Thursday, April 21, 2011

Watson the escape artist

When we leave the house, Watson goes in his crate and Mylie gets to be free in the basement. We "dog proofed" the basement when we got Watson so they could have a place to play and be dogs and get their hair everywhere. 

We semi-finished the basement by putting up sheet rock and painting, and putting down carpet. By putting down carpet, i just mean taped the carpet and carpet pad down to the cement with carpet tape. 

We don't trust Watson to be in the basement outside of his crate, because he's really into eating carpet and basically anything he can get in his mouth.

Since we have two crates, Michael hooked them together so Watson has two "rooms" to hang out in. He has plenty of space. However, today he thought that he wanted some more freedom... 

When I came home tonight, I opened the door to the basement and I found both Mylie and Watson waiting there to greet me. Watson looked half proud, and half guilty. It was a very funny sight. Mylie looked scared. We all knew he was supposed to be in his crate. I didn't yell at him, because how could I? I don't even know how he snuck out, and Kudos to him if he's seriously smart enough to get out of his closed crate. I still can't figure out how he got out, but I saw that the bottom latch was latched, but the top latch on the door was not. Although only latching one latch does keep the door shut, it allows for a tiny opening. I think he squeezed through it!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Invisible fence

Mylie and Watson destroyed the invisible fence trainer's card, and I let them...she deserved it.

Watson is about 8 months old now. Up until a few weeks ago, he followed Mylie around in the yard. She would stay in the yard because we had an invisible fence installed last year and she does very well with it (when she wears her collar- she knows whe we don't have it on her). Watson has just stayed by her until recently.

Becuase the weather has been nice, people are finally starting to come outside of their ouses. This week Watson ran across the street  right in front of a car to visit a neighbor. TWICE. The second time was worse and fortunately the driver was paying attention and stopped quickly. I screamed. It was very scary. Michael took Watson back to our yard and told him to "stay" and he sat sweetly and watched us as we went back over to the neighbors and talked for a few minutes. He is very obedient, but he hasnt learned yet that he can't run in the street!

That day we decided it was time to get Watson his very own invisible fence collar. I called the lady who trained Mylie last year because that worked out quite well. I wanted to set up 5 more sessions with Watson and buy the collar. At the end of the conversation, I was trying to hang up quickly becuase I had an appointment and  she informed me that the 5, 30 min training sessions would be $600 and the collar would be $350. What??! Almost $1,000 to train a puppy to stay in the yard when we already have the invisbile fence?? You've got to be kidding.

I came home to see the flags already set up even though we hadn't called invisible fence to finalize anything. The dog trainer apparently called on our behalf so they could invoice us and set up the flags. Nice...

Longer story short, We bought the collar (that was inevitable) and then we moved the trainings from 5 sessions to 1. Marilyn came today to train and it was terrible.

When she walked in the house Mylie and Watson jumped up on her. Mylie is such a door jumper. We are really working on that. Watson almost never jumps, but this lady probably smelled like 50 different dogs, heck- if i were a dog i'd want to jump too.  She proceeds to tell me "your dogs need a lot of training. I do personal training on the side if you are interested.... yes, they are very mis-behaved...." I wanted to punch her.

Then she goes into telling me how i'm going to ruin Watson if he only gets 1 session. He will be traumatized, ruined for life, and will possibly never go outside again and then we will have to potty train him all over because he'll only go to the bathroom in the house. Or he'll have emotional destress because he wasn't trained properly. I said, REALLY?? you think I will cause all that dammage and "ruin my dog" by doing only one session with you instead of 5? Then she back-peddled a bit.

After the trainings were over she continued to tell me how I was going to ruin Watson and that it would be all my fault. He said I was making a "huge mistake". I told her I wasn't going to pay for 5, 30 min sessions when I knew we could do it ourselves. She proceeded to say "you know, i understand if you may be having a financial hardship or having trouble putting food on the table...sometimes you just need to do what is right for your animals though, he really needs 5 trainigs" I gave her a puzzled look and she said "well, not that you are- I just came from another home where they are facing forclosure and having trouble feeding their family, but they also need to protect and contain their pet so she made a tough decision" I was furious at this point and said "you mean to tell me that you took money from someone who can't afford to pay their mortgage or feed their family so you could train their dog?? Your rate is over $200 per hour to guide a dog to the flags and pull him back into the yard. I can do that. I don't see the value of paying you that kind of money." Yes, that was a little snappy, but this was after she had been extremely rude for almost an hour.

I don't doubt she's a great dog trainer, but the $200 per hour rate for showing a dog the perimiter of a yard is NOT worth it. She even tried to tell me that I had to go with her because she was the only one who could adjust the shock levels. I calld her bluff on that one asking if Invisible Fence would tell me the same story. I said "can't I just go into the store in Eden Prairie for an adjustment?"

This was the short version of how rude this lady was. She made a snyde remark about how maybe Michael and I were having relationship issues because Mylie listens to him more, (Michael and I have never been better), she critized me for having a muddy backyard, called the dogs monsters when they are ouside of puppy class, and treated me like I was stupid. at one point she said, well, you work in marketing... if you aren't understanding this let me try and put it in "marketing terms" so you can understand...

I have never been more offended or furious after paying someone for a "service". When she left I called invisible fence to complain. They said that she would be just fine doing 1 session and that she would teach me the rest of the trainings and that we would need to do more trainings on our own, but we can do that! We watched her with Mylie, we know what we're doing....

Finding Mylie and Watson destroying her business card made me happy. I actually just let them chew away (after posing for this picture, of course)

Watson will be just fine. We can train him to use the fence and he's not going to be "ruined". And yes, our dogs jump on people when they come in the door- we are working on that. They are still puppies, and overall they are sweet and well behaved. We need to work on a few things, but they are enrolled in Obedience school again starting next Monday.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Muddy spring

Mylie and Watson have been playing in the backyard all winter. Now that the snow is melting, their play area is becoming quite muddy. I noticed the spot where they wrestle the most is missing a lot of grass. Watson has been getting into burying things too (bones, toys, etc), so he's been digging up the yard and that doesn't help the muddy situation. 

I was setting out the spring deck furniture last weekend and decided to let the dogs play in the yard since I would be there to "supervise" I took my eyes of them for 1 minute and this is what I found.

Watson felt bad

but not for long (Mylie is on the ground)
 Now the snow is all melted (finally!!) This morning I let them play awhile while I ate breakfast and it looks like Watson thinks the fire pit is a perfect little bed, just his size.

Right now it is filled with leaves, so it must be comfortable, but we better get him out of this habit because I do intend to have fires in his new "bed".

Happy Spring!!!