February 06, 2015

Adjusting to life with a dog ;)

We've had Joey for three full days now, and the transition to becoming dog owners has been so much easier than I was expecting! I was picturing a very difficult time with housebreaking and chewing everything that's not nailed down, and chaos with the cats--but Joey is fantastic.

Yesterday morning, I went to the rec center to walk on the indoor track (the pool has very limited open swim hours on Thursdays, so I decided to walk instead of doing a deep water run). I left Joey alone in the house, and he did great. It was a SUPER cold day yesterday (wind chill temp was -8), so I took him for a few of short walks rather than one long one. When the kids got home, it warmed up a little, so we took Joey to my parents' house to let him play in their yard again. The kids had fun playing fetch with him while Jerry and I shoveled a bunch of snow for my parents.

The kids had basketball last night, so Jerry and I dropped them off while we went to run a couple of errands. We went to PetSmart to get some sort of leash solution for Joey to stop pulling on the leash. I had planned on getting a prong collar, because I've heard that they work really well; but when I saw them, I just couldn't bring myself to buy one. They look so scary! ;) I returned the Gentle Leader, because Joey hated it and refused to walk with it, and I decided to try a no-pull harness. I figured I'd save the prong collar idea for a last resort.

When we got home last night, I put the harness on him to take him for a quick walk down the street and back to test it out--and I was so excited that it worked! He didn't pull at all, and walking on the leash was much more pleasant. It was a little too big on him, so I ended up having to go back to PetSmart today to exchange it.

First, though, I had to take Joey to the vet. I noticed white things in his poop, which I assumed were worms. When I took him to the vaccination clinic, they gave me a little cup for a stool sample, but I didn't have to go back for two weeks--I didn't want to wait that long, so I just made an appointment with our regular vet.

I was really proud of Joey when we went to the vet's office--he was SO well-behaved. The receptionists commented on how polite he was, and as we sat and waited for the vet to come in the room, he just sat there like a gentleman.

The vet even commented that he was a very polite dog. After checking him out, the vet said that he looks extremely healthy--eyes, ears, teeth, skin, all of it. He said it was tapeworm segments in Joey's poop, so he gave him an injection to take care of that.

He has one more vaccination in a couple of weeks, as well as his sterilization surgery, and hopefully after that, he'll be good on the vet stuff for a while. There are a lot of things to do (and buy) when adopting a dog! Jerry just got a bonus at work, so it was good timing ;)

Like I said, though, everything is going so much better than I could have imagined. The cats are even getting more adjusted to having a dog in the house. They've progressed to the lower levels of the cat tree rather than the ones closest to the ceiling...

Chandler loves to pretty much taunt Joey by walking around right in front of him, and giving him a "Just try to touch me--I dare you!" look. Estelle is hilarious in that she sneaks as slowly as possible from one room to the other. She walks SO slowly, it looks like you're watching a video in slow motion, and she's constantly looking at Joey to see if he's paying attention to her. Phoebe avoids Joey during the day, but she has no problem sleeping up near my head at night while Joey's on the bed. So I'm not sure what she thinks!

I've loved having a walking companion for the past few days, and I've been getting in a ton of steps on my Fitbit. It's fun having him walk with me to and from the bus stops in the mornings, and taking him for an afternoon walk each day. Like a reader mentioned in a comment, it's nice to have a real reason to walk--and not walk because of trying to burn calories, but to walk in order to make the dog happy.

One of the unexpected bonuses of having a dog in the house is that I have been eating all meals and snacks at the dining table--nowhere else. I know that eating on couch would pretty much just invite Joey to jump all over me and/or beg for food, and I don't want him to develop that habit, so the dining table it is. Eating at the table makes it so much easier to stay on track!

I've been pretty sick for the past few days. My throat has been killing me, and my voice sounds horrid. And today, I developed bad congestion in my nose. I know this sounds weird, but I'm kind of glad to be sick now--I leave for Portland in 34 days(!); also, it never fails that I get sick the week before going to Indy in May. I usually only get sick once or twice a year, so if I'm sick now, I will likely be just fine when I go on my trips :)

Speaking of Portland, I'm not sure what I'm going to do about the Shamrock Run. It's a 15K, so even if I'm able to run by then, I don't want to risk re-injuring my ankle by suddenly running 9.3 miles. Even walking that far might be a risk as far as my ankle is concerned. So I may just end up spectating. I'm feeling bummed about it, but I really want my stress fracture to heal and to never have to deal with this again! I'll see what happens in the next couple of weeks before deciding for sure.

I can't believe there are only 34 days until Portland. I'm so excited!


  1. Aww, what a good pup! He looks like a perfect gentleman and glad the leash worked out for you.

    Feel better soon!

  2. I took an obedience class with my Aunt's toy poodle when I was a young teen. I don't remember much but the one thing that stuck with me is how to hold the leash so that you will NEVER drop it and it won't hurt you: Make the thumbs up sign; hook the leash over your thumb (it's the strongest part of your hand). Hold the leash in your hand with the hook remaining over your thumb. I still use this every.single.time I walk a dog. Joey doesn't look very big but they told me that a large dog can break your wrist if you wrap the leash around it. It takes awhile to get used to it, but it works!

    BTW, he's really cute! You lucked out as far as behavior, too!

  3. Please don't ever use one of those prong collars. The humane society, and most dog trainers are against them. If they aren't fitted exactly right and used with precision care, they can easily injure your dog. The harness you picked however, is fantastic. The ones that attach in the front give the dog less ability to pull against it, which of course gives you more control. Joey looks like a sweet happy dog, im sure you will have years of fun with him!
    BTW I am not a dog trainer, nor do I play one on tv (haha) but my son is a dog trainer who follows Ian Dunbar's methodology. Ian Dunbar has been called "the anti Caesar Milan" he's also given a Ted talk on dog friendly dog training. Just google him if you are interested :-)

  4. Dogs are so motivating! Ever since we adopted our sweet girl there hasn't been a day that I've missed getting in at least a 30-minute walk with her. I don't even mind the rain, since she doesn't. :)

    I'm so sorry to hear about the Shamrock Run, but you are being so smart to rest and heal! I will speak for the entire Portland population and say that we'd love to have you here whether you can run in the race or not! <3

  5. I have really debated about what distance to do at Shamrock and while I initially thought 15k I am now thinking 8k. What do you think about maybe walking the 8k? My running speed is about your walking speed! My friend will be running it, she usually leaves me in the dust though! (I tend to register at the last minute- just about to register for a race for sunday!)

  6. The prong collar is okay on a bigger dog, like a pit bull, or mastiff. I'd guess Joey might be too little. Honestly, though, it didn't even help with my old dog's pulling. She felt NO pain from it. :)

    I did the gentle leader, also a no-go, because she was part bull dog and it never fit right. A harness worked better, and I used a muzzle in very populated areas (which mainly just made her look scary, but it felt like the right thing, and kept her calmer). .
    The leader worked great for my mom's lab mix, so it's good you're experimenting, I feel every dog is different.

  7. I am seriously SO JEALOUS about you having a dog. One of the bummers of living in an apartment. I pretty much want to buy a house so I can get a dog...and cat!

  8. Super delayed comment, but the harness is a great thing. We trained our dog, Hurley, how to loose leash walk without it, but when we go out of our house, he gets the harness always. One tug of the leash controls his whole body so if he gets scared and darts into the road or slips down a ravine we can pull him back without choking him. Neither of those things have ever happened, but we have taken him to Petsmart or the vet in his regular collar and he pulls to sniff everything and then, once every 45 seconds, does the little "ack!" cough. Because dogs will never learn.


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