Two Bones & Two Dogs

Elsie and Maggie were both given soft, chewy bones. (After the foreign obstruction scare, we threw away everything that chips, chards, or might get lodged in a tummy. If the vet listed it, we threw it away.)

Maggie attacks chews like it is a task she has been assigned at work. She lays down in a comfortable position, typically in the exact location she was in when you handed her the treat, and focuses solely on eating the chew as quickly, efficiently, and effectively as possible. Typically leaving bits in her beard and paws for later.

Elsie likes to carry her new treat around, she likes to set it in various locations, forget it, receive it again so she can carry it around, set it in new locations, forget it, and get it again.

Last night’s chew was a little big for her, but she has adult teeth and we figured she’d take her time with it. She did her usual routine but last night she just would not settle down and start chewing on it. She kept it in her grip, and would plop next to Maggie – once Mags had completely devoured her own chew – and still not gnaw on it.

Maggie was getting scratches on her chest, a favourite activity of hers. Elsie walked up so that her head was right next to Maggie’s and set the bone down. Being the fair parents we are, we picked up the bone – Mags had just eaten one. Elsie pounces to the bed and settles down, so we give her the bone again. She walks over to Maggie’s head, plops down with the bone in her mouth, and sets the chew down. This time, Donatello breaks the bone in half. He sets one side in front of Elsie.

Elsie sits and watches Donatello with the other half of her bone. She does not pick up the half in front of her, yet. So, Donatello gives Maggie the other half of the bone. As Maggie picks up the half in front of her, Elsie grabs her half and jumps on to the bed where she eats it all in one sitting.

Elsie would not eat the chew until it was shared with Maggie. I could not believe it. It seems difficult to deny that dogs are thoughtful, intentional creatures when you witness things like this.

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Training a Boisterous Puppy

Maggie, our first Bouvier, is a bit stubborn. But she was a very introverted, laid-back, calm puppy and has grown into a very sweet, introverted, laid-back, relaxed dog. She is so easy to care for and so loving, we knew we had to get a second one. We looked and looked and fell in love with Elsie. We brought her home.

Elsie is a sweet and very extroverted puppy. Not only does she have puppy energy, she has a very assertive, excited, and outgoing personality. Training her is a completely different exercise than training Maggie. I figure I am not the only person who has had difficulties training a very excitable, energetic stubborn Bouvier, but we have learned lessons I hope to pass on to someone else who might struggle when doing so. (We also welcome advice from those who have been through this before us.)

Patience

Not as advertised – you know, that stick with it! and it will come with time patience. Elsie requires the I know you are excited and focused and you don’t mean to be a pain in the behind and I still love you brand of patience.

She has learned many a command, but chooses to ignore them when she would rather do. How do you know she understands if she does not execute? Many people think their dogs understand, but there is a disconnect. That is a good point, dear reader. However, Elsie has a tell. Example: “Elsie, Come!” She looks at you, takes a step, looks at what she was doing, looks at you, and bounds away from you. Or, “Elsie, Sit!” Her back end begins to travel toward the ground, then she looks at you, looks away, and bounds away. Do you see the tell? She looks – acknowledging she hears you, begins to execute, and BAM!

We have both learned to count to ten, take a breath, and try a different approach.

Creativity

Elsie gets bored with you. She is very focused, but on her own plans. If you decide to play for ten minutes, Elsie will check out at two minutes to relocate a toy to one of her fun zones. She will then plop down and start chewing on her toy alone. She likes playing with you and will do so, but it rarely follows your schedule. So imagine how this dog feels about training sessions, even with games incorporated.

We have had to invent creative ways to train and entertain her. And she is clever, so we have to be that much more clever. To learn sit, we were unable to do the traditional butt down, treat above the nose trick. Oh, no. We had to catch her sitting, reward her and teach her the word. She is a champion sitter, but it took twice as long as it took Maggie.

Intentional Timing

Maggie could be taught in short periods, whenever you had time. Not Elsie. Elsie needs fifteen minutes a day at the same time of day with no distractions from BOTH parents. Distractions are leaves blowing, rocks, the sound of a neighbour smiling at his wife, any little thing can be a distraction to a mind as curious as Elsie’s. She needs thirty minutes of one-on-one training split into two periods – one with Mum, one with Dad – where she learns the same lesson in completely different ways (else, she gets bored). After a week or two of this per command, she is ready to try it out with distractions. And she does amazingly well given this time, but it took a very long time for her humans to figure this little trick out.

Exercise

The best way to a well-behaved Elsie is a worn out Elsie. Somehow you have to wear out Elsie without wearing out the humans. It takes a five-mile run, six-mile hike, a forty-minute game of soccer, or a four-hour outing to get Elsie energy levels down so that she is listening to your wants over her wants. I challenge you after ten hours of work, completing some school work, cooking a fresh meal to still have the energy it takes to train her for fifteen minutes.

…We go to bed by 20:30.

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Taken shortly after discovering water for the first time. April 30.

We love our difficult puppy. We love her energy and the companionship she brings to us and her big sister, Maggie. It has been difficult, but we are slowly making progress and she is becoming better behaved and less assertive every day… just SLOWLY. It is worth all the struggle and pain to get a well-behaved dog. If you are in a similar situation and struggling, keep pushing. It is well worth the trouble in the end.

Out of Both Ends

Being a furry parent isn’t all fun.

The girls were sick last week. They had a bad stomach bug, which lead the vets (yes, the plural) on a wild goose chase for a foreign substance obstructing their bowels. After 24 hours of observation which included x-rays every two-four hours, they determined it was just a nasty, mean, awful stomach bug.

They are recovered, but Donatello and I haven’t quite bounced back as quickly. Our dreams are still haunted by the memory of waking up to… poo paintings across our carpeted bedroom. We are still trying to get the bright yellow bile from the carpet. Every time a dog eliminates outside, we cheer like they have won a championship or brought home the gold from the 2016 Dog Olympics.

When we woke up last night to the smell of the wrath of Elsie’s stomach, we thought the worst. She hadn’t fully recovered, we were in for another long week. This time, luckily, it would be over the weekend instead of throughout the work week. We start implementing Clean Up After and Care For Furry E Attack Plan 57 – Donatello deals with the things that are clearly Elsie’s biological warfare (I am still not convinced this puppy is not trying to kill us via biological weaponry), while I take Elsie outside to clean her up and ensure she is really running on empty. Once outside Elsie begins to eat beetles and moths that she catches in the bright outside light. The light that was on the last time she went outside, when she also chased after, caught, and ate beetles.

Apparently, Elsie does not have a stomach bug this time. She just has a bug in her stomach that didn’t quite agree with her.

This is relief for us furry parents. Sadly, the carpet doesn’t share this relief.

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Our perfectly healthy bug catcher with her Teddy.

All About Lounging Positions

As told by Ace

Kitty Fortress

Mum built this special place one day and it has since belonged only to me. Brother has attempted to invade this spot on several occasions, but it is easily defended and so this is still one of my top spots. A luggage rack draped with a duvet cover rests on a piece of memory foam that has the softest blanket on the house as the flooring is referred to as the “Kitty Fortress” in my kingdom. Of my many royal residences, this is the most protected from Brother and the panting predators.

I like it for afternoon naps because it is dark and quiet, allowing me to catch up from a night busy with stalking and pouncing on Brother. It also makes me feel safe when the panting predators get a lot of energy and bounce around or when the sucking, yelling monster Mum is so fond of is attacking all my fur from the floors.

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In the Box

There have been many a box pass through the halls of the Wood Home, the country of which I am the High King. However, only one box is referred to as The Box. The only box for which I have approved a royal residence be created. This box is often shared with Brother, but is still an amazing place for lounging.

Dad has positioned it where it catches the sun and so that I can see what is happening at the bottom of the staircase. After lunch naps are best here, because I can fall asleep watching the birds at the window and with the sun lulling me softly to sleep.

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Perched Above the Kingdom

No spot is worth lounging in without being able to contemplate and enjoy the lands over which you preside. I have many a location for observing my kingdom: above kitchen counters, above the couch, from the second floor windows, and from the top of the dryer. No king can have enough viewing spots in which to enjoy the layout of his kingdom. These high viewing areas also ensure safety from one’s enemies.

On Cleaned Laundry

Much to Mum and Dad’s delight, I find laundry as soon as it is cleaned and leave gifts of fur for them so they will be reminded they are in the favour of the High King. The smell of Bounty Outdoor Fresh dryer sheets are quite alluring and pleasant, so I try to cover myself in that delectable scent. Often this exertion of energy to cover myself in this wonderful scent leaves me worn out and a nap is required.

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From the desk of High King Ace.

 

 

Elsie Interior Design

Elsie is a decorator. She takes this job very seriously. She spends afternoons digging through bins of clothing, searching for shoes, and dragging blankets to ensure every room is perfectly accented. Often her eye for colours and understanding of feng shui and the use of a room leaves us acknowledging that we are not the DIY specialists we thought we were. One should always consult a professional when decorating.

Here are a couple rules for wishing to imitate the professionals at Elsie Interior Design.

  1. Shoes are handy, stylish, and often put away in hidden rooms as if guests are not interested in seeing your tasteful selection of shoes. That is why at EID, our professionals boldly add colour, style, and taste into every room by  including these often overlooked trinkets in our designs.
  2. For inexpensive area rugs, there is not better tool in the designer’s tool box than clean laundry. When utilised properly, clothing makes for the perfect amount of colour to liven up every room in your home.
  3. Here at EID, we believe that toy boxes are a thing of the past. Instead, areas of your home should be set aside as “Fun Zones”. These dedicated happy places will liven up your living area and cater to the child in you.

Below are a few images of the a few EID completed designs.

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Bring colour, taste, and style into every room. © EID, 2016
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Bring colour, taste, and style into every room. © EID, 2016
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Bring colour, taste, and style into every room. Example of a Fun Zone, © EID, 2016
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Bring colour, taste, and style into every room. © EID, 2016