Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

The Good, Crazy, & Adorable Life of One Havachon Puppy

The Puppy Who Hates Pot Lids

When we were first training Daisy in the art of “no”, her strong will put up quite a fight against our commands. At first she’d listen, but we could see her brain churning as she decided how to counteract future orders. Those eyes of hers are definitely windows into her mind!


What's that pot lid doing out???

She reminded me of a teenager who pushes the envelope further and further each time to see just how much they can get away with before Mom and Dad finally snap and get really tough. The vet told us to get a whistle and blow it every time she ignored the “no” or “down” commands.

Well, with our overly full lives, we kept forgetting to buy the whistle. Finally, my patience ran out, and I knew I had to do something to let this puppy know we’re not to be trifled with. So I got the next loudest thing to a whistle that I had around the house – a small metal pot lid and spoon. And the next time our little puppy decided not to listen and just yapped stubbornly with that belligerent, challenging “what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it” expression, I whipped out the pot lid and clanged it with the spoon.

WOW. Instant attention. That nasty expression was wiped right off her face. She hated that sound! But it worked. She immediately complied with the command and sat down staring at me from several feet away, and she didn’t repeat the offense for the rest of the day. Okay, I thought, good, I’ve got her attention now. She knows there’s a price to pay for not listening.

It only took a few lid clangings for her to realize that I was serious and she was going to have to endure that sharp sound whenever she didn’t listen. It’s amazing how fast a puppy will reform when she doesn’t like the punishment!

I haven’t had to clang the pot lid for a couple of months now, but the other day to my surprise, I discovered that Daisy didn’t forget what pot lids meant to her. (Whoever says that dogs don’t have memories are nuts!) All of a sudden I heard Daisy barking and growling up a storm in the kitchen, so I raced in to see what the trouble was – images of strangers wearing black ski masks getting ready to break the windows raced through my head.

Nope. The large skillet lid was sitting on the kitchen counter; Daisy spotted it and was giving it hell. I was amazed that she had that type of recall, and it was fascinating to see her reaction to this apparent nemesis of hers! After a little while, she just grumbled and backed out of the kitchen. I laughed so hard, but it just goes to show that these little creatures should definitely not be underestimated!

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The True Face of Danger – The Dreaded Wax Paper Roll

Daisy’s such a little tough guy when it comes to hearing wax paper or aluminum foil being torn from its package – she comes charging into the kitchen barking her “tough guy” bark, aiming straight at the box from which the offending noise is being generated.

The Offending Paper Roll

So today, when the wax paper ran out, I decided to introduce her to the cardboard roll inside the box, just to see what she’d do with it. I held it out and she sniffed it, then just stood there staring at me. So I put the roll down and waited.

Wow. You’d think I’d just put a snake on the floor.

She backed right out of the kitchen, staring at the roll as if it were poised to strike at any second. No more barking or posturing – suddenly the little tough guy was humbled. I tried some verbal coaxing, and when that didn’t work, I picked up the roll and sweetly told her it was nice. Nope. She wasn’t buying any of it.

I didn’t want her to be afraid of this silly little object, so I put it back down and rolled it around the floor with my foot, showing her that it was fun like a toy. She just backed further into the family room.

Then I got the brilliant idea to take it into the family room. I put it down and stood next to it, talking sweetly to Daisy – “See? It’s nothing. It’s just a little roll. See how nice?” She got up the courage to give it one lukewarm sniff, which only lasted about 5 seconds.

One lukewarm attempt to check out the offender

After that she immediately backed off and walked around it, giving it a very wide berth, and stood behind me. I moved to the other side of the roll, and she followed behind me. This happened several times, so it was no coincidence.

"Hide me, Mommy!"

She never did get up the courage to really meet this new stranger, so I finally just threw the thing away. That seemed to make her day!

Quirky little puppy…..

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The Demonic Branch

Last week we had some pretty severe weather here, with extremely heavy rains, winds and thunderstorms. At one point the sky turned black and the winds ripped through the area; the news said we were under a tornado watch and should take cover immediately. I was home alone with Daisy and pretty scared, especially since my daughter was out there, driving home from work.

Fortunately she got home in the eye of the storm, before the most severe weather hit. The black sky turned an eerie greenish color, and all of a sudden the wind kicked into high gear, sending branches slamming into the house. The rain was so heavy we couldn’t see out, and it was coming down sideways. I held Daisy and prepared to close ourselves into an interior bathroom the second I heard anything that sounded like a freight train overhead.

Fortunately that only lasted a few minutes. The next morning, we surveyed the damage. Branches everywhere, but no broken windows. Shockingly, the potted plants remained intact (none of our tomatoes blew off the vines!) and most amazingly, the bird feeder that hangs from a decorative pole in our yard was still in place! We heard on the news that the winds reached 125 mph because a funnel cloud passed over us; thankfully, the spout never touched down. We saw footage of it, and I’m glad I didn’t know it was there at the time!

Anyway, one of the branches that came down was filled with leaves, and while Daisy can see all the trees with leaves on them, she’s never seen a branch on the ground with leaves on it. It never occurred to me that she would see this differently than the branches on the trees, but this little puppy freaked out and started barking and growling continuously at that branch like the devil himself was outside!

It took a full day for her to accept this branch as non-threatening, and even then, she kept peering at it warily!

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Hairy Situations – Canine Ear Hair Hazards

This whole ear hair episode with Daisy got me thinking about how few of us dog owners are prepared for these types of situations. We were never told that Daisy was descended from breeds that typically require plucking, nor did we ever know such issues existed. So I decided to look into it a little more to hopefully save other dog owners from what happened to that poor puppy at the vet’s office, which I mentioned in a previous post.

I'm so much more comfortable after my plucking!

From what I’ve read, almost any dog breed that needs regular hair cuts will need to have their ears plucked. Some dogs are lucky and don’t have to have this done, even though they fit the category.

It’s important to have this procedure done because not only are dogs with this issue so uncomfortable that they continually scratch and scratch inside their ears, which can cause problems, but the ear hair blocks the ear canal and causes it to become moist and prone to infections….and they hurt.

Also, the groomer told us about one dog whose owners waited far too long to bring their dog in for plucking. The ear hair had grown to a length of 5-6 inches long, stretching deep into the ear canal. It became entangled and clotted with ear wax, which had formed a block and impaired the dog’s hearing. The groomer had a very difficult time cleaning all this out, and I’m sure it wasn’t too comfortable for the dog, either.

In a normal case of ear hair plucking, groomers apply a type of powder to the inner ear that makes the hair easier to pluck. Some groomers say it also takes the edge off any pain the dog may feel, others say it doesn’t. Every dog reacts differently – some yipe at first and others just take it in stride. But even those that initially yipe get used to it over time, and the ear also “toughens up” enough to lessen any pain.

There are websites that explain how owners can pluck their own dog’s ear hair, but personally, I think that’s a job best left to a professional. But in order to fully understand what’s going on, here’s a good website:

Grooming Basics 101 Article: http://www.petgroomer.com/grooming101/articles/ear_cleaning-revised.htm.

As proven by the owners who let their dog’s ear hair get so out of control, it’s best to do what’s necessary for a dog’s grooming and health, which many times go hand-in-hand, even if it seems distasteful to us.

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A Flurry of Teeth

All these years that we’ve had dogs, I’ve never seen a single baby tooth come out. In fact, as I said in a previous post, I never even knew that puppies had baby teeth, let alone lost them!


What are all these things that keep popping out of my mouth??

Every website I’ve read says that it’s “rare” to find a puppy’s baby teeth when they fall out,

unless one gets stuck in a softer type of toy. Usually, they just swallow them.

Not so with this puppy. So far we’ve found 5 of Daisy’s baby teeth! Either we hear her chewing noisily and find a tooth in her mouth, or we hear her rapidly licking and when we see her tongue jutting in and out of her mouth in quick succession, we know she’s licking the blood from the spot where a tooth just came out. Inevitably, the tooth is somewhere near her on the floor.

This morning I was immersed in writing a very tricky letter that had to be tactful and legally correct. I didn’t even realize that Daisy was lying at my feet, when suddenly I heard a tick-tick-tickticktick sound. I looked down and there was Daisy, looking down in a questioning sort of way, with another tooth on the floor in front of her. This was the first tooth that came out on the hardwood floor, the others all fell out onto carpeting. I guess the sound startled her and she probably didn’t know what the heck that white thing was that just fell out of her mouth!

Boy, these puppy teeth come out like a flurry of snow once they start!

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Becoming a “Real Dog”

It’s a funny thing, but when we brought Daisy home as a young puppy, she didn’t do any “real dog” things. Things like

 


At 2 months old, I only liked cuddling with soft, warm things!

 

chasing balls or toys, chewing chew toys, wiggling her nose at every passing breeze, showing an interest in birds, squirrels and other wildlife, etc. were not part of her personality yet.

In fact, at 2.6 pounds, she couldn’t even hold the smallest chew toy steady enough to do any real chewing – we had to hold them for her, and then she’d spend about 15 seconds making an attempt at chewing before she gave up! Just about everything was too big for that tiny mouth.

Every time one of those innate characteristics kicked in, my daughter would get excited and say, “She’s becoming a real dog!” It was true – she was moving away from that extremely shy puppyhood period and discovering herself and the world around her. And with that, those canine instincts began kicking in.

Now, as happy as we are that she’s a “real dog”, there are times when we long for those pre-canine days. Like when she’s barking her head off at a poor little unsuspecting chipmunk who’s just going about his business, and we feel like those sharp shrieks she throws in are ripping holes in our eardrums.

The parallels between puppies and children are amazing if you think about it. We can’t wait for our children to walk, we’re so excited when it happens, and then they end up trying to run all around public places while we spend more time trying to get them back under control than doing whatever we went there for. We teach them how to talk and are so excited at their first words and every new phrase until they turn into nonstop chatting machines, revealing our secrets to the world, and we long for those quieter days.

And we love them both unconditionally regardless of all their silly little ways….and maybe because of them.

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Laundry Thief

I'm completely innocent, I tell you!

She waits quietly, innocently even, for us to leave her alone in the family room where the clean laundry sits in a pile on a sofa, waiting to be folded.

That’s when she makes her move.

With the stealth of a master thief and the cunning of a super sleuth, she silently reaches up onto the sofa and pulls her target onto the floor. “Now,” she thinks, “now you’re all mine.”

I found Daisy yesterday surrounded on the floor by half the laundry I’d done. Socks, shirts, undies – you name it, she had it. She looked like a pirate sitting in the center of his stolen booty, pleased as she could be, nipping a sock here, a shirt there, everything getting equal play.

I scolded her and put everything back in the laundry basket to be redone, but I never got the chance to fold the rest of the laundry. I pushed it to the back of the loveseat, out of her reach…or so I thought.

Today while I was on a lengthy phone call with a friend, this little sly thing pulled her silent maneuvers again, but this time she got so excited at her find that she gave herself away. She’d pulled down a pair of socks (how she happened to end up with a matched set, I don’t know) and was doing her “new toy dance” across the floor with it. Whenever we give Daisy a new toy, she romps from one end of the family room to the other, gives it a few chews, romps back again, gives it a few more nibbles, and repeats this several times as if celebrating the newbie’s arrival.

She did this with the sock and when I heard that telltale romping, I knew something was up. I caught her in the act, romping along with ears flying and the sock streaming out behind her. I took the sock away and added the pair to the laundry basket, then went back inside. As I passed the doorway I witnessed her at work: she was stretched at full length with her paws on top of the sofa seat, stretching her neck out like a giraffe in an attempt to reach yet another piece of washed clothing.

“Down!” I yelled. She was so shocked she jumped and hasn’t tried her little ploy again….yet….

I guess I’d better go fold the remaining laundry now.

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Hair Plucking Outcome

I'm back from the groomer!

Well, this certainly was a happy surprise – Daisy actually liked the experience of having her ear hairs plucked! “What a little weirdo!” I thought!

But it seems that the thick cluster of ear hairs that had grown inside her ears was bothering her so much, it was actually a relief to have them plucked. The groomer said that we might hear some “screams” with the first couple of plucks (dear God!), but she assured us that everything would be okay and that Daisy would get used to it quickly. In fact, she offered to let us stay in the room if we wanted. We didn’t.

We waited and waited and…no screams, no shrieks, not even a yip – nothing! It was all over in 5 minutes, and when the groomer came out with a happy Daisy in her arms, she said that Daisy was only the second dog she’s had who took to the plucking immediately. As she plucked, Daisy made a kind of purring sound (that contented sound that dogs make when they’re sleepily scratching just the right spot) and her back leg made gentle scratching motions like dogs do when we pet them in their “itch zones”.

The groomer said her ears would be a little red on the inside for a bit and she’d be scratching a lot at first, but not to worry. That’s exactly what happened – she was constantly scratching and shaking her head around for the first 5-10 minutes she was home, then everything settled down and there was no more scratching or shaking.

We’d noticed that the ear hair had begun bothering Daisy immensely over the past week. She was constantly scratching the inside of her ears and complaining with high-pitched whines that were like small, pitiful cries, which were just pathetic to hear. Even though I really didn’t want to subject Daisy to what I thought would be a torturous procedure, it was clear that we had no choice. She was suffering as it was, and 5 minutes of potential plucking pain was minimal compared to daily discomfort and the pain of an eventual infection.

That’s what the vet said would happen if we didn’t have her ear hair plucked soon – ear infections. In fact, on our last vet visit, the person after us was there for just that reason – an ear infection his dog caused by scratching earfuls of unplucked hair. The groomer told us of the worst case she’d ever seen – a dog with huge hair mats in the ear canal, and the hair had grown down into the canal to a length of about 5-6 inches long; ear wax had become lodged in the hair, causing not only ear pain, but also a loss of hearing. A brief session of hair plucking is nothing compared to all that!

Our visit to the groomer turned into a real social time for Daisy. Not only had she made friends with everyone who worked there (they’d never seen a Havachon before and made such a fuss over her!), but she made friends with a Chorkie – a Chihuahua-Yorkie mix – who was 2 years old but the same size as Daisy is at 6 months. They romped and played and sniffed and chased toys and had a wonderful time together.

The whole thing ended up being a very positive experience in every way!

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Part Cat? Part Cobra?

What a crazy mix of behaviors Daisy displays! Mixed in with all the puppy-ness are these funny little actions that remind us of cats, cobras, and a couple of other totally unrelated creatures.


One of my nuttier moments....

The Cat in her arches her back like a black cat on Halloween as part of a big post-nap stretch. Her inner cat also loves to chase long, dangling things like fabric belts and loose sneaker strings; she stretches out her front legs, extends her claws and poke-poke-pokes at them. We’re thinking of getting one of those long ribbon cat toys with bells at the ends (she LOVES anything that makes noise) to play occasional games of cat-and-mouse with her!

The Cobra side of her strikes with lightning speed at whatever her intended target is. It’s so fast, you don’t even see it coming, it just happens. We can be holding a toy of hers and she’ll just stare hard at it, then suddenly thrust her head out and strike with those razor teeth, grabbing the toy. This is kind of funny to watch, but it’s not so funny when we’re holding her and she decides to cobra-strike our chins with a little love nip. That requires a scolding.

Then there’s the horse part of her personality. That’s when she’s ultra-excited and suddenly comes bounding so fast across the carpeted floor that she sounds like a charging herd of horses. “Watch out for the thundering herd of puppy!” we call out to warn those in nearby rooms.

And of course, trumping all else, there’s her nuttiness. That silly, nutty little puppy that keeps us laughing from sun-up to sundown and beyond. We call her our little cashew nut because, like cashews, she’s sweet, nutty, and pricey LOL!

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To Vaccinate or Not To Vaccinate…That is the Question

Do I REALLY need more shots????

The same controversy exists in the veterinary world as we see in the world of human medicine – whether or not to vaccinate puppies, how many diseases to vaccinate them against, and how much is enough. This controversy is explored (and can help you make your own determination) in this study:

Integrative Therapy in Dogs with Nervous System & Other Disorders (http://neuro.vetmed.ufl.edu/neuro/AltMed/Alt_Med_Neuro.htm).

It’s also an interesting study in the success of combining Western and Eastern practices to maintain optimal canine health and cure illnesses. Herbal supplements, vitamins, human-animal bonding, and diet are all discussed as well.

Just as there are some parents who don’t believe in vaccinating their children, there are some pet owners who don’t believe in vaccinating their pets. While over-vaccination is never good for any living creature, there are certain diseases that do need to be prevented. I say this because my first childhood dog died of distemper, a truly nasty disease, and watching that poor dog deteriorate was an awful thing. Apparently it already had the disease when my parents got it from the pet shop, and when the situation was reported to the pet shop owner, he had to have all the dogs tested (and some destroyed), remove the animals from the shop, and have the whole place disinfected. It was devastating to me and I’ll never take a chance with any dog’s life like that.

However, just like with children, over-vaccination can be just as deadly. Annual blood tests can determine whether the last vaccine is still active in a dog’s system; the study mentioned above showed that some annual vaccinations only need to be given every 3 or so years.

Something to consider for all of us animal lovers.

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