Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Well, there have been no more housebreaking issues since my last update.

Here are what I think are the two main reasons:

1. An actual walk in the morning as opposed to a short romp in the backyard
2. No more human food

I am very pleased with Megan's progress. I have almost trained her to do Down. This is something that has been difficult for me with any dog in the past. She also knows rollover. One thing that I have trained her to do which I am rather ambivalent about is Up. She will stand on her hind legs and put her front paws on my chest. I think what I have done is channel this natural behavior into something she does on command. She doesn't really spontaneously jump on me anymore but rather waits for me to tell her to do it.

Basic obedience classes start in about a month. I think they will be fun!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The good and the bad

It's been a while since I've updated on Megan, hasn't it? Mostly it's good, but not all!

Teaching her to go down to the basement is a mixed bag. I keep telling myself that when the tornado warning start, I'll be glad she'll just go. Also, she seems to be pretty intolerant of heat and it's a good place for her to cool off. However, there is a downside. Or many. The first I noticed was a big pile of poop. Pam discovered it and it seemed to be a couple days old at the time. In her defense, It DID look like diarrhea so I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt. I suppose the basement isn't the worst place. Then it was the cat food. I feed the cat on top of an old desk in the basement. This was high enough to be a deterrent for Sparky the cocker spaniel. It seemed like Dulcinea had been cleaning her dish more quickly than usual. It seemed like Megan was awfully anxious to get down there soon after I had fed  the cat. I don't know why it took so long for met to put two and two together. Just a little while ago, I caught her peeing down there. I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt here, too. It is the middle of the night, I didn't let her out right before I went to bed and I am still not sure how to interpret her middle-of-the-night signals. Most of the time she just wants attention but... Also, I caught her in the act and was able to stop her and put her outside. I'm hoping this is just an isolated incident.

On the good side, we made our first visit out to Pam's sister's house with Megan. Laura has two dogs - an elderly husky named Peaches and a rambunctious 1-1/2 year old, three-legged Saint Bernard named Falstaff. She and Peaches sniffed at each other and then pretty much ignored each other.Things were a little exciting with Falstaff at first, but they worked things out pretty quickly. This is a big step because Megan hadn't met other dogs in a social situation before. Laura has taken care of Sparky in the past when we went on vacation.  Now I feel confident leaving Megan there as well. A co-worker of Pam's has asked us to watch her yellow lab over Memorial Day weekend. It is helpful to know that Megan can get along with other dogs in confined spaces. Of course, I know things are different in her own house. We plan to have Titan over for a trial run first.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mission accomplished

We had severe thunderstorm warnings last night so everyone went down to the basement. Except Megan. Pam and I together just couldn't get her to go down. Finally, we gave up. Pam thought maybe she would come down eventually because everyone else was down there. She didn't.  I knew we had to start training her to go down to the basement before tornado season. I figured it would take a few days to a couple weeks of gradual project. It worked in less than an hour! She amazes me with how smart and trainable she is. I guess I am still accustomed to Sparky the cocker spaniel who wasn't the brightest bulb and was also very stubborn - if he didn't want to do something he wouldn't do it no matter how much you tried to train him differently. Megan is just so responsive. There are nine stairs down to the basement. The first four are just solid walls on either side. By the fifth step, the right side is open and you can see into the finished section where we sleep during severe weather. I used bits of sausage and cheese to slowly lure her down. By the time she got to the fifth stair she looked over to the right and I could tell she was very curious. After we got past that fifth stair it was smooth sailing. Of course, I made a big fuss once she got all the way down to the bottom. Then she trotted around eagerly investigating everything. Before I left for work this morning she'd been up and down by herself a few times. She starts obedience school May 18th. I can't wait to see how she responds to structured learning!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Last night when it started thundering, Megan disappeared. I found her in the bedroom closet. Megan likes her place in the closet. I have put a makeshift bed in there and it seems to be her safe place. I have taken to giving her melatonin at night because she is restless anyway. During the thunderstorms she just doesn't seem to know what to do. Her initial instinct was to go outside to escape the noise but of course, that didn't work. I had to let her try it though. She wants to be wherever we are so if we aren't in the bedroom, she is lying on her usual bed in the living room shivering. She doesn't want to eat - she even spit out milk bones. As long as it doesn't get worse, it seems like something we can deal with. Speaking of severe weather I do have a concern. Megan WILL NOT go in the basement. In the past I have tried calling her to come down because if I go down she stands at the top of the stairs whining. Although she wants to be with me, she doesn't want it bad enough to come down. Stairs aren't the problem because on vacation we had to go up and down stairs all the time and she did it with no balking at all. This morning I tried putting her on a leash because that has worked in other cases when she doesn't want to go somewhere. Not this time. She absolutely will not go. I'd like to be able to get her in the basement in case of a tornado warning.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Megan passes another test

We went to the dog park again today. At first there were no other dogs. So Megan ran around within park boundaries just like she did last time. We were just getting ready to leave when Rusty joined us. I had never seen Rusty before I would say he is a basenji mix. I was a little worried but they got on famously. They took turns chasing each other. There was a little dominance posturing (by Megan) but nothing serious. All in all, I think Megan had a blast. She seemed so happy! Then when we got home she went to get a drink from our (very small) pond. But she didn't stop at the edge. She kept walking until she was standing in the middle of it.Silly girl!