Sunday, August 30, 2009

Shall We Meet?

A number of people told me about the CKC Spaniel group on Meetup. com so I joined and today we took Hadley to her first meet-up. One of my co-workers, Adrian, also came with her CKC tri-color, Winnie. I had really been looking forward to it and, it was fine, but maybe not quite what I'd pictured.

It was a warm day and between the walk over there and the play area being in direct sun I was feeling a little peaked. Hadley was, as well, having refused her food that morning. About a dozen beautiful spaniels were there but most left after half an hour. There were a couple of nice people and we all gathered for a great group shot but mostly people sat on benches by themselves while the dogs played in the sand. I usually get more camaraderie from other CKCS owners when I meet them on the street while walking with Hadley than I found here.

Hadley was shy, or tired from lack of food, or in pain from teething or possibly all three and didn't play much. She was also the youngest and that certainly played a role. She spent time with Winnie but that may be because Adrian, Brian and I were together most of the time. But mostly she either sat right next to Brian or she stretched out across my purse.

What was interesting was her behavior off-leash. This was the first time she was outdoors without being tethered and we'd wondered if she would take the opportunity to run free. The dog run is enclosed so we were concerned about her getting away but we'd always asked each if we thought she was emotionally attached to us yet. I guess the fact that she rarely left our side answers that question.

Even when we're out on walks, she's timid around other dogs so I think she needs this kind of socialization. I'd prefer she play with other CKC Spaniels because I know there won't be any fights so I will probably take her to another meet-up in a month or so when she's a bit bigger and the weather is cooler.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Stage Mother

One of my co-workers steered me towards a web site called The Daily Puppy which features pictures and profiles of cute pups of all breeds.  They have a pseudo contest where you may submit a minimum of 9 pictures of your puppy in hopes of having them featured prominently on the site.  When you join the site, other members can also see your pup's profile and can request friendship and comment on the photos.  I realize, of course, that all of this is ridiculous and doesn't do a damn thing for Hadley.  Call it an ego stroke for Hadley's mommy.

The 'friend request' thing is weird from people I don't know but I did enjoy reading the comments.  It appears to be the considered opinion of the seven people who commented that my Hadley is the prettiest little CKC Spaniel that ever was and I should submit her photos for the contest right away.  These same seven people seem to be the ones who comment on the photos of all new pups and I doubt they've ever seen one they didn't think was cute.  But, of course, I completely agree with their assessment of Hadley :)

When Brian and I took her for a walk this past Sunday, we ran into a woman walking another little female CKC who was about a month younger than Hadley.  We stopped to chat and she said she'd gotten the puppy from a pet store.  I frown on that although Brian doesn't share my displeasure.  I also immediately noted that her spaniel had some weird brown markings on her face and was nowhere near as pretty as my Hadley.

Brian is starting to think I'm a twit.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

That's a Lot of Puppy!

The subject of Hadley's size has been a constant topic of discussion since the day we brought her home.  She weighed 4 lbs., 11 oz. when we picked her up from the breeder and, for some reason, Brian and I both assumed she'd be smaller.  She looked like an adorably chubby, well-fed puppy and the vet said she was perfect.  A month later, at the vet, her weight was 7 lbs., 4 oz.  And on her final vaccination visit, a month after that, she weighed in at 10 lbs. even.  Again, the vet said she was the correct size and she certainly didn't look overweight.  She is, however, very long and holding her is like holding a human child.

She's been growing so fast that we actually see it, week to week, and the size of her paws is a mild concern.  They're quite large and it stands to reason that she'll grow into them.  Breed standard for CKC Spaniels is 12-18 lbs. and Brian and I were both kind of hoping for something on the smaller end.  But, we've also run into a couple of dogs in the neighborhood that are well over 25 lbs.  The last thing that comes to mind when you see them is "toy spaniel!"

The AKC classifies CKC Spaniels in the Toy Group although they're certainly considered the group's largest members...lap dogs who spill out over your lap :)  But it's their cuddly personalities that reinforce the toy image and classification.

Of course, I'll love Hadley no matter how big she grows.  I want her to be at a healthy weight to avoid excess pressure on her heart and hips - two areas of concern for this breed.  But otherwise, she's my little girl no matter what.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Potty Police

I have no life.  And when Brian and I are together, we have no lives.  Hadley has regressed to only pooping on the living room floor and usually at times we're not around to see it.  I know that I can't correct any behavior after the fact...I must catch her in the act.  So we watch and we wait...and we wait...and we wait.  We know that every poop that we didn't witness is a missed opportunity to correct and so...we wait...and we wait.  We spent all of this past weekend afraid to take our eyes off of her and yet, one kiss and a cuddle that diverted our attention for a few minutes was all it took!  Clearly this method is not working.

My next step is to change her feeding regiment.  Up until now, she's been free-fed.  I researched this topic...I researched every topic before getting a dog.  Free-feeding is healthier for a dog because it allows them to eat small amounts, more frequently throughout the day.  This cuts down on bloat, gas and other stomach discomfort.  It also has two draw-backs.  Some dogs will overeat, of course, and others need the pack leader/behavior control of waiting for their food.  Neither is an issue with a sweet-tempered little doggie who'd rather play than eat.  Since I've had her...she'll play for a while, run into her pen for a drink of water and maybe a few nibbles of the puppy kibble always in her bowl, run back out to play, etc.  Half the time she doesn't even finish the daily ration she's given which explains why she occasionally looks like a pipe cleaner with ears :)  In other words - no issues.

But free-feeding doesn't allow me to time her bowel movements.  Dogs usually need to poop about 15 minutes after a meal and that knowledge helps with housebreaking.  Since my biggest problem is that I can't catch her in the act because she's unpredictable, I will have to resort to a feeding schedule.  I really hope to be able to go back to free-feeding once she's trained...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Could Cry

Hadley's been peeing in her potty box for nearly three weeks without any mistakes or accidents.  I almost trusted much as you could say you trust a 4 1/2 month old puppy.  But yesterday morning, she peed on the floor.  Nothing unusual happened, I let her out of her pen in the morning and she was playing with her toy in the bedroom.  She ran off into the kitchen, like she usually does, (to see if anyone had accidentally dropped a steak on the floor), came out of the kitchen and peed right there.  This wasn't a few small drips, either.  I was so shocked I could barely respond...I just couldn't believe what I was seeing!

I scolded her and put her in her pen for an hour.  When I let her out again I told her to 'go potty' and she obeyed right away.

I mean, forget the poop situation because that's pretty dire but...the pee!  I was sure we had that worked out.  I'm so disappointed.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Magnet

I remember someone, who knew I was getting a dog, telling me that I would be making a lot of new friends.  Now that she's here, I can say that's definitely true.  There's no shortage of dogs in my neighborhood but there still seems to be a camaraderie among dog owners and people feel free to stop and chat when I'm with her.  I'm a friendly person so I like that but it's fascinating to watch how a dog, especially a puppy, brings out the full range of human behavior.

Some people ask if they can pet her and let her sniff their hand first.  Hadley is super friendly and LOVES people so this is not necessary but I do recommend it as a general rule with dogs you don't know.  Other people just grab her, pet her, pick her up, kiss her...  There's a part of me that doesn't like other people slobbering all over my puppy but I know she loves the attention and I wouldn't begrudge her.

I've also noticed that when Brian is alone with her (or I'm standing at a distance), women are more likely to approach.  When I'm out with her, men feel more free to speak to me.  The most social of all is when we're out together and see another couple with a CKC Spaniel.  We all lock on each other and come right over to make the introductions - both human and canine.

As I said, I enjoy all this social interaction and I know Hadley does.  We do get stopped many times because she's a puppy and people can't resist.  I've learned to keep an eye out, though...  One time Brian waited outside a deli with Hadley while I ran in to buy her a bottle of water.  As I was paying the clerk, I looked out and saw some young would-be-model chatting with my boyfriend and hugging my puppy.  I got out there pretty fast! :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Shortcut Puppy

Lately I've been finding pee in the potty box, where it belongs, but little pee drippings right near it and I wondered what was happening.  But now I've solved the mystery.  Hadley devised herself a shortcut where she only puts one leg into the box and this was resulting in the drips I saw.  I understand, of course, that she's very busy and has many important squeaky toys to play with and urgent bones to chew and I admire her creativity in finding a way to cut valuable seconds off the process :)

Her pen is in my home office so I sat at my computer and waited her out.  As soon as she ran in to pee, I scooped her other leg into the box.  A few more repetitions and this little problem should be solved.

Friday, August 21, 2009

50% Puppy

At 4 1/2 months old and 5 weeks into potty box training, here's where we stand:

Pee in the potty box - 100% of the time
Poop in the potty box - close to 0%

So...half my job is done.  The pee part was easier because she does it often so I'm there to correct her.  But she has a tendency to poop in the middle of the night or during the day when I'm at work so weekends are my only time to catch her in the act.  Frustrating.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Great Tail Chase

Hadley is very tuned in to movement.  I know that spaniels were bred as small hunting dogs so her desire to chase and pounce on anything that moves must be in her genes.  She's still too young but I'm told that when she's older, no bird or squirrel will be safe around her.  Except for her occasional game of "chase the feet" it's not an issue for me...although, of course, the birds and squirrels might feel differently :)

But, one of the things in her environment that moves a lot is her tail.  CKC Spaniels trot along with their tails up, high and proud and hers is also always wagging.  The movement constantly catches her eye and she needs to chase it.

When she was younger, I don't think she realized the tail was time she bit down on it a bit too hard, yelped in pain and ran to me :)  These days I think she does know it's hers and she doesn't bite it, she just likes to hold the feathered tip of it in her a pacifier.  But she always needs to contort herself into uncomfortable-looking positions to do it.  Silly puppy :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

To Breed or Not to Breed...

I always assumed I would spay my dog.  I wasn't interested in more puppies.  I didn't want her to stain around the house.  And I certainly didn't want every unfixed mutt in the city to go after her when she's in heat.  She'll be spayed at six months old, wear that silly cone for a few days and it will no longer be an issue.  Brian has other ideas.

He's been poo-pooing my concerns.  He says, what's the big deal?  Hadley is a beautiful, pure-bred dog.  Let's find her an appropriate stud and let her have some beautiful, pure-bred puppies.  We'll sell them for good money.  We have AKC papers.  Why not?

But, I'm the one who does the reading and the research and there's plenty of reasons why not.  I sent him web links to articles and videos.  He didn't want to take the time and said we'll do whatever I say.  But...I'm still hearing about this.  I told him that I won't discuss the breeding option with him until he's read what I've read and we can make a mutually informed decision.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Second Potty Box

The second potty box arrived.  It's identical to the one in her pen but I wondered if she would understand that it has the same purpose.  I didn't have to wonder for long!  I unpacked the box, put it on the floor on the other side of the room from her pen and put a sheet of newspaper in it.  Hadley jumped right in and peed.  I didn't even have to tell her to do it.  OK.  I guess that answers that question.  When we go out to Brian's house we'll put one potty box upstairs and one downstairs...and keep our fingers crossed :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Well, I Guess That Answers That Question

One of my colleagues has a CKC spaniel that is a couple of months older than Hadley and he is still timid of stairs.  So I assumed Brian and I would have to spend some time teaching Hadley to climb when we're at his house over Labor Day weekend.  But today we visited a store that was one flight up and were about to encourage Hadley to climb.  Or, at least, we would have encouraged her if she was still sitting there next to us.  She ran up the stairs :)  OK...but down is probably harder than up so let's see if she'll do that.  Um, where is she?  Oh, she's already run down the stairs back to us.

Never mind :) 

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Getting Ready for Labor Day Weekend!

After a whole summer in the city with my puppy, I can't wait for the Labor Day weekend.  I'll have off work from Friday to Tuesday for a relaxing getaway to Brian's house on the east end of Long Island.   But this will be the first time I'm going anywhere with Hadley so I'm trying to prepare.  The house has two floors so we will have to teach her to climb stairs.  I ordered a second potty box so that one can be upstairs and one downstairs for easy access.  (We'll see how compliant she'll be in a new environment.)  I've also ordered a long outdoor tie-out so that she can roam around the grass a little and still be safely tethered to the porch.  And, I've bought a doggie seat belt harness. 

It's a long drive and Brian wanted to crate her for the trip, but I disagree.  My Hadley is not meek and I think she'll do better if she can see what's going on.  Plus, we're always in and out of the car whenever we're out east and I want her to learn to enjoy it.  I promised him I'd seat her on a thick towel in case of a potty accident.

I've made a packing list of all the doggie supplies I'll need to bring and researched pet-friendly places on Long Island.  Unfortunately, there aren't many.  I would so love to take her to the beach but it's not allowed in season.  Oh well, she'll still get to experience the grass and fresh air and smell of water.  I love it out there and I hope she will, too.  It's ironic...she was born on a farm upstate but never really left the puppy room until we came to get her.  So, for all intents and purposes, she's a big city dog.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Particularly Bad Day

Hadley's been so good for the past week.  She's been using her potty box with few, if any, mistakes.  She doesn't need to be dragged when we go for a walk, she's learned the daily routine of the house, doesn't bark at night, waits patiently by the entrance to her pen for me to let her out, still doesn't like me leaving for work, of course, but doesn't bark or cry when I go.  She knows I'll be coming back.  It was a happy week and I was loving my beautiful puppy.

But yesterday was so bad.  I came home and saw that she had pooped and peed on the floor in her pen instead of using her box.  During the evening when she was running around playing, she peed in her pen outside her box and pooped on the living floor.  During the night she peed in her box correctly but pooped on the floor and this morning, she peed on the floor.  I don't get it.  It's like she's completely forgotten everything she's learned.  She was also extra high energy, jumping on everything, very mouthy and nippy.  She and I have been practicing learning to STAY but she was so frenetic that she couldn't concentrate at all.  I was almost in tears this morning from the frustration.

The weather's been miserable but today is nice so, when I get home, I'm going to try to take her on an extra long walk and see if I can drain some of that energy.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Beautiful Hadley

She was adorably cute when she was tiny but then went through an awkward phase.  Still cute but not quite one thing or the other.  I wasn't worried.  I'd always thought this breed was prettiest when fully grown.  But now, at 17 weeks, Hadley is beginning to come into her looks...and I think she's just beautiful.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It Worked. Easy.

I picked up some wet dog food...Little Cesar's Grilled Chicken flavor.  Hadley loves grilled chicken.  I actually think my Hadley can smell grilled chicken while the bird is still alive! :)  I cut up the heartworm chew into little pieces and mixed it in with the food.  She ate every bit and practically licked the pattern off the dish.  Yummy in her tummy...and now properly medicated.  Easy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


As part of her last round of vaccinations, the vet put Hadley on monthly heartworm preventative medicine.  I bought it right from the doctor's office which is probably not the cheapest place but it was easier.  They're chewables...OK...I wonder...

The doctor always gives her a treat to ease the annoyance of the poking and prodding, etc. but Hadley never eats it.  I noticed that the vet uses pill pockets as the "house" treat and I understand they're supposed to be really yummy.  But...what other dogs think is really yummy doesn't seem to appeal to my girl and I wondered if Hadley would take the heartworm chew.

She wasn't feeling that well after her vaccinations so I waited a couple of days to let her recover and then gave it to her.  Nope.  She sniffed, licked and turned away.  I tried again...nope...I cut it into smaller pieces...nope...I put it in her food bowl...nope.

Tomorrow I will pick up some wet dog food (always well received) in her favorite, most beloved chicken flavor.  I'll cut the heartworm chew into small little pieces and blend it in.  It worked with the de-worming medicine so we'll see how discerning she is.  Of course, now I'm worried about how she'll take her pain medication after she's spayed...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hadley is a Lady

We brought Hadley to the vet for her final round of vaccinations and a little girl that was there commented that she looked like Lady from Lady and the Tramp.

I'd only vaguely remembered the movie so I looked it up when we got home. According to the movie's producers, Lady was drawn to resemble a Cocker Spaniel. Hadley is a Cavalier Spaniel but I definitely see the resemblance.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Stubborn Puppy

"I'm not going to go potty just because you tell me to go potty even though it's been many hours and I clearly do need to go potty and as soon as you let me out of my play pen I will definitely go potty on the carpet but just because you want me to I will not go potty and I will lie here in my bed sulking and refusing to go potty until I explode.  So there!'

Friday, August 7, 2009

It Was My Own Fault

It's been almost a month since I introduced the larger potty box and we're now getting close to the stage we were on newspaper alone.  If I had bought the larger box right away we'd probably be done by now so it was my fault.  I thought it would be easy to transition from paper to box but it set me back to zero.  Oh well, I'll know for the next puppy.  HA!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Breeder vs. Shelter

Is it realistic to think that pet stores could go out of business.  I doubt it because I don't think there are enough breeders to accommodate the demand.

We didn't pay to have Hadley specially bred.  At the time I first found the breeder, she was already alive.  Someone has to take care of her.  If everyone agreed to boycott all breeders then what would happen to all the puppies?  It's a circular argument and I'm not sure what the right answer is.  I believe adopting a shelter dog is a wonderful thing if it's right for you.  It wasn't right for me.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Puppy Diaries

I've been following a weekly series in The New York Times called The Puppy Diaries.  It was actually one of the trainers I spoke to who e-mailed me the link...probably because the writer speaks favorably about professional puppy training.  But, in any event, the articles are about her experiences in adopting a purebred Golden Retriever and my focus is so puppy-centric these days that I'm interested in all that kind of stuff.

Out of curiosity, I scrolled down to read the reader comments...and smoke started coming out of my ears!  Hundreds and hundreds of comments, not about her emotions or heart-felt description of experiences but about the fact that she "bought" a dog.  I've never seen so much animosity about something that's none of anyone's business.  I'll have more to say about this once I collect myself but it just makes me furious.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Little Yellow Ball

She has these little fuzzy yellow tennis balls that are a good size for her and she loves to chase them.  We throw them and she takes off at 90 miles an hour.  CRASH...she trips on her paws...gets right back up...CRASH...she runs smack into the wall...gets right back up...scoops up the ball in her mouth and takes off at 90 miles an hour in the other direction...CRASH...she trips on her paws...CRASH...she runs smack into the other wall.  Silly puppy.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Another Moment of Puppy Brilliance

After being corrected many times for going potty on the carpet, floor, etc. she got it right for the second time.  On Sunday afternoon she was happily sitting on Brian's lap when she suddenly jumped off, ran to her potty box...and used it!

But, the light that had dawned apparently faded somewhere in the night and I woke to find both pee and poop on the floor of her pen.  Sigh.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Wet Puppy :)

Despite the trauma of her first bath, Hadley gets one every week and she's come a long way in accepting it as a fact of life.  She no longer cries or shivers and has learned that the bath time treat is cheese...yummy, delicious cheese!  She doesn't mind the water at all and even tolerates the shampoo.  But she really doesn't like to get her face wet and that's when she'll start to fuss.  Fussing, in her case, means trying to jump out of the kitchen sink!

Despite the improvement, bathing her is still a two person job and Brian and I both get as wet as she is!  But we have fun and she looks and smells so nice when she's clean.