Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Wander on the C&O

For Memorial Day, we took the Papster off to the C&O Canal at Riley's Lock. We were a little undecided about whether to go up the Seneca Greenway following Seneca Creek, or upstream on the C&O Towpath. The weather was steamy, and the towpath looked shady, wide, and level, and so we took the path of least resistance.

Pappy about lost his fudge over two horses that were ambling along ahead at the start of the walk, but then he settled into a zombie-like heel for the eight mile circuit. Good boy, good walk. Never seen him in operation in hot weather-- despite his sveldt figure and thin coat, he definitely seems to prefer cooler spring weather.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

"Dog Island"

I can't figure out what the heck is up with this site, but it seems way too utopian and creepy even if I hadn't seen the movies "The Island" and "Soylent Green".

Free Forever: Dog Island

At least they didn't call it The Farm... that would have been a dead giveaway.

Killer Day at the Dog Park

Poor Pappy had a pretty exhausting day Saturday. It all started at the Wheaton Dog Park, where he was already looking a little worn out because of playing with two puppies at length on Friday. Then we went off to Annapolis to visit his Aunt, and we went off to Quiet Waters Park with his doggy-cousin Polly, a long-haired dachshund. At the dog beach there, he made his first ventures in retreiving tennis balls from the waters of the Chesapeake. Towards the end of the day, we were dog-sitting Molly, a labradoodle puppy from up the street, and Pappy seemed to be fighting a constant rearguard action against the advances of the enthusiastic pup. Pappy and Molly went over to picnic with his dog-cousin Ruby, and more racing around ensued.

Now on Sunday we are puppysitting with Molly (above) once again, and Pappy is learning how to adopt the mantle of the mellow older dog. Hard work that, but rewarding.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Wheaton Dog Park

Urgh. After that posting of the world's ugliest dog I need to brighten things up with a little of Pappy's unconventional good looks. Here is his furriness at the Dog Park this morning with Sasha, an auburn-haired, blue-eyed vixen.


Pappy's puppy pal Maggie came over last night. It wasn't a banner night for either dog, but Maggie sadly started out the evening by having a rectal explosion in the car on the way over-- apparently she went on a mulberry binge in the Congressional Cemetery earlier in the day, and the resulting mound was festooned with teeny seeds.

It definitely seems apropos to change the name of her site from Maggie's Moo to Maggie's Poo.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Metro DC Dog Parks

We are long time devotees of the Wheaton Regional Dog Park for taking Pappy off-leash (look for us early Saturday or Sunday mornings), but recently I heard about another. In DC on Oregon Avenue, just south of the intersection with Military Road and across from St. John's School, there is supposed to be a popular spot for doggy meet-and-greets. Judging from the lack of online references, I am thinking it is non-official.

This is very convenient to where Pappy's grandpa lives, so I am thinking we'll take a look this weekend.

Ugly Dog Contest

The voting is underway in the World's Ugliest Dog Contest, culminating in the award at the Sonoma-Marin Fair on June 23. Sam, three-time undefeated winner (above), died last year, so they'll be crowning a new champ. There was a bit of a scandal about online vote stealing, but I guess the actual contest winner is determined by judges.

Eeeeyuulgh, these dogs give me the willies. This is one contest that Pappy would lose with flying colors--because of his unconventional good looks.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Dog Whisperer

Here's another blog mentioning the recent release of The Dog Whisperer on DVD. Even Cesar Millan himself seems to have a blog on the National Geographic website.

As a novice dog-owner, I was drawn in by the show because of the promise of quick returns in behavior modification. Since then I have read articles knocking the quality of Cesar's methods and behavioral research, and the show's follow-up after the initial filming. I think it's unfair to make him a lightening rod for criticism because he produces simplistic made-for-TV training nuggets, but I also think people worshipping at the altar of Cesar are a bit dim.

Bottom line, the show's entertaining and presents one of many approaches to training. Don't take it as gospel.

Into The Fray

Okay, Pappy has officially been entered in the Old Navy Mascot Search competition-- see his entry here. Judging by the competition, this should be a cakewalk for the Papster. What other owners fail to realize is that 1) being a precious puppy for eight months does not give your dog long-term star power, 2) googly bug-eyed dogs are a dime a dozen, and 3) putting sunglasses and clothes on your dog is pathological. Prediction-- Pappy's unconventional good looks™ will make him top dog. I just worry that his facial fur is too uniformly dark for the small screen; maybe a dye job is in order.

On second thought, maybe we just want him to win second place... we'd miss him too much if he became a jet-setter.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Pappy Bagpipes

When sprawled on the floor napping, Pappy has a talent for groaning like an octogenarian. This is a source of endless entertainment to us. Last night, while he was laying next to me, I noticed that I could get him to moan on cue if I leaned just right. I definitely need to make a tape of that!


Daisy is the elder-stateswoman terrier in the neighborhood. very sweet yet very alpha, Daisy don't take no guff from the Papster when she comes by to play. It's interesting to see how Pappy adjusts his play for older dogs, peers, and puppies. With Daisy, she lies on her belly, and Pappy runs in a circle barking at her. Eventually, he gets behind her and starts pulling her tail until she jumps up to chase and snarl at him. Repeat.

There's not a lot of wrasslin', which is his preferred activity with the doggy-teenage set. With puppies, once he establishes he can't mount them, he gets down to their level and lets them sink fangs into his throat. How sweet!

Beginners Training

I saw a posting on Craigslist the other day about training for a new dog in the DC area. The author talked about considering the Capital Dog Training Club, but was looking for recommendations.

Let's face it, I know bupkis about training. And I am as "fight the power" as the next guy about megaconglomerates. But, you know what? I believe in Petsmart classes... they're convenient, they're regularly scheduled, the classes fill rather than cancel, and they are pretty cheap. I don't know whether there are huge differences in the quality of trainers and materials, but 90% of the battle is the owner getting started and keeping at it. Once you get the knack, then it seems like you can read a couple of books and forge off on your own.

The Dream Life of Dogs

Early this morning Pappy let out a hearty "Arooooo-ook-ook-ook-ook" in his sleep. It's definitely odd to be awakened by the strains of unearthly howl-clucking. If you watch him sleeping, he does all of the classic foot wiggling and eye twitching (and with those eyebrows, it's hard to miss) attributed to dogs chasing rabbits in their dreams. I wonder if it is rabbits, or maybe the great doggy revolution where THEY'RE in charge.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Head of the Class!!

Today, Pappy graduated from beginner training school; he's got brains and beauty. During final exams, he had a record-setting run of 15 sits in a 30 second period, shattering the previous record of 13 sits from another class. He followed this with a class-best eight downs in 30 seconds. We would have tied or beat the record of nine, but for a minor treat miscue between Papster and his mom. Our secret? Under normal circumstances he is no more inclined to follow commands than the next mutt, but where there are some treats to be had he is super-focused dog. Also we took him to the dog park prior to class, where he worked all the distractability out of his system with his pals Jack and Sweet Pea.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Paltry Competition

In the spirit of competition, Pappy's puppy playmate, Maggie, has set up another "most adorable dog" site. Putting Maggie up against Pappy in the cutes department is funny in a pathetic sort of way, kind of like when the little kid is swinging away madly at the big kid holding him at arm's length. Ahhh, pity the beast, cause this is as cute as she's gonna get.

Though impossibly cute, Pappy did show his mean streak this weekend. While having a sleepover at his dog-cousin Ruby's house, he had a conflagration with his estranged cat-cousin Turtle at the bottom of the stairs. After they stitched Turtle's head back on she was fine. Pappy and Ruby are pretty inseparable, but Pappy and Turtle haven't yet established a lasting bond. Maybe next time.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Adopting a grown dog

The sad part about adopting a grown shelter dog is (often) never having any idea what he looked like as a puppy. I do often wonder what Pappy looked like during those first months.

Delusional family and neighbors say that they are sure that Pappy is still growing, but I have my doubts-- could be he is closer to a puppy than I know.

Friday, May 05, 2006


Thursday night, Pappy's eyes were a bit red and gooey, and Friday morning he woke up with one glued shut. We got it opened up with a warm wet cloth. Being new owners, we panicked and made frantic calls to the vet. Pappy was mighty pathetic on leaving him at the vet. On returning for him, his mom thought she was hearing a bird chirping from the back-- but this was the non-stop whimpering of our otherwise stoic boy on hearing her voice in front. He went home with a armload of pills and potions, and the vet has a nice contribution to her retirement. Pappy immediately seemed 100% improved, but once you start those antibiotics you need to finish them up-- preferably with peanut butter.