Dog Blog

Monday, February 19, 2007

Peaches and Bubba had an exciting weekend! Yesterday they had a playdate with Todd, the neighbor's Sheltie. Todd is closer in age to Peaches, so I thought it might be good to have him come visit and play with her. I think Peaches is in love! She was flirting with Todd (both are altered), and they chased each other all over the front courtyard until they exhausted themselves. Even Bubba was getting in on the excitement, barking and playing. Peaches was barking that husky bark of hers. What a big bark for such a little dog. It's so cute how she's discovered her voice. Finally, after about an hour, Todd decided he'd had enough and wanted to go home, but when I took him out of the courtyard and tried to walk him back across the street, Peaches started to cry. Since it was nearly walkies time, we decided to take Todd along with us. They all liked that. It was fun having a dog pack for the afternoon.

Today we took Bubba and Peaches over to the new dog park not far from where we live. Granite Park has been around a few months, but we've never taken our dogs over there until today. We couldn't when we had Daisy because she was too antisocial and unpredictable. I wasn't sure how it would work with Bubba, either, because he hadn't done too well when we took him to another dog park after Daisy was gone. I still think it was because he was upset about her passing. Today, he did great, though. He was having a wonderful time socializing with all the other dogs. His tail was spinning in circles like a helicopter blade, like it does when he really likes another dog. He was really into the dog park experience. Peaches, on the other hand, didn't handle it as well as I thought she might. She really likes other dogs but does better when it's one-on-one. That many dogs coming at her, and many that were bigger than her, was just too overwhelming. They really needed a separate area for smaller and shyer dogs, like the other dog park has. That way the big dogs don't overpower the little ones. They can get pretty boisterous sometimes, and I always worry that some fool will bring a dog in that shouldn't be around other dogs at all. There have been disastrous incidents in dog parks with pit bulls and other aggressive dogs, and I'd hate for that to happen to my doggies. I kind of scoped out what breeds of dogs were there today, though, before taking my dogs inside the area. There was a bloodhound there. I've never seen one up close. Quite impressive! The park is not huge, barely two acres in size. Today being a holiday, there were a lot of dogs there. That can get pretty crowded. At least everyone was conscientious about scooping the poop. It's amazing to me that city the size of Sacramento, the capital of California, has so few off-leash areas for dogs and their owners to gather. We still have a ways to go to be considered dog friendly.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Peaches has been with us over a month now. She seems more settled in her new life, although she is still very fearful of loud, banging noises when we go for walks. If she sees someone coming toward us, male or female, she wants to drag me to the other side of the street. Men are worse for her, though, especially if they are using power tools or making any kind of racket. She tucks her tail completely and nearly flattens her body to the ground, pulling like a train (shades of Daisy) and doing kind of a crab walk until we are past whatever is spooking her. I don't force her to do anything she doesn't want to do and try to soothe her fears by sweet-talking her and stroking her. I hope that she'll become less fearful as time goes on, but I'm beginning to wonder what in her past has made her so afraid. I suppose being in two shelters with all the loud noises and strange people filing past her kennel could be partly to blame. doG only knows what her former life was like, although she is very gentle and loving, so she must have learned that from someone. Having puppies may have taught her to be gentle, too, although I certainly don't espouse littering just to make a dog gentle or for any other of the stupid reasons people add to pet overpopulation and create more unwanted pets like the ones I've adopted. She's had at least one litter, I'm sure. She doesn't seem as though she's been abused, but you never know what these shelter dogs have previously endured. She was very undernourished when I got her so she could have been a puppy mill dog, hence her fear of the outside world.

She still is very emotionally needy and demanding of attention from me, and I give her as much as I possibly can, but I have to come up with more ways to keep her entertained so I can get some work done. She'll just have to learn to be a writer's dog. She goes through lots of chewies and cleans out a Kong in no time. This summer I'll try freezing food inside the Kong so it takes her longer to empty it. I suppose I'll have to refer to my own book, "150 Ways to Entertain Bored Dogs," for ideas when it comes out in April. I'm definitely going to get some aromatherapy Plug-ins, for her and for me! Having a younger dog than Bubba would have been good because she'd have someone lively to play with her, but I'm not adopting another basset--two at once is quite enough for me! She's pretty good about busying herself with chewies when I tell her to go lie down. When it finally stops raining, I'll try her at a dog park and see how she does. She might be afraid of people but she loves other dogs and always wants to make friends.

She wants to come and sleep in the bed again, but not tonight. Mom needs her beauty rest for a book signing tomorrow at Barnes & Noble. I'll be signing copies of "What's Your Dog's IQ?" I'd say Peaches' IQ is doggoned high. In true basset fashion, she already has her slaves very well trained.