Monday, February 20, 2012

The Dog Diaries: Bad Dog

Well, it's been 4 weeks now and I have less and less to blog about.  Chevy has either stopped misbehaving as much or we are learning how to care for him better.  We've gotten into the habit of being gone for an hour or two during the day and Chevy goes into his crate.  He goes in there willingly (which is a major improvement from when we first got him) and we think he spends the time in his crate fairly quietly...without barking or whining.  Of course, we're not home to know if that is really the case, but we think he is good. 

Today the kids are home in honor of President's Day, so I put Chevy in the crate about noon and took them to the mall for some ice cream and errands.  When we returned at 2:30pm, Chevy met us at the front door.  How does he do that?  He opened the top latch of the crate again and squeezed himself through.  It cannot be comfortable to squeeze yourself through the half-unlatched door of a wire dog crate. Immediately I started looking around to see what mischief he got into while I was gone.  This is what I found:
In case you can't tell what that is, it is the remains of a box of Girl Scout Samoa cookies.  The dang dog found the cookies that I need to deliver and helped himself to a box.  Grrr.  It would have been better if I had ordered myself a box that I could use to replace it, but I blew all my girl scout money on Thin Mints.  So now I'll have to order a new box of Samoas to deliver.  Add $4 to the cost of the dog. 

Of course, Chevy knows he's been bad, so he stays glued to my side for the next 15 minutes as I try to clean up his mess and move the rest of the cookies to higher ground.  I don't know about you but when my kids are bad, I wouldn't recommend that they hang out underfoot for the next 15 minutes.  It is like he is waiting for me to pat his head and say "good dog".  Well., he can just keep waiting.  Why can't he go hide in a corner until I'm ready to forgive him? 

Another little "bad dog" issue that we are dealing with is that the dog doesn't seem to have good bladder control.  He's excellently house broken.  He has NEVER peed or poo'd in the house on purpose, but he gets so excited when we come home that he almost always leaves a piddle trail on the floor as he leaps out of the crate to say hello.   We can't seem to get him out of the house fast enough to keep it from happening.  And he is able to hold his pee for much longer than 2.5 hours when he isn't excited.  All you experienced dog people out there, any thoughts on that one? 

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Dog Diaries: Chevy, the budget buster

Before we got a dog, I did a fair amount of asking around about how much a dog would cost me.  I asked several friends with dogs the question "What is the annual cost of owning a dog?".  The answers ranged from "not much" to "just food and occasional vet bills" to the classic blank stare (as if the question of a total yearly dog expenditure amount divided by 12 for the montly budget was a weird question to ask).  I decided those answers added up to about $1200 a year, or $100 a month.  That assessment might have had something to do with the fact that I had a monthly bill of $107 that was ending soon and I could easily repurpose that money to a dog category.   But whatever the reason, that was the amount that I decided to plan for. 

I am here to tell anyone who will listen that owning a dog is more expensive than that.  Take a gander at the first 21 days of dog expenses:
  • $13.00 pet shampoo and deoderant spray (oatmeal based, for his dry skin)
  • $31.50 King County License
  • $77.00 first 6 months of flea medication
  • $200 first trip to PetSmart.  Dog crate, dog bowls, dog food, tennis ball, treats, dog toy, etc.
  • $250 cost of rescuing Chevy from the Humane Society. Includes a 6 week training class.
  • $15.00 lint tape, for getting dog hair off my clothes
  • $13.00 dental chews, because the vet says he's got tartar/plaque
  • $11.00 bitter green apple spray, so he'll quit chewing through his leashes
  • $14.00 Nylon bone, to give him something he is allowed to chew on
  • $176.02  Cost of lab workups and meds for Chevy's first vet visit.  Vet waived the labor cost of the first vet visit for rescuing the pup from the Humane Society. 
  • $76.00 cost of medication after we learned that Chevy had a parasite
  • $20.00 dog bed from Costco (total waste of money. He prefers to sleep with the kids)
  • $30.00 barrier for keeping Chevy in the back of the Honda (Chevy destroyed it in minutes)
  • $300.00 cost of replacing the seatbelts in my Honda Pilot
  • $20.00 2nd leash, retractable
That comes to about $1300.00.  Yep, thats a big number for the joy of falling in love with a dog.  Good thing hubby wasn't that expensive in the first 21 days!!!

Chevy's expenses aren't over yet. The big expense that we still have looming is a dog kennel and fence solution. Or maybe that is an either/or scenario. Costco has a dog kennel right now that is around $300 (or was it $400?) that looks really nice. 6 ft high fences all around (important since we've got a jumper) and a 10 ft by 10 ft. area for him to hang out in. I found one that looks the same on, but its price says $750 so it must not be the same one, but you get the idea!

We have a difficult yard to fence, so we are looking into non-physical fencing solutions.  There is the Invisible Fence option that we've considered, and another option that is basically a wireless version of that.  I'm leaning toward the wireless version. It is called PetSafe Wireless Instant Fence.  You basically install a transmitter on your house and put a collar on the dog.  The dog gets a shock if he goes outside of the radius allowed by the transmitter. One of the benefits is that the wireless version is portable enough that we could take it with us when we go to the cabin.  Another benefit is that we can install a 2nd transmitter on dad's house and Chevy would be able to run through both the yards.  I bet the 2 transmitter solution with collar will run us another $750.  So...basically $2500 for the dog, just to get everything set up for him.  Sure, ongoing costs won't be as much.  Yearly vet bills, yearly flea medication, daily food and some toys.  I'm still hoping those numbers will come in under $100 per month.  Unless you count the bigger vehicle that I'll need to haul him around!  =)

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Dog Diaries: Week 3

This week has been full of fun surprises as I learn about my dog.  My first suprise came on Friday as we enjoyed the fabulous weather.  Chevy had already been out for a morning walk, but it was afternoon and I wanted him to be able to enjoy the sunshine.  I decided to open the door to my enclosed deck so he could hang out in the fresh air.  Chevy loved to go out alright, but he didn't care much about the "enclosed" part.  That dog sailed right over the deck railing on his way to freedom.  I don't even think he was on the deck for 4.5 seconds before he had grass between his toes.  He trotted right around to the front of the house to be let in...presumably so he could do it again. 

My house has a daylight basement and my deck is on the main floor, so there is about a 13 foot span from the top of the deck railing to the grass below.  So now I know:  Chevy is a good jumper.  Who would have thought???

Another fun tidbit that I learned about my dog is that he pees a little when he is afraid of getting in trouble.  I can already recognize the look on his face when he's been into something and he doesn't want me to know.  He usually hears me coming to check on him and he'll run to meet me in the other room so I cannot see the carnage (like the knocked over kitchen garbage or Sydney's chewed up boot).  Last night I was lying in bed and I heard something being knocked off the kitchen countertop.  I got up and headed downstairs to figure out what he was up to.  He met me on the stairs as I descend.  "Chevy!" I scolded "what are you up to?".  His response was to duck his head and come pee on my feet. 

Really dog?  You have to pee on my feet?  I wasn't going to hit you...I just wanted to tell you "no!".  Now I have to spot clean the carpet, wash my toes, and then clean up whatever you were into downstairs. 

Sheesh...good thing I already love that boy!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Dog Diaries: The first bath

Well, the vet said we brought home more than just one animal when we brought Chevy home from the shelter.  He has a parasite.  Boo.  The vet gave us medicine and recommended we give him a bath. 

Chevy is adept at avoiding the medicine.  I've tried mixing it into his dry dog food, but in 4.5 seconds the dry dog food is gone and the medicine remains.  I've tried wrapping it in cheese and putting it directly into his mouth, but he manages to chew up the cheese and spit the pills out.  I even put the pills into the center of a donut.  I snuck one of the the two pills into him that way, but he spit the other one out.  Scott says that hiding it in cheese should work, but that I'm giving him too large of a slice of cheese.  The goal, apparently, is for him to gulp the cheese without any chewing, thereby not noticing that there is a pill tucked inside. 

The bath was less eventful than I feared.  I called my friend Carrie to come help me and we brought the dog up into my bathroom. It's got a tile floor and a soaking tub, so that seemed like the best bet for the dog bath.  (Note:  someone else told me they put the dog in a tub of water in the bottom of the enclosed shower, but I don't think I have a rubbermaid tote big enough to put Chevy into.)  Chevy did not want to get into the empty bathtub.  I tried to coax him in with treats, but that didn't work either.  Carrie eventally just picked him up and put him into the tub, and then we used a bucket of soapy water to scrub him down.  He didn't wimper or cry, but the first opening he saw he tried to jump out of the tub.  We were able to push him back into the tub.  I don't have a spray nozzle in my tub, so we just dumped buckets of clean water over him to rinse him off. 
That's when he decided he had endured enough and Chevy exited the tub. It turns out that my dog has a large shake radius.  Who knew he could get multiple walls wet at once?  I tried to towel him off as well, but it seemed like he stayed wet for hours afterwards.  Am I supposed to dry him with a hairdryer?

Check out that tongue!
Hopefully that's the end of any pesky parasites!