Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Rare Sight

That's right - it's a calm Oscar. Take a close look, everyone, because you may not see this again for a while! It didn't even take a long day at the dog park or a day full of new places to get him this relaxed, but only a long game of fetch and some Drop It practice. I gave him a treat for being so good. Usually as soon as he gets a treat, he gets up to go exploring or to play because he has a bit of a short attention span, but this time he didn't even move. What a pleasant surprise!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Big Day

Oscar has had a busy Sunday. We walked him after lunch and then we met up with our friends and their cockapoo at a pet store/coffee shop in town. What a cute little place - I dream of quitting my day job and owning a pet store/coffee shop. That would be so much fun!

We have something for the car that is hooked onto a seat belt and attaches to his harness. It's so short that it keeps him from standing up, and he has to sit or lie down to be comfortable. We thought this would be handy because he tends to stand up and run around in the backseat if he's not secured, which obviously can be dangerous. It was the first time we tried it though, and he was pretty agitated at not being able to stand up or move around. Even treats didn't get his attention, and he whined pretty much the whole ride.

He looks happy here...but he
definitely wasn't pleased at all.

By the time we got to the pet store/coffee shop, he was a little overexcited. We tried to sit with him in the car until he calmed down but it didn't really work. We should have waited longer, but we were already late! We'll leave more time the next time we try something new. He barked like crazy at people and dogs when we first got inside, but after a while he quieted down (more or less).

I'm going to read up (more) on how to help with the barking, because what I've been doing hasn't really helped. I try to correct the barking and then treat when he's quiet, but that hasn't done anything at all. I think maybe the treating confuses him and I am inadvertently rewarding the barking. I have also tried to stay quiet to convey that there's nothing wrong, but that doesn't really work either since he's not paying any attention to me when he's barking. The barking is definitely a miniature schnauzer trait, but I'm going to keep working on it. Also, we want to get him out and about more when the weather improves so that he can get used to being in different settings with other people and dogs. He could definitely use more socialization - that will probably help with the barking in the long run.

We headed to grandma and grandpa's house after the pet store/coffee shop. He was much calmer when we used the seatbelt harness attachment for that ride. He got another short walk, and then he had a ball exploring the house and stealing gloves and other interesting things. It's hard keeping an eye on a rambunctious puppy in a house that hasn't been puppy-proofed, that's for sure!

By the time he got into the car for the ride home, he was way too pooped to protest about the harness attachment at all. It's the calmest he's ever been in the car. Now he's napping. Tuckered out puppy = happy owners!

He was pretty chilled out at first...

...and then he fell asleep.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

That Explains It!

I was looking around online for some durable dog toys, since Oscar has been absolutely destroying everything this week. This crazy destruction phase just seemed to come out of nowhere. I had noticed Tuffy toys in one of the pet stores near our house but never bought one. I thought I'd get one for him to try this week, since they've gotten great reviews online and they sounded fantastic. I bought the junior ring for Oscar and brought it home, and I was pretty excited about my purchase.

Oscar seemed to like it. He played with it for less than an hour, and then this happened:

Destruction again. Sigh. For a toy that is built to be durable, it didn't last very long for Oscar - he's that intense right now. He ripped it right near where the squeaker was, so I took it away right away before he could do more damage and/or swallow the squeaker. We went back to the pet store and returned the toy. I know fabric toys aren't meant to be indestructible and all that, but it was still a surprise how quickly he managed to rip it, since it was marketed as being very tough and durable. It felt pretty sturdy - maybe when Oscar calms down a bit down the road, we'll try the toys again, because I liked it...at least until Oscar defeated it.

They let us exchange the toy for another one, so we got an Orbo Bone. It's very bouncy rubber, so hopefully he'll like chewing it, even though it's not made of fabric. We are definitely avoiding fabric toys for the foreseeable future, no matter how "durable." He seemed to like it when we first let him play with it. The time that he spent playing with it was the longest I've ever seen him show interest in a rubber dog toy. The toy tags says that the Orbo Bone tastes like mint, so maybe that's why he was intrigued by it.

I was doing some reading online tonight, trying to figure out why all of a sudden Oscar became an even more intense chewer than he was before (and that's saying something!). It turns out that puppies may go through a second chewing phase. That was news to me! Apparently it takes place between around 6-10 months of age. That would explain why it was like a switch went off this week with the chewing. Knotted rope bones that he's had for ages with no trouble suddenly got literally chewed in half, and he's destroyed several toys in the last few days alone. The cushion in his crate that he has slept on with no problem for months got de-stuffed. Towels get eaten, or he pulls long threads out of them, so he doesn't get those in his crate either. He only gets fleece blankets now, because he either can't or isn't interested in chewing through them.

I'm crossing my fingers that this second chewing phase passes quickly! It's exhausting!

Tug of War!

Before we got a dog, I read about how playing tug of war wasn't good because it makes dogs more aggressive. I don't know how I feel about that. I think tug of war can be a fun game as long as you can put boundaries on it when you're playing. I play tug of war with Oscar once in a while. I keep the games short and if he starts getting really excited, we stop. He has fun, and doesn't seem to get aggressive after playing. It's good, clean fun for us!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Poor Little Toys...

Oscar is on a chewing rampage lately! He has destroyed three or four toys in the last couple of days alone. Look at poor little Wubba bear - he's missing an ear!

Oscar also ate both ears off of another Kong Wubba toy, and chewed a thick, knotted rope bone right in half. We've been trying to take him on more walks and have played marathon fetch games with him, but I guess he's just in a high-energy phase right now. We're planning on bringing him to another day camp session next week, and hopefully the dog parks will be less of a melty mess (or a frozen tundra, depending on the day) and we can go back soon.

I was thinking of different ways to stuff his toys with things that will keep him busy at times when we need a break and just need him to be quiet and on his own for a few minutes. We'll be feeding him more of his kibble mixed with cottage cheese and frozen in a bigger Kong. Then there's the trusty frozen peanut butter in a Kong (or other similar stuffable toys), and we have also started freezing yogurt in Kongs. I read on a blog (sorry, I can't remember which one!) about putting a piece of banana in a Kong and freezing that. I was thinking that I might take it up a notch and fill the remaining space around the banana with yogurt and freezing that so it's even harder for him to get the banana out - and I can try that with a carrot too.

Any other good ideas out there for keeping a dedicated chewer busy? It's like a full-time job!

Monday, March 21, 2011

So This is Spring?

The nice weather from last week has completely disappeared. Winter is back and brought some snow with it, although luckily it's not too cold. I wish that this snow would melt and that spring would finally come already! I planted a ton of tulips, daffodils and crocuses last fall (I think I planted close to 70 or 80 bulbs!) and I can't wait to see them all bloom. Unfortunately, Mother Nature has other ideas for us for the time being.

Practicing Wait before going outside.

Waiting some more...

The snow is back, unfortunately.
Oscar looks so tiny here!

It looks like there are still interesting smells around.

Oscar takes his exploring very seriously. 

Every stick is more interesting than the last!

At least it was only a couple of inches of snow. I hope it melts soon, but I think it's supposed to hover around freezing for the rest of the week. How much more patient do we have to be? I think it's because I got so excited about spring last week - I must have jinxed us!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring is in the Air!

Today is the first day of spring! It doesn't really feel like it here today, but there were a few warm days last week. I even drove with the window down. So much snow melted that our backyard looked like a pond, but now it's all frozen over.

Our backyard on Friday...

Our backyard on Saturday. Treacherous!

Oscar is starting to explore a lot more these days, and I think it's because the smells are a lot stronger now that the snow is starting to melt.



And more sniffing.

We took Oscar on a walk yesterday. It was kind of nice that it was still cold enough for the snow and ice to remain frozen, because it was a lot less messy than it was when we walked him last week. The EasyWalk harness is making life much better for us. It was possibly the best walk we've ever been on with Oscar! He was very relaxed for once and kept the pulling to a minimum, though we still practiced the Leave It command a lot, as we usually do on our walks. I never noticed, before getting a dog, how much garbage there is just sitting on the edge of the road. In fairness, Oscar will eat just about anything, so it's not like our streets are covered in trash - there are just a lot of little tidbits that usually end up in his mouth if we're not watching him.

Exploring the last of the snowbanks.

Look at that nice loose leash!

Leading the way.

This time, Oscar kept an eye on us during his walk
when usually his nose is stuck to the ground. Nice!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Oscar the Spider Hunter

Miniature schnauzers were originally ratting dogs, but it turns out that Oscar's got a different skill - he also hunts and destroys spiders. He was sniffing madly in the corner this evening and I stopped him, thinking that he was chewing on the computer cords that were there. I then saw a spider run up the wall, and lo and behold, Oscar ate it! Yuck. I'm a total arachnophobe, so it's nice that he's hunting spiders for me, but it's gross that he tries to give me kisses afterwards. If Oscar keeps this up, he'll save my husband some energy, since I usually send him to do my spider hunting because I'm too much of a wimp to do it myself. Ha!

I wanted to take a minute to say thanks to Henry, Buster, Daisy and their mom over at The Teacher's Pets for featuring our charming little Oscar on their blog! Stop over and visit them, if you haven't already!

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Haircut and a Sweet Potato

That pretty much sums up Oscar's Sunday. He was getting a little shaggy (okay, maybe a lot shaggy) so we brought him to the groomer's to get him all spruced up again.

Thoroughly soaked after a walk
in the soggy spring streets.

I'm not sure that he can even see through the hair.

Desperately in need of a pedicure!

Shaggy all around!

I've mentioned before that we're not fans of the schnauzer cut - no offence to those who are - so the first time we went to the groomer's, we asked for him to be cut all one length. They asked if we wanted a "round head" as well and we said sure...mostly because we didn't know what that was. We ended up with a really short-trimmed schnauzer with a very fuzzy head, and personally I think he came out of there looking a little crazy. His head looked gigantic in comparison to the rest of him! The second time we went, we left his coat longer, and asked for the top of his head to be trimmed the same length as the rest of him, and I think he looked much better.

This time, we brought him to a different PetSmart than usual, and they asked if we wanted his head to be groomed the same as last time, so I said yes. Mistake. I should have clarified, because we ended up with the dreaded round head haircut again. It makes him look like a doggy lollipop, since the rest of him is so skinny. I forget how little he really is when he's covered with all of that shaggy hair!

Looking much neater, but his head is a little poufy!

They said that Oscar was a good dog during his grooming. When we got there to pick him up, he wasn't done yet so we got to watch him while they groomed him, although we kind of hid because we didn't want him to get excited if he saw us. I agree that he was a very good dog. In fact, he was shockingly well-behaved! I expected him to be wriggling around and trying to escape, but he was very calm as he was groomed. I was very proud!

As a reward for Oscar for being so good, I made some dried sweet potato treats by following the instructions on the Dog Treat Kitchen site (more or less). They have a ton of recipes that look pretty good and that I'm excited to try my hand at making. The dried sweet potato treats essentially just involves slicing the sweet potato into slices and baking them. I just realized now that the recipe says to cut the sweet potato into slices that are 1/3 of an inch thick, and no thinner than 1/4 of an inch. I cut the sweet potato into 1/4 inch slices and they were definitely too thin (oops). I left the slices in a 250-degree oven for about 2 and a half hours rather than the 3 hours called for in the recipe, but even then I had to throw a few slices out because they got a little too dry and singed. I'll cut thicker slices next time and leave them in for a shorter period of time (and keep a closer eye on them!). Even if the slices look thick at first, they do shrink up a lot so I'd recommend thicker slices if in doubt.

They made the house smell lovely, and Oscar enjoyed them. It takes a while for him to chew through them, so they are a good alternative to the normal treats that we give him, which he inhales in seconds.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Happy Saturday!

Oscar's staying cozy, waiting for spring to come. I hope it gets here soon too, because I'm sick of all of this cold and snow!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...