Tag Archives: family

“SAY IT!”

Amber with Squeaky Frog Toy

I told you recently that we’re trying to get Amber to “Say It!” when she wants to go out, or from the outside of the door when she wants to come in.

Earlier today after she had been out about half an hour, I went to the garage door and peeked out. There she was, sitting on the steps, hoping someone would come. I said, “SAY IT!” through the crack, and after some encouragement, she gave me a good bark. I opened the door, let her in, gave her a treat and said, “GOOD GIRL!” My husband did the same thing when she got to the office, having heard the good bark.

Later, I was typing at the computer, concentrating on answering an email when Amber came and sat beside me. I looked at her and said, “Hi,” gave her head a couple of pats and then returned to my email.

Suddenly, a humongous “WOOF!” erupted from the smiling dog. I jumped straight up in the air, coffee cup in my hand – with both my husband and I saying, “Jesus!” at the same time, and then I managed “GOOD GIRL!” on the way down. I immediately got up, giving her a treat and let her out. She seems to be on the good side of the learning curve on getting out now. Hopefully, she’ll learn that woofing and door opening works in both directions…

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The Gatherer

Innocent looking, isn’t she?  In her heart, though, there lurks the heart of a gatherer –

Today it was

  • 8 long sticks/branches from over the edge of the civilized part of our yard – brought up to collect out in front of the door, just off the porch. I wouldn’t mind if she played with them awhile and then threw them back over the edge, but they’re piled up like trophies of the first morning’s run.
  • A heavy plastic rat killer container. This was provided by our bug people. It’s virtually indestructible, they said, and cannot be opened without a lot of work with serious tools. The poison is inside where only something actually crawling inside can eat it, thank goodness. Amber is content to move it from where it lives at the foot of the house in front to the front yard.
  • iris rhizomes from plants I cut down from the latest cleaning out of the planters. She gets them out of the bucket they’re in in the garage and brings them out to the yard. Maybe this is a hint that she thinks I should be getting them replanted faster.
  • weird bones from I-don’t-know-what-and-don’t-want-to-know.

We take her out first thing to take care of business and then let her out again after breakfast. Mid morning I go out to find out what treasures she’s found. I gather them up (see, I’m a gatherer, too!) and either put them back where they belong or toss them off  ‘the edge of the world’ again.

A new morning ritual.

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Lap Dog – His and Hers

We love Amber, our 9 month old yellow labrador retriever we brought home to be part of our family in May, when she was 10 weeks old and weighed 16 lbs.  I laboriously got her into my lap in my recliner, since she really seemed to enjoy the closeness. As she grew, though, I decided she was definitely not in the lap dog category.

Now, at 9 months old, she weighs around 81 pounds. She still considers herself a lap dog, insisting that my husband allow her up in his lap in the evenings. As you can see, she’s quite a handful.

I watch her out of the corner of my eye when she’s in my husband’s lap. She will suddenly sit up very straight and look at me with a gleam in her eye. I leap out of my chair – not wanting to even THINK about her leaping from his chair to mine – and sit on one end of the couch.

 

Here I am with our ‘lap dog’ on the couch. My husband snapped this pic for the rare moment Amber was quiet. She’s usually busy lapping my face and making me laugh until I have trouble catching my breath. She’s a great addition to our family.

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“How Much is that Doggie in the Window?”

How Much Is That Doggie In The Window
Recorded by Patti Page
Written by Bob Merrill

How much is that doggie in the window
The one with the waggley tail
How much is that doggie in the window
I do hope that doggie’s for sale

I must take a trip to California
And leave my poor sweetheart alone
If he has a dog he won’t be lonesome
And the doggie will have a good home

Repeat #1

I read in the paper there are robbers
With flashlights that shine in the dark
My love needs a doggie to protect him
And scare them away with one bark

I don’t want a bunny or a kitty
I don’t want a parrot that talks
I don’t want a bowl of little fishies
He can’t take a goldfish for a walk

Repeat #1

____________________

I know I’m showing my age, but when Amber started putting her head through the cat/small dog door in the walk-thru gate one morning, watching the people get ready for breakfast and Molly ate her breakfast in the pantry, this song was the first thing that popped into my head. I started singing it and Amber immediately perked up, getting agitated. She didn’t growl, bark, or yodel, but she sounded like she was listening.

I’ve been trying to remember to take my camera into the dining area for weeks now, but never remember to do it until I see her with her head through the door again. Today I used the camera on my phone.

I don’t do that often because my phone and my iMac don’t get along. My husband has to take the pics off the phone on his PC (Microsoft 10) and then put them in the backup files on my computer. I can’t open them until I change the ‘permission’ on each one, change the ‘ownership’ of the file, look at it, then either trash it or unlock it and hit ‘duplicate’ so I can put a name on it. UGH.

Anyhow, I just did this, one picture at a time with a whole group of them, remembering WELL again why I don’t use the camera on my phone unless I need to.

If you’re old enough to remember Patti Page singing this song, you’ll also remember (I think) that there was a dog barking in the song – It would go, “How much is that doggie in the window” (bark, bark) – the one with the waggley tail…..

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Amber and the Stick!

I was finally able to get a few pics of Amber playing with her stick –

 

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Fetch!

I went to the door this morning to get Amber to come back in after some time in the yard. When I opened it, she was standing there, smiling around the humongous “weed tree” in her mouth. I hurried back in to get the camera, but – of COURSE – she had dropped it when I returned.

I took some pics, though, of two sticks Amber brought into the front yard –

 

Stick # 1 – this is about 3 feet long.

 

This is Stick # 2 – It’s about 10 feet long. She lost the root ball that used to be on the end of it.  As you can see, she did a bit of digging in one of the flower planters we cleaned out to start over with a new Rio Samba rose plant in the spring.

 

Here’s another view of Stick # 2. I’m really sorry I couldn’t get a picture of her with this in her mouth. She had a great time outside.

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Breakthrough

Amber is our 70+ pound yellow Labrador Retriever who was 8 months old on November 7th.

We are delighted that our animals are accepting each other more and more each day. Although Amber still makes the cats, Abby and Smoke,  hiss and spit when she steps on them, or picks them up off the floor with her nose, mostly they no longer freak out when they’re all in the same room now.  Molly, our Cocker Spaniel/Schnauzer cross, doesn’t try to vanish into thin air when Amber comes in, and they are actually having mock fights now, with a lot of dancing around and fierce growling.

This morning at breakfast, I was able to have Molly lick my bowl without Amber leaping up and taking over. This is a huge milestone. (Yes, I know that we shouldn’t feed the animals at the table, but this is a long-standing tradition.)  We have Amber ‘get down’ on the floor between my husband and me, waiting for her turn. (Sometimes it’s as if she were on a trampoline, but she knows what we want her to do. If we ‘warn’ her with only the noise of the shock collar, she immediately gets down again.

My husband has cereal, and he gives each cat a chance to lap leftover milk when he is finished. This morning Amber stayed down while Molly was licking my bowl on her right,and both Abby and Smoke lapped milk on her left. My husband added a bit more milk to give to Amber because the cats finished the leftover. He started to put the bowl down for Amber and Smoke ran under his chair, straight to the bowl, wanting more. She was actually lapping milk from the bowl when my husband told Amber, “okay.” She looked down and saw Smoke. She seemed to think about it a second, and then very carefully eased down and started lapping right next to Smoke, not bothering her! As she is a big dog with a humongous tongue, Smoke finally eased away from the bowl, ceding it to Amber.

We were both relieved/amazed/impressed with Amber’s delicacy in not growling, snapping at the cat, or otherwise causing a bad event.

 

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What is it about Labs and Mud Puddles?

This isn’t Amber, but this photo gives you an idea of what my husband and I were dealing with this morning.

I told you in another post that we were going to clean out and empty the hummingbird birdbath today. My husband built a very nice water system for it, using a trash can to hold water and a toilet valve. The system regulated itself, so that if the water level got too low, it allowed the hose to fill it up and then turn off. Because of this closed system we didn’t notice any change in our water bill, even though the birdbath flowed all spring and summer, 12 hours each day on a timer.

I cleaned out the actual birdbath and we’ll store the decorations, timer, etc., in the garage for the winter. We dumped the trash can off the deck into the yard below. My husband was resting, keeping me company and drinking some hot apple cider when we heard the distinctive sound that Amber makes when she finds water. She paws it rapidly, spreading it everywhere, having a great old time.

THIS time it was even more wonderful because it was MUD! By the time we heard the pawing, she was covered in mud from stem to stern, laughing while she made the mud go everywhere. She then laid down in it. GREAT.

It’s in the high 50s with a healthy, gusty wind today, but we chained Amber to the porch and hosed her off as well as we could, albeit protesting dog. We sat on the deck while she shook herself over and over and then got her on the back porch where we could dry her off with towels. She didn’t like THAT, either.

Needless to say, progress on finishing cleaning up the deck came to a halt with the dog wash. We’re now taking a break and regrouping.

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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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Steaks, Potatoes, and Woofles

I just love this picture!

We’re cooking out tonight – steaks and baked potatoes – we’re not really cooking ‘woofles,’ (sorry, Amber and Molly) but I just HAD to share this picture. :0)

I love cookouts. It’s only going to be my husband and me, plus most of our animals. We all end up in a pile on the deck, surrounded by aromas that make my mouth water just thinking about them. Most everyone is there – the dogs (Molly and Amber) the cats (Abby and Smoke ) – everyone except the fish, who couldn’t care less about cooking out, and our son who is living across the world from us.

As the evening gets darker, we turn on the rope multicolored LED lights, and then, finally, the yellow light that allows my husband to see to cook. :0)  He has a beer in hand. I usually have coffee. We’re gradually getting Amber to quit dive-bombing all the others…

It’s a time to enjoy the wonderful weather. A time to r-e-l-a-x. A time to play with the animals. And a time to talk – all of us enjoying being together in no rush to accomplish anything or go anywhere. The potatoes have been nuked and then transferred to the oven to finish. The charcoal is getting hot and ready to use. The steaks are ready to bring out.

If we’re lucky, we’ll still see a hummingbird or two, maybe a firefly, maybe the pair of doves who sit on the electrical wire together.  I would love it if deer would visit us, but our animals keep that from happening. We did see a deer on the way to Lunch Bunch this morning. I’m glad he decided to dart back into the woods, rather than running into the car. He was there and then gone in the space of a second or two. A beautiful bright spot of nature reminding us to be in the moment, appreciating everything around us.

I hope you have a nice evening planned. I know a special lady who is having a birthday today who I hope is being treated like a queen in celebration. Even if this is a day like most others, I hope you enjoy it to the fullest.  Maybe you can make some ‘woofles!’

 

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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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“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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Idea

Linda Meyers – Begin with Yes

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Skirmish

In this corner – Amber, yellow labrador retriever, 4-1/2 months old, 41+ pounds, no brain.

vs

 

 

Smoke, 1 year old cat who loves to taunt Amber, shown lying on my calendar beside me as I type on the computer.

Amber was warned not to mess with the cat – a couple of times, the second time with fly swatter shown. She seemed to take it seriously, lying down in Molly’s bed under my feet. She oozed out to my left while I was concentrating on other things. I admonished her and got her to lie down beside my chair.

Suddenly Amber’s nose was on my right, attached to bright eyes and lively dog, plus teed off cat. Smoke hissed, jumped up and whacked Amber in the face. Amber got even more excited. I jumped up and tried to pick up the cat, with the idea of putting her on the other side of the office pet gate.

End result:

  • Smoke is out
  • Amber is on the back porch
  • I have new band-aids on both arms from where Smoke dug in her claws.

Lesson –

Either let them fight it out or use something other than my body to try to break up future altercations. Am looking for a whole-body band-aid or body armor…

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Poor Amber Wants to Play

Poor Amber tried to get Molly to play with her this morning. She was relatively sweet about it, too, taking one toy after another under my chair to make her way to Molly’s bed in the space beside my feet at the computer desk. She was serially rebuffed by Molly, who had no interest at all in Amber or her toys. I defended Molly, and then played tug of war and fetch the plastic squeaky bone for about 20 minutes. Amber was just getting started!

She switched to the rawhide, taking it to Molly, then to my husband across the room, then to me. I threw it for her several times, but it wasn’t enough. We went through the stuffed caterpillar with the squeaky, the heavy glass paperweight, the teddy bear, the indestructible weird ring with knobs on it, an empty plastic bottle, all getting a small share of time and attention, but it wasn’t enough.

I finally took her for a walk just now. We walked out to where the greenhouse is, and the new ham radio tower will be, all around the edge of the civilized part of the yard in the back, out to the garden and around it, back to the front yard, out to the kiddie pool. She jumped in, splashed all around, drank a bunch of it, and jumped back out. I finally left her on the porch for a while.

We’re heading for Lunch Bunch in a few minutes, and then all of this will start again….

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Interesting Situation

Right now, our friend Foy Brown is using his tractor and brush hog to try to get the area where the greenhouse and tower base are, plus trying to clear some of the land in the back as a good fire break. He’s having his lumps not getting stuck. My husband is monitoring, to be there in case there are questions or problems.

Amber

He just brought Amber in from the deck and dumped her into the office with me. That’s no problem, but Molly is under my feet in her bed, and Abby, the cat, is sprawled out on my husband’s chair.

Molly

 

Abby

 

It will be interesting to see if we can all co-exist for awhile together, or if I’ll need to leap up and let Molly and the cat out….

Smoke is outside somewhere, so she’s missing out on the possible excitement.

 

Smoke

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Monday Afternoon

APA

I’m taking it easy today. I was up much of the night when I should have been sleeping. After we took care of animals, my husband took care of things while I grabbed a nap ( only interrupted by two phone calls and the UPS delivery guy), trying to catch up a bit.  I’m feeling better now, but energy is low, so I’ll just do what I need to do, not pushing.

 

Molly

Molly seems to be resigning herself to the fact that, no matter how irritated she is, the big, bumbling, super-enthusiastic, bull-in-a-china-shop puppy is not going away.  I didn’t get a picture (the animals won’t cooperate with a very amateur photographer), but yesterday the two doggies were lying in the little bed I keep by my feet under my computer area in the office. I think Amber is missing all her puppy litter buddies at times. She was nuzzled up tight with Molly when my husband saw them.

Amber

Again last night the two of them were side by side on the much larger dog bed we have in front of the entertainment center in the living room. I went to get the camera, and they separated, not to get together again the whole evening. :0(

This morning, in the interest of trying to keep things quiet so that I could get a nap, Amber is in the office and Molly is on the bed in the utility room.

This seems to be a significant first step in getting our animal family to accept one another. I don’t worry about the cats. Abby hisses a lot when Amber is around and makes herself scarce. Smoke actively stalks Amber when we take walks, taunting her. When they get close – nose-to-nose – Smoke either bounds away or whacks per Amber in the mouth.

I’m hopeful that in the fullness of time, our family will meld.

 

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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.

______________

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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Poor Molly

Molly was 12 in February. She was the follower in lots of ways with Bambi, letting him take the lead, backing off when he wanted what was in the bowl, etc. As Bambi got older, though, she took the lead in some things.

We have a policy of letting one dog out at a time. This encourages our dogs to stay close, even though there is no fence and we are out in the sticks. When Molly and Bambi got out together, though, they formed a pack and were gone, sometimes for several hours, before coming back, tired and filthy, requiring baths.

Molly was the instigator in running off the last 6 months of Bambi’s life. I don’t think he would have gone off if she hadn’t enticed him. He would keep up with her, but then require a couple of days of good sleeping on his bed before he wanted to ‘escape’ with her again.

When we put him to sleep, Molly was totally disenfranchised. She wandered all over the house, looking for him, going from dog bed to dog bed, mournfully. She didn’t eat well and didn’t want to go out. It really hurt that we couldn’t explain what had happened to her cohort.

 

Now she is besieged by a HUGE rollicking puffball of energy, teeth, and enthusiasm whose greatest wish is to play with her – right in her face. You can see her say, “Oh, ____!” when we take her on the porch each day to socialize with Amber. She used to get under our chairs, obviously wanting us to protect her. Each day they go through a boisterous several minutes, and then settle down in different parts of the porch. Molly is learning to accept the new regime, grudgingly at best.

I think, once the baby calms down a bit, they might actually enjoy playing with one another. Molly is a happy girl, bringing joy to our family. She brightened up Bambi, who was much too serious about everything, and taught him to enjoy life. I’m hoping that Amber will now do the same for Molly.

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Who’s Teaching Whom?

We’re spending a LOT of time with Amber every day, and we’re working on a lot of things, but I begin to wonder who is teaching whom? We’ve modified our own behavior, trying to give her enough love and attention, training sessions, walks, food, water, and just plain sitting on the floor and hugging her.

 

Amber is complying with a lot of our commands, but I have the hands to show that we’re only successful part of the time so far. She seems happy, but I think we’re learning as much or more than she is. Our lives are revolving on HER schedule.

 

So far today, we’ve had three walks, food, water, play time with the ball, sitting out on the porch, meeting and getting swiped by, Smoke, the cat, and some quiet time (Ahhhhhhh!)  I have a new bruise on TOP of the old one, and have added one more bandaid…

So, is Amber the teacher and we’re learning to meet her needs – albeit slowly – to HER point of view?

 

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Wonderful Gift

Animal Jam Wiki Wikia

I had a surprise gift this morning and I’m still feeling WONDERFUL.

Our son lives and works in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He arranged for a chat program that is very secure before he left, so we type messages to each other regularly. Skype doesn’t work well at all for us. We’re not sure if it’s our Internet connection, or what, but we gave that up a long time ago, when he was in China for the first time.

Today, he asked me if I had earbuds and a microphone. I was scurrying around, trying to find a microphone, since we packed that up when Skype didn’t work.

When I got back to the screen with one, he had found a program (appear.in – join the room) that allowed me to “join” him in a video chat. I clicked “join”, and then it asked me if I wanted to use the available video and audio. I said “yes,” and there was our son!

I’ve been grateful that – if we’re both up at the same time (there is 12 hours difference) – we can type back and forth to each other, but to actually be able to see his face gave me such joy. I love his face!  We had a chance to really catch up on what’s happening with each other, to laugh together.

At Christmas it was a year since we’ve seen him. We’ve offered to pay for tickets for him to come visit, but pride rears its ugly head, so we don’t know when we’ll see him. Now that we have this wonderful video chat program, we’ll be able to talk and actually SEE him more often. I haven’t been this happy in a long time. :0)

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Hugs

hugs-thoughts-5

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February 16, 2017 · 11:14 am