Sunday, March 29, 2009

Video of Ranger

A friend let me borrow her video camera, so I had Ranger do a few tricks. (Yes, I know he needs a hair cut, but it's been too cold.) Teddy makes an appearance at towards the end of the video. He doesn't know any tricks except sit, but he is awfully cute!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Agility pics!

Ranger has been taking agility classes for 2 years now. We don't compete very often, maybe 2-3 times a year, but he has won several first place ribbons so far! (Of course, in a few of those competitions, he was the only dog competing in his class, but I didn't tell him that.) I finally got some pictures from a few of his trials. Click on the picture, and you'll be taken to Flickr, where you can see a few more pictures.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

First steps to obedience

I took Teddy to his first obedience class last night. Turns out he was the only dog that signed up for the class! Normally they would just cancel the class, but the trainer agreed to stay since I showed up, and when she saw how much work needs to be done with him, she volunteered to still have class for a few weeks with just Teddy.

Teddy did as well as I thought he would - after 1 hour, he still wouldn't lie down, or stay, or come when called. He was very shy around Susan, the trainer, and we spent most of the time just trying to get Teddy used to being around her. Luckily Teddy is very food motivated, so he would gradually get closer to her whenever she offered food. Without food, however, all bets are off. I know this makes me sound petty, but it made me feel a little better that Susan didn't any more success than I have had with Teddy.

It's been a lesson in patience. I was spoiled with Ranger, who is a smart dog, and learned commands very quickly. With Teddy, I have to take my time, and build each command slowly. I have to force myself to be patient and not push him, or else we will take 2 steps back. Somehow I think with Teddy, it may always be 1 step forward, 2 steps back! But I keep telling myself that in the end, it will all be worthwhile.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Small victories

I've had Teddy for 9 weeks now, and we are making progress. When he first arrived, he would lay on the couch with Ranger and me, but he stayed at the far end of the couch. He wants to be near me, and will let me pet him and hold him, but he never approaches me for affection. Today, we had a small victory - he jumped up on the couch and sat right next to me, actually touching my leg! And then we took a nap, and he rested his head on my foot and slept! Small victories come when you least expect it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

First trip to the groomer!

Teddy went to the groomer for the first time this week. I have to admit I was a little nervous about taking him. He doesn't like being brushed (unfortunate for a Shih Tzu,) and barely tolerates his paws being held for any amount of time. But I called the groomer, explained the situation, and we scheduled a time when she wasn't as busy and could take her time and relax. So I took him in, and a few hours later, he was done. He looks adorable - just look at his picture. I think he feels better too.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The grass (or rawhide) is always greener

Like most dog owners, I have rawhides all over the house, but the only rawhide a dog wants is the one in the other dog's mouth. As I sit here, Teddy is chewing a rawhide, and Ranger is staring longingly at it. Every few minutes, he looks pleadingly at me, as if he is asking me to help him. I remind Ranger that there are 5 other rawhides in this room alone, but they are not as good as the one Teddy has. Ranger is smart, though, and he tries to distract Teddy by chewing on his ear or pulling his tail, but Teddy just ignores him. I refuse to get involved in these doggy disputes, mostly because I hate to touch slimy rawhides.

Another issue we are having is the sharing of toys. Ranger is fine with Teddy playing with his toys as long as Ranger himself isn't playing with them. But while Ranger likes having a brother, he does not want to share his toys with him. If Ranger is playing with his favorite toy, his cloth Frisbee, woe to Teddy if he tries to play with him. Ranger will growl and snap at him until Teddy leaves him alone. This has surprised me, because normally Ranger is an easy-going type of dog, and pretty meek, too. I know it's wrong, but I'm oddly proud that my 'baby' is growing up, and standing up for himself. Don't worry - Teddy gets his revenge. He eats Ranger's food!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

It's finally Ranger's turn.

Ranger tells me he's been feeling a little neglected - why don't I ever sing his praises? And he's right. So it's finally Ranger's turn to be in the spotlight. To give a little background, I've had Ranger since he was 6 months old. He belonged to my sister, who for some strange reason decided to get 2 Shih Tzu puppies at the same time. After a few months, and much chewed-up furniture, she decided that one of the puppies would have to go, and since Ranger was the main trouble maker, he had to pack his bags. I signed Ranger up for obedience classes, and quickly learned that he wasn't a trouble maker, he just needed more mental stimulation. He learns tricks very quickly and loves to impress company with his repertoire, especially if food is involved. He also competes in agility, and has won a few blue ribbons.

But the best thing about Ranger is that he just wants to be with me. I don't know that I've ever had anyone just want to be with me, no strings attached, no expectations, no demands. But Ranger is content to do whatever I'm doing. Sit on my lap and read a book? Great! Take a nap? Great! Go on a bike ride? Great! (He rides in a basket with me) Sniff in the yard while I garden? What could be better! Like all dogs, he lives in the moment, forgets the disappointments of the past (no treats? What?) and finds enjoyment in everything he does. Not a bad way to live your life!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What makes a good dog?

Is it loyalty? Cuteness? Intelligence? I think there are 2 requirements to be a good dog - 1. you are housebroken, and 2. you don't chew anything you're not supposed to. I don't care how many tricks you can do, how many ribbons you win in dog shows, how obedient you are, if you don't pee in my house and don't chew my things, you're a good dog. Anything else is just icing on the cake.

Right now, while Teddy may be cute, I can't say he is a good dog. I have doubts about his intelligence, and he is loyal to me only because I control the food and the door. We are still struggling with housebreaking, and he seems determined to put every object in my house in his mouth at least once. The funny thing is he rarely touches the same thing twice once I have told him to leave it (except for my slippers, which apparently are irresistible to him) So I figure I only have to tell him 235,983 more times to 'leave it'. I'm sure that won't get old after awhile! He is very good about his housebreaking abilities while I'm at work, or at night, but he hasn't figured out how to tell me he needs to go out. So he just sneaks away while I'm not looking, and I find a puddle later. I know that since he lived in a crate for his first years of life, he is used to going whenever he needed to. But how do I get him to tell me? Any advice on housebreaking a rescue dog?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Originally uploaded by ranger teddy mom
Ranger is feeling a bit left out - he's wondering why I'm not talking about him. He'll get his own posts soon, but until then, here's a picture of him.

Teddy with his one blue eye

It's hard to get a picture of Teddy with his one blue eye. This is the best picture so far.