Skip to content

My Dog is an Alcoholic

We have four plum trees in our backyard, and they were bountiful this year.  Unfortunately, despite canning, jamming, and heavy eating, there was still a huge drop of fruit all at once, and rotting fruit covered the ground beneath the trees.

A week after the first tree dropped all its fruit, Fig started to act strange. He slept a lot and was out of it during the day. I gave him a little extra care thinking that he was depressed because he hadn’t seen his little buddies in a while and was lonely. A few days later, I decided he might have the flu, so I started to watch him more because he was sleeping and puking after eating.

Fig’s vomiting continued and got me worried. Then I remembered that we changed his brand of food around the same time, his symptoms started earlier. I went to the pet store to ask if there was a recall or other dogs that had issue with this particular food. Fig has never had any trouble changing brands. The store tried to see if there was an ingredient that might cause allergy, but the only new ingredients were anchovies and eggplant. Fig had eaten another flavors in this brand in the past, so I decided it was not a likely cause.

Then I read that some dogs produce too much bile as adults, and Fig is just over a year now. We decided to started feeding four small meals a day instead of two in order to reduce vomiting. Overproduction of bile IS common in schnauzers. If your schnauzer is puking after breakfast or eating a lot of grass, try reducing size and increasing frequency of meals—it works!

More frequent eating reduced Fig’s issues, but he still had problems another week later.  Then I got worried that Fig might have eaten a plum seed. I had seen him hanging out under the trees and became worried that he might need surgery to unblock his intestines. This is one of the most common causes of death in puppies. We started to watch every poo, but he was pooping just fine: no black color, great texture, and he was regular. We decided to ban him from under the trees as a precaution, even though when I offered him a ripe plum he dropped it like it was disgusting.

A week later I left the backyard for the bathroom. While sitting there, I looked out the window. Sure enough! Fig thought I was not looking and was wildly eating rotten plums, as if he hadn’t eaten any food in weeks! Worse was the fact that this was a cherry plum tree with smaller seeds. He was clearly eating them whole. I ran back outside and chased him off. They were all rotten! He doesn’t like ripe ones—he waits for fermentation!

There is a small amount of cyanide in the pit of any stone fruit (peach, plum, apricot, etc) which is dangerous, but if the dog doesn’t chew the pit the cyanide in a plum seed will not be the issue—intestine blockage and stomach inflammation are the things to watch. We found 8 seeds in his stool that night, which was scary, but I was glad everything was passing. He didn’t appear ill at all, so I decided that after the pits passed and he would be fine, and I raked the entire yard.

Fig got better a few days after the plums were raked up, so I think this proves why Fig was acting strange. I am certain he was tipsy during the day and getting hangovers. My husband is now calling him the BOOZE HOUND.

Do dogs crave rotten things because they want to feel drunk, or is it accidental and they just like the flavor? I say they want to get drunk. Fig was grazing on rotten plums on and off throughout the day, so I say he understands cause and effect clearly. Then he was treating this hangover with a little HAIR OF THE DOG.

I finally told a friend about all this, and she forwarded me this video. This made me recall that as a kid that our neighbors’ pigs got drunk on rotten apples. I guess most animals are boozers!

While this video is rumored to be staged, there is loads of evidence of drunken monkeys, birds, and moose. Even research on monkeys that shows they drink more when alone…oi.

We have a friend with a Rottweiler who goes to bars with him and will beg for a splash of beer on and off all night. I always figured it was because the dog liked taste. I guess I was wrong. The dog might be trying to keep his buzz. If you are thinking dogs and beer are a good combo, please don’t.  Any more than a splash can kill a dog according to research, and dogs won’t stop drinking if they find alcohol. When we adopted Fig as a pup, we were told to keep beer away from him, so some people are in the know already, and I am betting they know a dog who died of alcohol. My advice: don’t feed your little alcoholic booze—it’s a rough way to go.

Advertisements

A happy pup in spring

Marking friend’s house

ImageFig is 1 year and his instincts continue to sharpen….frustratingly.

Fig now loves to “overmark” – dribbling over another dog’s urine scent. Even when I try to get him to pee outside, he will refuse to pee until he smells another dogs pee first. I am told this is natural dog behavior and wolves use this instinct to establish a group pee space away from their den.

To be clear, Fig is completely housebroken. I used “praise-based training” to teach this. He was crated unless he was being watched indoors. We made sure he went outside at least every 4 hours (even waking at night). When Fig peed outside, he got a treat and pet. He was trained in less than 6 months and we have never had an accident indoors. Marking is different it is a splash, not a gush.

Fig marked twice in one session indoors at a friend’s home this month. I cleaned up one dribble and then watched him like a hawk (clapped to snap him out of it, when he sniffed). But I yelled “no sniff!” roughly in frustration when he didn’t stop and he responded by dribbling while standing stiff  – with no leg lifted!

Like many schnauzers, Fig is highly sensitive. Yelling scares him and my negative reinforcement plan to stop marking (clapping, yelling, and removing him from party) backfired. What I learned is that dogs also mark to increase security. When I created anxiety, Fig responded by peeing,

Now it is my practice to ask every time I enter a new home whether it has been marked, before deciding to let Fig off leash.  If Fig is excited, I wait until he is calm, because excited greetings are done properly in the dog world with a splash of urine. After greetings, I watch to make sure Fig is never sniffing. If he sniffs, I take him outside immediately.

Experts say sexual and mental maturity happens rapidly between 9mos-2 years in dogs. Perhaps Fig just wants to get the message out that he is not a puppy anymore! Fig is emotionally stable and chill on the whole, so I have fingers crossed his new behavior is just a phase….please God…because watching for marking outside of greetings makes pee patrol exhausting.

I stopped going to the neighborhood pet store because they had a carpet under a display that was marked by every dog entering. Every time I came in Fig was like a robot lifting his leg and I got sick of watching other dog’s hit it. Avoiding your dogs worst triggers is best when training.

I gathered these training ideas to stop marking, but have not tested them personally:

  • Do a couple long sessions at previously marked indoor places that he really wants to hit. Scare him with noise (coins in glass, clap, etc). People say 2-3 sessions will fix marking, but I wonder if this only works for the place you train. I am considering asking one of my friends that clearly has odorous carpets for training grounds. I may carry around a glass jar because I use clapping to call him when he is off leash at the park, so don’t want the sound to be negative. I will hid that I am making the sound.
  • You can buy a collar that squirts water on the face from a remote control button that you hide in your pants. This might be a great training device, but the dog might just learn to worry when the collar is on. That is what happens when my friend puts the anti-bark collar on his dog. They say it will not work if you don’t squirt them 100% of the time, but with a few sessions people say their problem was fixed.  I only worry the water will cause fear, like I did with the yelling because Fig hates water. If her learns to not lift his leg when marking, I’ll never catch him.
  • I could return to training him with praise when he marks outside and give him a treat each time he marks outside in combination with yelling/clapping inside – my likely plan.
  • I probably need to increase fun command training, so he feels more secure and knows his rank, thus reducing the urge to create a virtual piss force field for protection or status.
  • The “belly band” works like a diaper for dogs that can’t control bowels, but dogs don’t like to feel pee on their body. Dogs may stop marking, if you put a band on them when they visit other dogs indoors. This is the 100% method for stopping dribble, but they might not learn to stop and need the band forever.

——-

POST-VACATION ALERT:

Fig lifted his leg at a well established friend’s home after an hour of hanging out, but it took me a while to figure out that he was unsettled because he was readjusting after vacation.  We had just returned from a long trip and I had noticed that he was sniffing for a day at home when we got home – but I didn’t put it together.  He might have been marking!  At the time just thought he was checking to see that everything was as he left it. It was strange behavior, but I ignored it.  In retrospect, I can see that he was probably nervous.

It’s easy to forget that your pup doesn’t understand what is going on when your family travels. It can take a while for them to resettle. For Fig it seems to be a few days and until after he sees all his buddies and family. I will work harder to assure him that he is secure with positive training and do friend reintroductions outdoors, so pack structure is reestablished in a place where he can mark freely. I hope others read this and pay attention to their pups after traveling too. Dogs have no voice to express their anxiety following the uprooting of a vacations and probably struggle for longer than human notice on the whole.

BEST ADVICE INFO: http://aspcabehavior.org/articles/6/Urine-Marking-in-Dogs-.aspx

Fat Mini Schnauzer Weightloss Video

Our pup stopped growing and I don’t keep his kibble brand constant (buy the cheapest of the best brands at fancy local pet shop each time). We found that when he started to gain weight eating 3/4 cup twice a day that 2/3 cup was better. Then by 1 year old we switched him to adult small breed kibble (fish favorite, never beef, others OK) because he started to gain extra weight.

When I feel a layer of fat over his ribs that feels thicker than the the skin on the inside of my own wrist, I cut back his food a pinch. This is different than the advice I wrote about earlier for measuring dog fat, but I had trouble understanding what it should feel like on a small dog. Small dog ribs are not like finger bones (but great test for larger dogs!), and the vein, tendons, etc on the inside of my wrist are more similar to the size of his ribs.

We still treat Fig throughout the day for getting things right and listening because as he has become an adolescent he started to challenge authority and returning to food rewards was a good way to keep him on track behaviorally.

notice strongly tapered waist

Clear waist tapers in from hip bones

Fig is an inch taller than allowed in mini schnauzer competition (roughly 14.5″ square) and 17lbs at an ideal body weight. His waist (measured just behind the last rib) is 13.5″ round.

With 1/2 to 1/3 cup of adult kibble twice a day and roughly 6 treats a day he is stays fit and trim. Fig gets 2 quick potty walks, 15 minutes of behavior training, and an intense off leash hiking or dog park session ever other day with hour leash walks on the alternate days.

I still gasp at most of the mini schnauzers we meet. Most are SO fat, but I understand because this schnauzers pretends to be starving SO well and flirts for food professionally. Weight related illnesses are the main killers of schnauzers – diabetes being the main killer.

Just cutting back food gradually may not work, if your pup is severely overweight and unexercised. I really enjoyed this mini schnauzer’s weight-loss story and hope you will too.

I wish they had covered more details on this chubby pup’s journey. Female schnauzers depending on stature should weight 11 to 15 pounds (5.0 to 6.8 kg) and males should be 14 to 18 pounds (6.4 to 8.2 kg) The upper end of this scale is for STRONG dogs with heavy muscles who work out. It is not the fudge factor for the pup with a medium build.

The dog in this video clearly needs to loose another few pounds, but she did dropp a couple neck rolls and is already proving to be more relaxed. As they mention in the video, a pup in good condition will be less stressed and barky! People always ask how we get Fig so calm. I am certain his physical health is the key to his mellow mental health.

If you want to watch more fat pets loose weight, episodes can be streamed free online from the series “Project Pet Slim Down“. Deana schnauzer was in season 1, but fat Maggie Boston Terrier was my favorite dog episode. In season two they do more for the selected dog and cats and you can learn more about each dog’s journey.

Excitement digging

For months I have been feeling badly because I am sharing a house and I understood that my dog was digging holes in the backyard. I never actually caught him in the act, but when the older dog was there alone there were no holes. So it stood to reason that it was a bad puppy.

I sat on watches and never caught him digging, but he did have moss in his paws, so again he was the suspect. Finally one day I saw both dogs working together on a hole that a rainspout created.

Outside of this time I never saw digging happen again. Fig is very exercised and his off-leash dog pack leader said he has never tried to dig…so what the heck?

I decided to stage a stake out this morning after my roommate accused Fig of digging up the compost bin. I put Fig out and watched from the bathroom window where they could not see me (they check for humans often). I finally got lucky. Digging commenced after 15 minutes – BUT WAIT – IT IS NOT FIG IN THE HOLE!!

I ran for my video camera because I knew that my roommate was not going to believe me. What I caught on film was excitement digging. The older Shepherd wanted to get Fig Schnauzer to play and would go to the tree and violently dig for brief seconds and bark to get Fig excited. Then the Shepherd would leave the hole, fig would walk up to look, and the Shepherd would rush back happy and defend the hole happily. All this worked and moments later they were rushing around wrestling.

When I put Fig in the yard often they do not play. It takes a long while for them to get started. It would take months of full time watching to stop this behavior because the digging doesn’t happen every day. Because my housemate is very involved outside the home, I would have to do the work. Otherwise I would need to keep Fig indoors when I am not with him. I don’t want to feel like my pup can’t go out and play, but my pup’s presence is inspiring this behavior.

I watched the video clips and thought to listen for the play bark. Then I would be able to stop the digging without watching all the time. Unfortunately, that will not work in this situation because the Shepherd is a chronic barker. She yips at squirrels with a play bark and barks at people passing the house all day.

I suggested that my housemate put her dog’s poop in the hole to see if that would work, like I thought it was working for Fig. Honestly I am not sure her dog is really thinking. It looks like a wild instinctual snap of the brain.

I differ from my housemate when it comes to dog ownership. I pay for service midday to keep Fig fit and happy. Not everyone is willing to come home or pay for an exercise service. This must change. Dogs need to run and be dogs every day, not just the weekend. In my opinion, leash walking is great, but it doesn’t do the job well enough. Owners must keep high energy activity part of the daily routine.

Back to crossing my fingers that the “poop in the hole trick” will work.

Bathing How To

There was a lot to figure out about bathing once Fig grew too large for the kitchen sink. I can’t seem to get things perfect, so that Fig loves bathing, we are near perfect now. Bathing Fig is crucial at home because I have allergies. Most people with dog allergies are reacting to dog saliva that is dried on fur from licking or wrestling. After Fig plays with other dogs, he must be rinsed when brought indoors for my health. Today have bathed him in so many setups that I am probably a dog-bathing expert.

HANDHELD SHOWER ARM

Wet Fig

The easiest way to get Fig done quickly and painlessly is with a handheld showerhead. I can wet him down, pause the water (which calms him unless he is cold), soap him, and then rinse all sides quickly. I use water that is the same temperature and pressure that I use personally when bathing. When I used lukewarm water, he shivers if the water is not actively running on him when he is wet. As a general rule, when I am wearing a sweater in the house I drag in a portable heater and preheat the bathroom, so he is not freezing when he is standing wet in the tub. Before I added the extra heater Fig was like a shaking leaf. Bathing was always a pitiful event. Now he tolerates bath time with mild displeasure. This is a major improvement.

BATH

too tall for bathI gave him a bath in a filled bathtub once, but Fig is on the tall side (14.5” tall) and the amount water required to get it deep enough is ridiculous. Far too water wasteful. Completely stupid idea. I guess you could reuse your own bathwater for a dog, but it will probably have soap in it that would make your dog itch.

The second time I tried a deep Rubbermaid plastic tub filled with water in the tub, but the water was so heavy that the Rubbermaid container was not able to hold a lid afterwards due to permanent stretching under heavy water weight.

Ultimately, I didn’t get enough soap out of his fur using bathwater. With my allergies, I easily noticed the difference in cleanliness. He still made me sneeze after an hour in the same room. I figure salvia allergens were evenly redistributed on his body and not rinsed entirely. When Fig is really clean, I have zero allergic response.

On the upside, I definitely got more mud out of his feet and it was supper easy to free up clumps. I reserve the bucket method for flea shampooing only now. Mid-flea-season, even with his top spot flea treatment, Fig picked up too many adult fleas on an outing that  were not dead and I didn’t want then hopping off in the house. The bucket method and flea shampoo (water down shampoo and put on dry, let dog stand 5 minute with soap on then rinse in bucket) works when you want to get all the adults off and dead in under 15 minutes.

SHOWER

I have also washed him under a normal running shower. I had to turn the water on high to get enough pressure for a rinse. I get rinsed myself in the process. When I use this method I plan to take a shower myself after washing him. I don’t wear much clothing and don’t worry about getting wet. Unfortunately Fig now panics if you take your pants off in front of him. We joke about dropping our pants at a party to get a rise out of friends.  You can pull them up and he comes running back to you, drop them again and he bolts…it’s sickly hilarious.

SPIGOT

I used a running bathtub spout and nearly drowned Fig by shoving his head under the running water. Fig took in a nose full and choked because he struggled and looked up into the rushing water. It was traumatic and he tried to flee for his life the next few times.

Mini Schnauzers are tiny under that beard

Why did I put his head under heavy gushing water? Because when shampoo is not completely rinsed, Fig itches uncontrollably once dried. This forces me to rinse him a 2nd and sometimes 3rd time. Heavy water pressure rinses soap completely in a couple seconds, while water from a cup or wet rag does not do the job as well.  When you don’t get soap out completely, it is easy to confuse simple soap irritation with seasonal skin or food allergies.

Today I can easily rinse Fig with a running spout holding his head down by the nose, I don’t get his underside soap-free easily, so I just give him a rinse with warm water this way. If soap is required, I only do his shoulders and back (where he is covered in dog saliva from wrestling). Fig has a hard time standing under the spigot because of the curved walls of the tub. WARNING: Dogs can scratch enamel and plastic coatings on tubs, so be forewarned. If they are slipping in a tub get a mat for them to stand on. Towels don’t stay put.

toweling off in shower

A spigot is the #1 method in some situations. We have a shower stall with a foot spigot higher than the tub’s. Fig can stand straight and tall. He doesn’t have to curl around the the bathtub walls, fearful of slipping. This setup is my husband’s favorite because of the sheer speed. Water pours like a high pressure wash and you can get a miniature schnauzer washed in 1 minute:  3 seconds soaking Fig tail to head, water turned off, 30 seconds soaping and scrubbing from tail to head, 10 seconds rinsing from head to tail, water turned off, 5 seconds squeezing body to drain water, 2 second towel dry, WALA!  You have to get in the shower stall and close the doors to use this method, so plan to shower yourself afterwards, because you will be truly soaked from the back splash.

OUTDOOR HOSE

It’s too cold for washing a little dog outside most of the year where I live. This is not true for large dogs. This is a surface area to body weight issue. Small dogs are like hummingbirds and they struggle to maintain internal body temperature when hit with cold water. With a longhaired dog (we keep him fuzzier than typical mini schnauzers) washing him outside is harder because if he escapes he dashes for grass and rolls. Untangling grass and seeds from wet longhaired legs is really hard. We can bring him inside to towel off and dry indoors, but the hassle of holding him in place with a leash while hosing is not worth it. The bathtub or shower stall holds him like a pen for the first bit of toweling off. Mini Schnauzers don’t really shed so it is easy enough to clean up a bathroom afterwards.

CONCLUSION

Fig is always a crazy happy dog afterwards – even when traumatized in the process. We love to let him run off this energy. Fig excitedly looks forward to Towel Time (swaddled like a baby to dry his longhaired legs and running like a wild bull into a dry towel repeatedly to get his back and head dry.

So, if you are not a master bather yet – no worries, just work on doing things quickly and you will be fine. Your dog will love you again instantly once it is over.

When is it too cold for small dogs?

Beachtime, 50F/4C, just a mesh vest

Having a small dog in cold wet weather can be tricky. The simplest answer to this question is to have a raincoat or jacket handy and put it on if you see your pup cold (signs include inactive, clinging because it wants back inside or held, shivering, ice on fur, etc). Fig’s older friends know to ask for a coat when they need it, so we hope Fig will learn this.

I learned the hard way to never to put an insulated waterproof jacket on Fig unless it dips below 40 or pours cold rain (not sprinkling for a moment!). I was putting rain jackets on when he didn’t need it and now he hates coats. He got too hot a couple times. Dogs can’t regulate heat as well as humans and all waterproof material traps heat. LESSON: Never leave your dog in a car wearing a waterproof jacket, unless you are personally wearing a sweater, hat, and gloves. Seriously – take the waterproofing off, unless it’s freezing outside. It is dangerous. Enough said. Please remember this.

Fig was 100% obedient until he turned 8 months old. Now he is constantly trying to make independent decisions. Another schnauzer owner asked me whether Fig has developed the Schnauzer Pause yet. He defines this as the 30 second pause between calling and coming where they survey the area to make sure there is nothing better to attend to first. He has owned many Schnauzers of all sizes and he said they all did this. Then he called his dog and I completely cracked up. It was seriously nearly 30 seconds of her standing completely still and just turning here head and ears to make sure there was nothing else more interesting. Then she came quickly trotting to him happily, as if there had been no lapse in time.

You do does not always know best though. Fig is now hiding when I need him to go out to pee. He dreads his rain jacket and getting the cold wet.  The dread is ridiculous because once he gets outside he prances happily a minute later. I completely lost my patience this weekend. He had not peed all night and it was 11am. He keep his distance and keep pacing nervously out of reach when I called, even with treats. No do can hold it this long without developing bladder infections later in life. I am not proud of this, but after 10 minutes of trying to lure with treats and praise him he ran into his crate and I physically lifted the crate and dumped him. He cowered still until I got the leash.

You must nip dog drama in the bud, or it gets worse. I know too many dogs that walk all over their owners. To nip it, you need a plan to get them outside the fastest and doing their business efficiently.  Walking Fig gets him to do his business. Putting him in the backyard is typically unsuccessful. I am now hiding the jacket until he is leashed and outside and never giving a command, if I plan to put the jacket on.

How do you gauge warmth requirements when you have a Broadway star?

Because Fig now hates his coats (still fine with a T-shirt or light sweater), I thought about just growing his fur out completely.  I took him for a test walk in the cold pouring rain with friends. His other tiny dog friends begged for their jackets. It was 50F/10C and wet. He shivered when he stood still, but opted to steer clear of the jacket and keep warm by jumping around and trying to wrestle the whole time. In the end I decided he didn’t need a coat for the walk because he kept his heart rate up. When he got back to the car and had to sit while wet and cold, it was a different story. I didn’t have enough towels to get him dry and he was less pleased. It was not a big deal though, because he was steaming for about 10 minutes.

Fig doesn’t have rainproof fur because he is shampooed more than most dogs due to my allergies and his tendency to get completely muddy and full of moss. His natural oils are stripped even though I only rinse him most of the time (I use shampoo once a month and if truly needed). This means that when Fig is wet drying him is very hard. He is like a sponge. I carry 2 dog towels and a blanket in the car now, so he can curl up under something when he is wet and cold and I can’t dry him, rather than thickly cloth him when warmer than 40F/4C.

When I will be going into a store or a friends house and I don’t want to upset others when his wet doggie-ness, so he wears a coat them too. A sporty raincoat can win over people that would freak out about a wet dog otherwise. Clothing makes him more poodle-like in people’s minds. Fig wins cuteness awards in his raincoat because he is very well mannered in public and his fuzzy eyebrows make people weep from the cuteness.

So what’s the rule of thumb for mini schnauzers?

32F/0C and lower: Warm coat on and watch paws for icicles. Ice on the fur is not good because it burns. You can put beeswax or similar human balms of wax/oil on their fee to prevent ice.  Beware of salted roads because it causes chemical burns; pick up your pup when you hit rock salt or put booties on them.

up to 40F/4C: Coat on, unless active the whole time outdoors (when he plays with other dogs and goes running). Fig is an active pup, so he only wears a light layer, if anything, in this weather. I keep a blanket and towels in the car for when he has to ride home rain/mud soaked because he looses his heat very fast when still.

50F/10C and higher:  No coat. I only put a thin coat on when I need him to stay clean of mud or rain to enter a public building or friend’s house.

80F/26C and higher: Fig is black, so I put a bright mesh jacket on him when very hot. It helps reflect light. so he tolerates sun longer. It’s sort of like putting your toddler in a white tee to protect from sunburn.

Stop schnauzer digging

Our pup is 9 months now. The first 6 mos were SO easy. The last few have been challenging. He is coming into his terrible teens or something along these lines. He stopped targeting other puppies to wrestle with at the dog park and follows around the big boys sniffing and mimicking them exactly.

I am a renter and today and he got bored or excited after an hour or minute (not sure!) and dug up moss and bulbs. The yard does not have a lawn really. I am in Portland Oregon presently, a temperate rainforest. This means that the ground is moist and pillowy soft. There are sparse tufts of grass and moss fills all the remaining gaps. Our pup dug two large holes with very little dig effort. It probably only took him a couple minutes.

My housemate said I could not put the dog outside anymore unless I was watching him. I can’t parent 24/7 or lock him up all day in a crate. He gets loads of exercise (daily 3 walks, mental training, and a dog park or trail hike every other day). He is puppy….

The last time he dug was weeks ago. He dug at a puddle beneath the rain gutter spout. I told him no and put a chair over the area. He has never returned, but clearly he just picked another area. He seems fairly indiscriminate. The ground is soft everywhere.

I don’t leave him out all day. I have been slowly putting him in the backyard for more and more time with supervision and this month it has been partial supervision. His favorite activity was dragging every item that he can pick up to our tree (strange, but not destructive). Now he switched gears. New toys don’t interest him as much as that dirt.

I read a lot about digging, but when I read “instinctual”, it is hard to have hope. It is like a switch was turned on in him that I can’t turn off again. That switch controlled digging, marking, circling before laying down, and a numerous other instinctual acts…

So back to the holes….after mending the holes, I researched potential solutions. Below I listed the ones that sounded best. I will apply them in my home and update you guys on progress.

  • I will continue to only put him in the yard with supervision for a while or only for 15-20 minutes unwatched. If I have time to watch him from inside the house, I will do this for longer periods, so I can spot trouble behaviors and respond.
  • I fixed the hole under the tree and put his own poop in the hole, so he smells it and leaves it. Apparently dogs will not dig up their own feces. Clearly, you don’t want to do this in your garden.
  • I will buy a high power squirt gun to shoot him when he thinks he is alone and starts to dig. I am a pacifist, so buying a gun is big deal for me. I plan to shoot him through a window screen or from behind a bush or fence and not make myself seen before or after the shot. This plan requires getting him every time and stealth, but our pup behaves differently when alone and that is what we need to fix. Alternatively, you can use a sprinkler system if you can turn it on without them seeing you do it.

If you have any more advice for me I would love to hear it!

UPDATE: The poop worked where I used it and I didn’t need a water gun. Poor side effect was that he started to do additional business in the area, rather than the back corner of the yard where we trained him to do his business. Also our schnauzer pup was not the only digger! I caught the older dog digging and investigated the scene. The squirrels have been burying peanuts in the same spot!!! Both dogs are eating them!

UPDATE: Fig may not be the digger at all! Read here

Humans Similar to Dogs?

No Barking

Our dog is quiet. I have been worried he will develop into a true barker because he will be living with a dog with a barking problem this fall. This has been stressing me out.

Presently he only seems to bark, if there is truly something specific.

  1. He barks one bark occasionally when he hears my husband at the door, but never for other people.
  2. He whimper barks a hello to all dogs that he sees on our walks. o
  3. A couple times something set him off on a walk. Both times I shushed him by holding his muzzle. When he calmed, we walked in the direction of his bark to figure it out. I can’t tell you what it might have been, but he was looking at something. Ghosts?
  4. If there are two dogs wrestling and they don’t include him he lets out a single yip of frustration after a few minutes.

People say schnauzers are real barkers and I have heard this enough that I started to worry. Clearly urbanism has made some dogs weird (wolves don’t spend their days barking). Then I remembered that the breed matters less than the animal’s natural temperament. We picked a mild tempered dog and I think he will stay quiet in isolation, but I don’t know if bark behavior will rub off, stress him out, or be ignored.

Experts say barking can be territorial, fear, or habit. Ultimately, I say that their bark is working for them, more than alternative rewarding behaviors. You are likely reacting to the bark in the dog’s own eyes. Or if habitual, their barking helped them rid themselves of energy when they are not getting high-energy play twice a daily. Dog parks, challenging reward-based training, and curbing your response helps in any case.

If you keep your pup hungry or your pup is strongly food oriented, treats can help with behavior hurdles. First thing to try is holding a treat and saying quiet. Then wait for the dog to quiet for a longer and longer time before treating. Eventually the dog will understand the meaning of quiet This command can help with doors and particular people who set them off.  Anyone should be able to give this command, so practice this with everyone you know.

Attached are a training videos that I found helpful:


%d bloggers like this: