Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

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

Preparing for Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! I'm so excited about all the upcoming festivities!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, from Daisy and Family!

I won’t have time to blog from Thanksgiving day through the weekend, and frankly, I like to give myself a break from the computer during holidays. Generally, I never blog on weekends anyway, in fact I usually stay off the computer entirely on weekends unless I’m working on a major project.

Daisy is being driven crazy by all the Thanksgiving baking aromas, and I’m sure tomorrow will be enough to push her olfactory senses into overload!

She’ll be meeting some relatives for the first time, so I’m sure it’ll be a very exciting day for her all around.

See you all next week – have a great holiday weekend!

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The Sofa Wars Continue – Fighting An Uphill Havachon Battle!

We’ve been trying AND trying to train Daisy not to jump up on the sofa on her own – it’s NOT her domain. We’ve been following all the top trainers’ techniques to get her to understand that she can only come up on the sofa with us when we invite her. This, they say, is what well-trained dogs should do.

We’re definitely fighting an uphill battle.

She gets it – oh, she does understand what she’s supposed to do and not do – and she does obey the rules for the most part. But then she gets those particularly stubborn times when I come into the family room and there she is, proud as you please, all nestled in on the love seat.

I have to admit that I almost hate to make her get down from such a comfy spot, but we really don’t want her jumping up there at will or claiming a spot for her own or imposing herself on guests who may not be overly fond of having a dog plop itself in their laps.

And so the battle rages on.

Daisy seems to take more liberties with DD than she does with DH or me, but then again, DD is more of a softie, and Daisy sure does know it! But yesterday, with no one else in the house, I walked into the family room and found what you see in the picture, which broke me into laughter that probably sent the absolute wrong message to our dear little Daisy!

She had nestled herself into a spot next to the laundry basket so that only half her face showed – that eye was watching the doorway like a bank-robber’s lookout – and when she saw me come in, she v-e-r-y slowly pulled her head back as if she could evade my notice. I just couldn’t stop laughing!

So it’s clear that she knows she’s doing the wrong thing, but like any child, she’ll try to get away with it when no one’s looking. As I moved further into the room so she couldn’t hide from me, I quietly said “Down”, and down she went. She knew it was coming, but she just wanted to wait for the absolute command.

Ya gotta love these doggie personalities! Even when they’re naughty they can make us laugh! 🙂

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Daisy’s First Autumn Leaf Romp!

We have a large back yard with wonderful big trees that give us great shade for barbecues in the summer….and a yard FILLED with beautiful yellow leaves in fall. Every year I marvel at the gentle cascade of fall finery as it drifts like a lealfysnowfall, covering the lawn in a bright yellow carpet.

It’s Nature at her best and most beautiful.

I LOVE playing in the leaves!

This year we had the added excitement of taking Daisy out for her first fall romp through the leaves. We were anxious to see her reaction to the depth of leaves as well as leaf piles that were bigger than her. We weren’t disappointed!

At first she gingerly sniffed the leaves, then carefully trotted into them. DD coaxed her to run along with her, and once Daisy tried it, she really liked it! They must have run 5 miles up, down, and all around the leaf-strewn yard, finally jumping into leaf piles, where DD covered Daisy with leaves while Daisy snapped playfully at them.

Remember in another post when I said that Daisy is very leery of things that don’t belong or are out of place? Well, that apparently applies to Mother Nature too. Most of the leaves in our yard are the same standard size, but there are several really huge leaves that blow in from a neighboring yard. HUGE. Like bigger than Daisy’s head.

Well, when Daisy discovered one of these leaves, she didn’t like it one bit. She got into her confrontational stance at a safe distance, stretched forward, and sniffed gingerly at this Giant Among Leaves.

Wheeee!

Nope. It didn’t convince her that it belonged there. She started barking and barking at it. Later she went nuts when DD put one on her head!

We had a blast and so did Daisy; now we’re looking forward to introducing her to her first snowfall!

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Thanksgiving Tips: Keep Your Dog Healthy!

We all like to include our dogs in our holiday festivities, but many well-intentioned dog lovers and their equally well-intentioned guests have unintentionally hurt their loyal canine companions by “treating” them to some Thanksgiving goodies. This can result in making dogs sick or causing unhealthy weight gain; and before you say “it’s just one day out of the year”, remember that at least two more “food holidays” are coming up over the next month, not to mention all the pre-holiday parties!

I think I'll stick to my turkey dog food and curl up with a good toy!

DogChannel.com has a wonderful article about keeping dogs safe on Thanksgiving, and besides cautioning dog owners about feeding dogs “people food”, it also covers things like making sure candles are out of your dog’s way and securing trash bins so Spot doesn’t feast on your guests’ castoffs and hurt himself on trashed bones.

It’s a short article, but packed with great information!

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Pet Cancer Prevention Month: What You Can Do To Keep Your Dog or Cat Healthy

Help protect us from cancer!

November is known for lots of wonderful things: Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, beautiful fall vistas, and for me,  relief from a brutally hot summer! But there’s an even more important event in November, especially for animal lovers , and it’s relatively new: National Pet Cancer Awareness month.

2010 marks the 6th year that the veterinary industry is doing its best to call attention to this horrible illness that affects pets of all kinds. The National Canine Cancer Foundation website says that one of every three dogs will develop cancer in its lifetime and that half of those will die from it. And the Animal Cancer Foundation says that pets – particularly dogs and cats – are developing cancer “at an alarming rate”; up to 60% of breeds are affected. It’s scary. According to their website, the most common forms of cancer being detected are lymphoma, bone cancer, breast cancer, bladder tumors, leukemia, brain tumors and sarcomas.

Not wanting to cast a pall on the upcoming holidays, let’s stay positive and talk about prevention, the single most powerful weapon in your anti-cancer arsenal.

Really scary.

Okay, so what can we do to keep our pets (and ourselves) healthy? According to DogChannel.com, there are several ways to help keep your dog cancer free:

1. Give your dog pure water rather than tap water, which can contain dangerous chemicals.

2. Don’t let your dog become a victim of second-hand smoke.

3. Don’t use cleaning products, pesticides, or other hazardous chemicals in a poorly ventilated area of your home.

4. Don’t allow your dog to become overweight.

5. Spaying or neutering your dog reduces his/her chances of contracting cancer.

They also recommend using natural flea and tick products, and while they’re safer for your pet, they’re not always as effective as chemical products and you need to do a lot more maintenance in your home and on your pet to make sure they’re flea/tick free.

You Can Help Further The Fight.

The National Canine Cancer Foundation‘s website states that they’re a “non-profit corporation dedicated to eliminating Cancer as a major health issue in dogs by funding grants directly to Cancer researchers who are working to save lives, find cures, better treatments and accurate, cost effective diagnostic methods in dealing with canine Cancer.”

The Animal Cancer Foundation website explains their goals as developing and supporting “research that advances the prevention and treatment of cancer for people and pets.” They’re partnered with other organizations who donate all or a portion of their proceeds or organize walks to help fund ACF’s research.

There are other organizations in the crusade against cancer as well – find a way to help one you like and trust!

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Sign Language Communications of a Havachon Puppy – A “Tall Tail”

Daisy’s tail actually does the talking for her sometimes. The way she positions it tells us her mood, interest level, anxiety level – you name it. It’s like doggy sign language!

Alert! Danger Will Robinson! – When her tail is curled up and over so that the tip touches her back, she’s in her highest state of alert. Something unusual has caught her attention or she’s heard something foreign to her – whatever it is, she’s sharply focused on it.

The telltale tail.....

The Curly Q – This is her typical tail pose, with it curled up normally like a capital “C”. This tells us that she’s happy, alert, and all’s well in doggyville.

The Straight Arrow – If we see it slowly sinking and it stops at the straight-out position like a Pointer, she’s either about to “ask” for something (like water or play time) or she’s getting ready to complain. We all prepare for some kind of signal when we see that! 🙂

The Sad Puppy – Her tail has only gone limp and hung down straight when she hasn’t felt well, which was during her respiratory infection and after her spay surgery. Her ears usually create a matched set with the tail, drooping down sadly. Our least favorite signal.

The Grrrr, or The Self-Preservation Act – And of course we all know that the tucked tail usually indicates anger…but sometimes she tucks it when she sits down if there are a lot of people around who could accidentally step on her tail.

Our little Daisy is becoming quite the silent orator!

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Daisy’s Discovery of the Mirror World

How can you be in there and behind me at the same time?

It seems like Daisy thinks she’s discovered an alternate universe in the reflection of our oven door. 🙂

As I was preparing dinner, I looked over and saw Daisy standing perfectly still, staring into the empty oven. Or at least I thought she was staring into the oven – she seemed transfixed by the plain black surface.

Then I realized that she was standing at a slight angle, and that her head in the reflection  was angled up toward me! Could she really have been watching me through the reflective oven surface?

So I waved at her – or rather, at the oven door. Her ears were perked up as she seemed to be trying to comprehend this odd but peculiarly familiar Otherworld that existed in our kitchen. She didn’t flinch; she stood frozen in place. I smiled and waved a couple more times, and then she started to get it – she slowly wagged just the tip of her tail at this Oven Door Phantom.

Then I said “hello” to her as I waved; she looked back at me, looked into the glass, and then started wagging her tail with more enthusiasm. I guess she finally realized there was no Stranger Danger in that Oven Door Phantom!

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Respecting the Dreaded Pot Lid – A Havachon Tale of Obedience

I had mentioned a while back that our vet suggested we use a whistle to help train Daisy through her more stubborn areas of obedience training. We kept forgetting to buy one, so we started using a pot lid and spoon instead. The idea was to make a sudden, sharp noise that would get her attention and stop her from doing whatever naughty behavior she was doing; then, once we had her attention, we could give her the command and praise her for obeying.

The pot lid and spoon worked like a charm, and we haven’t had to use it for quite a while. Until now.

Daisy’s going through a jumping phase, which I know will become a permanent part of her behavior if we don’t stop it now. Could be puppyish enthusiasm, but it’s probably just part of her exuberant nature;

See? I DO know how to behave when I want to! 🙂

either way, it has to stop. I can’t even count how many homes I’ve gone into where the family dog jumps all over everyone – and this is kind of scary when the dogs are BIG. Then you sit down and they continue to jump, either onto your lap or just in an annoying way where they claw at your arm and side.

Like the Dog Whisperers and Dog Listeners and all the other dog experts say, this can be a sign of dominance and/or anxiety (neither of which is good for the dog), but for humans, it can be just plain annoying when it’s not encouraged by the recipient of all that attention. It can also be damaging to clothing and, if the dog’s nails aren’t clipped, it can leave you with some pretty nasty welts and/or scrapes. Not to mention shedding dog hair!

Daisy jumps on us repeatedly like a bouncing super-ball when we walk into the room; she jumps a foot into the air and against the glass doors when she sees a squirrel or chipmunk outside. And she jumps against the baby gate when someone’s on the other side who she wants to greet, eventually causing the gate to fall with the potential to hurt herself. Her jumping is out of control, and her frenzied state makes her incapable of caring about our commands to stop, let alone even hearing us!

So out came the pot lid again. And once again, it’s working like a charm.

She HATES this thing.

I don’t even have to clang it with the spoon anymore – all I do is take it out – she immediately hears that tiny little metallic sound when I pick it up. She jolts to attention, freezes in place, eyes wide, and then backs off with her eyes fastened on the lid. Since I have her full attention, I give her the NO JUMP command over and over, and then praise her for listening.

It works so fast that after using it a few times in one day, I only had to walk toward it, put my hand on it, and she snaps to attention. Yesterday morning she started her usual jumping and shrieking routine as DD prepared to leave for work, and the minute she saw me pick up the lid, she backed right off and calmed down. I put the lid down and continued to give her the “No jump” and “Quiet” commands, and she stayed quiet and calm. DD took a couple more minutes to leave, which should have thrown Daisy into a frenzy, but it didn’t. She stayed. After DD left, I gave her a treat and praised her more.

Half an hour later, her squirrel buddy started teasing her again. She started her maniac jumping at the glass door, but this time she listened to my “No jump” command without my even having to go near the pot lid.

Today was even better. When DD was getting ready to leave, Daisy started her frantic jumping. I looked at her warningly and just happened to catch her eye – she looked at me, stopped mid-jump, and backed off, quieting down immediately. She stood still and just wagged her tail at DD. After DD left and I praised her, she proudly trotted toward her biscuits and received her prize.

You gotta love good home remedies! 🙂

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Vets With Ulterior Motives

How can some vets be like this? It makes me sad....

As awful as Bad Vet was – and still is: another of his patients just died after months of suffering and no attempt at a diagnosis – he does accomplish one thing very well – he makes lots of extra money selling pet stuff people don’t necessarily need.

No wonder he has such a trendy looking office and such expensive shoes. Not to mention his extremely sophisticated, high-end interactive website.

Bad Vet sold my friend item after item and made a tremendous amount of money on her poor suffering Jack Russell – he was, essentially, selling her “hope”. This is yet another animal he  never bothered to diagnose. Imagine going to your doctor with brutal symptoms like vomiting violently every hour, inability to walk, lethargy, severe trembling, and having your doctor look you over generally, with casual disinterest, and say, “There’s nothing we can do. ”

Yet he’ll sell you every “maybe” in his shop.

Cut-rate chain vets offer cheaper office visits than independent vets, and you really do get what you pay for. BUT – he charged her double for emergency visits each time, told her he was going to “give” her this vitamin and that supplement and and and….but all of them showed up on her bill, which surprised her. This guy knows how to make up for his cut-rate service.

None of these things worked, of course, and now she’s stuck with a cabinet full of barely used junk. He’s one good snake oil salesman.

In addition, when we first went to him with Daisy, he told us that her harness was “garbage” and that she’d chew through it in a matter of weeks. The harnesses he sells, on the other hand, would last a lifetime…or so he claimed. He told us exactly what size to get so it could be adjusted to fit her throughout her life, since she’s a small dog, and guaranteed a lifetime of use.

This was all new territory for us – we hadn’t had a dog in years, and we never had a small dog before. So here’s a vet who’s speaking with total authority and naturally, we took him at his word. THIS is what he counts on.

Well, Daisy never even tried to chew her harness – and she outgrew it in 3 months. That’s a pretty short lifetime guarantee.

He pushed the benefits of a specific kind of puppy training treat as well – one that only he sold. And when I looked around the waiting room, I realized he had a showroom FILLED with stuff for sale, all of which I’m sure he would have highly recommended over time, had we been stupid enough to stay with him. We never did buy those treats.

See what I mean? Ulterior motives.

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Spay Stitches FINALLY Removed!

These last two weeks have seemed like an eternity, first with Daisy’s post-spay suffering, then trying to restrict her movements so she wouldn’t tear her stitches out. Which proved to be an impossible task.

I'm back to my silly, happy self again! Boy, am I glad that's over!

Have you every tried to keep an energetic young puppy calm and subdued? It’s like trying to hold Jello in a clenched fist!

But on Saturday the vet removed those stitches in less than a minute, and now she can go back to her crazy little self. And she wasted NO time in doing so!

We were told to wait two more days before bathing her, so tonight’s the night we get our floral-fresh puppy back. Her full blood work-up showed that she has no genetic health problems, so we’re very relieved to know we have a happy, healthy dog.

Oh yes, and as to her post-spay misbehavior issues – my cousin had a great thought – Daisy could be going through a sort of induced menopause, the type women go through when they have hysterectomies well before menopause sets in. Women who have hysterectomies in their 20s, 30s, and 40s suffer escalated menopausal symptoms after surgery, so why not animals as well?

Our vet and online information say that dogs don’t go through menopause because they don’t have the whole estrogen issue, but we’ve already seen that Daisy experiences things very acutely, so how do we really know what they’re reallyfeeling inside? It’s not like anyone can ask them! Daisy’s behavior seemed to fit many of those same erratic, unpleasant symptoms, and half way through the second week, they lessened all by themselves…a little coincidental, and I’m not a great believer in coincidence. Once we saw the glimmer of her old self, we immediately brought back a full return to Jan Fennell’s discipline techniques, and it only took a couple of days before we got our sweet puppy back!

What do you think? Do you think it’s possible for dogs to feel some kind of symptoms after spaying that are similar to menopause?

Glad that’s all over with!

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