Who’s The Boss – Revisited

Last year I wrote about the ongoing stand-off between Keegan and Kona.  And by “stand-off”, I really mean Kona’s efforts to entice Keegan to play, and Keegan’s disdain and disinterest in her.

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This hasn’t changed much.  Although Keegan has figured out that Kona isn’t going to hurt him, so he’s become bolder with his actions.  He stands his ground if Kona approaches him and he’s bitten her face a few times.  It’s not very effective though – Kona only yelped once in pain.

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Kona has taken to a new tactic, one she likes to employ at the dog park with dogs who aren’t interested in playing…. She sniffs his bum.  Yes, our dog is classy.

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We still have gates up on our main floor to separate the dog and cat zones of the house.  Now that I’m home all day, every day, I am constantly walking through the gates, often with a baby in my arms, and they are becoming rather annoying.

We let Kona out into the cat area of the house fairly often now, and we’re ready to let her in that area permanently.  What we don’t want is for her to be able to get upstairs (gotta leave Keegan some dog-free space!).  Since we’ll  need a gate for the stairs eventually (O can’t roll over yet, but the months are flying by and he’ll be crawling relatively soon), we picked one up on sale a few weeks ago.  The plan is to keep the Family Room as the dog zone, where we can corral Kona when she is getting in the way (she likes to “help” when we are moving things in/out of the house and basement, or trying to mop the floor).

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I cannot wait – this is long overdue!

Snow Days

The weatherman is calling for lots of snow today, and for Kona’s sake I hope the forecast is right for once!  Nobody loves snow as.much as our pup….

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She loves making snow dogs (is that what you call the dog version of snow angels?), and burying her face in the snow.  The first snowfall this winter she was in heaven!

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Since O was born P has taken over the majority of the dog walking duties.  I try to walk her on weekend afternoons when P is around and can take over baby-duty.  I never thought I would say this, but I miss our early morning walks, especially after a night of snow fall.  The peace and calm of our neighbourhood before the hustle and bustle of people leaving for work and school.  That crisp clean air.  Making the first set of tracks in the snow.  I miss it… and maybe, just maybe, if the planets align and timing works out, I might be able to squeeze in a late evening stroll with our pup if it snows today. Maybe.

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So as someone who is home on mat leave (and whose husband no longer drives into the City), I’m secretly wishing for a massive snowfall.  Apologies to all those who will have a miserable commute if my wish comes true!

(Photo Disclaimer:  Ok, these photos don’t capture her joy in the snow… she’s very “blue steel” when asked to pose for photographs.  Next time candids will be in order!)

Resolutions

Happy New Year!  I hope you all had a great night celebrating the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013.  I was up, but not to celebrate as I have in years past 😉

While I’m normally not one to make a New Years resolution, this year I am making an exception.  Since my last trimester began, and especially after our little one arrived, I have not made the time for myself to be active.  So this year my resolution is to try and incorporate being active into my new life as a mom.

I know the majority of fitness resolutions tend to fail, but I have a multi-step plan to help me succeed. The first step is that I’ve told my husband the plan and I’m sharing it on this blog.  P very supportive and encouraging in my efforts to be active.  Once I’ve verbally committed to him, I know he’ll be checking up on me to make sure I follow through as well as helping out at home (even more than he already does) to make sure that I have no excuses.  And then there’s the self-imposed guilt I will feel knowing I shared the plan here.

The second step is that I am trying out a mom and baby fitness class – Salsa Babies – to get me through the winter months.  I’m hoping the social aspect of the class, and the fact that I can bring O with me, will keep me motivated!

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Fingers crossed that Baby O and I are smiling as much as the mom and baby in the cartoon when we try our first class in January.

And the third step is that I will start running again once the weather is warm enough to allow me to take the babe outside.  To help me do that, I’ll be using this:

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Thanks to a fabulous kijiji find, P and I just invested in a great jogging stroller.  The snow has only just arrived and now I can’t wait until Spring to get a running program started (again).

Before our son arrived, I was actually opposed to getting a jogging stroller.  I had this crazy notion that running would be my “me time” and that I’d go out with Kona while P watched our baby.  Obviously I had no understanding of baby feeding and sleeping schedules back then!

So how about you? Any other New Years Resolutions out there?

Disturbing Behaviour

I have a confession to make.  Kona’s been driving me a little crazy over the last couple of weeks.  I don’t know if it’s the heat, or if she’s not getting enough exercise, or if she’s going through a growth spurt of some sort, but something is up and she is constantly restless. 

Our typical routine on weekday evenings involves P exercising Kona when he gets home from work.  They are usually out when I arrive home, so I get dinner started.  After dinner and dishes are taken care of, P goes upstairs to the office while I relax in the family room to watch some TV with Kona.  Normally, she settles.  Sometimes she needs to be encouraged to play with a chew toy. 

But these past few days?  She’s been… well I guess the polite way of putting it would be to say she’s “instigating”.  She’ll try and chew on our couch (which she knows is not allowed), or she’ll start chewing on her dog bed (also not allowed), and after that she chews on the concrete hearth in front of our fireplace.  In the past few days she also started chewing on the door mat at our back door. 

It’s driving me up the wall.  My “relaxing” evening ends up consisting of me disciplining her every 3 minutes or so.  And she knows what she’s doing is wrong.  The last time I caught her at the door mat and told her to “go to bed”, she walked straight to her crate and sat there looking at me. 

But as a fluke, I have discovered a distraction…

Thursday night I was watching the Top 20 perform on So You Think You Can Dance (yes, much to P’s dismay, I enjoy my fair share of reality TV).  When a jazz routine came on the screen, Kona was MESMERIZED.

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The moment the dance number ended, she went back to her annoying antics.  But as soon as the next routine, a Viennese Waltz, started, she was back to watching the TV.

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Sadly, her enjoyment of the dance program ended abruptly with the end of this routine.  The two numbers were so different that I can’t think of what it was that grabbed her attention.  I guess we’ll just have to see if she shows interest in any of the numbers in next week’s show!  Meanwhile I just may start taking her for a THIRD walk after dinner in hopes that it will help her settle.

Vacations and Family Reunions

A couple of weeks ago P and I went on vacation – our first in almost 2 years.  While we were away, Kona had a vacation of her own.  She went to stay in the same house where she was born.  We knew she would have a great time and when we went to drop her off we were looking forward to seeing her mother, Serena, again. As we turned into the driveway Kona’s excitement level went through the roof (in fact, if we had a sunroof in that car she probably would have!).

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to see Serena – after Kona’s litter was born Serena was retired and went to live with another family.  But there was another equally exciting surprise in store for us…

Sisters

The breeder kept one of Kona’s sisters, Daisy.  P and I watched Kona and Daisy greet one another and play with each other for a while before we left.  It was incredibly cute!

Daisy (Left) and Kona (Right)

We were surprised to see the colour difference between the two of them – Kona is much darker than her sister.  They’re the same height (in fact, all the females at that house were about the same height), although Kona weighs a good 10 lbs less (likely thanks to all the running she does with P).

When they were playing they would periodically pause, and adopt the exact same mannerisms.  Despite the difference in physical appearance, it was like looking at two mirrored images!

Kona (Left) and Daisy (Right)

While Kona was in puppy paradise for the week, P and I were in a paradise of our own – the island of Sint Maarten / St. Martin.  We stayed on the Dutch side of the island and spent a lot of time relaxing on the resort.

Our resort was next to the infamous Maho Beach, which is right next to the airport’s landing strip.

We also got to explore the entire island through day trips (one tour, the rest self-directed).

It was a much deserved break that left us feeling relaxed and recharged by the time we arrived home.  The past 7 months have been very busy for us, as we worked on the most involved home renovation project we have attempted since we moved into our house; a complete redo of our master bedroom, ensuite bathroom and closets.  I’ll be sharing the before and after of that project very soon as we’re just working on finishing up those “last little details”.

The push to finish the project is pretty strong, because our next project is already lined up…

Yes, our home needs a nursery!  Watching Kona’s excitement with little children takes on a whole new meaning for us now, as she’s going to have her own little person to play with. We cannot wait!!!

Doggy Sleepover

Yes, we’re alive and all is well.  It’s been a busy couple of months and as a result I’ve been rather delinquent with posting.  In fact, this is a post I should have written 2 months ago and am just getting around to now.  But there will be more posts to come soon (exciting ones with reno before/afters)!

Over the winter P and I were toying with the idea of going away on vacation.  We never got around to it, and one of the stumbling blocks was the pet-care issue.  I had heard many tales of young dogs being left and developing bad habits while the owners were away.  We’ve put in so much work with Kona’s obedience that I didn’t want that to happen.

Then, unexpected circumstances forced us to leave Kona for a weekend.  For family reasons, we had to go to Montreal for an overnight trip at the end of February.  We had a few days notice that it might happen, and during that time I met a neighbour who runs a dog sitting service out of her home.

I ended up asking my co-worker C, the owner of Kona’s buddy Max, if she knew of this person (they work at the doggie daycare Max goes to).  When C found out we needed someone to look after Kona for 2 days, she volunteered!

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 While we felt a lot better leaving her with someone we knew, and who had a dog that Kona got along with, I still managed to write a crazy detailed list of “things to know about Kona”.  Her routines, rules we enforced , and her feeding schedule.  Yes, I was the paranoid one leaving her behind.

We dropped her off at 10 am and she was super excited.  We left a half hour later and the two dogs were busy wrestling. 

Later on, at 8 o’clock that night, P (not me) sent a text to C asking how things were going.  She sent us the picture below back, along with a message saying the two of them had not stopped wrestling. 

Yes, they were having a good time! 

The next morning C took them to the park, hoping it would tire them out.  Thankfully it did, and she sent this photo:

We picked up Kona that evening and she was excited to see us (although still willing to play a bit longer!). 

All in all the visit went very well, and for the next couple of days we had a very relaxed, sedate dog in our home.  One that had now mastered walking up and down stairs!  

Several weeks later C admitted she had a confession to make – while she knew we had a strict “no dogs on furniture rule” she did let Kona up on the couch the night we were away.  If she hadn’t told us, we never would have known, as Kona has never tried to jump on our couch since that visit. 

In the end it was a very successful experiment.  So successful, that a few days afterwards we started discussing the possibility of a vacation away.  A possibility which has become a definite – we’ve booked a trip to the Caribbean and can’t wait! 

Kona will also have her own vacation while we are gone.  She is going to stay in the home where she was born.  A week surrounded by other labs – she is going to have a blast!

An Interesting Start To My Morning

Every day when I drive to work I listen to a local radio station’s 8 am “Feel Good Favourite”.  It’s a chance for listeners to call in and request a feel good song, and often these songs are dedicated to their friends and family.  It’s usually a favourite song of the person being honoured in the dedication, but sometimes it is the message of the song that is the reason it is chosen. 

This morning the caller wanted to dedicate the Feel Good Favourite to her friends who recently lost their “beloved lab”.  The song she requested?  “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen. 

So there I was, halfway to work, listening to the song lyrics and thinking of Kona as she gets older.  It was all I could do not to cry.  Especially when it got to the line “But I still come back to you” and all I could see was Kona running towards me when she’s called. 

I’m not kidding – the caller really picked an appropriate song.