Friday, July 31, 2009


Last night I cuddled with Theo. I picked him up and held him in my lap, and he put his head down on my leg and rested quietly while I gently pet him. This may sound like a completely normal interaction for a person and his/her dog, but I don't have just any dog. I have Theo. Mr. 2 foot rule. He doesn't do laps. He doesn't do petting. He certainly doesn't reward you with cuddles when you have the audacity to lift his tushy off the ground. So what, you may ask, was the matter with him? Oh, I may have forgotten to mention that his head was swollen up like the Pillsbury dough boy at the time. Yeah, that might have had something to do with it.

You may recall this same exact thing happened almost this exact time last year. It was not a doggy daycare day, so when I got home I took him out to go potty and play some fetch. He was fine during this period. After about 5 minutes we went back inside to play some more fetch. He was fine during this period. After about 30 minutes Husband came home with dinner. Theo was very interested in the food, as per usual. I fed him his dinner, and Husband and I ate ours (Rubio's, yum!). It was about this time I noticed Theo's face looking ever slightly so puffy, and his behavior being ever so slightly different. Over the next 15 minutes or so he puffed up like a balloon. He went from being happy to miserable. Queue the lap time with mommy. He was in dire need of some comfort, poor thing.

I don't know what the heck happened to him. He ate the same food he always eats, we went only so far as the backyard for 5 minutes. He didn't seem to have any bee strings or obvious punctures or pains. I checked his feet, his muzzle, his legs. It was obviously a reaction of some kind, so I broke out the children's Benedryl. Remembering my mistake last time of not giving him enough, I gave him 3 teaspoons this time. After about 10 minutes the swelling went down considerably, but he was still pretty swollen, so after another 20 minutes I gave him 2 teaspoons more. That did it. His face went back to being ever slightly so puffy. Husband also decided that he felt a little hot, so we gave him some crushed ice, which he couldn't seem to get enough of. I think that may have helped with the swelling a bit too. His energy came back with a vengeance. He was playing fetch non-stop, so we figured it was safe to walk him. He did great. No issues. We put him to bed, and hoped he'd be okay in the morning.

This morning I woke up and checked on Theo. He looked fine. I couldn't tell if there was still that small amount of swelling because he was still in his crate, but there was no obvious swelling. I went for my run (Theo doesn't like to come running with me anymore. He prefers to run at night, apparently, but that's another post), I came home and let him out of his crate. He still looked fine. Maybe the tiniest hint of swelling, but I think I was mostly just being paranoid. I played a little fetch with him, then went on to do more exercising. While I was exercising, I noticed Theo being very restless. He went from laying next to the sofa, to on top of the sofa, to the foot of the sofa in the other room, the the top of that sofa, etc. Usually he just runs upstairs and hangs out on his bed until he hears me preparing his breakfast. So obviously, something was still wrong with him. Then the swelling began again. This time it was his eye and cheek that swelled. I tell you, it would have been hilarious if he didn't look so dang miserable.

He was still very willing to eat, but he had no interest in crushed ice this time. I gave him the last of the children's Benedryl, which was only 2 teaspoons. It helped, but he was still pretty swollen while Husband and I were getting dressed for work and discussing what to do. I asked Husband to take him to the vet, even though last time they charged us $300, for what was basically just a shot of concentrated Benedryl. Theo was obviously uncomfortable, so I figured I would just pay for the drugs.

$130 later (woohoo! Half the cost this time around!) Theo got his shot and we got some anti-inflamatory pills, including enough to last us until when this happens again next year. Hopefully when I pick him up at doggy daycare today he'll be his normal skinny-faced self. Poor thing.

What keeps happening? We have no clue, and neither does the vet. I noticed when his face swelled this morning that it started on his muzzle, and it looked like a bump or two formed before the rest of his face swelled. I would guess it's a bug bite of some kind that his system just really doesn't like. I'm going to wash his bedding tonight, in case there's a spider hiding in there or something. *shudder!*

I'm trying to look on the bright side of things. At least I got to cuddle my dog last night!

And no, I didn't take any pictures. I would have...I was just too busy being an over-worrying puppy mama. By the time I thought to take any the swelling was mostly gone. Maybe next time.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Not Mommy Socialized?

When Theo was a puppy, he got picked on sometimes by the older, wiser dogs. In other words, he got his nose chomped a few times for being a young whipper-snapper, which is the doggy equivalent of saying "get off my lawn!" Now that Theo is the ripe old age of 19 months, he's been displaying some crotchety tendencies of his own.

Let me start off by telling you something about Theo I don't think I've shared before. It's never quite come up, but Theo is a ridiculously submissive dog. Greeting a dog goes something like this: Theo sees dog and ears-back-nub-wiggling ensues. Theo and new dog meet nose to nose for about half a second before Theo rolls onto his back and spreads his legs wide for maximum goods exposure. After new dog is properly acquainted with Theo's scent, Theo will then, if permitted by the other dog, take a brief sniff of his own before either continuing to be submissive by licking the other dog's muzzle, or finally initiating a wee-bit of head jumping. Sometimes Theo will just stay on his back the entire time, even if the other dog is trying to initiate play. Either way, Theo always has an adorable look on his face that says "I'm totally non-threatening, I just want you to love me." Thankfully, he's not submissive to the point where he's scared oruncomfortable. He doesn't do submissive peeing and he never looks stressed out. As long as the dog isn't super dominant, he enjoys the encounter.

Of course, none of that applies to puppies. Theo was bullied as a puppy, so of course, now that he's big and threatening himself, he feels it's his turn to show the puppies their place.

Now, let me tell you about Fireball. He is a new puppy (~8 months old, I think) who was just adopted by someone in the neighborhood (this person already owns a dog of similar breed named Snowball, who Theo's age). I've come across Fireball while walking Theo three times this last week. Fireball is freaking adorable! He's one of those indistinguishable white, fluff dogs (usually some Poodle, Maltese, Bichon mix). He loves everyone. He loves to be pet, he loves to put your fingers in his mouth (but completely gentle), and he loves to jump all over you. He also likes to jump all over other dogs.

Theo does not like Fireball. Snowball he has no problems with. They've played together several times with no incident. Fireball, however, is a puppy. A peon. Not only does Theo growl at Fireball...he bares his teeth, very ferociously. He even snapped at him! He basically did every kind of dominant behavior you can think of, just short of straight peeing on him (which I wouldn't have put past him, given time). I was not pleased. Besides the fact that it's horribly embarrassing for my dog to be snapping at the sweetest dog on Earth, and besides the fact that it's not a behavior I will put up with for one means I can't play with Fireball! Who gets the short end of that stick? Moi!

On our second meeting, Fireball was learning not to jump all over Theo, and Theo was learning to let Fireball give him submissive kisses without snapping at him. Everything looked like they might, maybe, in time, get along. Then I reached out to pet Fireball. Oh my, was that a bad idea! Theo went ballistic! You know, in his adorable, ridiculous, Corgi way. Meeting over, we were on our way. No fair! I want to pet the puppy!

The experience made me realize that while Theo has always been well socialized with other dogs (puppy classes, doggy daycare 2-3 times a week, dog park visits, etc.), he's not necessarily well socialized when it comes to sharing Mommy. He has never liked it when I give another dog attention (though usually if there's another owner there to give him attention, he doesn't care as much), but since he's usually submissive, he doesn't raise a stink. He just gives me a pathetic look that says "how could you?" But since Theo takes the dominant role with puppies like Fireball, he has no problem telling them to back off of his Mommy in a very rude manner. I wonder, is that something dogs can get over with time and practice? Or should I count myself lucky that, thanks to his chicken-like ways, I'm able to pet other dogs at all?

As a hilarious aside, have you ever seen a 150lb Malamute act possessive with his owner? Sanook, whom I've mentioned before, does not approve of all the love his owner gives Theo (which is a lot, Theo eats this guy up with a spoon!) when we see each other, so he's taken to positioning his (humongous!) body between them and then leaning into his owner, causing him to either get up or fall over. Hehe. Oh the things you can do when you're 150lbs.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Plum Tuckered

I hope everyone had a fun and safe 4th of July! Mine was fantastic. We had some friends over for the greatest feast of all time a BBQ. We don't host many get-togethers at our house because of various reasons, mostly involving laziness busyness and my neuroses about cooking for other people and hosting in general, so Theo doesn't often have people play-dates. Oh boy, does that dog love having strange new people in the house to play fetch with him. Theo painted them all as suckers within minutes and their arrival, and between my four friends that were over, I think Theo managed to spend only a few minutes of the entire evening not running after a thrown toy.

I could tell he was at the point of poop-xaustion when, as soon as the front door was closed behind my departing friends, Theo literally collapsed where he was standing. One minute he was booty-wiggling them goodbye, and the next he was flat-backed on the floor, conked out. Husband and I enjoyed closing the evening with a good chuckle.

Then yesterday, Husband and I were feeling the aftermath of eating our weight in food the day before (not to mention the second round of pigging out that happened that day as well), so we decided to take a long waddle walk around the surrounding neighborhoods. That's right, we actually ventured out of the complex. It's something we tried for the first time last week and it was marvelous! Theo had a blast marking all new spots. I don't know how far we walked, or how long we walked (since I forgot to check the time when we left), but it felt like about 4 or 5 miles. Even though we stopped frequently for water and pee breaks (Husband and I, obviously, only partook in the water breaks), Theo was so pooped, he did the collapsing on spot thing again as soon as we stopped to open the front gate to our yard. He plopped right down, and when I told him to go in the house after Husband had opened the front door, he gave me the dirtiest "you want me to move?" look he's ever given me. Hehe. He even stayed lying down while I gave him his after-walk treats (he usually likes to lessen the time it takes to get a treat into his mouth by meeting me halfway). What a drama queen!

Looks like I did a pretty good job of tuckering him out this weekend, eh?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

We Were On A Break!

I've been meaning to post about this for a few weeks now, but I wasn't truly decided until yesterday. Theo and I are taking a break from agility class. Theo, of course, will not approve. But I need one. I was beginning to dread Wednesday nights, and the whole point of the classes was to be a night of fun for both of us. Well they're not for me lately, so on a break is where we are.

On class nights, my evening goes something like this. I pick up Theo at doggy daycare, then walk him around for 30 minutes because there's a half hour gap between when doggy daycare closes and when class starts. I'm ok with this because Theo has so much energy, he could use the walk. I usually get lots of strange looks from the people who live in the neighborhood I walk in because they're private streets, and no one recognizes me. One day I was sitting down on the curb feeding Theo his dinner (since there's not time to go home first, I bring a bag of kibble) and some guy driving by actually stopped and asked if I needed help with something. Either I looked like I was in distress, or I looked like I was up to no good. Don't know which. ;p When it's time for class, I take Theo to get a drink of water, then take him around as many obstacles as we can get to for a warm up. Really, I'm just trying to get rid of more puppy energy.

When class starts, that's when Theo's barking begins. I have to hold his leash tight because the sneaky devil will lunge forward at any moment when he decides he just has to be there on the course, showing them all how it's done. If I give him a constant stream of treats for an hour, he will be quiet, but since I won't give him that many treats, I have to endure a lot of very loud barking. It's ear-splitting, really. Sometimes I try and pick him up to make him stay quiet. Lately, he's start clawing at my neck like a cat when I do this. He stops barking, but starts whining, sounding like a piglet getting Chinese water torture. Usually people start looking at me funny, wondering what the heck I'm doing to him. It's embarrassing. Sometimes I just let him bark, and my trainer comments (and by comments, I mean she not-so-subtly tells me to shut my dog up).

When it's finally Theo's turn to run a course, I let him off leash. Usually he dashes to the course with enthusiasm, and runs over any obstacle he can find. After a good minute of calling him to our starting point, he finally mossies over. It takes another minute at least to get him to actually sit down (asking him to sit usually results in him backing up 3 feet with lots of barking in between), and another minute to get to my starting spot while getting him to stay seated. Oh, by the way, usually the other people have completed running the entire course in this amount of time. When I'm in the right spot, I tell him to go over the first obstacle. Sometimes he decides to just go around the obstacle, the little bastard. When that happens, we have to spend another 3 minutes getting back into position. When he misses his contacts, I make him go back and do it again. Usually after 3 or 4 tries, I just pretend he hit them. He's so fast, that he's usually gone 3 obstacles ahead while I'm still telling him to go over the first one. He's great at keeping an eye on me, but he doesn't do so well with the listening.

Did I mention the barking? He barks the whole time he runs a course. It's because he's excited. He wants to let everyone know how awesome and excited he is. Too bad he's usually too busy barking to listen to me. Our exchange usually goes something like this: Me, pointing to jump, "Theo, jump!" Theo, standing in front of jump, looking at me, "bark! bark! bark!" Me, pointing to the jump, "Theo, JUMP!" Theo, after he's gone around the jump, then jumped over it backwards, "bark! bark! bark!" If it weren't so frustrating, it would be, without a doubt, absolutely hilarious. Usually while there's steam coming out of my ears, the entire class is in stitches. It almost seems like an old-style comedy routine.

I could live with the humiliation except apparently Theo is a little too excitable. My trainer told me the last class of the last session that Theo was launching himself into the A-frame too hard, and she was afraid he was going to hurt his shoulders. He's such a boy! She actually suggested we go back to beginning agility to work on his contacts. Beginning agility! After 3 classes of advanced! Heck no! Beginning agility was boring even when we were beginners! I'm sure we could have worked something else out, but I was down-right insulted at the suggestion.

I was so frustrated after that class that I was ready to give up agility all together. But then I remembered how much Theo loves it. He's only that big of a pain because he has so much fun, he just can't contain himself. He is a Corgi after all. They do all things all out, right? And then the woman who runs the doggy daycare (who also helps teach the agility class) told me very emphatically that Theo is an agility prodigy. He is really good at it and he loves it. He has no fear on any of the obstacles, and he's faster than the wind. If he could just focus (I took this to mean if he had a better handler), he could be really great. How could I cut him off after that? I can't. And I won't.

But that said, I do still need a break. In another 7-8 weeks, another class will start up. I think I've convinced Husband to start coming with me to class. I'm hoping he'll give handling a try. Husband has 10 times my patience, and he's wicked smart, so I'm convinced he could be a really good handler for Theo. And if not, maybe he can at least help me with keeping Theo quiet!

The woman who runs the doggy daycare also suggested I put agility equipment in the backyard for Theo to play around on. Her reasoning was that he'll be less psychotic in class if he can play on similar equipment at home. Two problems with that: first, money does not grow out of my bum, and second, my backyard is made of concrete. Otherwise, it's a great idea. Anyone want to buy me agility equipment? Ho-hum.

Corgi Stuff Giveaway

No sorry, it's not I who is giving Corgi paraphernalia away. For that kind of awesomeness you'll have to check out Gibson's blog, Corgi Butts. In honor of turning one year old, Kelly is giving away credits for her store. How cool! I haven't gotten anything Corgi-related since my dad sent me a "Corgis for Obama" magnet. I wouldn't mind a "Corgi Agility" tshirt, or an "I love Corgi butts: license plate frame. Wish me luck! I never win these things.