Saturday, February 16, 2008

sleep is cute



isn't this cute?! i mean... a sleeping puppy? so good, right? yes. yes a sleeping puppy is very very cute. except when it only does it during the day, on your lap, and when you're trying to do anything else.

Our first night with mason was... er... rough? (or should i say "RUFF, RUFF, RUFF, RUFFFFFF!"). I'm not a squeamish person; I've had puppies before. They cry. I know this. I babysit. I've cared for infant. They cry. I know this. Puppies are essentially infants--- look, i get it and i can handle it; i'm strong and tough. Our first day with Mason we took him to Petsmart to pick out some toys and training treats and other things to make his crate training experience more pleasant for all involved. Unfortunately there are apparently no treats known to man who can make this an easy road. Anyone out there ever crate train a dog? Anyone ever crate train a DACHSHUND? Let me tell you something... when you read breed descriptions and an animal is described as "stubborn, head strong, willful..." these are not just words that people are saying to fill a dog description quota. Oh my GOODNESS is this little man forceful. After the first night (where he cried off an on for 6 hours until at 5:30am i decided it was officially the next day and would just get up--- did i mention i've got the french press pot filled with coffee at all hours?), he got better at night sleeping. In fact, if we stayed up until 12:30 or so (which we do, to watch law & order: criminal intent in syndication) we can get him to sleep, in the bedroom, in his crate, after just a minute or two of crying. From the beginning, he's slept pretty much straight through the night (a couple of "my bladder's gonna burst" squealing moments, but otherwise nothing). The problem (and likely of my own inadvertent doing) is that this little man is convinced that his world will implode if he can't see me. Heck, even if he CAN see me, but I'm 2 feet away from him. I can't even sit at my desk (um, hence no art making) or sew on the couch (hence no new Knitimals) without him freaking out to get in my lap. I swear i didn't spoil him! i did, however, spend the entire first week of his life in our home, alone with him. I'd crate him during the day and listen to him scream his little head off for hours; if i stepped near the doorway to the bedroom he's quiet long enough to qualify to be let out, and then... well, he wouldn't go back in. Of course EVERYONE who writes about this online talks about how well behaved their dog is during the day and how impossible they are at night. Not here! I guess i should just be thankful that he's not keeping everyone up at night ( i mean, screaming during the day isn't cool, but at least the building is basically empty). We are currently employing a technique called "Nothing in life is Free" or NILIF; basically you make your dog work for affection and attention (not like hard labor, just good behavior or responding to a command); and the most popular part of our day is the "i'm ignoring you" time, where we try to get mason to remember/ realize how much fun his chicken stuffed bone is... with OUT us. he'll love all over his toys and bones, even in his crate, while we're in the room... as soon as the door is shut its like his toys are invisible and his goal in life is getting the heck out of that crate. luckily (or not... i haven't fully formulated a thought here) i work from home almost every day of the week and AJ works just around the corner, so he'll be able to take Mason out for potty breaks, but the little guy needs to learn to be alone at some point right? as i write this, Mason is in his crate in my friend's basement, while her daughter naps quietly 2 floors up. I remember when she was a baby and cried and cried and cried if i put her down or god forbid, tried to go to the bathroom alone. Now she pushes me out of her room to make me "surprise soup" and sleeps without a pacifier in her own bed.

I've scoured the internet looking for advice; read training books and even harassed animal behaviorists i know and all seem to say the same: this is what puppies do. let them do it. eventually, they will stop.

thank goodness they're so cute when they sleep, right?
xoxo, danamarie

Monday, February 11, 2008

and then there's mason




it's the end of an era (granted, it was a very short era); an era of doglessness, silence in the apartment, an era wherein the only smells were ones of our creation, the only toys mine. yes... we have a puppy. his name is mason and he comes from pennsylvania. he was the first of 5 puppies born on december 1, 2007; and now he's ours. we named him mason as an homage to shiloh (what? that doesn't make sense to you?)... ok, we used to call her mason because sometimes when she slept her face scrunched up a little and her one eye looked like it was rolling around in the socket. it wasn't a pleasant face, per se, but it made her look a heck of a lot like mason verger from "hannibal", which i LOVE (but not nearly as much as a love Silence of the Lambs and really, let's not pretend that they are on the same tier, because they aren't), nevertheless, Hannibal has some great moments (pigs trained to eat people? yes). now, our mason is much cuter than the character gary oldman played... who by the way, carved his face off, at hannibals behest and fed it to his dogs (did i mention i make children's art?) and is a miniature longhaired dachshund. he's 4.1 pounds and he shouldn't get to be more than 11 pounds, so he needs a strong name. the other part of the story is this: shiloh wanted us to get a mini doxie. she told us. about a year ago, my mom sent me a link to a picture of a particularly amazing mini doxie for sale. i printed it. his name was binky. i showed the picture of binky to shiloh and asked her if we could have him . she gave me her paw (that meant yes) and i asked, can we have him now? (no paw, no). so the questioning went on for a few days and she kept telling us we COULD have him, but not yet. eventually, i posted his picture above her food bowl with a note that she should let us know when we COULD have him. occasionally we'd get impatient and ask her again and finally, in late november, she said we could get him... tomorrow? (no), in a week? (no), in a month? (no), in a few months? (yes). YES?! oh we were so excited! of course we knew we couldn't really bring a new dog into the house... she'd never go for it.

Cut to a few months later; our house is empty (except for a now very confused cat), and there's little Mason, available and waiting in PA. Our ride back to Baltimore was rather uneventful (except for the fact that AJ or i would occasionally say "we have a puppy!?"). Mason slept on my lap, chewed bears face (bear was one of Shiloh's toys), looked out the window, slept, chewed, slept.

Our next project is crate training and housetraining. He's really good on his pee pads, but it would be nice to have a dog who pees outdoors... or in a litter box, that's my other project. So, for now, expect more puppy pictures than ART pictures for a while. I have a feeling we'll have our hands full with this little guy! xo, danamarie