Pup links!

Chihuahua mix on the bed. Source: SF Girl by Bay

Two little Pyrrha stories from today:

Story One: On our  morning walk, we met a man and his super-handsome, studly 18-month-old German shepherd (big ol’ head, definitely from European lines), Zuma. Pyrrha might not be a breed-ist after all, because she was terrified of him. He was very friendly and gregarious, but her tail was tucked and her lips were curled back in a snarl… and YET. She kept rushing up to him to sniff him. What is that about?? She was very interested in him and didn’t want to walk away from him… but her posture and facial expression was one of utter terror/fear aggression. What does this mean? How do I combat it?

Story Two: After I walked out the door to go to work, I had to come back in a few seconds later, to give my husband his keys. Normally, when I leave for work in the morning, Pyrrha watches from the window with a tight (I read it as sad) expression. However, when I unexpectedly walked back in the door this morning, she was OVERJOYED to see me. Actually jumped in the air toward me! (Never seen that before.) Wiggling and wagging all over the place, totally ecstatic that I was “back” from work after 10 seconds… Made it really, really hard to get back in that car. I do love our special-needs shy dog; she keeps the emphasis on the special.

Dog-related links from around the Web this past week:

The Power of a Walk. My thoughts exactly, Kristine! I was feeling this way so much this morning, about how calming and centering it was to begin my day outdoors with my dog at my side. (Rescued Insanity)

Exposing a Shy Dog to New Experiences. Now there’s an inventive socialization endeavor: Kayaking! I really have no idea how Pyrrha would react to that… Looks like it went well for Pager, though! (Peaceful Dog)

Dogs in Need of Space. A helpful poster for “DINOS.” I feel like we’ve all kind of been there with shy dogs before… If only more people could see this! (Will My Dog Hate Me?)

A Poppy Weekend. A recap of a weekend exposing Sage to a toddler. This sounds like a good idea. Pyrrha is OK with older children, but toddlers make her very nervous. How did you expose your shy dog to very young kids in a safe, controlled way? (The Misadventures of Sage)

Learning to “Speak Dog”: Why You Should Care about Understanding Your Dog. I loved this post, because it felt like a recap of everything I learned and read in this past year. A helpful, easy-to-read synopsis of why it matters that we understand our canine companions. (Tails from the Lab)

Dog Camping Heaven in Upstate New York. Um, can we go NOW? This looks incredible. Have you ever taken your dog to a place like this? (Go Pet Friendly)

Able Mabel, Revisited. These photos of this fit, healthy bulldog are so encouraging to me. Now this is what bulldogs should be able to do! Run around and play and breathe naturally. (Pedigree Dogs Exposed)

Fresh Dog. This sounds like an interesting product: Dry shampoo for dogs. Especially intriguing since Pyrrha detests baths… Do you think it would work? I’m intrigued. (Pretty Fluffy)

Wacky for Watermelon. These photos crack me up. And I tried it today with Pyrrha, too! She may not have Pixel’s level of obsession with watermelon, but she was definitely very fond of it–especially since our temperatures soared to 97 F today. (Many Muddy Paws)

Can dogs pout? Tales of a traumatic first bath

On Sunday, I decided to attempt Pyrrha’s first bath. Her foster said she hadn’t been bathed at all since coming into the rescue and that fact was starting to become apparent. It was a bright, warm day, and so I decided to set up shop on a small concrete pad in the yard, where I could use the garden hose and hitch her to a fence post with a leash.

Sounds pretty ideal, right? Well. No. Not from Pyrrha’s perspective.

I had an idea that she would hate being bathed, as we’ve learned that she really hates having her paws wiped off after she’s been outside. She also hates being groomed with the undercoat rake (although she is fine with the ZoomGroom). But a bath has to happen sometime. So, I armed myself with bits of hot dog and led her out to the concrete pad, ready to rumble.

Her normal position
Pouting, post-bath.

The second I turned the hose on, PANIC set in. She tried to bolt in every direction, nearly choking herself in the process. She was in such a state that she wouldn’t even accept the hot dogs. I had to put her between my knees and calmly hold her and speak softly while I hosed her down (on the gentlest setting, the setting you use for delicate seedlings). She finally stood still, but she was MISERABLE. When I turned around for a second to pick up the shampoo, she started trying to head-butt her way back through the fence.

It was not fun, for either of us. My legs were shaking from the whole ordeal. Thankfully, however, the bath was over in 10 minutes and I was very grateful I splurged on that chamois doggy towel, which really accelerated the drying process.

For the rest of the afternoon, however, she was pissed. I don’t know if dogs can pout, but I really feel like Pyrrha was pouting. Normally, when I call her, she comes over, wags a bit, kisses me on the nose, etc. The rest of the post-bath Sunday? Nothing. Not even a glance. She’d actually get up and walk away if I tried to pet her. She wouldn’t even accept treats from me. Such a diva! Her feelings were very hurt by this whole traumatic bath ordeal. (And she was also probably angry, because the conditioning shampoo I bought made her smell like a sugar cookie. I apparently didn’t read the label very closely. I kind of don’t blame her; it would be insulting to have to smell like some second-rate confection after you’d just been thoroughly traumatized.)

Mercifully, Pyrrha seems to have a short memory, because she was fine the next day. I think my parents’ arrival helped distract her, and the fact that my father played with her and her new rawhide surely erased all those bad feelings.

So, two questions for you:

  1. Does your dog HATE baths? What do you do to make the whole event less traumatic?
  2. Can dogs pout? What do you think? Do your dogs ever pout?