Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Potty Problems...

So Marcus has an embarrassing little secret. He has some potty problems. I originally hadn't planned to post about it here, but apparently it's a funny story, so I figured I'd share it.

When we got Marcus, he hadn't been lifting his leg to pee for very long. As a result, he wasn't terribly skilled at it. Many times, he would put his leg down mid-stream, or he'd get tired of having his right leg up, so he'd put it down and lift his left leg. The end result was him peeing everywhere - on the backs of his paws, his belly, etc. I was sort of hoping that neutering would help a teeny bit, since many dogs don't mark quite as much post-neuter.

How wrong I was! Because Marcus doesn't want to pee a teeny tiny bit on 27 million things anymore, he now pees a whole lot in 1-2 bursts. Frequently directly into the backs of his front paws. The phenomenon has lead to Aaron giving him the nickname of "yellow paw". But it's not limited to his paws either. Sometimes, he decides to pee when his but is at a higher elevation than his face. In typical doggy style he's sniffing all over the place while doing his business, so he either pees right on his face, or ends up sniffing up his pee and sneezing.

Unfortunately, it's not just a pee-related issue. His signals seem to be somewhat crossed when it comes to going poop too. It seems that he seems to believe on occasion that he needs to poop in a high up place as well. The end result is that he sidles his little bunny butt up a tree, and then poops. Then, he freaks out because his poop comes rolling back to attack him! It's so funny to watch.

I am hoping that over time, he will get a bit more adept at keeping himself clean, but until then, it looks like we'll be giving him very regular baths.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


So, Marcus recovered quickly from his neutering. Too quickly if you ask me, because before we knew it he was up and running spastically around the house like nothing was ever wrong with him. And of course the moment that he could stand up, he wanted to start licking at his incision.

We tried numerous options to keep him off of them. We started with the bitter apple spray that the vet had given us, but Marcus quickly realized that it only tasted bad for a lick or two, and then he had unfettered access. Then we tried household methods - tee shirts, boxer shorts, anything that we could attach to his rump. No good there, he's far skinnier than Aaron or myself. We got a cone from the vet, but that lasted all of a few minutes, because as soon as we got it on him, he just started bashing his head against things to try and get it off. Not wanting him to knock himself senseless, I finally drove to the PetSmart and got him a doggy diaper.

As it clear from the image above, he was initially not too thrilled with the concept of wearing a diaper. He was confused by the fabric touching his legs, and seemed to be convinced that his hind legs wouldn't work anymore. After a while though, he was running, jumping, and back to his old self.

As a reward for all the misery that he had to suffer since his surgery, we took him to the Dog Park this weekend, and he got to run around and play with other doggies off leash. He was absolutely, positively thrilled. I am constantly amazed when we get him offleash - he can run so fast! He starts obedience classes on the 22nd of this month, and after that we're going to see what other classes he likes. Right now, I think he'd love agility, lure coursing, and tracking.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Sad Puppy :-(

It's been a rough time for my little buddy. Two weeks ago he got shots which gave him bad diarrhea and required a followup visit for the vet. While there we asked about the little scabs that had shown up all over his body (including areas that he can't really get to easily), and the vet also prescribed that we give him Benadryl for a bit, as it appeared to be an allergic reaction.

This past Thursday, he was finally neutered. I think that I took it worse than he did - it definitely was not fun leaving the vet's office without him. Fortunately, everything went well, and he was released sooner than we anticipated. He hadn't licked at his stitches at the vet's office, so he was sent home without a cone of shame. We did receive instructions that he wasn't to run, jump, or climb stairs for two days.

When we picked him up, he didn't even seem to recognize us, or to have a clue what was going on around him. He was walking very wobbly, and had a hard time raising his leg to go to the bathroom. So when we got home, I didn't think he'd be that hard to keep off the steps. I held him while Aaron went down to the car to bring up his travel crate to block the stairs. And of course, the second daddy was gone, he had a moment of lucidity, and went bounding down the stairs.

For most of the rest of the night, he did what you see in the picture above - laid around looking half asleep. We were told to feed him at 6, but he didn't end up eating anything until 11. He whined on and off through the night, which of course made me feel terrible.

Friday morning he was almost entirely back to normal. Which meant that he was incredibly upset by the fact that I said No whenever he tried to jump on something, and that I would not play fetch with him. I ended up spending much of my time reassuring him that he was still loved.

Today he was even harder to get to stop jumping. He's not really acting like a dog that had surgery just two days ago. I was surprised at how fast he has bounced back from the procedure. I honestly expected a day or two of lazy Marcus!

Monday, July 25, 2011

New Toy!

There will be a more substantial post in a bit, but I wanted to share this video of Marcus with his new toy!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Grooming + New Food!

Marcus has a slight problem. He's a boy. His aim is terrible. Half the time he either pees on his own feet, pees on his belly, or falls while peeing getting it all over himself. This plus a new hobby of rolling in dead things and poop meant that Marcus reeked. I decided to take him to Great Dogs of Great Falls to get groomed, because I'd heard good things about them. Also, I was hoping a bit of trimming of his belly fur and his pants would make him a hair less messy when he was going potty, and I wasn't really willing to go at him in sensitive areas with a pair of scissors. Let's not traumatize the poor boy before he gets neutered!

So he got a nice bath, a nail trimming, and a teeny bit of his fur trimmed, and came back to us smelling like a clean dog, and very, very happy. Marcus really loves being pampered. The groomer said he was a perfect angel the whole time he was getting done. And he has this cute little bandanna on that he seems to at least tolerate!

I've been doing some research on dog foods just for giggles, and I came across discussing of Proportions. Basically, there philosophy is that it's difficult to get all the necessary nutrition into a dry food. While dry food is still a component of the diet, there is also a dehydrated fruit and vegetable component, and a pumpkin and chicken stew component. It's apparently one of the more complete dog diets out there, without some of the side effects associated with a raw diet (like potential gastrointestinal issues, or nutrition issues).

I decided rather than to use their kibble that I was going to just use the kibble that Marcus is already on, and add the stew and fruits/veggies in the evening. He's been on it for two days, and so far he seems to really enjoy it. He licks his dish clean (and then some) and he gets more excited about it than basically anything else I've given him, save cooked lean ground beef. I think it reminds him more of human food as well, so he feels like he's getting the same food that his Mommy and Daddy are.

I've been pretty fond of it too. He's been playing with his food less and actually eating it more, and he seems to be begging for our food at dinner less (although, he's never really done it a lot). It adds about an extra $1.50 per day to the dog feeding expenses, but I think in the long run it will be worth it. I assume it'd be a bit cheaper if I went with their kibble and did the bundle deal, but he really likes his kibble and I didn't want to mess with that.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fourth of July Weekend

We didn't want to do anything with potential for explosives of Fourth of July since we didn't really know how Marcus would handle them, so we ended up visiting my parents on the 3rd so they could meet Marcus. As you can see from the short video clip, Marcus liked having a huge yard to run and play in. It's really hard to video a fast moving Corgi.

While we had burgers, Marcus got to sniff things, pee on things, roll in things, and run around like crazy. He seemed to enjoy himself thoroughly despite the fact that it was really hot out. Fortunately, we kept Marcus cool with a combination of lot's of ice water, trips into the house, and a spray with the hose (which he was less than fond of).

Perhaps one of the funniest things to happen during the day was when Marcus met Pongo, my parent's African Grey. Pongo was alright with Marcus, so long as he didn't get too close to her cage. The problem was, Pongo kept whistling, not realizing that's frequently how we summon the dog. So Marcus would walk away, Pongo would whistle, Marcus would come running over, then Pongo would start growling at him for being too close. It was quite funny.

For July Fourth, we stayed in. We were near enough to some fireworks to hear but not see them. At first, Marcus seemed curious about the noises. Then I made the mistake of trying to take him out for his nightly walk while the fireworks were going off. He alternated between trying to run towards the fireworks and trying to run to the noisemakers that our neighbors down the street were using. As a result, he ran back and forth and back and forth until I finally managed to get him back into the house. He was a little skeptical of going outside afterwards.

I've ordered a couple packets of Proportions dog food. It should be arriving soon. We intend to keep Marcus on the kibble he is getting now, and add the broth and veggie packs from Proportions. Hopefully, he'll like it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Great Day to Be a Dog

Yesterday didn't go so hot. I'd slept in after Aaron left for work, and awoke to find Marcus chewing on a pair of my shorts. Normally when I sleep in, he doesn't need to go out until noon at the earliest, but yesterday his bladder decided 11:45 was good. The UPS truck was near my bedroom window, and he kept running into the bedroom, barking once, then coming back out to the living room. He doesn't really bark at the UPS truck, so I went into the room to make sure nothing else was up. I came back into the living room to find him peeing on the vacuum (which is the one thing he is absolutely, positively terrified of). After apologizing to him (I felt terrible for making him wait), I took him for a walk. but I only took him for 1 walk, and he's used to 2-3 before I go to work, so he didn't want to get in his crate. While Aaron and I were at work, we discussed some things with our morning routine. Specifically, since Marcus is crated away from us all night, he seems to really, really want to play at 7am in the morning. I work til Midnight. That's not so good with me. We decided that there was no real reason for him to be created at night. There's not much to destroy in our bedroom, and we're both there. We sleep with the door closed. The problem was, we've established that he's allowed to be on the bed when he isn't in his crate.

Insert an hour of trying to train "down" with positive reinforcement. Unfortunately, when he did down correct, he got so excited about it he wanted to jump on the bed again. We finally resorted to jingling a bag of pennies when he jumped up on the bed.... and after two attempts, down was learned. The rest of the night was pretty uneventful. He jumped up at 6am, and we ignored him, and he went back to the floor. And he didn't whine to wake up until 8:30 (typically, he's very reliable about needing to come out of the crate at 7am). Unfortunately, today was the ONE day we forgot to set the alarm clock, so it would have been nice to have him wake up early... but what can you do.

Marcus wasn't out of his crate like a shot at 7am, so I got a much more casual start to my morning. It was a rather nice day out, so I decided to take Marcus out for a nice long walk. The park is a mile from our house, and I'd like to not have to drive there all the time, so I've been walking on building Marcus' stamina. It was not too hot out since it was still early, and there was a nice cool breeze. We made it the whole 1.3 mile journey there with no incident! Yay!

The way back was a bit rougher, as once the sun was up, it got quite warm. I'd brought a bit of water with me, but Marcus didn't seem to want any of it, he just wanted to sniff things and pee on things. I don't necessarily know that he realizes that if he doesn't drink, he runs out of pee to mark with. I finally got him under a nice shade tree, where we had a nice drink, and Marcus tried to eat grass.

Then Marcus decided it was time to run home. 2.6 miles of walk for the two of us, and when we got home, Marcus was the happiest little guy. He should sleep QUITE well tonight! I'm glad that after yesterday's kind of crummy day that we were able to make up for it today. This weekend's adventure - toenail care with the dremel!

Thursday, June 30, 2011


I've been working with Marcus on learning how to Fetch - or rather, learning how to bring the ball back once I've thrown it, because he seems to prefer just tossing it up and playing with it by himself. I got a short video of him playing Fetch this afternoon - he normally runs after it a lot faster, but the Hamsters were awake and he really, really wanted to look at them instead. Still, here a video of his cute little ears flopping about as he runs back with the ball.

Marcus didn't really have that much interest in the Hamsters until a few days ago, when I put the cage down at a level that he could easily see. Now whenever the Hamsters are awake, it's the Corgi equivalent of Must See TV - he just sits there in front of the cage, completely engrossed in them.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"A Tired Dog is a Good Dog"

We're following the policy that a tired dog is a good dog with Marcus. That has included lot's of park visits, frequent walks (I swear we walk him 6-8 times a day), and a ton of indoor fetch. Marcus seems to get a lot of enjoyment out of the process, and he also doesn't get in trouble as much on days that he gets out a lot. My office is right across the street, and we have big fields outside, which makes it easy for me to walk him over there and let him play in the fields a bit.

Last night, he got a special treat. My boss had been wanting to meet Marcus since we got him, so after things settled down in the evening, Aaron walked him over to the office, and I took him up to meet everyone. Minus being a little afraid of the elevator door, he had a great time, got lots of petting and got a bit more time with me than he normally does on a work day.

I've been trying (and failing) to get him to eat vegetables, primarily because when he gets neutered, I want to be able to get him to eat rice, boiled chicken, and veggies if he is nauseous afterwards. I realized last night that I was approaching the problem in the wrong way. I assumed he would want vegetables at a temperature that is palatable for a human. On a whim, I tossed him some frozen vegetables since he loves ice cubes so much, and sure enough, he devoured them quite happily.

I took a short video of Marcus' "Happy Broccoli Dance" because I thought it was cute.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sometimes, My Dog is a Brat

Our strategy for handling Marcus recently has been simple. If we tire him out with walks, park visits, and indoor play, he shouldn't have the excess energy to cause trouble. The problem with this is that some days I have things that I need to do. Like today's agenda was to go to the pet store, get some writing done, and do my laundry so I have something to wear to work tomorrow. Marcus got up early when Aaron got ready for work, but he came back into the bedroom after he'd gone off to work. Recently, he's been a bit whiny at me when I try to sleep, and today was the exception. He curled up in bed next to me and fell back asleep. I should have know that this would doom me for the rest of the day.

I awoke at 10am to find that he'd realized he fits under the bed, and that he's pulled out everything underneath it that he could reach. Deciding this was my cue to go walk the dog, I did. We had a nice peaceful walk, he got his business done, and I decided he'd calmed down enough to go to the pet store. I had some difficulty getting him into the car because there was a strange man standing next to my car smoking a cigarette, and Marcus didn't want us to get in the car while there was a stranger around. Fine. Picked him up, plopped him in the back, drove to the Pet Store. He was so good on the drive over there, even though it's a bit longer than what he's used to.

We arrived at the pet store, the ladies who worked there marveled at how cute he was and how pretty his fur was, and how he wasn't a bit overweight. He kept trying to pick up a few treats and a particular chew toy and take them out of the store, but since they seemed to be good for him, I picked those up as well. While I'm getting his food, he meets a little poodle puppy, picks her up by the harness, and carries her over to me. Fortunately, the poodle is no worse for the wear, and her owner thinks Marcus is cute, so he gets away with it.

We managed to get home without further effort, and after lunch I started on my laundry. I was sorting my laundry into piles and chucking the socks/underthings into a pile to be done. When I turned around, my sock pile was unexpectedly smaller than I had thought. Marcus was doing his best at trying to look innocent. However, when I walked out into the living room, I found a scattering of socks, suspiciously covered with drool. After I gathered them, I came back into the bedroom to find him chewing on my bra.

I decided to close off the bedroom while I finished sorting my laundry, and then came back out to the Living Room to find that Marcus had been playing with the carpet while I was distracted.

Perhaps more walks are in order today.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Marcus Playing with his Toys

Took some videos of Marcus while he played this morning because he was being super cute!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Park: Part Two

Since Aaron was off today, and I go into work late, we decided to take another trip to the park. We're trying short, happy trips to get him over the car anxiety that he has over the trip home/vet trip. While he wouldn't willingly jump into Aaron's car, he didn't act scared once he was put in. He was willing to jump out of the car though, which is making progress.

Since there were two of us there, I was able to take pictures of Marcus at play. GO GO ACTION CORGI! It's hard to take good shots with a DSLR in one hand and a leash in the other! Marcus is such a great subject to take pictures of. He has the sweetest face, and always smiled at the camera. Unfortunately, this makes it nearly impossible to get an pictures of his cute sad face :-(

I was also FINALLY able to get good pictures of his cute bunny butt. Whenever I try to take one at home, he turns around to look at me!

With a butt that cute, who needs a tail!?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Going to the Park!

After the "oopsie" with the garage door, and the trip to the vet, Marcus wasn't necessarily happy with the concept of Aaron's car. it didn't help that his car is rather high, and that Marcus is somewhat strong willed. If he wants to get somewhere, he'll get there himself. He doesn't want you picking him up and helping him. He was a bit rambunctious today, even after going after 3 walks, so I decided to see if I could get him to jump into my car. My car is lower to the ground, and has more of a "step" for him to push up on. It also is out in the parking lot, and has more space on either side of it.

We've noticed in the past that Marcus can overcome fear by motivation. We'd got him steps to climb up to the couch (which I thought was too high for him to jump on), and he hated them until I blocked his access to me with a table, so the steps were the only option. Then he magically got over it. I didn't want to bribe Marcus with treats to get in my car because he'd gotten a lot at the vet's office (not to mention the big bully stick), so I put him on his leash, lead him to the car, and got inside the back seat. All I had to do was pat the seat once and he was in with me. Then I just slid over and got out the other side. I took him for a slow drive the one mile to the nearest park, and then we ran around on the walking paths like idiots until it started to rain. On the way back I got him up into my car the same way, and he was rewarded with Ice cubes (his favorite treat) when we got home.

I need to go back to the park with Aaron so he can hold the leash and I can take pictures of Marcus out in the wild!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Leaving the Pupster :-(

It's really, really hard leaving that cute little face and going to work every day. No matter how he's feeling, no matter what he's doing, the moment I walk over to him he wants to love me.

I thought before we got Marcus that I'd prepared for absolutely everything that could have gone wrong.I was not prepared for him to come back from his walk with Aaron and to have stuck his face into some nasty plant that made him itch to high heaven. After finding really varying responses online regarding how much Benadryl to give Marcus, we called a friend of ours who got us straightened out. At the same time, I made a vet appointment just in case he happened to get worse.

The Benadryl knocked him out, but it didn't seem to help. He would wake up every ten minutes and scratch the heck out of his face, then fall back asleep. So off to the vet we went. While he wasn't initially that phased by car rides, we'd accidentally scared him regarding the garage (we opened the door after he got in there, and it was very loud, and he ran back into the house), wo we had to carry him into the car. He was fine at the vet's at first, until he heard the other dogs whimpering, and then he started giving me this look like, "What the heck have you brought me here for!?"

Despite being fearful of the exam table (which was too high and too slippery for his tastes), and needing to hide in my armpit, he was surprisingly good with the exam. He didn't whimper or bark even when he got his temperature taken with a rectal thermometer, and he barely even flinched when he was given the cortisone shot. And any fear that he'd had at the vet's was gone the moment he returned home. He was still a bit groggy, and a bit clumsier than usual from the Benadryl, but he still happily played with me when I went over to him, and perked up when we went for our walk.

After all this was said and done, I began to realize how paranoid of a dog mommy I am. I literally watch his every behavioral nuance to see if there's something not right with him. "Oh, he didn't stand up when I came over to pet him, he just lifted his head and put it on my leg. There must be something wrong!" I'm really glad that I got a dog (who seems to be fine with me worrying over his every need), and not a child!

Happy 1st Birthday!

The day after we brought Marcus home was his 1st birthday. I'd gotten him a nice birthday treat - a 24 inch bully stick. He _loved_ it. But he didn't quite no what to do with it. Being raised around a bunch of other dogs, he kept hiding it in his crate for safe keeping. I, in my lack of doggy related wisdom, decided to keep bringing it back out to the living room. I was off work, but Aaron had to go in, so he got to get used to only having one of us around.

Marcus initially seemed to hate our bed, and it's a decent height off the ground, so when Aaron was in the shower, he didn't bother crating Marcus even though I was still sleeping. Marcus determined that he wasn't going to just sit there and let me sleep when I could be petting him, so he learned how to get up on the bed. I just couldn't resist his cuteness, so I caved and got up to spend time with him (as well as give him his present!).

We also began to work on sit, which he does reasonably well so long as he isn't too excited when I ask him to do it. I managed to take the above photo during one such "sit" practice. I also started making sure to keep an eye on how much he eats versus how much he exercises, and he got less food for dinner since he got so much protein from the bully stick. I'm wondering how long I'll be able to keep up his regiment of 6+ walks per day though...

We did have some issue with another dog on one of our walks though. A Pit Bull wanted to try and run and eat him, and his inattentive owner nearly let him get away from him. But instead of doing anything smart, he decided the best bet was to kick the crap out of his dog(!?!) while complaining on his cell phone about how "shitty" his dog was. Marcus won't be getting anywhere near that dog anytime soon.

Marcus also got to meet the shower for the first time. I was in the shower and he was whining, so I poked my head out to show him that I was still there, and the loud thing hadn't hurt me. He came over and poked his head through the curtain, and was about to jump in when he realized that there was water falling from the sky! Needless to say, he didn't try _that_ twice.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Picking Up Marcus

Driving to West Virginia to get Marcus was probably the longest 1.5 hour drive of my life. I'd heard so much about him and I couldn't wait to meet him, and I hoped so much that he would like us. I was willing to accept the absolute worst. But it all went perfectly. Carrie was extremely awesome, told us everything that we needed to know, answered all of our questions. Marcus met us and immediately started licking my face. We fell in love with those big brown eyes, signed the paperwork, and made him ours.

I'd read some panic-inducing articles about crates killing dogs in car accidents, and I couldn't find a decent one in the store on short notice, so I sat in the back and held him while we drove home. It was a great bonding experience, and he seemed to like it (minus when we'd take a turn and he'd have to stop looking out the window to brace himself better). We took him for a walk around the block to acquaint himself, then walked him around the house on the leash.

I'd prepared for everything. I was waiting for him to whine, cry, become lethargic, pee on the floor, want nothing to do with me... We were worried that he'd not be able to tackle our steps and that we'd need to carry him up and down 20 times a day.

And then we let him off the leash. He walked around the place like he'd been our pet since the day he was born. He played with his toys, he showered us with love and affection, he energetically bounded up and down the steps (which he was initially afraid of, but got over with the assistance of a few treats) every time we wanted to take him for a walk. We started out with hourly walks, then every other hour to make sure that he was going potty outside. He didn't have a single accident. Whenever we'd walk over to him or say his name, he'd greet us with the happiest little doggy smile ever.

When we went to bed, he whined a bit in his crate, and barked a bit too. But he settled down quickly and went to sleep. I was so proud of my dog.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Starting Out

I'm writing this blog not so much for the entertainment of others as I am to keep my friends and family informed, and (moreso) to ensure that I don't forget anything that happens with Marcus.

I've wanted a Welsh Corgi for ages now. I first encountered them as a teenager when Cowboy Bebop was popular. I remember how thrilled I was when I came across an Ein stuffed animal at Suncoast one day. From then on, I was hooked. My random obsession with the British Royal family only made Corgi fever worse. But first I was living with my parents, then in an apartment in Minneapolis, then back with my parents... it was never plausible.

Aaron and I both love dogs. All of our primary group of friends have dogs. But we couldn't agree on a breed. After many, many weeks of talking, comparing pros and cons, and discussing, I got him to admit that Corgis were in fact cute. But the company that represents our landlord didn't think our landlord would go for it, so it got sidelined.

A month or two passed, we began working opposite shifts, and I began getting really demanding of his time. I needed someone/thing to keep me company. All my friends are around 2 hours away, and my only real opportunity to meet friends is at work, which is sometimes less than awesome. While doing my daily ogling of Corgi related links, I stumbled across this blog. It details a story very similar to mine, as I have frequently struggled with depression. After sending it to Aaron, he agreed that if I did the same research as Rachael did, that he would talk to the Landlord. So I did, and he did, and we got word back that we could add one dog to our family.

Then began the search for a corgi. Rescues don't like giving Corgis to owners unfamiliar with the breed, so we tried to find a puppy. I'd found a great breeder, who had a pregnant dog and would be having puppies any day. I was so excited. In the midst of waiting for these puppies though, I saw a post on her website. She had a 1 year old Corgi boy who she's intended to show, but who had grown beyond the breed standard proportions. So we talked over the email about him, and we spoke over the phone, and the more I learned, the more I wanted to meet this little guy. And then she sent me a picture, and I knew that there was no way in the world I could say no to that cute little face.