Jewel and Willow Video Collection

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fall Report

The girls have reached their 3rd birthdays: and are now of legal age in human years to drink.
After paying $13.50 each to go to a couple self-serve wash and dry your dog joints, we decided a high velocity pet blow-dryer would be a good investment, since we wash them about 2x per month and it takes FOOOOOREEEVER to dry them with a hairdryer and they still start to mat after 3 days as opposed to 7-9 days of zero tangles after getting a pro groom (the secret is Dematting spray by Kelco (silicone bases) and the high power blow dry). So far, it saves about 90 mins of blowdrying and 2 hours of brushing per week, so I spend about 60 mins total blowing the water off them: after their pre wash brush out (10-30mins), then Ian washes them (10 mins each), then I spray them down with the silicone, brush through (15mins) and commence drying.

I wish I could say they have learned basic commands, and I feel like one of those parents in the grocery store who tell their misbehaving kids "if you don't do X by the time I count to three...." that I want to grab by the throat and shake them and shout in their faces: "BE THE PARENT"

Useful things they obey:
PAWS DOWN- (keep your hands to yourself when greeting others)
SHOWER- (come with me upstairs and get your muddy paws rinsed off)
STOP- (Freeze)
HAIRDO- (come put your head in my lap for brushing)
TREAT- (willow only, "come")
FIND YOUR BALL (jewel only- quit bugging me)
MOMMY'S CAR- (go to the driveway and wait at the car: meaning a trip to the park or pet store)
STAY- (stay)
BRUSHY TEETH- (time for dental hygiene)

So this one's actually pretty new: after 2-3 consecutive vet visits over the last 2 years watching the layers of tarter build up on their teeth and the irritated gums on the teeth in question has finally induced me to make a habit of their dental hygiene. I figure- it's an obvious quality of health issue that I can easily see and theoretically, easily manage.
A few tips, my fellow canine-denti-phobes: get a SOFT toothbrush, standard-style (not a finger-mitt)for babies or small dogs/cats so it'll fit in their mouth, and can use wrist-action instead of shoulder action with the finger mitts- ultimately more gentle on the brusher's joints and the brushee's gums.

The first few days of attempts TICKLED THEIR GUMS LIKE CRAZY and induced gag reflexes, but Willow finally has learned to keep her nose level, close her eyes, keep her jaws closed and just enjoy the tasty mouth massage. Jewel "helps" by chewing and believe it or not, lets me FLOSS her teeth. Beat that, Dr. Sodhi....

Willow has been chewing rawhide regularly for the last couple months- so her teeth look a lot better than last time they were in to the vet's- Jewel doesn't chew stuff so much, so she's got more tarter= more work for me.

The most important commands still eludes us:

COME: this is the holy grail of commands. Willow won't come unless she can see the treat: which poses a safety concern. Jewel doesn't care about treats, so I'm still at a loss on this one. Short of never allowing them off leash outside of the house: how does one remedy this? They were once nearly attacked by a mother raccoon on the ground protecting her kits in our own backyard in broad daylight.

I can get Willow to do anything I can dream up, as long as the promise of a treat is in her immediate future, but oncoming cars, unfriendly animals or neighbors can't wait for treats to materialize.

Willow does choreography in the kitchen: if I so much as look at her when we're in there, She does sit, drop, roll, shake, say please, dance, high five, gimme ten drop, freeze, rinse and repeat without a single verbal command.

I think I'll teach her the mambo.

Since we put an area rug near the couch, Willow is jumping on the couch by herself every time now: We would have gotten one earlier had we known it was just a matter of traction in order for her to do this.

This weekend Willow also got into the river at Marymoor all by herself without daddy in the water to encourage her. We were so proud. We might attribute this to fewer dogs swimming in the area as the weather was significantly cooler.