Thursday, November 11, 2010
Coco is turns 1 yr old today!
It's hard to believe, but we will be celebrating Coco's birthday today. While she will (unfortunately) stay a puppy for at least another 6 months, she's come A LONG WAY!
Here are some cute pics from the archive.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO OUR BABY GIRL!!
Sunday, October 31, 2010
We spent the first 45 minutes in a consultation going over her entire history. Then we went outside where an unfamiliar dog (planted by K9 Homeschooling) was off in the distance with a dog handler. The dog was about 100 ft away when Coco had her lip curled and her defenses went up. The plan is simple. Let Coco see other dogs from a distance for the first few weeks and fill her up with treats so that she has a "GREAT experience" when she sees the other dogs. That way, she will associate new dogs with threats and love...instead of the usual jerk on her prong collar and screaming her name "NO COCO!!!" It was this consistent association that we just were not in tune with.
We had her on a prong collar and over time, her barking became more and more aggressive. Every time she saw a dog, her collar would tighten up and she would experience heightened anxiety because she would anticipate getting reprimanded. Add my weak state due to pregnancy, and you have the perfect storm. So we've dropped the prong collar and now have a "Sesnse-ation" harness that will not cause any discomfort.
We are using the "clicker" training philosophy and it's amazing how quickly we are seeing results.
Michelle has set up a comprehensive 30 Day Plan for Desensitization. It will be a lot of work and we will have to reach out to some of our neighbors who are doggy-parents to Coco's biggest nemeses. There are few dogs that completely set her off in the area, and we need to put Coco about 75+ feet from them, long before the confrontation, and reward her for not over-reacting. We will have to do this every single day, on our walks and hopefully once we can connect with our neighbors who will most likely support our request. Coco is a sweetheart and everyone knows it, but her behavior has got to be remedied.
Coco is a very sweet dog with a lot of potential. But if she hurts another dog or person she could be euthanized in Ann Arbor. With a baby on the way, we cannot take any chances. Coco is officially GROUNDED for the next 30 days.
On a side note, she's adapted well to the floor and is not sleeping with us. It was a rough few days, but it's been working well and we are MUCH happier sleeping through the night.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Quick turn around
Well, Coco has been fighting us on this issue, but she's been taking on her new position pretty well. After 9 months of sleeping with us, she has now been forced to sleep on the floor and is NOT allowed on the bed at all.
As I mentioned before, our trainer comes out this sunday. She said flat out that Coco needs to get out of our bed and onto the floor ASAP. Coco has been dominating over the past few weeks. Since I've been pregnant, she's been a bit more hostile toward other dogs and has just been a great big stinker, all around. Starting last night, she hit the floor and we've been consistent ever since.
Luna - a new pal
Today we took Coco for a walk right after work. After about 2 months of her FLIPPING out on certain dogs in our area, we were on the look out for dogs that Coco did not know. On our way out of Lakewood forest, a large brindle German Shepherd (who was off leash) came running at us full speed. "Luna!! Get back here!" came from a distance. Coco sat down with a HUGE smile and greeted her new friend. THANK THE MAKER Coco was totally cool with Luna. Our little Princess has flown into Cujo-mode on certain dogs, so we were not sure what to expect. It turns out that Luna and her family live around the corner from us and well, Luna's poppa is a professional brewer at the new "Wolverine Brewery" here on Stadium Blvd. I'll be hitting him up for some samples once we have the baby. Little known fact - the day I brought Coco home we watched "Moon" and I thought it was one of the best films that I've ever seen. I wanted to name Coco "Luna." Chris hated it and said NO WAY! I love that name.
Did Coco chill because she's sleeping on the floor now and NOT feeling like the Pack Leader?? Who knows. It's still too early to tell. But she is not sneaking up on the bed with us, she knows that we mean business. As long as we are consistent, we're good to go.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Yep - here we go. About 1 year after we brought Coco home, we will be bringing yet another family member home. This time, The world welcomes either Asheton or Nova Talyor.
Coco has been adjusting okay to the new routine. My hubby is stuck walking her ALL THE TIME, now. I feel kinda bad about it, but the first trimester was unbearable for me. I was incredibly ill. Coco noticed how fragile I was, and unfortunately became over protective of me. Walking her went from my favorite activity to my most feared. She started lunging at other dogs that came near us and well, it was both alarming and down right EMBARRASSING! Now Chris walks her so that we can avoid that whole aggressive scene with Coco. I am playing phone tag with a trainer that will hopefully be giving us a hand asap. One of the big issues will be resolving Coco's need to protect me at every turn. Sheeesh - it's JUST a dog, Coco!
Other than that, she's growing out of control and is very much our little sweetheart. Chris's Grandparents came to visit last night and she was (luckily) the perfect Princess.
On a side note - the kitty drama has completely gone away. THANK THE MAKER! The Revolution has ended. Everyone is starting to adjust much better. Just in time.
Coco pretty much sleeps at my side every night and unfortunately awakes to ANY noise that she hears.
Coco celebrates her 1 year Birthday on November 11th!
Friday, August 13, 2010
I saw him on Jackson Rd
Today I left the office around 5:30. When I traveled down Jackson Rd (one of the busiest in Ann Arbor) I saw swerving cars ahead of me and a whole lot of break- lights. I could barely make it out, but it looked like a poor dog darting in and out of traffic. I immediately thought of Coco and pulled over to grab that poor pooch. Once I had his collar, I pulled him into my car. I grabbed my phone and called my most trusted animal experts, my pals at The Westarbor Animal Clinic. Sher answered the phone and encouraged me to bring the dog by the clinic, as hopefully he was chipped.
With the Best Intentions
I flew down Jackson Rd with this unknown animal in my back seat. He seemed relieved and was very well behaved. He was panting heavily, as he had just survived a horrifying ordeal in the middle of Jackson Rd. He was super handsome – he was a long haired brindle pit mix with a very loving soul. He had a collar on, but there were no tags identifying who he was. I just knew one thing – IF IT WERE MY COCO, I’D WANT SOMEONE TO PULL HER OUT OF THE ROAD AND TAKE CARE OF HER!
Fingers Gently Crossed
So I pulled into the drive way at Westarbor. I didn’t have a leash, so Sher got me one immediately. They scanned the dog and found that he was registered with the Humane Society. After a number of phone calls, they found the name, address and phone number of the owner. I watched the Vet Tech call several times. After leaving a message, she looked up and said “Well, the owner hung up on me twice, so I had to leave a message. Not good.” I waited as they went to talk to the owner of the Vet Office. While I awaited their return, another dog came in for an appointment.
Luckily, no one was hurt. I was shaking and BAWLING, when I ran outside to apologize to the owner of that collie. I felt very much responsible for this dog that I had NO control over. The owner of the collie was actually quite fine with all of it, he said that his dog was okay, there were no signs of ripped skin. What was amazing – the reaction of the staff at Westarbor. No one blamed the dog that I rescued; they reassured me that he was obviously not well socialized and that he had a neglectful owner. I thought that was so insightful and absolutely right on. Although I’m still totally freaked out, I know that poor little pooch was out on Jackson Rd for one reason – a SHITTY OWNER who has abandoned his dog. This poor pooch is aggressive and untrained. It’s not the dogs fault, it’s a direct reflection on the owner. I’m glad that they have the owner’s information via the chip. He’s going to have a lot of answering to do tomorrow, once they contact him.
Any dog can be aggressive!
I hate to even bring up this dogs breed, because any dog can be aggressive. When I picked him up I knew that he had a sweet soul and that he was, in his heart of hearts – A GOOD DOG. But because he had a neglectful owner, this experience turned out very differently. He was frightened and aggressive. I blame that owner and I hope that he (the owner) is held responsible! I have no idea how long this dog was running around without food and water and shelter. I don't know what on earth he could have been going through. I don't know what experiences he had that led to this awful aggressive behavior. This level of fear comes from a very sad place. He must have been abused, neglected and possibly starved. My Coco is a very loving and predictable dog because she comes from a loving and secure home. This poor dog that I found on Jackson Rd obviously has had a far different experience and I will pray for him, because the road that he takes now will be even more unstable. I hope that he finds some level of rehabilitation. I hope that he finds a warm bed to crawl into. A routine of feedings and walks...uuuugh. I am thinking of that stranger right now, I hope for all of the best.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
I am almost too embarrassed to talk about. They urinated on the furniture. It's awful and after spending $1500 on our new living room set, I'm seriously ready to lose my mind. Luckily, I'm going back to the old reliable method that has worked in the past.
What has worked
My kitty cat guru, Dave Rhabari, highly recommended water and vinegar. I had used it before when we first brought JuJu home. It worked like a charm. But for some reason I wanted to try the expensive crap that I heard so many good things about. Natures Miracle + Urine Off came to about $30+ and didn't do a damn thing. The White Vinegar was $1.29 and I mixed it with an equal part of water. 1 cup of White Vinegar + 1 cup of water. It killed the scent and didn't destroy my furniture.
Between kitty drama and the MONEY PIT that is now my dog, I can say that this is all totally worth it. Coco is an amazing creature. She's so darn smart and and about as sweet as it gets. She's been chilling out on the puppy craziness a bit more every single week. I know that she and the kitties will come full circle...once she decides that they are NOT going to play with her.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Can you believe that our little 'Boo Boos' is already 7 months old??
Well, that schedule kept Coco potty trained. She only had two accidents inside the house. We were pretty fortunate! Another success - we have been committed to making sure that Coco gets more than enough exercise. It's been good for us, too! We reinforced all 'commands' during our walks and when we fail - try, try again! She continues to test us every single day, and we continue to reinforce all rules so that she does not take advantage of us. Crate training is key, folks. It keeps your dog out of trouble and you get to correct your dog under constant supervision when it is not in the crate. I cannot believe that people don't crate train their dogs. Those are some of the same people who FLIP out when their dog chews up their couch while unsupervised.
Well...to this day I still feel bad about that Pigs Ear that made her so tremendously ill. Yeah - I'm a sap and it was like MONTHS ago...but I still remember her anguish and discomfort. We also refused to crate her at night. I wish that I had just stuck with it, as we had MONTHS of sleepless nights. Wow. For those who are consistent, it can really pay off. Actually, last night we had a quiet night with Coco in her crate. She didn't make a peep! We'll see how tonight goes...so far so good.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
For the most part, Coco has been great. She was a perfect Princess on the 2 day drive. But the waves have proven to be a little much for her. She's okay with walking the beach with us, but the breaking waves seem to cause her a little anxiety and she gets a little nippy and weird when she's on the beach too long. In the meantime, she's been making friends with my brothers dog Winston and we even made pals with some other German Shepherd on the beach. We met Elsa (10 months old) and Trooper - a retired Polics Dog from Commerce Twp, MI. It's been fun, but Coco is definitly NOT a beach bum. I don't know how I was attracted to a breed that is NOT water friendly, as I am quite the Mermaid. Hopefully Coco will come around a bit.
Well -we knew it was going to a great adventure when we spotted the Batmobile. :)
Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
101 DOG TRICKS: I am already picking thru this book and growing more and more excited about teaching the ever active Coco some new tricks. I have located a Hula-Hoop and we shall see how long it takes for Coco to learn to jump thru it. There's a whole chapter just on Hoop tricks, so that should be fun.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
When Coco was 10 weeks old, I sat in disbelief as I watched her jiggle the handle on her teeny little crate and let herself right out. We had a bungie chord around the crate for months. When she grew a bit bigger, we moved her to a medium size crate that my mother let us borrow. It was far more secure, so we didn't have any problems.
Recently, we bought her a SUPER SIZE crate. One like this:
And now I am wishing that I had splurged on something more secure like this one:
Honestly, we were expecting a "Keith Moon" type reception when we got home. Thankfully, she was sound asleep by the door - which shocks me. Coco has been on house arrest for one week due to her spay and she has been a BAD BAD little girl. Exercise is the key to obedience, and she's not getting any of that! I can't blame her. But the house was oddly in order. I thought at the very least there would be broken pens and ink all over the furniture, but she didn't do a single thing. Altho - I bet her puppy tummy is FULL of kitty poo, via the litter box. *barf*
Anyhoo...we'll see how this goes. If you have a smart German Shepherd or any large breed, I don't recommend these wire crates. Splurge for the more secure ones, as these crates are going to last the dogs entire life.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Holy smokes - ANOTHER dog was horribly beaten by their owner? It seems like every few months AnnArbor.com posts a horrific story about a dog owner losing their temper and damn near beating their dog to death! This time, it was a little Jack Russell/Terrier Mix named "Shadow." I just cannot believe that someone would beat a tiny dog with a hammer over an indoor "potty" accident. I mean really - WHAT does one think that a dog does in a new environment?? Especially little dogs that are notorious for their little bladders? This is so sad. CLICK HERE FOR THE WHOLE STORY.
I'm obviously preaching to the choir, here. You are reading this blog because you are a fellow dog lover and you are just as floored by these senseless tales of impatience and unforgivable abuse.
"Annie" finds a loving home
Last February, a local man was finally convicted of brutally beating his dog "Brownie" nearly to death, this time with a tire iron. Her abuse was so extensive that she had to have one of her hind legs amputated. After lying under oath and swearing that he accidentally ran the dog over with his car, the judge slapped him with a 2-4 year prison term. According to AnnArbor.com; "Washtenaw County Circuit Judge David Swartz slapped Rutley with a two- to four-year prison sentence and said he would have issued more time if state guidelines allowed." CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL STORY. "Brownie" was renamed "Annie" by her adoptive family and is thankfully living a new life of luxury and prestige!
At least the laws are somewhat in-place to handle these types of cases. Many other states merely give a slap on the wrist, and offer probation. I'm thankful that Judge David Swartz took this case seriously and handed this criminal a tough sentence, especially after he refused to take accountability for his actions.
As much as it shocks me to see these stories come out of the woodwork, I am glad to see that AnnArbor.com treats them as "Headline News." Are there a sudden rash of violent cases against animals? Probably not, animal abuse is as old as mankind - but it seems that the media is jumping on the stories as more and more people are responding to them. People are fed up with these disparaging stories and are taking steps to mitigate this senseless violence against our precious little fur babies.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
So I just received a friendly reminder from the folks at AKC about Spring Garden Toxins. I'm just starting to garden little by little, but I was surprised to learn that even in my limited space that I have some VERY toxic plants/bulbs in my yard.
Watch for Toxins in Your Spring Garden
Due to their natural curiosity, their love of digging, and their tendency to consume anything they come across, dogs are at a high risk for accidental poisoning. This can be particularly true in spring, as front gardens and backyards come to life with new growth, and as dogs and their owners spend more time outdoors.
Toxic bulbs, plants and flowers include tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, certain lilies, crocus, and lily of the valley.
Harmful fertilizers and ground cover include cocoa mulch, blood meal, bone meal, and any fertilizer containing disulfoton or organophosphates.
Store all poisonous substances in your home, garage, and yard out of reach of your curious canine, and block access to potentially harmful bulbs and flowers. If you suspect your dog has ingested a poison, call your veterinarian at once; or dial the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Westarbor Animal Hospital is my local Vet and I cannot say enough about them - THEY ROCK! The entire staff rules my world!
They hosted a great Tracking class last Saturday and I thought we'd give it a whirl. Well - Coco was a total Brat for the first hour. She walked in thinking that they had thrown her a SURPRISE PARTY, so she was all over the damn place socializing and distracting everyone. UGH. Well, after an hour she settled down and totally got into it. We set a trail for her to follow and once she got it - she was a ROCK STAR!
Coco is feeling poopy
Poor baby, she is feeling super sore and is having a hard time getting around. I wish that I could tell her that she was spayed and that this pain will wash away, but right now she's sick and dizzy and she's giving me her most dramatic pout EVER. Even still, I'm a BIG supporter of "population control" and I know that in the long run this will be best for her health. But I have to admit, when I was on my way to pick her up, I did have a strange wave of guilt. Coco is just such a sweet pup, and what if she did ever have pups? They would be little GEMS! But, they would result in more dogs being euthanized through shelters and they would contribute to the horrible over population that is resulting in over 1 million euthanizations per year.
PedMeds.com Vs my Vet
Soooo, I spent a small fortune on Frontline and Interceptor on top of her spay. It was a big expense that I was saving for, so I was ready. Luckily, my VPI Pet Insurance will be reimbursing me about 30-35% of my entire bill - stay tuned for that one. But like $240 of that bill was for Coco's Heartworm/Flea medication. Some of my friends use PetMeds.com, so I jumped online and compared costs.
12 Months of Interceptor
My Vet: $119.34
6 Months of Frontline
My Vet: $115.98
Hmmm...those prices certainly do not include shipping. Nor do the prices contribute to keeping the doors open and the lights on at my favorite Vets office. Yeah - I'd save some money. But I understand the need for "overhead" and I want to see my Vet stay open and functioning, so I'll probably stick to supporting my local vet over PetMeds.com.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Happy Mother's Day to Coco's Mother!
Mother's Day is coming up and I can't help but look at the beautiful pictures of Coco's mother. She was a playful, sweet-natured dog. When I met her and Coco's father I just knew that their pups were going to be reflections of their kind, gentle spirits. Coco's mother has an incredible smile and was very nurturing to her little pups. Her father was a HUGE bear, he was quite intimidating to look at. But once I came through the gate he ran right up to me and welcomed me immediately. Coco has become such a big part of our lives. I'm glad that I got to meet her biological parents.
This is a song that we sing to her quite often. She loves it.
In the middle of the night
In the middle of the night
I call your name
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Until we saw the jogger.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Oh hell YES! Coco is finally going to the Swift Run Dog Park! We wanted to wait until she was old enough and MATURE enough to handle all of the different personalities. I think that 5 months old is the perfect age to introduce her. She's got her commands down and she's not impressionable enough to disregard her commands while being distracted by the other dogs. She still needs to learn to deal with the rough-housing. There were some tough players out there, but she held her own.
We've never seen her so happy!!
Auntie Amanda Zee and 'lil Brody
Stud Muffin Thor - a regular at Swift Run
Berg - she is a GREAT Dane and about as Sweet as it gets!
Coco ran around like a crazy pants for about an hour and a half. Luckily, we had Miss Amanda Zee, Brody, Argos and Poppa Box...so it was one big PARTAAAAY!!!
On the way home, Argos and Coco played in the back seat. Exhausted and ready to pass out. Coco loves her man, Argos!
Coco + Argos = True Love Always
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Don't let this cute face fool you. THIS is a bad puppy.
So Chris and I have been having problems bathing Coco and clipping her nails. Luckily, we walk her so much that her nails stay trim on their own - so we only have to trim them about once a month. But even still...Coco is beyond traumatized by the basics of bathing and nail trimming. She is downright INSANE.
Yes, my sweet little Boo Boos went over the edge today.
I took Coco to our neighborhood Dog o Mat and thought that working with a professional may be a better route for her to take. Get her out of her element...some new faces...new smells. Um, NO. She was way worse than I could even imagine. After a pretty drama free nail trimming, I was optimistic about getting her into the tub. Once she felt that water spray on her back, you would have imagined that she was being sprayed by sulfuric acid.
The groomer was shocked and we even had to muzzle Coco after a while, I have the red marks up and down my arms to prove it -- that pup went BONKERS! Ugh. After flailing around like a goddamn fish and biting and scratching and wailing...that groomer rinsed her off, smiled pretty and charged me EXTRA for dealing with a complete lunatic.
So right now, I'm settling for those super size Doggie Wipes and I tell you what -- we will ease back into the bathing thing. I'm not saying that I completely give up. But I am going to be realistic here...I've been to Crazy Town and I am NOT going back anytime soon.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
So if you're wondering what in the heck FestiFools is, please watch this fun video. It's a fantastic celebration of Grand Proportions! A stunning array of colorful puppets dance thru the streets. My favorite part of FestiFools is that it was created and maintained by Ann Arbor Townies of all ages and educational backgrounds. We adore this Festival! It may not be appropriate for pups, but it is a fabulous event for YOU!
Friday, March 26, 2010
Ameriken-Magic Teca ~ December 17, 2005 - February 13, 2010
Renee is one of my best friends. When she suddenly lost Teca last month, I was just in pieces. Teca was a gorgeous Viszla that lived a full and exciting life with Renee and Joe Badall.
Deanna and Duke
pic of Duke and Greta
"He is everywhere, but I can't get to him. In fondest memory of my sweet boy, Duke Martin 1999- Mar2010"
I work with Deanna and I've been in and out of her office for WEEKS, asking for advice and showing her pictures. She lost Duke recently and it was absolutely devastating for her and her family.
On mornings like this when I feel like I'm at my wits end and I wonder why in the heck I ever got a dog, I think of Duke and Teca. I need to hug my Coco a little tighter and not take her for granted...even when she's being a little STINKER!!!!
Big love to you, Renee and Deanna!!!