Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chihuahua Thursday - more than meets the eye

I bought a new collar for the Chihuahua, and Adrian's mother gifted us with her ID tag. 

I think it suits her rather well.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Staying fashionably warm

Today is a cold day. 

Which means, much to Cohen's chagrin, I broke out the winter jacket. I felt a little silly putting it on her, as she normally copes with the cold relatively well, but it definitely helped during our 2 hour long walk in the woods. All told, there were only a few minutes of moping before she started having fun. These are photos from the moping period.

It's like they're twins. 
 I also bought a new winter coat for Megatron. She came with a few, but none really covered her properly, so I wanted to invest in a good one. It's a bit long for her, but it's got great neck & belly coverage. Mega coped with the whole process like a champ - she greeted strange people, explored a new environment, and had no problems being manipulated in and out of jackets while I searched for the right size.

It was still rather cold of course, so I let the tinydog stay home to sleep on the couch while I took the bigdog out. I think each of them were happy with the decision.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Fit Dawgs pt 3 - small wonders

Since Megatron arrived I've been trying to slim her down some. She's had disc problems in the past, and has been carrying excess weight since she was a pup (hence the name Megatron, Adrian insists). I've always felt that her weight posed a serious risk to her already fragile back, and have been anxious to get it off. 

As most readers of this blog are aware of by now, I'm slightly preoccupied with the physique of my dog(s). So Mega is my next project. I've not paid particularly close attention to Meg's food consumption (if anything I feel like she might be getting more with all the time wasting treats I'm throwing at her). I've also not been doing much more than walking the tinydog on a daily basis (and with the Christmas season I've missed a day or two here and there). 

Peanut fun for everyone.

I took the picture above earlier today to act as a marker for the start of Meg's weight loss journey. She's balancing on a Fit Paws inflatable peanut which I purchased to help keep Cohen in shape over the winter, and Meg has taken to it rather well too. 

She still needs to slim up a bit - I'd like to see the end of her rib cage and some more definition in her waist. She also needs some more muscle definition in her front and hind quarters. But all in all I'm actually quite pleased with what I see.

Unfortunately I don't have many pre-arrival photos of Mega, so the one below will have to serve as her "before before" photo. 

She's propping herself up on her fat rolls.

It's not the most flattering photo in the world, and it's tough to compare with her in such different positions, but I was surprised comparing the two side by side. I've barely gotten Mega started, but I think she's come a long way already -- both physically and mentally (the changes in mentality will be a future blog entry). I brought her back to Adrian's parent's place last week, and even they commented on Mega having lost weight. So long, tiny sausage shaped dog!

The cold weather will limit how much walking we can do, so I expect real changes to occur in the spring. But I'm very pleased at how well Mega seems to be settling in. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happier awkward family photos

Cohen, what big everythings you have.
I think Mega was huddling next to Cohen for heat. Any port in a storm and all that.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Compare and contrast

Relaxed, no? 
Loud, no?
A while ago I wrote about the byproducts of owning a dog, in which I mused about how it was the annoyingly energetic bits of Cohen which made her irritating as heck, and how they were exactly what I loved about her. It's pretty simple: energetic dogs have energy even when you don't want them to. It drives some people crazy, but I really thrive on it.

Yesterday Adrian and I were talking about how the merging of the dogs into one household was going. Both of us are stressed out (by the dogs, and life in general), and each of us are having trouble bonding with the other's dog.

Adrian said something rather interesting during our conversation. He said something to the extent of, "your bond with Cohen is intellectual, mine with Mega is because she wants nothing more than to sit in my lap all day." I think it sums up the problems both of us are having quite well. 

I'm having trouble with Mega because all she wants to do is sit in my lap, and I find that tremendously boring after about 15 minutes. She sleeps most of the day, and when she's not sleeping or sitting on your lap she's off in her own world (and possibly barking). Simply put, she's not interested in DOING anything, and I'm having trouble adapting to a dog who isn't genetically keyed in to my every mood and movement. Apparently I really need the "intellectual" aspect - 2 way communication between handler and dog.

Adrian simply doesn't have the time or energy to relate to Cohen on any sort of "intellectual" level. His desire for a dog is something to welcome you home after a long day and keep you company as you unwind with some video games. His days are already so monopolized by the stresses of work (among other things) that the additional obligation to the dog(s) is unwelcome. He keeps his distance from Cohen to keep her excitement level low so she doesn't get riled up and pose a possible threat to tinydog. He really loves his little lapdog. 

I think the photos from today sum up each of the dogs quite well. 

Tinydog wants nothing more than to lay with you.

Almost all my photos of Mega are of her sleeping, thinking about sleeping, or wishing she were sleeping.
Oh laps, how I love you so. Never leave me. 

And now the crazy starts...



Obviously there are plenty of people who would adore a tiny little low maintenance dog who lives to sit on you and worship the heat of your body. I'm one of those crazy people who relishes handling a high maintenance dog. Cohen and I had the time of our lives on our walk earlier today.

So, there are some kinks yet to be worked out with the dogs. I've had very little opportunity to work with Mega this week, since work has been crazy and I've been spending what time I have with Adrian and the demanding dog. I suspect we'll work out the kinks eventually. I think being able to take down the gates will go a long way to family cohesion, but that's still a few weeks away at least.

Today has been a good day. I managed to work Mega on the inflatable peanut I bought for Cohen, and Mega waited patiently for kibble as I worked on a new trick with Cohen (Cohen didn't wait as patiently while I worked with Mega). I've given Mega plenty of lap time, and Cohen got her 2 hour romp in the woods. Balancing the two dogs is possible... on days when I have nothing else to do.

Friday, December 16, 2011

I threw a ball for Cohen, and she whimpered as she got to it. I think she tweaked something in her left front leg (I'd been noticing her favour it EVER SO SLIGHTLY over the last week). Poor girl.

I did kind of enjoy the cuddling she requested immediately afterwards, as a bit of comfort while I assured her she'd be okay.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Walking in a warm, damp winter wonderland.

Okay Cohen, stay... good... let me reposition.... now... HUP!
These shots are from last week actually. We've not had any snow fall since. The lack of snow drifts/shoveling is nice, but it's not exactly easy to get into the spirit of the season. I'm posting older shots because, well, I've been too busy to come up with anything more productive.

Cohen had spent several minutes tugging on this branch prior to the photo being taken. 
I foresee this holiday being an extremely difficult one with my Dad being gone. That's the reason I've been dragging my feet in regards to Christmas. That, and I've been so incredibly busy with paperwork and prepping the house for sale. But we purchased our Christmas tree yesterday! Maybe the smell of pine will encourage me to start my shopping. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The start of awkward family photos

That's about as close as Megatron allows herself to get to Cohen.
Mega is getting more used to being forced to walk in the cold (because I'm a terrible horrible person). The dogs are wonderful outside together, in that Cohen completely ignores Mega, and Mega is getting less skittish when Cohen does a driveby with a ball.

Mega is also significantly less reactive to strange dogs now that she's here. She's had a number of almost polite greetings (interspersed with awkward "lemme out of here" ones).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chihuahua Thursday

Chihuahua Thursday is totally a thing. 

Megatron is settling in well. Cohen still wants to molest her, but I feel like we're starting to make headway. 

I brought Mega by my training facility tonight to join in on class two of a basic obedience session. I was expecting to spend most of the class with Mega in her crate while I worked on desensitizing her to the sights, smells and sounds of the building. Apparently I underestimated her, because she was up and ready to work as soon as things got going. 

That's right, my fatty Chihuahua was ready to work. *glee*

It took a few minutes before she settled down enough to understand the mechanics of "stay", but she gave fantastic attention and didn't have a single reactive outburst towards a dog (and there were some crazy dogs in this class). By the end of the exercise, she was staying like a champ through proofing exercises, the distraction of other dogs and handlers, and I even walked around behind her once or twice. By the end of the class she was getting full (damn tinydog stomachs) but she continued to work with some excited praise. Basically, I was hugely impressed by her. She probably was the top performing dog in the class. 

I really, truly believe that a strong relationship between a dog and its owner is forged through training. It's that relaxed, rewarding, genuine interaction between animal and human that really cements the bonds of trust and friendship. I put a great deal of weight on how my dogs respond to me when I ask something of them. So I'm thrilled that it looks like Mega and I have started off on the right foot. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Megatron's first day

Making herself at home whether we like it or not.
So Megatron is here, and she's impossible to photograph in focus. 

I don't have a lot of time to write out a full summary of my experiences thus far, so I'm going to keep it brief. 

the good

- Megatron and Cohen are doing a wonderful job parallel walking together. 
- Cohen completely ignores Mega when she's running around off leash.
- Both Cohen and Mega are quick to recover from stress.

the bad

- Cohen is staring a lot at Mega. I don't think it's the "hard stare" you read about  in books, but more of a "something is happening over there and I will pay close attention" type of stare.
- Cohen's excitement is triggered when she hears Mega scuttling around, and gets visibly aroused. 
- Mega barks at all the strange happenings in the house... a lot. Hopefully she'll get used to the environment quickly.
- Mega, being overweight at 7lbs, can only eat so much, which drastically limits the amount of food rewards I can offer while training.

the ugly

- This morning when I wasn't present Cohen apparently targeted Mega. It sounds like it might have been a triggered play drive situation where Mega was scuttling about (she scuttles a lot) and Cohen walked towards her, then pawed and mouthed at her. I think Mega yelped in fright, and Adrian grabbed Cohen. Both dogs recovered quickly. Lesson learned. We were being too lax. 


Meggy is set up in an ex-pen in the kitchen, and is only to be let out when there's at least one door separating her and Cohen at all times. I'm hoping that the issues we're running into will fade once Cohen grows more accustomed to Mega's movements, and Mega grows more accustomed to her new environment. 

I'm doing a lot of mat work with Cohen while trying to desensitize her to Mega's scuttles. We're doing a lot of Its Yer Choice type games with the two of them too. 

I'd be lying if I said this wasn't stressful. If anyone has any pointers I'm all ears. 

Freshly bathed, and with a case of the bath time crazies. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Holiday cheer. And photos.

Merry Christmas, folks.
Serene Christmas Cohen.

Are we having fun yet? 

This can't go on much longer, can it? 
Fine, fuck, do whatever you want. 
This IS my "Christmas Happy Face"

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Something on muh face?

Do I has something on muh face? 
A photo from the first snow of the season. Cohen just ate it up - she loved it.

Friday, December 2, 2011

She's almost here.

Megatron is almost here.

She's laying there... waiting. 

With Adrian just about moved in at the house it's almost time to move his dog in too. I'm excited and incredibly nervous. The size difference between Chubby Chihuahua and Ornery Aussie is a serious one, and could result in serious trouble. I'm going to go absolutely overkill on managing everything. 

I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to work with a new dog. She's lazy, fat and not particularly well trained - I'll whip her into shape. Or at least I'll try. She has a bad back, so I'll have to be careful.

She's nervous around Cohen. So far Cohen has been really good at ignoring her when they're out on walks together. Inside I get more nervous, as Cohen will guard resources (including me) and any lashing out from Cohen could result in serious injuries to Meggy simply due to the size discrepancy. There will be lots of enforced quiet time in the house with the dogs separated, and lots and lots of walks. 

She should be moved in within the next week or two. Exciting! Nervous!