Dog

Mason Whips His Hair Back and Forth

Posted on May 6, 2013. Filed under: Dog |

Mason shed 5 pounds recently…

At the groomer.

Mason before

BEFORE

and

after 1

AFTER

Like the summer do? He may have been hanging his head in shame at first, but he is quite happy with his shorter locks for summer.

Mason face

Mason body

He looks so svelte. Is svelte a manly word? I don’t think it is. Hmmm… He looks so toned. I was worried he’d be a fat under that fur. It was hard to tell.  He looks fantastic, though!

after 2

He’s freer, cooler, and doesn’t drag as much crap in the house as he used to. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Mason instagram

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One Year Old

Posted on March 21, 2013. Filed under: Dog |

Our furry babe recently celebrated his first birthday:

Mason birthday

How bittersweet for us! Ha! No, it was as anticlimactic as you would think a dog’s birthday would be. We got him a special treat at a local pet store and sang him Happy Birthday. That’s it.

duck back

Yummy dried duck back

Mason’s been with us for 10 months now since we took him home at 8 weeks and I wanted to provide an update on the good and the not-as-good of owning a dog. 99.9% of the time, Mason’s such a joy. He’s so smart. You can read about his tricks here. He’s such a lover. He loves to snuggle. He’ll lay his head on our feet in the family room while he takes a nap. He’ll jump up on the couch and curl up beside us. (Yes, we went back on our no furniture rule. Mason’s too cute to resist and at 31 pounds, he’s small enough to share a cushion with.)

Mason cuddle

Whenever Adam and I hug, one of us will instantly feel Mason’s front feet on our hips. He has to get in on the affection. He refuses to be left out. He brings a toy to the door every time we come home. He loves sticks, squirrels, people, cheese, bacon, walks, other dogs, puddles, digging holes, and sleeping under the bed.

Mason went under the knife for his ahem at the end of January.

Mason cone

At the vet’s office that morning, he marked the examining room wall. I think he was trying to have the last word. Little did he know that Dr. Moire had the last word… Poor guy. He was so funny that first night at home before the drugs wore off and he was getting used to the cone. He kept running into things and then he would just stand still in a spot for a long time because it wasn’t worth it to try to go anywhere. Mason would hang his furry head in shame and get the bottom of the cone stuck in the floor and he couldn’t move forward. So funny, but so sad. He was back to his normal self within a few days. We left him at home without the cone on the fifth day after surgery since he wasn’t disturbing his incision. I, like the worrisome mother I am, rushed home around lunch time to make sure he hadn’t ripped open his stitches. Of course he left the stitches alone, but this is what I found instead:

Coke cans

Yikes. Our counter surfer. We line up recyclables on the counter near our back door to take out to our bin in the garage. Mason’s never disturbed these items before, but there’s a first time for everything. What you don’t see in this picture is that he managed to get an empty beer bottle off of the counter without breaking it and he carried it across the kitchen to his bed. Boozehound Mason. He loves surfing! So far he’s snatched the top off a blueberry muffin hot out of the pan,

blueberry muffins

a bag of onion rolls (he ate all 4!),

Mason onion rolls

a landscaping plan, a greeting card, a wicker placement,

Wicker placemat

and 2 aluminum cans. Needless to say, we cannot leave anything on the counter within his reach. Our fruit basket has been relegated to the dining room table where he cannot go. No paper is safe. We even push back the utensil caddy and the TV remote.

Now I love my little guy; that should be obvious based on all the pictures I post of him on this blog and Instagram. Apologies in advance for how obnoxious I’ll be when I have a human child. I love my little fur ball, but fur is what he’s got a lot of. The labra/golden doodle fans either don’t stress this enough or puppy love impaired my judgment, but fleece-coated doodles are HIGH MAIN.TEN.ANCE.

Mason blow dry

Granted, Mason is going through coat transition which happens to labradoodles and golden doodles between 8 and 12 months. Their adult coats grow in underneath their puppy coats and since they’re minimal shedders, they mat A LOT. Mason’s fur has also been pretty long because up until a few weeks ago I could not find a groomer we liked – yes, we. Mason had a horrific experience at our previous groomer: they plucked his ear hair against my wishes and he got a nasty double ear infection. He also had bad razor burn on his man parts (this is when he still had them.) It was infuriating.

Because of that awful experience, I did not take him back to a groomer until a few weeks ago.

Mason groomer

With his long hair, I have to brush him for 1 and a half to 2 hours every weekend. In between weekends, I check for mats and use a comb to break them up and comb them out. It’s not enjoyable for either one of us. We’ve had to do some serious tolerance work when it comes to brushing and bathing thanks to the grooming salon from hell. Mason’s come a long way. I’m pretty proud of him though he could still do better. I say all this not to discourage anyone from getting a doodle, but to educate you on a major con of the breed. I wouldn’t trade Mason for anything. He’s so smart, has an amazing personality, has the softest fur, and is the cutest dog ever. His positive traits more than make up for the diva-level pampering he requires. The coat maintenance has started to subside after about 12 weeks – the grooming he received a few weeks ago really helped. But it was a chore there for awhile. If you’re considering getting a doodle, you need to realistically ask yourself if you’re willing to devote the time necessary to groom them. It doesn’t take near as long if you choose to cut them back shorter, but you’ll still have to brush them every week during their transition no matter the coat length.

In our house, I am the dog brusher. I enlist Adam’s help sometimes to hold Mason or distract him with a treat. Lately, Mason’s been good enough that I can handle him on my own. Adam isn’t going to take the initiative to give Mason a brush out. Never gonna happen. Just like I’m never going to crawl under my car one day and change the oil. This is life. Wife brush dog. Husband change oil. Also, when Mason’s fur is longer, he’s like a breathing feather duster. He goes outside, collects leaves and debris, and comes back in and dumps it all on our floor. With a shorter coat, he has less material to trap things and he is not matting as much. Thank goodness!

Mason after groom

If that’s my biggest gripe about labradoodles, I think that’s pretty amazing. Plus, his fur is incredibly soft and his coat is this beautiful apricot with highlights and low lights. Mason is so darn loyal and happy-go-lucky and cute. There’s no aggression, no eliminating in the house, no health problems, no anxiety issues. He’s a pretty amazing dog. So on that note, here are the…

Top 20 things we love about Mason:

20. He’s oh-so-soft

19. He looks like a teddy bear, muppet, baby Chewbacca all in one

18. He loves everyone and every dog

17. He’s eager to please

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16. His love for cheese

15. He can catch an object in the air or on the bounce

14. He knows when people are upset and wants to comfort them.

13. He recognizes our cars by sight and sound and will run to the door when he sees them out the front window

12. He greets us with a toy and growls/howls to get you to play with him while it’s in his mouth

11. He is FANTASTIC in the car, with the windows down or up, through drive-thrus, on long trips, etc. He is so good!

static

10. He poops in the ivy or brush. Be jealous. We never have to worry about walking on it.

9. Ice is a favorite treat of his. We like this because ice is free.

8. Watching him play in his plastic pool in the summer time is like watching the happiest little kid.

pool

7. He loves to cuddle with us in bed in the morning after he’s peacefully slept underneath it all night.

6. When he wants something, he paws the air. We didn’t teach that.

5. He is so great with children and the elderly.

4. He puts up minimal fuss during grooming and teeth brushing sessions.

3. He doesn’t want to leave our sides.

side

2. He’s a cuddle-bug in bed in the morning.

mason and oreo

1. He forces us to stop and enjoy the simple things: the joy of a car ride,

Car Ride

the beauty of the outdoors,

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the fun of running around the backyard.

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Door Knobs and Photo Bombs

Posted on March 5, 2013. Filed under: Dog, Home |

Random title, I know. This post is really all about door knobs, but you’ll see what I mean about the photo bombs if you keep reading. What a ham.

We have a home improvement list. It’s very long. It keeps getting longer even though we cross items off all the time. It’s funny though. We love our house. It’s in relatively good shape. But we’re addicted to projects and putting our own stamp on things. I suppose that’s what makes a house a home.

One of the many items on our home improvement list is to replace all the interior doors with nicer, MATCHING, paneled doors. This includes hardware.

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I think details like this are the ones you tend to ignore or are completely blind to when you fall in love with your future home. Just like we didn’t notice our purple hall walls until the final walk-through (we’d already seen the house 3 times at this point, one of them being for a few hours when the inspector was there), we didn’t notice that the interior doors are very inconsistent and the hardware is even worse. These details are hard to notice to the less familiar eye, but when there is consistency I think there is a huge aesthetic improvement.

At this moment in time, we don’t want to spend a lot of cash on new interior doors. It would be expensive, time consuming, and it’s not exactly a sexy thing to spend your money on. We’ve decided to replace doors as we re-do certain areas of the house. For instance, we see a bathroom reno in our future, so while we’re redoing everything bathroom related, it will make sense to replace the bathroom door and its hinges.

In terms of door hardware, we’re taking a different approach a la my homies from Young House Love. I can call them my homies because my friend and I met them when they came to Atlanta for their book tour.

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It was better than meeting Zach Morris – er Mark Paul something-or-other (my other big celebrity meeting). I digress. This project was all their idea and I want to give them due credit. So you should check out their post on ORB-ing doorknobs because they do a darn good job of explaining the how-to. That’s why they are so awesome. Basically what I’m telling you is that you should click on their link for the how-to because this post is all about how I copied them and what my results were.

We have a lot of interior doors in our house: 15 if you don’t count the 2 sets of closet sliding doors. Of the 15 doors, only 4 of them are the type of door we want: paneled.

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Yikes. See why we’re slowly replacing them? Of the 15 sets of hardware, 11 are knobs, 4 are handles; 14.5 are brass and .5 is nickel. Yes, you read that right. The inside of our closet door handle is nickel and the outside is brass. It drives me BONKERS. It’s already bad enough that some doors have handles versus knobs. But to have a different finish on either side of the door? That’s like wearing navy blue with black. Bad.

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And just like we don’t want to put down hundreds of doll-hairs to replace interior doors, we’re not inclined to do that for the hardware either – particularly when it works just fine. And then I was inspired by John & Sherry Petersik and the rest is home makeover history.

We decided to refinish our knobs in Oil-Rubbed Bronze spray paint. The Petersiks swear that it’s worked for them: no chipping and scratching. And what do we have to lose? We hate the door hardware as it is so we might as well try the less expensive option first. We replaced the hardware on our front door this summer in oil-rubbed bronze and a minor mishap (i.e. I locked us in the basement so Adam had to kick in the door) forced us to replace another knob in oil-rubbed bronze. So we’re on the right track for consistent finishes. We are leaving the door HANDLES as is. We’ll eventually replace these with ORB knobs.

On a Thursday evening after work I stopped by Lowes to buy the spray paint, deglosser, and 400 grit sandpaper. Over the weekend, we removed all the knobs, keeping the pairs and their screws together on this giant piece of cardboard.

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Then we lightly sanded and deglossed.

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We had a big block of styrofoam from a new power tool, so we used it to hold all the knobs.

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Adam stuck them in the foam by their pointy parts. He he. Unfortunately, the styrofoam wasn’t big enough which led to Adam’s creative jerry rig of old bathroom baseboard (yes, I owe you an update) to hold the knobs.

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About 5 thin coats later, plus another spot coat on their undersides, and they were ready to cure. I brought the knobs back in our basement to cure for 48 hours.

After 2 days of drying time to decrease the chance of scratches, Adam reinstalled all of the knobs. Side note: when we removed them, we stuck labeled painters tape on the back of each one so we could easily put them back where they belong.

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We also put some tape around the knob to protect from scratches as we were screwing them back. I sprayed some paint into a plastic cup and used a small craft brush to paint the screw heads after re-installation.

And here you have it (with our photo bomber):

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Looks so much better, right? We are 73% on our way to matching interior door hardware. What what?

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By the Way, We Got New Outdoor Lights a Few Months Back…

Posted on November 2, 2012. Filed under: Dog, Gardening, Home |

This happened a long time ago and I never posted about it. I also don’t have any before pictures. I’m so lame. I do have some examples of what the outdoor lights sort of looked like before we uninstalled them and threw them away. Use your imagination.

Not my taste. At. All.

We decided to replace all three (2 on the deck, 1 on the patio) on the back of the house when one of the old ones broke. I didn’t like the modern design, so we went with something more traditional: a bronze lantern with seeded and paned glass.

It is a huge improvement and is a better fit for the house, in my opinion:

Did you know Lowes doesn’t carry clear lightbulbs? Ridic. We still need to get some. It’s just a tad tacky to have white light bulbs in a clear fixture.

And because I can’t post anything without some pictures of Mason, here you go:

On-duty – forgive the orange glow. I can’t figure out how to edit the lighting in this picture.

Off-duty

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Happy Howl-aween!

Posted on October 31, 2012. Filed under: Dog, Holiday |

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The Graduate

Posted on August 20, 2012. Filed under: Dog |

We are proud parents of our Labradoodle who graduated from his Puppy Obedience class last week. He’s a smart cookie.

I haven’t posted much about Mason lately other than pictures, so here’s the rundown on where he is in his training. If you have questions about how we taught a specific skill, please ask in the comments section. I’d be happy to help.

A lot of his training we did on our own. He knew how to sit within the first few days we had him and he could shake and lie down after a week or two. Come is a continual work in progress, but he has improved tremendously.

Adam and I went on a 10 day vacation when Mason was between 14 and 15 weeks old. We left him with a friend of the breeders who trains dogs and dressage horses. We came back and Mason was a different dog! It was amazing. She only cost $10 more per day than the kennel. It was worth it. She had Mason fully leash trained, he was comfortable in public places like Lowes and Home Depot, he knew how to stay, leave it, and he was learning roll over and place (going to his bed).

Once we got him home, we worked with him for 15 minutes twice a day on his training – in the mornings and evenings when it was cooler. Sometimes he could only go 5 minutes before he got too distracted. It’s always good to make sure he’s having fun and being successful, otherwise he’ll get discouraged. For instance, if I was teaching him something new and he wasn’t getting it, I would backtrack and get him to sit and lay down. These are things he has down pat and he would feel good getting treated and gain some confidence. It helped him to regain his focus. We also walk him up and down our street once a day to keep up his leash training, practice sitting in the heel position, and staying on the curb with distractions. Don’t worry. He’s still leashed. If he tries to bolt, we can step on the leash to prevent him from going anywhere.

We enrolled Mason in a puppy obedience class a few weeks after the trainer. Mason knew most of the skills that were taught, but actually doing them with all the distractions of a pet store and with the presence of playmates was an added challenge. The puppy class was great for his socialization as well. I’m really glad we did it. He is too!

Here is the list of tricks Mason can do at almost 6 months old:

Potty trained – this means going to the bathroom outside and not in the house. I consider a house trained dog one you can leave to roam wherever and you know he won’t chew through cords or eat your toilet paper. Mason is potty trained. He was potty trained at about 5 months. He is not house trained.

Sit – learned this in 2 days

Down – learned this in a week

Stay – Mason is still working on this in terms of distance and time, but he grasped the concept at about 15 weeks.

Shake – learned this at 9 or 10 weeks

Roll-over – this took a few weeks to learn. You have to start very slow.

Place – this is still taking time. We are working on being in another room and having him go down the hall to his place.

Touch – he’s an expert. He puts his nose to our palms on command. We’re working on pointing to objects and having Mason touch them. He does this about 75% of the time.

Up – this wasn’t hard for Mason. He loves to jump on people. He loves people. Period.

Off – more challenging. He likes to get up on the coffee table, jump on people, and he’s started to put his paws on the cabinets. His nose is about 2 inches below the counter for now – thank goodness. He is learning. He knows what it means, but sometimes he doesn’t care. If he’s jumping on us, we freeze and ignore him until he sits. Then we give him attention. This is starting to work.

Play dead – work in progress.

Sit in the heel position (when on leash) – this did not take long since he knew sit and is comfortable on his leash.

Leave it – very good at this. I highly recommend this skill. Everyone should teach their dog this for when you drop medicine, chocolate, etc.

Drop it – starting to see success here. It was a miracle the other day when he brought me a ball and dropped it at my feet without me having to wrestle it out of his mouth or give the command.

It’s not all roses though. I obnoxiously brag about our dog, but there are things we are still struggling with: barking, jumping, mouthing/gnawing/sinking his teeth into wrists, ankles, backs of knees. Mason hasn’t quite learned that his teeth hurt and it’s causing us some concern. We continue to yelp, say “ouch” and replace our hands with a toy. I’ll keep you posted on our progress. Some days are better than others. It doesn’t help that he has 6 canines right now. Yep. His puppy canines on the top are right next to his adult ones.  As far as the barking, Mason is a talker. We’re learning to distinguish the meaning of his barks: play/attention, bathroom, watch dog. We still can’t get him to shut up very much. Recently, during play time he launched himself onto the couch in my lap. I didn’t even see him coming. It’s a ball of flying fur and there he is gazing up at me, tongue hanging out of his mouth, and his ball in my lap. He is not allowed on the furniture. See guilt-stricken face here:

This is a new thing he started doing last night and one we won’t allow even if it is funny. He went to time-out a few times. It’s hard to put that face in time-out.

But overall, we are very proud of our boy!

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Mending Fences, Emptying Wallets

Posted on July 3, 2012. Filed under: Dog, Gardening, Home |

Can I let you in on a little secret? We haven’t really spent much money on our house since we bought it last June. Well, relatively speaking. Sure, we’ve completed small projects here and there. We’re slowly buying nice, adult furniture for our living room. But we expected that to be an investment and talked ourselves into it for at least a few months. After 11 months of being home owners, we finally got our first taste of “We need to get this done and holy moley it costs a lot!” I guess we should consider ourselves fortunate that it took that long.

We need a fence in our backyard for Mason Dixon Doodle Dandy. Our backyard is on the large side which is good for puppy, but bad for our wallets when we want to install a fence. Boo.

A previous home owner (I doubt it was the most recent one), put this wooden fence up for privacy.

It certainly wasn’t for a dog. Look at the bottom. Mason can walk right under it and he knows it. The fence doesn’t connect to the chain link either. From what we can gather, this fence was installed for privacy. It sure doesn’t function to keep things in or out. The top lattice part blocks the neighbors’ kitchen window so they can’t see us when we’re on our deck and we can’t see them. Classy.

We decided to go with it, though. In order to adapt it for our needs, Adam purchased green vinyl coated hog wire at Lowes and stapled it to the bottom of the fence on the opposite side. I used landscaping pins to secure the bottom portion into the ground. We planted a line of 7 variegated Pittosporum shrubs along the fence. Our hope is that once they are mature, they will block the hog wire. Why hog wire? It seemed like the easiest and cheapest fix for this fence that was 2.5 feet above the ground in some places. We bought green thinking it would blend in more. And it does. You can barely see it once you’re 10+ feet away from it. If we had added more wood at the bottom, it never would have looked right. At least with this method, it’s subtle, it keeps Mason in, and the bushes will conceal it one day.

We paid a fencing company to do the rest and we are not ashamed. We entertained the idea of doing the front wooden part ourselves, and when I say “ourselves”, I mean my husband and father. However, we soon realized that if we were already paying a company to do the rest of it, and they were going to be at our house, and could knock it out in 2 days, it was probably worth it to pony up a couple more hundred dollars to save us the headache and to ensure it would look good. For us, we would have to dig the holes and set the posts one weekend and wait another weekend to install the fence – a minimum of one week. Let’s be real. All of our projects take longer than that. So using a highly scientific method to determine our DIY timeframe, I projected it would take us 3-4 weeks to finish the fence. That’s too long to wait when you have a rambunctious puppy that needs a safe space to run.

The front, left side is getting a double gate and needs to be reinforced with a steel frame on the inside.

On the right side, we sort of have this chute where water run-off from the driveway comes around the side of the house. The previous homeowners installed a French drain in the parking pad that is connected to this ditch from the sewer. Any water that does not enter the drain runs around the side of the house through the pea gravel, and this “bowl”, and ends up in the backyard.

We needed professionals that could work with the weird grading of the ground and build a fence that would keep our dog inside. I can say that it was totally worth it to hire out for this job. And this is coming from the girl that wouldn’t hesitate to tackle a DIY bathroom re-do or the majority of a DIY kitchen renovation.

We decided to use black chain link across the back. The neighbors to the right have black chain link and it looks really nice. It blends in more than aluminum. The split rail fence you see in the picture above is the neighbor’s behind us and it runs at an angle to our property line because their lot is pie-shaped and off of a cul-de-sac. It would never function as a dog fence for us. We have a lot of trees in the back of our lot. During the spring, summer, and fall it is nearly impossible to even see the chain link. We paid to have our neighbor’s chain link repaired on the left side and both neighbors had no problem with us connecting to their existing fences. So all we had to pay for was:

  1. 6 ft. wooden dog ear fencing on right side with standard walk gate
  2. 6 ft. wooden dog ear fencing on left side with double gate, reinforced by steel frame on inside
  3. 127 ft. of 5 ft. black chain link in the back with one walk gate
  4. Repair neighbor’s existing chain link on left side

I’ll be honest (and possibly tacky) and tell you how much it cost: $2455. That was after a couple of estimates that were all in the same ballpark. We chose the company based on the representative we met and because they had a glowing recommendation from a co-worker.

It’s a lot of money, but in the grand scheme of home improvements it’s really not that bad. Residential fences have an average ROI of 50-75% and when you’re talking about $2500, it does not matter too, too much when it comes to resale value.

Here are some pictures of the completed work. We still need to spread A LOT of pine straw and we’ll eventually stain the wooden fence. That humongous stick pile in the before pictures is gone as of this weekend. It was an eyesore.

The left side double gate from the inside

The right side on the inside

The right side on the outside

Back with walk gate. We put our compost back here and wanted a way to get to it.

At the back gate after a torrential downpour. Yes, we need to bury some drain pipes and put down some river rock to help with the water issue. It’s on the list.

I think Mason has mixed emotions about the new fence. On the one hand paw, he loves to be “free” in the backyard where he can run without the confines of a leash. On the other, he shot right for the gap below the fence before the hog wire was installed. He knew he was fenced in and he knew exactly where to get out. You should’ve seen that dog the first time we let him out after we installed the hog wire. I’ve never seen him hit the brakes so fast once he realized his escape route was blocked.

It’s worth noting that we did get an estimate for an invisible fence and we thought it was a riot. Sure, it may be good for some people, but it costs about the same – if not more over the life of your pet – than a physical fence. Not only do they charge you around $1300 for the wire (that was our estimate), you have to buy special batteries for the collars every 6 months to a year that cost around $50 a piece. Ridiculous. So if your dog lives to be 12 years old and needs a $50 battery every 6 months, you’re adding another $1200 to your fence price. The special collars are an additional expense. Not to mention that dogs do break out of invisible fences. I imagine it’s a lot easier to break out of an invisible fence than a physical one. Plus, metro Atlanta has this little infestation problem known as coyotes. The invisible fence won’t keep them out and I don’t want my Labradoodle to be Wiley’s dinner. And finally, the ROI on an invisible fence is, oh, around 0% versus 50-75% for a physical fence. Can you tell we were unimpressed with the invisible fence? I understand some people really don’t want a fence or they have strict HOA covenants, so invisible is the only way to go. Luckily for us, we don’t have an HOA to please. Thank goodness!

We are thrilled with our fence. It gives us all a little more freedom now. Adam and I can do yard work with Mason and not have to worry if he’s going to run across the street. Mason likes to “help” us a little too much, but I’d rather have him be up in our business than 2 blocks over where the Doberman lives.

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Insta Upload

Posted on July 2, 2012. Filed under: Brain Dump, Dog |

Yikes! Forgive me for being absent. We’ve been on vacation, then Adam was out of town leaving me to fend for myself and be a single mom to Mason. Also, having a puppy is a lot of work and doesn’t leave much time for blogging. Bear with me these next few months if I don’t post as much. I thought I’d share some photos of Mason and what we’ve been up to in the meantime.

From left to right: Mason post-face trim, Mason’s favorite sleeping position – letting it all hang out, glamour shot, and deep in thought. I like the black and white one on the bottom right. To me it says: “Mason for President”.

From left to right: ingredients for sangria, muddy after a good dig, caught in the couch, watching Daddy walk away at the gas pump, road-tripping it.

Sometime this week I’ll share some pictures of our new backyard fence! That’s after I do 3 weeks worth of laundry from all the traveling we’ve been up to!

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Mason is a Lover

Posted on May 18, 2012. Filed under: Dog |

We’ve had Mason, our Labradoodle puppy, for almost 2 weeks now. All in all, it’s been a joy. He makes us smile. He reminds us to have fun and play every once in a while. And he is just a bucket of love in the morning. (Adam and I are not morning people, but you can’t help but be happy when you see that tail wagging and get showered with puppy kisses at 6:30am).

Sure there have been not so glamorous sides of parenting a pup: 3:30am potty walks, cleaning up pee, 7:15am being our new sleeping-in time, getting nipped by needle-sharp puppy teeth, having to pick up and carry a stair-spooked puppy whenever we travel to another floor of our split-level house (that’s a lot). But it’s so worth it.

We picked Mason up from the breeder on Saturday, May 5th. She had given him a bath, so he was tuckered out and in a deep sleep when we arrived. He sat in my lap on the way home. We didn’t hear a peep from him. He just panted and drooled, most likely due to anxiety. We brought him through the house and out the back door to his potty spot as soon as we came home and lavished praise and treats on him when he went to the bathroom. He responds so enthusiastically, even still! We played with him in the yard for a few minutes. He loved it!

As soon as we started to go back inside, you could sense his hesitation. We had to pick him up and carry him, and his little body kind of froze and he closed off. He was fine outside – it was recognizable. But he knew that this house was not his house. After some timid exploring, he eventually settled in and fell asleep at our feet for a few hours.

I was lucky enough to take a few days off to spend with him. I’m so glad I did. We got to spend some quality time together. He is so smart. He knows how to “sit”, “shake”, “down”, and is learning to “stand”. He is learning what “ow”, “off”, and “drop it” mean. He is out of his shell now and completely comfortable. He bites a little too much, but it’s all in play. He is a puppy and we have to remind him that it hurts when he does that.

We put his crate next to my side of the bed the first night and it was pretty rough. He downright wailed for 30 minutes straight. We played Jazz on NPR and then brought out the iPhone sound machine app. We’ve fallen asleep to babbling brook every night since. He loves having background noise. If you want to know what’s happening on Days of our Lives or what Kathy Lee and Hoda are up to after 9am on the Today Show, Mason could probably tell you. We leave the kitchen TV on for him. He had to get up 3 times a night the first 3 nights. The 3rd night I followed the advice of our vet tech and put his crate in the kitchen. Bad idea. He cried all night. I called the breeder the next day – who is awesome by the way – and she told me he was way too little to be by himself. Her pups are very pack-oriented and need to be with their people. We basically ostracized him. I felt awful. I failed him as a doggie mommy. So the fourth night we put him back in our room and miracles upon miracles, he slept from 11:30pm to 6:30am straight. Hallelujah! He is regularly sleeping through the night now.

He doesn’t even bark in the morning when he has to go out; he scratches at the plastic bottom of his crate. How polite of him! He has gotten in his crate on his own several times and taken naps. It’s awesome.

Leaving treats in his crate, encouraging him to enter on his own the first few days, and never physically removing him from the crate really does work. He feels like it is his safe haven, his den. I haven’t heard him cry yet when I’ve left him, but I tend to get out of there quickly so I don’t have to listen to him. It would break my heart.

Mason is growing so fast! He is already much bigger than he was 2 weeks ago when we got him! He’s navigating the stairs – going up, not down. He can practically jump on the couch – a no-no for us.

The first day we got him he could easily fit under the coffee table, not so much anymore… The breeder expects he’ll be around 35 lbs. His dad is about 30 lbs and his mom is a little over 35 lbs. His mom was 18” tall at the shoulder and his dad was 17” tall at the shoulder. He looks so much like his dad it’s uncanny. He’s going to be a great dog and we have absolutely no regrets about bringing him into our family. Sure he’s a lot of work, but he makes us incredibly happy!

In anticipation of any allergy questions… I have not had any reactions to Mason yet. So far he doesn’t shed and I’m not allergic to him! Woo hoo!I think it’s the poodle in him. But speaking of allergies, I recently discovered that I am one of the few people in this world that react negatively to contact with Virginia Creeper. We have a ton of it in our yard in various places. I realized that every time Mason brushes up against it and I handle him, I develop these hives that look like bug bites and scratch marks. They feel like a chemical burn. I googled it and sure enough, looks like me and Virginia Creeper do not get along. I cannot even pull it up with gloves. My husband is going to get out there this weekend and rid our backyard of it. My hero! In the meantime every time Mason has contact with V-creep, I rub him down with baby wipes when we get back inside.

But because of my rash (I am not ashamed), I had to give Mason a bath. It was a traumatic experience for both of us.

The look on his face, combined with his panic attack and the image of him sopping wet almost had me turning myself in to the ASPCA. Washing this puppy is not for the faint of heart.

Be back soon with mailbox, backyard, and fence updates!

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Mason the Labradoodle, Our New Best Friend

Posted on April 30, 2012. Filed under: Dog, Home, Newlywed |

Adam and I will be bringing our new, furry bundle of joy home in less than 1 week. It’s unreal! We’ve been to visit the little critters three times! I can’t deny myself time with a litter of puppies. Who can?

 

We went back this weekend to finally pick our puppy. Last week was nerve-wracking. I was so nervous we wouldn’t get our first pick. (Let’s be real. I was freaking out.) We will welcome our new family member this Saturday! Since pictures say more than words, here is a sneak peek at what our newest family member looks like.

 

Not him, but his cute little sister

So the new member of the family is….

Mason

He was our first pick and he’s beautiful. He has a great little personality too. His coloring is dark apricot, but if he takes after his daddy he may darken to a red and lighten again with some highlights. He already has goggles (pale coloring around the eyes), a light chest, and a few white feet. He really is as soft as he looks. And though it doesn’t seem possible, he’s even cuter in person.

I brought him Mr. Moose, his future bed buddy, to play with. Mr. Moose was almost as big as Mason, and about the same color. How cute. He gnawed on Mr. Moose’s antlers a little bit, but he was pretty tired.

I will be back next week with tons of pictures (and probably the week after that and the week after that). Here’s some more pictures to get us through the week:

In case anyone is wondering what we are doing to get ready for our puppy, here’s the brief rundown after we did breed research and selected our breeder:

  1. Read At the Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell
  2. Reading How to Behave so Your Dog Behaves by Sophia Yin
  3. Purchased wire crate with divider panel
  4. Purchased fleece pad for crate (eventually he will use this)
  5. Purchased training treats and bully sticks (the breeder is sending us home with a few days’ supply of food)
  6. Purchased a bed
  7. Cleaned off old puppy gates from my parents
  8. Purchased Nature’s Miracle, bitter spray, and toys
  9. Made a vet appointment for next week
  10. Still need to get a puppy collar and id tag
  11. Breeder will give us leash
  12. Need to get an ex pen for days we can’t make it home for a few hours
  13. May get a long lead for him until we get a fence
  14. Installing a fence is on the short to-do list
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