Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Swamp Dog

This past weekend, we thought it was time for Milton to meet his other set of grandparents, Momeaux and Pop.  Once again we plopped Milton into the car (he likes it now!) for another short jaunt, only 4.5 hours, to Louisiana.  Jeff's parents own a beautiful piece of recreational property complete with woods and a slough (swamp) nearby to their year-round home.  On our last family trip to New York, Milton snubbed his nose at sparkling lake water, but now back down in the deep South he seems to enjoy the water, especially if it is tinged green. 

All weekend the temperature hovered around 100 with an added dose of humidity.

At first, Milton was quite tuckered out from the heat, but then he discovered the magical slough. We didn't encourage Milton to hop into the swamp; it was more of a disappearing act, and that is where he turned up! After some deliberating over whether or not he could catch some sort of infection (my childhood dog, Brutus, contracted a bad case of Staph from our pond), we decided to leave him in there.  This goldendoodle had an absolute ball!

The Milt sniffing around.

Milton chasing down frogs.
Those gangly legs sure do gallop along.  Milt is still in his clumsy puppy stage.  We don't anticipate him losing his goofiness any time soon.

Hot on the trail - he never did catch any.

Where's the Milt?

After Milton's dip, he went crazy in the leaves.  As many dog owners know, dogs turn into maniacs when they get wet.  Our little goldendoodle just couldn't control himself.  Perhaps he is camouflaging himself for a sneak attack on those darn frogs.

Rather ghoulish looking.

Of course a bath was in order.  I believe the Milt had a grand total of three while we were there and one when we got home.

Momma and Daddy always take good care of the Milt.

While out in the wilderness, Jeff thought it was a good idea to expose Milton to some gun shots to see how he would react.  He actually responded very well, remaining calm throughout the skeet shooting.  My husband has a pie in the sky idea that some day little Milt might want to retrieve some ducks.  We have been practicing a lot of fetch, both tennis balls and frisbees, with the Milt to get him ready.    
Milt taking it all in.

Milton sure did love stomping around the land, but most of all he enjoyed meeting his Pop and Momeaux.  The Milt was quite reluctant to leave, so I predict another trip to the land in the very near future.

Milt with his grandparents

Monday, July 30, 2012

Puppy Photo of the Week

Today, July 30th, marks the one-year wedding anniversary of Jeff and me!  What does this day signify?  I am crazy... in love... with my goldendoodle!  Well, I am obviously wild about Jeff too, but the product of this marriage, Milton, holds a very special place in both of our hearts.  See evidence below: 

A car decal is a big commitment; they do not remove easily.

Today I am thankful for both of my boys - Jeff, the man I married, and Milton, the dog we acquired.

Our happy, little family

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Public Service Announcement

A pretty hefty fine
Now I don't want to point any fingers, but there are some people in this world (I hope you are not one of them) who do not clean up after their dog.  When your dog goes potty outside, it is your responsibility to pick up your pet's cow pie.  If you don't, his or her poop sits there festering for days with flies buzzing on top it, and dogs like my Milton, poop munchers, come along and gobble up your dog's excrement.  Then there are owners, like me, who have to shove their hands halfway down their dog's throat to pull out your dog's feces.  My hand reeks for the rest of the day despite multiple washings with fruity-smelling soap.  Subsequently, I am worried that my dog will develop some vile disease from your dog's nasty droppings.  You tell me, is your act of negligence really fair to the rest of the pet/human population?  No.  Pick up your dog's meadow muffin.  It is not difficult.  You can even be fined if you don't.

If you live in an apartment complex, you most likely have handy dandy doggie bag dispensers throughout the grounds (see the below).  Biodegradable bags are provided, at no extra cost, for your use.  So, use them.
Pretty nifty
If you are out walking on the street, carry your own bags to pick up your pet's refuse. Bags are compact, portable, and can spare you the embarrassment of simply walking away, amidst the gaping stares of the public, after your dog craps in the street. I even have lavender scented ones.

 Earth Rated PoopBags Biodegradable Bags Refill Pack

Oh, and one more thing, this goes out to the litterers among us - the ones who throw ant covered chicken bones, half eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, candy wrappers, etc., etc., etc.  Dogs will ingest anything and everything.  Stop throwing your garbage in the street.  We all pay taxes to provide for trash receptacles throughout city and town streets.  Take advantage and try them out.

Thank you for reading.  Now put it into action.

For a bit of levity in such a serious post: a goldendoodle and a teddy bear

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Tips and Tricks of Potty Training... a Dog

Knock on wood, fingers crossed, our little Milt is officially potty trained!  There has been a little accident here and there but no major incidents, so this statement is indeed well founded.  Hence, Jeff and I have crafted a comprehensive list to illuminate what worked in our training and could hopefully help you too.  Believe me, I know how stressful potty training can be, and if I had known all of these down and dirty tricks from the start, both us and Milt would have been a lot better off!  So, read on and be enlightened...

1.  Consistency.  For puppies, take them out every hour on the hour unless they are sleeping.  At this stage, their bladders are still so small that they really cannot hold it for too long.  A good way to judge this is to take the number of months old they are and add one, so if your pup is three months old, he can hold it for four hours.  It is extremely important to especially take your dog out after eating, waking, and romping.  Get him or her out there immediately unless you want an accident to ensue.

To fulfill the hour on the hour, you might want a chirping bird clock like ours.  This is just a suggestion.

2.  Vigilance.  When your dog needs to go, he or she will let you know, so you constantly need to be on the lookout.  He or she obviously cannot communicate in word form, but will start sniffing the ground, walking in circles, or pawing.  Do not naively ignore these signs or think your dog can wait a few more minutes.  The pup will just pop a squat and go while you stand there with mouth gaping.  So, during these crucial few weeks, always be watching.

We tried the Bell Method (ring the bell when you need to go), but Milton missed the grand purpose of the bell, so we confiscated it.  View the below.

3. Catch in the Act. Remember your dog cannot recall that he just went to the bathroom in the house.  Their memory span is just not that developed.  For the best results, you need to catch him or her in the act of actually doing it. As soon as you see the beginnings of a squat, rush over, say a good, stern "No," pick that dog up, and haul him or her outside. After the repetition of constantly do this, it will sink in that Mommy and Daddy really are not too happy when I pottie inside.

4. No scold. Whatever you do, if it is after the fact do not scold your pup. A dog cannot remember what just happened. He or she will not realize that the mess is theirs. Yelling, screaming, or rubbing the dog's nose in the pile will not be helpful in your training process. It will stress both you and the dog out even more.

5.  Clean.  If your pup does so happen to go in the house (which he or she will!) make certain to thoroughly cleanse it after the incident.  Either pick up or blot the area and then spray with a doggie cleaner and rinse.  If you are not meticulous in your cleaning, your pup will come to associate that location with the bathroom, so it will be hard to break the dirty cycle.

Our cleaner of choice that is almost empty.

6.  Praise.  Lots and lots of praise should be used when your doggie potties outside.  Act like he or she just won an Academy Award or the lottery.  No excitement can be spared no matter how silly, stupid, or goofy you look.  I like to get down on level with Milton, really look him in the eye, and clap my hands while praising him in a baby voice which sadly is becoming analagous with my actual voice.

7.  Command words.  Your dog needs to know exactly what you want him to do.  Whenever we take Milton outside, we say, "Milton go potty."  This reminds Milton what his grand purpose outside is.  Once he gets potty out of the way, he can sniff around and explore, but until then business needs to get done.  Command words, like "release" are helpful when you are in a rush, it is cold/hot outside, etc.

8.  Dedicated spot.  Try to pick one potty spot and go to it every time.  Your dog will begin to associate this spot with his bathroom break instead of a playground. 

Milt prefers the tall grasses for privacy's sake.

9.  Puppy pads.  We find these to be extremely useful to lay down when we are going to be away for more than a few hours.  Dogs distinctly know that these absorbent pads are meant for them to release on.  It is easy cleanup when you get home, and your puppy will not feel guilty about having used them.  Some people suggest laying them down closer and closer to the door to encourage your dog to eventually go outside.

Available at your local grocery store, Wal-Mart, etc.

10.  Faith.  Most importantly, keep the faith.  It might seem like the day will never come when your dog will finally be 100% potty trained.  I know I felt that way.  It eventually happens though, and Milton is proof.  Now, whenever he needs to go he either barks at us or climbs to the top of the stairs and waits.  Your dog will eventually signal you too.  Just hold on, take a deep breath, and keep on pushing the potty.

Milton waiting patiently to go outside.

Sweet boy

Monday, July 23, 2012

Puppy Photo of the Week

After the Milt has had a bath, his little chicken legs become quite pronounced.  He is always in search of some toasty spot where he can curl up and regain his warmth.  This time he chose my packed, open suitcase lying on the floor.

My clothes were rather musty smelling after his brief repose, but I really cannot blame our little goldendoodle since he is still without a proper doggie bed.  Shh - Christmas present for the Milt!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Milton Measurements

It's that time again!  Let's see how much the Milt measures up.  When we returned from New York, everyone was astounded by how much this goldendoodle had grown.  Jeff and I dug out our earlier chair shots to do a little comparison.  Well, it certainly looks like Milt is on track to be one big dog.

Milt at 9-weeks-old, 11-weeks-old, and 14-weeks-old.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Doggie Doldrums

During these long dog days of summer, Milton cannot spend too much time outdoors because it is just too darn hot. So how does he while away his time? Well, Momma, Daddy, and numerous friends have spoiled the Milt with a wide assortment of toys. See the below:

Milton digging through his toy bin

The concept of a toy bin for Milt is just perfect because he can wander over, reach in, and grab out whatever he wants.  We rotate his toys, so he never has one for too long.  We always want his playthings to be freshly interesting.


"Red rope" was the first toy introduced to the Milt.  Jeff and I think that if we name everything then Milton will come to recognize his toys more easily.  After red rope, we bought Milton the New Orleans Saints rope (Jeff's homestate pride), and finally we purchased the massive boat rope.  Milt enjoys a good game of tug of war on a daily basis.

Silly toys
Did we buy Milton the #1 Pet toy?  Actually, no.  That was a present from his breeder because she predicted he would be an all-star pet.  As for the toothbrushes, they were a hand-me-down and are quite comical to watch him chew.

The Monkeys

Milton loves his monkeys.  He can often be found heartily chewing away while trying to reach the elusive squeakers that are buried deep inside each of them.  The monkey on the right is "Crazy Monkey" because the legs are pullable  and can be twisted around Milton's harness for him to figure out how to get that crazy monkey off his back!

All natural
This is Milton's cheapest toy and one of his most treasured.  He just carried it upstairs from the great outdoors.

Nylabone is Milton's preferred brand of bone besides milkbones, of course.  We are really hoping that bones like this get Milton through his teething stage, when it starts at six months, without too many mishaps.

For days when Milt is quite bored, he needs a little something extra. The green bone is a puzzle toy that treats can be inserted into to mesmerize the Milt to pull them out.  It also helps if you slather the toy with globs of peanut butter.    

We also freeze water mixed with chicken broth and bits of dog food or hot dog to captivate the Milt's attention for a little while and help to cool him off.

These toys are extra special because Milton only gets to play with them with his Daddy. Jeff is worried that if other people, including me, throw Milton a tennis ball or a frisbee but do not insist that he brings it directly back to the thrower, that Milt could be "ruined" for retrieving. So, these playthings are always squirreled away and only brought out when Daddy is home.

So, I bet a lot of you are just dying to know which toy is Milton's most beloved?  You guessed it...

Crazy monkey!
The greater message underlying this post is: Thank goodness dog toys are a heck of a lot cheaper than children's toys...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Puppy Photo of the Week

When Milton and I left for New York, Jeff explicitly stated, "My dog better not come home with any bad habits."  See, Jeff has trouble saying our dog, and he thinks my discipline skills are sorely lacking.  I concede; he could be right. 

While away, I stupidly allowed Milton to climb up on my good friend, Anny's, futon while we watched a movie.  The Milt was all sweet, cute, and cuddly, but a bad habit was brewing.  If you all recall, Jeff and I have a strict rule that no Miltons are allowed on the furniture.  In my defense, this was not our furniture but someone else's furniture.  Obviously, this would never correspond to the Milt climbing up on our couch, recliner, etc.  I was dead wrong.

Naughty Milton

Later that week, I caught Milton in the act at my mom's house.  I walked into the living room, and there he was on top of the sofa all sprawled out, wagging his tail with a big doggie grin on his face (see the above picture).  Now we are back home in Dallas, and we are really hoping that Milton will leave this undesirable penchant for furniture up North.  Well, this morning, we spied the Milt atop our leather couch, so he might need a little help kicking the addiction.  Don't worry; we'll help him through this every step of the way.

Friday, July 13, 2012

All Good Things Must Come to an End...

Sadly, bright and early tomorrow morning, Milton and I are hitting the long road back down to the deep South. We are certainly sad to go, especially little Milt, who has come to love the great outdoors and greatly bonded with his Grand-Nan.

Surprisingly enough, originally Grand-Nan was not thrilled at the idea of her new, little granddog coming to visit. She thought he might mess on the floor, which he did, only once, but of course he couldn't help it. There was also one incident of a little nip while playing, but sometimes Milton's enthusiasm overcomes him.  That was not his fault once again. He might bark a little crazily at times and demand attention, but he's just being a pup. Bottom line, Grand-Nan adores her goldendoodle.

Milt wanted to get moving!

Milt sports a John Deere leash courtesy of Grand-Nan who bought it for exactly $1 at a garage sale and mailed it down South. (Grand-Nan is the Queen of Garage Sales.) With his John Deere leash, Milton struts the streets of Dallas proclaiming to the world that he is a country boy. So we absolutely needed a photograph of Milton, Grand-Nan, and the essence of John Deere - the all-American lawn mower. This one even has an attached cart for hauling the Milt wherever his heart desires, or more realistically wherever there is work to be done.

I am uncertain when Milt will travel North again, but he will always remember how much fun it is to dig deep holes, how the lake is not as scary in the shallow end, and how you never know how long that drive will be when you hop into the car!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Country Dog

Little Milt tried to dig a hole to China.  I think he actually just piggybacked on a woodchuck's hard work and stole all the credit. 

Milton's proud of himself.

Regardless, I thought we'd better claim the hole for the U.S. and show off Milton's handiwork.  The flag also serves the dual purpose of preventing twisted ankles.
Digging away

Waving the flag

Why celebrate a hole in the ground that is really kind of a nuisance?  Well, Milton is prohibited from extricating anything at our Dallas apartment, so this is really a big privilege for him. 

Victory for the Milt.

Perhaps he is more of a country dog than I thought.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Goldendoodle Romps

Living in a small apartment in Dallas does not leave poor Milton with much room to play.  Whenever we take him outside, it is more of a "Hurry up and go" situation rather than a "Relax and frolic."  As Jeff pointed out to me, Milton needs more time to just be a puppy - sniffing around, chewing on a stick, running aimlessly, lying in the grass, etc. 

A pensive Milton

Jeff and I have always wanted a dog since we both grew up with dogs (me - Brutus, chocolate Lab and Jeff - Butterball, toy poodle).  Unfortunately, we are apartment dwellers and not quite at the house stage yet; although, sometimes in life, you cannot always wait for the perfect situation but just jump in there and get going.  We will have a house someday soon, but for now we need to make the best of apartment life for us and the Milt.
Milton climbed into the ferns, but couldn't climb back out!

For the past week in New York, Milton has been afforded the luxury of two acres to explore.  It is refreshing to watch him tear around the grass, sniff the flowers, and wander down to the lake.   

Sniffing around

The large house also gives Milton  room to spread out, so he has more independence.  He is not constantly underfoot, and I am not always monitoring him.  I actually haven't worried about Milton chewing or messing in the house because there is so much other activity going on to occupy his time.  Visibly, Milton is much more calm and even tempered.  Country life is less stressful for both of us!


Racing down to the lake
It is more of a gallop, actually.

Dipping the four paws in the water - never more than that...

Milton likes his country home.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Milton the Goldendoodle Visits the Vet

Since Milt joined our little family on June 1st, he has visited the veterinarian twice.  I was not available to attend either visit, so yesterday was finally my turn, and I was intent on documenting the experience in film.

Vet visit

This was a watershed veterinary visit because Milton received his final parvovirus shot!  This is exciting news for us because parvo is a deadly puppy disease which generally affects pups between six weeks to six months old and is not lethal to older dogs.  The virus is highly contagious and spread through fecal matter.  If your pup contracts it, he or she will quickly develop the symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and loss of appetite.  If the warning signs are not quickly responded to, a dog will become severely dehydrated and can die within a few days.  A dog is only partially, not fully, protected until he has received the final dose of four shots. 

Grand-Nan and the Milt patiently waiting for Milt's turn

Milton was a little scared once he was in the exam room

When Milt first came home, we only let him potty, walk, and play in restricted areas because unvaccinated dogs, like strays or dogs with irresponsible owners, can spread it.  The virus can fester up to one year on the ground, so we carefully monitored everything Milt put in his mouth to make certain that he was not munching on poop that could be contaminated.  Sometimes Milton likes to munch on poop, which I understand is very normal for dogs, but it is still a complexing matter for me to grasp.
Milton was a good boy for Dr. Tuero

Now that Milt is safe and sound, we can be much more relaxed in walking him around our apartment complex or on our local Katy Trail.  Most importantly, we can start taking Milt to the dog park.  He is such a social fellow that he really has been missing out on creating some new friendships.
Milton getting his shot.  He didn't cry at all!
Creamsicle.  Post-vet treat for Momma and Grand-Nan.  Milton ordered a big bowl of water.