Thursday, September 1, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

That's what it feels like sometimes living with a puppy. I do still think of Oscar as a puppy, even though he's over a year old. Some days there is progress in his training and behaviour, and other days it's back to the same bad habits. He's not really backtracking though, so I suppose maybe it's one step forward, one step back.

Today I was very pleasantly surprised when I took out his harness before his walk and he sat still and actually let me clip it on without fidgeting at all. I don't remember that ever happening before! I was so proud. He did still try to chew on it a couple of times, but he has gotten so much better with it than when we first put it on him. He chewed through the first one we got, but this one has been fine so far.

On his walk, he started out pretty excited, so unfortunately he did bark at a few people that he passed, which he hasn't done in a long time. I did notice that he was much better with watching me as he walked, though, and didn't pull nearly as much as usual. I was actually quite impressed with how often he looked up at me as he walked.

My excitement about his progress with loose leash walking didn't last long. As soon as we got back to the yard and I tried to unclip his leash from his harness, he started struggling and crashed straight into some weeds that have tons of burrs on them. I guess that's what I get for being lazy with yard maintenance. So while he looked pretty pleased with himself when he got home, he ended up fighting me for ten minutes afterwards as I pulled burrs out of his fur. It was a bit of a struggle, to say the least.

Making trouble makes him happy!

The two burrs on his back were just the beginning.

There must have been 40 or 50 of them and I got to
pull them out one by one as he struggled. What fun!

Pesky little buggers.

I guess that's the charm of living with a mischievous and clever little schnauzer. I have to say he keeps me on my toes!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

It's Been A While...

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I last blogged! It has been a very busy August so blogging kind of fell by the wayside. We just got back from a few days in New York City, but we came back ahead of Hurricane Irene. I heard that the storm downgraded to a Category One when it hit land, which is better than they expected, but it's still scary stuff so I hope everyone on the East Coast stays safe this weekend.

While we were in New York, Oscar stayed with friends of ours and he's settling back in. He's already gotten back to his old habits. We picked a cucumber from our garden this morning and left it on our counter. Oscar managed to snag it and started snacking on it before we noticed. I took it back and cut some pieces to train him with. He's allowed to have cucumber, but only on our terms!

Not sure if he gnawed through it or it broke when it fell.

Oscar isn't looking very apologetic at all!

You can have some cucumber, but only if you work for it.

The Kong Wobbler has taught him to
paw at things when he wants them.

As for his paw licking, unfortunately I don't have a good update, because his paw licking hasn't stopped. He was groomed and we made sure to ask for the hair around his paw to be cut short. We've also been taking him to the dog park and on walks. My sisters came for a visit too, so he got plenty of attention. The grooming and lack of boredom didn't keep him from licking his paw. His paw pads on that foot don't look any different from the others, and I still haven't noticed anything in his fur or skin, so I think it's just become a self-soothing habit.

On another note, we actually were quite happy with his last grooming session. I think it's the first time we've brought him to the groomer where we were completely happy with how it turned out. I could tell right from the start of that session that it was going to be better than usual, because the groomer we got asked lots of questions, and I also told her exactly what we didn't like about previous grooming sessions. He came out cleaned up, but not shaved. Perfect!

He still looks like a schnauzer - unlike the last time!

I'm going to try to catch up on all the goings-on in the pet blogosphere this weekend. Happy Saturday everybody!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Paw Licking: A Mystery

Oscar took antibiotics for a week because he was licking and chewing at his front right paw and the vet thought he probably had a splinter or something in his foot. We took his cone off after a week after he finished his round of antibiotics, but he started licking and chewing his paw again, so we put the cone back on for another week. Poor Oscar - he got a taste of freedom and then we stole it away.

He's chewed the lining off the cone.

No more cone?

Back to chewing...back to the cone.

We took the cone off tonight and he started back up with the paw licking and chewing. I have no idea what's going on. His paw doesn't seem to hurt or bother him normally, but every once in a while, he'll start licking at it, or he'll latch onto it and roll around and growl. We've already taken him to the vet and put him on antibiotics, and I've given him a bath and rinsed off his paw every once in a while in the meantime, and none of that seems to have helped. This is pretty puzzling. We also trimmed most of the fur in between his paw pads, thinking that maybe it was long and it was bothering him, but his fur is just as long on his other paws and he doesn't seem to notice that so I don't think that's the cause either.

I tried to do some reading about what could be going on. Like so many things, it's hard to pinpoint a cause for the symptoms. Since he only seems to be bothered by one paw, I don't think it's likely to be because of contact or food allergies. We switched his food, but that was back in May - that seems like a long time for allergies to show up. Apparently dogs can exhibit some obsessive compulsive behaviours, paw licking being one of them. If they only seem to be licking or chewing at one paw, it's more likely to be related to obsessive compulsive causes than allergies.

One suggested solution I read about is to reduce the dog's boredom and stress. We have been pretty busy over the last few weekends working on our deck. Remember the post where I said we wanted to get the deck sanded and hopefully stained that weekend? Well, not so much. It's four weekends later and we're only hoping to get it stained this weekend. Because of our deck work, we haven't been walking him or taking him to the dog park as much as we were before. Maybe his paw licking really is related to boredom. We're planning on getting him groomed this weekend if we can, in the hopes that they'll clean up his paws and if the licking has anything to do with mats or long hair, it might help. We're also planning on taking him to the dog park this long weekend to let him get more exercise.

I hope this resolves itself soon, because it's making me worry. Oscar chewing on our walls and dishtowels is something I can stop. Chewing on his own paw is odd and harder to deal with. I'm not sure what else I should be doing. Have any of you dealt with this before?

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Dreaded Cone: Round 2

We noticed around a week ago that Oscar was licking his right paw. We tried to see if anything was wrong with it, but we couldn't tell through his fur, even after I gave him an impromptu paw grooming. (It's official - I have no future in becoming a dog groomer.) We looked at his paw on several occasions, despite the almighty struggle he put up because he hates having us touch his paws, and saw that it seemed a little bit red and raw. I bought some ointment from the pet store for his paw, but it didn't seem to do much, except make him lick at it more, even though the ointment was supposed to taste bitter to discourage chewing.

Besides the licking, Oscar didn't seem to be bothered by his paw much, and he ran around like he normally did. We figured that we would leave it for a day or two and see if it got any better, since we couldn't figure out why he kept licking. Last night, though, he started biting his paw. He'd latch onto his paw and roll around, growling. Not good. While we can try to wait out licking to see if it gets better on its own, we didn't want to just leave things alone if he was going to gnaw on himself. Time to go see the vet.

It looks worse than it is because I cut all of his fur away
from his first toe, and the red is staining from him licking
at it, but it was inflamed and was definitely bothering him.

The vet said that his nail bed looked inflamed, and she thought that something had probably pricked his paw and was still embedded somewhere around the nail. She couldn't see it, so she said we'd have to wait until his body just expelled it on its own. In the meantime, she recommended some antibiotics for him since his paw had gotten inflamed, and she didn't want it to get worse. She said that if he kept licking, a yeast infection could develop between his toes. Eww...what?

So our little pup is on antibiotics for a week. Our vet also recommended that we put a cone on him for the time being to allow his paw some time to heal without him licking or chewing at it. We tried to put the cone that he wore after his neutering back on him. He hated it. I don't remember him struggling quite so much back then, but he just went absolutely bonkers this time around.

He has no idea what's about to happen!

His last meal as a free dog...for about a week, at least.

And the struggle begins.

Taking a break from trying to tear the cone off...

He looks happy, but he's not. Trust me.

Yet another intense struggle...

Ironically, this can't be good for his paw.

You should have heard the noises he was making!

I suppose he's grown out of his cone, because he managed to chew a chunk of it off, so I had to go out and buy a new one a few minutes before PetSmart closed. The new one has a lining along the edges for comfort, but he gnawed part of it off within minutes. He seems to have given in for the time being, but tomorrow's a new day.

The new one's not any easier to tear off than
the old one...but Oscar had to see for himself.

Trying to become an escape artist is tiring!

Miserable...but cute! Poor thing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Table Surfing

Oscar knows what "Off" means - he just chooses to pretend that he doesn't. Stubborn schnauzer.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Post-Bath Routines

Oscar is actually pretty well-behaved at bath time. We usually leave the door to the bathroom closed because he finds it entertaining to eat toilet paper (we're not nearly as entertained when it happens), but when the door is open, he'll often jump into the bathtub. I think it's because I turned the tap on once or twice for him to drink from before and now he hopes that I'll do it every time.

He must not know what's coming - he looks too happy.

"Can I get in now?"

"Wait, I think I've changed my mind."

He's calm during the bath, but afterwards, he's a bit of a nut - either he goes crazy and does zoomies all over the place, or he rubs up against the walls. I think it's pretty entertaining!

Looking for a way out, but there's no escape!

The running around begins.

Looking soggy and pitiful!

I wanted to say thanks to Tucker the Crestie for passing along the Versatile Blogger Award to me. Sorry it took a while for me to pass along my thanks - it's been a busy week and I dropped the ball on blogging. I was given the award on another occasion and wrote about it (and passed it on to some great blogs) here. Thanks again!

Thanks yet again to Two Little Cavaliers, Life With Dogs and Confessions of the Plume for hosting another blog hop. Happy Saturday, everybody!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Birthday, Canada!

Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadian bloggers and readers! Today is our nation's birthday, and it makes me think of how much I love being Canadian and living in Canada. It also means I get the day off work - yet another reason to love Canada! However, despite our love and appreciation for this beautiful country, instead of joining in Canada Day festivities downtown or passing time on a patio somewhere, we have chosen to use the day to wash and sand our deck. Hopefully we'll have time later this weekend to stain it, too. Terribly exciting, isn't it?

We power-washed the thing this morning at 8:30 a.m. - hopefully not too early for the neighbours - our bylaws say we can start doing noisy yard things at 7:00 a.m.,  but I feel like that would just be obnoxious. As we waited for it to dry before we started sanding, we took Oscar to the dog park to run around, because it's a beautiful day - perfect for big national celebrations! It was very warm out, and he even lay down for a rest a time or two, which is practically unheard of for this dog.

There's so much green to frolic in!

Getting some shade...

Trees and blue sky...what a lovely day!

Pretty picturesque for a dog park!

Oscar's you see him?

"Let's see how loud I can make the humans
shout by walking right up to this mud puddle..."

Oscar needed a rest.  Weird, I know.

Oscar got a little cut on his tongue from something.
It bled a lot and gave us a good scare, but he's fine now.

He was so tired he immediately went to
chill out on the floor of the car. Good dog!

This is one hot or happy pup...or both!

Maybe tonight we'll partake in some Canada Day festivities, or maybe we'll just take it easy - we'll see. Either way, it will be a good way to spend a Friday night. 

Happy Canada Day!
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