues the disagreement about when Amber truly knows where home is, when she’s coming on a reliable basis…..

 

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Busy Morning on the Porch

 

Right at this very moment, Amber is lying down beside my office chair, asleep. Ahhhhhh!

We’ve had a busy morning. We’re still having a bit of trouble giving Amber food that agrees with her. And, even if THAT is all good, we can’t keep her from acting like a vacuum cleaner outside, eating everything dogs find appealing. UGH.

Obviously, something didn’t agree with her that she ate yesterday. I had to hose and mop the porch first thing this morning. Since she’s been having trouble off and on, we’ve been leaving her crate door open at night. My husband did the initial clean up and then I followed with the hose and mop.

We fed her lightly, and then checked on her in half an hour – my husband had left the Clorox Clean Up bottle on the table. She had knocked that over, spilling about half of it on the porch floor. I leaped up to get THAT cleaned up, hoping she didn’t ingest any of that. I then admonished my husband that we’re at least PRETENDING to be smarter than the dog….

We went out to play with her later and ended up hosing and mopping the porch again –

We took her out and walked her quite a bit, gave her some water and went inside to get ready to go do errands. I checked on her before we left – to find she had taken her bedding from the crate and was in the process of shredding it all over the porch floor.

I put the the intact piece of bedding back in the crate, closed and latched the door to it, put her on the string on the deck since she won’t allow mopping or sweeping without a game of tug of war.  I swept everything up and put her on the porch once again.

 

Amber on her dog run, waiting for me to get the porch mopped.

 

Amber with her purple bone on the office bed.

 

We were gone about an hour. Amber was delighted to see us when we got home. Her porch was still clean! We took her out again, and then let her come into the office.  (If you look behind her head, you can see where she discovered the reams of copy paper on the shelf yesterday –

So far, so good.  Fingers crossed.

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Cute Animal Pictures – Take 3

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Marsha Koenig for her email.

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“Fetch?”

Can you see that Amber lets her tongue loll out to the side of her mouth and down? I think it’s hilarious.

She just doesn’t ‘get’ the idea of fetching and bringing the ball back yet. My husband has been out in the front yard with her a couple of days in a row now. He throws the ball. She runs to get it, picks it up, and then either drops it again, doesn’t want to bring it back, or – if she does bring it back – doesn’t want to give it back to my husband to throw again.

She did it right twice today – much better than yesterday. She got a treat when she brought the ball back and actually allowed him to have it. :0)

The best part about this whole thing is that she and my husband are having fun, both are getting good exercise, and Amber is much more calm in the house after a session. (She’s asleep on the floor beside me now).

PLAY BALL!!!!

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Shh! Amber is Napping!

Sweet puppy Amber is taking a very rare nap. Even though her eyes seem open, her legs are moving in dreams and she’s snoring lightly. She was very hyper this morning, teeing off Molly, our ‘old lady’ white dog, and the cats, Abby and Smoke, all in the space of a minute or two on bursting through the porch door after she ate.

When she wouldn’t settle with us in the office, after each of us played with her for a time, she ‘won a trip back to the porch’ for a few minutes. I let her in again and she was much better. Now I’m getting a reprieve that I know won’t last long. I’ll enjoy every second!

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Our Training Continues

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Amber is making progress in getting us to do what she wants, but she gets truly frustrated with how very slow we are to learn.

For example, she wants to play Tug of War with her toys.  She goes and gets a toy, brings it to her humans, and very clearly wants us to grab the other end – the other side – and fight with enthusiasm – in the end letting her win. She is letting us know lately how dumb we are. When she brings the toy, we won’t even TRY to take it out of her mouth. We ACT like we’re going to play, but the minute we meet resistance, we let go, over and over until she finally drops the toy into our laps in disgust. Just as she’s leaving, we throw the toy!  The game is on again until the humans refuse to take their end of the toy. AND her humans get mad when teeth run into skin, yelling and running into the kitchen to wash the wounds off and wrap them with band-aids. Hummmmppph!

Her humans HAVE learned to arm themselves each morning, making SURE they have a pocketful of treats. Amber has taught us to give her treats in all parts of the ‘taking-care-o-business’ process, when she sits, when she comes, when she lies down, when she goes to her place…. all day long – finishing up with going into her crate. This takes a LOT of treats. We routinely get somewhere out in public, one pocket bulging with dog treats.

Amber realizes that getting her people trained will take time, patience, and lots and lots of effort. She’s encouraged that we’re better than we were when she first came to live with us in May.

She’s looking at me, distinctly saying, “Really? You want me to get up?”

 

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Not a Word Was Spoken – Take 6

 

 

 

 

Thanks to my friend, Marsha Koenig, for her email.

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Not a Word Was Spoken – Take 5

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Marsha Koenig for her email.

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Not a Word was Spoken – Take 4

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Marsha Koenig for the email.

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Not a Word Was Spoken – Take 4

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Marsha Koenig for her email.

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Not a Word was Spoken – Take 3

 

 

 

 

Thanks to my friend, Marsha Koenig, for her email.

 

 

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Not a Word Was Spoken – Take 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for an email from Marsha Koenig

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Not a Word Was Spoken – Take 1

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Marsha Koenig’s email.

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Trying to Meet the Challenges of a Lab Puppy

Yesterday Amber finally got us to admit that the nice metal gate that my husband made years ago to keep our pit bull, Bambi, and our cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross, Molly, in the office with us will not meet the challenge we have before us.

Amber is fine until one of us leaves the room, she sees Molly, she sees a cat, or her toy rolls under the gate, or…. She proved yesterday morning that, unless one of us sits at the gate, like a gatekeeper, flyswatter in hand, ready to jump up, yell, “NO!” and swipe her with the swatter, the gate will not keep her in. She can still slide under it, though she won’t be able to do that much longer at the rate she’s growing. She can easily leap over it, and that will get easier as she gets larger. The gate is a joke, only making it harder for the people to get in and out.

We ordered another Carlson Walk-Thru Pet Gate from Chewy.com yesterday. We just got confirmation that it has been shipped today and we should get it Monday or Tuesday.

It comes with a couple of extensions, and we still have the ones we didn’t need for the doorway to the porch, so we think we can make this work, though our doorway is 48 inches wide.

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Our efforts to allow Amber to come inside with us seem to be working, albeit slowly. This morning, for example, we had Molly sit beside my husband’s chair at the table while we were eating breakfast. We brought Amber in. She ran around like a mad thing for a few moments, and then zeroed in on Molly. My husband was ready with the flyswatter, and soon Amber got the message that if she dive-bombed Molly, she got swatted. She finally decided to lie down at my feet. This worked well until Molly decided to move. We went through the whole thing again, but a shorter amount of time.

Molly is learning that Amber is not trying to hurt her and that her people are aware of the problem and are trying to make the problem go away – eventually.

I’ve been told that Amber will be in ‘puppihood’ until she is 2 years old. Some have said 4 years. I remember my mother telling my brother and me from time to time, “I’ve read all about this stage and you’re going to skip it.” It didn’t work very well for my mom, but maybe it’ll work for us…

Meanwhile, Amber showers us with love (and slobber) every time we see her. Since we see her very often during the day and evening, we’re building a good relationship. One day at a time!

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Eyelashes

The few times that Amber is still – and I think I can count the times on one hand in the month she’s been a part of our family – I’m struck by her eyelashes.

I don’t think I’ve ever noticed a dog’s eyelashes before. I love a dog’s eyes, and I’m partial to dark noses, but I love Amber’s eyelashes. I still haven’t gotten a good picture of them, but if you look carefully, you can see that they are light, like her hair.

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Los Angeles Zoo Signs – Take 7

Obvious Plant via Evie Zimmerman, trendingly.com

Obvious Plant via Evie Zimmerman, trendingly.com

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Los Angeles Zoo Signs – Take 6

LA Zoo Signs via Evie Zimmerman, trendingly.com

LA Zoo Signs via Evie Zimmerman, trendingly.com

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Squirrel – du – Soleil

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

We were quite entertained by a very athletic, agile, hungry squirrel this morning.

As we ate breakfast, he darted around the railing on our deck. He got into the bottle filled with birdseed right outside the window, eating one sunflower seed at a time, getting halfway into the gallon-sized bottle that lies on its side in a special feeder. Then one of us moved and the show was on.

He leaped from the bottle to the railing on one side of the deck ran all the way around the deck, then leaped up onto the side of the porch beside the screen and up onto the top of the deck. He then jumped to our roof and away.

As we continued to eat, he returned over and over, delighting us with a TV-worthy show of agility and creativity on getting to the various places where different kinds of seed, plus suet, hung.

We enjoyed the Squirrel-du-Soleil private showing.

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Oil Paintings I Love – Animals – Take 6

Kyle Buckland - Jenn Counts

Kyle Buckland – Jenn Counts

 

 

op-leannewildermuth-artistbynature-intricateart-com

Leanne Wildermuth – Artist by Nature – intricateart.com

 

 

op-pinterest5

Artist Unknown – Pinterest

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The Vet’s Office – Take 7

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Thanks to Marsha Koenig for her email.

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Need a Hug? – Take 5

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Thanks to Marsha Koenig for her email.

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Need a Hug? – Take 4

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Thanks to Marsha Koenig for her email.

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The Vet’s Office – Take 6

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Thanks to Marsha Koenig for her email.

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Need a Hug? – Take 3

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Animal House for Real via email from Marsha Koenig

 

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Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library via email from Marsha Koenig

 

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Sabrina Page, Manhattan Animal Care & Control via email from Marsha Koenig

 

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The Vet’s Office – Take 5

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Thanks to Marsha Koenig for her email.

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