Sunday, August 30, 2009

Finn's new job

Today when Finn and I went to the barn to feed the horses, we saw a flock of these all over the pasture.

This is the Canada goose, an invasive species that has been of concern in this area for years as their numbers have increased. The Canada Goose is aggressive, territorial, and destroys shoreline vegetation. This is of primary concern in the sensitive Chesapeake Bay area.

I hate these geese because:
A. The foul up the pasture with poo containing microbes and parasites.
B. they transport Duck Weed, an invasive pond algae that chokes the life out of the pond.
C. They tend to fly up in your spooky horse's face as you are riding.

Tonight when we got to the barn, there were two flocks in different fields. I called Finn over and took him in the field. He spotted the birds and trotted towards them a few steps, ears up.I told him to 'Get them, get them!' and he took off after the geese. After he chased the one flock, we went in the other field and chased the other flock off too. Finn was a happy boy, he likes to chase things. Of course he got no where near them, but I was delighted.

what a good, good boy!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Vet call again

Finn had a vet appt today to be micro-chipped. We decided to do this to insure if he was ever lost we would be able to find him again. Collars and tags can fall off, but the micro-chip is forever. It's worth the expense.

All Finn knew was that he was at the VET! He did better this time, lying in front of me while we waited.

Once in the exam room, he watched the door, waiting for it to open so he could escape!

When we were out of the exam room, he knew it was all over, and gave out kisses to anyone who would stop and pet him.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Linus would understand.

On Monday I gave Finn a bath. It hadn't been long since his last bath, but he was starting to smell rather doggy already. I decided this was because his rug was looking rather dingy despite regular vacuuming. It was due for a wash. It wouldn't quite fit in the washer so off to the dry cleaners it would have to go. Until then, to keep him from rolling on it and getting dirty, I rolled it up and put it outside on one of the lawn chairs.

The first problem we noticed is that Finn wouldn't lie down in the family room now that his rug was gone. He just stood there looking at us. When we went outside with him, he went to his rolled up rug and sniffed it, looked at us, looked at it, looked at us.....

He wanted his rug back inside where it belonged. I wanted him to stay clean. The rug stayed outside. For a moment I wondered if he thought because his rug was outside he might have to stay outside, but his beds were still in the house.

Last night he again went to his rug outside. I hadn't taken it to be cleaned yet so it was still draped over the lawn chair. He sniffed it and looked at me. Nope, it isn't going back inside until it's cleaned. After his dinner, I gave him a few cookies to munch on like I usually do. He promptly took his cookies over to the couch and ate them standing over the couch cushions so the crumbs fell all over where we sit. He did this twice. See, the couch was were we sit in the family room, the rug was his 'couch' and it wasn't fair that it was gone.

If you have kids, remember when they were small, and had a special 'blankie' or stuffed toy they HAD to have. Remember how dirty it would get, and how you would sneak it away from them to wash it and get it back before they realized it was gone. Yeah, this is just like that, but rather than throw a screaming fit, Finn plans his revenge.

This morning when I got up, he had deposited his much chewed rib bone on the couch. The point was made, I dropped the rug off on my way to work to be cleaned. Unfortunately it won't be ready until Saturday. Funny, the lady at the dry cleaners gave me such a strange look when I asked how quick it could be cleaned because my dog wants his rug back.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another Milestone

We have had Finn 5 months now. In all that time, he hasn't seemed to enjoy being petted that much. Sometimes he even flinched when your hand went towards his head. He seems to want the closeness, and attention, but after a moment of petting on the head, he would move away.

Tonight he came up as he often does, putting his head in my lap for attention. I scratched his ears, then petted him for a moment, then stopped. Finn then took his nose, put it under my hand and nudged. He wanted me to keep petting him. It is something every other dog I have ever had did, and finally Finn did too. It was another sign of the growing bond with us, plus the fact he is acting more like a 'real dog.'

Kennel dogs, and dog that have been raised in isolation or with minimal contact don't learn these kinds of interactions. Petting and handling is often stressful instead of enjoyable. It can be tough on the adopters, when a dog doesn't seem to want your attention. It makes it hard to find homes for these dogs. It takes time for them to learn to trust and interact, but it is worth the wait. We can't imagine our lives without Finn now, he has been a joy and a blessing.

Puppy games

This morning Finn and I went for our usual walk. At the end of the walk, when we are one house away from ours, I have been taking the leash off Finn, and letting him go. I tell him to 'Go Home,' and he gets to bound across the yard to the door of the house. It's a bit of a release after being good and walking slow on the walk.

This morning I turned him loose and kept walking. Finn walked up our neighbors drive a few steps and stopped. When I got to the door of the house, I turned back and I couldn't see Finn because of the cars in the driveway, but I knew where he was. I whistled, and then he bounded around the cars and ran gleefully up, vaulting over the bushes that line the walk.

I laughed, and told him 'Good Boy' for coming when I called, but he already had his reward. I laughed at his 'game,' and he got to run further and harder than he usually does. He may also have been playing a bit of Hide and Seek with me.

He has such a clever, unique intelligence!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Finn likes thunderstorms

We have thunderstorms rolling in tonight, and Finn is wired. He has gone on 3 walks with 3 different people. Played with my husband in the back yard, and ran around in the front yard while some car work was done.

He has had dinner, snacks, and gave me the sad face until I gave him one of the beef bones we bought yesterday. The bone has almost been demolished, he has played with a rope toy, his ball, and made several trips outside to sniff the air.

He is waiting for the storm, so he can stand out in it and feel the wind blowing. He loves it. Thunder doesn't faze him, rain he isn't as fond of, but if it is windy he will still stay out in it.

He is currently pacing around, waiting...

We may not get much sleep tonight.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mr Congeniality

Last night due to people getting home and going back out at different hours, Finn got two dinners. He didn't eat all of it, but it did mean we ran out of dog kibble a day early. I decided to go to Petco today and pick up more of his two kinds of food, and take Finn so he could socialize a bit.

In the past trips to anywhere were stressful because they all meant v-e-t to Finn. Finn reluctantly got in the car, and off we went. When we got there, and he got out of the car, he was sniffing, and wanting to run around, but still a bit worried.

We went in, and I had the fun of trying to push a cart and keep a lively wolfhound contained. His tail was still down, but he was wanting to go up and greet everyone. Eventually I conquered the challenge of cart and hound, and convinced Finn he could walk beside me while I pushed the cart.

Everyone who met Finn loved him. Part of that is his size, and the fact he is really cute, but I think a lot had to do with his habit of giving everyone his long eye to eye soulful look. Five seconds of that and they were his to command. Of course he is helped by the fact he doesn't have to look to far up to do this.

Employees who had met him before all came over to say hi, and Finn was happy to see everyone but the nice lady who weighed him for us. She was wearing a smock (VET!) and weighed him on a scale (VET!!!). He is now 120 1/4 pounds, and he couldn't get away from her fast enough.

We checked out the toy aisle, but nothing really interested Finn so I picked up a really big fuzzy ball, and a couple of beef bones to chew. We also picked up a leash so we could work on our obedience. When we were ready to check out one of Finn's admirers opened up a register for us so we wouldn't have to wait. :-D

Just as we were leaving, a puppy class emptied out, so Finn got to sniff a bunch of wiggly puppies. Usually he is a bit wary of puppy antics but all of these guys were well behaved, just very licky and waggy.

Finn's loot from the store.

Notice the ball already has a hole, it lasted 5 minutes.

Who could resist those eyes and that nose?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Smarter than the average dog

As a child, I watched the cartoon Yogi Bear. He always claimed he was 'Smarter than the average bear.' Which was how he got away within sneaking food from picnics. Subterfuge was a major component of his strategy.

Finn is a very agreeable dog, not getting into things he isn't supposed to, even when we aren't watching him. This does not mean he isn't capable of working out a strategy to get what he wants, even when he knows we don't want him to do it.

Yesterday I took of from work because I had a horse being picked up. The rest of the day I spent cleaning house, the major part being the weekly sweeping and scrubbing of my hardwood floors. Doing this is a lot easier if the major person contributing to the floor debris isn't there getting in the way. We had a beef rib bone for Finn, so I thought I would put him outside, and give him that to chew on while I cleaned.

This wasn't going to be easy, Finn believes he can't be any further than 3 inches from us at all times, no matter what we are doing. I went outside with Finn, taking the precaution of closing the back door, and gave him the rib bone. He immediately went to the door, found it closed, then sat on the grass with his bone. He knows he isn't allowed inside on the rug with a greasy bone, but he really prefers to eat treats on his rug. I did a few yard chores, waiting for him to get distracted with the bone, but he instead buried it, and followed me around the yard. So be it, I went inside, closing the door behind me and started cleaning.

When I was done, Finn was waiting right outside the back door. he came in, no sign of the bone. Later that day I was going through mail, and Finn asked to go out. I went out with him, but he just stood on the deck looking at me. He does that a lot, stand and look around, contemplating life, etc. before he finally goes about his business. Fine, I went back in and left him outside. As I was sitting at the table, I noticed Finn zip by me and go right to his rug. Usually he stops, gets a drink, then wants to be petted when he comes in. I looked up, and Finn had the bone with him. He had buried his bone, waited until supposedly I had forgotten about it, gone outside, waited for me to leave, then, dug it up and brought it in right by me.

The sheer sneaky cleverness of it stunned me and delighted me. I couldn't bring myself to scold him, and the bone was already on the rug now. I let him have it. It was a good reminder agreeable and submissive does not equal stupid.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Finn!

Today is Finn's birthday, he is 2 years old. No longer a puppy! To celebrate he had a slumber party.

Yes, he looks a bit worried. He had spent the night checking on the girls, and occasionally getting on the bed, but not sleeping there. When I asked him to hop up there and down stay for a photo, he got worried.

I think he is camera shy, after all, his hair wasn't brushed yet, so he wasn't really ready for his close up.

Notice the girls are not camera shy.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Just not that into it..

Saturday we went horseback riding, then out to eat, so Finn was alone for most of the day. When we got home I took him for a walk, and gave him dinner. He seemed to have forgiven us for our abandonment.

We decided to watch the movie Bolt. The movie is about a dog, a star in a TV show where he has super powers and saves his little girl. Bolt really believes he has super powers, and accidentally gets shipped across country and has to find his way home. Really fun movie, which Finn wasn't much interested in. He roamed around the house, contemplated trying for some blueberry muffins on the counter, but I saw him and told him 'NO.' He picked up the bottle of his ear medicine, and was chewing it when caught. Halfway through the movie, he was lying on the rug, and started pawing and barking at our daughter. I told them to pause the movie, Finn needed our attention for a while. My husband and I took him outside and played with him for about 15 minutes. By play, I mean we chased him around and pretended to growl at him and grab him while he gleefully ran around us staying just out of reach.

After that, he was happy and we were able to continue the movie, although we had to raise the volume up over the panting and noisy water drinking going on.

I think if wolfhounds had super powers, they would have super speed and agility (they have that already really). Since Finn so seldom barks, I think he has super bark, so is careful not to use it and destroy everything. (He is very considerate) Since Finn can't find rabbits even when I point them out he obviously doesn't have super vision. Maybe super hearing? He can hear me opening the bag of Beggin Strips from two rooms away with the TV on and someone mowing outside. Wolfhounds must have some stealth ability, because big as Finn is, he can move around without you realizing. One minute he is lying on his bed asleep, the next you are tripping over him as he sniffs whatever you were doing. Actually, maybe its the tripping that's the super power...