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

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?

Wags&Kisses

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.

Wags&Kisses