Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

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

The Fake-out

Did I mention that Havachons are smart? Maybe even a bit TOO smart??

"What nip? It was just a yawn!"

Since she’s still only a young puppy, Daisy LOVES to teeth on anything she can

get her jaws around…including our fingers. She’s got plenty of toys and teething bones, but apparently our fingers are positively irresistible when she’s enjoying some bonding time in our arms.

Here’s her little fake-out trick: she’s happily licking our fingers, enjoying the attention and love she’s being showered with, when all of a sudden she gently – very gently – opens her mouth and lightly settles her teeth on a finger, freezing in place and sneaking a look at us with only her eyes, without moving her head. She’d have made a great secret agent.

If we don’t tell her “no”, she’ll take a couple of very light nibbles, barely touching the finger with her teeth, then freezes in place again. If she gets away with that, she applies a little more pressure until we finally tell her to stop. It’s at that point that she employs “The Fake-Out” – she fakes a mini-yawn that wouldn’t fool anyone, as if to say, “I’m not biting, I’m just yawning and your finger happened to get in my way! You misunderstood my intentions!”

Or she’ll follow the nip by a licking session, with her big brown eyes focused on ours in feigned innocence, as if kisses erase the memory of a nip.

To that I can only say, “Yeahhhhh, right.”

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Havachon Philosophy: Leave No Toy Unmauled

These razor-sharp teeth of Daisy’s are costing us a small fortune in dog toys! In one month she totally destroyed a NylaBone, which took our large dog months to get through. I guess small dogs must have sharper teeth than large ones, because I recall our large dog having BIG teeth but they didn’t tear through toys like razor wire.

In the 2-1/2 months we’ve had her, Daisy has also destroyed:

Toys are my LIFE! 🙂

~ Her favorite stuffed squeaky giraffe

~ A “barbell” made specifically to withstand sharp puppy teeth (uh-huh…)

~ A “strong” twisted denta-rope recommended by someone who also has a small dog with sharp teeth (apparently he doesn’t know how sharp teeth can really be!)

~ A tennis ball (she pulled all the fuzz off it with her tiny front teeth, working at it intensely as if it was a required exercise)

~ A teething bone with 3 different textures for teeth and gums (that was supposed to be “tough” but only lasted a whole 3 weeks)

~ A squeaky chicken (she pulled the stopper and then the squeaker out, essentially gutting the poor thing)

…and three or four more that I can’t remember now, they went into the trash SO fast!

We just bought a Tuffie Toy, which is supposed to have 9 different “security layers” (our phrase, not theirs!) and they’ve supposedly been tested on tigers. Well, tigers have HUGE teeth and powerful jaws, but I don’t know if their teeth are like razors. We’ll see what happens when we give it to her, as soon as she destroys her new favorite toy….a squeaky, squishy platypus. The tail’s already gone, so it won’t be long now…. 😦


Today is Daisy’s 5-month birthday!

Who, ME? Five months old ALREADY??

Yup, Daisy turns a whole 5 months old today! We’ve only had her 2-1/2 months, but she fits into the family so well that it feels like she’s just always been here with us.

It’s been many years between our last dog and this one, and even though I hesitated for several years about giving up our freedom to get another dog (while ooo-ing and ahhh-ing over every little dog we saw), now I can’t imagine ever being without one again.

We love watching her little “milestone moments”, and she surprised us with another one for her birthday – her watchdog instincts kicked in! Up until now, the doorbell could ring and ring, people could knock on the door – heck, someone could probably kick the door down and all she’d do is sit there and watch with interest. But today she heard something that we didn’t even hear, and she stood at attention, listening attentively and letting loose a series of little muffled barks in the direction of one particular door. It turned out to be nothing, but it’s nice to know that she’s now “on the job”!

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Learned Fears

I don’t think most dogs – or people, for that matter – are born with fears, I think for the most part fears are learned reactions to specific events. We may not remember what it was in our ever-so-impressionable youth that set our fears in motion, but those incidents certainly can have a lasting impact.

So it is with dogs too, it seems. Our Daisy was so tiny when we first got her that we could only use two fingers to stroke her little head! To a puppy that tiny, everything must seem so big, and loud noises must be awfully intimidating. Now, at 4 months old (we can actually pet her head normally now that she’s all of 6 pounds LOL!), she still doesn’t like loud noises, but her reaction now parallels our reaction directly, which means we can get past that knee-jerk reaction of fear in minutes.

It all started when she first came home with us. As luck would have it, this shy, cautious puppy happened to be in the kitchen when I dropped a frozen ice pack from the freezer onto the hardwood floor. What a racket that made! Well, she turn-tailed with her ears plastered to the back of her head and ran at top speed out of the kitchen and into the family room, straight underneath the footstool, which was her favorite safety zone. It took a long time for us to get her out of there, but wouldn’t you know it – a short time later I dropped a pan lid on the kitchen floor, which now confirmed in her mind that the kitchen was one SCARY place! Same reaction from her, but this time she stayed under that footstool….period.

After that, she refused to come into the kitchen at all. She’d sit at the edge of the family room doorway, staring longingly inside at us, whining pathetically for us to keep her company. But no matter how much we coaxed her, she wouldn’t set foot in that kitchen.

I’m not really one to have the “dropsies”, but for some reason, I continually dropped noisy things on the kitchen floor for the next two weeks! The fear of loud noises really set in, and it carried through to other places and sounds. We couldn’t take her outside when the guy next door was mowing his lawn; she’d be scared silly, tremble, and bolt back into the house. Other loud noises would make her jolt, and you could practically see the decision-making process going on in her head: “Should I run? Is this scary?”

In reading Jan Fennell’s book The Dog Listener, we discovered that dogs look to their leader – hopefully, that’s us – to take cues as to whether to be frightened, trusting in new situations, etc. Jan said her dogs were scared of fireworks, so one night she took them out into her back yard during a fireworks show nearby and just talked to them in a calm, normal voice while watching the display, paying no special attention to them or coddling their fear. In no time, the dogs started calming down and finally just ignored the fireworks altogether.

So we put Jan’s solution to the test with kitchen noises. When something noisy happened and she bolted away, we would laugh (she reacts very well to laughter and always wants to join in the fun!), calmly saying things like, “It’s no big deal. What a silly noise that was.” in plain conversational tones. Well, guess what – within a couple of days, she started inching her way back into the kitchen! And within the week, she no longer ran from the room where she’d hear a loud sound; in fact, we can even get her to play in the back yard when our neighbor is mowing his lawn!

When she hears a loud noise now, she jumps but then stops and looks at us to see just how seriously she should take that sound.

The key was to act like we’re not affected by the sound, which, in turn, shows her there’s no danger and she needn’t be affected by the sound either. Jan says that showering a scared dog with the type of affection that we would a scared child who just had a nightmare only instills the irrational behavior in the dog; because their minds translate our behaviors differently than human minds do, they see our affection as praise for their behavior. Therefore,  their fears will continue and even escalate over time.

Makes sense to us – we certainly can’t argue with proof! 🙂

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And when she was bad….

Longfellow said it best:

There was a little girl
Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good
She was very, very good
But when she was bad
She was horrid.

Our Daisy might not have a curl in the middle of her forehead, but she’s got curls all over and believe me, all this cuteness can be very, very naughty sometimes! Take a look at that expression in the picture – that’s Daisy at her rebellious best. This expression is usually accompanied by some very demanding barking, and when we tell her NO, she gives a couple of shrill, tantrumy yaps and then races around and around the family room at top speed, growling in short bursts (which is pretty funny coming from a high-pitched, tiny puppy!) with her ears flying straight out behind her. Somehow, for some reason, she insists on cramming herself through narrow little spaces (like between the end table and the sofa), and one of these days, she’s going to get too big for that and knock herself silly! She eventually stops short in a lying down position – we still don’t know how she does this without the momentum toppling her over – and forgets the whole rebellion.

She may be angry because she’s not getting her way, but her rebellious antics are oh so funny to us!!

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A Year of “Firsts”

One of my favorite things about having a new puppy is that year of “firsts” – where everything you introduce them to is a first-time affair, and their reactions are just SO cute!

Discovery of Self – Daisy’s first little bark shocked her so much, she didn’t do it again for a few weeks! And even then it was only used sparsely. We were worried about it then (like over-anxious parents tend to do)….we’d like to have it back now!

And it took her a few months to realize she could use her nose for discovery….that’s when she started becoming a “real dog” LOL!

And the classic: let’s see if I can put this tactfully – when she first heard (and probably felt) a squeaky sound emanating from her hind quarters – she raced away from it with her tail under, then fearfully turned her head around to see if this strange sound-creature was following her! To this day, those occasional squeaks she emits still make her perk up her ears and scramble to find the culprit.

Animal Kingdom – When Daisy first discovered squirrels, chipmunks, and birds, she was only 3 months old and looked shocked to see something running around that was even smaller than she was! She stared at them through the sliding glass door and paced them across the length of it, sniffing at the wall when it continued beyond her view.

Face to Face with Technology – Discovering dogs on TV that she can’t reach, but she sure can bark at them! Sometimes different colors (especially red) and movements really get her attention, and she’ll watch TV for 1-2 minutes. One day I wasn’t feeling well and had a DVD in, and after a while Daisy got annoyed that the TV was getting more attention than her, so she glared at the characters and started growling! And it seems some people set her off – a still close-up shot of Geoffrey Palmer on sets off a growling spree you wouldn’t believe!

Unfamiliar Sounds – I really wonder how some of the different sounds she hears translate through puppy ears. If we make a long rolling “r” sound, she looks at us and then at the ceiling and around the room as the sound bounces off surfaces, trying to figure out why it’s coming from so many places. But then she ends up looking worried and wants reassuring tenderness. What could that be triggering in her head?

And whistling – oh, that’s a fun one! When we whistle she tilts her head back and forth to such extremes, you’d think she’d need a chiropractor!  And the list goes on. Any new sound sets off an adorable look of curiosity and reactions from growling to posturing to barking to head tilting or even a call to grab a toy and charge!

New “firsts” are happening all the time as this first year of Daisy’s life progresses – it’s such a precious time!


Kennel Club for Hybrid/Designer Dogs like us!

Specialty kennel clubs aren’t just for purebreeds anymore!! Now Designer Dogs – also called Hybrid Dogs – can be part of an exclusive organization too (they should be, they cost at least as much as purebreeds)!

Designer Dogs Kennel Club (http://www.ddkc.org/designerdogskennelclub.html) is open to over 500 breeds of hybrid designer dogs. This appears to be a new organization, and it sounds like more stuff is in the works. Their site says that they’ll have education and other events in the future.  The breeds now being accepted are listed on their website, so you can see if your dog is there.

There are some pretty strict rules for confirming each designer dog’s heritage, and right now it seems like it’s mainly a way for breeders to certify that their litters are the pure hybrids they claim them to be, but there may be more to it because they do discuss ways to register a single puppy or dog. It’s only a couple of years old and the website seems pretty new, so you may have to contact them to find out more. But if you’re in the market for a hybrid dog, this seems like a good way to be sure you’re choosing a registered breeder.

And mixed breeds also have their own special club too, the Mixed Breed Dog Clubs of America (http://mbdca.tripod.com/). Looks like they’ve been around for at least several years. I have a special love for mixed breeds – our last dog was a shelter dog and was a shepherd/collie/husky mix, and she was just the sweetest, nicest pet around.

The MBDCA gives mixed breed dogs the opportunity to show off their many inherited skills in various competitions; they’re even attempting to arrange for mixed breed dogs to compete in some AKC events!

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Another Little Quirk

This silly puppy can’t figure out where onion skins are going when I peel them straight into the garbage! She sees us throw stuff away all the time, with no interest from her at all.

You talkin' 'bout ME??

We cut the innards of peppers right into the garbage…nothing.

We shell peas and throw the shells into the garbage…nada.

We shuck corn over the garbage…zip.

We even peel garlic over the garbage, which kinda looks like peeling an onion…zilch.

She watches us do all of this, with no reaction whatsoever.

But for some reason when it comes to onions, she comes charging into the kitchen and stands at attention, watching those skins fall, her head going from onion to floor, awaiting what she thinks is its inevitable fall into her territory. If she understands that none of these other things are going onto the floor, what on earth is it about onions that sets them apart??

Quirky little puppy! 🙂


An “Edgy” Sort of Puppy…

We’ve trained Daisy to use the wee-wee pad as well as to go outdoors because we know we’re going to hate the idea of taking her out in the rain, especially in cold weather. She’s completely consistent with both, so we feel like we have the best of both worlds in that area. But boy, does she do some funny things when it comes to the wee-wee pad…..

For one thing, she only uses the extreme corner edges of the pad. Rarely anything in the big, open center; instead, she goes to a corner edge and piddles there. Sometimes she saves up enough to go twice, but she always walks to another corner to do more. See what I mean by “edgy”? And although her instincts tell her to sniff her pee, she does so with great distaste. It’s like Nature forces her to do this, but she takes two short sniffs and then backs off with her ears up and a look of disgust, as if to say, “That did NOT come from me!”

Yesterday she brought one of her toys onto a clean pad with her and dropped it in a corner. The pad has a special “housing” it sits in- a hard plastic surface with three low walls. After taking care of business in a different corner, she wandered off the pad without her toy. Realizing her forgetfulness, she went back to the pad and stood at the edge where she’d piddled. Instead of walking around the piddle, which only took up a small area, she approached it and then backed off, ears at attention, clearly trying to figure out how to get around this moist mess of hers.

She took a step into it, then backed off like she just couldn’t bring herself to walk on her own water, even for one of her favorite toys. She stared at it a bit longer, then suddenly decided to take the plunge – the toy simply must be rescued. She put both front paws into the piddle spot, then lifted both back legs into the air until she was in a handstand position, and took a couple steps that way toward the toy! She lost her balance, though, and landed in the dreaded piddle-spot with her back feet. She rescued the toy, but little did she expect that in the next second, she’d be whisked away to her tub for an impromptu foot bath to get any residual piddle off her. That plan sure did backfire on her!

Oh yeah, and when she’s bored and has nothing better to do, she loves to sniff around the edges of each room, inch by inch, corner to corner….that’s one “edgy” dog!

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Little Miss Muchness

Remember in the recent 3D Alice in Wonderland movie, when the Mad Hatter says to Alice, “You’ve lost your muchness”, and she later proves that she’s still got all the muchness she ever had? Well, that’s where Daisy’s nickname Little Miss Muchness came from. Everybody’s always saying that she’s just TOO cute, TOO sweet, TOO funny, TOO everything – sometimes they say she’s “painfully cute” or just “TOO much” – which definitely proves her “muchness” to us! LOL 🙂 (And one day she’ll grow up to be a TOO adorable dog like her blogging buddy Tiffy!)

Little Miss Muchness

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