Monday, April 28, 2008

Trade and Yuck

In training our new pup one of the best tips, I've been given is to teach her to "Trade." I give her some wonderful treat and she drops whatever she has in her mouth or is playing with in order to get something better. Normally she will have something she shouldn't (i.e. a stolen handkerchief ) and I will "Trade" with her for a yummy treat or toy she really likes. It only took two times for her to figure out "Trade" is a very good thing. The drawback is she has learned if she wants a treat, all she has to do is steal a handkerchief from the dirty clothes hamper, run to where I am and wait for the "Trade" offer.

I'm OK with this if it will keep her willing to "Trade" when she has something bad or yucky. The test came yesterday. We've been airing out the house and in the process a huge fly made his way into the house. We've been chasing this monster for a couple of days, but he managed to allude us. The buzzing sound has been bugging Trixie. She would follow the fly through the house, jumping about trying to catch it.

I don't think flies live a really long time, so after three days in the house, this fly had become a old fly. Yesterday he landed rather low on the doors to the deck and his reflexes just weren't quick enough. Little Trixie jumped and snagged it. My first thought was "Good the fly is gone." The second was "Yuck, she's eating a fly." So we quickly tried the "Trade" option. This was the first time she had something she wasn't willing to "Trade" for the treat in my hand. She'd look up at us, thinking about it, but kept the fly in her mouth. Thankfully we were keeping her from chewing, but still, yuck!

I finally dug out one of the smelly liver training treats. That finally got her to put the fly on the floor and while I held the treat above her head so she would have to look up, my husband moved in to remove the now very dead fly carcass. It took some work to get her to give up her prize but without the "Trade" trick, she'd have eaten it. Now, it wouldn't have killed her or even made her sick, but yuck.

Thankfully, I didn't remember that she woke me from my nap by licking me on the mouth. But I do now, YUCK!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Wasted Coffee

Well we definitely have to work on Miss Trixie's manners. This morning I was sitting in my robe with a fresh, hot cop of coffee. Trixie, our five month old papillon pup, just had to find out what I was drinking. She came running into the room, jumped up in my lap and stuck her noise right in the middle of my cup of coffee. Of course this resulted in sending black, hot, steaming liquid all down my leg and up her noise. She proceeded to snort and shake her head splattering droplets everywhere.

So much for a peaceful morning cup of coffee before getting dressed for church.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


We have a five month old papillon puppy. We brought her home at 8 weeks old so I know she has never been deprived of anything and has always had plenty of food, toys, love and affection. Yet every time our cat (a 13 year old Manx) gets near anything of hers or even goes to "his" food bowl, she gets very aggressive and possessive. We've had a few run-ins with her growling at us over food but we put a stop to that quickly by putting her in a submissive position and then touching her bowl, her and her food over the next few days to make sure she knew we are the Alpha leader in this house.

She has a crate and a dog bed. We keep her in the crate at night but my husband is retired so she usually has the run of the house during the day. It seemed amusing when we noticed she was taking all her toys with her from place to place. We found her rope toy, squeaky lamb toy, ball and rawhide chew sticks all together where ever she decided to nest. She would make endless trips from crate in the bedroom to the bed in the living room carrying her toys from room to room. I'm thinking this was a sign that she is a bit more dominant than expected. We will continue to help her socialize and loose some of her possessiveness.

She weighs about five pounds. Our cat weighs 12 pounds and still has his claws. We were concerned at first, that he might really hurt her, but he shows amazing restraint when he's had enough and fights back. Only one time has he connected hard enough to cause her to yelp when he swatted her. (a miracle in itself)

I thought we'd had a breakthrough today. They were actually in the yard together without and barking or hissing. This lasted about 20 minutes, then they both seemed to have all the "truce" they could handle.

In the image above you can just see the cat's right paw just beginning to lift and his shoulders hunch for a strike. He swatted and hissed. She barked and chased. Truce over!

He ran behind a bush and she barked at him.

I'm beginning to think they both enjoy this stuff...