Wednesday, October 17, 2012

After a Long Absence

Hello all! Sorry for being gone so long! I know it is no excuse, but this summer was super busy. I married my fiance and I started a new master's program in school. No excuse, I know, but super busy!

"I'm legitimate now!"
So, I am going to try and recap the summer. Doppelbock and Mackenzie were super excited to be going on longer walks and they also got to shed the cumbersome sweaters that kept them warm. We also found out some quirky personality traits. Since we kept them mostly indoors during the winter, they got their first real outside time in the spring. We were completely surprised when we began to take them out more. You know that one dog in the neighborhood, the little jerk that immediately begins to bark when the door opens and doesn't stop barking until they go back inside?
"Who, us?"
We have tried EVERYTHING to get them to stop barking when they go outside, from positive reinforcement to negative reinforcement to ignoring them... The only time that they behave is when they are apart. However, behave is a relative term; the one that is with us behaves and the one that is left behind howls like he is being slowly tortured to death. Usually, we can only take Kenzie places because Doppelbock is typically the aggressor.
"I have a few screws loose..."
Unfortunately, until we figure out a solution, Doppelbock needs to stay home. Kenzie has no problems socializing without Doppelbock. She actually enjoys all the attention and will go up to strangers and strange dogs and make friends with them. We were so encouraged by her solo behavior that we entered her into Germanfest wiener dog race! There was also a costume contest that we could enter her into, so I was really excited about that!
"Just wake me up when it is time for me to race."
We were not really sure how she would do. Our training regiment consisted of me standing on one side of the backyard and my husband standing on the other side. One of us held Kenzie, and the other called for her. We were never sure if she would run to one of us or just take off.... But the few times she tried it she actually ran where she was supposed to, so we were encouraged. I also had a brain freeze as to what her costume should be. I was leaning towards making a German themed costume, but in the previous years the German themed costumes never really won. I decided to go with making her a belly dance costume, and I finished it the night before the race. Why a belly dance costume, you ask?

"Because I am sexy, that's why!"
Kenzie really liked walking around Germanfest, and she made friends with so many dogs! This eased our fears even more. Both my husband and I were really nervous when the race was about to begin, and I think Kenzie could sense it because she began to shake. We had eight dogs in our heat and we were pretty sure Kenzie had no shot in even placing. They told us to take our places and before we knew it the announcer shouted "go!" I let Kenzie go and to my surprise she took off running... after the dog who came in first... and since no other dogs ran that meant she came in second!
"Default! Default! Default!"
Now, this is where it gets a little dodgy. Usually, the racers are grouped together by age. If there are more than eight dogs, the race organizers will have heats. The winner and second place of each heat would then race each other. When they had gone through all the age groups, the winner of each age group would then race for the ultimate winner. The race people had changed the rules for this year, and it left everyone confused. This year they only had a race-off between the first place finisher from each heat and they did not race the winners of the different age groups at the very end. Had Kenzie had another opportunity to race I think she would have won!

"I would have just spent the race romancing the ladies!"
I was a little disappointed with the way the race was ran, but even more disappointed in how the costume contest was conducted. The costume contest was supposed to take place at three, but they started an hour early without letting anyone know about it. Had my husband not checked, we would have missed it entirely. I had to race to get Kenzie into her costume and when we arrived at the stage, they rushed us on. The judges didn't even look at her as they had already chosen their winners. Unbeknownst to me and most of the other competitors, the rules had been changed so that ONLY German costumes could win. This left twenty-five of us with no chance of winning, and three dogs who had very poorly made German costumes as the winners. I thought my costume was awesome, but some of the overlooked competitors blew me out of the water! So this year, I am working on an authentic dress for Kenzie to wear, complete with wig. Hopefully they don't change the rules on us again.

"I did good, right?"
There was one other interesting thing that happened this summer, and we don't quite know what to make of it. Kenzie has developed this creepy habit, and in all of my years owning animals have never seen. Kenzie has always been a weird sleeper...
"I have no backbone!"

But what she has begun to do is nothing like the above picture. She doesn't do this frequently, maybe once or twice every couple of weeks. But this is her, dead asleep:
In this picture, she is snoring but her eyes are open. If you talk to her, she will turn in your direction and look at you or past you. She will try to stand up, but usually only make it up onto her front paws before she lays back down and closes her eyes. Her tail wags, her head will cock but she is snoring away and will often close her eyes only to open them again. My husband got so creeped out by her the first time that he had to shake her awake. When she woke up, she went back to being her normal self. I tell you, this dog ain't right!
"Me? I just let it all hang out!"
Well, I hope this has been a good catch up post! I promise I will write more frequently. The dogs are changing so fast, and it almost make me a little sad to see them grow up so quickly!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Life of the Party

Well, we have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that we took Doppelbock and Mackenzie to the vet to get fixed.

Bob Barker is so proud!

Unfortunately, this is where the good news ends. Kenzie made it through the surgery just fine, however her scar is very jagged. It looks like the vet we chose (I went back to the old one) basically was a doggy chop shop. They took very little care in the incision point and how they conducted themselves when inside. I feel so bad for her, and honestly it makes me so sad to know that my poor little Kenzie was chopped up.

"I'm too little for this..."

Doppelbock is having a rougher go of it. We brought him home from the vet and he literally slept for five straight hours on my lap. When he woke up, I noticed a little blood from where he had been sleeping on me. When I looked at Doppelbock I noticed they my wiener's wiener was bleeding! He was bleeding out of the tip of his... yeah. Miles away from the incision, mind you!

"Why is daddy crying in the corner?"

We had to rush Dop to the emergency vet because out vet closed 5 minutes prior to our discovery! My fiance wrapped him in a blanket and rushed him out the door. Doppelbock maintained his composure the entire time, not even crying once. He was scared at the ER, but the doctor was quick to get him in and take a look at what was going on. The verdict? An infection was causing the bleeding. Thankfully, it was located at the tip and nowhere near his incisions. Doppelbock was given the ok to go home, and he needed to be on a strict regiment of antibiotics.

Behold the Cone of Shame!

Now usually the cone is a real hassle for dogs, but Dop seemed to not even know he had a cone on. He went about his business and didn't try to get the cone off at all! The cone made things harder for him when he tried to play with his toys, but he could still manage it. The only thing he couldn't do was crawl under the couch, so Mackenzie took the opportunity to place all the toys under there.

It took him 15 minutes to get the rope to his mouth. Kenzie stole it 5 seconds after this photo was taken.

Dop never suffered any ill effects from the infection, which was a good thing. Him and Kenzie played the same as they always did and he was eating like a horse. The only bad thing was him and Kenzie had to still be separated when they slept. Not only is it cold in the house, but they just love sleeping next to each other! It has definitely been rough, but they have managed to make it work.

"I love you, brother!"

Not having her heater next to her has also forced Kenzie to find alternate methods of staying warm.
Yep, she crawls in your shirt.

So, all was going well. Dop seemed to be healing and we were looking forward to taking the cone of shame off sooner than we thought we would be able to. The one thing that the ER doc didn't take into consideration is that Doppelbock is incredibly long...

"Long Cat ain't got nothing on me, baby!"

Because he is so long, it only took him two days to realize that the cone really wouldn't stop him if he tried. We woke up this morning and he was sitting in his cage looking very sheepish. When we picked him up, he had licked himself raw and was bleeding again... Sigh... At least the vet was open this time so we didn't have to rush him to the ER. The vet looked at him again and said that he was still ok, but he needed to address the cone situation.

"Behold! The Mega Cone of Shame!"

So, this is where we stand right now with Dop. I will keep you updated on the situation. Hopefully he will cooperate this time so he heals and goes back to being normal!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bark Bark Sleep Bark Sleep Bark

Ah, they joys of owning a Doxie! Their personalities are so sweet! People constantly think you have a puppy, even though they are getting to not be puppies anymore. They can be adorable little lap dogs; your constant companions! And you can hear them coming from a mile away. Actually, make that two miles away. In a dead sleep. With earplugs in...

Yes, it is true. Both Doppelbock and Mackenzie have discovered that inside their throats, between their teeth and their stomach is something called a voice box! If you push air through this it makes a really loud noise and because of this loud noise, people listen to you! Other dogs will also take notice of you and realize that despite your small size, you mean business!

"It's either barking or wishing you into the cornfield and frankly we are bored with the cornfield..."

We have been trying different methods to stop their barking. My fiance has taken the nice approach. He calmly tells them to stop barking, he will try and make them sit or he will give them treats to stop barking. My method is "barking" even more sharply than they do. I will tell them to stop, give the the look and I will stand there until they stop. I won't react to their barking and if they continue, I continue to ignore them. Let's just say, they listen to me a little more than they do my fiance.

"Daddy, will you wrap yourself around our little fingers?"

So, it is something we will have to work on! The thing we won't have to work on is their sleeping. They sleep all the time! It is the cutest little thing ever! They will fall asleep wherever they are at that moment, and when they are out it is hard to wake them!

"Mama, get a bigger lap!"

In fact it is very hard to keep them away for more than a couple of hours, so it is nice when I am working on homework. However, they NEED to be in close contact with either myself or my fiance at all times!

"Mama, what is personal space?"

Doppelbock is the best at sleeping! He sleeps so soundly, that we can have a little fun with him. On the rare occasions that he actually does not fall asleep on us, we can do some pretty fun stuff with him.

Singing Doppelbock!

An added bonus is that my fiance also likes to sleep, and the puppies like to sleep. This means that I also get great photo ops of all of them!

These are the moments I love the most!

Well, spring is now upon us and we will be moving this grand adventure outdoors! We will soon start Mackenzie on her training regiment for the Wiener Dog races and Doppelbock... let's just say he will be there for encouragement. He is the slowest dog I have ever seen... Until then, enjoy another picture!

"Party on, Dop!"

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Graduated!

Hi there! Sorry it has been so long! Being a graduate student, a full time worker and a doxie mom has kept me VERY busy. So much has happened in the past few weeks, so let's start from the beginning.

The good- potty training has been going better than expected! Both Doppelbock and Mackenzie are really getting it. Every morning, my fiance would take them outside and they would go no trouble. The colder it was, the faster they would go. Doppelbock began to whimper at the door which meant that he had to go outside, and I was so proud.

"I'm a good boy!"

However, it couldn't last forever. They still went potty, but they barked every time. At everything. Loudly. All of a sudden, Doppelbock decided that he needed to bark at every person or noise. Dogs were ok, however, he wouldn't bark at them. We worked on this with him in class, and he got a little better but not much. To make matters ever worse, Kenzie would join in the fun! Only, Kenzie growls at dogs and loves people, which makes our dogs unapproachable by anyone. The trainer assured us this was their angry adolescent phase, and we just needed to work with them and they would be ok. I have actually had to resort to my dominance gestures for really bad dogs, and they seem to be responding to these very well. Now I can get them to stop, but it takes awhile. So now the hard work begins. We need to take them out as much as possible to get them used to people and dogs. And the neighbors have to learn to turn up their TV sets every time they hear our door open...

"We're cute, mama!"

Oh, and the chewing. How can I forget the chewing... They chew EVERYTHING! I have lost baseball cards, shoes, books and everything else you can imagine. They won't stop; it is like they are possessed by gerbils! They have learned that they can hide their chewing out of sight so the only way I know when they are doing it is if it gets too quiet in the house. Here is a good example of a series of pictures taken by my fiance after he got out of the shower.

"What the...?"

"I didn't do it..."

Despite being holy terrors, Doppelbock and Mackenzie both graduated puppy class with flying colors! Doppelbock spent the last class getting friendly with everyone in the store, and Mackenzie tried to eat her graduation cap. We learned that no matter what, they are still puppies. We need to be patient with them and work with them and help them learn to be good dogs. In just a short period of time, Doppelbock has learned "sit", "come", "down" and "drop it you little..." Kenzie has learned to placate us just enough to get treats. If dancing in a circle is how she gets her nibbles, then that is what she will do.
"I'll even eat my hat!"

Monday, January 16, 2012

Puddle Gnomes, Positive Reinforcement, and Snow Banks

The one thing they never tell you about owning puppies is that puddle gnomes move in as well. What are puddle gnomes, you ask? Well, they are tiny mythical gnomes that leave little puddles all over the house. The puppies could be sleeping on your lap all night and when you get up to get something from the fridge you step in a puddle. You take a quick five minute shower and when you get out there is a puddle on the floor. You turn your back for two seconds and there is a puddle on the carpet. At first, you think it is the puppies but there are so many puddles it has to be something else. Something as small as two doxie puppies couldn't possibly hold that much liquid. Besides, they are never ever found at the scene of the crime. Like good doxies, ours are beginning to go outside. We take them out probably about 6 or 7 times a day, and they go potty each time. And yet the puddles still show up. I wish there were a way to catch the puddle gnomes and throw them out of the house but as of yet we have not caught them in the act either.


So this last week was Mackenzie's first time at puppy school and it was an adventure! There were two other dogs in the class, and they were much bigger than little Mackenzie. This didn't bother her, though. She picked the biggest dog and walked right up to her. I thought that this was great, because she wasn't afraid of the dogs so it looked like a good start. She then proceeded to let out the mightiest growl her little frame could muster, utterly confusing the giant Labrador puppy she was directing her anger towards. The puppy looked at her mom like "I don't understand why this squirrel has a problem with me..."

"Oh, he's not sleeping. I killed him as an example for the rest of you."

So we now had a reason to be at puppy class and that was just fine by me. I would rather find out about a problem earlier rather than later. When class began we learned how to sit, look at me, and steal the treat bag while the instructor is talking. Mackenzie was particularly good at the last one. This was all very basic, and to be honest we had already taught her those. She gets how do to most tricks already, but she chooses when to listen. She was getting really nervous towards the end of class because the other participant, and Alaskan Huskie, kept trying to get at her. After about 45 minutes of the dog pulling against the leash the owner apologizes profusely saying she thinks its because her dog likes to chase squirrels and Mackenzie looks like a squirrel.

"I am not a squirrel, just naughty."

The best part of class, however, was the positive reinforcement. Mackenzie is devious, and will do anything to get treats. She will even do her tricks to get treats, but you can totally tell she is going through the motions. Doppelbock truly benefits from positive reinforcement, while Mackenzie uses it to manipulate us into feeding her. When Kenzie and I were going over "sit" she kept stuttering while doing it just enough to keep doing it again. It was the same thing with "look at me." She does it just well enough to warrant more practice in order to be fed even more. While the instructor was talking to us, Kenzie would sneak over to my purse and steal the treats out of it. Don't let her cute face fool you, she has dominated positive reinforcement.

"I sat down a little too slowly last time. Can we practice it again?"

Something else exciting happened this week: snow! We live in the Midwest and the dogs have literally known no temperature under 40 since they have been alive. In fact, the day we got the snow it was 50 degrees up until around 8pm that night. We felt so bad that the majority of their potty training now had to take place in snow that is over their heads. They are doxies, little skinny puppies. The vet told us we needed to put jackets on them this winter so they could keep warm. We were horrified when it finally snowed because we knew it would be the worst thing for them.

"This is the greatest single day of my life!"

Doppelbock proved us wrong. Doppelbock isn't the smartest puppy, and we figured since he is afraid of stairs that the snow would just floor him. Well, that was not the case. Kenzie hated the snow, and stuck pretty much to the shoveled areas. Doppelbock (perhaps because he didn't know better) superman dove right into the first snowbank he came across! He went leaping through the snow, throwing it up in the air and burrowing face first into it. He loves to roll around in the snow and drag his poor sister in with him. Doppelbock is a pretty easy going dog, but he will protest when it is time to go inside. Once you get him inside, he will beg to be let out again! That first day, he was so tired he slept the entire night. Not even his treats could wake him up!

I bet he is even dreaming of the snow...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

School Days, A Tree That Can't Be Peed on and Mirror Ball Vests

What a past couple of weeks it has been! And to think I thought the holidays were hectic before Doppelbock and Mackenzie arrived! Back in the good old days, we were actually able to sleep in on our days off. Sure, we had a "Boo-larm Clock" (God rest his crotchety little soul), but the snooze on him was easily activated once we fed him for the morning.

"I'll be back before noon!"

With the puppies there appears to be no snooze button... In fact, they seem to have a little contest to see whose bark can be the most efficient at waking us up. While Doppelbock had good volume, Mackenzie has achieved that certain "nails on a chalkboard" effect. She doesn't sound like a dog, she sounds like a cross between a chainsaw and a the last dying gasp of a Sasquatch. You know how your mom used to wake you up in the morning with "that tone" that made you want to punch her? Yeah... your mom has nothing on Mackenzie.

"And clean your room while you are at it!"

Luckily, it was time for puppy classes. We have them enrolled in separate classes, so Doppelbock was the first to go, with Mackenzie starting off two weeks after. Separating the two dogs was probably the most difficult part of the evening. I tried to distract Mackenzie as my fiance took Doppelbock outside. We would have succeeded except that Doppelbock freaked out and began screaming right outside the window. Mackenzie looked at me, and her little lips began to quiver. She frantically ran around the house crying out for Doppelbock... until I pulled out the Pup-Peroni. This worked, however she spent the rest of the time apart moping around the house.

"I have no one to chew on..."

Doppelbock handled class as well as we expected. He cried on the way there, shook the first 15 minutes of class, but then warmed up to the whole environment. He tried making friends with a larger dog, and the larger dog was happy to meet his acquaintance. However with the dog being five times as big as Doppelbock, a friendly swipe of the big dog's paw meant that Doppelbock's face kept getting shoved into the floor. Doppelbock did really well during the training portion, and he even began to learn some tricks like sit, stay, and apparently french kiss.


Christmas went really well! We had to leave the puppies home from my fiance's family celebration because one member of his family has a dog that isn't very well behaved. The dog would probably kill our little doxies, so this was for the best. However my family celebration was VERY dog friendly, as in a 3 year old and a two year old who have NEVER seen puppies before! The dogs and the boys really do not know what to make of each other, and they chase each other around and play and have so much fun!

This brings us to New Year's Eve. This would be the true test of the puppies and their ability to adapt to new situations. We transformed the living room into a party space that could hold about 15 people. My fiance and I were sure that the puppies would be scared of all the people but they proved us wrong again! They made their rounds to all the laps that would have them, and messed around with everything they could get their little jaws on. At midnight, they became the stars of the show as we had the lowering of the puppies to coincide with the countdown to midnight. They even wore little mirror ball vests to ring in the New Year!

"Elton John would be so proud!"

As the night wore down, so did the puppies. They began sleeping in very unusual places like:


And some not unusual places like:


So, it appears as though 2012 is getting off to a good start. The puppies adored all of the attention they received, as well as a whole slew of new situations. Mackenzie is our little social butterfly, so I have no concerns for her first day of puppy classes. Our resolutions for the year are to have the puppies potty trained, get them to be even more social, and stop them from chewing everything that is left on the floor.

Timestamp on the picture: 1/1/2012 at 3:14pm. I guess we will strike the last one.


Happy New Year, My Indoxienated!

"I'll smooch Mackenzie, you smooch your dogs, ok?"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Utter Chaos and British Doxies?

Let me tell you, Doxie pups are so cute when you first bring them home! They are so shy, and they cautiously explore the house up to a point. They have this invisible little line that they refuse to cross, which makes life really easy. Easy, that is, until they realize that the little line is all in their heads and that good things to chew are located over the line. Oh, and this shyness thing? Yeah... this is OUR house now!

 "As soon as as I wake up!"

We started off keeping them in a pen when we were in the room with them, and a kennel when we would have to leave the house. The pen was nice, but since it was made for our guinea pigs Cow and Pie it didn't contain the puppies for long. My fiance was a little reluctant to let them run around the house because of all the trouble they could cause. Having had dogs before I tried to get him to understand that without letting the dogs run around you will not be able to correct the bad behavior. I won out and the puppies promptly got into as much trouble as they could. It was a common sight to see Mackenzie and/or Doppelbock running around with pieces of mail, guinea pig hay, clothing or board game boxes clenched tightly in their jaws. They even took advantage of my 20 minute catnap to steal the instruction sheet for a homework assignment and shred it to bits. This time it was my tail between my legs as I had to go to my professor and explain why I needed another sheet. Thankfully she likes puppies.

  "Who, us?"

Since we couldn't let them out yet, we set up a potty spot in the back hallway for them. This worked great when we were watching them, however mysterious little spots began to show up on the carpet whenever we would turn away for a second... They know what "go potty" means, and they will do it, but the accidents still happen. We are debating what our next step it, whether to let them keep using the back hallway until it gets warmer or start outside training right now. They have been going on walks for a few days already, so they might take the the outside training just as well. The puppies are also apparently British. When I am trying to tell them to stop doing something, "no" and "stop" does not work. I have lived in England before, and am a fan of the Premiership (soccer), so naturally the next word I would use is "oy"! They stop dead in their tracks without any further misbehavior, so apparently they were British in a past life!

"It's walk time!"

Their first trip to the vet went really well. It was actually my first trip to this vet, so both myself and the doxies were a little nervous. I had been going to the same vet for most of my life with all manner of animals; guinea pigs, gerbils, iguanas, cats, chinchillas, bunnies, dogs and cats. However, they had been slipping lately and getting very sloppy. A few years ago, they mixed the charts up of my dog Macho and my cat Uihlein. (You know, because dogs and cats are so hard to tell apart.) Uihlein went in for bladder surgery and he didn't make it. They pumped him full of anesthesia which his chart said he was allergic to. Then this time around, they could never find Boomer's (God rest his crotchety little soul) chart. So we felt it was time for a change. I really liked the new place. The vet seemed to really enjoy the puppies company as he examined them. The one funny part of the exam was when the vet needed to make sure Doppelbock's fellas had come in alright. Doppelbock gave a little squeak and his eyes went wide when the vet confirmed that they indeed had.

 "We are never going there again!"

Now is a good time to tell you about their emerging personalities. Just by looking at their pictures online, I had determined that Doppelbock was the stoic, bright, thinking type who was confident and loving and that Mackenzie was the shy, sad, scared introvert type that would need a lot of love and attention to come out of her shell. Well, I was wrong. Mackenzie is an energetic extrovert who can be considered a cross between Lady Macbeth and the Artful Dodger. She can make herself look utterly pitiful when she wants food, and she is smart about food as well. When a treat is given to her and Doppelbock, she takes Doppelbock's treat, hides it in their bed and then gets hers and takes it to her bed as well. She is incredibly smart; she is opening doors, locks and food bags. She fears nothing, not even death, and is very vocal about anything that gets in her way.

"Who, me?"

And then there is Doppelbock. Yeah, Doppelbock is special...


Doppelbock is very shy, and he clings to me and my fiance whenever a new situation arises. While Mackenzie has learned how to go up the stairs to the second floor, and she can go down stairs to an extent, Doppelbock sits and howls on the steps until we come get him. He howls and whines so loud (even if he is on the second step from the ground) that my fiance and I can't help but laugh. He will let Mackenzie push him around to the point that she will steal the food out of his mouth and he will look sadly at the ground hoping to find a crumb. Even though he isn't very bright, he always climbs on my lap to take a nap and he knows when I need puppy kisses to cheer me up!

 "And I help with homework!"

Well, puppy school starts next week and we are very excited about that. I was very happy that my fiance decided to enroll them. We have them going on separate nights so they can meet new friends and focus on the skills rather then themselves. I am excited for the training because my fiance needs to be trained as well. He is very apprehensive about the dogs, and he passes on his nervous energy to them. They in turn begin to act really wired and hyper, so if my fiance can get rid of this nervous energy and replace it with positive energy they will work better with him. I am also excited to get some training of my own. See, I work with very hyper, out of control dogs. I train them, kind of like the Dog Whisperer. Well, these skills do not help me when it comes to puppies or "good dogs" because I am used to going right to the dominant heavy training skills. These classes will show me how to deal with normal dogs so there is a lot to learn for me, my fiance and the doxies!

Well, that is all for now. I can't wait to tell you about Doppelbock and Mackenzie's first Christmas and puppy school! Here is a parting picture to go "awwww" over!