Picard 2. Human 0. You know I have always thought that my human was relatively intelligent. But it seems one Picard puppy has her beat.
She is a very diligent person when it comes to puppies. If we are out of our crates when we are little, we are watched EVERY minute. But of course, as we get older, she begins to be a BIT more lax about watching our EVERY move. She will trust us while she goes to get something from the other room. She will trust us if two of us are playing together. And the older we get, the more trust we get. So if Velcro dog and Jaws are wrestling on the deck and my human is in the dining room with the deck door open and she can hear them, she trusts them. Not that she doesn’t check every few minutes to see if Frodo still has hair, but she doesn’t have to stare at them constantly. And yesterday morning when she went to dash off a quick email, she assumed we would all be fine together- as morning wrestle-mania was going on. She was gone for less than 2 minutes. But as she approached the dining room, she noted that we were all silent. And she saw me contently lying in the middle of the kitchen floor. And Frodo near the door. She came around the corner and there was Jaws. Lying under the dining room table. Surrounded by chew toys. But what was he doing? Chewing a two inch hole in the middle of the carpet. Well, not really chewing – he was plucking the wool fibers out one by one. QUICKLY. So you could see the woven burlap-like base which holds the fibers underneath. “Hey” she said. Jaws just looked at her as if to say, “What’s your problem.” She quickly ran for the poor-substitute bottle of Bitter Apple wanna be. And she sprayed it on the hole. Clearly a bit too late.
Then last night, when she got home from work, after she walked us, fed us, and played ball with each of us, she opened the deck door to get some fresh air. And she went out to survey the deck. It had been painted last summer – and it held up VERY well. But she knows there are a few TINY flakes of paint coming off in some areas, and she figured she had better touch them up this weekend before the weather gets too cold. And that’s when she noted a fairly LARGE – 4 inch round chip. How did that happen, she wondered. Well her question was quickly answered as Jaws dove onto the spot. “Hey” she said. And again he looked at her as if to say “What’s your problem?” Deja vu.
He ALMOST could have had three points yesterday – if he had joined me in the woods on my bunny hunt too. I was hot on the trail, barking and darting back and forth. He BEGAN to follow me, dragging his long line, but my human shouted his name – and go figure, he came back. I did too, but after a few minutes. PON 0. Bunny 1.
The key to puppy monitoring is silence. If it’s too quiet, with Elroy, you can pretty much assume he is into something. The guy isn’t big on sleeping.
We have actually started to chase each other a bit outside. And he DID try and pull the hair on MY butt – and I didn’t go ballistic. Things are settling in. Let the noisy weekend begin!
You know those cartoons, Where’s Waldo? You look at a busy, complex picture and have to find the character? You have to carefully search and scan for him? Well my human has a similar activity that is equally challenging. It’s called Where’s Poop? It’s a challenging task here in the northern climates when the leaves begin to fall. You THINK you know where we just pooped, but if you turn your head for a split second, and don’t watch EXACTLY where the poop dropped – well good luck. And THEN, just TRY to do it in the dark! And Elroy makes the game even MORE of a challenge with his poop trail. You would THINK it might be easy – just follow the trail. But they are not exactly evenly spaced…nor in a straight line. Oh the fun we dogs have in watching the search….
On Monday night, we had a major breakthrough here. Elroy began to RETRIEVE the Jolly Ball. He did it SEVERAL times. My human was shocked – she kept giving him copious amounts of treats every time he came back. And THEN he did his obedience class exercises. She was even heard to remark “Hey – when did those brain cells start working?!” He was beginning to exhibit real moments of brilliance. She was SO excited. And while she was working with him in the front yard of the house, Frodo and I were in the back of the house, on the deck. And all of a sudden, all heck broke loose. We started barking like CRAZY. My human was curious as to why we sounded like a scene from the Hounds of the Baskervilles, so she brought Elroy around the side of the house. And she quickly spotted the reason for our crazed chorus. A big fat bunny. And there he was. Not 20 feet from her and Elroy. She was CERTAIN he would spot the bunny. How could he not?! She stopped dead and he stopped at the end of the leash. He was standing but trying to move forward so he could look around the corner of the house to see us on the deck. He never even SAW the bunny. My human even pointed him in the direction – but he was so obsessed about the fact that we were obviously warning of some grave danger, that he turned around and bolted on the leash to go back to the front door. He raced in the house and onto the deck to see what all the commotion was. So much for those moments of brilliance. I have much to teach this boy…
|Looking for the long gone bunny…
Happy poop hunting!
So as you may recall, it was right around this time last year that Velcro Dog and I had our first herding experience. Actually, it wasn’t Frodo’s first – he was exposed to sheep years ago. And at that time he thought they were kind of cool. But last year, with a more “formal” instinct test, both of us failed. Miserably. We both sat like stuffed dogs in the center of the ring and never even LOOKED at the sheep. Much less tried to herd them. But undaunted, my human even took me AGAIN a few weeks later. With the same results. Let’s face it – sheep are not like rabbits. Maybe I’m a hound dog underneath all this hair.
But my human is wondering if MAYBE, Jaws might have the instinct. He has this curious behavior – and she’s not sure if it is a herding thing, a Picard thing or just an Elroy thing. When my human throws a toy, like the Jol Ball, he will race out to it and then when he gets within a few feet of it, he comes to a screeching halt- and just stares at it. Like he has never seen the thing before. Then he SLOWLY approaches it and pounces on it. He does this frequently. In fact much more often than not. He is also notorious for grabbing at Frodo’s butt from behind. Usually ending up with a mouthful of hair. Frodo is QUITE adamant about him stopping – if he has pulled off an extra large sample. I have no idea if these are herding “things” but my human will be curious to see what happens if he is introduced to sheep. So far, he hasn’t attempted any bunny chasing although the other day there was a bunny not 10 feet from him – and he never even noticed him! He’s too busy eating grass, and branches and chasing bugs to notice a bunny.
And speaking of interesting behavior…on Sunday, the three of us went OFF leash down to the lake. I was sporting a bell – so I can be heard if I take off in the woods. Velcro dog doesn’t need a bell or a leash – because he is Velcro dog. And Jaws was sporting his long line. Usually when my human takes him down the trail to the lake, she holds onto the line, but on Sunday, she let him free. And let me tell you, I have NEVER seen anything like it. He went CRAZY. I mean C-R-A-Z-Y. He BOLTED down the trail, disappeared for 5 seconds in the woods, raced out, came racing back past us, spun around, went off in the woods, came out again – raced down the trail….it was like someone stuck a pin in a helium balloon. We just stood and watched as he raced by. And heaven forbid you should get in his way – he’ll either leap over you (if you are a dog) or he will simply bash into you. He should probably be wearing some kind of siren warning. And a padded suit.
So these crazy behaviors – I have dubbed them Picar-acteristics. I don’t know if they are all unique to Picards. I certainly know that I have exhibited the zoomies myself from time to time – but this guy is definitely different from us PONs. And even though some of these things are Paxisms, he does march to a totally different drummer. A drummer on speed.
Although I’m STILL not sure about him, I must confess, I ALMOST started to play with him the other day. And then the over-the-top zoomies started and I just watched in amazement. I think I have met my match in the crazy department!
Have a good one!
Elroy has a new “victim.” Actually I should say victim-s. The latest focus of his attention? My human’s slippers.
The telltale sign of fall came out of storage the other day. The cozy slippers with the fake fur around the ankles. They are my human’s favorite footwear – but they are obviously too warm for the summer months. But now that the nights are getting cooler, it was time to bring them out.
Well. You would think Elroy had just died and gone to fuzzy prey heaven. Those feet with those slippers are TOO much to resist. Every chance he gets, he tries to rip the fur off. If she is sitting at the table, he sneaks up and quickly grabs a bite. And when he gets in one of his “crazy puppy” moods – look out. She cannot get away from him. She was going to spray Bitter Apple on them – and then realized – horror of horrors – we have RUN out! At this point, all Jaws needs to do is see the bottle and he assumes whatever he is munching on will soon become a BIT less desirable. I wonder how long before he realizes the bottle is empty?
It’s the start of a new work week. Wishing you a good one!
Seriously – someone should create a reality TV show about our household. It would be TRULY entertaining.
So my human went to our favorite destination the other day – the Pet Store – to get food for Jaws. He eats more than Frodo and I combined – he’s a GROWING boy. And of course, she can NEVER walk out with JUST food – she spotted something that she thought would be awesome. A Jolly Ball. For those who don’t know what they are – they are a firm rubbery ball, with a rubbery handle. Legend has it that a Jolly Ball was previously in our home – but Paxton ate the handle off, so the ball became the Unjolly Ball. It was eventually thrown away. But my human thought we could try a new one – and knowing how Jaws LOVES balls, it would be perfect.
So Friday she got home from work and after our walks and meals, decided she would try it out. It was raining out – so she wanted to have some inside play time to tire us out. She took us down to the the rec room, sequestered Frodo and I to watch at first, and excitedly introduced the ball to Jaws. He just stared at it. Then he did a play bow and barked at it. Then he raced around it. My human tossed it across the room and he ran. The other direction. She went and got it, and showed it to him again. She encouraged him to touch it. Which he eventually did. He even attempted to hold it. But after about 15 minutes, my human gave up trying to get him to play with it – he was MUCH more interested in the treats she had in her pocket. So she had an idea. Get US to show him how to play. So she put Jaws in an X-pen and brought Frodo and I out to play. Each of us took turns getting the ball and bringing it back for a tasty treat. We thought it was a jolly old time indeed. Jaws watched with great interest. Back and forth we went. After multiple repetitions, and our tongues were hanging out, she again sequestered us and brought Jaws back out. He couldn’t WAIT to get out. So my human showed him the ball and with great enthusiasm, tossed it across the room. Jaws raced out looked at it and ran back to her. She walked across the room and tried again. She repeated this numerous times – it was actually kind of fun to watch HER retrieving. And after about her 63rd try, she happily tossed it out and he went after it. This time he picked it up! And carried it about 3 steps, lay down and started to chew the handle. My human rushed over, did the “trade thing” and once again tossed the ball across the room. Repeat performance – and this time Jaws REALLY started to chew in earnest. My human sadly did the “trade” and said “OK, that’s good for now, and gave up.
The next day, we got to play with it outdoors. And it was a command performance – with my human running back and forth across the lawn. Sometimes Jaws WOULD go after it, but he never brought it back. Frodo and I clearly like the ball, but Jaws obviously just doesn’t have that “retrieving” concept down quite yet. And he would much rather chew it. So I’m renaming it the Jol Ball – it’s not COMPLETELY jolly. I’m sure he’ll learn how to play with it…someday. Mind you- he IS a lot like Paxton….
More Paxisms. I know I have talked before about how Jaws has a number of behaviors that are very reminiscent of Paxton – but I can’t help notice that there are even more. The latest? The food bowl thing. Paxton had this habit of finishing his meal and racing off with his metal food dish – to savor any last licks in privacy under the dining room table. And Jaws has decided to do the same. He LOVES carrying around the bowl, and he also throws in a quick game of bowl hockey on the tile floor when he is done. Frodo has been known to push the bowl around, but neither of us will actually carry it around. The dent marks are still evident from Pax – and now Jaws is adding his own dental signature.
Another weird one. We have this ancient cupboard in the dining room. It’s like over 150 years old – like my human. Anyway, because it’s old, one of the doors doesn’t stay closed very well. So my human puts a tiny piece of cardboard or folded paper at the top of the door – to keep it closed. Frodo and I know the paper is there, and we couldn’t care less. But JUST like Paxton, Jaws has noticed it, and like to pull it out. I’m not even sure how he first found it – but like Pax, he is a paper magnet. Search and destroy. His motto.
And lastly, is my human’s FAVORITE behavior. After having a huge drink, he MUST go and wipe his wet face in my human’s pants. Heck – her clothing in general. It’s not so bad if it’s the ugly dog sweat pants, but the behavior is not exactly appreciated if she is ready for work.
It is EXTREMELY difficult to get a photo of the three of us. You will note in the above photo that he is again holding a stick. It’s the ONLY way to keep him still for 3.6 seconds. Notice also the SIZE difference from our previous shots with him. His counter surfing skills are a joy to behold.
Well it’s Saturday – so that means LOTS of walks and play time. We deserve it after our hard week of “working.”
Have a good one!
Today is September 23, and according to the Crazy Calendar, it is National Dogs in Politics Day. It’s also known as Checkers Day. And why is it called that? Well on this day in 1952, Vice Presidential candidate, Richard Nixon gave a famous speech – during which he mentioned his dog Checkers. It seems Nixon was embroiled in some campaign spending controversy (sound familiar?), so he gave a speech to defend his spending. And some say that what MAY have actually saved his campaign was the fact that in his speech he mentioned that no matter what happened as a result of the controversy, his daughters were keeping a black and white Cocker Spaniel puppy that was a gift from a campaign supporter in Texas. After the speech, he stayed on the ticket and he and Eisenhower won the election – with Nixon serving as Vice President. Obviously there were a LOT of dog loving voters. Checkers never actually got to live at the White House because he went to the Rainbow Bridge 4 years before Nixon became President himself. Tricky Dicky DID have dogs in the White House, though, including an Irish Setter named Timbone, a Yorkie named Pasha and a Poodle named Vicky. So there you have it. Whether you liked Nixon or not, he couldn’t have been ALL bad – he OBVIOUSLY liked dogs.
I’ve decided to abandon my own Presidential campaign. I realize I have a pretty good chance of winning as it seems nobody is truly enamored by either candidate. But it’ s SUCH a circus, I really don’t want to get into it. Plus I like living where I do, and I’m not sure the White House would be ready for Elroy. IMAGINE how much Bitter Apple we would need in THAT place.
Some humans say they won’t even bother voting this year. But that’s not a good idea – it’s a right if you are a citizen. And if you can’t decide…check to see which candidate owns a dog. That might help.
Happy Friday everyone! Let the weekend begin!
Today is September 22 – and I just realized I missed a big anniversary on September 20. It marked TWO years of writing my blog! Two years of writing about my life and my reflections – almost every day. It’s hard to believe that one dog (well three dogs) can have so much to say. Mind you, I AM a PON. And what have I learned in the past two years? I have learned a LOT about humans – and how DIFFERENT they are from us dogs. Here are a few observations:
- Humans get a license. It allows them to drive. It allows them to drink. But not at the same time. We dogs get a license. It doesn’t allow us to drive OR drink. Seems a bit unfair to me.
- For some reason, many humans love Fridays. To us dogs, every day is Friday.
- Humans like to bathe and shower. Every day. Most of us dogs would be content with an annual cleansing. You might think that given our superior sense of smell, we would want to be fresh smelling. But our preferences in the odor department are much more “earthy” than those of humans. So bathing and smelling like lavender is just NOT a goal for us.
- Humans generally like to eat different things for each meal. While variety is nice, most of us dogs are content to eat the same thing. For every meal.
- Humans will spend significant amounts of money on toys for us. The reality? Most of us would be content with the cardboard from a roll of paper towel or toilet paper.
- Humans do not need to circle, dig or ball up bedding before going to sleep. They are content to just lie down. Very odd.
- Humans agonize trying to think of a name for us when we are puppies. Then they call us a variety of “other” names. Like me. I’m Viktor. Viktorino. Vik. And even Trino. And then they wonder why we don’t come when called.
- Humans set “rules.” Like no dogs on the furniture. Or in the DFZ. With patience and persistence, we dogs can generally have any rule changed. We have the “power.”
- Dog people are all alike whether they own a chihuahua or an Irish Wolfhound. They all like to share stories and pictures of us. And they also do this thing where they gravitate toward other people who own the SAME breed of dog. I guess misery loves company – in some cases…
Overall though, I do think humans ARE pretty cool and when they are well trained, they can be a pleasure to own…
I enjoy sharing my stories about owning a human, and news about the dog world in general. Thank you for stopping in – and thank you for sharing your comments and feedback. It’s been an interesting two years – some not-so-good times, but overall I think life is pretty PONtastic. Have a good one!
Every time you turn around, someone is inventing something for us pets. Like the Petcube. A friend of my human’s told her about it. It’s a remote interactive pet wifi camera. So you can set it up and watch us all day long. Big brother pet style. My human’s friend says it is a great way to see what is happening at home when you are not there. My human at first thought it was a terrific idea. And then she started thinking about watching us from work and she began to have visions of a nightmare. I mean imagine one of us is about to do something….naughty. Like chew the carpet. And she can see us. And she can even interact with us. Telling us “no”. But seriously – we don’t listen when she’s 3 feet away – so you THINK we’ll listen to a box? Doubtful. She hasn’t put in an order. Yet.
And speaking of pet inventions, I have one. The Bitter Apple holster. So you can carry your Bitter Apple wherever you go. I mean she is constantly following Jaws around, spraying his next wannabe chew toy. Furniture. The carpet. The dog bed. Drawer pulls. The outside of his pony-sized crate. Doors. Frodo. You name it. It has probably been sprayed at least once. She really needs to start buying bigger containers of the stuff.
She started the dreaded vehicle shopping the other day. She makes the salespeople look at pictures of us. If they don’t do back flips, she goes elsewhere. She finds the whole adventure rather unsettling. Probably because she REALLY doesn’t know what she wants. And while WE think Harold is priceless, his trade-in value is understandably not high. It’s times like this that I am SO grateful I’m a dog and not a human. I just get to RIDE in the car.
Anyway it’s hump day. I hope you have a great one!
So last week we tried to imagine what thoughts would look like in Elroy’s brain. And let’s face it – it was pretty erratic.
And speaking of erratic, I decided to do a language sample analysis on my human. I collected her speech sample for a 30 minute period. And here is what it sounds like in the morning as we begin our day…I described the scene the other day – and here is the accompanying transcript.
“Elroy. Time to go pee. Elroy. EL-ROY. Elroy, let go of Frodo’s ear. No Viktor -wait. Elroy. Let’s go. Elroy. GET up. Elroy. Treats. OK. Here we go. Frodo and Viktor next. Good pee Elroy! Frodo. Frodo. Shhhhhhhhhh. Frodo stop. Frodo quiet. (this is being said from outdoors while Frodo is barking inside. As IF he will comply). Elroy – you are leaving a trail. STAND STILL. Elroy I think you are writing a message. But it’s in Chinese. OK. Now it’s Viktor’s turn. Viktor let’s go. Good boy Viktor. Excellent boy Viktor. (Hard to believe I am the good dog for a change!) FRO-DO SHHHHHHHHHHHH. (He’s still at it). NOW it’s Frodo’s turn. Excellent pooping Frodo. Looking good.
Now it’s banana time. Frodo. Viktor. Elroy. Frodo. Viktor. Elroy either you eat it and stop rolling on it or you miss your turn. Frodo. Viktor. Frodo. Viktor. Welcome back Elroy. Frodo. Viktor. Elroy.
Now I would like to eat MY breakfast. Viktor – get out of my pocket. Elroy and Frodo – ENOUGH wrestling. LOOK at your hair Frodo. OK Elroy – that’s Frodo’s bone. Elroy he’s chewing it. Elroy you are about to tick him off. Elroy – you have ONE dog buddy out of two in this house right now – and if you grab that bone you’ll be down to zero out of two. OK. Break time for Elroy.
Elroy, let’s go check out those treat balls in the garage. Frodo and Viktor – I’m going to shower. Actually, I’m going to just hide in the bathroom for a bit…”
And so another day begins…