Tag Archives: Schnauzer

Beheading of stuffed toys suggests therapy for dog

Observing our Schnauzer‘s habit of beheading his stuffed toys and then preferring the beheaded creature or its lone body part over new toys, our daughter made the comment that “If that was the behavior of a child, he’d be in therapy.” Wonder if there is such a thing as pet therapy?

Visitors to the house are often taken aback by the headless animals and body parts strewn randomly around the house but our regular little visitors (i.e. nieces, nephews and cousins) immediately head for Ike’s toy box, an antique bread-rising box. Ike knows where they’re headed so races them to the box, where he leans over the side, grabs a favorite item and runs away, hoping he’ll get to play chase.

I’m sure some people find this collection of decapitated stuffed animals thoroughly disgusting but we view his favorite — a lavender arm torn from a Relay for Life teddy bear — as the equivalent to a child’s “blankie.” And like most parents, we’ve learned not to leave home for a long period of time without a well-chewed toy.

Here is a pictorial sample of what you’ll find on our floor on any given day. Taking these photos was not easy — imagine trying to take your child’s favorite toy or blanket — even for a few seconds.0102131950a0102131950

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New Christmas toy -- squirrel house with three squirrels -- two of which have already been torn at the seams....and repaired.

New Christmas toy — squirrel house with three squirrels — two of which have already been torn at the seams….and repaired.

Ike’s visit to the Windy City

Ike decided to tag along on a trip to Chicago this weekend. Actually, he didn’t see much of the city, since he had to stay home while the folks went to town. But that was okay…he had plenty of new experiences.

Here’s what he learned:

If he’s pushy enough, he can weasel his way into the front seat of the car for much of the five-hour car trip. Like a child, he spent the first hour popping up and down to peer out the window,  the scenery of which he did not recognize.

Good thing he doesn’t get carsick.

Sitting in the car for five hours was worth it. He got to spend much of the weekend running leash-free around the fenced-in backyard. This is a big deal for a Schnauzer whose only two times outside off-leash involved mad races through Bluffton trying to elude his weary captors.

Sadly, his dreams of catching up to one of those furry little animals that hop hop hop across the yard while he watches out the window, remain unfulfilled. He discovered today that they can out-hop him.

That’s not to say the hopping bunny didn’t give him an interesting adventure — there was that lovely-scented little nest that just begged for a good sniffing.

Those two little girls who look an awfully lot alike are lots of fun to chase around. Emma even helped him investigate the bunny nest.

Ally — or maybe it was Emma (he still gets confused over which one is which) renamed him Mike. He’s not sure how that happened.

New houses have new smells and sounds, all of which serve to both confuse and intrigue. New neighborhoods have unfamiliar dog smells, which requires careful investigation of every inch of grass and every tree trunk in every yard on the block.

What with all this excitement, life could be pretty boring back home.

 

 

 

 

Four-legged creature leaves trail of unstuffed toys

It is true that time dulls the memory. Once the kids leave home for college, we quickly forget the shoes strewn around the house, the backpacks covering the couch, iPods plugged into various outlets, and the Lego piles left in a corner. Well, the Lego sets really disappeared much earlier than the shoes, backpacks and iPods, but you get the picture.

A few months later they pop in for Thanksgiving break and new items appear in random piles around the house, only to disappear a few days later when off their owners head off again. Eventually, they move on to their own homes and somewhere along the way, learn to deal with their own piles of stuff.

What I didn’t realize was that a 15-pound four-legged creature can manage to make more of a ruckus that two teenagers can. Most days I return from work and pick my way carefully through what looks like a war zone.

The first clue is a path of bits of stuffing that, when followed, lead one to the little mutt’s favorite half-stuffed (or is half-unstuffed), one-legged lavendar bear. Although, at this stage, what was once a bear resembles not much more than a mostly chewed-up piece of fabric.

Nearby is the missing leg, which has oddly become a favorite toy of the aforementioned mutt, more formally known as Ike, the mini Schnauzer.

Lest you think I’m exaggerating, here is a photo lineup of the ravaged toys….all leading to the furry culprit, digging through his toy box for yet another well-chewed favorite.

Welcome to our zoo, part two

Late Friday afternoon, an energetic Havanese entered our lives with the force akin to a full-blown blizzard. My first hint at how the weekend might play out came when Ike bolted to the front door, sniffing along the doorjamb, whimpering only slightly.

Much to his surprise, the door opened and a white ball of fluff barreled into the living room, skidded across the oak floor and slammed into Ike. The moment he was off his leash, the two dogs were racing through the house. Watson barely stopped long enough to acknowledge his owners’ goodbyes.

Ike thinks he's hiding

This went on for the next three hours, with periodic time-outs to catch their collective breaths. In the meantime, the hubs and I vacillated between laughing uproariously to feeble attempts at creating order.

 

We finally gave up. At about 9 p.m., the Havanese was relegated to his crate in the basement and the Schnauzer collapsed at my feet, happily snoring within seconds.

This morning, Ike slept in like a teenager. Obviously, he was storing up energy for another day at the races. Fred finally dragged him from slumberland and took him out to perform his morning ablutions. When they returned, we fetched Watson from his crate and sent him out for his turn about the block.

Back in the house and they were back at it, running in circles, stopping only long enough for a gulp of water or to snitch a kibble.

For the moment, things are quiet. Ike has crashed in his favorite spot on our bed near the window…ever on guard for the next squirrel. Watson is downstairs — not sure he wants to navigate the steps.

I’ll say one thing for this dogsitting business. It has cured me of my urge to get a second Schnauzer to keep Ike happy. We’ll just borrow Watson.

Ironically, last night when my husband asked how big Watson will get, I told him that he’s already full-grown.  Besides, he’s mostly fur. This morning, Fred told me about the dream he’d had last night.

Turns out Watson arrived with a tag that read: This dog will grow to 2,000 to 3,ooo pounds.

In the dream, he’d said to me, “See, I told you so.”

 

 

 

“Twas three days before Christmas…

‘Twas three days before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring ‘cept Ma and her dog. One child and two cats were nestled snug on the couch, when Ma and her Ike tiptoed into the room. From out of the dark, there rose such a howling, the quiet household shuddered and woke with a start.

So much for a quiet start to the day. And so much for my attempts at poetic license. I knew that there would be an extra cat in the house, but I’d been assured that Peaches the Queen and the visiting Casio, would “just ignore each other”. What we didn’t plan on was the rude awakening of said cats and child by one wriggling, tail-wagging miniature Schnauzer, eager to join the sleeping trio.

Ten minutes later, one cat had been relegated to the outdoors and the other one to the basement. Ike, the innocent instigator, was upstairs in bed with the other child and Harvey, the calmest dog on earth.

Phew. Quiet reigned again…for a few minutes anyway. I took that as a sign that I could take a shower. Halfway through that, daughter number 1 pops her head in the door to say that “I was trying to find an outlet for the coffeepot, and I unplugged your bread machine. Does that matter?” Matter? Why would it matter that a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread had been unplugged mid-cycle? A little deep breathing reminded me “not to sweat the small stuff”. Lo and behold, she’d plugged it right back in and the bread kept baking. Huh. Must have some sort of surge protection on it.

30 minutes later, I headed off to work. As I walked out the door, I heard two hoots of laughter from daughters number 1 and 2, watching something on the Internet. Which reminds me. All cat- and dog-fights aside, it’s good to have my family home.

 

 

Two girls, a boy and three dogs = happy chaos

Chaos reigns once again in the Steiner abode. Well, actually chaos really only reigns when three dogs are in one room at the same time. And it’s a good chaos, unless you’re worried that one dog will take a bit out of the other. Which, I’ve been told, will happen if one particular dog is without her muzzle.

Hence, we have one dog with muzzle and two muzzle-free. Here’s just a brief visual of how this is working out….or not.

Yesterday morning daughter #1 and her guy, Eric, arrived with both of their dogs, Harvey and Luna. An odd cross between a black lab and a dachshund, Harvey is happy galoot who cheerfully tolerates nearly everything, including being chewed on by a 14-pound Schnauzer. He actually used to live here, so this is really his second home.

Luna, on the other hand, isn’t so cheerful. But that might be because she’s been holed up in the bedroom most of the weekend. Luna is a gangly, three-year-old yellow lab mix, with a certain amount of what Eric’s dad terms “paranoia”. I think he might be right. Actually, she’s a sweet thing until she spies the 14-pound Schnauzer. Ike thinks Luna is just another dog to play with, so he becomes a quivering mass of excitement. This is when the muzzle comes in handy.

So today, Ike gets to go visit Grandma P., where he will be thoroughly spoiled. This will allow Luna to roam our house freely for awhile, and all of us can breathe equally freely. No one will have to run through the house yelling for one or the other dog to stay put.

When daughter #2 arrives tonight, Ike will happily hunker down with her. He’s still a bit miffed that he had to sleep with us (as usual) rather than spending the night with Lindsay, Eric and the other dogs. How do you explain to a dog that one girl, one boy, and three dogs don’t fit on a futon? Actually, I’m not sure how that works with two dogs.

At the moment, all is quiet. Harvey has settled in for a snooze in a sunny spot in the family room, where Eric is reading. Ike is sleeping (don’t tell Grandma) on his new favorite spot…the settee. Lindsay and Luna are sequestered in the bedroom where one is (purportedly) grading papers, and the other is probably sleeping.

Where’s Fred in all this? Where else? In his basement office…maybe working. More likely, he’s using that as a ruse to avoid the fray upstairs.

Now. All. Is. Quiet. What worries me is that saying…something about the “quiet before the storm”.

 

On little Schnauzers who think they’re BIG DOGS

So…today started out bright and early with a walk with my Mary Ann. Actually, no, make that dark and early. So dark, in fact, we needed my miner’s light. It wasn’t a run, but that’ll come again. Not soon enough.

This time, though, we were accompanied by our two favorite Schnauzers — Ike and Arthur (AKA Sparky). He’s a bit of a sparkplug. Like their “moms”, they’ve been buddies from the start. At 15 pounds, Ike’s at the little end of the mini Schnauzer size scale; Sparky’s at the big end — 25 pounds.

Before we could start, they each had to pester poor, ancient, Peaches the cat. Actually, Sparky had to pester her — Ike’s (kind of) learned his lesson. A few of her swats — claws extended — to the snout will quickly put a stop to that. Oh, and they had to sit still for a photo, which is a bit of a challenge with a phone in the dark. Kinda blurry, but you get the picture.

Mary Ann, Ike and Arthur

We had a moment of panic when Ike’s leash slipped out of Mary’s hand and we both scrambled to grab it before he knew it; otherwise, I might have had to test my running legs before I expected to. Got it!

Walking with the two dogs is really fun except when one decides the grass looks greener on the other side of the leash. We both have to do some fast stepping to avoid being middle-aged women on the ground.

I’m sure some of the neighbors were cursing when one indoor dog sensed the fun outside and set off a cacophany of dog chorus, joined in by about about eight other dogs. At least that rooster that used to wake the neighborhood is no longer around.

Ike and Arthur think they’re big dogs. They don’t know they’re little. Or maybe in their minds all dogs are the same. Who knows what they’re thinking when they spy Rory Stauber and his two horses…excuse me, large dogs. The little guys took one look and thought Rory’s greyhound might be a fun playmate. Might be…but we weren’t prepared to find out that early in the morning.

Here’s the thing about walking with dogs. You have to walk a really LONG time to get anywhere because they have to take a pit stop at every tree and bush in sight. You have to be alert (REALLY alert) — sometimes a challenge at 6 a.m. — because the sight of a squirrel could send both dogs into a tizzy. If they each see several at once, things get dangerous. Leashes get tangled, women get tangled. This is why we do this early in the morning. Few others are around to witness this because we’re the first to admit that we both lean to the klutzy side. Me more than her.

It was a good walk and a great talk. What more could two women want on a lovely Sunday morning?

More adventures with Ike, the itinerant runner

An open door means only one thing to a Schnauzer — freedom and how can I get it? Oh, that’s two things. Whatever…for the past three months, we’ve successfully kept Ike from escaping. Of course, I could solve this problem with the training collar and remote zapper, but it intimidates me.
Welll…so much for keeping him successfully at bay. Recently, as a friend and I were heading out, another friend stopped by to chat. As we were temporarily distracted, Ike sniffed an opportunity. The three of us just stared, stunned, as a blur of fur and legs flew out the door, down the steps, and around the hedge to the neighbor’s yard. At this point, we agreed he’d have to find his own way back. No one was in the mood to chase.
As we drove off, he was trotting down the sidewalk toward the neighbors across the street. Grinning. We speculated briefly on where he’d be when we returned.
One hour later, we walked in the door. Guess who greeted us, tail wagging? Yep. The little brat had somehow returned to the fold. He’s  a smart little guy, but I know he didn’t let himself in because (a) we have no doggy door, and (b) he’s far too short to reach the doorknob.
A few minutes later, our neighbor across the street — our favorite dogsitters — stopped by to solve that mystery. Apparently, Ike had decided to stop in for a neighborly chat with them. He loves them and happily let Beth pick him up and scratch his ears. She returned him to our house. Well. Now the world knows we don’t lock our doors. But we have a guard dog, so don’t bother robbing us.
This saga doesn’t end here. Two days later, our neighbor to the east said that she went into her backyard, which is completely fenced in, to fetch their huge, lumbering lab, Thor. She found him chilling near the sandbox, Ike at his side. She thought maybe we’d decided Thor was bored and sent Ike over to play. The only thing we can figure is that while on his trek around the neighborhood, he wriggled under the fence to visit. Somehow, he wriggled back out.
This is not the end.  Another few days later, my mother says she stopped by to drop off a book. She knows she has to carefully open the door and shut it quickly to prevent another escape. But since we’d not answered our phone or the doorbell, she assumed we were out walking the dogs (Harvey, our Heinz57 who lives in Kent, was visiting). Ooops. Not a good assumption.
Ike managed to slither past and headed two houses east. Mother (she’s 88) thought she’d chase him. Don’t laugh. She was serious. Lucky for her, Ike decided to stop for a chat; the neighbor scooped him up and returned him to his prison.
We figure we’re lucky. Nine months ago, the little escapee would immediately head for Alger, his previous home. Now he just hangs out in the hood, where he’s well known.