Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Onion Landscaping --

For those of you bemoaning the fact that you missed the opportunity of apple pie and all the transfer of bricks, soil and broken rebar'd cement -- do not despair! There seems to be plenty more where that came from.  In fact it is like an onion - when you peel back one layer and there is another and another underneath.

Yesterday afternoon Henry went to his baby bed when we came in for a break.  Now that might not mean much to you but think in terms of a five year old wanting to leave the "big boy bed" and returning to his cradle.  He must have been very pooped.

We are taking our morning break again today. I did do a rinse and towel off before I let him in, but Henry is still pretty grubby.  Nothing like mud to make this guy happy.  Don't worry about it.  He is on Greg's chair, not mine.

We did our class last night.  Henry spun in excitement when he saw CC.  Very happy to be there!  He practiced more on the "place" and is learning to stay remotely.  Or, in his case not remotely learning to stay.

A new fun one is spinning.  And I must say with complete accuracy, a pig can put Henry to shame.  No really, check out the video of my instructor filming her boyfriend's pig.
Too cute.    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4U_g1JUtNk 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Long Leash

This is the city answer to running free for little Henry.  The long leash gives him huge opportunities to not follow commands until he is good and ready and to sniff to his hearts content.  Whittier College campus on weekends before 9 a.m. is a vast romp-land free of human distractions.  Wonderful!

We made the big circuit through all the grassy areas after learning that walks through wooded sections is a bit to labor intensive for Henry's human.  There is a lot of leash there to wrap around ... everything.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Apple Pie

The day after Thanksgiving and there is still half a pie left - but only because Greg is at school working today.

The pie will be gone when Greg comes home.  I guarantee.  It is delicious!  Gregory made it and that guarantees it is the best apple pie!

So here is the opportunity:

I need the brick boxes and the cement foundations in the right hand photo removed plus two tons of soil moved to the temporary soil bin on the left.  That is for my landscaping work in an attempt to stay ahead of the chaos created by Henry. Check out the pile already taken care of.  I know it does not look like much, but it is well over a ton.

You have until about 4 p.m. to come and transfer dirt for a slice of pie.  That is when Greg comes home. All bets are off when he arrives the pie will be gone.  Of course, if he reads this, Greg will be home almost immediately anyhow ... in fact, I'm getting very tempted myself.

Just Saying

Henry is supervising the landscaping work again.  He checks it out very thoroughly then digs to rearrange as needed.  I've replanted parts of the ground cover three times so far.  I know I should have waited -- but it was sitting there in its flat hinting that it should be planted right now. In my defense, Henry agreed.  I just didn't realize what motivated the agreement.

So, ever critical, Henry is checking out my work in preparation  for his distruction moves.

Now, of course, he is soil colored up to his tummy and snout to eyes.  Plus, there is lots more to do which means that Henry will be collecting tons more dirt.

I understand I am suppose to limit baths to once a month - but really - he does not look charming. I am envisioning a dunk pool at the back door entrance; just a little something with a wash and rinse cycle then a drying room that fluffs his furry little head.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Almost Thanksgiving

What the heck does little Henry have to be thankful for?  Plenty.  He is a lucky dog.  Here are his current top four:

1.  Humans admire his funny face and great personality. Of course they do.  There is nothing like bright eyes and a wagging tail.  Even the lawn guys and mail carrier like Henry. 

2.  He gets to sprawl on the furniture when he beats us to it.  And unlike Greg and Sue, he can get away with coming in with dirty paws.

3.  Henry can make his human's jump up and rush to the door just by standing by it looking thoughtful. It does not matter what they are doing.  It's hilarious!  The humans have apparently forgotten that he hasn't had an accident in well over a week.

4.  His #1 human slave made turkey for his treats last week and is going to make another one tomorrow - which is fine with Henry.  You cannot have too much of a good training treat.  Henry is hoping there is another frozen one in the freezer for later and then Christmas is coming up too!

Life is good.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Guiding Dog

"Lily is a Great Dane who has been blind since a bizarre medical condition required that she have both eyes removed. For the last 5 years, Maddison, another Great Dane, has been her sight. The two are, of course, inseparable."

This came to me via Greg's sister, Kathy who got the posting from our cousin Olivia - so heartwarming. I wonder how the two dogs figured out how to fulfill each others needs. They appear to be happy and fun loving pals. But, you know it takes a lot of thought by both of the dogs to make Lily's life work.

Although not up to the standards of Lily and Maddison, Henry does take care of me.  He naps with me when I need it, and rarely licks enough to wake me up - if he is tired out.

Jumping down from the back of the couch on my stomach makes me take notice, but I am sure it is just to check on my continued existence - not to chase Otto the cat.  Henry is, perhaps, not cut out to be a guide dog, but comes under the category as a useful cuddler and does take me out for exercise on a regular basis.  Those things count even if not as amazing as those awesome Great Danes. Thoughtful little fluffy pooch.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Intermediate Class #3

Today we were introduced to "place" on a rug, "heal" on a turn, and "sit" tight to my leg when we stop walking. Henry did great on all three.  He may have decided he will perform willingly for fresh turkey.  Or maybe, it was that class was only with CC and Henry.  They got a lot of help from their wonderful teacher, Charlene.  Henry will do anything for her.  We have lots to practice for next week - but I am encouraged.  Henry the super dog!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Can That Be True?

Is that true?  I do find it difficult to believe that two of my favorites could have been so evil early in their careers. Time to watch 101 Dalmations again - just to double check.  Oh, those poor puppies!  I may need to start sorting our viewing for Henry.  He will be eight months old at the end of the month - so caution is appropriate!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Chilly Weather

My feet are cold and I am wiggling my toes to keep them warm.  I have the gas fireplace cranked up and am huddled close.  When I take Henry out to do his business, my toes are colder yet, but he refuses to go alone -- just too cold outside and he is too spoiled I guess.  Not Nanook of the North!

That Washington State Department of Transportation photo taken near the turnoff to Loon Lake gives a hint about the weather.  The weather near our summer cabin, not the weather here.

I'm whining about Southern California - our November home.  No snow - ever.  My chilly toes are in flips and Henry is kitted out in his blue BaxterBoo hoodie. I really dread the change over to close toes shoes with socks.  I guess it is time. We are a couple of wimps, Henry and I.  In our defense, I'll bet no one at Loon Lake did weeding today.  I did! Not much, but some.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Call Henry a Mix

We may have Henry's parentage figured out: Miniature Poodle, Rough Face Pyrenean Shepard and Miniature Terrier.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!  We'll call Henry a PyrTerriPoo.  No.  Not a Terri-poop.  We are much too respectable for that.  We could call him a mix.  That would be true - but I am holding out for at least a "Charming Mix", with the capital letters embedded!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Puppy Owner's Heaven

I like going to the pet store.  Its filled with lots of fun I-really-do-need-it and impulse-buy possibilities.  It isn't as great as shopping for Samantha and Stephanie 30 and 20 years ago  But they formed opinions early - no dress up dolls in this family!  Well, until Henry. He can be talked into anything if I use my enthusiastic voice.  

This time we could not do without:
One pair of Scaredy Cut scissors - (hair is hanging in Henry's eyes again)
One Kong treat toy - (can't have the boy bored - that's when he misbehaves)
One doggie stay in place training mat - (need it for the third training class)
One washable, reversable Henry bed - (he keeps dragging the bed out of his crate)
One tube of delicious training treats - (class with lots of distractions tonight)


As you can see, the bed worked out well - one try and he dragged his crate bed out to chew on.  The kong has become his new favorite bark-at-it toy.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


One interesting thing about creating this blog is seeing the list of Henry's visitors.  I wish I could figure out how to allow you to post pictures of your dogs in my layout.  I did see a blog spot that allowed photo posts and was amazed.  Henry would love to see his doggie acquaintances.

United States 676
Russia 39
Germany 4
Indonesia 4
Columbia 2
Argentina 1
Bulgaria 1
Canada 1
United Kingdom 1
South Korea 1

So, hello out there!  I'm glad you visited and so is Henry.  Hope your puppies are healthy and happy : >

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What is it about....

What is it about a broom, dust-mop, shovel, hoe, rake, lawnmower ... that makes Henry crazy?  He is generally a gentle unassuming little dog -- okay, quiet you guys.  I know "unassuming" may be a bit of an exaggeration.

So, here is what is happening.  I am transferring the large colored concrete tiles from the front parking strip to the back treed section of our property.  Henry awaits me at the gate after I pull the thick hunks out and put them on the transfer trolley.  He follows me back along the house.  Eventually the slabs will create a small patio for the chairs under the leafy canope.  That area stays ten degrees cooler on the 100+ summer days.  It is nice to be able to sit out there with a book.

While I am working on the new area Henry is in full-out bark mode, diving at the shovel head and dodging and barking at the scoops of soil as it is transferred to the berms around the sequoia and the avocado trees.  He lunges at the rake still barking enthusiastically as I try to level the area.  Henry even eyes the metal level in case that tool grows teeth as I check for "flat"!  The neighbors must think he is attacking an intruder.  Unfortunately Henry would just offer an evil-intent intruder wet puppy kisses.  Even the squirrel chattering up in the tree avocado cannot get Henry's attention.

There is a difference in tone.  Henry can bark with joy and happiness.  You can hear him celebrating life.  This is not that bark.  Henry is trying to threaten the rake and bark it into submission.  I think he is a bit frightened by the shovel and rake and broom and all those other things on the list.  I guess it is time to get him beyond that.

My family will tell you I get tired and grumpy when doing hot sweaty work.  Maybe not the best time to train my pup, but in this case, it is time to combine training with hot and sweaty.  Hum....my trigger word will be "quiet" and today I'll take out the cheesy star training treats (yum.) This is a real commitment on my part!  I've never attempted training while doing physical work.  Training Henry is usually work enough!

Later: well, that did not work out well.  Henry did a lot of barking and ate cheesy stars every time I convinced  him a treat is better than a bark. I think he may have learned that if he barks then quits he gets a treat - so: bark, treat, bark, treat..... He is tired.  I am tired.  We're going to bond for awhile on the recliner.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Second Intermediate Class

Class went great.  Henry and I got to know Cinnamon (the big dog that frightened Henry last week) and his owner before class.  Cinnamon is certainly rambunctious but beautiful.  Cinnamon's owner is probably 13 or 14 and embarrassed when Cinnamon misbehaves.

He uses his angry voice when his tail wagging six month old lunges or barks.  The pup just wants to have a good time.   I let him mouth my hand in greeting a couple of times and that seemed to make Cinnamon's human more relaxed...and probably Henry as well.

All the while, Henry is tail wagging and cautious but willing.  I think the days at PetSmart in doggie day care were great for him.  He was much more confident and no trembling at all.

Work on reminders from class two:
1.  walk at heel - no pulling.
2.  sit and stay - extend time
3.  down and stay - extend time
4.  Henry eyes focusing on me
5.  try it all increasing distractions

Use "okay" consistently as the release from a command.
I need to be careful to use the release word and not a physical reaction.
Give  "yes" when he makes eye contact or does a desired action with a treat.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pets Hotel Pawgress Report

He went - he saw - he maybe conquered?  

Henry spent three nights in the Pets Hotel and was happy and chipper when I picked him up.  I did attempt a reunion video on my cell phone, but it did not work out well - it involved a lot of enthusiastic jumping and puppy tongue smear marks on the lens.  In other words, exactly what a proud puppy owner wants to see but exactly what does not work well for video.

Henry received his visit progress report, and he did fine - documentation is in the second photo frame on the left for your perusal and evaluation.  I do wish I could have had a spy!  

I would like to know how he interacted with the other dogs in more detail.  I guess I'll get a pretty good idea when Henry and I go back to PetSmart to take his Monday intermediate class tonight!  

He has always been so anxious to get in the door to see what there is to see (who knows what gets him most excited: furry creatures, huge heaps of dog food and puppy treats, the thrill of the classroom....). If he is still anxious to get into the store, I'll know it really went well.  I do have some yummy new puppy training treats, so no matter what, it will all be good.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Here it is everyone!  Henry did it.  He is now officially a Puppy Education graduate!

Our instructor, David took the puppies through their paces and Henry did ... okay.  Come on guys, you knew he would mess up. He does so much better at home and even in Petsmart when he is not in class.  I know.  Yada, yada, yada.

All he wanted to do was play with David.  David ignored him, but of course that just encouraged Henry.  He passed anyway.  Yay!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trembling Cautious Canine

First intermediate class last night.  I really like the instructor.  She does obedience with a couple of her own dogs.  Henry loved her!  Only three dogs showed up: one tiny (yip, pant, yip, pant), one big dog (bark, bark, pull, pull, bark, pull) and Henry.  Henry loves the little female and is very frightened of the big dog and is, of course as always, distracted by them both.

It will be interesting to see how it goes with the big dog.  He is beautiful, but quite a handful.  The trainer worked with each of us individually last night and gave some great suggestions for taking Henry to the next level, but only after sending the big dog out to be walked a bit.  Henry still spent most of his time watching for the big dog through the window. I've never seen my boy tremble before.  Pathetic. 

Work for this week:
1.  sit and stay - do it with the food.  Have Henry sit and stay then lower his food in front of him.  Don't give it if he does not maintain his sit and stay.  He will undoubtedly slim down some.
2.  walk in position - while he walks on left side, hold leash with right hand and offer treats with the left hand when he makes eye contact and is in heal position.  The idea is to keep his head at my leg instead of in front of it.  If I reach across instead of straight down, I'm leading him too far forward.  I'm going to have to roast another chicken.  He will do anything for that treat. 

I do think this will be a great class for Henry if I can get him over his wariness of the big dog.  That is going to be a challenge.