Love: Puppy Style

As I said last week (or maybe the week before), Wolf and I decided to adopt a puppy from the MSPCA. We brought the puppy home on Wednesday April 15 and renamed her Athena Tippy.

4.17.09 Athena  (5)

She’s is incredibly well behaved for a four month old puppy however she still has a lot to learn. Wolf and I are working on basic obedience with her — sit, stay, down, come — and she’s getting the hang of it slowly. Walking her is a task as she’s wicked effing strong so we’re employing Cesar Milan’s strategy of being the pack leader. It’s not easy but I’m learning calm, assertive energy.

4.17.09 Athena  (2)

A few pictures from the Concord Community Dog Park. She plays very well with other dogs. She’s a submissive with a little bit of anxiety so we’ll have to work on her confidence level but she knows when to stay away from aggressive dogs.

4.17.09 Athena  (3)

She’s not food possessive at all. Wolf and I have given her treats and food then took them away, even taken them out of her mouth, and she just looks at us like I don’t understand! Athena has a bit of separation anxiety which we also need to work on. She’s crate trained, which is where we leave her when we’re not home. Today we left her out of the crate while we went food shopping to come home to the cat food missing and the cat treats gone. The plastic bottle the cat treats were in was all chewed up so she’s back in the crate while we’re away. Anyone have any suggestions on how to ease the separation anxiety? It’s kinda hard to work on something when you’re not home.

4.17.09 Athena  (8)

Athena is good with the cats though she does try and play with them and they don’t get it. I’m leaving it to Harley and Francesca to let Athena know when she’s crossed the line.

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9 Responses to Love: Puppy Style

  1. Judy says:

    She is adorable. We keep our dog in a crate when we’re gone for long periods but in the past year have started leaving him out for longer periods. Once he was over the puppy chewing stage it wasn’t so bad. For the separation anxiety, we wore old t-shirts and then left them in the kennel with him so he had something that smelled like us. We also tried at first to only leave him alone for short periods, to let him know that we would always come back. Really, it just took time for him to adjust.

  2. Howling Hill says:

    Judy: Thanks! I totally fell in love with her immediately!

    Athena settles right down in the crate; that’s not when she gets separation anxiety. — Well, maybe she does but she’s in the crate so I’m not too worried about it. — It’s when she’s free in the house and we’re out the separation anxiety starts (or at least I think so). Today was the first time we left her alone and free in the house and she did a small amount of damage. I’m nervous if we leave her out it’ll be a lot of damage she does.

    I’m sure you’re right in that it just takes time. We’ll be patient.

  3. Annette says:

    She is so pretty!
    Odis, our 11-month old russel/pointer mix, still hangs out in a crate when we are not at home since he still cannot handle himself alone in the house. Mason, our manx cat, plays well with Odis though Odis has forgotten that he is now much bigger and sometimes we need to intervene.

  4. Chan says:

    She’s beautiful! Congrats on the new addition to your family. I wish you many many happy years together :)

    I have had a dog for 6 years, he’s a yellow lab/chow mix who is 140 lbs. He still gets a bit bored when I leave sometimes – so I invested in interactive toys – kongs which I fill with peanut butter inside (fill with peanut butter, freeze overnight) my dog likes peanut butter and will spend hours trying to chew up that dang toy to get the peanut butter out.

    Another thing you can maybe try (if she is food oriented like mine) is a thing called a “food cube”. It’s a 7 x 7 x 7 cube that has a hole in the top and a series of chambers/tubes inside. You fill it up with dog food, shake it down to the bottom of the chambers/tubes. My dog spends hours focused on rolling the cube around, to make one little nugget of food come out. I got my food cubes and the kongs at Petsmart.

    I brought him to obedience class, and the trainer said to not make a big deal out of when you leave and/or come back. To this day, I just leave the house and say to him I will be back. And when I get home, I settle in, take off my shoes, put away my bag, flip through the mail, then greet the dog. I have found that not making a big deal out of coming or going is good. Maybe that will work for you, too? At least it’s something to try :)

    I don’t have much experience with dealing with anxiety separation – my dog doesn’t get it much, the only thing I notice is that sometimes if I am gone overnight, not may eat his food and he is mopy when I get home. He gets bored and curious but not destructive per se. I have learned how to dogproof the house (cat bowl up on the top of the fridge, cat/dog treats in the back hall) because still to this day I come home and any dishes that were in the sink are now out of the sink and “hidden” under his dog bed (and dog licked clean). It’s quite annoying to have to keep every temptation up out of his reach, but I have learned his triggers (food items only) and keeping them up is easier on me in the long run. Except that I am wicked bad about dishes, so every day, I pick them up when I get home and put them back in the sink.

    Best of luck with your little pup Athena!!

  5. Howling Hill says:

    Annette: I will certainly take your advice!

    Chan: We’re definitely going to obedience training, sometime in May. We’ve been working on basic stuff with Athena each day. She’s a good pooch but has a long way to go.

    Thanks so much!

  6. lizzylanefarm says:

    Awwww, how cute, contratulation on the addition to your family and farm.

    After 3 years we still have to crate our beagle when we leave, we give him some thing to work on while we are gone. In the summer I freeze ice cubes with cheese snacks in the center. And we also have one of those red knog things made of rubber that I slip treats into. This keep him busy for awhile. If I’m gone less than 2 hours there are still treats left.

    Did you bring Athena a slice of pizza out of the hill store as a treat for keeping your seat warm? Kidding….But I like the plain cheese from there….


  7. Allie says:

    When we first got Stella, I would put her in her crate while I was home with PBS playing for her in the background. Then when I had to leave the house, I’d put PBS on again. It seemed to help. Now, she’s fine with being left in her crate without the TV on, and I do it periodically while I’m home just to reinforce things. Although, she’s better when Argo’s around. I read somewhere that you shouldn’t leave a dog under the age of two uncrated when you aren’t home. They can seem stable about things for awhile, and then totally go berserk. Once they are out of adolescence, they are much more trustworthy. Argo hadn’t been crated for years, but we crate him sometimes now, b/c he likes it. He kept going in Stella’s crate and waiting for us to shut the door. I think it signals to him that he’s off duty.

  8. Allie says:

    Oh, and congrats!!!

  9. Howling Hill says:

    Karyn: lets walk together in Old Hill. You name the time I’ll name the day.

    Allie: Athena is definitely going to be crated until the separation anxiety is cured. I hate doing it to her but if it keeps her from destroying the house and terrorizing the cats…

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