Life Is a Highway

Summer is the ideal time to load up the car, make a stack of PB&Js, throw on some shades and tunes (like the one in the title), and hit the road. Jake and I have always enjoyed our fair share of spontaneous road trips, but adding a pooch into the mix definitely brings about some changes. The most apparent one for me is that we have to make plans before going anywhere for more than 3 or so hours. Our quick, spur-of-the-moment day trips to Chicago and Indy have been vetoed, but now we get to enjoy the company of a furry little pal in the backseat.Before taking Watson on his first road trip, we heard horror stories about puppies puking, pooping, and phfreaking out during long (and not-so-long) drives. To help our chances with Wats, we decided to take him for little spins around town. I’m not sure if this actually helped or if he’s just a natural traveler (should we have named him Gulliver?!), but once it came time for his first road trip, he jumped right into his crate and simply slept the entire time. Perfecto!

Since his first car trip to Logansport, this tiny trooper has been to Evansville twice, Indy twice, and Logansport many more times. Each trip brings a new first for our little guy. From meeting his first cat to taking his first swim (see it on the Say Woof! page!), Watson has become quite the adventurer.

A wet Watson after his first swim in Newburgh.

Taking himself on a walk in Evansville.

Watson’s first taste of human food. He looooves Logansport egg salad.

Finally some rest for the little nomad in Logansport.

Have you taken any road trips this summer? Have any planned? Any good ideas about how to make our time in the car more fun for Watson?



A Day in the Life

I’m sure you wonder how I spend my days, and you’d probably rather hear it from me than Mom and Dad. Here’s a day in the life of your favorite puppy:

6:00 am – Tummy rumbles. That means it’s time to eat, but Mom and Dad are sleeping and I’m hungry. Plus, duty calls. Hmm…if I lick them in the face, they’ll be sure to wake up. (Lap, lap….groan). Perfect, they’re awake.

6:05 am – I take care of my Number 1-2 punch and race up the stairs, where I patiently sit to have my leash taken off.

6:07 am – Then I’m off! Straight to my bowl. I’ve been waiting for this moment since 5 pm the previous night. I swear these humans starve me. Oh well, I’ll take what I can until my next feeding.

6:10 am – Get back in bed. Apparently Mom and Dad don’t like to wake up this early so playtime will have to wait.

7:00 am – Okay, playtime can’t wait any longer. Time to get up. I’ll try something new. I think I’ll walk on Mom’s face and lick Dad’s pillow. That oughta get’em up.

7:01 am – My tactics have obviously worked. I’ve gotten one of them up. Depends on the day who it is. If it’s Dad, he’s either watching Sportscenter or Boy Meets World, so we can play a little game of tug o’ war. But if it’s Mom, she’s watching the Today show and doing Pilates. I get tired just watching her do all that bendy stuff and I’d rather chew on her yoga mat anyway.

8:00 am – Whoever’s with me is wide awake by now. Know what that means?

8:00 – 10:30 am – Snoozin’

10:30 am – Mom or Dad normally leaves by now. If it’s both of them, that means more snoozin’ in my crate. Just before they leave I whine and bark as if I don’t want them to go, but we all know that’s a joke. It just makes them feel better, especially Dad. He’s a softy.

Whenever Mom or Dad takes a shower they take me with them (as if it’s my favorite part of the day). If I’m in Dad’s bathroom, he lets me lay on his towel (or I grab it off the vanity). I’ve even got my own memory foam mat that Grandma Michelle bought for Dad me. Super comfy. Mom doesn’t have memory foam, but she’s got frilly mats that I can chew on. If that’s not enough, I’ll scavenge for the real treasure: underpants.

11:50 am – I head over and lay by the kitchen. Yes, I know it’s not noon (Mom and Dad constantly remind me), but it never hurts to try. I learned that from my Uncle Koby.

12:00 pm – It’s all a blur. I hear food poured into my bowl and then the bowl is set on the ground. I don’t remember much after that until I’m left licking an empty bowl. I SWEAR I’m getting gypped.

1:00 – 4:00  pm – This usually consists of whatever. Some naps. Some play time. If I’m really lucky, I can get Mom and Dad to take me in the car somewhere. I love the McDonald’s drive-thru. All this trouble for a large Diet Coke? Totally worth it. I love hearing the cashier ladies ‘Oooh’ and ‘Aaah’ over me, except they’ll get in trouble if they pet me, so I make them look at a distance.

5:00 pm – Dinnertime. You’d think I’d be excited about this, seeing anything with food makes me insane, but it’s the last time I’ll be fed by these stingy humans until the next morning. Oh well, I guess I’ll eat it.

After dinner, Mom and Dad take me on a walk. This my last chance to do my doo-ty, so I control how the long walks last. Depends on the route. If we take the trails, I normally like to take my time. There’s lots of good things I can get my mouth on. Sticks, trash, goose poop. Whatever fits. I enjoy these walks and all, but I’m still too small to go very far before I begin to tire, so business gets taken care of and if I’m lucky, I’ll get carried some of the way home.

7:00-9:00 pm – I let Mom and Dad have the TV so they can watch their shows. Weirdos. If they’re not watching TV, they’re taking attractive pictures of me.

9:00 pm – I retire to my crate or whatever’s most comfy. I’m not old enough to watch what’s on after 9.

If I’m on the couch, I make Mom or Dad carry me to bed.

Then it’s night time. I get to sleep in the big bed. You’d be surprised how much room I take up. Sometimes it’s just nice to sprawl out. I obviously had a busy day, so I need to be as comfortable as possible. Especially since I’ll just be getting up and repeating it all over again.

What are your days like? Busy and fun-filled (but not food-filled) like mine? Come on people, let me hear your barks! I want to read about you as much as you like to read about me.



We’ve already covered the nail trimming aspect of Watson’s grooming needs, but believe us, there’s more. For a small animal, there’s a surprising amount of monthly upkeep that goes on. Pedicure, check. Manicure, check. Now it’s time to get his hurr furr did. We’ll start with a nice shampoo and bubble bath, then on to drying and styling.

Up until a few days ago, we washed Watson like we do our dishes. No, not in the dishwasher (although he does love to stand in it), in the sink. His little puppy self lent well to countertop bathing, but since he’s gotten quite a bit longer and taller (than a toaster!), he’s moved on to bigger and better basins… bathtub, here we come!

Bathing Watson is a two-person job. One handles the dog and the other handles the all-important Cheerios. We tend to switch back and forth on who does what during Watson’s bath time just so he doesn’t end up hating the one pouring water all over him. It’s not the he dislikes H20 (or being clean) but he goes into survival mode when he’s about to be tossed gingerly placed into water, even if it’s only two inches.

Even before entering the tub he spread his paws, preparing an exit strategy aka: paddling his way out. Having Cheerios on hand helps get him (and us) through this potentially dramatic ordeal. Whenever we’re introducing something new to Watson, we reinforce the “it’s not evil” factor with his favorite treats. Once he realized he could stand in the water, he relaxed some and focused his full attention on the brain food training food in Jake’s hands, and it was pretty easy for me to soak his coat with warm water (using a giant Pacers cup obviously), lather him up with some oatmeal “body wash” specifically meant for puppies, and rinse him squeaky clean. Let’s just say the remaining tub water was less than appetizing.

For the post-bath drying bit we thought we’d attempt a new approach to supplement the towel… furdryer, anyone? Watson always seems so interested when I’m blow-drying my hair, that we figured he might enjoy a nice warm blast of air himself. Before turning the dryer on to a cool/low setting, we let Wats sniff it and eat some “it’s not evil” Cheerios, but once that whir of noise started roaring, the poor guy was cowering in the bathroom begging for Jake to pick him up. I am not about to be the wicked witch in Watson’s eyes, so I dropped the dryer. Back to the towel.

We just bought Watson a furbrush so we figured post-bath would be the perfect time to try it out since all that scrub-a-dubbing loosened up his coat. We both gave the new brush (meant specifically for dogs with short, fine fur) a try, but only saw about three strands on the bristles… another furdo failure. Overall, Watson’s first big boy dog bath wasn’t half bad.

Do any of you like to eat cereal in the tub? Are you afraid of the blow dryer or sniff it before use? Any of you enjoy running full speed around your house following a nice soak in the tub?


Losing It

No, we’re not talking about our patience or our minds (today anyways), just about Watson’s teeth. He recently lost his first of 28 puppy (or deciduous) teeth. See:

Oh, sorry. It’s a bit difficult to get the mister to cooperate when it comes to his chompers. Can you see it now?

The missing tooth is right above Jake’s thumb, and as far as we know, Watson’s right on schedule. Between three and four months puppies begin to lose their incisors, which is exactly what our dear Watson has lost. Between seven and eight months, he should have a mouth full of adult dog teeth (maybe something like this). Hopefully this doesn’t mean he’ll be doing any adult dog chewing on our stuff!

As far as a visit from the tooth fairy goes, we haven’t been able to find his tooth to tuck beneath his pillow, most likely because he swallowed it. Looks like the tooth fairy will need to break out the ol’ rubber gloves if she wants to fulfill her job requirements.


The first couple months of having a puppy are very expensive. Toys, food, and cages all add up, but it’s the vet bills that can burn a hole in your pocket. Puppies have to get a number of shots and boosters in order to be protected from diseases they’re vulnerable to at this young age. But once you’re over that hump, vaccines only occur annually.The first thing I usually do after taking Watson to the vet’s office is check the bill for wallet damage. Luckily for me, they have everything already broken down price by price. As my eyes scan past $32.00, $18.00, and $19.30 I see an unfamiliar $0.00. Following this line it says ‘Nail Trim – Courtesy.’

Now, I’ve worked at a vet clinic before and there’s nothing worse than trying to cut a dog’s nails. They can be very tricky (especially black nails, which Watson has three of) because if you cut them too short, they’ll start to bleed. White or clear nails show where the quick (the blood vessel) is, but with black nails, it becomes a guessing game. Both Mackenzie and I would rather leave it up to the vet assistants to cut them so we don’t have to. And with the rate we were taking him in for vet visits, his nails were being trimmed every 2 weeks. That meant we didn’t have to do a thing. But the growing boy he is, his nails were coming back in as fast as they were being trimmed.

So one day I decided to go to Petsmart and pick up a pair of clippers to give it a shot. Aside from the three black nails he has, the pinkish quick on the white nails are pretty easy to see. Seven out of 10 isn’t bad if you ask me. Before you begin trimming your dog’s nails, make sure they’re comfortable with you touching their paws and sticking some cold, metal contraption around their nails. If dogs aren’t used to people grabbing their feet, they can become aggressive, and you don’t want that with your fingers being down by their chompers.

Once they’re comfortable with this, cutting nails can be pretty easy. Watson can be a little fidgety, so we had to distract him with some Cheerios the first time we cut his nails. The first time was easy. I nicked a nail, but no real damage was done. The second time he was a little bigger, a little more wiggly, and I ended up cutting just a little too much off the top. He started bleeding instantly and this time was no joke. I got a Kleenex to put on it at first, but that didn’t stop the bleeding, so Mackenzie went to Google. She found a recipe for a paste that you can smear on the wound to work as an anti-hemorrhagic. It was easily made from things found in our pantry, just flour and water. We had to monitor the paste after application because Watson just licked if off. But after reapplying and keeping him off his paws for about 5 minutes (the longer the better, but like I said, he’s super wiggly), it did the job. From working at a vet clinic I knew of other store-bought remedies that work quickly, but the flour mixture works well in a pinch. Just in case, we went ahead and picked up some Kwik Stop styptic powder for future nail-trimming emergencies.

Watson has gotten pretty used to his monthly pedicure. It seems to be relaxing for him. Do any of you look forward to a nice nail trim or new nail color (like Mackenzie)?


The Kennel Club

Not knowing much about properly training and raising a dog (or anything for that matter), I always find myself feeling sad for animals locked in cages. For me, “cage” conjures up images of imprisonment and captivity. I instantly feel the urge to rip out my stash of bobby pins, pick the lock, and send these animals scurrying to freedom. Well, with the exception of birds, which are my number one fear. (Go ahead, laugh it up, but it is so a real fear — ornithophobia.) Anywho, once we got Watson, our next purchase (after food and Cheerios, of course) was a cage/kennel/crate.

We introduced the little guy to his new digs, and he seemed very curious about the metal crossbars and latches and the blankets we lined it with. As with everything else in the apartment, he sniffed it, licked it, nibbled it, and repeatedly bumped into it. We decided to use the crate (doesn’t that sound so much better than “cage”?) for a few things: 1) for him to sleep in at night and 2) for him to stay in when both of us aren’t home.

In reading up on cage training, we came across another possible use for crates: timeout. We figured we needed to invoke something like this for when Watson nibbled too hard, peed in the house, and/or chewed up another pair of shoes or undies. So we also decided to use the crate for 3) a timeout space. Of course there was a lot of crying and whining when we’d have to lay down the law and send Watson to his room crate, but every puppy has to learn, right?

Well, when we told the vet about our methods of discipline, he informed us that the crate should be used for either sleeping and safekeeping OR timeout, but not both. Whoops! Just like our bedrooms are supposed to be our sanctuaries, a dog’s crate needs to become theirs so they feel secure and comfortable when they are away from their owners. Poor little Watson was getting mixed signals from us, so we dropped crate use #3 and switched timeout to the bathroom.

As for use #1, Watson was very good about sleeping in his crate, whining to let us know that his tiny bladder needed to be relieved. This was until he found his bark… For such a small dude, he has quite the howl. Because we live in a building with at least seven other apartments, Watson couldn’t keep barking three times throughout each night. Some of our neighbors (particularly an older lady who lives below us) mentioned his loud yelps offhand, so out of respect for everyone else’s sound sleep (of which I am insanely jealous), we knew we needed to try another approach to bedtime.

Use #2 is the only one we haven’t changed. Watson goes into his crate every time we are both away from the apartment. Yes, he whines like the best of them, and it tears our hearts to pieces when we hear it through the windows on our way out, but this way we know Watson (and our stuff) will be safe in the apartment while we’re gone.

Do you guys love stretching out in your bedrooms as much as Watson loves his crate?! Or is timeout more your thing?


Tricks & Treats

Watson is very food motivated. He just about jumps out of his coat at the sound of his food landing in his bowl. When we cook, his nose sniffs the air trying to figure out the perfect spot to snatch a tidbit. In short, he is absolutely in love with food, which can be both good and bad. Bad things first: he can get pretty aggressive (and sneaky) around food. His own, ours, and his other animal friends’. He doesn’t bite or snarl, but he lunges and climbs and tries with all his might to devour any food in the area.

Now on to the good: we can (so far successfully) use food as a reward while we train him. Training a puppy isn’t easy though. He’s not going to get our commands on the first try, but for the training to stick, we still need to reward him for trying. Baby Puppy steps. Trying to reward a behavior (sitting, laying down, playing dead, etc.) with biscuits or pieces of biscuits every single time can get to be too much for Watson’s belly (and our wallets.) So we use Cheerios. They’re small, bland, and it’s hard to run out of them.

We started using the Cheerios method with potty training Watson. Every time we took him outside we brought a handful of Cheerios with us. Once he went the bathroom, we flooded him with praise (“You go, dog!” “Woot! Woot!”) and just one Cheerio. Keeping this routine of reward consistent got Wats thinking to himself, “Hey, if I go the bathroom I get a Cheerio. Yes!” This reinforcement with a treat teaches him that this is where he should do his business. Outside.

Once he got the hang of going the bathroom outside, we made sure he knew how to tell us when he needed to go. If he went to the door or barked, he got a Cheerio and then another one  when he went the bathroom outside. But be careful, puppies are as smart as they are cute. If they catch on to getting rewarded at the door, they’ll go to the door just hoping to get a treat even if they don’t have any “business” to attend to. Watson got us on this a couple of times. That’s why we were sure to fade out the Cheerio, only giving it to him every other time until he didn’t expect it anymore.

The Cheerio method also worked for teaching him how to sit and shake (in only two nights of practice!). Once he did the behavior we were trying to teach him, he was quickly rewarded with the tasty cereal snack. “Lay down” and “speak” are different stories. He doesn’t really get the concept of ‘down.’ Anytime I point to the ground, he just sits there and looks at my finger and back at me, wondering why in the world I’m pointing out that spot on the carpet.

To help us out with these behaviors that seems to be difficult for our little fella, we’re going to have to be ready and waiting with pockets full of Cheerios until we catch him in the acts. What I mean by this is that once he randomly lies down on his own, we’ll ruffle his ears, say “down,” and feed him a Cheerio. This will start to teach Watson that this behavior is good and worthy of a treat. And because he’s so motivated by treats, hopefully this will stick fairly quickly.

Along with all these Cheerios we’re slingin’ Watson’s way, we supplement with larger puppy-sized Milk-Bone biscuits. Switching his treats up keeps him interested in continuing to perform these behaviors, and, judging by the way he drools when he see these little bone-shaped treats, they taste way better than the cholesterol-lowering “o”‘s.