Monthly Archives: November 2008

Lola – the first week

It has now been a full week since I got my dog Lola.  And what a week it has been!  I thought I’d give the over all report on how things have changed, and boy have they ever.

Lola was really good the first two days I had her (saturday and sunday the 15th and 16th), she just slept most of those days.  But starting monday she got really wild.
1 – She already knew how to sit, but that was the only manners she had.  She would also race out of the door every time I opened it.
2 – She would mouth everything in sight.  Me, the leash, carpet edges, my coat, my hair (yikes!) and anything else she could get her mouth on.
3 – She practically ripped my arm out of my socket when we went for a walk.  Every time I would pull her back she would just lunge ahead again, choking herself in the process, which caused her to have coughing fits even when we were just sitting around.
4 – She had to go potty within an hour after she ate or drank something or she would have an accident in the house.  Thankfully I noticed most of the times when she seemed like she had to go, and she only had three accidents.
5 – She would not only just jump up on me, but she would actually lunge for my face.  She would also try to jump on the couch (or try to sneak a paw up on it) whenever she thought I wasn’t looking.

She was constantly doing one naughty thing or another.  She seemed to have more energy then I knew what to do with.  I was exasperated, and I was feeling like I would have months and months, and maybe even years, of pulling-my-hair-out frustration before I would end up with a halfway decent dog.

My cat Sebastian was spending all of his time hidingunder the covers in my bedroom.  He would only come out when Lola was in her crate for the night.  And then he would only walk around in my bedroom.  He was constantly shaking withfear and tended to walk close to the ground.


Things have really changed in just one week!
1 – She knows that she has to sit every time I take the leash on or off, before I feed her, and when waiting to cross the street.  Some times I don’t even have to ask anymore.  Like when she sees the leash come out she will instantly go by the door and sit.  She now walks out of the door quietly and stops to give me time to close the door before we go on.
2 – She now knows the phrase “no bites!” and she normally hesitates before trying to nip me or anything else on my person (yay!).  She is getting better about not chewing on things she is not supposed to as well.  She only reaches for the leash a couple times, and most of the time I can stop her with a quick “no bites!” before she even gets her mouth on it.
3 – Most of our walks are nice quiet affairs.  She will still pull when she sees something like a squirrel, another dog or sometimes a car, but other then that when she starts to pull all I have to do is give the leash a little tug and tell her “no” and she will stop.
4 – She now can go with only going to the bathroom 4 times a day.  6am when I get up, 7:30am before I leave for work, 5pm when I get home, and 10pm before bed.  Some times she asks to go out at around 9 something at night, but I don’t mind that.
5 – She knows the word “off!” really well.  I can now tell her to get off something from across the room and she will do it about 85% of the time.

Lola is well on her way to being my “perfect” dog.  She still has some issues to work on, but some of that is just being a puppy.  She spent most of the weekend sleeping.  And she relegated the bouncing-off-the-walls behaviour to playing outside, and stayed quiet inside.  I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that tunnel is a lot shorter then I thought it was.  If she continues at this rate I will have a perfectly behaved dog by the end of the year!

Sebastian is now getting back to his normal behaviour.  He still stays in the bedroom and bathroom while Lola is out, but he is no longer hiding under the covers.  He and Lola have even gone nose to nose a couple times!  I’m keeping their meeting sessions short and sweet, and I make sure to end them before Sebastian tries to run or Lola gets hyper-excited.  I even have evidence that he is going into the kitchen during the night.  He has this annoying habit of opening the kitchen cabinet doors and I have found them open several days now.  Which means that he has to walk past Lola to get into the kitchen.
I don’t necessarily need them to be best buds, but I would like Sebastian go get comfortable enough with Lola so that he can come out when she is around.


So as you can tell we have had lots of progress in the past week.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that things just keep getting better from here!

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Posted by on November 24, 2008 in Cats, Dogs, Pets


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Catnip Experiment – Week 8

I didn’t take a shower last wednesday (I totally forgot until it was time for bed), but I did make the catnip for wednesday, so I just stored that in the fridge until yesterday.  I don’t know if I’m going to keep trying to take two showers a week or if I’m going to just go down to one.  I guess I’ll play that one by ear.

Preperation:  I used wednesday’s batch of catnip (1 tsp in 300ml of water), but I warmed it up in the microwave before hand because it was really cold from being in the fridge.  And I made up a baking soda (BS) mix right before my shower.  This time I used 2 tsp in 500ml of warm water.  The warm water pretty much disintegrates the BS so it just looks like cloudy water, but it does seem to work much better when I use warm water.

Routine:   I poured the BS on my hair starting at the back of my head and working forward.  It got pretty “foamy”.  It’s not like regular shampoo gets foamy, but it does change.  I only left it on long enough to make sure that I got it everywhere and then I rinsed it out really good and squeezed out as much water as I could.  Then I poured the catnip on my hair, again starting in the back.  I didn’t leave it on very long, 5 minutes or less, and then I rinsed it out.

Results:   Great hair!  My hair is silky, smooth, tangle free and great!  My ends are a little dry (I have lots of split ends for some reason) but the bulk of my hair is awesome!  There aren’t a lot of fly-aways and I didn’t even have to use coconut oil (although I’m sure it would get even better if I did).

Comments:   I don’t know exactly why yesterday’s shower got such good results, but I’ll take them!  I’m thinking there could be several reasons why I got such good results:  1- using the lower amount of BS and/or using warm water.  2- leaving the catnip on for less time.  3- the catnip gets better results if it has been stored in the fridge for a couple days.  4- heating the catnip before hand.
I’ll try to duplicate these results my next shower.  The only thing I’ll change is making the catnip the morning of my shower and not storing it in the fridge and then warming it up.  If I don’t get the same results then I know I have to make some ahead of time and keep it in the fridge.

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Posted by on November 24, 2008 in Catnip for Hair


Lola – Day 4

Lola was much better last night.  She still tried to grab onto the leash on our walk, but would stop when I told her to.  She didn’t spend most of the walk pulling, which was really nice.  I still had to correct her, but she didn’t pull all over the place.

I took her for a 2 block walk (they’re pretty big blocks) and then let her play in the yard for another 15 minutes before we came in.  She was still pretty wired for the first hour or so, but she got sleepy about 8pm and spent the rest of the night in her bed.

She’s still not eating as much as I think she should, especially for a growing pup on the skinny side.  She’s eating about 2 cups a day (1c at each meal), which is about half of the “recommended” amount listed on the bag.  I’m actually putting the whole 2 cups in her bowl at the beginning of the day, and she only eats about half of it.  I’ll talk to the vet about it on friday and see if she has any recommendations.


She was pretty good this morning.  She only tried to grab the leash a couple times and would drop it when I told her to.  She was pretty well behaved on her walk this morning.  She still pulled, but not nearly as much, and we had quite a bit of nice loose-leash moments.

The only problem this morning was that she didn’t go potty before I left.  She went when I first got up, but not later after her breakfast.  Which means she has to hold it until I get home.  I’m hoping that she’ll be able to do that.  Although it is totally her fault, because we spent 15 minutes outside in the yard after our walk.  But she just wanted to play, even though I kept telling her to go potty.
So keep your fingers crossed that I don’t come home to a mess tonight.


Sebastian was much better last night.  He actually spent most of the night out.  He was still in the bedroom, but he wasn’t hiding.  Lola now knows that he is in there though, and she keeps going to the gate to look in there.  This morning Sebastian stayed out until Lola went to the gate and barked at him.  Then he hid again, but I did pull him out before I left.  I’m hoping that in a few days he’ll come out when Lola is in her crate.  It would be nice to see him great me at the door when I come home.  I’ve missed that.


So all around things were better then Monday.  I think it’s pretty good that things are getting better and I’ve only had her a few days.  Lola still needs a lot of training, but I think it shouldn’t take all that long to get the basics down.  I’m hoping to have no leash biting by thanksgiving and no jumping or chewing things she shouldn’t by christmas.

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Posted by on November 19, 2008 in Cats, Dogs, Pets


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frustrating night

Yesterday was a little bit of a bad day with Lola.  She was just always doing little naughty things, one thing after another.  It didn’t help that I was already tired from a rough night of sleep the night before.

The first thing was that she thinks it’s fun to grab the leash and play tug of war when we are walking.  Every time I got the leash out of her mouth she just grabbed it back up again.  The good thing is with the harness the leash hook is further back on her body, so she can’t just turn her head and grab it, she has to truly turn around to get it.

And when she is excited she jumps up on me.  Which I know is a typical untrained dog thing to do, but it’s still frustrating.  I’ll have to think about how I want to get her to stop doing that.  If I just push her off she thinks it’s a game and lunges right back.  I tried pushing her down until she was laying on the ground and holding her there until she stopped squirming.  That seemed to work ok.

Then she wanted to run around the house like a crazy lady.  Which I kind of understand because it was really cold outside and she didn’t want to run around outside.  So I spent some time throwing toys for her, which was ok.

Then she kept on wanting to jump on the couch.  Which I have decided is off limits for the time being.  I wouldn’t mind her on the couch if she would behave, but I don’t want her jumping around up there.  So I would push her off the couch and say “OFF!” and a few minutes later she would try to sneak back up again.

Then she kept on trying to chew the carpet.  Or the edges of an area rug.  Every time I stopped her she would stop for a few minutes and then start back up again in a different area.

And then she had an accident in the house.  Again, it was kind of my fault, I knew that she had drank alot after we came in from our last potty break, but then I forgot about it.

By the end of the night I was physically and mentally exhausted.  I’m sad to say that I snapped at her a few times.  I was just so tired and I just wanted to have a nice easy night.  But that didn’t happen.


This morning was much better.  She was pretty calm and would listen to me when I told her no.  Last night she started whining after I put her in her crate for the night, but after a few minutes she stopped.

I decided (for now at least) to use the term “no bites” whenever I want her to drop what she has in her mouth.  So when she picks up the leash, or if she is chewing on something she shouldn’t be I say “no bites!”.  It worked pretty well this morning.

I’m also working with her on the idea of “mine” and “yours”.  I think that will help with the leash grabbing too.  What I do is take a toy of hers (one that she isn’t playing with at the moment) and call her to me.  I ask her to sit and then show her the toy and say “mine”.  I slowly bring if closer to her and keep saying “mine”.  Every time she reaches for it I pull it out of reach and tell her no, and again say that it is mine.  When it is an inch or two away from her nose and she isn’t reaching for it then I’ll say “yours!” and give it to her.  By teaching her this way she gets used to “mine” and “yours”, and then it will be easier when I start training her to let me take something away from her.  Eventually all I have to do (in theory at least) is say “mine” and she should leave alone or give up whatever she has.


Sebastian was better last night.  I bought the Feliway before I went home and plugged it in right away.  He still spent most of the night hiding under my quilt, but one time I went in the bedroom and got him out so he could see Lola, who was waiting at the dog gate a few feet away.  Unlike all the other times he didn’t seem terrified of her, but he didn’t want to be near her either.  He spent most of the night above the covers either on the spare pillow or curled up to me.  Until he went exploring and woke Lola up around 5am.  Then he came running back and hid.  I ment to pull him out before I left, but I forgot.  I’m hoping that he will take the time when Lola is in her crate to come out and explore.

So that’s how everything went since yesterday.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a better night tonight then last night!

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Posted by on November 18, 2008 in Cats, Dogs, Pets


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The reason I didn’t blog much last week was because I found a puppy!  I went to the humane society on tuesday and totally fell in love.  I thought I would just look, but it didn’t turn out that way.  😀

So my new puppy, who I’ve named Lola, is a female german shepherd mix with a white chest and four white paws.  She is 7 months old and she is about knee height.  Because she is so small it is obvious that she isn’t full shepherd, but she has to be mixed with something smaller.  I’m thinking beagle maybe?  She totally looks like a shepherd, just smaller.

Like I said I met her on tuesday, I spent about a half an hour with her in one of their “meet and great” rooms and I decided to go home and think about it.  The are closed on wednesday, so I went back on thursday and submitted my application.  She had just been spayed, so she was a little sleepy.  I spent about an hour with her, and most of that time she was curled up on my lap with her head under my arm.  Because she had just been spayed I wasn’t able to take her home until saturday.

But that turned out to be a good thing because I had a lot to do around the house to get ready for her.  I made sure I picked up everything below waist level that she could chew on.  I had to make sure I picked up all of the cat toys that I’m sure she could swallow (or at least try to).  Then I vacuumed really well and washed all of the floors (which I hadn’t done in far to long).  Then I had to get a few last minute things like food and a leash.  I had gotten everything else (like toys and beds) over a year ago, so I was just missing a few things.

Then the big day came on saturday.  My appointment was at 1:15, so that gave me the morning to make sure everything was ready.  Before I left I blocked off my bedroom and bathroom so my cat Sebastian had a “dog-free” zone.  Then I got there and I had to do all the paper work, and then about a half an hour later we were on our way!  She was pretty scared about the car ride.  So she spent most of the ride home with her head on my lap or tucked under my arm.  But I guess I’d rather have that then have her bouncing all over the car.

When I got home I took her out to the yard right away and let her get some energy out before I took her in the house.  I kept the leash on her while she took her first look around the house.  But after that I let her go wherever she wanted.  Which thankfully is wherever I am.  The good thing about that is that I don’t have to worry about what she is doing in another room out of eyesight.

I was surprised how good she is.  She didn’t tear around the house, she played nicely with her toys, and she even knows how to sit!  And she didn’t have an accident in the house.  Part of that was because I was taking her out every hour or so that first day, but it’s a good thing no matter the reason.  She actually spent most of the day sleeping.  She would run around and act crazy when I took her outside, but she was quiet inside the house.

She didn’t eat much supper, I think she is used to having access to food all day long and eating whenever she wants, but after a half an hour I picked the bowl up so that she knows that if she doesn’t eat when the food is given she doesn’t eat at all.
When it came time to go to bed I had to kind of push her into the crate, but once she was in there she quieted down and went to sleep.

Yesterday was pretty good as well.  I was happy to find that she didn’t have an accident in her crate during the night.  I was taking her outside about every two hours and she is very good about doing her business right away and then she’ll come over to me to say that she’s done.  Which is really nice if I just want to run out for a quick potty break and not stand out there for a half an hour.  She did have one accident in the house, but she had just woken up from a really long nap (about 3+ hours I think).  She just got up and peed right outside of the bed.  So I think that was more my fault then hers.  I should have woken her up to take her outside.  But now I know.

I took her for two walks yesterday.  She has really bad leash manners.  She spends most of her time pulling on the leash and then choking because she can’t breathe.  So that’s something I’ll have to work on.  I’m thinking I’ll go to the pet store tonight and try to get a harness for her.  That way I can correct her without worrying about hurting her throat.

She didn’t eat much again yesterday morning, but last night she ate pretty well.  Still less then I think she should eat, but at least she is eating.  I’m thinking (so far at least) that she is eating about 2 cups of dry food a day.  The food bag says she should eat 3-4 cups.  But I can’t force her to eat.  She is on the skinny side, so I’d prefer she eats more, but I guess maybe she knows how much she should eat.

Last night was pretty hard.  She cried several times during the night whenever she heard me moving around.  I think that’s mostly because she can’t see me.  If I told her to be quiet she normally settled down.  I think I’ll leave a radio on during the night and hope that helps.

So over all she’s been pretty good so far.  The only problem has been Sebastian.  He is terrified.  He spent the whole weekend hiding.  When I went to bed last night he curled up to me and just shook.  At one point during the night he must have went to check out the rest of the house, which just happened to wake up Lola, and she got up and started whining and that sent Sebastian flying back into the bedroom.  I’m going to look at getting a product called Feliway which is a pheromone that calms cats.  I’m hoping that will help.  Lola isn’t helping much because every time she sees him she gets all excited, which just terrifies Sebastian and sends him hiding again.  I’m hoping that after a few days he will get better.

So that’s how my first few days with Lola have been!  I’m sure you’ll be hearing lots more in the next couple days.  I’ll try to post a picture of her so that you can see what she looks like.

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Posted by on November 17, 2008 in Cats, Dogs, Pets


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Catnip Experiment – Week 7

I took a week off of using the baking soda and catnip.  I didn’t take a second shower last week, and yesterday I just took a water only shower.

The reason I did that was because last sunday’s batch of baking soda was so strong that it really dried my hair out.  It was the first time I measured the baking soda, and it was WAY to much.  So I decided to give my hair a rest and let it recover from all that damage.

So the plan is to resume the baking soda / catnip on wednesday night.

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Posted by on November 17, 2008 in Catnip for Hair


Book Review: 11-12-08

Here’s what I’ve read in the past week:

Children of Dune  (Dune Chronicles, Book 3)  –  by Frank Herbert
This book picks up soon after the last one (Dune Messiah) left off.  Chani died in childbirth, and Paul/Muad’Dib soon after walked into the desert to die.
Now nine years later their twins Leto and Ghanima have grown into two very wise “children”.  They have all the memories of every single ancestor that they have ever had.  That makes them very knowledgeable and very adult, despite their age.  Their aunt Alia was named the Regent of the Empire, and rules in their stead.  But Alia has been tormented by the voices of the lives that she also carries.  She is driven mad by the noise of all of those lives, and begins to act unpredictably and there are rumors that she is possessed.  The twins know that the only way to make things change is to follow what is known as the Golden Path.  The only way they can do this is to get away from all of the control that their aunt has over them.  So they decide that they need to run away.  But soon after they leave they are attacked by two tigers that have been trained to kill them.  After a tussle Ghanima gets knocked unconscious, and wakes to find Leto gone, assumed dead.  She returns to the seitch and resumes life under Alia.
But mean while Leto, who is very much alive, tries to seek out an old village where he believes he can find answers.  On his way he is captured and is fed so much spice that he is sent into a deep trance.  After a long time he comes out of that trance and he knows what he needs to do.  He has found a way to help save all of humanity, but it comes at a great price.
~~  This is a GREAT book.  There is lots of twists and turns, and it all builds up to a fantastic finish.  I love how much detail and realism is given to the ancestral memories.  It is described in such a way that you understand how much of a wonder it is, and at the same time how much responsibility comes with it.
This and the previous book make up the Sci-fi mini-series Children of Dune.  While this deviates from the book a bit, it is a fantastic story.

God Emperor of Dune  (Dune Chronicles, Book 4)  –  by Frank Herbert
This book takes place three thousand years after book 3.  Leto has morphed into a worm shaped creature with only his face, arms and legs that still look human.  The rest of him is a gigantic worm.  After living three thousand years he has gotten very bored by everything.  Nothing is a surprise to anything anymore.  Everything has happened before, probably many times.  He does give himself one selfish demand:  Duncan Idaho.  He has a duplicate of Duncan made every time the previous one dies.  They are the exact duplicate of the original version, with all of his memories.  Over the thousands of years he has had many Duncans, but now that so much time has past the Duncans are having a harder and harder time adjusting to all of the changes that have happened.  After the loss of one Duncan early in the book, he calls another one and begins training him to fill his predecessor’s position. 
There is one thing that does suprise Leto, and that is the arrival of Hwi Noree.  This woman is everything that Leto feels he has been missing.  He quickly falls in love with her.  Even though she doesn’t really love him, she does have a sense of utter devotion to him.  After a time they plan to marry.
Leto knows that he is nearing the end of his life, but he has made a point to not look at when or how his death will actually take place.  Lots of changes are happening very quickly.  There are lots of players, and they all have their own agenda.
~~  This is a very big and complex book.  There is lots of detail and lots of stuff to imagine.  But part of that is what makes it so good.  Even though this series deals with the fantastic, and really stretches the imagination, it brings a sense of realism and makes you just except that all this unbelievable stuff is actually real.


I’m now reading the next Dune book Heretics of Dune.

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Posted by on November 12, 2008 in Book Reviews