What the dog has been up to lately

A goofball at heart.

Little Pyrrha stories from this week:

Mmm, toothpaste!

Guion called me yesterday and asked, “So, is too much dog toothpaste toxic?”

Oh, boy. I made another overconfident mistake with Pyrrha and thought we could trust her alone in the house, out of her crate, for an hour. She doesn’t get into anything when we’re home and we left her alone for 30 minutes the other day and nothing was touched; she was just dozing in her crate. So, I was all, “Sweet, she’ll be great on her own! We won’t even be gone that long.”

Pyr, however, found her canine toothpaste down in the bottom of a bin and went to TOWN on it. Guion said she was covered in gooey, green paste when he found her. It was all over the carpet, all over her paws, and the tube was obliterated. She’d sucked out all the paste and had started to chew up the plastic tube itself when Guion came home.

I proceeded to panic a little, and panicked even more when my I told my boss, she called her vet friend, and the vet friend said, “Call the animal poison control center immediately!” But Guion didn’t report that she was acting sick, and the toothpaste was a “natural” brand, so it didn’t have the typical chemical cocktail. And the poison control hotline costs $65.

So, I got in touch with her foster, her fairy-dog-mother, who recommended that I call the vet. I did, and they told me not to freak out, that she’d probably have an upset stomach and possibly vomit. She slept through the night without incident, though, and seems totally fine today, except for those sticky green stains still on her front legs…

What contraband item has your dog ingested? Did you freak out?

Crushin’ on Camden

Pyrrha is still getting used to greeting other dogs on leash, but I think she’s made pretty significant improvements since we first brought her home. She is still scared of any and all dogs, but I’ve been relaxing my hold on the leash a LOT and calming down significantly, and I think that’s helped tremendously. Her hackles still go up and her tail still tucks, but she seems like she wants to greet them now and she hasn’t had any snarling or growling incidents in a month. We’re still moving slowly with it, but I have been delighted to discover one thing: CAMDEN.

There is a young female chocolate-colored pit bull who lives on our street. Her name is Camden and we often see her out walking with her humans. I don’t know what it is or why, but Pyrrha ADORES Camden. Camden is the only dog that I’ve ever seen Pyrrha genuinely happy to spot. She runs right up to her, all wags and smiles, and starts to play bow all over the place. Camden responds in kind, and the other night, the two of them romped around in our front yard for a bit (albeit on long leads). It totally made my day.

Camden’s humans were shocked when I told them that Pyrrha doesn’t like other dogs. “Are you sure? She is so good with Camden! She loves her!” They protested. I said it was true, but it seems that Pyrrha only has room in her heart for Camden. They seemed pleased and surprised to hear that their baby was the only one who could tame our fearful beast.

Camden doesn’t have a fenced-in yard, so I told her people that we really ought to have a play-date with the girls. We didn’t exchange any information, however, so I’m hoping we’ll run into them again soon and make that happen.

Does your dog have a best friend? A dog he or she instantly preferred over others, for seemingly no apparent reason?


After my big fail of an attempt to teach Pyrrha to target, I am happy to report that she has successfully learned the “touch” cue! I took a lot of your advice to heart and stepped back a lot before I tried to re-teach it to her. I tried again when she was in a happy, relaxed space and I didn’t make any suspicious movements (like trying to pick up a clicker). She learned the cue in about four repetitions, and now we’re practicing it in other rooms, environments, and with other people. She performed it successfully with Guion last night, too. I am hoping that this command will be a helpful focusing bridge for her when we start obedience school in a few weeks.

What new command or behavior is your dog learning now?


Things we’ve learned about Pyrrha lately

This post may become a regular feature, as it seems like we’re learning new things about our shy girl every day.

Are you done with the photos yet?
You done with that camera yet?

Here are a few things we’ve learned about Pyrrha this past week:

  1. The girl is great at chasing moths! She enjoys this nighttime activity immensely. And she’s pretty successful at catching them, too.
  2. She may not have a great memory with house guests? She was immediately fond of our friend Ann-Marie who was staying with us this past weekend (a bit leery of Ann-Marie’s husband, Shaun, but warmed up). But the next morning, when Ann-Marie walked out of the bedroom, Pyrrha growled at her. This, obviously, was concerning. We were all pretty shocked and I corrected her with a sharp “no.” Ann-Marie, who is good with dogs, walked slowly up to her and let Pyrrha smell her, and then she was fine with Ann-Marie for the rest of the day. My only guess is that she was possibly scared by Ann-Marie’s big, baggy pajama pants, which made a lot of movement? It still seems strange, though. Definitely something to watch and be aware of.
  3. Pyrrha loves running in crazed circles by herself in the yard. She doesn’t do this terribly often, but sometimes, when the moon is full or whatever, we’ll look out the window and she’s just tearing around the yard in circles. Then she’ll suddenly stop and look around, as if she had surprised herself. The lady clearly needs more exercise than she lets on.
  4. She is really excellent company while dining out. For all of her anxieties about social interactions, she is so calm and comfortable–for whatever reason!–dining out with us. We took her to her third restaurant this weekend, and she was great. More on that later.
  5. She’s grown very confident on our neighborhood walks. For the first few weeks, she wanted to go on walks with me, but she was slinking around most of the time, startled by most novel sounds, and keeping her tail and ears low or tucked. Now, she knows what’s going to happen when I say, “You wanna go on a WALK?” and she runs up to the front door and sits patiently (as she’s learned) for me to leash her. She is not as nervous and even seems more confident when we walk down entirely new streets.
  6. We’ve found her very high-value reward: Liver jerky. (At least, I think that’s what it is.) Our sweet neighbor Pat, who has four dogs of her own and also fosters adoptable dogs, gave us some liver to share with Pyrrha and, wow, she goes crazy for it. We’ve decided that it’s going to only come from Guion, since it’s a really great way for her to associate him with GREAT things. She follows him around the house for a good while after he gives her a bit. It’s very cute. And, yes, it might be bribery, but it’s working.
  7. She’s decided that she likes digging. This is kind of a bummer, since we have lots of pretty plants in our backyard. I caught her last night digging up one of our pepper plants. Since I caught her in the act, I could give her a quick verbal reprimand–which quickly stopped the digging–but we’ve found numerous little holes all around the yard since.

More to come, I am sure!