Three Kids and a Dog

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Doggie Daycare?

The reason we got Adler when we did was because Tom was working from home and could let her out during the day. That was a year and a half ago. Tom's moving back to working in an office probably by September so that means that we are struggling with what to do with Adler during the day. Do we 1) let her go 8 hours without someone taking her out 2) employ a dog walker to take her out or 3) take her to doggie daycare? We've been investigating places such as Bark Avenue and Pet Care Plus by our house that offer dog walking and doggie daycare. Tom insists that Adler can hold it all day. I know she can but I think it's cruel to make your dog hold it for eight hours every single day. So we will probably employ some combination of the above three options when Tom moves into his new office.

Might sound like Adler's spoiled, but what if someone made you refrain from going to the bathroom for 8 or 10 hours? I can't imagine doing that to Adler. My friend could though. He (and he shall remain nameless to protect his identity) recently told me that he left his dog for 16 hours while his wife and he were celebrating their anniversary at the Sybaris. Now, I have no idea why you'd choose the Sybaris over your own home for the evening, but apparently there's something the rest of us don't know about this place. At any rate, my friend leaves the poor dog for 16 hours and the dog miraculously holds his bladder and bowels for 16 hours. Can you believe it? Check the Guinness Book of World Records cause this dog might have it. But, anyway, he comes home, let's out the dog and then proceeds to leave again for another two hours. Now the dog is pissed (literally and figuratively) and decides to relieve himself all over their house. Of course they are angry when they get home and banish the dog to his room for the last five days. To that I say, well, duh, no kidding the dog relieved himself all over your house after you left him for 16 hours and then again for another two. But to blame the dog for that is beyond me. Next time, I recommend spending the $25 or so to board your dog. It will be far cheaper than installing new carpet or purchasing all those cleaning supplies needed to remove foul odors from the rug.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Adler's Older, But Not Wiser

I'd like to say Adler's getting better.... and at some things she is doing better, but at class at Call of the Wild on Saturday she was clearly one of the worst behaved dogs. Tom took the day off from training to golf so that just left me and Adler. I was looking forward to having Adler all to myself at training and thinking that she was going to have a great class with just me, but it was just the opposite.

We worked primarily on sit and stay. Adler couldn't handle herself. She would sit for five seconds. Then get up, sit back down and get up again. Plus, add distractions to the mix like the teacher walking around and bouncing a tennis ball and forget it, I looked like a lion handler unable to control an unwieldy lion. She definitely needs work on this.

After class, Adler and I visited my dad and my 21-year-old cat, Casey. Casey presented the perfect distraction for practicing sit and stay with Adler. Aside from almost giving the old cat a heart attack, Adler did great. She obeyed me and refrained from running after the cat as it darted out of the room. It was only after I released her from the sit position that she bolted to find Casey who had had enough time to jump up on the bed, out of reach of Adler.

Today in the park, we also worked on the sit and stay with one of us serving as the distraction. She did pretty well. Just like with anything though, it's all about the reinforcement. To end on a positive note, Adler was the best in class this week at the down command. She sure showed up those young pups. Now if we can just get her to stay down!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Adler's Favorite Rest Stop

Adler has been doing really well this week with her training. Our walks around the block have been more pleasant since she’s not stopping at every area to sniff or lay down. She walks until I choose her next “rest stop” and believe me she really relishes those breaks. Lately, she likes to take her breaks by our local Starbucks (sounds just like Tom!). The last two times we’ve been out for walks, when we get to that “rest stop” she lays in the grass and watches the traffic. But once I give her the command “Let’s go” she’s up and walking again (of course bribed by a little reinforcement called a treat!). Tomorrow is her second day of class, so we’ll see how well-behaved she is with all the other dogs/owners around. At least this week, she’s been going out with Tom when he puts her collar on. She may still be laying down and putting up her paws to fight him off when he approaches, but once the collar is on, she’s happy as a clam to go out.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Adler's Back in Training

Tom and I have been debating for the last several months whether to take Adler back to school. It all started when we took her for her annual check up in March. Our vet, Dr. Berman, from the Family Pet Animal Hospital noticed that Adler was a little too smart and a little too defiant for her own good. In fact, we could barely get her into the room for Dr. Berman to examine her because she was laying face down on the floor and refusing to budge. When we finally got her into the room, she refused to let Dr. Berman check her out, making her chase her in circles around the room then hiding behind Tom and I. Dr. Berman finally had to take her in the backroom to give her the shots. She said Adler was smart, too smart and was taking advantage of us. There's nothing like thinking you have a good dog only to be told that maybe she needs more obedience training.

But, the clincher on dog training was the last few months when Adler has refused to go out with Tom when I am home. She hides behind me and lays down. And, even when I take her for walks, we'll walk a block and Adler will lay down refusing to go any further. She definitely knows that she rules the roost. So yesterday, Tom and I decided to take her back to dog training to work on obedience - that is coming when called, no jumping and walking nicely beside us when we go for walks around the neighborhood.

At Call of the Wild for her first day of training, Adler was probably the oldest dog there at a year and a half. The rest were pretty much still puppies. Adler was great at eye contact- showing up all the other dogs, but not so good at coming when called especially when there were distractions like cheese. I think our dog might have ADHD. By the end of the class, all the other dogs were tired but not Adler. As long as there were other people and dogs around she wouldn't rest. The next seven weeks of training are sure to illicit some interesting stories.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Adler is Such a Girl

Just like some women I know, Adler doesn’t like men. It all started about six months ago. Some man must’ve broke her heart because since then she will not let random guys come up and pet her. She’s very selective with her affection for men even going as far as backing away and barking at some of our male friends. Just this morning, I’m walking her around the block – our usual before work routine – when she hears the voices of male construction workers. In usual fashion, she pulls up her nose from its permanent place in the grass and hurries past the house they are working on. A few houses later, another man was standing on his front porch and Adler approached him hesitantly. The guy, doing the right thing, bent down and put his hand out for Adler to smell it. Adler hates the hand. She backed up and started barking her head off at this poor guy.

We don’t know when this aversion to men started but we do know that Adler is selective in her discrimination – some men, even ones we don’t know, she will go right up to and snuggle up against their leg begging for free pats. Others, she won’t let within 10 feet of her. Maybe she’s just protecting us, but I think Adler just prefers keeping company with girls and her Chewy Vuitton purse.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Adler's Got Some Competition

Adler is the hit of the neighborhood. Even now, well past her puppy looks, she still gets compliments from strangers. In fact, Tom and I can't go a day without at least one person remarking how striking she is. People have even gone as far as stopping their car to ask us about her breed. Yes, I may be biased but before I owned a Bernese Mountain Dog, I wanted one because they stood out among the other breeds. So it isn't a surprise to say that every pet owner in the neighborhood knows Adler and loves her.

In fact, last week, one of the neighborhood pet owners informed us that Adler has some competition. Turns out someone in the neighborhood brought home a 10-week old Swiss Mountain Dog. The Bernese Mountain Dog and the Swiss Mountain Dog look very similar except they tend to be a little leaner and have short hair, but they are from the same family. Well, today, I got to meet Adler's competition. I decided to take Adler on a late afternoon walk since I was off today. I was in a relaxed mode so I strolled over to our neighborhood park and sat down on one of its benches, letting Adler sniff around. Down at the other end of the park, I saw this couple enter with an adorable little puppy. I quickly recognized that this is the new dog that everyone in the neighborhood was now talking about. Adler must've sensed the competition because no sooner did the puppy come over to sniff Adler than Adler walloped her with her paw and down the puppy went. Of course it was a playful wallop but Adler was relentless. She figured this dog should be able to keep up with her so she chased her around the park walloping the dog on the back and in the face with very chance she got. She even stepped on her once too, I think just to show her who still ruled the neighborhood! Now, I know Adler doesn't have a mean bone in her body but you would've thought otherwise the way she terrorized this little puppy. I guess she just wanted to prove that she's still the queen of the neighborhood.