The Not-So-Great Escape

For those of you who’ve seen the movie “Marley and Me,” you know just how crazy that big yellow lab of a dog is. Future dog owners fear this movie in hopes that their dog isn’t as destructive or as rambunctious as him, even thought Marley proves to be a great companion and family member in the end. If you haven’t seen this movie, check out the trailer right quick.

For those of you who are dog owners, did that stir up any memories of raising your pooch? Perhaps some of these things are still going on? For us, this movie (and the end of the trailer in particular) stirs up a very recent memory. In fact, this recent memorable moment just happened on Monday. Did you catch the end of the trailer where Marley was walking outside the car, while John (Owen Wilson) was holding on to him?

(In case you have an appetite for more, here’s a longer clip that shows the whole scene.)

Well, as you might have deduced (yes, I just used a detective term) we had a similar situation that wasn’t as well rehearsed. In fact, it onset more fright and panic than anything else. Mackenzie and I decided to take Watson to a new park to enjoy a book and some sun (for a change from all the rain and the gloominess it brings).

The entrance to the park has a speed limit of 15 mph (which I was going) and signs directing patrons to different areas of the park. We didn’t know where we were going so we kept driving at that pace. On the left was a disc golf course and across the street was a little par 3 course, where some ladies were lining up their putts on the green.

Now, when Watson rides with us, he’s leashed and the windows are cracked just enough for him to stick his head out and enjoy the breeze. However, this time the window was all the way down. Of course he was still leashed and being held by Mackenzie.

Back to those ladies I was talking about. Watson loves people, we all know this. No matter how out of reach they appear. Well, Watson, being the golf professional that he is, decided that he wanted to help them sink their putts and the only way out was the window. And out he went. Still attached to the leash. Now, I hadn’t quite processed what was going on, but luckily Mackenzie had started to let some of the leash out so he could reach the ground. My car door wasn’t about to be a gallows.

Thoughts were racing through my head. Was he okay? Did I run him over? At that point I hadn’t completely stopped the car because again, I hadn’t processed what was happening. The last thought that raged through my mind was, “Why wasn’t Mackenzie holding onto him?” But it didn’t quite come out of my mouth like that… Worse than any one of Watson’s worst barks. I definitely put my foot in my mouth (taking a note from the pup).

She got out of the car and made sure Watson was okay, which thank God he was. However, the sting from my bark didn’t make things any better. Needless to say, it was a short trip to the park that day, but more importantly, an important lesson learned from our furry friend.

Situations like that can bring out the worst in us. Make us feel vulnerable and scared. But we should learn to control them, gather ourselves, be a team, and make the appropriate decision so that, in the event that something happens again, it can be handled differently. This dog brings out the best and worst in us, but we’re not going to let it affect our relationship, our little (goofballin’) family.

On a lighter note, does anyone have any funny stories about their pups? Things that you thought you could only see in a movie before it actually happened to you? I know this won’t be the last time anything like this happens, and we’ll make sure you readers are the first to know. No matter how scary or potentially shaming it may be.

Wags&Kisses

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These Are A Few of My Scariest Things

You all know that Mom’s biggest fear is birds, and Dad hates balls of long, dark hair. You know, the ones you can find in shower drains? I guess everyone’s afraid of something, but you’re probably wondering what scares me. Good guess, but no, it is most certainly not “The Sound of Music” like the title of this post might lead you to believe. I happen to love barking along with those kids and that nun on the hilltops of Austria, but that’s beside the point. Here’s what I’m most afraid of:

First: People

Okay, before you get your fur in a bunch, let me explain. I love people. I don’t know why, but for some reason I lose control. Literally, my bladder lets loose, and my butt wiggles to the point where my rib cage is sore from my tail slapping it so hard. And sometimes I lose my breath because I’m pulling on my leash, trying to inch closer to an ear rub or some nice pats. So it’s not just people; it’s strange people or people doing strange things.

Mom and Dad like to take me on walks at night around the campus. One night we came up on a couple, and I started feeling a twitch. My tail was just about ready to get going when we got closer. Just as they came to pet me, I freaked. I barked so loud because the one on the left was a tall, dark, shadowy figure. And he was wearing something on his head. A little creepy if you ask me. I’ve seen the movies.

Another night, they took me to the fireworks show with another lad, Nathan. I’ve never heard anyone talk like him before (he’s British), but he’s a cool guy. Tons of people were there. I was in heaven, but Dad made us sit where no one was around. Total bummer, until they brought out a rawhide. They thought it’d keep me company during the show. Apparently my other canine friends can’t handle them. I was totally fine. That rawhide kept me busy during the entire show. I only barked a little bit. Until the end of the show… Some little girl came out of nowhere running and twirling one of those light-up toys. So I barked…a lot. Probably even bared my teeth a little.

I even made her scream, but that’s what she gets for running around with something I’d never seen before.

My cousin Blake says it’s normal. He barks at people ALL the time, but I know Mom and Dad don’t want that to keep on happening or else they wouldn’t be able to take me anywhere.

Next: Things with wheels

Again, let me clarify. You’ve read about my road trips and adventures in the car, so it’s not those, which kind of freaks Mom and Dad out. I guess they’re worried I’ll run into one or something. It’s everything else with wheels. Bicycles, strollers, scooters, golf carts. I just wished they’d stop moving! People shouldn’t be allowed to move that fast, especially  on bicycles. I see people on them, and I just want to lick them, but that dang thing with wheels gets in the way, and before you know it, they’ve blown right by me. They take all the fun out of it. Same thing with scooters and golf carts. I guess I only bark at strollers because they have little kids in them, and I know they just want to pull my tail.

Last: Loud Things

Okay, if fireworks don’t do the trick then what does? I’ll tell you what. Washer/dryer, vacuum and the hair dryer. Every once in a while Mom and Dad will wash what sounds like a ton of rocks. All the banging and clanging hurts my sensitive little ears, so I’m left with nothing else to do but bark my head off (even though they shut the laundry room door). As for the vacuum, that thing’s just plain scary. Ever since I watched “The Brave Little Toaster” with Dad, I try to get as far away as possible.

And if that’s not bad enough, Mom puts her hair dryer in my face all the time. Now you really know why my whiskers look funny. She singes the ends off with that hot air blaster. Don’t believe every word you read.

Those might not sound entirely terrible to you, but I have to give props to Mom and Dad. They’ve done a pretty good job of helping me, feeding me Cheerios during these scary times. They’re just preparing me for round two. I’ve already gone through my first fear period, but from what I keep hearing from Mom and Dad, most puppies go through two of these “fear periods.” They’re waiting for the second one to kick in around my next month-birthday. I’ve heard this quote that I’ll have to keep in mind when that time comes around, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Except the guy that said it was in a chair with wheels. Not sure if I can trust him or not.

So I’ve told you my fears. What are you all most afraid of? Is anyone scared of something that’s even a little embarrassing? Please share! I’d love to read  hear from Mom and Dad what you have to say.

Wags&Kisses

Adios Anxiety

Pups, like some peeps, have trouble saying barking goodbye. Yep, dogs can suffer from separation anxiety just like us, and Watson has been showing signs of this since day one. With his being abandoned and alone for the first few weeks of his life, it isn’t out of the ordinary for him to think that we’re never coming back. Of course, we always come back, but just to make sure we never leave his side again, Watson shifts into shadow or clingy-monkey mode. (It’s really too adorable!)

Of course things like whining, whimpering and defying instructions when we are about to leave the apartment are expected. But when we can hear his cries and yelps pouring from his crate loud and clear into the parking lot (with all apartment windows closed), something is up. That’s the anxiety.

Crate training and the security it brings typically help reduce this nervousness, but for a while, we weren’t seeing results with Watso. Heck, he wouldn’t even go near his crate if he saw us putting shoes on or heard jingling keys. In fact, he’d hightail it (pun, intended) underneath the TV stand (where he can’t easily be reached) as if in protest to the possibility of our leaving. This never stopped us from actually doing what we needed to do, but it made leaving challenging.

This not only happened when both of us left, but if just one of us was headed to work or class or to run errands. You’d think that if he wasn’t going to be alone, he’d be calm and anxiety-free, but nope, there he was, barking his little head off.

Another indication of Watson’s anxiety is his uuuuuber excitement when either of us returns home. Whether we’re gone for five hours or 15 minutes, Watson greets us like we’ve been away for a million years. Yips, jumps, licks, and wiggly butt galore! If this doesn’t make someone feel good after a long day at work, then they’re officially off their rocker! But acknowledging this excitement can just reinforce the anxious behaviors, which isn’t ideal. So we try our darnedest not to react until he’s calmed down a smidge.

We were starting to get a little worried that his anxiety wasn’t lessening, but one day before Jake headed off to work, he picked up Mr. Koala, and Watson followed the stuffed animal his best friend right into his crate. No barks, no cries, no sad-pup eyes, no seeking refuge beneath the TV. And this was no coincidence! It happened FOUR more times with both of us! Now, Watson simply follows the little marsupial (quick biology lesson: koalas aren’t bears) right into his crate with no ifs, ands, or buts. Thank you, Mr. Koala, AKA the miracle worker!

As for the over-excitement when we return home, he still gets riled up, but we’re constantly working against every instinct we have to pat his head, pick him up, nuzzle his nose, and lick kiss his furry little face right back. (Wish us luck, because honestly, who can ignore this wrinkly-whiskered face?!)

Do any of you have pups (or peeps) in your life who get a little anxious when you leave their line of sight? Does it make you feel sad but loved at the same time like it does us?

Wags&Kisses

Status Update

And this post is about as short as one you’d find on the ol’ Facebook machine.  It’s been a while since we’ve updated everyone on how Watson’s developing and growing into the mature little dog that he is. So here ya go:

  • Age: 4 months & 3.5 weeks (The big 0-5 next week!)
  • Possible breed: Terrier/Beagle/Collie mix
  • Weight: 18.3 lbs.
  • Length: 36-ish inches (fully stretched out)

  • Height: 17 inches
  • Teeth lost: 13 (!!) & 2 more coming in

  • Favorite human food: Granny Smith apples & peanut butter

That’s all we know for now. But we’re interested to learn what you want to know! Are there any burning questions out there? Anything you’d like us to try with Wats and report back on? (No experiments, please!)  Don’t worry, we have quite a few ideas in the queue, but of course, we’d like to please our readers. So get your comment on and tell us what you’re aching to know about Watson!

Wags&Kisses

Pooping & Peeing & Puking… Oh My!

WARNING: Viewer discretion is advised. The content of this post is graphic and may be disturbing to some. If you are easily squeamish or have a weak stomach, this blog entry is not for you. Feel free to look at our other pages and see all the cute things that Watson does, as this one may not show the cutest side of Watson.

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There’s still time to turn back! It’s not too late to click on “Say Woof!” Can’t say I didn’t warn ya.

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Poop, pee, and puke — three bodily functions that occur with everyone. Some more than others and for many different reasons. Each one of these is usually a private matter (with the exception of taking a “leak” in the bushes or squatting just off the path) where often, we would prefer not to be bothered. It’s a time where we can get lost in a magazine or carried away in a game of Words with Friends. Some of you might even be enjoying this blog right now while doing your duty. (Caught ya!) No matter who, what, where, why or when, these three functions happen daily (well, hopefully not the vomiting bit) and are essential for the comfort of our bodies.

For Watson, these are not-so-private occasions. Poor fella has someone follow him around everywhere to make sure that he goes to the bathroom. How would you feel having a leash attached to you? Talk about lack of privacy. This is just another of the issues Watson has with his parents, but it’s something he’s getting used to. Eight times out of 10 he usually gets his business done and gets right back in the apartment. The other 2 times he just wants to be outside sniffing and eating whatever comes under his nose.

Pooping

This is one area where Watson has always let us know when it’s time to “go.” He’s never been afraid to sit at the door and bark until one of us finally gets up to take him outside. His routine is simple. He makes a couple circles, checks the wind, faces due east, and squats. It kind of looks like this:

Looks painful right? Actually, this is a shot we took of Watson testing out his new tie-out leash/cable. (You’ll hear more about this in the next post.) It just so happens that Watson looks like he’s in the “position” (and a lot of pain), so I couldn’t resist including the visual.

His stools are normally solid, but he occasionally has a loose one. If we see that, we cut back on extra treats or bone-chewing time to allow for normal digestion. It might sound weird, but we like seeing solid stools, even if there’s a little something “extra” in them (blue tin foil and stuffed animal stuffing, I’m looking at you).

Peeing

This has always been Watson’s downfall, for a number of reasons. Unlike #2, he felt that he could go #1 wherever he wanted to, but he has been getting better. We’ve been mess free for about 2 weeks now, and it’s about time we get our carpets clean (yay!). If it’s not the carpets or the grass outside, it’s on shoes. Particularly on the shoes of new people and people he knows well but hasn’t seen for a while.

Sometimes he even pees on me. He’s a daddy’s dog, what can I say? Speaking of shoes, every once in awhile Watson likes to come back from doing his business wearing a pair of boots. Golden boots in fact (aka pee-soaked white paws). Inspired by Usain Bolt, especially with the Olympics coming up. Hopefully those boots will be put back in Watson’s closet when everything’s over in London (or when he gets better aim.)

Puking

The third and final function that doesn’t happen to Watson so much. We’ve written about his first night with us and his upset stomach, but other than the occasional up-chuck he doesn’t make these a routine occasion. However, one moment sticks out in our minds. After leaving Watson for about 3 hours, he was excited when we came home. He went on a tear after going outside. Running around the house, jumping on the couch. Then out of nowhere, “Hack!” All over the couch. The end product was this:  (hurry, avert your eyes if you get queasy!) Look closely. Okay, I realize it’s a little disgusting, but take a look at the bottom left.Yes, that’s a not-so-chewed biscuit. The biscuit we gave him before we left. The dog loves food. We’ve always laughed about it, but we’re being serious when we say he ‘inhales’ it.

So there you have it, Watson’s numbers 1 through 3. It’s a good thing he can’t readily access the internet (thank you, parental controls) or else we’d be in the doghouse for sharing such personal information with all of you.

Don’t worry, we’re not asking any questions on this one. Please keep your functions to yourselves.

Wags&Kisses

Pup Culture

When we picked the name Watson for the newest and cutest (seriously, see below) member of the fam, we didn’t think too much about the possibility of pop cultural references beyond Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, or “Doctuh Watson” as we like to pronounce it.

But in the last 4 months or so we’ve noticed the what-we-thought-to-be-a-not-so-common name popping up in everything from sports and TV shows to commercials and super computers. We’re also finding ourselves easily slipping the pup’s namesake into songs, jingles, and dated cultural memes. Poor guy just can’t seem to get away from his name.

Here’s a little rundown of the Watsons we’ve found: (P.S. click on the links in blue to see exactly what we’re talking about. Some references are difficult to describe, so feel free to try them out loud… it’s actually kind of fun, I promise.)

  • Capitol One “What’s in your wallet?” commericals lend easily to a little “Wats in your wallet?”. Yes, we really do ask our dog this question.
  • The new CBS series, “Elementary,” about present-day Sherlock Holmes. Lucy Liu plays the role of Watson.

  • The Police’s 1978 classic “Roxanne,” or as we sing it, “Waaatsssson.” (I’m telling you, just sing along… you’ll see.)
  • IBM’s super computer, Watson, that can answer questions that are asked in natural language and is the ultimate Jeopardy! champ.

  • And who can forget the “Wazzzzzuuuuupppp?” commercial that changed how people everywhere answer the phone? Definitely not Waaaaatttssssssonnnnn.

We also experienced one mistaken Watson reference. Jake thought the TV show “The Waltons” was called “The Watsons.” We give him props for trying. Close, but no cigar rawhide.

Have you guys and gals been seeing Watsons everywhere like us? Have we missed any other opportunities to embarrass our pup by inserting his name into songs or commercials like good dog-parents should? Let us know. Watson will be really appreciative.

Wags&Kisses

Terrible Twos

Is this something just for toddlers? Me thinks not! We are currently experiencing a similar developmental stage with Watson. You’re probably saying to yourself, “But he’s only 4 months old.” Correct you are, but let’s take into account dog years shall we? (mathematically, of course):

     4              =             x                                                                      12                            84

28 months        =     x

AKA Watson is actually 2 years and 4 months old, and he isn’t being shy about it.

Within the last two weeks, he’s gone from kicking his bad habits (biting, snarling, pawing) to having a meltdown two to three times a day. Yikes! When we reprimand him for doing something like climbing in the dishwasher, eating trash from the trashcan, or biting pillows, he flips out.

I liken this to a toddler’s temper tantrum:

Watson + 1 scolding = 1 fit = growling, scowling, pouncing, biting, pawing, etc.

When one of his crazed outbursts is happening, we try to calm him down by attempting to distract him with a toy. If that method doesn’t work, we resort to a bit of hiney swatting. Nothing serious, just some little taps on the behind to give him the this-is-bad-stop-doing-that-please-behave message.

Often times this doesn’t work, so we send him to the bathroom for a timeout, which we’ve mentioned before. Usually, 5 minutes in the dark results in a relaxed pooch:

Seclusion + Watson + darkness = peaceful puppy

In the off chance that he doesn’t come out of the bathroom with a more composed demeanor, he’s on the other end of the spectrum — ripping through the hallways, darting from room to room, jumping from chair to couch, and sliding under every table. This is not ideal. If all else fails, he’ll eventually settle down, and more often than not, this is followed immediately by a nap (and a smidge of guilt on Watson’s part).

Crazy, hyper Watson < calm, happy Watson

But it’s not just the temper tantrums that characterize the terrible twos, at this age, apparently toddlers have learned to say, “No!” And apparently, at this age, Watson has also learned to say, “No!” (Mostly to me, not Jake.)

No = Watson(favorite saying) + Me – Jake

Watson sits at the door telling us he needs to do his business, but when I go over to put his leash on him, he ducks and dodges and snips and snaps until I can sneak the clip onto his collar.

Sometimes I’ll just be petting him, and all of a sudden, he flips his head back and tries to use my hand as a chew toy. Not cool, dude. He used to walk away when he’d had enough snuggling, but now he tends to want to deal with it a little more on the aggressive side.

Long story short, we’re looking forward to the Terrific Threes:

     x                =           36 months  

12 months                   84 months

          x   =  5.14 months

According to our equation, Watson will be joining this better-behaved club (fingers crossed) at the age of 5.14 months. That means we only have about a month and a half left of “two-year-old” puppy madness.

For all of you who have raised a dog (or a child), does this stage go by quickly? Is the next one called Terrific Threes like we’re hoping?

Wags&Kisses