Tag Archives: dog sitting

End of My Rope

I regret this morning. I regret not catching Clara soon enough. I regret dumping water on my dogs. I regret causing them any discomfort.

I regret ever bringing Nia into this house.

Back in December, Nia decided that she hates Clara. I hoped that it would go away with time, but it hasn’t. Things have escalated to the point that Clara no longer is defensive; she’s offensive; attacking Nia before Nia has a chance to attack her. Most of the time it is nothing serious, but sometimes it is.

This morning wasn’t serious, but it made me wonder. Will I ever have the peaceful house that I used to? Does the fact that I’m no longer on my depression/bipolar medicine have any bearing on my dogs’ behavior? Does Nia have a neurological issue which accounts for her constant pacing?

When Nia came to live with me, I realized that she had a bunch of restless energy. She was possessive of toys (something I’ve since worked with her on), she peed whenever someone wanted to pet her (yet another thing I’ve worked with her on), and she paces, never settling down; never relaxing.

She feels the need to keep moving. She doesn’t like being in laps. Human beings are just creatures that make her life easier. They throw the ball and feed her, but other than that Nia has no use for people. She constantly chews; toys stand no chance against her and if she can’t destroy a toy, she won’t have anything to do with it. She also doesn’t like if anyone else has a toy. She’ll gather all of the toys in one spot and lay on them, keeping everyone away from the toys.

As I write this, I’m beginning to wonder if Nia suffers from OCD. That might explain some of her behavior. That might even explain all of her behavior, except why she doesn’t like Clara, unless Clara did something to Nia.

Sigh.

I don’t want to get rid of Nia. I’m her third home. I know why her second home had to get rid of her, but I’m beginning to wonder if her behavior is why Nia was rehomed the first time. I don’t want to give up on Nia, but I have to ask myself, where do I draw the line? This morning’s fight didn’t even result in anything bad. It was actually more noise than anything else.

New action plan(s). 1) Determine if Nia has OCD or not. If she doesn’t, then we’ll go from there. If she does, determine what needs to be done. 2) Instead of keeping the girls in a rotation (Nia inside, Clara outside and reverse) put them in crates and keep them with me rewarding them when they’re quiet and being nice to each other. 3) Now that the weather is getting warmer, start taking them for walks/runs together. Preferably runs because that would keep them from fighting. 4) Resume Mommy-Puppy time where each dog gets undivided attention from me for about fifteen or twenty minutes.

Let’s see…this is the middle of February, I’ll give this until April 1 to see if there are any positive results. Who knows, maybe it was just a weather related thing and now that we’re having 60, 70, and 80 degree weather things might mellow out on their own. Wish me luck.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions, please let me know. I need all the help I can get. Also, if you’ve had this problem before, tell me about it.

Until next time please lay down…you’re making me nervous.

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Schnauzer Sitting

His name is Bliz. He went home yesterday, but had spent eight days with my husband, me, and our menagerie of animals. I never let him meet my rats; I didn’t trust him around my rats. He got to see the ferrets, but he wasn’t allowed to directly interact with them; I didn’t trust him. He’s a Schnauzer and I know their history, prior to being in the Working dog class they were in the terrier class. I know about terriers too.

He’s a big baby; doted on at home. Perhaps not even let outside all that often because for the first couple days he would whine at the back door when I’d put the dogs out to go potty. Sometimes he would run and try to hide and we’d have to bodily carry him outside.

Eventually he learned that being outside wasn’t a bad thing. On nice days the dogs were outside most of the day. He seemed to enjoy himself.

Haley and Molly didn’t seem to mind him much. About half-way through the week Molly started playing with him. Haley only acknowledged him when she needed to, like when they were both on the love seat with me and she used him as a pillow. Other than that, he really didn’t exist to her.

His whining drove us nuts and we’re not used to dogs that have to be in our laps, so it was an adjustment for us humans. We had to get used to him and he had to get used to the routine at our house. By Wednesday, he didn’t annoy us as much. By Thursday we actually liked him. By Friday he was part of the family. By Saturday we were somewhat buddies.

His mom and human sister returned for him on Saturday. They missed him. They wondered if he missed them. I told them that he had a rough first few days because he was in a strange environment, but he quickly adapted. While I talked, he tried to terrorize the ferrets. I called him, snapped my fingers, and pointed to the floor at my feet. He came and laid down at my feet. He’d learned in just a few days what snapping of the fingers and pointing meant. Smart dog.

His mom noticed that he’d lost some weight. Between smaller portion sizes and outdoor exercise I suppose he had lost a couple pounds. I didn’t notice. He looked the same to me.

I carried him out to her car. He hopped right in. She thanked me; gave me a hug. Then she, her daughter, and her dog-son drove away. I returned to the house. It felt a little different without Bliz’s presence. I was relieved and a bit sad. Relieved because he was a needy dog; sad because I had worked with him and got him used to the way we did things.

I released my girls from the playpen they were in and tried to put him out of my mind. He wasn’t my responsibility anymore, or at least until the next time we dog-sit him.

To a certain extent am anxious to see him again. In his home environment this time so I can see how they do things. I offered some pointers in how to get him to stop marking other people’s homes and getting him a solid, rather than soft-sided crate. I want to see if he does better after staying at my house for a week.

I know that a week doesn’t give enough time for change and I know it is up to his parents to keep up with his discipline and routine, but I hope that the next time I see him he’ll be a polite little boy with perfect potty manners and that loves to go outside.

What? I can dream can’t I?

Until next time…that is not a good place to relieve yourself.


Full House: Beautiful Chaos

As I type, there are six dogs in our little, bitty house. How’d that happen when I only have three? Did each of them split in half?

Well I offered to dog sit for one of our salon clients. She’s a nine year old Shih Tzu (Toffee). Yesterday, my mom had to take an emergency trip and wasn’t sure when she was coming back so she dropped her eighteen month old Toy Poodle mix (Ebony) and two and a half year old Rat Terrier (Penny) at our house.

Yesterday it was a bit chaotic. The cats were mad. Toffee barked at the other dogs. Penny, Molly, Haley, and Ebony played. Shaffer, well he just tried to stay out of the way and growled at the other dogs while they played. I don’t completely blame him, between the cats and the dogs he was surrounded by females. What can I say, I like female dogs better than males, it has nothing to do with their personality, it’s just a preference. However, I do like male cats better.

I finally had to separate everyone and shut doors. Finally things quieted down. Then my husband came home. Strangely enough, it wasn’t all that chaotic after he got home, but that was probably because there were two people handling all of the pups. We got them pottied and put to bed. Because they’d been playing all afternoon and evening we didn’t hear a peep from them until eight-thirty this morning. Nine hours of sleep was wonderful.

This morning I put Penny and Shaffer in the backyard and took the four short ones (Toffee, Molly, Haley, and Ebony) out front. At first they weren’t leashed and they went in five different directions. No, I didn’t make a mistake. Four dogs went in five different directions. Don’t ask how that is possible. I had to chase Molly and Ebony down. Eventually I had a small, black dog under each arm. Needless to say they got leashed. They decided to wrap their leashes around my back so the leash in my right hand was at my left leg and the leash in my left hand was at my right leg. By the time I got untangled, both were searching for a place to potty.

Where were Toffee and Haley? Doing their own thing. They’re old enough to know that running off yields nothing but a lecture and a leash. Once Toffee, Ebony, and Molly pottied, I put them in the house and drug Haley around the yard until she did something. I love Shih Tzu and I will always have at least two hanging around, but they are so stubborn and want things their own way…which is probably why I like them so much.

Following the morning potty is breakfast. While on the phone with my mom telling her about how much of a brat Ebony is, I devised a feeding plan. Shaffer and Penny would get fed outside, Molly in her crate, Ebony and Haley in the living room and Toffee in the spare bedroom (also known as the dog’s bedroom). I ended up feeding Ebony and Haley in the spare bedroom and Toffee in the living room, but it worked. Everyone got fed and it wasn’t even chaotic; it was organized albeit a bit noisy. It’s a wonder my husband didn’t complain about all of the noise.

Right now Shaffer is dozing off by the door, Toffee on the back of my chair, and the other four are playing in the spare bedroom. Mother is coming later on to pick up her pups. It was fun having six dogs. If only our house was a bit bigger, I’d dog sit more often.

Until next time remember tug-of-war is a way of life.