Monday, November 29, 2010

Swift is Getting Smarter

When I first got the boys, their previous owner told me that they were crate-trained. I was excited because I didn't really want them running all over my house. It was my first place on my own, and I loved how clean it was.

Well, while they may have technically been crate-trained, I apparently didn't keep it up, because they hated being in their crate. I mean hated. Kool seemed to be okay with it, but Swift refused to get in his kennel. I tried all sorts of things. I put blankets in there (which Swift proceeded to shred); I put in toys, food, water, anything I could think of. I tried switching which crate they went in; I tried putting them in one crate together. Nothing worked. Swift would throw his little body up against the side of the crate to move it, and I would come home to find his crate rotated 180°. Twice, he moved his crate to the side of the couch and pulled in the edge of the couch cover through the door and proceeded to chew it up. One time he pulled it in so far, it took me a good five minutes to get it out. Oooh, he made me so mad that day!

I decided to try to put them in the kitchen. I felt better knowing that they would have access to water all day and that they would be able to walk around a bit. Again, no luck. I used the baby gates that I had gotten from the previous owner, but Swift knocked those down no problem. I tried putting different objects (chairs, couch, etc) in front of the doorway, but Swift was just able to push them away or jump over them. I was at my wits' end. I gave up and just put them in their kennels and tried not to let their whining and howling pull at my heartstrings.

Eventually it bothered me too much, so I bought a new baby gate. This one was stronger and had a locking mechanism. It kept the boys in the kitchen for several months. One day, Swift discovered that he could actually knock this one down, too, and then it was on! They never stayed in the kitchen again. I tried to use 2 gates together - the newer, locking one, and one of the older wooden ones. It was a 50/50 chance whether Swift would be able to get out. I never knew what I would come home to. And when he did get out, he always left Kool behind. Poor Kool was stuck in the kitchen while Swift had the run of the house. Swift eventually chewed a hole in the wooden gate, so I gave up on the kitchen idea.

Escape Artists

When I started fostering dogs for the Seattle Humane Society, they gave me a large crate for the dogs I was fostering. Apparently Swift and Kool loved this new, bigger kennel. I remember one of the first nights I had Elsie - I found all 3 dogs sleeping in the kennel. It was so adorable. However, by the next morning, the boys had kicked Elsie out and had taken over the crate. So I
tried to keep them away from it. But after the gate-chewing incident, I decided to try to use that kennel for them. It was a miracle! Swift actually wanted to get in the kennel every morning. I was shocked. I couldn't believe it. I just counted my blessings and hoped it would last.

It lasted a few months, and then one day, Swift decided he didn't like that crate any more. And ever since, it's been a constant battle. He hides under my bed, and when I pick him up to put him in the kennel, he shakes his little body as if he is terrified. I tried filling the hole under my bed where he hides, and it works for a while, but he eventually pushes everything aside to burrow deeper. I can usually coax him out by squeezing orange squeaky, but now he's caught on to that game. So now I have to squeak orange squeaky, then throw orange squeaky. Once Swift hears orange squeaky bouncing, he'll take off after it. However, this morning, Swift decided that he was smarter than that. So I threw orange squeaky about three times, but Swift only came out halfway from under the bed. The last time I threw it, Swift went after it, but once he saw me, he raced back under the bed. I yelled at him, "I don't have time for this!" and grabbed him from under the bed. Then he pulled his "I'm so scared" look and started trembling. It didn't bother me! Into the crate with Kool he went, and I left for work.

I just don't know what to do with that dog. Sometimes I swear he's smarter than me.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I File My Nails - Why Don't I File the Boys'??

I've been a bad mommy. Swift's and Kool's toenails have gotten so long. Kool's are harder to see because of his long hair, but Swift's are so obvious. I've tried to clip them myself, but the boys will have none of it. I've taken them to the groomer to get them clipped (well, okay, Petco), but it's $10 per dog, and the boys are so wriggly, the groomer has a tough time getting them short enough. And Swift is almost impossible to hold down.

I'm such a sucker for infomercials and these make-your-life-wonderful gadgets in the As-Seen-on-TV section in the store. So I bought a PediPaws. I tried to use it on the dogs, but they just did not cooperate. I followed the instructions on how to acclimate them, but I'm not very patient and didn't want to take days to use this thing. So I gave up.

Until Swift's nails got so long that his blanket got caught on one of them. I couldn't get the blanket off because the nail had gotten so long, it was peeling. A thread from the blanket got stuck underneath part of the nail. That was it. I decided my boys were no longer going to have talons on their feet.

So I took a couple of days to let Swift and Kool get used to the PediPaws again. I rubbed their belly with it. I held it while I was petting them. I brushed it over their paws. Then I turned it on, and they ran. I took a couple more days to let them get used to the vibration, and Swift even seemed to like it. It was time for my attack.

My first goal was to shorten Swift's nails just enough so they wouldn't peel or break off. I held Swift gently like the instructions said, and he escaped. So I lay down on the floor with him and pretty much put my whole weight on him. I was able to get all his front nails trimmed so no more peeling. I let him go and gave him a nice big doggie treat. Kool was next. I was able to hold him in my lap and not have to lay down with him. His nails were so thick that I was only able to shorten just a couple before I decided he needed a break. (Don't worry - he got a treat, too.)

I've been trying to do at least one paw a night for Swift to get them down to where they really should be. Kool's a little more tougher because it takes so long to get one nail shortened enough. But a side effect I wasn't expecting was that Swift no longer scratches me every time he jumps on my lap.

Now it's time to brush their teeth!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Silly Stories with Amy

I don't know why I wait so long in-between posts. I have decided that I am going to post weekly, even if it's just a silly little story about the boys. I want to get into the habit of blogging more regulary.

So this week's silly story...

I came home last week, fed the dogs, took them outside, and ran downstairs for about a half an hour to hang out with my neighbor. Apparently, my absence of 30 minutes after being gone the whole day was just too much for the boys. They dragged my bag off of the coffee table and proceeded to chew up a bag of cough drops, rip off the cap of a bottle of mints, and destroy my MAKEUP BRUSH THAT COST $30!!! I was upset, of course, but what can you do? It was my fault for leaving the bag where they could reach it.

And as if that weren't enough, a few days later, I came back from working out, dropped my phone and headphones onto the coffee table (hmmm...I'm sensing a theme here), and played on the computer for a bit. When I came back into the living room, they had destroyed my headphones! (Second pair they've eaten, actually, not including a Bluetooth.)

Oh, and if that weren't enough, they got into the trash the next day and drug dried up beet skins, greens, and eggshells through the living room. Great, boys. Great. Thanks bunches.

I think I need to spend more time with the doxies. And hope they don't poop electronics.