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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Random Leloo photos

ahhhhh what a cutie!

Puppy is sleepy.... 




Ahhh Leloo Leloo

I come home from work today and Leloo is waiting for me at the door with a bone in her mouth.  Now this isn't strange except when I left this morning for work the bone was wrapped in plastic and still in the pet store bag on the table since the night before.  So naturally I think, oh my husband must have given it to her before he left.  WRONG...due to my incredible detective skills I deducted that she had in fact jumped up and grabbed the bag, pulled it to the floor and unwrapped the bone herself (yeah ok, I saw the bag on the floor and the plastic wrap about 10 feet away.) I'm not surprised she did this.  I was just glad she didn't eat the plastic.  What is it, by the way, with dogs that everything must go in the mouth?  I mean how tasty can a used tissue be?  Or is it just my puppy?

I've been home for about 30 minutes and in those 30 minutes she has come in and out from outside at least 4 times.  Which means I have to go to the door and put her on and off her chain each time.  I know she needs a friend, but it's just not in the cards just yet.

Last night she was angry that I didn't take her to the pet store with me that she took it out on a box of tissues.

Now obviously I love Leloo (I mean look at this blog's title.)  There are just some days where I miss her being a "smallish" puppy that would lie on my feet while she napped 10 times a day.  I feel awful, because she deserves and needs all my attention.  I feel whiny, because she's the one that's been home most of the day alone.  I just can't wait for warmer weather and longer days.  She'll be at the park everyday if I can help it.

**I am excited though, because today I found out that we go into a dog training course starting next month.  We've done one class before, but there are still things I'd like to work on.  ie. jumping up and getting her to calm down when new people are around.  I will keep everyone updated on what we learn.

Monday, March 28, 2011

10 most dangerous dogs

Ok not everything online should be trusted.  I was surfing the internet though and found several "10 most dangerous dogs" lists on various websites.  No need to list their addresses, just type in 10 most dangerous dogs in any web browser.   I heard of these lists, but I hadn't come across them before.

Now all the dogs you would expect are on these lists.  Pit bulls, Doberman Pinchers, German shepherds, Rottweilers, Chows, and Akitas.  Those don’t surprise me based on their use as guard dogs.  At the same time, I don’t believe that a dog can be evil if not trained to be so.  What was shocking to me was seeing Siberian Huskies either at #3 or #4.  I couldn’t even remotely see a Siberian as being dangerous. 

The reason I don’t believe Leloo is dangerous is because I’ve worked with her not to do that.  I’ve shown her that humans are the boss and she can’t bite the hand that feeds her.  She still has issues with stealing socks, tissues and anything similar to either.  She tries to fight for said items, but I can rub her head, touch her while she’s growling and she still won’t bite me.  I’ve found that in Leloo’s case she just wants to play or to get attention.  The second she finds something more interesting, like a treat, she drops the item.  I’ve used the “trade” command.  It doesn’t always work, but most times it’s easier than trying to get whatever she’s stolen out of her mouth.  For my husband, all he has to do is put his hand out and she almost automatically drops whatever is in her mouth.

At the same time with other animals, Leloo is generally gentle.  Every now and again she gets too excited for a friend she jumps on other dogs.  Leloo showed great restraint at the park over the weekend.  Another dog, an Alaskan Eskimo dog, did not like her.  Not that she did anything at all to him, he just didn’t like her.  The second he entered the park, he blazed right up to her and jumped on top of her.  Biting and scratching.  It took his owner to get him off of her. She barely reacted to it all.  She looked at him and tried to get out from underneath him.  According to all the dangerous dog websites, she was supposed to kill that dog.  At the very least be aggressive to anyone that came near her.  Somehow though she just looked confused and walked away! Hmmmmm makes you think doesn’t it?  I blame the owner of that other dog for his bad behavior.  The dog was obviously over pampered.  He seemed to have zero training.

During my hunting online I found out about this site:  American Temperament Test Society, Inc. This is a non-biased non-for-profit group that does temperament testing of dog breeds.  I found it really interesting that Siberians ranked higher than several dogs considered to be “good family pets” such as: standard poodle, dachshund, beagle, collie (you know lassie), Chinese crested (ugly hairless dog), Chihuahua, schnauzer, and my favorite the Portuguese water dog (Our president’s dog).   Here is the rating for Siberian’s 

Could a Siberian bite someone?  Sure can! Can any dog be trained to be fearful, and aggressive?  Sure, but my point is so could any other dog.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What a small world

I just found out the other day that someone I've worked with for 2 years also has a husky.  We don't work in the same department, so she didn't see my cubicle plastered with husky pictures until recently.  Nor did I know she had a husky.  I love hearing stories from other husky owners.  All the good and the bad.  So of course I had to bombard her with questions and stories.

It was great to ask her many questions, because this is her second husky.  Her current husky "G" is 11 years old.  She had great advice about avoiding slick floors like hardwood.  Which is great timing since we are renovating our house.  I did notice that Leloo has a hard time with hardwood floors, but my coworker said to avoid them altogether if possible.  "G" has bad hips from slipping and sliding so much.  Poor thing can't jump into the car anymore, and gets extremely nervous coming down the stairs.  Considering huskies can suffer from hip dysplasia this is very important.

What I also found out was most huskies start to calm down around three.  Of course each dog is an individual, but that's the norm.  I am fairly used to her rambunctiousness, but it would be nice to have her calmer.  My husband disagreed.  He think she isn't Leloo if she isn't hyper. 

The thing that was the most shocking is my coworker actually finds the howling annoying.  I think it's hilarious and of course from the moment we brought Leloo home we encouraged it.  My coworker on the other hand finds it to be worse than barking.  That's crazy!!!

She was super sweet and I can't wait to ask her more questions in the future.  Hopefully she won't get sick of it.

**On a side note to other bloggers.  How do you add to blogger's dictionary?  "Leloo" keeps coming up as a spelling error and it's driving me nuts!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dog park

It's so frustrating to take your dog to the "dog" park and there aren't any other dogs there.  Leloo usually only gets a good workout if she can play with other dogs.  We went to the park, but of course like the last few times there weren't any dogs there.  Yes I will have to take her for a walk, but I'm being lazy right now!  I'm hoping she will be patient and play outside for awhile.  I'm still cold from being at the park in 35 degree weather!
Leloo aways has fun at the park.  She gets super excited as soon as we turn down the road leading up to it.

These are from previous fun park days:

Monday, March 21, 2011

Digging for gold

Hello all.  One thing you have to understand about huskies.  They like to dig!  Right now we have about 6 craters in our yard.  A few are old, but most were created in just the last few days since the snow melted and the ground got hard again.  I'm not sure if she's searching for lost gold or rodents, but she's making a mess. 
To give you an idea of these craters, imagine small meteors falling to earth!  Yesterday I realized that one of the holes she was digging had an underground wire exposed.  Fortunately she didn't chew on it or scratch the plastic coating.  My husband filled the hole back in and even put some of her poo on it to deter her from digging there again.  IT TOOK 5 MINUTES and she had that hole reopened.  We have reverted back to the stake in the ground and she now can't get over to that side of the yard.  Like I've said before stakes make me nervous.  If it rains hard here the ground gets soft and she can pull the stake out of the ground.  So far so good.  I'm still not holding my breathe.  Also this will not stop the digging it will just keep her from anything dangerous.

I don't have any advice on digging obviously.  I've been told to get a sand box and teach her that it's ok to dig in the sand, but not the grass.  How I don't know yet. We may try that once we have a fenced in yard.  Having a sand box in your front yard is fine when you have kids, but otherwise it just looks strange.  Of course having craters doesn't look much better.

We have really really nice neighbors who don't complain when Leloo occasionally howls or barks, they don't even mind if occasionally I run screaming through their yard chasing her.  I do wonder if they mind our yard looking like a war zone!  I'm sure being that both sides are elderly they expected us, being the new young couple on the block, to have little kids so this really isn't any different.  Our kid just walks on all fours and likes to play in the mud.  Ok I'm sure some human kids do that too!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Talking back

Leloo has always been vocal.  Most of the time she cries when she wants something.  We can't help but laugh at her every time she starts talking.  In the last few months we've taught her to say "thank you".  It's awesome.  Of course it only sounds like thank you if you listen closely, and of course so far that's all she'll say.  Most of the time, if I hold a treat without even saying a word she'll say thank you.  Hold it longer and she'll break into song.  Thank you, tk u, thannnnnnnnkkkkkk yyyyouuuuu!!!!  It's super cute!

When she's frustrated though the talking back can be annoying (although we still laugh at her).  Have you ever seen a two year old throw a temper tantrum?  Well if you've never been privy to that joy, it works in phases, there is the folding of the arms, the scowl, the red face, then the crying/screaming, and finally they're rolling around on the floor pounding their fists.  Well a husky tantrum is pretty similar.  She starts with howling (hitting several octaves), then barking (sharp loud barks), and then front arms sprawled butt in the air giving you the stare down.
This is the look! Our favorite picture by the way!!  Usually following "the look"  she starts howling similar to a monkey and rolling around on the floor.   This is the point where I'm laughing and waiting for her to calm herself down.  Usually it take about 5-10 minutes, but she will finally concede.  Then we'll start over on asking her what she wants.

I suggest asking "what do you want, show me" and follow that with standing in front of them and giving them the attention to show you.  Make sure you always follow if they lead you to what they want.  Eventually they will know what it means.  You don't always have to give them what they want.  You're still in charge, just follow them.  You can then just say "NO" and walk away.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ready to Run!

For those of you who are parents I'm sure you can imagine or worse yet have experienced those moments when you couldn't find your child.  Maybe at a store you turn around and where your kid once was looking at a toy was suddenly gone.  I've had many of those moments with Leloo.  Huskies are known for their strength and speed.  Breed for pulling sleds in Arctic conditions.  Well that same strength and speed is great for running the Iditarod, but not so awesome in Indiana.  Flat land, corn fields are more or less race tracks for them. 

We have been through several different kinds of leashes, collars and tie downs trying to keep Leloo safely in our yard.  We have finally settled on a steel chain tie out until we can afford a fence.  I have several escape stories.  One of my favorites is when she was about 6 months old, I wanted her to play outside without me but within my sight.  So I hooked two leashes together and tied the leash to our deck post.  She was outside for about an hour.  I looked out to check on her and she was on the porch again.  A minute later I didn't see her.  I stood up to see if she was just out of view.  All of a sudden she was at the edge of our property sniffing a tree.  Of course, the second I ran out the back door she took off even further away.  Right into the corn field behind our house.  I looked down and realized she had chewed right through the leash.  Now I'm running through the corn field with her constantly 50 feet ahead of me.  Every foot closer she would increase her speed.  She'd look back and see I was still chancing her with her big husky smile, tongue hanging out.  After probably 20 minutes of running and walking I stopped and knelled down.  At the time the corn was 2.5-3 feet high.  I could see her tail bouncing over the corn, so I could see her.  When I knelled down, she couldn't see me.  She would run back.  When I realized this worked I started dipping down to see if she would come all the way back to me.  That really started to work, but then the second she could see me again she'd take off.  The last time I knelled down I waited to hear her dog tags rattling. The rattling was now getting further away.  I stood up and suddenly I couldn't see her.  I start screaming for her and...nothing!!  I was in a panic.  Just then I noticed the wind is picking up and the corn were swaying.  I look up at the sky and the clouds are getting darker.  Then BAM!!!  Lightning strikes the neighboring corn field.  Great now it's storming.  I start screaming for her even loader and nothing still.  I decided I better take shelter so I head back to the house.  About 10 feet from the edge of the field.  I hear her tags rattling.  All of a sudden there she is running to me from our back yard.  She came back to the house the way we had left it.  I guessed when she couldn't see me she panicked too.

What we've learned:
  • Collars must be made of thick nylon at least with large metal buckles.  They can not hang or dangle in any way to where your husky can chew on it.  It must be tight at all times around their neck.  Use the one finger rule.  If you can get a finger between their neck and the collar it's just tight enough.  Do not feel bad for keeping it tight.  With all their fur it appears to be tight, but it's not tight enough to chock them. 
  • When a fence is not an option, get a tie-out made of metal specifically the chain kind.  Don't make the assumption that if their is a husky on the packaging that it's strong enough for them.  The stake needs to be able to go down at least a foot and a half.  But the main issue I have with stakes are they work great as long as it hasn't rained lately.  Don't use if the soil is muddy.  Your husky will pull that stake out of the ground like it's slicing butter.  Also the chain needs to be at least 20-30 feet long so the dog can have plenty of room to run.
  • Finally for leashes buy the thick double handle kind at least 6 feet long.  It looks like a regular leash, but it has a second loop near the hook.  This second loop gives you extra grip for when you see other dogs, cars or people.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Vet visits

Today was Leloo's one year vet visit.  I had to post about this, because vet visits are always fun.  Today she was due for her rabies, distemper and heart worm test.  I was excited about the visit because I really wanted to ask the doctor if her strange eating habits are normal.  Most days she has a lack of interest in eating her food.  I read in a magazine it was normal for huskies to only eat when they are hungry, but I can never take information from just one source.  Leloo can go a whole day without eating food.  Treats are a whole other story.  Apparently this is very common with huskies.  Who knew!  I can't go more than a few hours without eating.

I've realized after several vet visits that the key to keeping her calm is to take her for a walk or if there is time take her to the park beforehand.  Since I didn't monitor the time, we went for a quick walk.  By walk I mean being dragged down the road, diving at every single mailbox and questionable mound in the road (aka roadkill). If you have joint issues or fear of losing a limb, HUSKIES are not for you!  Walk done we were on our way to the vet office.

Now another thing I've learned about vet visits is - try to make her pee before we go in the building.  I learned this lesson the hard way.  The last time we were at the vet, Leloo mistook the exam room as a lush green field!  TWICE!!! It was a mess and I was the one embarrassed.  I was desperate not to relive that happy memory, so I'm telling her to go potty and walking around the grass area outside the office.  Of course today she was too distracted by all the smells outside the building to pee.  We went in with compete hesitation.  Fortunately she didn't need to go, so all was well with that.  Although I was looking for the all the signs.  Stiff back legs and sniffing around.  Then there's a one second warning where she looks around to see if the all clear sign is up.  WHICH IS NEVER UP INDOORS!!!  Ahhh puppies.

The first thing the vet assistant did was "try" to weigh Leloo.  She has never been very good at just standing in one spot by command.  We're working on "stay", but it's a work in progress.  After a minute of the scale going up and down and telling her to sit 20 times, we all decided she weighs 47lbs.  Finally we went into the room and Leloo always has to sniff every single surface.  This really annoys my husband.  I just take it as normal behavior.  The vet assistant then took leloo out of the room to clip her nails and do the heart worm test.  Helpful hint: Always have someone else cut your husky's nails!!!  You will thank me later.   So back to my story.  While my husband and I were sitting there waiting for her to come back, we can hear Leloo screaming like a monkey.  You'd think they were torturing her.  She came back in the room with the "where's mom" look on her face.  It's super cute. 

Next step is waiting for the doctor to come in the room.  Surprisingly it wasn't a long wait.  Maybe 5 minutes.  The whole time my husband is commanding Leloo to jump up onto the exam table.  I kept saying I think it's too high, then sure enough she did it.  That kind of scared me.  I knew she could jump pretty high, but I didn't think 3 feet without a running start.  I'm now thinking a 4 foot fence really is too short (we're saving for a fence).  Once the doctor came in she was back on the floor.  She did well with the shots, just whimpered a little.  She didn't move with the help of the vet-in-training.  Our vet asked us if we had any questions and I got all excited.  This is where he told me she's perfectly normal.  Then he asked us if we were planning on kids!!!! Both me and my husband had bug eyes at this point.  Why is he asking us that??? I say well eventually, why?  All he wanted was for us to let him know, because he has advice to give us about dogs and kids in the same house.  Or something like that, I was still stunned that the vet asked us if we were having kids.

Finally the vet and the trainee were giving Leloo treats so we told her to sit and say "thank you".  She's not allowed any treats without doing something in return.  Leloo gladly sat and said in her husky voice "thank you".  I was so proud.  The vet and the trainee laughed and kept giving her treats to get her to do it again.  She'll do this until her voice is hoarse.  That I guarantee.  The doctor kept commenting on how nice she is and how she shouldn't like him cause he's the guy that gives the shots. Leloo loves everyone that lets her lick them.  That's just the husky way!

The vet ended the appointment telling us she perfectly healthy and told us well done on raising her.  This is the joy part I mentioned before...


I'd like to start off by saying I'm not perfect!  My husband and I adopted a husky and just winged it!  We thought, "it's just a dog, how hard can it be?" Huh! Yeah well that was an understatement.  Leloo is now 15 months old and I have to say the last 13 months we've had her has been a mixture of frustration and joy.

"Why husky?",  you ask. Well I loved the movie white fang as a kid.  I always thought white fang was an awesome dog.  He was strong, loyal, smart, beautiful, and could sleep in the snow.  I didn't care about the actor, I was all about the dog.  What would be cooler than a dog that looks like a wolf.  Now obviously white fang wasn't a Siberian husky, but I realized that as I got older.  When my husband and I started dating we were shocked to realize we both loved the same kind of dog.  Of course as soon as we purchased our first house it was just natural that we get a husky.

Now in this blog, I promise to share all the ups and downs of being a husky parent.  I say parent because that's what it's like to us.  People around me talk about their kids and I talk about my dog.  She's a member of our family regardless of her species.  I'd like to think it will always be that way.