Monday, January 31, 2011

Maybe It's A Statement About Natural Beauty...

...Or maybe Oscar just likes to chew anything that he can steal off of a table. I think it's the second option. I'm actually kind of impressed at the dent he managed to make in the mascara tube, but also a bit sad because I hadn't even used it yet. He didn't puncture it though, so maybe it's still good, but just a little worse for wear. We'll see!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

One Sick Puppy

I'm pretty sure Oscar has a cold. He's been sneezing, and has a bit of a runny nose. He doesn't have a cough, though, and he's still playing with his toys and running around, and his little stub tail is wagging all over the place, so I don't think it's anything serious. We'll keep an eye on him today, but he's already better than he was yesterday. Yesterday at 10 a.m., he was lying on the couch, sleepy, like it was midnight. This morning, he's back to trying to eat my breakfast, running all over me when I sit on the couch, and basically being a bit of an obnoxious puppy. I guess that's a good sign - and also a reminder that we need to work on his manners!

Sleepy dog...we don't see this very often.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Kong Genius Toys

My husband and I were shopping for storage stuff in HomeSense a few weeks ago, and there was a pet section with Kong toys that were way cheaper than they are at pet stores. I found a Kong Genius toy, which I had been wanting to get for a while for Oscar to try out, for $8. They were going for $12 at a local pet store, and I was holding off on getting one until I could find it on sale or something. I love finding deals!

The Kong Genius is a bit different from some of the other toys we've gotten for Oscar that I've blogged about, like the Kong Wobbler, the Tug-A-Jug, or the Buster Cube. The Wobbler and Buster Cube pretty much involve him pushing the toy around until food falls out. The Tug-A-Jug involves a lot of yanking and throwing the toy around until food comes out. The difficulty level of the Tug-A-Jug is higher than the others. The Kong Genius toys are meant to be linked up to increase difficulty, but right now I've only got one, so Oscar basically drops it on the ground over and over until kibble comes out. Not too challenging, but at least he has to work for his food.

All in all, not a bad toy. Oscar seems to like it fine, as you can see in the video after the pictures. Unlike the other food-dispensing toys, we can put this one into Oscar's crate with him to feed him since it's so small. It's a bit tight trying to fit a whole meal into the toy, though. The only other issue is that the spout at the top where you load the toy is too small for most treats to fit through. I do put a couple of treats in there which are too large to come out of the spout, in order to challenge Oscar to try to get it out through the Xs in the toy. Maybe the next time I'm at HomeSense, I'll find another one to link up to this one. Then I'll have no trouble getting a full meal into it, and it will be a bit more tricky for him!

There are a couple of places for other toys to link up to this one...

The Squeaker Ball

Oscar loves his squeaker toys. You'd think that they would annoy us, but I think we've learned to tune them out and just be grateful that he's not chewing on something he's not supposed to chew. One of his favourites is a very, very noisy orange ball. It provides hours (well, maybe minutes) of squeaky enjoyment!

"Playing fetch never gets boring.
Look at my perfect form!"

Om nom nom!

"I refuse to lose this game of tug of war...but I would
be willing to trade this ball for a treat.  Just saying."

Happy pet blog hopping!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Our Dog May Be Part Cat...

Oscar has been climbing all over the back of the couch lately. He never used to be this graceful, but he learned the skill from his cockapoo friend, who is very good at climbing and leaping all over the place.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fun in the Snow

Winter's in full swing, no doubt about it. Right now, it's -20 (-6 Fahrenheit). Even though it's freezing out, Oscar still finds ways to enjoy himself.

I smell a pinecone!

Don't let it escape!

All right, enough digging.

My face is cold.  Can we go inside now?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Free the Schnauzer!

Oscar has been crate trained, so he always sleeps in his crate at night. When we are out at work, he is in an exercise pen that is connected up with his crate, since we wanted to at least let him move around and play with his toys. The reason we haven't given him the run of the house when we are gone is because he chews just about anything he can get his little paws on and we don't want him getting into dangerous situations like getting into places he shouldn't, or knocking things over. Now that he's more or less at his full-grown size, he can get up onto lower tables and steal whatever is on them, and he can grab things that we accidentally leave near the edge of countertops.

We don't really want to keep him in his pen during the day anymore if we don't have to, but we don't just want to let him loose all of a sudden. We'll do a second round of puppy-proofing around the house and then leave him out when we run short errands to see how he does and then go from there. We might also start letting him out at night as well, since he's probably less likely to get into trouble when he's sleepy...but no guarantees!

Oscar was bored, so he decided to renovate his exercise pen.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Under Construction

I was fiddling around last night with some of Blogger's new fonts and somehow wonked up the header (among other things) and can't get things back to the way they were. Yikes! So I figured I'd start from scratch on the design, so I apologize in the meantime for all of the random changes that may show up.

Wish me luck!

Shake a Paw

Oscar can be so charming when he wants to be! Especially when he knows he can get a treat out of it.

On another note, it's time for the blog hop! I discover so many entertaining blogs this way. Happy Saturday, everyone!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day Camp!

We dropped Oscar off at day camp at PetSmart today for the first time. When we picked him up, we were told that he was a bit nervous at first and he sat in the corner for a while because the dogs at camp were pretty noisy today. I've never seen him shy or nervous at all, even at the dog park where there are lots of dogs of all sizes who are eager to play, but I guess there's also a lot more room to run around at the dog park, so maybe he was feeling a bit overwhelmed indoors. I guess he got over his nervousness though, because they also said he played a lot, though generally more one-on-one than in a big group. When he got home, he was pretty excited and I was surprised that he didn't seem tired, but a few minutes after we put him in his crate while we had dinner, he zonked right out. Excellent!

The result of a busy day of romping around with other pups!

Monday, January 17, 2011

So Much to Chew, So Little Time

Shoes are delicious!

So are dishtowels...

And gloves too!

But sometimes I chew things I'm allowed to chew, like bully sticks.  Yum! 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cheap Entertainment

Miniature schnauzers are smart dogs. Oscar has picked up a lot of commands already in his young life (though sometimes when he eats things he shouldn't or pulls on his leash the entire walk, I tend to forget that he's still a puppy and doesn't know everything yet). While it's great that Oscar's smart, it also means that he gets bored pretty easily. He seems to have an endless supply of energy, even if he's been running around for hours. If we don't give him something that entertains him, he will find something himself, and "something" usually means chewing our shoes, clothing or towels.

So, if you've been reading my blog, you'll know that I am a fan of toys that can keep Oscar's attention, like toys that you can use at mealtime so that he has to work for his food, or bully sticks, which keep him busy. However, I'm an even bigger fan of things that occupy him that I don't have to buy or stuff treats into. One example is cheap and fun: an ice cube on a tile or hardwood floor. Oscar loves chasing ice cubes around and pouncing on them, and it's one way to get a little more water into him, since I find that he doesn't regularly visit his water bowl. And I'm probably almost as entertained as he is, just watching him play!

Who Doesn't Love Baby Pictures?

Pam and Oskar over at Pet Blogs United have put together a Babyface Parade - a collection of photos of pet bloggers/pet blog subjects from their cute and fuzzy puppy or kitten days. Oscar's part of the parade, too! You should head on over and take a look!

In the spirit of the Babyface Parade, here are a few more pictures of Oscar from his younger days.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Saturday Pet Blogger Hop

Most of my Saturday is gone but I figured we should join in the blog hop fun anyway!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Surgical Intervention

Since Oscar seems to like chewing cloth objects like socks, dish towels or mittens, we figured we'd buy him a chew toy that he might actually enjoy (as opposed to all of those rubber ones he was interested in for about a minute and now ignores).

Enter the Nylabone Happy Moppy, which is basically a bunch of cloth pieces all tied together that he can chew. We figured out that he enjoys chewing knots, like the ones at the end of sweatshirt drawstrings, so we tied knots in most of the cloth pieces. He really liked it, especially the little orange nubbins that you can see on the right side of the Happy Moppy in the picture. What he liked best was tearing them off and eating them. Not so good. So...

We had to lop off the fuzzy orange pieces. Look how much he chewed off of the one on the left! We were finding orange bits in his poop, so it had to be done. Sorry, Happy Moppy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Look at those froggy legs!  Oscar used to lie down like this all the time when he was a young puppy.  At first I thought something was wrong with his hips, but I guess he's just comfy that way.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


That cute little face is what keeps Oscar from getting into too much trouble when he's done something naughty. That is, depending on what it is he's eaten. Lucky for him, he's only chomped on shoes that I don't particularly care about. I'm sure that won't last!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Ultimate Goal: Loose Leash Walking

While I love having a puppy, I have to say that puppy ownership does have its challenges. I think the thing that frustrates me the most right now is trying to teach Oscar how to walk on a loose leash. He's got a strong terrier nose and is constantly sniffing at anything and everything (and often trying to eat what he's sniffing, too, which doesn't help). We worked on loose leash walking in puppy class, but he hasn't really picked it up yet, which really means we haven't found a training technique that works yet. If I could give prospective new puppy owners a word of advice, I think it would be not to buy a retractable leash, at least until the puppy learns to walk well beside you. We started Oscar out on a retractable leash, which meant he could dash off wherever he wanted within a 6 foot radius. I definitely think that it helped to form a habit that's now pretty tough for us to break.

In puppy class, we learned the Back command, which is to stop and have the puppy come back beside you when he pulls. It didn't really teach him to walk on a loose leash, though. For whatever reason, he will now just stop and sit when we say Back rather than come back beside us and continue walking, even after we lure him back. This means that as soon as we call him back, he'll sit or stop, and then as soon as we move, he'll bolt ahead and yank at the leash. If we call him back while still moving, he just continues to pull. We've tried to use treats to guide him into the right position when walking, but even the good treats don't really keep his attention when he smells something interesting.

A handy trick that our trainer gave to us, which worked for a while but doesn't seem to when he's outside, is to walk with Oscar, and then as soon as he stops paying attention and tries to bolt off, we turn and walk the other way. That means that he has to pay attention to us as we walk. In class, it worked so well that when he was walking, he walked right into another puppy because he was looking straight at me. Walking outside is a whole other story, though. I think I'll try to go back to basics and work on this in the house where there are fewer distractions, and then try it in the backyard when he's consistent on the leash in the house. Maybe that will work!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Dog Park Fun!

We took Oscar to an off-leash dog park for the first time today. It's a great park with a lot of room to run around. A bunch of dogs and their owners congregate around the entrance of the park where the dogs play, and then there are walking paths and fields where dogs can just roam around and explore.

Oscar did pretty well. The only issue we had was recalling him when he ran too far off without us. We'll have to work on Come outdoors to try to get him come to us reliably when we call him. Of course we want him to run and play in the park, but we also want to be able to keep an eye on him so that he doesn't get into any trouble.

We were out at the park for almost an hour. Even though it was snowing a little, it was pretty mild and there were a lot of people and dogs there. Oscar got to run around quite a bit and socialize with a lot of dogs. I was really impressed with how he politely said hello to other dogs. That was a skill that we had worked on in puppy class and he did very well with it today.

We plan on going once a week, if we can. It's a good place for him to burn off some of his puppy energy. Usually when I'm busy around the house and Oscar is quiet, it means he's gotten into trouble and is eating something he shouldn't be, like my shoes. Today, though, I checked on him when I thought he was a little too quiet and all I saw was this:

And now he's taking a nap.  Hooray for dog parks!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Who Wants a Chew Toy?

Apparently not Oscar, even though he's probably got about two dozen.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Buster Cube, Hurrah!

I've finally found a Buster Cube! Not only that, but it's a small one. The other one that I came across (which I couldn't open and therefore didn't buy) was the big size, which I think would have been hard for Oscar to push around since it doesn't just roll around like a ball. This one opens just fine and should fit one of his meals pretty easily. After my long search, I've really built this toy up in my head so I hope it's worth the wait! I had to wash it first, though, and the little shelves inside the Cube that direct the kibble out of the Cube make it hard to dry quickly, so testing will have to wait until tomorrow. I'll report back on how much Oscar likes it.

To load or clean the Buster Cube, you have to stick your thumb
in the little cylinder and twist it until it clicks and comes out.


There's Oscar, always eager to test out new toys...especially when they involve food!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Crate = Treats!

I remember the days after we had gone to the breeder's house to look at her miniature schnauzer puppies and had picked Oscar out, but weren't able to take him home yet because he was too young. We bought his crate and set it all up with towels inside, ready for our puppy to come home. We bought a crate that came with a divider so that we could make the crate smaller when he was younger and increase it as he grew. A crate that is too big can slow crate training down, as it leaves room for the pup to go to the bathroom in the crate.

We had planned to crate him at night from the start in the mudroom (where the door to the backyard is), where his crate would be kept, rather than in our room with us. We didn't want to get him into the habit of sleeping in our room, which would make it more difficult for us to move him out later. 

Oscar cried for about twenty minutes the first night before he fell asleep. He woke up once or twice through the night and we let him out to do his business. When he got back into his crate, he cried again for another twenty minutes before falling back asleep. He only cried for about three nights before he got used to sleeping on his own in the crate. Pretty good!

We never force him into his crate. We try to associate it with good things and give him treats when he gets into it, including a treat every night before he goes to bed in the crate. When we need him to be quiet for a while, we give him good treats like a stuffed Kong in the crate. He usually takes a little nap when he's done eating.


How is it possibly comfortable to sleep like that?

Sometimes he'll just run into the crate without even being told and will watch us in the hopes of getting a treat, but he has actually learned to get into his crate on cue too.  Handy!

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