Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Dollop of Appreciation

My yoga studio, Uptown Yoga, recently posted a version of the below Winnie the Pooh sketch on Facebook:

The drawing and message greatly reminded me of our goldendoodle, and I am certain many of you with a dog can relate.  Each morning when Milton wakes up, he is thoroughly pleased to be here again.  He walks out of his crate, resplendent with bed head, and completely excited to begin the day.  Milt is never in a sour, grumpy mood but always excited for what the new day has to hold - doggie daycare, a long walk, fetch practice at the creek, etc...

Example:  The Milt happy as a clam with his new found stick from outside - simple pleasures.

"Love Life" is just one of the many lessons that Jeff and I have learned from the Milt.  We are working on emulating him a bit more every day.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dog Shaming

Dog shaming is a witty, new trend I just found out about (I'm always a little out of the loop - a late adopter, you might say).  The basic concept is to "shame your pet," in a comical fashion, after he or she has committed unacceptable behavior by human standards, of course.  The below creative examples are taken from either or Google Images:

If you want to check out the original Dog Shaming site and perhaps share some of your own bad incidents (it could be humorous!), here you go:

We obviously felt we should include our little angel, Milton the Goldendoodle, with his peers:

I wonder what these dogs have to say about us...!  I'm certain Milton has a complaint or two or three about his Momma and Daddy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

See Milton run. See Milton fetch.

Growing up, my dog never fetched.  He dashed, grabbed, and ran.  He did not want to share his toy or ball with anyone.  When this occurs, your game of fetch is dead before it even begins.  Learning from my dog's poor example, we have been hard at work teaching the Milt to fetch.  Our goldendoodle has an abundance of energy, so we need the game to last for longer than just a few rounds.

In the fetch training, Jeff originally took charge and declared Milton's tennis balls strictly off limits unless we were in practice mode.  I gradually became more involved practicing with the Milt, and I can proudly say that I am now a major player in this endeavor.  So, how do we teach this centuries' old game?

Well, after we bought Milton, Jeff would oftentimes return home late from work with a new treat for our boy.  One night he showed up with a "clicker."  Thankfully, it was only a $1.49 purchase.

A clicker allows you to "click" at the exact moment your dog does something right, so he knows what he has done well.  It really has been integral in our training.  First, we toss the tennis ball for Milt and yell, "Bring it!"  Why not, "Fetch!"?  For some odd reason I blanked on that word at the time.  Milton brings the ball back, and I automatically click the clicker and say, "Release.  Good bring."  It is important to give specific praise, "Good bring," instead of just, "Good boy," because he will begin to associate these exact words with fetch.

Ball hoarding

Next, I usually follow up the verbal praise with some form of treat, like a Milk-Bone or pieces of food if we plan to play for a while.  A word of caution is to not give your dog a treat on each and every return, or he will grow too conditioned to working for rewards.  Also, we always try to leave the game on a high note before Milton becomes bored, so he does not run off with the ball and us in fast pursuit.  Likewise, we do not leave his fetch toys in his toy box because we want them to be more exciting whenever he sees them.

Recently we discovered a creek within walking distance of our apartment that is ideal for some splashing and of course, fetch practice.

Milton is progressing.  As you can see, he didn't really want to part with the ball in the above video.  He is not spot on just yet, but that is okay with us.  We don't pressure the Milt; it's a dog's life.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Puppy Photo of the Week

Some days the Milt likes to join me at the pool.  Are dogs allowed in the pool?  That's a loaded question.  During apartment office hours, no, definitely not.  After apartment office hours, well it's a toss up.

The Milt is still not a full-fledged swimmer, although, he is a happy wader.  He does not spend much time in the pool unless he is tossed in.  This has happened a few times.  The exact number I can't really state.

Anyway, Labor Day, the final big celebration of summer, is fast approaching.  Get out there and enjoy the sunshine!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Guilt-Stricken Parents

Every day I go to school, and I have to leave my Milt.  I cannot possibly describe how difficult this has been for me.  The guilt is overwhelming, and all throughout my day I find myself thinking, "What is poor Milt doing right now?  He must be so bored."

Thankfully, Jeff and I have worked out a little schedule to make things more pleasant for our first born AKA our goldendoodle.  Three days a week, Milton goes to doggie daycare; he loves it!  (More details on daycare in another post.)  The other two days, the Milt stays home.

As you saw in Tuesday's post, Milton is gated in a really big area stretching from kitchen to bathroom.  On a typical day, I leave for work by 7A.M., and Jeff follows at around 8A.M.  First, to get the Milt ready to be sequestered, I wake up early to walk him for a solid hour around the neighborhood.  By the time we get back, Milton is super tired and on average will sleep for a good three hours (I know this from our summertime walks).  Jeff returns home around lunchtime to stay with the Milt for 30 - 40 minutes.  Then I arrive home by 4:30P.M.  All in all, the Milt is alone for 7.5 hours.  I absolutely detest this time frame, but I think his fun days at doggie daycare really make up for his lousy stay at home stints.

What do we do to occupy the Milt while we're gone?  Well, take a look:

Dog music

First, I quietly play this CD, "Through a Dog's Ear" ( from my laptop to soothe the Milt while we are away.  The selection features piano arrangements by famous composers, like Bach and Rachmanioff, whose music's tempo has been slowed to calm your dog when you leave him alone for a long period, during a thunderstorm, etc.  We are uncertain if it actually has a huge affect on the Milt, but it certainly makes me feel better. 

Next, we purchased a Buster Cube for the Milt, also from Amazon.  The way this works is you drop food or treats down into the central core, and your dog needs to flip the cube in order to get the treats to fall out.  You can adjust the core for the difficulty level. 

Hidden food

Let's just say, it is not the Milt's favorite toy because it does require a good deal of effort.  I did buy him the "Genius Level" cube though, so that could explain part of the problem.  Anyway, it is fun to use this toy along with him.

Of course, we throw in the old, familiar Kong.  On its own, it does not excite the Milt, like it does for some other dogs, but we jazz it up a bit.  We fill the Kong with a mixture of food and treats, and then we pour chicken broth inside and stuff the main hole with a sweet potato, peanut butter, etc.  Throw the Kong in the freezer overnight, and it adds a whole other element.  Milton is much more interested in extracting treats from this toy than the other one.

Filled with delicious treats.
Frozen water

We leave the Milt a bowl of ice cubes instead of water, so that he can slide, glide these along the floor for another activity.

All of these key elements, along with selective chew toys, combine to create the Milt's "Amusement Park" at home.  While Momma and Daddy are away, the Milt will play OR sleep...

The resting area
Bathroom - we sprinkle his meal on the floor too, so he can scavenge  

Kitchen, Milt likes to tear up newspapers, and of course we put down a puppy pad just in case

All in all, the Milt would much rather be out of his area and sleeping on the cold tile by the front door.

Stretching out
This is probably why the Milt has been hopping on the fence.  Oh well.  At least Momma and Daddy are trying their best to amuse. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Sunday morning, Jeff went to church, I went to yoga, and the Milt stayed home.  Whenever we leave, our teething goldendoodle stays safely gated in the kitchen and bathroom area.  When Jeff arrived home, Milton greeted him at the door.  So, what happened?

That's what happened.  Little Milton has simply gotten too big for his britches and easily stands an entire head above the gate.  So, why not jump over and see what's on the other side of the fence?  I can't blame him; I know I would too.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Puppy Photo of the Week

Recently we have had really bad luck with leashes.  We forgot Milton's John Deere leash in Louisiana, and he completely chewed up his retractable leash.  So, I went out to Wal-Mart and bought the Milt an adorable royal blue leash with paw prints on it to match his adorable royal blue collar with paw prints on it -  matchy matchy.  Jeff, on the other hand, ordered Milton a heavy duty chain leash which makes him appear to be the epitome of a Junkyard Dog.

Well, he's not.  Although Milton may look formidable, he is quite the opposite.  Not to embarrass the Milt, but yesterday we ran into a huge German shepherd on the loose.  Milton, being the friend maker that he is, pulled to say hi, but as soon as that strange dog caught sight of us, the dog let out the most terrifying bark.  Milton squealed, wet the sidewalk, and ran into his Momma's arms.  The moral of the story is Milt's a lover not a fighter. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tooth Fairy?

Is there a tooth fairy for dogs?  Well, I certainly hope so because our Milton is losing teeth!  Over the past few weeks, I have been vigilantly checking Milton's mouth with no movement whatsoever.  Then just recently, I noticed a little gap and realized our baby lost a tooth! 

We heard that most pups lose their baby teeth at about four months, so I was beginning to assume our goldendoodle is a late bloomer.   Now this is obviously a watershed moment for our little Milt, although we don't see the lost teeth anywhere.  I am assuming that he is either swallowing the teeth unknowingly, chewing them up, or leaving them stuck in one of his many play toys.  Don't worry - I will keep searching for them in the hopes of getting that boy a special reward from the magical Tooth Fairy.

We were not fast enough to catch a picture of the gap because the new tooth grew in within days, but you can see the doubling up of teeth that is occurring since his baby teeth are not dropping quickly enough.

Does the Milt need braces?

As for teething, Milton has held out on the chewing for the most part.  Daddy's glasses were a big, bad accident, but our furniture, floor boards, cabinets, etc. have remained unscathed thus far, thankfully .

On another note, do dogs need their teeth brushed?  This is an interesting question that we ponder, especially since my Dad was an oral surgeon.  Good dental hygiene was always a top priority in our house.  Most dogs tend to just stick to basic dog food and treats, but when you start throwing in frozen yogurt goodies and baked sweet potato slices, like I have recently, you start to wonder.

We received a free sample brush and toothpaste packet (poultry flavored!) from our vet, so we thought we would give brushing a whirl. 

I guess everything does taste like chicken, even for dogs!

First, we thought we'd better practice with his toy toothbrush.  As my dad always used to say, "Abre la boca," - Open your mouth!

Milton instinctively kept lifting his paw up to grab the brush.

Now here's the real deal:

Miss - got the nose!

We got him that time!

What a good boy for Daddy.

Milton did not seem particularly thrilled with the taste of the paste.  It must not be real chicken...  Will we start brushing Milt's teeth every night before bed?  I think so.  Poor teeth care can develop into a big problem and a costly clean when your dog is older.  We need to keep this doodle in tip top shape and that includes his pearly whites.                                        

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Splish Splash

On our daily walks, Milton delights in running through sprinklers and toweling off in the plush grass.  Since the Milt sheds only slightly, his fur quickly becomes matted down with dirt, grime, and an assortment of leaves, sticks, and burrs that he saves for later.  He then proceeds to nap throughout our apartment spreading the wealth. 

Quite honestly, we could bathe the Milt every night, but it is enough work to keep ourselves clean on a regular basis, plus it is just not healthy for his fur.  Bathing a dog too frequently, like washing your hair, can rid the fur of essential oils and lead to a dull coat.  So, we try to stick with at least one bath per week to keep him smelling fresh and his coat bright and shiny.  We want people to be able to pet the Milt without sniffing their hands with obvious disdain.

When we bathe the Milt, we always corner him in the bathroom and shut both doors, so there is no possible escape route.  For this particular bath, it was a mans' affair while Momma photographed.

Getting ready to take the plunge

Surprisingly enough, our goldendoodle is very calm and composed when taking his bath.  He just stands there with his eyes averted and lets us soap him up, scrub him down, and rinse him off.

Waiting patiently to be done

Sometimes the Milt tries to make a mad dash for it, but we usually body block him and yank him back in.

The below are our main bath essentials:


We use a specific puppy shampoo, Perfect Coat Tender Care Puppy, which is more gentle on Milt than adult dog shampoo.  We have really enjoyed our bath mitt which allows us to scrub deep down into the Milt's fur and pull some of the grime out.  Of course, you need a giant cup, like the free fast food ones, to rinse your dog off.  Our cup of choice is Dickey's BBQ.

The Milt has special ear wipes to clean out those floppy ears because dogs with larger ears are especially prone to trap water leading to infection.  Last, we have a fur catcher for the drain, but although it is a cool product, with Milt's little shedding, we haven't needed it yet.

Almost all of our bath supplies were a perfect "doggie shower" gift from my good friend, Danielle, who conveniently ordered them from  If you have never visited this website, check it out because they have loads of fun products at good prices.

Shaking it all out

Of course after a bath, everyone knows that dogs go absolutely bananas while they dry off.  Milton follows the rule, not the exception.  After we towel him off as best we can, he takes it upon himself to finish the job.   He enjoys racing around the apartment at breakneck speed in circles, of course, and furiously rolling on the floor in an attempt to get that fur back to normal.  It probably is a good idea to vacuum before you bathe, so more "stuff" does not get caught up in that now silky fur.

After Milt dries a bit, Daddy likes to brush out our doodle to get rid of any of the little excess fur he has and to root out all of the stuck articles.  We have two brushes:

The smaller brush has been great for puppy because it has really small, close bristles that pick out obtrusive items very easily.  The larger brush has thicker, less closely aligned bristles that will work better when Milton is older with denser fur.

Milton may not enjoy his bath time, but at least he tolerates it.  I can't say that I like my own shower every time.  It's just one of those things you got to do (in polite society).

Monday, August 13, 2012

Puppy Photo of the Week

Here's a funny headshot of an upside down Milt.

Sweet.  Silly.  I go back to school this week - I promise not to compromise quality...  Happy Monday!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Toy Hospital

As of late, our Milt has taken to chewing his toys very enthusiastically.  He loves all of them an awful lot, but with the amount he chews, they are unlikely to survive past his first birthday.  He hasn't decimated any just yet, but I feel like we are playing with fire.  See the wounded toys below:

So sad

While in Louisiana a few weekends ago, by the urging of Jeff, Jeff's mother taught me how to sew.   I'm not doing any fancy cross stitching or embroidery, but just the simple, old one-two, in-and-out stitch.  So, the Milt put me to work on a few of his favorites. 

Sewing into the wee hours of the night

Every time I would finish one, I would drop it down to the Milt who was amazed that this lost toy surfaced again.

Our boy likes his football

Toys don't always give Milton the satisfaction he so desires.  He has moved on from mere child's play to bigger and better things:

Hanging by a thread

Jeff, the main tailor in our family, stitched this one back into working order.  For a little back story, on Saturday evening, when I was otherwise disposed, Jeff took the Milt on a man date to Starbucks.  My dear husband did not watch Milton closely enough and the chewed up leash incident occurred.  Jeff swears the Milt was super stealth, and the tear happened instantaneously, but I can easily concoct another version of the same story.

For now, he obviously needs a leash, but we will retire the plush toys unless we are actively supervising the Milt while he plays with them.  Too bad - I still love the sock monkey pair.

The icing on the cake, after my coffee machine broke this morning (which does not make for a very happy or productive start to the day), is Milton gnawed on Daddy's glasses.  If you want to know the honest to goodness truth, this is the second time this has occurred.  The first time I just thought it was an accident, but I now see a subtle pattern developing. 

When Milton snatches Jeff's glasses, they are obviously not on Jeff's face at the time, but we always have a heated disagreement over where they were left.  I insist they were irresponsibly lying on on the floor, while Jeff maintains that Milton grabs from low lying tables.  Regardless, the last time this pair was under warranty, hopefully this is still the case.  

The most shocking part of all this destruction is the Milt has yet to begun teething!  He is still holding on to each and every precious baby tooth.  I suppose we can wager that, "The best is yet to come."

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

It's a Small World After All

A few weeks ago, the Milt and I were on one of our many, many walks throughout our apartment complex.  Characteristic of the two of us, we got in someone's way, and I noticed that this young lady was carrying the same dog food brand that we use.  I apologized for the Milt blocking her staircase, and the conversation went something like this:

            "Oh don't worry; I have a dog too,"  the young lady said.

            "Really?  What kind?"  I asked.

            "A goldendoodle," the young lady answered.

            "Me too!"  I exclaimed.  "Where did you get your goldendoodle?" I politely inquired.

            "Oklahoma," the young lady politely replied.

            "Me too!" I excitedly announced once again.  "Where in Oklahoma?" I furthered question.
            "Stroodles Doodles," the young lady replied.

            "No way!  Me too."

What are the chances of that?  Well, the young lady's name is Lindsay, and her adorable three-month-old doodle's name is Leo.

Cute curly fellow

Although Leo came from Stroodles Doodles, just like our Milton, he does not have the same parents.  Unlike Milt, Leo is a F1b miniature goldendoodle which means his parents are a poodle and a goldendoodle, rather than a poodle and a golden retriever which would create a F1 goldendoodle, like Milt.  He will have much curlier fur, apricot colored, and only grow to about 25 lbs. 

Once I found out about our doodle connection, I insisted on a playdate for the two boys.  See the below picture.

Playful pup

Why is this not a picture of both Leo and Milton playing?  Well, you take a guess...  Our gregarious Milt is still quite goofy and clumsy...  He tends to not realize his own size.  The Milt tried to chase this little six-pounder around a few times and get closely acquainted, but Daddy thought that the Milt might scare his new friend off.  So, we decided to proceed with caution.

Two girls and their guys

 The good news is there will be more playdates in the future.  Now that these two goldendoodles know about each other, there is no keeping them apart.  Milton is very good at maintaining his many friendships, and of course  doodle dogs always stick together.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Take a close look at the photograph below.  Notice anything different?  Is there something shockingly new about the Milt?  Yes - you go it!  Milton the goldendoodle has a big boy collar on!  Momma and Daddy are so proud. 
I'm a big boy now.

Over the weekend, Milton sadly outgrew his good old blue harness that he has worn all throughout puppyhood.  It was just becoming too difficult to buckle around his big belly.  The section that loops around his neck was still pretty loose.  Strange...

This new collar, product of Wal-Mart, is bedazzled with all of Milton's fancy, new jewelry!  I never knew a dog had to wear so much around his neck to be considered legit.  The Milt is sporting:

1.  Name tag - We bought this tag at Petco and easily had it engraved at a special machine there at no extra cost.  The side pictured below clearly shows his name, so if lost, and his notoriety does not proceed him, people will know he is Milt the goldendoodle.  The back of the tag lists both my cell phone number, along with Jeff's (if per chance one of us does not pick up, changes our number, etc.) and is inscribed with, "We love you."  This is just in case the Milt forgets. 

2.  Rabies tag - All dogs are required to wear their rabies tag that tells where they were vaccinated and the year.  While navigating the streets, I have never been stopped by a police officer demanding to see our dog's tags but better safe than sorry.  Milt's tag is in the shape of Texas because as I have learned, Texans love their state an awful lot. 

3.  Microchip tag - Imprinted on this cute, yellow house is the microchip company's phone number (Home Again) and Milton's identification number for a safe return.


4.  City of Dallas dog license tag - Sometime soon Milton will need this tag, so he is legal to roam the streets.  Every dog over four months of age is required to wear one.  We are holding out on ordering the tag though because it costs $30 if your dog is still intact (not spayed or neutered) and only $7 otherwise.  Not having this tag yet has posed a bit of a problem in taking Milt to our local dog park, but we are currently planning to neuter the Milt at six months, so it is not too far off in the distance.

Does the Milt like all this "stuff" hanging around his neck?  No, not really.  He tirelessly tries to bite his man jewelry off at every chance he gets.  We keep them on there though because a bejeweled goldendoodle is a safe goldendoodle.  Besides that, we can hear him coming - jingle, jangle.

He's a persistent little fellow.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Puppy Photo of the Week

A swimming pool for cockroaches.  What am I referring to?  Milton's water bowl.  Over the course of the past two weeks, I have seen three, count them THREE, gigantic cockroaches in our apartment.  Saturday night, one of them even made skin to skin contact with me on our couch - shocking, horrific, and utterly traumatizing.  Really.  Cockroaches destroy me.

Do we live in a slum?  Are we eating off the floor using our feet for utensils?  No, absolutely not.  Do I feel like I have the stigma of "Roach" stamped on my forehead now?  Yes - 100%.

My question is - why us?  I meticulously clean, diligently remove the trash, and religiously run the dishwasher and washing machine.  The nasty, little creatures are targeting us, and I think I know why - the Milt.  To be more specific, the Milt's water bowl.  The scorching hot weather in Texas has left us in a drought with these buggers creeping and crawling in search of something to slake their thirst. 

From now on, no unmonitored water will be left out.  None.  Neither a drip nor a drop unless we are supervising the Milt while he drinks it.  If this goldendoodle gets thirsty, he makes it known.  Milton paws at his bowl for water to magically appear, he barks loudly for us to dole some out, or he hauls himself up to peer into the bathtub for any stray puddles.

"What happened to all the water, Momma?"

I've sprayed, and I've prayed.  These roaches cannot stay.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Dollop of Humor

Jeff and I both come from families of four children.  One would think someday we might aspire to have four children of our own.  As with anything, I always say start with one - one chocolate chip cookie before you eat another, one playful puppy prior to that second playful puppy, one glass of wine ahead of sipping a second, etc.  For now, we are just fine - Jeff, me, and the Milt.  Someday, who knows; however, I can easily envision a scene like the one below.

I do not recall where I found this photo, but it gave me a good laugh, so I thought I would share.

Happy Friday, everyone!  Enjoy the weekend.