Vivian at 10 months

Well I blew right past February in the Vivian updates!  So I must reach back to remember all that she has learned and done….

In February we decided that Viv could sleep at night outside of the crate.  I think we possibly started that too early, and while we had no major accidents we did have a few sleepless nights!  In her ongoing attempt to perfectly train Peggy, Vivian would wake up in the night, cry, go to Greg’s side of the bed, cry, get nowhere, go to Peg’s side of the bed, place paws on bed and lay head on top of Peggy, cry and be lifted onto the bed!  Yes, Vivian almost had me perfectly trained when much to her chagrin, I went on vacation with my Mom and left her home to train Greg.   When it comes to allowing puppy on the bed at night he is apparently a tough cookie.  She now comes to Peggy’s side of the bed, places paws and head across Peggy, waits until she realizes that nothing is going to happen and then goes back to her bed.  

Spring is making an early appearance here in the Northwoods, and Vivian loves the warm weather and lack of snow.  Of course at nearly 10 months, she is getting much more adventuresome and is testing her boundaries a bit.  So back to work on recall.  Just about the time I think I have her nailing it, she decides to dig in and ignore me.   She has an uncanny way of knowing when there are treats (cut up hotdogs are her current fave) in the pocket and when there are not and recalls accordingly.    Yesterday we worked on retrieving and had a blast until I threw the rope/ball thingy in the tree.  If you look at past pictures on the blog you will see that throwing it high into a tree in our yard takes some skill as we  only have a couple of trees in the middle of the yard. 

Speaking of spring, Vivian chased her first mouse last week.  She couldn’t catch it, but she did chase it.  It reminded me of a sweet moment with Anna last spring.  Greg had gone to bed and I let the dogs in from their before bed outing.  Both Anna and Ike came running in the house and continued to run through the kitchen and living room,  looping around the family room before I caught Anna.  Anna obviously had something in her mouth and I put my hand down and firmly said “Drop it” at which point she dropped a dead mouse into my hand.  Tail wagging she looked up at me with such joy on her 15-year-old poodle face, while I screamed and Greg yelled from the bedroom “wash your hands before you come to bed!”  

Viv went to the groomer on Saturday and this is the picture of she and Ike on the way home.   Thanks to Kelly of Bark Avenue Grooming in Bemidji for making my Vivian look so pretty!

Vivian at 8 months

I decided I better write a quick blog over lunch today or I will have gone an entire month without documenting life with Vivian!  This has been a big month for Viv.  As I wrote about last month, the decision was made to take Vivian to a groomer in Bemidji, rather than groom her myself.   On January 7th, Greg, Vivian, Ike and I headed off in our new car for the groomer, 2 and a half hours away.  (Suffice it to say, we live way up here for the walleyes, the hockey, the great jobs and the scenery, not because it is convenient!)  

Vivian and Ike spent most of the ride arguing over who got which window seat and who had more room!  Reminds me of trips when we were kids!  At one point Vivian even pulled down the seat divider!  I would like to think that it was her poodle smarts that caused her to do that, but it is more likely that the new leather smell had gotten to her and if not caught she would have chewed on it!  Unfortunately our beautiful weather, perfect roads decided to pick that morning to get icey and to snow!  Nonetheless we journeyed on, as a grooming appointment on a Saturday is not an easy thing to obtain!

Vivian was a little nervous going into the shop,  but soon realized they had treats and other dogs to meet!  Ike had to follow us in to see where Viv was going, but seemed relieved that he didn’t have to stay with her.  A few hours later, and a trunk full of groceries and other assorted items we didn’t realize we needed until we saw them Vivian was groomed!   When I picked her up she was happily chasing a springer spaniel around the shop and didn’t seem to have much time for me.  There was a big standard poodle and her owner in the shop, and I did get questioned about whether or not Ike was fixed.  I assured her that there were no doodles in our future!

Next on Vivian’s January to-do list was getting spayed.  So off we drove to International Falls, about 90 miles southeast of us on Wednesday January 25th.  Did I mention we don’t live here because things are convenient?  We left at early thirty so that she could be dropped off by 8:30 Am.  She and Ike seemed to have found their comfort zone in the backseat, and Vivian pretty much slept the entire way there.  After weighing in at 41 lbs; she walked in back with Dr. Nicholson and I cried.     We were home and back at work by 11 AM!   She rocked the surgery and Dr. Hasbargen brought her in the van back to Warroad the next morning.  Our little conehead was home and Ike was delighted to see her, but quite afraid of the cone.   I realized soon enough that the cone would have to stay on,  just like the doctor said and that keeping her from jumping, leaping, twirling and running was going to be harder than I expected!  Crate training is your friend, really!  It took two hours before it dawned on me to  put her in her crate, as that is where she takes her afternoon nap everyday why wouldn’t I put her in there the day after surgery!  First though I did have to cut the cone down a tad as it was way too long and didn’t fit in the crate!

All in all an eventful month.  The video is of Viv helping Greg shovel a couple of weeks ago.  She might be 41 pounds, but she is still all puppy!  I always say when a puppy comes to our house they have hit the jackpot; but mostly I think we have!

It is not a problem if you can solve it with a check…

Vivian is now six months old.  She is a big girl; almost as tall as Ike and my guess is about 40 lbs, although Greg thinks more in the 45 range.  She is all muscle and still a flying machine!   She currently looks like a small bear cub; which is cute, but I long to see that pretty poodle face.   Every weekend I get out the clippers, get out the treats and start the process of trying to clip Viv.  I just can’t do it.  She is unhappy, I am unhappy, she is frustrated, I am frustrated and we stop.

  There is a reason I am not one of those “breeder, owner, handlers” you see at Westminster; I just don’t have the patience.  I am actually friends with at least one “breeder, owner, handler” and I think  not only am I not patient enough, I am just too lazy to do that.  Poodle hair is a full-time job…and  I don’t do human hair why would I do poodle hair?   So where am I going with all this? 

 Well my original decision to groom this puppy all by myself has changed; Vivian is going to the groomer!  Yes, if I can have my reoccurring moments of hair styling bliss, so can she.  She deserves a professional “do” and to look like the poodle of excellent breeding that she is.  So off to the groomer we go!  Luckily there is a very good groomer just 2 and a half hours away, who has standard poodle experience!  She groomed Anna a few times, and her business partner has standard poodles.  She assures me that she hasn’t met a puppy she can’t groom and I am going to believe her.  She even works on Saturdays so we don’t have to take a day off.

  The other good news is that we have a new car with great gas mileage so the road trip won’t hurt too much, and while Vivi gets groomed we can shop and have lunch and make a day of it.  As I write this I hear my poodle friends saying “tsk, tsk Peggy you are fully capable of grooming your own dog” and my big city friends saying ” A road trip to Bemidji is fun?” and my local friends saying “Lucky you, they have a Target in Bemidji!”   Which just goes to show you that I am very blessed to have such a diverse group of friends.  

Poodle plus Groomer plus willing husband driver plus cash; problem solved! Pictures to follow….

Snow, snuggling and Thanksgiving

Vivian has discovered snow!  She seems to like the cold stuff, if the white muzzle she sports everytime she comes in the house is any indication!  Unlike when Ike was a young one, she has not discovered a puppy appetite for “Poopsicles”, which makes me very happy!  

One of the reasons I decided to get Vivian this summer, even though I thought it was a bit soon after Anna had died, was that I did not want to be training a wee one in the snow.  This past week has shown me that it was a wise decision.  Viv enjoys being out in our fenced yard by herself and will entertain herself while Ike and I stay warm inside.  Right after work, while the sun is still out we take a walk or four around the house and play fetch….which right now is a game where Peggy throws the ball/rope contraption; Vivi runs after said contraption; Vivi runs back to Peggy without contraption; Peggy walks to contraption and we start all over again.  I need to google, “teaching a dog to fetch” as Viv certainly does not have the concept figured out.  When Viv gets tired of me throwing the contraption she graps it and runs around the house as fast as she can go, with of course the requisite jump over the straw pile.  She does love to jump!

Vivian turned six months old this week and has decided that she is a lap dog.  She does not care if you are at the computer, watching TV, reading a book or eating dinner.  If she is in the mood she will jump on your lap!  I guess we need to work on “being invited to snuggle” versus, “come on up whenever you feel like it!”  There is still so much to learn when you are just six months old.

This week she will learn about Thanksgiving with a house full of new  humans to meet and win over.  I like to think that she is thankful for getting us as her very own people.  I know I am thankful for all the poodles who have been in my life, my two golden boys, and this new little puppy girl.   And I am thankful for Greg, who loves me and loves our dogs.

By Leaps and Bounds!

Air Vivian

I am fascinated by the sport of Agility for dogs.  I love to watch you tube videos of dogs competing and am excited when I run across agility shows on TV.   I have poodle friends who compete and I especially love watching their videos and hearing about their poodle antics.   As I have said before poodles are smart and can learn a lot; but they also have free will and a lot of it!  My favorite video was one a poodle list friend put together of all the times her poodle decided to not follow her directions and just take another route.  I think the music she had with it was “Girls just want to have fun” or something to that effect.   I think I liked it because her poodle just looked so joyous and all you could do was laugh.  Agility is tough competition, but everyone always looks like first and foremost they are having fun.  We live too far north for Vivian to train for agility.  I would probably have to travel over two hours to find a club for classes, so we just do our own version of  Northwoods agility.   Last week Greg finished putting the flax straw over the pump and sewer system.  For the uninformed, it can get to minus 40 degrees here in the winter and we have to do some extra insulating of things so they don’t freeze.   The straw is about 2 feet wide and about a foot and a half tall.   The other day I was on one side of the straw and Vivian was playing with Ike on the other.   I called for Viv to come with me on my walk and she began to run, taking the straw pile with ease, toes pointed and ears streaming behind her and continued on to serpentine through the pine trees, before jumping the ditch and sticking the landing at the front door.   Last night we continued to hone her skills with yet another game of fishing for monkeys.   As you can see, she is earning her new nickname, Air Vivian!

A weekend at the kennel

Vivian and Ike headed to the Red Woof Boarding Kennel on Thursday morning.  I can only imagine the conversation:

Ike:  “Oh no, Greg has a suitcase too!”

Viv: “OH NO?  What does that mean?”

Ike:  “Means they are both leaving. When Peg packs, she is usually going away for work, or to visit her Mom, but if they both pack they are leaving us.”

Viv:  “Why would the want to leave us?  We are precious and fun and good exercise.”

Ike: “Apparently sometimes a Mom and a Dad need to go away for some alone time…let’s hope it is a quick trip this time.  Once they left Anna and me for 10 days!”

Viv: “I will just run and not get in the car and they won’t be able to leave!”

Ike: “Been there, tried it, doesn’t work.  But you can give it a go if you want.”

Viv: “So who all will be at this Woof place?”

Ike:  “Jenine, she is the house-mother and a nice lady.  I am her favorite, don’t forget it.”

Viv:  “Anyone else?”

Ike: ” There will be other dogs.  Probably none that look like you; once in a while there will be one that looks like me.  Some will be mutts…but Mom is more politically correct so she calls them Mixed Breeds.  Lots of black labs; they are crazy but harmless.  Look out of the ankle biters; for the most part Jenine doesn’t let us out with them, I think it is for our own protection.”

Viv:  “Will the others talk to us?”

Ike:  “Oh yea, some of them incessantly.  You are going to hear some crude language, but don’t start using it at home or you will get in trouble.  Don’t worry, I will protect you.  Since I am fixed I can go outside with you and I will be sure to tell those other bitches to back off of my little sis.”

Viv:  “OK, I will count on you, but I am still going to try that not getting in the car trick.”

Ike: ” Sure Viv, try that.  Like Adam and Eve’s dog didn’t try that trick when they left her at the Apple Orchard Boarding Facility and Doggy Day Care.  We have all tried it, and it never works.  Save your energy because trust me, when they get back we have about a week of them sucking up to us.  It will all be good.”

Letting go

Waiting for the next game to begin

Last week I left Vivian for the first time overnight.  It was just one night and she was with Greg and Ike, so hardly alone, but still it was hard.  I thought she would miss me terribly, but apparently that was not the case.   Greg and Ike are great entertainment and the recliner has plenty of room for an 18 week old puppy and her very favorite human dad.   According to Greg she got a major case of the “zoomies” which for the uninformed is a case of monster running and jumping from room to room and chair to sofa to other chair for a period of time.  The zoomies are hysterical to watch and appear to be in response to different stimuli, such as a bath or maybe having Mom gone?  She greeted me happily when I got home and proceeded to jump on me and nip at me in an effort, I assume, to see if the rules that had been enforced before I left were still in play….and they are.   Her newest trick is putting her paws on the table and taking things off the table…yep, another poodle counter surfer is born.  Just when you think you have the little rascal trained she comes up with something new!  This week she has a couple of vacation days with Dad and we are going to start working on “stay” which is a concept she doesn’t seem to get.  On Thursday she heads to the Red Woof Inn with Ike for a weekend of fun and frolic with favorite Red Woof house-mother Jenine!  We shall see how her first introduction to the boarding kennel goes.  She continues to be an adorable and frisky puppy….all 27 lbs of her!

Poodle People, Cookieman and Bitlit

If I could just get out there, I know I could catch it!

I think poodle people are a unique bunch.    I  am on a google group for poodle people or people who own poodles, or breed poodles or show poodles or just plain love poodles.  Some of my poodle list friends I have “known” for over 13 years and when they leave the group,  I miss them.  The group is less active now then it use to be as I think more people use facebook or other social media rather than the old fashioned email lists.   I sometimes miss the old group, because the debates that occurred were always interesting and often hilarious.    “Feed raw or not?” was one that came around quite often and always spurred passion.  I fell squarely in the not category, this former home economics teacher is wildly afraid of raw chicken, but never got in the middle of that one.  In fact most debates I stayed out of, since as the lowly owner of one pet poodle I could not speak definitively on anything other than poodles are smart and really cute.  Since everyone on the list agrees with that I can’t get any real debates going.  I once met up with one of my poodle friends in Washington DC for dinner.  My husband was my beau at the time and he wasn’t entirely thrilled that I was going to meet a man I met on the internet called “Cookieman”!  It was of course ok, I knew he was bringing Mrs. Cookieman and I knew virtually hundreds of people who knew Cookieman. We talked poodles, they brought cookies, and the only thing better would have been if the Cookieman poodles had come along! 

   Recently a group member nicknamed Bitlit passed away.  I wonder if she knew how many people she touched with her encouragement, her thoughts and her funny sense of humor?    Bitlit would have been happy that I got Vivian; she would have told me that life goes on and I deserved to have another poodle.  She would have been right, she usually was.


Here I come Mom!

Working on recall has been fun.  I want to be sure that Vivian comes when called every time, as that was an issue that my poodle Anna had.  Anna liked to run and when she was running there was no coming back until she tired out or someone cornered her.  I clearly remember a not so fun run through Shaker Heights Ohio early one morning as Anna checked out the new neighborhood.  Another romp was through the fields at Greg’s house years ago.  Greg was convinced that he and his Golden Retriever Jack, could get Anna to stay with them, and come when called.  So he unleashed her and then proceeded to chase her through the fields before finally trapping her in his mother’s garage, one long farm field away.   I know that it was my fault not working with Anna enough when she was young on recall and I certainly don’t want to make that mistake twice.  That being said, every time we go outside we work on recall.   Viv is doing great, and the first five times she comes to me like a poodle with wings and does her funny little Mary Lou Retton sit right in front of me.  The sixth time?  Well she is a poodle and the sixth time she looks at me with a look that says, “I did it five times, you know I can do it, I am tired and won’t do it again.  Now I am going to go chase this butterfly please leave me alone.”


Aunt Julie's water feature is nicer

This morning on the way out the driveway Greg pointed out a skunk as it made its way under the trees in front of our house.   Yikes, now I have to worry about skunks and Vivian!  Vivian hasn’t met anything she is afraid of yet, so if she sees a skunk I am afraid she will run toward it and while her recall is good for a 15 week old poodle, it is not fool proof by any means.  Luckily our yard is very large; we do have a section fenced in and when we are outside of the fenced area Greg and/or I are always with them and not anywhere near where we saw the skunk as that was close to the road.  Last weekend Viv saw her first deer, as two were in the soybean field and quite close to the house.  She looked rather startled when she barked her baby bark at them and they took off across the field.  Lots of people around here are having bear sightings in their yards, even in town.  It is because it has been so dry and there are no berries for them to eat.  We haven’t seen any out by our house, which is just fine with me.  I don’t need big black bundles of fur; I have Vivian and she is enough.