Saturday, July 20, 2013

Truck Dog & Moving North & Paisley

Ranger is now a "truck dog!" We got a truck! He'll be riding in my new (old) 1993 F250! Look at it! Do it! Look!

She's so pretty! 

Now that we have the truck we will be packing up all our things and moving 1400 miles to New Hampshire either Tuesday or Wednesday. Let's hope I can tow my car on my own, since it's just Ranger and me making this trip with the truck and the car. 

It will probably take us 3 days to get there, but I'm hoping it only takes 2. I really don't want to have to stay the night in New York State and that's about the only place we could stay between Ohio and New Hampshire that is a good halfway point. I guess it depends on how far we get the first day. I'm not 100% sure how the truck will do towing my car. It should be fine- the truck has a LOT of power- but it will all depend on how the truck feels after towing the car for a day. Our trip is also an extra 4 hours longer than last time I made this trip in just my car, so we might not make it all the way to Medina, OH. There is a Motel 6 there and they have a free pet policy as long as you don't leave your pet in the room alone for hours on end. We'll be there long enough to eat dinner, sleep, shower, eat breakfast, and get back on the road.

Once we get to New England we will stop in Massachusetts and Ranger will meet his grandpa, we'll drop the car off for some work and a full detail, then we'll drop off the car dolly (which we will rent from UHaul) and then we'll make the last hour of the trip to NH. 

So far we have about 80% of our stuff packed. We have a short to-do list to complete before we hit the road. 

1) oil change on the truck
2) buy Ranger's dog food
3) get Ranger's nails cut
4) buy at least 1 ten-gallon gas can for the truck
5) rent the dolly
6) finish packing my clothes (and a weekend bag for the trip)
7) make sure I have everything- go through the house at least twice
8) find some ratchet straps for the bigger things going in the truck bed
9) vacuum pack blankets and fill the blanket box with clothes and blankets, wrap in plastic in case of wet weather
10) pack everything into the car and truck

I'm excited. Ranger really has no idea what is happening. All he knows is momma is putting all her stuff in a corner of his room for some reason. 

Tomorrow we're all going to a creek to test of the 4x4 on the truck and to swim. Thankfully I got an extended cab truck so the dogs will have plenty of room.

So now about Paisley:

Ranger and Cricket stopped eating. In the first two weeks we had Paisley Ranger lost 7 pounds even though I was hand feeding him almost twice as much as he usually eats at each meal. I'm trying to put weight on Ranger, so him losing weight is unhealthy. He was just stressed out so much by the puppy. The two girls got along great, but they either ganged up on him or ignored him completely. He was more timid than before around the puppy, and he was extremely jumpy and needy. We decided it would be best for Paisley to go to a different home. 

I found someone. Her new daddy is a middle aged man living alone without any family. He needed and wanted a friend, and when Paisley met him she immediately went to him and sat down next to him facing me, like "yup, this is my human." She wouldn't even come to me when I tried to say goodbye. She was more worried about staying next to him where she could lean on his leg or stretch up to lick his hand. Her whole attitude changed the moment she saw met him, like she had made up her mind and nothing was stopping her. Since she seemed to want to go with him and since she wanted nothing to do with me I let him take her home with toys, her bowl, crate, blanket, and food. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Why I Didn't Leash Train Ranger & Why I Regret It

I always wanted dogs that didn't need leashes, so when we adopted our first dog, the only time she was on a leash was when we went to the vet, or when I brought her onto a military installation with me, but only because they have a regulation stating that dogs need to be leashed at all times. Then we got Ranger and did the same thing. Oh boy do I regret that!

Ranger is just over two years old, and the only times he has been on a leash before we started obedience training was when we went to the vet. He is so used to going where he wants when he wants that being on a leash confuses him. Ranger thinks "But I want to get there FASTER than this! Here mom, let me lead you!" What he's really doing is dragging me, choking himself, and making us look bad.

And it's all my fault.

I could have taught him that there were certain times he could be off a leash and to stay within range, and there are certain times he should be good and heel, but I didn't. I should have though.

Ignoring the leash was one of the worst things I have done as a puppy mommy. If I had known the problems it was going to cause I would have leash trained from the start. Ranger turned out to be a 70lb dog full grown so he's pretty strong. Being pulled by a dog that big and that strong just plain sucks. And he's older, and more stubborn, so training him is just as frustrating. Poor Ranger is probably thinking "But Mom... I never had to stay right next to you before! Why do I have to do it now?" How do you explain to a dog that you didn't know what you were doing and you messed up two years before and now you're trying to repair your mistakes? You can't. You just have to work with the dog every day, over and over, rewarding him for the behavior you want and ignoring the behavior you don't want.

I really should have started training him as a puppy. Lesson learned.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ranger's Sisters

We have 3 dogs right now. Ranger, my border collie mix. Cricket, my husband-thing's female lab mix. And most recently Paisley, a female terrier (read: terror) mix.

 This is Cricket. She will be 4 in October. We got her when we first moved in together in 2010. We adopted her from the veterinary clinic on Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri when she was 3 or 4 months old. She was "his" dog from day one. Now, 3 years and 40lbs later she is still his dog. Cricket acts like a grumpy old woman and won't snuggle anyone. She has the same personality as the husband-thing. 

This is Paisley, our almost 8 month old mutt. This is Paisley carrying an ovum and spermatozoon around the backyard. (Yes, my dogs have strange toys. Originally these stuffed organisms were going to be sent to my mother if we ever got pregnant, but since we're ending our marriage these stuffed things are of no further use. So I gave them to the puppy.) The ovum was destroyed within a half hour but before she tore it apart she walked around carrying both. It was amusing. 

So there ya go- now you know Ranger's temporary family! Neither of them like him very much, which is both good and bad. Bad because for now he's odd man out, and good because once it's just me and him he'll be slightly more prepared for living his life just him and me. Someday I'll get him a little brother or sister once I get established living on my own, though. He's a sweet boy and he craves attention and snuggles. Maybe we'll adopt another border collie, or maybe an Australian shepherd. Either way, Ranger and I have a good life ahead of us! 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Good Dog, Bad Human

I must be the worst dog mom in the world. Or at least that's what Ranger probably thinks. With a new puppy in the house Ranger is in need of extra attention, which is why he's next to me right now instead of in the back room where he should be winding down for bed. He is so attached to me that the slight decrease in attention is really affecting him. I think tomorrow we will go somewhere, just Ranger and me. There are a few parks here in town that are dog friendly as long as I pick up his mess and keep him leashed.

Maybe we will go walk somewhere and then run around in a field. It would be a great chance to practice Emergency Recall. The distractions will pull him away from me (on a long leash) and also serve to give me a better jumping off point and idea of how well I actually hold his attention.

I haven't taken any pictures of the dogs the past couple days, so this is an older picture:

We had some severe weather a few weeks ago and Ranger always gets nervous during thunder storms, so I let him up on the chair for some snuggles with me. Poor boy hasn't gotten any thing like this since the puppy moved in. If I want to be a good mommy, I need to make sure Ranger's needs are met, and that includes physical contact like this.

That's all for today. I'm going to go cuddle with the snuggle beast.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Puppy at Night & New Order in the Pack

Most of the day yesterday and last night was rough not just for Paisley, but for Ranger. 

I feel like the worst dog mom in the world right now. Ranger obviously feels unsure of his place now that there is a new dog in the pack. Paisley seems to have taken Ranger's spot as #2, pushing him into the #3 spot, which used to be the cat's ranking. I can tell Ranger is struggling. 

The reasoning behind adopting Paisley was to make sure Cricket has a companion once Ranger and I move. In some ways, that plan is coming together wonderfully. Cricket and Paisley get along great and they play together constantly. The only problem is that Ranger ends up on the sidelines watching. 

I've been doing my best to make sure Ranger knows he's still my baby, but I can tell he is uncomfortable. Last night I took him outside with me while the girls stayed inside and we sat on the patio. He sat right next to me and pressed his cheek against mine. If I moved, he moved. He just needed that contact and reassurance.

Later when I put Paisley in her crate for the night she got upset and spent at least 15 minutes crying and barking before I went to her. Ranger came to me immediately, clearly upset by the crying puppy. But... He wouldn't let me near her. He didn't attack me, he's not that kind of dog, he just planted himself in front of me and wouldn't get out of my way. So I sat on the floor and talked to him for a few minutes. Poor boy. He sat right in front of me and put his chin on my shoulder and grumbled to me while I petted and talked to him. 

By the way, Paisley only calmed down and stopped crying when I brought her and her crate into the living room with me. She whined a little bit then went to sleep. 

I'm not sure how I can effectively communicate to Ranger that he is not being pushed out of the pack by Paisley and that he will be my baby until he moves on from this life. The best I can do is spend extra time with him- rides in the car, snuggling, Mommy-Ranger time without other dogs, etc. I'm thinking of moving his mini training sessions into the front yard too instead of the back yard where the other two dogs can watch through the windows. 

Do you have any suggestions for assuring a dog that they are not being pushed out of the pack?

I'll end this with a cute picture of Ranger:

 (Road Guard Ranger sporting mommy's old road guard vest from her days in the Army! I think we need to find a doggy sized and shaped vest for him so that when we learn to heel mommy can start running safely with Ranger.)

Potty Training an "Unwanted" Puppy = Huge Headache

We figured out why no one wanted this puppy. She pees when she is nervous. AND... She pees when she is excited about puppy stuff (toys, snuggling, kisses, playing.) I suspect she either just hasn't learned to control her bladder or she has a bladder infection, but she doesn't have any symptoms other than peeing a little very… very… very often.

We have a thick comforter on the couch because she jumps up there and gets so excited to be there that she pees. It's a comforter we don't use for anything but seat covers when we put the dogs in the car, so it's no big deal if she had these little accidents on it.

I'm going to have to do a lot of research on how to deal with a dog that does this. It's not just when she's nervous. She will be playing with her stuffed toy fox, see a person, and run to them ... peeing on the way.

Has anyone reading this had to deal with a puppy that does this? How did you handle it? What advice would you give?

Also- she refuses to go to bed unless someone cuddles her to sleep first, otherwise she spends 20 minutes crying in her crate, like she is right now. We don't want her on the furniture at all, so sitting on the couch with her on my lap is not an option and I can't sit on the floor and snuggle her every night before bed. It's just not realistic and I don't want to form that habit with her. Ugh. Puppy headaches!

Looks like I have some work to do. This puppy is proving to be a handful! 

Monday, July 1, 2013


Ranger has a new friend for now. Paisley joined our family. 
She was scheduled to be put down today because no one wanted to potty train her. How horrible is that? She's 7 months old, spayed, micro-chipped, and up to date on her shots. There is absolutely no acceptable reason she should be put down. 

The purpose of adopting Paisley is to give my husband's dog a companion once Ranger and I move to New Hampshire. So far that plan is working out perfectly. Paisley loves Cricket and my husband. 

Ranger is helping us train her. It's also helping train him. Suddenly he is much more willing to come when called and do as he's told so that the puppy doesn't get more attention than him. It's a great chance to really work with Ranger.