Tag Archives: doggie mischief

Annie the adventurer…who knew?

Every time Annie does something remotely “dog like”, I take note.

Behaviors that might seem completely normal and maybe even annoying in other dogs, are behaviors that she is learning.  She wouldn’t take a treat from my hand.  She wouldn’t come into the same room with me.  She wouldn’t go through new doorways.  She wouldn’t go upstairs.  She wouldn’t voluntarily leave her crate. She wouldn’t leave our yard to go to the car or for a walk. Slowly, as she got more comfortable with us and her new home, she started doing these things.  One day at time.  Sometimes she would regress, and we would start over, trying to make her comfortable.

She still won’t roll over for a belly rub. She still barks out of fear when someone other than my husband or I walks through the door, even if it’s someone she knows well.  She still hides behind me when we are out for a walk and someone is walking towards us.

Imagine my surprise Sunday morning, when I heard a commotion at the front door.  Maisie and Winn were crowded together with their tails were wagging and I could tell they either saw someone on the sidewalk or even on the porch that they knew.  Annie was in the middle of the living room barking her alarm bark.

I went to the door and my next door neighbor was there.  He didn’t ring the bell but when I opened the door, he said one of them was wandering outside in front of his house and he had just brought her back. Winn had recently brought in the paper and maybe I didn’t latch the door all of the way.  I was a little surprised, but thanked him for returning the rascal.  I figured it was Maisie.  As he turned to go down the stairs, he said “it was the dark one”.  The dark one!  I said, “Annie?”. “Yep”.

I couldn’t believe it!  I was cleaning the bathroom when I heard her barking, and that’s when I went around the corner and saw the other two with their wagging tails at the door.  Apparently he had returned Annie, she ran inside and then started barking which led the other two to check out whatever was happening.  I can not believe she actually left the house and went for a stroll.  That is something completely new!

I certainly don’t take it lightly that she got out, but there is a part of me that can’t help but smile because it’s one more little sign that lets me know that she is confident enough in her surroundings that she thought she would go say hello to the neighbor.

Annie broke the hook…

Annie’s on a diet and Annie doesn’t like being on a diet.  I don’t blame her, I don’t like it either but we have both gained weight over the past several months so we are watching what we eat.

Maisie and I have been doing a lot of training lately, we are working on her Canine Good Citizen title and then hope to move on to Therapy Dog certification.  Yesterday before class I took Maisie out for a long walk to review some of the things we’ve been working on and to burn off some energy because she gets so excited when she sees the other dogs in class.  Distraction is her biggest obstacle to passing her test.

Because of this, I have treats tucked into the pockets of my coats, sweatshirts or pants.  When I get home, Annie will shove her nose right into wherever I have those treats.  She knows Maisie and I have been doing treat things without her.  Of course I will ask her to sit or lie down and she will get a treat, but it’s never enough, she always wants more.  I understand, I always want more yummy things too.

Well, yesterday I was rushing around.  Maisie and I went for a walk and I was taking pictures for a photo challenge and because of this we got home later than I planned.  We were both hot and muddy so I quickly rinsed Maisie off and then hopped in the shower.  We left for class 20 minutes later.  It was so warm out I discarded my coat, shoved treats in my sweatshirt pocket and took off.  When we got home, Chris and I were late for an outing with his mom and we rushed off again.  Yep, you guessed it, I forgot about the treats in my coat pocket and left my coat hanging on a hook in the narrow hallway that Annie used to never go down but now does not fear.

Later that evening I noticed Annie snuffling around in her crate.  Chris looked at me and said “what is Annie doing, and by the way, how did you break your hook?” Then, “Wait a minute, is that your coat?”.  Sure enough, there was my coat, rumpled up in her crate, buried under her blanket.  I stood up and attempted to remove it but Annie was standing on it with a look on her face that said “finders, keepers”.  We were both laughing as I struggled to get my coat out of there but I was finally rewarded with a slimy, wet mess of a coat.  The pockets were licked clean of any treat remnants.

Somehow she had pulled my coat down without ripping it by snapping the hook in half.  These are really sturdy hooks, they’ve been overloaded with coats and bags for years but in one afternoon Annie figured out how to break one.  Oh, to be a fly on the wall!

Re-staging the scene, Annie won’t look at me, Maisie is incredulous and that burgundy wad in the crate is my coat.

Christmas traditions

This is Bailey. She was my first Newf, a birthday gift from my husband after my youngest went to kindergarten (15 years ago). As time went on, it was evident that she wasn’t a typical Newf.  She was pushy, loud, stubborn, difficult to train unless food was involved and incredibly Alpha, only willing to submit to me.  I think she thought the kids were her puppies and sometimes she respected my husband but she was my dog and we had an incredible bond.IMG_2199

Bailey loved food. She was always hungry and she would do anything for food.  As a result, she was also always scavenging for food.  She got many sticks of butter,  all of us lost a birthday cake over the years, every Halloween she found candy remnants and each Christmas she would eat the ginger bread house.  The first year I had pushed the house to the edge of the table and she ate the back of the house so that it resembled a doll house with a full front facade and an open back.  The funny thing was that I’m not sure when she did it.  One day I noticed the back of the house was missing and I got a good laugh.  It wasn’t surprising that she did this considering she ate everything within reach and as a result this became one of our traditions. Christmas wasn’t finished until Bailey ate the ginger bread house.

As the years went on she would come and find me with the tell-tale signs of her mischief.  Her face would be all sticky and the hair around her neck would be stiff and sticking out in every direction.  She was giddy with her accomplishment and wanted to share her success with me.  As much as I wanted to curtail her scavenging, I couldn’t help but be entertained by her joy and satisfaction.

Bailey lived big and made her presence known at all times so it’s no wonder that the hole she left was wide and deep. She was bossing me around one day and the next day she was gone, I shouldn’t have been surprised because she lived life according to her own plan.  We brought Maisie home a week after we lost Bailey, my intention was that they would be together and Bailey could show her the way but that wasn’t the way it would be.  It’s probably best that’s how it worked out because Maisie would have been completely overwhelmed by Bailey.  Their personalities couldn’t be more different and Maisie is the least food motivated dog I’ve ever known.  She has never counter surfed and the ginger bread house is not a temptation so for the last three years that Christmas tradition has been put to rest.

So you guessed it, that leads us to Annie.  Maybe it’s a black Newfie thing, maybe it’s just a coincidence but once again we have a Newf who LOVES food.  Annie’s reasons are different from Bailey’s–Bailey got everything she ever wanted for her entire life, Annie was deprived of knowing all that could be available to her for most of her life–but her love of food is on par with Bailey’s.  So this Christmas I just knew that we would be able to experience some ginger bread house destruction.

Making the house is a big production, and my husband and daughter have always been in charge.  They decide on the design, make plans and templates then make the dough (dog safe of course), roll it out and cut it into shapes to make the house.  Once decorated it becomes the centerpiece on our dining room table.  Traditionally, it stays there until it gets destroyed and then it gets thrown out.

This year we seemed to run out of time but I was insistent that we (my husband and daughter) must make the house to give Annie the opportunity to revive the tradition. On Christmas Eve my husband and I went shopping to get supplies.  He was stressed out about the number of things that needed to be done that day–grocery shopping, cookie baking, ginger bread house, church, dinner and assembling Christmas Day breakfast casseroles.  I was completely calm (unusual for me) because I knew it would all work out.  It’s Christmas, no need to stress!  While roaming the aisles of Target he came up with the brilliant idea of using pretzel rods and frosting to make log cabin houses which proved to be much quicker and really cute and different.img_3818

Congratulations Annie! She did it and somehow knew which one was hers.  She destroyed the house with the A on it and left the other one untouched.  She ate some of the walls which were pretzels but she devoured the roof which was made of Nilla Wafers.  She chose a time when my husband and I were in another room and then she came and found us, her face all shiny and sticky with crumbs mixed in her whiskers and then she settled into her bed and began licking her legs and feet clean of all frosting remnants.  We both smiled, the tradition was back and Annie was so proud of herself.

P.S. The big reward for Miss Frosting Face was a bath the next day.dd4694da-1be5-4520-9ab9-55ef52ce9e16

Annie’s midnight mayhem

A couple of months ago I was mystified by the disappearance of items, mainly from the kitchen.  The mystery has been solved and indeed, Annie is the culprit.

The table outside has also proven to be a source of good crumbs. Sometimes there are leftovers from the the night before after the table is cleared in near darkness.

Are dogs like people in that when one sense starts to weaken another gets stronger?  Annie’s eye sight is compromised, especially in her right eye and sometimes I think her hearing may be getting weaker as well.  However, her sense of smell is just fine and quite precise!  It almost seems that it is getting stronger.  As time has gone by, she has gotten more adventuresome and she has made new discoveries.  Chances are, if she swipes along the counters she might knock something off that is quite delicious.  She has also learned to trust her nose to target specific areas so she’s gotten quite successful with this technique.

Our previous Newf Bailey was always hungry and would get into anything that was left out. We learned to always survey the area before we left the house and look for things that might appeal to her.  Occasionally she would still find something, but it was pretty rare.  She’s been gone for about 3 years and Maisie has no desire to search for food so we’ve gotten pretty relaxed about leaving things out. I am having to retrain myself to make sure everything is put away or out of reach because the bottom line is, if she gets something, it’s my fault that she found it.

We are finally starting to see her true personality.  She is so affectionate and is very silly.  She roams around the house with confidence and I love seeing her so comfortable in her surroundings.  Annie has only lived indoors for the last 2 years.  First in her foster home and now with us.  That has opened up so many new discoveries that she really is like a kid in a candy shop.  Everywhere she turns, there are nice things just for her.  She is warm, she is fed, her water bowl is always full and she has multiple beds to choose from.  When one gets hot or uncomfortable, she just moves.  She lets out little moans of contentment in her sleep and it’s wonderful!  I love seeing her so happy, so really, her joy of discovering treasure when my back is turned is also wonderful.  She has no fear in our house, and that is exactly what I was hoping she would discover.

One morning, I came down and there were paper wrappers all over the kitchen floor.  I was so confused because Annie had come up to bed with me the night before, and was still upstairs with my husband.  I had gone shopping the day before and had stopped into a new pet store and bought a couple of toys and some Nature’s Miracle.  Before I left  a bag of “samples” was thrown into the bag.  They were in a brown paper lunch bag that was stapled shut and decorated with stickers.  I didn’t open it and had forgotten about it when I went upstairs that night. The sample bag was still in the shopping bag in the middle of our kitchen island.  At some point in the night, Annie had tiptoed downstairs, gotten the bag off of the island and torn into the smaller bag finding 3 different food and treat samples.  For a dog with no front teeth, she has proven to be perfectly capable of tearing into sealed plastic bags!

I remembered a story her foster mom told that one night she got up to let one of the dogs out and when she came downstairs in the dark she was greeted by two black dogs that had white faces. In her confusion, she flipped on the light and was greeted by Annie and Rayne and a bag of flour that had been ripped open and strewn about!  Rayne is their #1 scavenger and if something is within reach, she will find it.  This was Annie’s first lesson in the art of midnight munchie counter surfing.

There has been one other successful midnight kitchen raid that resulted in a shredded, empty treat bag on the floor so now the kitchen is surveyed very closely before we head to bed.  The idea that she wakes up, quietly sneaks downstairs without waking us and then returns hopefully with a full belly really makes me smile.  She still has success with mid-day discoveries and this weekend she snatched a loaf of bread that was with a few things that still had to be put away after a trip to the grocery store.  I had run upstairs to change laundry loads and when I came back down there was only 1 loaf where there had been 2.  Sure enough, the plastic bag was ripped open and was in the back of her crate along with a pile of crumbs.  At least it was bread, I had quickly put away everything that I thought would appeal to her (lunch meat, a pot roast, some cheese and butter) but somehow thought the bread was safe.  The answer is obvious, everything must be considered irresistible because she keeps having success.  The only way to guarantee that her waistline wont continue to expand is to remove temptation immediately!

“Little Timmy fell down the well”

This week I had an actual Lassie moment.

On Tuesday, I was out of the house for a couple of hours and when I walked through the back door, neither dog was there to greet me.  Annie is usually there next to Maisie, but Maisie is always there and very often jumping up on the door so she can see me through the window as I approach.

I called out to them and then I heard the thunderous roar of aimg_2871 dog running down the stairs. Much to my surprise it was Annie who came skidding around the corner, charging right at me. She began barking and nearly took me out with swats to my ankles.  “You’re home, you’re home!”  Annie is not an excitable dog, so a greeting from her with this amount exuberance was highly unusual! I tried to calm her with gentle pats and soothing words as I waited for Maisie to come flying around the corner with a similar level of excitement.  After a few seconds, and no Maisie, I knew something was not right.

I called out for her, and as I began walking through the house, Annie was right by my side, pushing into my legs, seeming to guide me toward the stairs. I called for Maisie again and this time I heard a high pitched yip with a lot of scratching. As I started up the stairs, Annie barreled past me pushing me into the railing and raced to the top to wait for me and give me a couple of barks. “This way, this way!”

“this way!”

Once I was at the top, Annie ran down the hall and I could see that my bathroom door was closed and I could hear Maisie desperately barking and scratching at the door.

Annie ran to the door, barked a couple of times “hurry, hurry, she’s here” and watched me with such concern as I slowly opened the door.

“she’s in here!”

I didn’t want to hit Maisie with the door or run over her bandaged foot but when the door was open just a couple inches Maisie wedged herself through the opening and leapt out with the speed and energy of a tiger pouncing on her prey.  I quickly jumped out of the way, but Maisie was jumping on Annie, jumping on me, both were barking, trying to tell me about this terrible thing that happened.


Then they both turned, ran down the hallway, and side by side charged down the stairs faster than I’ve ever seen before. In a flurry of legs, tails and flying hair, I crossed my fingers that they wouldn’t get tangled up and roll down the stairs like a big, hairy  wagon wheel. I followed as quickly as I could to let them out since they both seemed desperate to get outside. They both ran outside, found spots in the middle of the yard and had what I assumed was a stress potty break.

I wasn’t gone that long! Annie never runs more than 2 or 3 steps so watching this level of excitement continue with the two of them had me laughing out loud.  Maisie proceeded to run circles around Annie, then run to me and then back again to Annie.  At this point, it was clear they both needed to calm down so I took them inside and got them to settle by my feet.  As they both were snoring, I had visions of them each lying down on either side of the door snorting at each other through the crack at the bottom, until Annie heard me coming and could run for help.  Oh to be a fly on the wall!