New Olympic Sport Being Considered

Y’all ‘member EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer?  The 75 lb bane of my existence?  At 7 1/2 years old, she’s rapidly approaching doggie dotage.  Unfortunately, she has acquired a new habit; one that I’m finding difficult to live with, and that’s putting it mildly.

EmmaLou had decided our house is now her bathroom.  Oh, she still goes outside and sniffs every blade of grass and she may occasionally make a deposit somewhere in the yard.  More often than not, I am awakened to the wafting aroma of … well… you know what comes out of a dog.  Let’s just say, I would rather be awakened by practice time from the marching band of the worst high school in Lower Slobovia than this.

The other day I had a new experience.  While working in my home office I was alerted to the sight of EmmaLou in the hallway.  She roamed around in circles and that emergency klaxon in the far recesses of my brain started going off.  This dog was about to make a deposit on my light-colored hallway carpet and I was a goodly distance away from her.  As she began to squat and get that glazed look in her eyes, I flew out of my ergonomic chair and sprinted for the hall bathroom all the while screaming at the top of my lungs, “Emma Nooooooooooooooooooo!”  D’ya think that stopped her from her mission?

Amazingly enough, I gathered gobs of tp and managed to “catch the first baby”, quickly turn around and sprint to the toilet and deposit it, grab another wad of tp and repeat the process.  Thinking I had finished handling (sorry) this disaster, I slowed my progress.  And that’s when it happened.  Everything she had been saving arrived and descended in slow motion onto my carpet.  I stood there in horror wondering if my dog had, in fact, been the result of a breeding experiment gone horribly wrong – a Golden Retriever and a hippopotamus perhaps.  I didn’t have enough tp left in the bathroom for this.

About that time, Devoted Spouse was running up the stairs with a large roll of paper towels and the ever-present gallon-sized bottle of Resolve.  As he hit the second to last stairstep I had acquired a large handful of Kleenex and managed to scoop what was left, once more wasting gallons and gallons of precious water flushing.

I lost count of how many times I hit that toilet handle and ran back to the hallway.  I imagine that day all the meters on the utility company Plasma Screens of Flushing were in the red zone.  EmmaLou was so proud of herself.  If I could expel what she did in those copious amounts; well let’s just put it this way: I’d probably now be a size 2….sigh…

Lethal Weapon 5…or Step Away From the Cone

 

All I wanted to do was have a few days of peace and quiet — a long weekend away with the hubs somewhere.  So I made arrangements for someone to take care of the house and sent EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer to her “estate” home-away-from-home.

Imagine my surprise when I picked her up at the kennels we’ve used for 6 years to find she’s injured and limping and the kennel wasn’t concerned (that’s another story).  Let’s concentrate on EmmaLou for this posting.  Why you ask?  Because the poor thing had to go to the vet to have her injury treated (lacerated paw) and came home wearing the Cone of Shame.  Yes…the Cone of Shame.  Let’s sprinkle this post with a few pics along the way, shall we?

EmmaLou arrives home w/paw bandaged & wrapped in plastic & wearing Cone of Shame

Was EmmaLou irritated?  You bet your life she was — this is the dog who flat out refuses to let her groomer put bows or a bandana on her and now she’s wrapped in this dorky bandage (note pic below), is wearing a lampshade on her head and there’s no beer to go along with the lampshade!

"No chew" like she can read instructions duh

 I gave the Cone of Shame about an hour before she chewed it off (we’ve been down this road before).  But this time was different — the vet gave her pain pills and I immediately fed her one when she arrived home — oh yeah…she zoned out.

Lovin' the pain pills!

Unfortunately it didn’t last long and she was up and trying hard to navigate around the house with this gawdawful lampshade on her head.  I was reminded of pictures of huge cars from the 1950s with these strange things sticking out of their wheels — I think they were called “bumper feelers” and helped the driver know when the car was at the curb — EmmaLou needed Bumper Feelers for the lampshade.  She tried in vain to play with a toy and managed to get it into the lampshade but wasn’t having much fun.

Trying to play w/Rocky Racoon but Lampshade in way

She finally settled into  a prone position with one of her rubber bones in the Cone with her for company.  LOL

EmmaLou manages to get the bone to fit inside the Cone of Shame

Shortly she bumped her way into the coffee table and managed to climb up onto the family room sofa where she hung out until supper time.  We tried not to laugh, but it was hysterical watching her miscalculate where the furniture was versus where her Cone was.  Poor girl.  She will repay me for the laughter.

Made it to the couch...now get this thing off me!!

 Toward the end of the evening EmmaLou knew it was time for bed but I didn’t want her to be on pain meds and fall out of our bed (it’s antique and high up off the floor) so I planned on sleeping on the couch and keeping her downstairs with me.  She wasn’t interested in that idea — she waited for me at the top of the stairs

I'm up here Mom!

Being the smart cookie I am….I hid another pill in some cheese and we settled down for the evening.

Wow these pills are gooooood stuff!

The good news is she should be fine in a couple of days…the bad news is as long as she’s on pain pills one of us has to babysit her at all times so she doesn’t run into something.  Heaven knows she’s run into us enough and that stupid Cone hurts when it hits bare shins!!  OW.  I may need my own bandage soon.  But I’m not wearin’ the lampshade without at least one Margarita first!

All I wanted was a quiet weekend…sigh…

Does Your Trained Dog Ignore You? Meet EmmaLou the Queen of Bribery

 

Ya’ll know the Golden Destroyer, EmmaLou – her pic is my blog header most of the time; she has her own page here on this blog, and that shot up above is actually her, but in hiding one day.  EmmaLou, the well-trained pup.  Okay…not so much.

I was reading an article the other day which gave the reasons why your dog won’t pay attention to the commands you give.  I immediately perked up as I was about to learn why EmmaLou simply refuses to obey basic commands.

The article suggests your dog needs more training. More training? EmmaLou passed basic obedience with flying colors.  She did all her commands right on cue during the sessions…even to the point of staying at the door to the facility until we gave her “the release” word, then she dragged our sorry butts to the car, forgetting all she had learned in class.  I don’t recall how many weeks we went through this — practice, practice, practice, reinforce, reward, praise, praise, and then when it really mattered I would give a command and EmmaLou would look at me and I knew she was thinking:  “Have you lost your mind?  Moi Come?  Where’s my treat, dumb human?”  By the time we arrived home, EmmaLou had forgotten every command learned.  Oh yeah, more training was definitely needed.

For several months, EmmaLou had her own Dog Whisperer.  She doted on him and would do whatever he wanted.  Then he would patiently explain to me how to get her to respond to a basic command  such as “Come”.  I would try it, EmmaLou would respond properly and off the personal trainer went w/my $50 in hand.  As soon as he exited the driveway,  I would command of my pup, “Come” and EmmaLou would promptly turn her back on me and go chew a couch cushion.  Obey commands?  Not interested.  The personal trainer cost us a fortune and he did not understand why we continued to have behavior problems.  He finally decided the problem with EmmaLou was, in fact, ME.  Big mistake.  I fired his a$$ faster than he could say “Come.”   EmmaLou continued to stick out her doggie tongue at me at every opportunity but at least I was no longer paying $50 for that particular experience.

Back to the article…when you call your dog and she comes to you,  reward her. This little nugget is known as “reinforcement.”  I’ve mentioned  EmmaLou does not respond to “Come.”  She does, however, respond to “Treat,” and will come inside with that one word…reinforcement.  I must bribe my dog to return.  BTW the word “Treat” no longer works if she has already counter-surfed that night’s roasted chicken.  Then “Treat” becomes moot. 

Adding insult to injury, the article discusses “competing reinforcers” which is fancy trainer-speak for my dog has a colossal case of “Ooooh Shiny!”(or in her case “Oooooh What’s That Over There?”)  EmmaLou gets away every once in awhile; the gate may be open, the garage door up, or she rips the leash out of my hand and takes off.  How do I retrieve my retriever?  I holler at the top of my lungs….”EmmaLou, wanna go for a ride in the car?”  That dog will stop dead in her tracks leaving puppy paw skidmarks if she hears that question.  All it takes is a car ride. She returns…and off we go for a ride around the block.  Then she calmly walks back inside and with a doggie smirk on her face gives me the look.  The look that says…”You are the most pitiful excuse for an Alpha Female on the face of the planet and I can bend you to my will whenever I wish.”   Yup – competing reinforcers at work here.

Finally, the article claims I don’t understand my dog’s needs.  Not true; her needs are simple.  She has a need to be out in the backyard rolling around in dessicated chipmunk remains, or frolicking in fresh squirrel urine and rabbit poop on a regular basis.  If it smells horrid, she’s on it in a flash.  The article states I should not rush her; she may need to sniff around a little longer or search for a good bathroom spot.  Wait.  The entire backyard is one big bathroom spot.  I’m the one left standing on the porch tapping my foot while she sniffs every blade of grass.   Oh…did I mention she won’t  (repeat WON’T) go outside unless I go outside first?  It’s true…my dog won’t go pee unless I step outside first and lead the way.  We accidentally taught her that behavior  when she was just a little puppy as we thought it was cute when all of us went outside together.  She “needs” for  mom and/or dad to go out the door first, then EmmaLou will follow.  Many a day I have been on my deathbed begging her to go out alone because I’m sicker than a leper with dermatitis and will she go out?  No.   Oh, I understand her needs alright.

I’m afraid at this rate EmmaLou will never get her Good Canine Citizen Certificate.  I can accept that because EmmaLou is simply so danged cute she makes up for any and all bad behavior…it’s those big chocolate brown eyes – she had me at “Woof.” sigh…

Happy Howlween

If you can spare some time, EmmaLou would like to be picked up and taken around the neighborhood to gather some treats please.   All of us here at Chez Crone and Bear It wish you a Happy Howlween.

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P.S.  thanks, Midwest Mom for the caption — sorry, but EmmaLou flatly refused to put on a costume this year…maybe next year.

It’s Nice to Have a Friend When You’re Sick

While I’m recuperating from this nasty virus, here are a few pics of EmmaLou.  She’s been keeping me company throughout my illness and rarely wanders very far from me.  She’s a good little doggie nurse!

maybe Mom will feel better if I bring her a toy!

maybe Mom will feel better if I bring her a toy!I brought you my best toy, can I have a cupcake?

man...no cupcakes and I even brought my best toy!

man...no cupcakes and I even brought my best toy!

I'm so sad coz Mom doesn't feel good

I'm so sad coz Mom doesn't feel good

I get depressed when Mom is sick...sigh

I get depressed when Mom is sick...sigh

I don't fit well under the kitchen table, but I'd like that cupcake now

I don't fit well under the kitchen table, but I'd like that cupcake now

I’ll be back before too long I hope.  A few more days.  This virus is whippin’ my butt good!  Ya’ll take care.