Friday, October 26, 2012

I'm a Bad Blogger

I'm a bad, bad blogger.  Sorry for the month of no updates.  I've been busy!

However, I wanted to make a quick post showing off Marty's new trick...ok, it's like 3 weeks old.  Still, here's a quick video.

I'll post some more updates soon, most likely this weekend!

K bye!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Smegma, General Update, Etc.

Well, it's been a while since I posted an update.  To be honest, not much has changed, Marty is still the happy little guy he's always been!

He's grown a bit and we haven't been working on too many new tricks.  Marty has reached a point where he knows a decent number of tricks, but has started just cycling through them constantly when he wants a treat. This is not acceptable.  It was cute at first, and encouraged (to help him learn the motions), but now, whenever he starts cycling through, I put the treat behind my back and don't say anything.  After a few seconds he will stop, sit and listen.

He's gotten much better about not cycling through tricks.  Before he gets food, I slowly go through his tricks, in a completely random order, sometimes repeating tricks.  Sometimes all I do is have him stay.  It confused him at first, but he's improving every time.  I'm basically trying to keep him on his toes.  I'm trying to to teach him to calm down and listen.

We're still going on walks, but now we've added fetch to some of our walks.  Sometimes I throw a tennis ball, which he chases and brings back, most of the time.  Sometimes I bring the soccer ball and dribble around the park while he chases me/the ball.  It tires him out and he loves it!

Another big improvement has been him listening to me more outside.  He still gets scared of some really loud noises, but his trust level and confidence level is rising.  In the dog park near my house, he's very good off leash.  He will run around, chase balls, play with other dogs (also immense improvement, he's made 3-4 friends that go crazy when they see him and vice versa), but still listens to every command I give, whether it be to sit, so I can put the leash on or off, stay, follow, etc.

I'll end with a fun story from this weekend.

So, Marty being my first pup and I'll, I'm a bit of a worry wart.  I try not to be, but I can't help it.  Maybe it's because my own mother still dotes on me at the young age of 26.

Well, after running around outside in the backyard a bit on Friday, Marty went up on the porch and sat down, looking at me with a look that says "I want to go inside now human."  I moved to oblige my canine overlord, when I noticed that he had a milky white substance on the tip of his penis.

I went inside and grabbed a paper towel and gently dabbed the tip of his penis, worried that my puppy went from a lick granuloma and ear infection to a now infected urethra.  The substance was somewhat off white and tinted kind of green.  I was instantly worried.

I mentioned this to my roommates and they said if I see it again I should take him to the vet, which I agreed with.  Two days went by and I didn't see anything, I figured that it was just some dry urine or maybe he walked in something weird.  Sunday evening it was there again.

I went into worry mode, when I realized that I had a powerful tool I hadn't consulted yet, Google.  The weirdest google query of my life (puppy has pus on penis) and I instantly was directed to a bunch of results saying "Probably not infected, mostly likely smegma."  In my mind, what the hell is smegma.

Smegma is penile discharge that lubricates the foreskin of a dogs penis.  Smegma is made of natural lubricants a dried pee.  If it was an infection, it would smell horribly.

Marty, you teach me the most amazing things.

K bye!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Grandpa's Visit

So my dad was randomly in town last night and Marty was so glad to see him (as was I of course)!

Marty went crazy when my dad came into the house, wagging his tail like a mad man and try to jump up on my dad to give him kisses and remind him that he loves him, just in case he forgot (this is something Marty does to me....about 5-6 times a day on weekdays and every time I leave the house on the weekends).

After spending a few minutes playing in the house, we got everything together and went to the dog park.  There were a decent amount of dogs at the park, along with two giant German Shepards.  The dogs were beautiful and one of them, Zeus, had a thing for Marty and consistently tried to...mount him.  Marty did not enjoy this and would growl and run away.  Zeus would chase a bit, but his owner was great and eventually led him away since he did not look like he was ready to stop.

After a few minutes Marty ended up going in the water and playing fetch for a while.  He kinda made a friend, but they two pups more of just chased balls together then separated to go after their respective balls.

After 30-40 minutes of playing fetch we decided to go for a short 20 min walk in the woods.  There are some good pics from the walk:
Can I have the stick?!  Please?
I'm in the woods...this is great

   Some more pics:

Ugh, why are you making me sit still?  Do you not smell that? 

Ooo a bird, wait were you trying to take a picture?
We decided to leave after a long dog park trip.  Marty was sufficiently tired and we were getting pretty hungry.  Marty kept trying to spend some time with Grandpa so we decided to let him walk Marty:

Am I holding the leash right Vin?
This is easy when he sits.
We dropped Marty off and went to Rockland's for some BBQ.  It was delicious.  Kelly, as promised, pics below of the Pearl:

Again, mmmmmmm food porn
All in all a great visit from Grandpa!!

K bye!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Windows

No, this isn't a post about the The Doors' sister act, The Windows.

This is a post about how the DC weather gods have finally deemed the area worthy of receiving some cooler weather, beautiful sunshine, and chilly nights.  Autumn is in the air, and with the fall coming, the air conditioners are being turned off in favor of the scents and sounds of the season.  Puppies are running around outside, thankful for the break in the weather.

Marty is not one of those puppies.

Don't get me wrong.  Marty loves playing outside and loves sniffing all the flowers and new smells.  What he doesn't like (you might have alluded this from the title) is the windows being open all of the time.

With the windows being open, all of the loud noises that were muddled by the air conditioner running and windows being shut are now coming to him in full force.  He didn't like the noises outside, and having them now inside have put him on edge.

Maybe I should rephrase that.  He's not "on edge," like he's going to go postal or something, he's more...ready to jump at a moment's notice.  He still prances around the house like a madman, sniffing and giving kisses to everyone he can, whether they want it or not...Daisy, picking up toys and discarding them just as quickly, but, as soon as he hears a loud noise from outside, he darts towards his crate, my room, me, etc.

On one hand, I feel bad for the little guy.  There's construction going on a few blocks away, loud trucks drive by all of the time, and across the street is being repaved, so there's a lot of noises flooding into my little guy while he's in his crate all day.

On the other hand, I think this is really good for him.  He's in his safe place, hearing all of the loud obnoxious noises (cannot even begin to describe how much my hate for loud motorcycles has grown over the past few months) and is slowly getting used to them.  Today, we went out on a walk and motorcycle drove by and Marty didn't give it a second's thought.  I think that he's going to start tuning out more and more of the loud noises and eventually not be scared of them anymore.

I do feel bad for the guy, but in the end, this is probably the best thing for him.

Sorry for no new pics!  I'll take some more for a post I'm thinking of for tomorrow

K byeee

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day Weekend!

Wow, we had a fun Labor Day weekend.  Despite raining on Sunday, Marty and I met up with some of my friends (Gloria, Ryan M, Ryan F, Honda, and James) and one of his friends, Elmo, at Glencarlyn dog park.  We decided to do a picnic before taking the puppies to the park (this is the no leash park we've been to before) but unfortunately it was raining pretty steadily.

We ended up eating on a picnic bench under an over hang, which was nice, but Marty and Elmo were kind of freaking out for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, they were tied to a post.  Marty, being the brilliant puppy that he is, consistently tried to surge towards me (about 8 ft away, leash is about 5 ft) only to get caught and get yanked back.  Then he would just continue to try walking towards the table, choking himself in the process, but not really caring.

Second, Elmo and Marty thought that by walking around post they would somehow escape from its clutches.  This was not the case.  All it did was shorten their leashes.  They kind of realized this after they ended up tangling themselves to the point that they couldn't move.

Third, random small children reaching out to them while speaking Spanish.  Marty was not amused.  Actually, Marty was terrified.  It was kind of hilarious, even though I felt bad.

With lunch finished we went to the dog park.  Marty and Elmo were glad to not be tied up and once we took off their leashes, took off chasing one another and running around.  Now, if you recall, in a previous blog post I mentioned how much Marty loved the water last time were at the dog park.

In the past 6 days he seemed to forget this.  I expected him to just surge into the water, without fear, and show Elmo how it's done (Elmo did NOT like the first).  After a few trepidatious steps, Marty made his way into the water and remembered that he in fact DID like the water.  Within minutes he was running around and swimming.

Dude, the water is AWESOME. 

He kind of forgot how to play fetch, but remembered after a little bit.  Some of the funniest moments were when I would toss the ball into the "deep" area of the stream.  Marty and Elmo would charge after it, only for Elmo to come to screeching halt right before the deep end, leaving it for his big buddy to go in and grab the ball.  Then Elmo would try to snipe it and bring it back.  It was hilarious.

Don't worry man, I got this.
Ryan M. and Gloria's goal for the day was to get Elmo swimming around and enjoying the water.  They were AWESOME at it.  Ryan waded into the water (the water actually felt really nice) carrying Elmo.  He would then slowly lower Elmo into the water while holding him.  Elmo would start swimming and then all of us would encourage him.  Marty started trying to encourage him, but just became a stepping stone for Elmo during his swim.  By the end of the day Elmo was going into the water on his own, and all in all it was a big win.

With Elmo trying to use Marty as a stepping stone (Marty didn't mind, he actually puts his head underwater on his own) we thought it best if Marty and I went wandering around for a bit.  During our roams I also fell in the water a bit (well, Marty came sprinting in front of me from out of nowhere, and while trying not to step on him, I fell a bit).

The rest of the afternoon was great.  For a long time we were really the only group there.  Other dogs would stop by for a bit (it was still kind of rainy) but never stay too long.  Except for Chumley.  Unfortunately there are no pictures of him, but he was a beautiful Bernese Mountain dog.  For those who don't know, Bernese Mtn. dogs are HUGE and Chumley was no exception.  He towered over Marty and Elmo, and he also loved swimming.  He was just a mountain of wet fur and giant dog.  When he shook himself off, we all got wet.  It was hilarious and he was such a sweet dog.

We were at the park for a little over two hours and by the time we left a ton of other dogs had shown up.  Marty made friends with another puppy who was scared of everything just like him.  They got along really really well.  In my mind they were comparing what each other is scared of and just agreeing that they're both scared of everything.  They ran around together for a bit until Marty decided to go swimming.  Unfortunately his new friend did not like the water and Marty, being the heart breaker that he is, kept swimming and never looked back.

For about 30 seconds.  Then he turned around and continued running around playing with her.

The park was insanely fun and really tiring for Marty and Elmo.  By the end of the afternoon, they were kind of collapsing.  Ok, Marty still had energy somehow, but Elmo was completely crashing.  Well, Marty was tired, but didn't want to admit it.

Go ahead buddy, take a nap.  I'll watch your back.
He wanted to have energy really badly, but after a minute or two would completely calm down, curl into a ball, and go to sleep.

There are a lot more pictures from the park (thank you Gloria!!!) so enjoy:

It's my ball.  I should hide this...

This feels nice.

Oh I can't keep this?  Ok, I'll bring it to you.

Hey, whatcha doin'?  You're pointing that shiny thing at me.

You called me here with no treat?  How dare you!


Come on Elmo.  Look he has treats!  Let's go get them!!

Hey, come back.  We're not done swimming!  Come on!

Hi, I'm Marty and I'm adorable.  Just in case you forgot.
K bye!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Dog Park 2: Marty Strikes Back

I've realized that with a middle name like Solo, this blog has had a severe lack of Star Wars references.  I'll have to change that.

As I mentioned, Marty has now gone to two dog parks.  The first was a fenced in affair with dogs he was unfamiliar with.  He made some attempts at making friends, but mostly just ran around aimlessly, chasing balls, and sometimes chasing the group.

The second dog park was completely different.  Meg extended an invite for a ride with her and Daisy for a park that was not fenced in.  I'll admit, I was really nervous about Marty being off leash in a strange place with no fence.  Meg and I both assumed that Marty would trot around a bit, but mostly stay near us.  Man, were we in for a surprise.

Marty LOVED the freedom.  The instant he was off leash, he started sniffing around.  Having Daisy, a dog who he is familiar with and will initiate play time, was awesome.  Within minutes they were both sprinting around chasing a ball.  There was a stream nearby and we made our way over there.  Again, Meg and I assumed Marty would wade around a bit, but not really go nuts.

NOPE.  Marty charged in.  He was swimming around, chasing the ball we were throwing and even jumping off rocks into the water.

All in all this was a fantastic experience.  Marty and Daisy were sprinting around, playing with one another, with the couple of other dogs that were there, and generally just having a great time.  We went on a short hike, maybe 10 min, where the dogs just kind of ran around in circles.  Marty was pretty good about coming when I called, but after a few minutes I stopped worrying about his running off, since if he ever went too far, he'd come sprinting back.

Marty and Daisy were still full of energy when we got home, despite running around at full speed for about an hour.  However, Marty was dead tired all day the next day.

I think a few friends and I are going to go have a picnic near the park this weekend and give him even more time to run around.  I'll probably shoot Elmo's parents an email and see if they want to come.

K bye!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Dog Park...Part 1?

Yes, there's a part 1 in that title.  Marty has now gone to two, that right count 'em, two separate dog parks.

I was a little nervous about taking Marty to a dog park.  He's a really sweet and friendly guy, but can sometimes get a little rough and a little protective with other dogs.  Chris volunteered to give a ride to Madison Park, which was recommended to me by a few people on Marty and I's walking route.  The ride was pretty uneventful...aside from me taking us to the wrong park first.

Luckily, Marty was fine:
Hey, where we going?  This car's nice and quiet.
We got to the park around 11:30 AM and it was actually pretty nice.  It wasn't too hot or cold out and the park itself wasn't terribly crowded.  Marty was a bit nervous once we got in, he didn't really know what to do.  Marty really needs there to be a leader when it comes to play time with other dogs.  He knows he can just be cute to get people to play with him, but with dogs he's just at a loss.

We were at the park until about 1:00 or so, with Marty running around for maybe half the time and the rest of the time just wandering around the park or hovering near Chris and I.

So, this fence is fun.
Right before we left a collie with a ton of energy came in.  Her owner started tossing around tennis balls in rapid fire.  Marty got excited and started running after as well.  Unfortunately he had little hope of actually catching the collie or beating her to a ball.  Most of the time Marty just ended up like this:

Soooo....where did everyone go?
We left the park and Marty was pretty tuckered out.  It was a lot of fun and everyone at the park was super nice.  We're definitely going to have to make our way back there at some point!

As an aside, this past Sunday was Marty and I's 2 month anniversary.  Here's a quick video of his tricks!

Wait...I found it:

Sorry for the crappy quality.  There's not great lighting in my room.

K bye!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Walkin' on Sunshine

So I'm thinking that I need to teach Marty to act like Seymour and have him whistle Walkin on Sunshine when he's in a mood like he was today.

First off, Marty liked his crate before, now he LOVES IT.  He loves being able to stretch out and lay out.  He was super hyper last night and I think it's because he was actually able to sleep comfortably.  Thanks mom and dad!

Today, he was great!  He loved his lunchtime walk!!

"Hey buddy, it's nice out."

"Bark!  Bark bark!...wait, that's a yawn."
K Bye!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Meeting Grandma and Grandpa

Spoiler alert, no new pictures.  It was a pretty overwhelming weekend, as you'll soon read, so I didn't get a chance to take too many pictures.

This past Sunday my mom and dad drove through DC on their way to South Carolina for what is now their 3rd vacation of the summer.  I guess they're enjoying having my sister and I be done with school.  They stopped by wanting to meet Marty, and more importantly, be good grandparents and spoil him.

My parents "like" dogs in theory (my dad constantly teases my mom that he's just going to get a puppy one day) but also realize that they're messy and require a huge time commitment.  That being said, they LOVED Marty.

Surprisingly, Marty was not scared of my parents at all.  He was running around, wanting to be petted and rolling around looking for tummy rubs.  My dad found out the hard way why we sometimes call Marty a bruiser.  I told my dad wanted to play with Marty but couldn't get him to come to him.  I told him that if he sat on the floor that Marty would run right over.  

In typical Marty fashion, he sprinted over, head down, and ensured that I wouldn't be having any late life siblings.

Sibling denying incidents aside, I was a bit surprised how quickly Marty took to my parents.  When they parked, I met them outside without Marty, and gave them hugs while he perched on the couch watching me. I'm assuming this helped out a lot.

We then decided to take Marty to PetSmart with us for his first ever trip to PetSmart.  I was a little worried, but apparently I was being crazy since Marty LOVED IT.  He was running around, sniffing all of the toys, sniffing all of the food, kinda playing with all of the other dogs, and scaring a little kid who kept saying that Marty was "going to get him."  

The kid was nervous that Marty could reach him on his dad's shoulders.

We had a great time at PetSmart and picked Marty up a sweet cushion for his crate and a big chicken flavored nyla bone.  I hope he doesn't get used to this treatment.  

Trouble arose on the trip back to the house.  About 2 minutes after we got into the car, I noticed that the bottom of Marty's paw was covered in blood.  My mom found some tissues and I cleaned out around the paw and saw that he had a 1/4" cut on the pad on his back paw.  It was a large cut, nor was it super deep ("Do we have to take him to the hospital?  Is the vet nearby??" -Mom) it just bled a lot.  

We cleaned out the cut and once it stopped bleeding, crated him for a bit while we went to lunch.  My parents left shortly after lunch, but not before giving him his giant nyla bone.


Marty ate almost the entire bone in one sitting.  I was not expecting this at all.  He usually gnaws on the bones for weeks so I was not expecting him to utterly devour it.

This basically led to me staying up the entire night, ushering Marty outside as he would throw up pieces of the bone every 45-60 min.  

The funny part was that Marty could almost control his gag reflex.  I would hear him start to gag and would instantly rush him outside.  He would hold it until we got outside, then give a big swallow and look at me like it was time to play... at 3:00 AM.  Not playtime.

I think he threw up 4 times throughout the night and we went outside a total of 9-10 times.  It was a really fun night.

Also, Daisy is back.  They seem to be getting along, mostly just kind of ignoring one another at the moment.  I'll try to get a cute picture of them.  

I just remembered, my mom got a couple of pictures from PetSmart, so I'll edit this later with pics.

K bye

Friday, August 17, 2012

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

It's easy to forget that Marty is a puppy.

Marty is a big guy, 36 lbs, and due to his cautious nature, was pretty well behaved in the house.  

It was pretty easy to be comfortable of a timid puppy who didn't really run around the house, was too scared to pee or poop inside (he had to use the corners in the backyard), and really just wanted to lay on my lap since no one else really gave him attention.  

Now that he's more comfortable (a big part of this is James moving in), he has no problem running around the house, wanting to play, and just generally being a happy dog.  Now these are all big pluses.  Of course I want my puppy, especially a shy guy like Marty, to be a bit more adventurous and happy-go-lucky, but this has come at a price.

Because of timidity, I think I fell into a training rut with him, since I wasn't too worried about him going to the bathroom in the house or chewing anything up.  As he's gotten more comfortable, he's gotten a bit more destructive (gnawing on shoes, sheets, etc) and has have 3 accidents in the past week.  

I sometimes liken his little puppy brain to a computer.  Whenever he learns something new, he forgets something else.  For example, over the past 2-3 days he's realized that he can poop anywhere on walks.  He doesn't have to find a specific spot that he loves in the park or the church near my house, he can just go on the grass on the sidewalk.  This realization was great.  It makes walks a lot easier, since more areas smell like him making him feel more comfortable, and also helps me, since he now goes to the bathroom with more regularity (he was regular before, but we always had to go to specific "poop spots" which were the only places he would go, whereas now, he'll go 2-3 times on a walk, rather than all at once in a poop spot, and then having to go 2 minutes after we got home).

But as I mentioned earlier, since having this revelation, he's forgotten that he can't go in the house.  A perfect example was this morning.  We woke up a little before 6 (my alarm is set for 6:03).  We snuggled in bed a little bit, i.e. he licked my face and then rested his head on my chest, until my alarm actually went off.  Got out of bed and gave him breakfast.  As he was eating I grabbed my coffee mug and was walking back into the dining room to pour myself a cup.  Mid-pour I see Marty is done eating, and he's looking up at me, when all of a sudden he squats down (not a leg lifter yet) and starts to pee.  He got maybe a half second out before I yelled "HEY!"  This exclamation was followed by him immediately stopping, his ears pasting themselves to his head, and him running in a circle and looking at me.  

As I ushered him outside he was giving me a look as if to say, "Oh no, I peed inside.  I totally forgot I can't pee inside.  Can you forgive me?  I just had to pee and yesterday I realized I could go anywhere so I thought I could go inside but I forgot the original no inside rule.  I'm so sorry, maybe if I jump on you and try to give you kisses you'll forgive me.  Sorry sorry sorry sorry.  I love you...Hey look a bug."

Luckily, not much pee came out and I was able to soak it all up and out of the carpet and then spray some cleaner on and clean it up.  Not a big deal, but it was an odd differentiation from our normal morning routine.  Normally, I'd have let him outside about 2 seconds after I had added cream to my coffee.  But still, accidents happen, it's just weird that they keep happening on the carpet.

Another great thing is that Marty wants to play more often.  This is awesome.  It's so much fun to play with a puppy.  The downside is that Marty doesn't understand how to play with people and that he needs to be gentle.  The other night we were playing and I was rubbing his tummy.  Marty jumped up and crawled on top of me (we were playing and he had to win).  He stood on top of me and started licking my face (normal thing), when out of nowhere he opened his mouth and bit down relatively hard on the side of my face, between my cheek and my eye.  It wasn't hard enough to break skin, but it sure as hell was enough to hurt.  I  yelled "OW!" (whenever he gnaws hard, we don't tell him "No" we yell "Ow" to try to teach him to be gentle.  Other puppies make high pitched noises when they gnaw on each other too hard or play too rough, so this is supposed to teach him the roughness thresh hold.).  Unfortunately, this wasn't a training "Ow," this was a , "That really hurt, what the hell" sound.  

Marty instantly knew that something was wrong and started yelping and crying while running back to his bed.  I got up and walked over to the bathroom to make sure he didn't break the skin.  At this point I had to step back and think.  I didn't think scolding him would accomplish anything.  He knew he had done something wrong, that much was clear, but he probably didn't realize what he had done.  There was no way to recreate the situation, so I figured the best thing to do would be to sit in the chair by my desk and let him pout a bit.  When I sat down, he leaped onto my bed and gave me his puppy look (eyes wide, ears pushed back, head inching forward for a scratch).  It broke my heart, but I ignored him for 5 minutes, until he became interested in something else.  After this I got up and sat with him.  He started licking my hand (still knowing I was upset).  When he started gnawing on my hand, I instantly went "Ow," and then said "Hey."  He stopped gnawing for a few minutes. 

I'm researching the best ways to teach a puppy to be gentler when they play.  This is a really important lesson for him to learn since he will be a really big dog.  

Like I said, two steps forward, one step back, well two steps back in this case.  

Still, he's a good puppy and he's basically a 6 year old.  He's going to make mistakes and he's going to have accidents, it's just my responsibility to do my best to make sure he doesn't do them again.

Sorry for the long post, it's just been a bit of an up and down week.

Marty is also really excited to meet his grandma and grandpa this weekend!

Also, here's a cute pic that Aunt Steph took for us:

K, bye!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Vet Results Revisited

A few people have been asking how Marty's doing since his vet visit.

I'm happy to say he's doing really well!  The antibiotics seem to be working and the lick granuloma is clearing up nicely!

Last week

This morning
As you can probably tell, the redness has gone away and the lump isn't swollen anymore.  The scabbing is most gone and no more pus comes out when you squeeze it.  It's impossible to tell from the pic, but fur is starting to grow back in the area.  I'm still keeping the cone on during the day, and will probably continue to do so through the end of the week.  The vet suggested 5-7 days, but I figure 2 more couldn't hurt.  I think the last little scab will be completely gone by then.  He also never licks it with the cone off.

As far as his ear infection, we've been using the medicine and cleaning his ear every day.  I've even started cleaning out the other ear every few days.  I'm going to have to invest in some long q-tips or something, because it's actually kind of tough to clean out his ears.  For those who don't know, dog's ear canals are actually L shaped, so you have to really dig in there with cotton wrapped around your finger.
Still, Marty let's me clean out his ears and put in the medicine (he doesn't like it though and mostly just "shuts off" when I do it).  He scratches at his ears a lot less, if at all anymore.

All in all, I think he's doing great!

K bye!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Weekends with Elmo

This weekend was a whirlwind.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we dog sat for Elmo this weekend.

Hi Elmo!
Elmo is a little corgi/pom mix that is a bundle of energy at almost all times.  Contrast this to the normally laid back and relaxed Marty.  Marty and Elmo get along pretty well, with Elmo teaching Marty how to be a dog.

Elmo arrived on Thursday night and instantly realized that it was play time.  Marty was really excited and was more than happy to start wrestling and running around.  Within minutes both pups were getting along as if they had never spent time apart.

Dog sitting was really easy on Friday.  Took them both for walks in the morning, took them out at night, let them play.

Saturday, now this was a dog of a different color.  Both dogs are early risers, not a huge problem, while Marty is usually somewhat slow to rise, Elmo was ready to go almost instantly.  This lit a spark in Marty as well, and he was instantly ready to go.

After some breakfast, it was time for a walk.  We had found Elmo's leash (thanks for hiding that Ryan!) and I attempted to walk both pups at once.  This was a bad idea.

Elmo was adventurous and wanted to sniff and spell everything.  Marty, hung out by my side/behind me, and was not surging ahead.  In the end, I had to hold both leashes tight and just force them to walk next to one another.  I think this actually worked out pretty well since Marty saw Elmo just dashing off and trying to smell everything.  Eventually he started sniffing around too.

Once we got back, it was play time.  At 9 AM.  All day.  Basically, all Marty and Elmo wanted to do was chase each other and wrestle.  Wrestling did lead to an interesting realization from Marty though.  At some point he was consistently winning these wrestling matches.  It finally dawned on him, I'm bigger than Elmo.  Once this realization happened, Elmo rarely won.  This pissed Elmo off quite a bit and he started being a bit more aggressive.  This in turn led to Marty being more aggressive.  After lots of "gentle!" calls and separating them and putting them outside, they finally calmed down and wrestled like normal.

Marty is still wearing his cone of shame.  I put it on him for a bit in the morning because I had to run some errands and couldn't watch him the entire time.  Elmo was actually really good with the cone on Marty.  It was as if he realized that Marty had to finish his initiation.

"Don't worry man, the cone isn't that bad."

Saturday ended up just being a long day.  Though both pups would get tired, they weren't tired enough to not play with one another.  They finally crashed around 9 or 10.  I've never seen Marty crash so hard.  It was pretty funny.

Sunday was completely different.  I don't think either dog expected to wake up with the other there.  This was how most of Sunday was spent:

Who's a sleepy puppy??

It was pretty adorable.

They slept most of the day Sunday.  Well Marty slept most of the day.  Elmo would get random bursts of energy.  I'd bring both outside to play, but Marty would just lie down.  I would end up chasing Elmo for 10 minutes until he would also collapse.  The whole time, Marty would sit on the stoop watching, wanting to join in, but just be too tired.

Elmo left Sunday night.  Thank you Ryan for scaring both pups and causing a bark fest, followed by Marty confusingly peeing (not on the new carpets!) on the floor.  Ryan and Gloria, Elmo was really well behaved the whole weekend (except for the barking.  Man, we would tell him not to bark, and I swear, he would look me right in the eyes and bark again almost every time).  He's welcome back anytime.

Marty spent most of the day Monday sleeping as well (I had the day off).  We went for a short run, which he really didn't understand, and did some walking on busy streets.  He was pretty good on the busy streets!

For some reasons he decided that sleeping on top of my was a lot more comfortable than the couch:
So comfy...for him.
Here are some pics from our day on Monday, featuring Marty hanging out in his favorite spot:
I love the steps.
I can see upstairs.

Or I can see downstairs.

Marty loves hanging out on the stairs when I'm downstairs.  I think it's because he can go either up or down pretty quickly, depending on what he hears.

Finally, one last picture.  Here's the look he gives me whenever I leave for work.  I think he can tell when I'm leaving since I take a while to get ready:

"Hey buddy, where we going?  Oh, I'm not coming?  Ok..."
Well that's all for now.

K bye!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Adventures in Walking the Third: Actually Going Outside

Sometime over the past 10 days Marty realized that going outside is fun!  Still very scary, but the fear is outweighed by the possibility of fun.

I didn't mention this last week, since I thought it would have been a one off experience, but last Wednesday, Marty pooped and peed (non-dog owners may not realize this, but talking about poop and pee is almost commonplace between dog owners.  Never thought I'd be talking to a random cute girl about dog poop, but it's happened...twice) someplace that wasn't my backyard.

I accomplished this by taking Marty on a long walk, about 2 hours long.  We ended up at a park about a block from my house.  Marty always felt "comfortable" in this park, not comfortable enough to pee or anything, but comfortable enough that sometimes his tail wagged a bit.  This visit wasn't a fun visit though.  This visit was war.

Throughout the long walk, Marty had been making eye contact with me, as if to say "I gotta go pee, and we're nowhere near home...what should I do?"  When he realized that we weren't going to go home his eyes then said, "It's on."

When we finally did a giant loop around VA Square and Clarendon, we ended up Gumball Park.  Our eyes met again, his eyes begging to go home for sweet release, my eyes drenched in sweat and burning with a fire to see my dog poop in a park.

I decided to chase Marty around a bit and try to make him forget about being scared...EUREKA!!  It worked.  Marty started peeing after about a minute.  Tons of praise and treats followed.  Then, he produced his encore.  Equally praised and full or treats.

Since then, he has no problem going outside of backyard, but he was still scared of going outside.  Last weekend, something changed.  From Monday and through our walk this morning, Marty has been almost running out the door.  He gets scared numerous times throughout the walk, but still, he has no problem leaving the house, and generally enjoys walks a lot more.

I'm so proud of the little guy!  Here's a little video of us hanging out in the park.  Check out the giant difference between his manner in this video:

And this picture:

I'm proud of him and so excited for when he's even more comfortable.

On a side note, Marty's been hilarious with his cone, but has also been letting me clean his ears and apply his ointment.  His paw is already looking better and he barely fidgets when I clean his ear and apply the ointment!

Expect lots of pictures from the weekend with Elmo!

K byeeeeeee

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Visiting the Vet

This is proving to be another week of firsts!  Last night Marty paid his first visit to the vet!  Nothing was wrong with the little guy, but I wanted to just get a general check up and ask a few questions.  It actually turned into a pretty eventful evening, so get ready.

Time to go to the vet.  Marty thought we were just going outside for a walk, but he quickly realized that this was not the case when we walked over to James' car.  Marty isn't a huge fan of cars to begin with, but he enjoyed riding in Ryan F.'s car so I thought he might enjoy James' too.

Marty does not like James' car.

James' car was a little louder than Ryan's so it scared Marty quite a bit.  Not to the point of peeing, which is a good thing.  Marty decided the safest place was between my feet, curled in a ball, trying to find the source of the loud noise...the engine.

After an otherwise uneventful car ride (about 4 minutes) we got to Ballston Animal Hospital.  Man, I can't even begin to sing the praises of this place.  Everyone, from the receptionists to the interns, the assistants/nurses, and the vets themselves, were all extremely friendly and lavished Marty with belly rubs, treats, and praise.  They did their absolute best to make sure that Marty felt at home, but Marty was still pretty scared of this new place, with tons of people and the smells of hundreds of other animals.

So...what are we waiting for?
We sat in the waiting room for a few minutes before being brought into the exam room.  See, I had no idea I'd be in there too.  It's like having a baby.  The vet's nurses went over some basic stuff with me, i.e. any behavioral issues to be worried about, is he a growler, does he mind being picked up?  

After going over the basics and seeing how he was cowering in fear behind me, the nurses realized that he was absolutely harmless and crouched down and started giving him treats and telling him how cute he was.  If there's one thing Marty likes, it's being told how handsome he is.  His tail started wagging and he took a couple of treats and plopped himself down right between them.  Then we had to get him on the scale.  

Let's just say, he didn't want to go on.  Cue the first bout of frightened pee.

With a little lifting and prodding we finally got Marty on the scale.  Marty weighs over 36 lbs!!!!  He's going to be a big boy!

I pointed out a little scab on his paw that won't go away and the fact that he scratches one ear a lot.  They said they'd mention it to the vet and she would take a look at him.

I'm not scared...I promise...Maybe...
Dr. Hall came in and was extremely sweet right from the start.  She asked if this was my first dog, and when I responded yes, she went through a ton of the basics and then asked everything we'd been working on.  She was pretty happy with his progress from utterly not potty trained, to pretty house trained, as well as his tricks.  Marty was pretty nervous around her, but eventually he relented and let her check him out without flinching all the time.  

Cue the second bout of fear pee.

See how much he loved it?

Dr. Hall said Marty seemed very healthy for his age.  She said he was a good weight and seemed to be getting plenty of exercise.  She did say he could probably stand to gain a pound or 2, but also that he's growing so fast that he might just seem skinny today.  

She checked his paw and his ear and saw that he had been licking his paw, which had brought about a slight infection, and after looking in his ear, saw that he had a minor ear infection.  I was surprised that when she squeezed the scrape on his paw, that a little pus actually came out.  She said it was fairly common for dogs to scrape themselves and continuously lick the wound.  I thought this would clean it out, but, as I was informed, it actually brings about lick granuloma. Basically, he scraped himself, them overly licked the scrape until it hurt even more and became slightly infected.

She commented on his ears saying that dogs with floppy ears generally tend to get a few infections a year, but that it's usually not a problem.  Dr. Hall also said that if I cleaned them out every couple of weeks that it should reduce the chances of infection.

After being shown how to clean his ear and administer ear drops, Dr. Hall left to check out one or two more things and said her nurses would be coming in to fit Marty for a cone.

"Hey, where are you going?  I was just starting to not be scared of you..."
I think the cone of shame is a rite of passage for all puppies.  At some point, every pup needs to wear the cone, and once this happens, their welcome into the puppy fraternity.  Marty, however, is that perfect combination of gangly limbs, large body, and small head, which makes it impossible to find a cone that fits.

After some searching, they found on.  It's size is hilarious and boy does he not get it.

I promise I won't make anymore fear pee.
Cue fear pee number 3.

After a few minutes Dr. Hall came back and gave me all of Marty's meds.  She said that the cone should be put on for the next 5-7 days to ensure that the scrape has healed and the ear infection should subside within a week too.

Everyone in the room also got a good laugh when I praised Marty for only peeing in the office three times.  They apparently realized how big of an accomplishment this was.

The rest of the visit was pretty uneventful.  Marty didn't look too happy when I was paying the bill.  I guess he thought he had to pay for it.  He cheered up when he realized that I had this one.

It cost HOW much?!
And with that Marty's first vet visit was over!  He was a really good boy and I was glad to get him checked out.

And of course, obligatory pics of Marty with his Elizabethan collar:

Marty does not like the collar.  He tries to forget he has it on, but just ends up stumbling around, almost as if he drunk.  The funniest moment is when he runs up to say hi.  He charges full speed and wants to jump on you, but right before he would normally stop, the cone bumps into me.  He then just puts all of his weight forward and leans in on the cone, not really sure why he's not moving.  It's pretty adorable.  

He also has no idea how to get in or out of his crate anymore.  He just bumps into the top and bottom with his cone.  Again, pretty hilarious.

K bye!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Playtime with Elmo Part 1: Wait...I'm a Dog?!

Marty had an astounding realization this weekend...he's a dog.

This came as quite a shock to Marty as I think he thought of himself as a little person who was just ordered around a bunch.  His entire reality was shaken when he met the old and wise sage Elmo and Elmo calmly and coolly instructed Marty on how to play like a dog and how to get what you want by being cute.

Elmo is a little Corgi/Pomeranian mix and is colored very much like Marty.  Yes, they looked like cows.

Elmo really wanted to see what the flash was.
Elmo is about a year and half old and is smaller than the 7 month old Marty.  Elmo's parents are Ryan and Gloria, and they brought Elmo by to play with Marty while James was moving in.  However, they had no idea that Elmo would be teaching Marty to play almost as much as he would be playing.  Seeing the confused look on Marty's face whenever Elmo tried to play was absolutely priceless.  Within minutes Elmo realized that he had to teach this giant puppy just what playtime meant.

Now, Marty is an absolute sweetheart with people.  He loves to cuddle and is extremely affectionate.  However, with other dogs, he can be possessive and prone to jealousy.  Luckily, Marty also takes correction very well and is very intelligent, when he wants to be.  When Elmo first got to the house, Marty was just confused.  He sat around watching him, not really sure how to behave.  When Elmo started playing with some of Marty's toys, Marty got possessive and started growling, going as far as trying to steal the toy from Elmo's mouth.  Over the next 5-10 minutes Marty had to be continuously corrected, and was forced to realize (which he eventually did) that the toys weren't actually his, they were mine and I could give them to whomever I want.  To do this, I had Marty and Elmo sit near me, and would give a toy to Marty.  He would start to chew on it, and just as he would lie down to really go to town on it, I would take the toy and give it to Elmo.  If Marty growled he got a pinch on the neck and a firm "HEY" ("NO" is reserved for extreme circumstances) and sometimes a spray from the water bottle.  If he didn't growl/make a dash for Elmo, he got a treat.  It didn't take long for him to realize that treats are a lot more fun than corrections.

Now that all was good in Toy Land, we decided to move the Dynamic Duo outside so they could rough house a bit.  Once again, Marty had no idea what to do.  Elmo, being part Corgi, has plenty of energy to spare, and wasted no time nipping at Marty trying to egg on a chase.  After a couple of minutes, and some prodding from myself, Gloria and James, Marty was off chasing Elmo around the yard at breakneck speed.  This went on for a few minutes, until Marty actually caught Elmo.  Now was the tricky part, teaching Marty that nipping and wrestling was fine, but you had to be "gentle."  Not really the big guy's strong suit.  A few yelps from Elmo and a few "Gentle!" calls from me and Marty pretty much had it.  I think his mental breakdown of the event went something like this:

I chase you, I catch you, we wrestle, I'm gentle, we both get treats.
You chase me, you catch me, we wrestle, I'm gentle, we both get treats.

Elmo went above and beyond teaching Marty to play though.  He also taught Marty how to use his cuteness towards his advantage.  I should say that Elmo is EXTREMELY well trained.  He knows tons of tricks and listens to everything that Gloria and Ryan say (believe me, I was taking notes).  That being said, Elmo is a bit of an instigator.  The word "No" doesn't actually mean "no" it means do it anyway, but look as cute as possible when you do it.

Perfect example, we were building stuff in James' room and we had put a box in front of the door so Marty and Elmo couldn't get inside and eat things that they shouldn't eat.  Marty and Elmo had been playing all day at this point and were dead tired.  They'd stand every once and a while, but collapse almost immediately after.  However, as soon as Elmo realized there was a place that he wasn't allowed to go, it became his mission to get there.  The plotting commenced shortly after.

Look at them, plotting and scheming.
In a very 'Of Mice and Men' manner, Elmo (being George) started devising a plan to take advantage of Marty's (Lennie's) size to break down the barrier.  Knowing that Marty would follow him anywhere, Elmo would place his paw against the barrier.  Wondering what was so interesting, Marty would then do the same, putting all of his weight behind his paw, since he has no concept of his own size.  The first time they tried this, Elmo instantly sat down and put on his cutest face, whereas Marty retreated, feeling bad that he'd done something wrong.  After a few more attempts Marty wouldn't retreat, but would just sit and look as cute as possible, just like Elmo.  It was adorable... and devious.

Throughout the rest of the day Marty would follow Elmo around and by the end of the day were two adorable peas in a pod.  All in all the play date was a big success and I think we're going to be having Elmo as a house guest this weekend while Gloria and Ryan are out of town, so expect more cute pictures.

K bye!