Poodled's Journal
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Date:2002-11-23 13:53
Subject:Evidence of Intelligence
Music:Die Form, "Cantique I"

Morgan is too smart for his own good.

He and Isis were in the back yard, and wanted to come in. Isis was barking, but no one got up. Suddenly, Morgan was sitting in the kitchen.

He went out under the fence, under the garage door, in through the garage, and through the cat door.

No one had shown him these things, and he'd never seen the cat door from the other side. He had to have figured out, from watching the cats, that it worked both ways, and that there was access from the other side, then figured out spacially where it was.


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Date:2002-11-17 03:51

Poodles are smart. Morgan has learned "down". It took him about five minutes.

After the groomer's, the mom said, "He really is something of a girly dog, isn't he?" We shook our head, and said, "No, he's just a Goth Boi."

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Date:2002-11-16 13:55
Subject:First Grooming

The poodle has a name. He's actually been named since very shortly after the last entry. I think we would write more often if it didn't take us so long to consolidate all of our experiences.

His name is Morgan. The name has pirate-conotations, courtesy of Cutthroat Island. Some of us like pirates. Arrr.

His first vet appointment was on the fourth. He'll need one more shot, then he'll be done with his puppy regimen. We've never had a small dog before. When he got his distemper shot, he cried for a very long time, and huddled against us. It was horrible... we couldn't help but try to comfort him at the same time amused at how pitiful it was. The vet said that distemper was a bad one, known to sting, and that small dogs are the most sensitive.

The vet said he was a little on the thin side, though due most likely to the fact he was growing. We had noticed his weight and had been a little worried. Other than that, he got a clean bill of health.

Yesterday was his first grooming appointment. It was like leaving him for a first day of school; particularly anxiety-provoking due to scheduling issues. We'll definitely choose a less hectic day next time. We are using the groomer at the vets' office. We dropped him off early in the morning, and were told to wait for a phone call from the groomer asking what we wanted done. In the waiting room, there was a mini-schnauzer there that wanted to play with him, and vice-versa. Morgan whined. He whines a lot; we hope he'll grow out of it.

We had to go to work at 11:30, but gave both our home number and the barn (work) number. We found a cordless phone we had sitting around and hooked it up in the computer room, to ensure we wouldn't miss it no matter where we were in the house. We usually just let the machine pick up calls and communicate by e-mail with friends, so this waiting-for-a-call thing was even new to us. We waited for the groomer to call.

And waited. The vet tech had said it'd be around 9:30 that she called.

At 10-something, the mom came in and told us that the phone was off the hook, and that she'd been trying to reach us. The groomer, Theresa, had been trying to call for half an hour and had finally called the barn. The mom had to drive all the way home to tell us (she was oh-so-happy about that). We found out we'd messed up the cordless phone and it was set to "talk". Doh. Did I mention we don't use phones very often?

We fixed that problem. After half an hour, when the groomer didn't call us, we called her.

We told her what had happened, and discussed the cut with her. She asked if we liked the "poodle look" -- shaved face and paws, and we told her definitely. If a person's going to have a poodle, have a poodle! She asked if we wanted a puppy cut, or lamb cut -- we asked for a lamb cut, with the legs clipped fairly short for ease of maintenance. We've never had a dog that needed a professional groomer or clipping before, so this is all new. We'd looked on the internet at poodle clips, but there's only so much you can learn about the grooming process from a consumer's point of view without consuming. She said she wanted to take her time so as not to traumatize him, and would call us when he was done.

After all was done, she called us at work, around 3:30 or 4 PM. When we went to pick him up, there was an adorable shiba inu puppy in the waiting room, and a couple came in carrying a very young puppy. It was a boston terrier. A bit too young, I'd say -- it was only six weeks. It bothers me that breeders would let their pups go that young. Eh, forgive my ranting. At least they were bringing the pup in for shots and so on.

We waited for the groomer to bring him out. We were looking at the shiba inu, when bodymom said "Oh!" We looked up and the breeder was behind the counter, holding Morgan. Mom laughed and asked us, "He's so cute! Are you sure that's our dog?"

He looked adorable. She brought him out to the waiting area. His face was smooth and clean looking, his coat way shorter, and tailored. He had two bows on his ears (blue with purple ribbon) and was wearing a tiny bandana (blue). He also looked about half the size he had been. We could see his toes and his eyes. He looked like a poodle!

Theresa said he was wonderful and stood on the table like a pro, and that he felt like the perfect weight. She praised us for putting cotton balls in his ears when we bathe him and said we had done a wonderful job brushing him out. (Do some people not brush their poodles at all? It seems they'd be one big matt, especially with their coat long....) We were definitely feeling the ego-stroke. She said he was a wonderful poodle, and asked where we had gotten him.

He was extremely handsome. He smelled good too. She said because we do some upkeep grooming at home -- brushing and bathing -- we only need to bring him in every eight weeks, as opposed to four or six. I think because we like how he comes out of the groomer perfectly preened and cute, that we'll probably do it more often, though. It's too much fun.

She also gave us a lock of his fur in a bow, for scrapbooking... first haircut. Hee.

We're trying to take a lot of pictures of him for prosperity. We have hardly any photos of our other dogs when they were younger. We took pictures of how he looked after his first grooming, before he knocked the bows out. After we came home from the movies last night, he'd had both bows removed and we had to search for his bandana. It was very cute while it lasted though.

He looks much cuter with his cut than he did as a fluffball -- he was ubercute as a fluffball. He's smaller than the cats, which you couldn't quite tell before.

We aren't sure how big he's going to get. Someone said he was large for a mini of his age (he's six and a half pounds or so), but no one else has commented. We don't know how big his parents were. We might call up or write to his breeder about that.

Today, he got "sit" down pat. He seemed to have been figuring it out before, but he definitely understands now and will do it on command. We're working on "down" now.

A week or so ago, we took him to the barn for work. He was sure the horses were going to stomp him. That's probably a good thing -- a lot of the dogs there end up getting kicked or stepped on because they don't give the horses space. Morgan also made friends with Riley, a big boxer/retriever thing mix, and Calvin, a corgi. The other dogs there don't know what to think of him. A whole day at work was a little too much for Morgan, so we'll probably only take him on days we don't have too much going on, to start with. We also don't like leaving him alone in the office or viewing room, where people might play with him and we're not there to supervise.

He hoards toys, and people's shoes. He has several piles around the house where he stashes towels, slippers, toys and other goodies. He grabs quickly and takes off running. It's hilarious, but I'm glad he hasn't got much in the way of teeth. If he were a big ol' lab pup or something, all of our things would be destroyed. We've been through that. Hoo boy. Even our Kelpie has destroyed her share of shoes and extension cords and what-not. Morgan just makes a few dents.

Isis and Morgan play constantly. Isis has been for the most part gentle with him. They love each other. Morgan loves to clean both Isis' and Gypsy's faces. Today, Isis bowled the puppy over and sent him sliding across the floor -- he didn't mind, but it is a little worrisome, since Isis could hurt him even unintentionally. He will get bigger and then will be safer.

We would like to get Morgan involved in some sort of dog sport. Agility? Obedience? Flyball? We've looked up some information on various activities. A really fun one looks like Dog Scouts. They get badges and everything. Heh. Unfortunately, there's no local troop, and I don't think we're up to starting our own, nor expert-enough.

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Date:2002-10-25 02:22

So, we got a puppy.

Let me give quick, uber-condensed version of our experience with dogs. We found Gypsy, our first dog, drinking water out of a gross, stagnant bucket in our next-door-neighbors garage, dragging a leash behind her. No one claimed her despite signs and efforts to find her owner. The vet guessed she was a year or two old, and a basenji mix.

She is a great dog, elderly now. She learned quickly, and boasts a plethora of tricks and extensive obedience training, though sometimes we think she's senile now, or at least very crafty. She was a great dog to be our first dog. We learned a lot with her. She was definitely the family's dog.

Our second dog was Jareth. He was rescued from the pound, and estimated 6 months old. He was a black Lab mix. He was going to be trained as a service dog and medical alert dog for our panic disorder. Unfortunately the story ends in tragedy. Something went wrong in his brain... he became aggressive and unpredictable. He bit someone, and had to be put down. Some of us who saw it happen are afraid of dogs, some afraid of owning one, especially a big dog. They feel they failed him.

A while later, we met some Australian kelpie puppies from a breeder who had many kelpies and border collies. All of them were trained to herd, and it was fascinating to watch them work. We chose a gold puppy, and named her Isis.

She's a handful. She has an extremely dominant personality which she inherited from her dam, who is named, aptly, Bully. She is dominant to dogs and to people. We're working with her intensely currently -- and indefinitely into the future -- to remind her of her place in the pack heirarchy. (More information on what we're doing can be found in this article about Who's in Charge Here?.)

She was to be our dog, and go with us when we moved out of the PU's home. However, just a short while after we brought her home, our mom got extremely ill. While she was sick, she sort of comandeered Isis to cuddle and hold. Except when she was at the hospital, Isis was with her pretty much 24/7. We essentially gave her to our mom.

And that brings us to the new puppy, which we bought last Saturday (October 19th). Many of us have been enamored with poodles since the beginning of our experience with dogs. They're extremely intelligent, great at obedience, and don't shed. In all our research about dogs, they've always been a favorite breed. Our tastes in dogs are varied, but most of us love poodles and sighthounds, but poodles are much easier to own (sighthounds are aloof and harder to train, plus less likely to get along with the rest of our menagerie).

Unfortunately, we have to admit, poodle-puppy was an impulse buy. We'd been talking about getting a puppy for a long time, but actually going out and looking was sort of a no-no. We were at an exotic animal expo, intending to buy a pocket-pet (short-tailed possum or something), and there were a few dog breeders there. One had a black mini-poodle.

We fell in love. It was our dream dog -- almost. Some of us are more inclined to standard (big) poodles, but a large number were pushing for a small dog recently. Black poodle was just a dream... none of us thought we'd ever get one.

We didn't pay for papers on him, which would've been $100 more, and some of us are regretting that, now that we've found out about working and competing poodle organizations where AKC papers do count for something. We're not going to breed him or show him for conformation, but some of us would be very interested in herding, obedience or agility with him. Perhaps we can contact the breeder about registration at a later date. Having owned only mutts and a "rare" dog breed before, we don't know much about registering dogs. Horses, yes; dogs no.

The breeder gave us some good information about him -- birth date, shots, dam's name, and so on -- but we really should've asked more. Like I said, unfortunately an impulse buy. His last set of shots is due in early November. He's around 13 weeks now. She encouraged crate training, gave us some excellent information on health care and so on of puppies, and information on her boarding facility, and overall seems generally a good breeder. We will contact her in the future, to at least send updates... she also has our name, address and phone number.

He took very well to a crate, and we think that the breeder used crates in training as well. His "color" is apparently purple, since he has a purple harness and leash now, and someone put purple bows in his fur. When we took him on a walk, a lady came over to see him and was calling him a "she", then turned to us and said, "It better be a she...." We grinned and shook our head.

He doesn't have a name yet. We've been considering "dark"-sounding and regal names, since he's a black poodle. Names from Edgar Allan Poe (Amontillado, Edgar, Usher, Valdemar, and so on), Halloween and Gothic-sounding (Samhain, Shadowed, etc.) have been suggested. None have fit. Our mom wanted us to give him a "big dog" name like Butch or Killer. So far, as a puppy, he fits a name more like Wiggle-butts or Poopsie better than anything very serious. Suggestions are definitely welcome.

Tomorrow is our first day going to work (actually a series of lectures at a hotel) for a full day without someone home to watch him. We don't want to crate him that long and aren't sure we could get home even at lunch to exercise, feed, and let him relieve himself. It may end up that our mom, who was planning on attending the conference, will have to stay home with him. This is a bummer since she paid for attendance and it wasn't cheap, plus she simply wanted to go.

This weekend it continues as a workshop, but since it will be at our place of work, we can bring him along. It's still rather stressful. We expected our sister to be here to puppy-sit, but she went out of town.

We've had a few messes so far, and a lot of play. Isis hasn't killed him -- she's lifted her lips but been scolded for it. She was playing with him earlier (we were so excited!) and was being extremely gentle, though we only want them to play under supervision right now. The pup likes to lick her and Gypsy's faces, and pounces around trying to get them to play. It's unbearably cute. Pup chases the cats but doesn't actually try to get them. No one seems to really mind him at all, which is nice -- rarely do all the cats and dogs in our house get along with one of their brethren.

We aren't sure how large he'll get. He's five pounds right now, though since poodles are measured in height, that doesn't help much. His paws don't seem very big (or proportionately large). Whatever size he ends up being, it'll be great.

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