Shelley Widhalm

Archive for the ‘First puppy’ Category

Dog Training 101

In Alpha dog status, Deaf to the word "no", Dog training, First puppy on July 12, 2010 at 2:46 am

Zoey, my miniature dachshund, is very cute and sweet, as many people who meet her tell me, but she also is a bit naughty and very deaf to the word “no.” This made her a difficult trainee during our battle for alpha dog status. Granted, she was my first dog, and I didn’t know what I was doing, despite buying how-to books on puppies, dogs and dachshunds and putting her through puppy kindergarten.

Potty training is a given difficulty in puppy training. I sat outside with Zoey every couple of hours (when I wasn’t at work) to try to convince her that the outdoors was her toilet bowl, not the carpet or the rugs. I think she figured I was accompanying her in the backyard, so I could watch her chew on the wood on the deck stairs or run around, sniffing for thrills. She got treats (and still does) for a successful potty and, after five or six weeks, caught on to the Pavlov response of peeing for treats.

Potty wasn’t so bad, compared to Zoey’s propensity for chewing furniture, biting at pant legs and body parts for attention, barking like a 100-pound dog at the smallest of noises and wanting to go in and out, in and out all day long, as if the grass were greener on whichever side of the fence she did not dominate.

When she was naughty, she would not stop if I told her “no” and was even more determined to continue. If I ignored her or she wanted my attention now! she would become even more mischievous. She was stubborn, manipulative and wanted her own way.

I considered throwing in the towel, selling her, returning her, taking her to the pound. But I loved her, even so.

I tried everything to get her to behave. I told her “no” so often, my vocabulary became stunted. I ignored her, squirted her with a water gun, clapped and made lots of noise, lightly spanked her behind and put her in time-outs. Nothing seemed to work, except time and waiting for her to learn and to grow up. And I, too, had to learn how to understand her and love her back, even when I felt like the runt of our litter.

My sleep buddy

In First puppy, Kennel snubbing, What's important, Wrapped around Zoey's paw on June 20, 2010 at 8:10 pm

I went to a wedding the day I brought my new puppy Zoey home from a mall pet store. I couldn’t exactly put her on hold, nor did I want to take the chance that someone else might buy her. I loved carrying her through the mall, everyone turning their heads to see the tiny 2.8-pound dog in my arms.

When I got my 9-week puppy to the house, she explored, and then we played tug-of-war with her new rope toy and chase with her stuffed hedgehog and mini-tennis balls. I felt reluctant to leave Zoey on our first day together, but I didn’t want to cancel my plans and miss out on the fun, plus I wanted to keep my word and not cancel my “yes” RSVP.

My coworker and her sister picked me up at 4 p.m., so we could drive in one car to our friend Sarah’s wedding, where we ate, dance and partied until 1 p.m. I kept thinking about Zoey, hoping that she was doing okay, especially when she was in her kennel after my mom went to bed (I was living with her at the time after getting laid off, and though I was four months into my new job, I was worried about possible layoffs there).

I got home at 2 p.m. I showed off Zoey to my coworker and her sister, said my “thank you’s” and got ready for bed, then took Zoey out for potty time. She took 20 minutes, but I had a coat over my pj’s on that February night, so I didn’t mind waiting (I would later whenever it rained or I was really tired).

Back in the house, I kissed Zoey on the top of her head and gave her a hug. I put her to bed in her kennel, but she made this pitiful crying, whining and “I’m so abused” sound that I couldn’t take it anymore after about an hour of trying to ignore her. I turned on the light, took Zoey out of her kennel and warned her that this was the only night we would share a bed.

Zoey, however, wanted her way, and I’m a pushover. Her sad sounds got to me the next night and the third night, and that was it. She’s my sleep buddy and my best friend. She’s got me wrapped around her paw, and she knows it.

Hello world!

In First puppy, Puppy love, Shelley and Zoey on June 16, 2010 at 12:12 am

I wasn’t planning on getting a puppy. I wanted to some day, but that some day was far off. I was in year five of my allergy shots and found that I could be around my friends’ cats and dogs without sneezing and wiping at my runny eyes. Since my teddy bear days, I was an animal lover, resorting to befriending and dressing my bears every morning, knowing that my relationship with animals would have to be imaginary.

A couple years ago, it dawned on me that I could in fact get a cat or a dog. I bought a cat record book and a guidebook for your first cat. I figured I would get a cat, because I was single and worked full time and wouldn’t be around enough to give a dog enough attention.

In February 2009, I went to a mall pet store and saw a short-haired miniature dachshund and held him and thought, “I want this dog.” I went back three days later to hold him again, and he was gone. I cried driving back to my house, and as I lay in bed that night, I tried to figure out what was wrong with me. I knew that I longed for a pet, but I was being a bit ridiculous about it.

A week later, I was feeling dog lonely, so I want back to the pet store and saw a long-haired miniature dachshund and held her. She had a black strip down her back and black lines extending from the corner of her eyes as if she was a punk rocker. I wanted her but this time did not cry. I brought my mother back the next day for a second opinion, not wanting to make any rash decisions. My mother held Zoey, and that was it. We both fell in love. My mother suggested the name, liking it after just finishing a book with a character named Zoey. The name fits – she is so easy to fall for with her zaniness and crazy love of life.