Monday, March 7, 2011


Nor to the Man
Oeo Leo
I love our dogs. I do. I LOVE Norman and Leo. I'm one who thinks all households, people and children should get to experience the unconditional love of a dog. There is no greater therapy then interacting with these four-legged friends. I could not imagine life without them.

I could, however, imagine life without their hair, drool, goober, barking, nails, breath and "fighting." Most of the time, it doesn't bother me. Sadly, I'm used to it and because it's a never-ending war, I've learned to pick my battles. However lately, it's, driving, me, INSANE. Out-of-my-mind anxious. Like I look around my living room and want to cry. I look at the streaks on the windows (especially above the sofa they're supposed to be staying off of), the drool running down the TV, the hair on the fireplace screen and the dirt on the ottoman and just want to take a fire hose or a match to the joint and start over.

I blame winter. I feel like this has been the longest winter ever. It's duration is preventing me from escorting the pooches outdoors for the weekend and letting all that comes with them follow. I literally ache for the day I can open the doors and windows and clear out the winter stuffiness and let in some fresh air. Ache. Yearn. Pine. NEED.

I must say, on a brighter note, I am proud of how far they are coming in their training. We've decided with Cletus on the way it's time to buckle down and nip some issues in the bud. To do this, we're once again religiously following Cesear Millan. He is The Dog Whisperer and thanks to our new cable package, we again get the National Geographic Channel his shows air on. While we've always practiced many of his philosophies (exercise, discipline, affection - in that order and being a pack leader with calm, assertive energy), we've honed in on a few new ones.

First: We're helping them learn how they are to behave when guests are at our door. In the past, they run up to the door, greet the happy strangers and harass them until they get some attention. This usually leads to one of them jumping up just as a guest leans down and what ensues is a nose to the face collision. Not good. Now if you visit our house, you will see a lovely sign on our door asking you to let us let you in. This gives us time to coral them, place them where we'd like them to be and make sure they stay there until we release them. We then ask you to basically ignore them. You can give affection only after they've calmed down and you call them over.

Said sign
Second: We're reestablishing boundaries. For example, they are no longer allowed in the kitchen while we are in there. This has been the hardest for Norman who would give his left crooked foot for a chance at the smallest morsel or crumb. He licks the air when we spray Pam. Sad but true. For him, the taste of some real food goodness is worth the risk of consequences. You can't blame him for trying but you can't blame us for sticking to our guns. He's pushing 70 pounds people. He doesn't need any more food of any kind.

Third: We have renewed energy to eliminate their barking, whining and sofa sitting. All of these are easy fixes and issues we've been working on since day one. It just takes diligence on our part to address the issue each and every time, correct it and follow through with discipline. We admit, it's exhausting. Basset hounds have the shortest memory ever. Seriously. Think Dory from Finding Nemo but worse. To their, and I guess our credit, they are getting better. It continues to be a work in progress but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

We're especially proud of how far Leo has come. He's definitely the smarter of the two, listens very well (most of the time), has curbed most of his whining and is quickly learning the ropes of laziness from the master. If we can just rid him of his incessant need for being pet (which we think literally has something to do with his sensitive skin), his beliefs that he is the boss of Norman and our concerns of his past interactions with children, he will be darn near perfect. If we can instill the temperament in Leo that Norman has, we're golden.

Speaking of golden, Ruggles Street finally found a communal snow blower, circa 1967. It's gold. It's loud. It's awesome. More on that to come.


  1. Good thing they're loveable bassets and not rottweilers. Rottweilers are getting some bad press here in Iowa.

    Can Charly ride Norman next week?

  2. I LOVE the at the door thing and I totally agree and it does work. I follow that rule whenever I go to someone's house that has dogs. I always ignore them until they are calm and not interested in me anymore. Paul does not and eagerly greets every dog he meets and it drives me insane! Then he wonders why it's acting all crazy and I think that the owners are just too nice to tell him to STOP! And he wants us to get a dog ... I told him I'm training it!



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