My Blog: Corgi Tails
So the Kong Wobbler is gone from our house. You know, the one Theo found to be both fascinating and terrible
? But don't be sad. It's in a far, far better place now - a house with a dog that isn't a total chicken, of course! It was fate. I had just finished posting my review when one of my Facebook friends, an old college professor of mine, actually mentioned in her status update that she wanted a Kong Wobbler for her dog, Owen. I had planned on giving the Wobbler to one of my Corgi friends, but this was just meant to be! Here I was, in possession of a Wobbler, and here she was, in want of a Wobbler. So I left her a comment saying I happened to have one to give her, and a few days later, I stopped by her house to drop it off.
She has two dogs, small rescues of an unidentifiable breed. Chihuahua-Terrior mixes maybe of about 15 pounds. She was also playing host to a gigantic black lab (she was energetic, clumsy, and completely adorable), who she said was quite the regular in her house. All three dogs took their turn with the Wobbler with no fights and no issues. And all three dogs managed to knock it around to get their delicious treat reward. Remember how big the Wobbler was? At one point the lab tried to get the whole thing in her mouth - she almost did it to! it was kind of fascinating. Even when the treats were gone, they just kept playing with it, batting it around and watching it wobble.
I left happy, knowing that the toy had found a good home. My friend emailed me the next day saying that Owen had happily played with the Wobbler the entire rest of the day, and even curled up next to it to take a nap when he got tired. How cute!
You might think that such a selfless deed might drum up my own good karma, eh? Well as soon as we got back in the car to drive home, the check engine light came on. Something had broken that ended up being very expensive to fix. Naturally. :)
The folks at Kong contacted me several weeks ago about doing a review for their new product, the Kong Wobbler. I'm a big fan of Kong and their products - I've got everything from Theo's original baby Kong (he still gets his bedtime treats in it every night) to the zoom groom - so I was pretty excited to take part. When it arrived in the mail, however, I knew we were going to have problems. And by that, I mean that Theo was not going to be the best dog to show off how fun and engaging this new toy can be. It's rather large, you see. If you've read this blog with any regularity, you can probably guess how Theo would react to something large. Not well. But they were also nice enough to include their new Kong Stuff'n treats as well, and there was no question of Theo liking those. Oho, no. So I hunkered down and did my best to introduce the Wobbler to
The way the Wobbler works is it has a heavy, round-bottomed base and a hollow top with a small hole where the treats come out. As the dog nudges and paws the Wobbler around, its heavy base brings the toy back upright, keeping the furry one guessing. As they roll the toy around, the treats dispense from the small hole in the top, rewarding their brave curiosity and playfulness. Sounds awesome, right?
So I put some of these IQ treats inside, knowing Theo would go nuts over them. They are 100% salmon. What's not to like? If nothing else, I would buy these treats again. And as you can see, the base unscrews from the top for easy filling, though you can also just drop them through the hole in the top. After I snapped this pic I broke each piece in half, which was recommended on the packaging. I wanted to make things as easy as possible for Theo.
After I sealed it back up, I told Theo to come and check it out. He approached with much caution. And then immediately put about 5 feet between himself and the toy.
I tried to make it easy for him. He just had to snatch the treat out of the opening. No nudging or pawing necessary...
Nope. But you knew it wouldn't be that easy...
Unwilling to go near the Wobbler, Theo pretty much just hung his head like this and whimpered all pathetically. He does that when he's stressed. He was trying to get me to unscrew the top and just let him have the treats. But I wouldn't give in. I tried everything I could to help him work up the courage to at least try out the Wobbler, but he wasn't having it.
The best I got was this very hesitant sniff, but he bolted again right after. I left the Wobbler sitting there outside my office, hoping with the pressure off (I did have my evil camera out, after all) and the smell enticing him, he would give it a nudge or two. But he just parked his booty his usual, cautious 2 feet away and whimpered for a good 10 minutes before leaving it to take a nap in his crate.
The next day I tried again. This time I tipped it around a bit, showing him how it was supposed to move, and how it wasn't going to pop out a machete and hack him to bits if he nudged it. Nothing. So then I tipped it over so a treat popped out. He came over, ate the treat, sniffed the hole, then backed up and cried, expecting me to tip it over again so more treats would come out.
This is my dog people! Why play with toys that dispense treats when you can just complain until your human does it for you? Arg!
But I don't consider that any reflection on the product. I actually like the Wobbler and think it would be a great toy for a dog that isn't scared of its own shadow. I own no such dog. *sigh* I'm hoping to get together with some of my Corgi friends next week. I'm going to bring the Wobbler along and see if I can't find a non-defective Corgi to tell me what s/he thinks of it. I'll post a secondary review of that outing as well. And speaking of non-defective Corgis, you can also check out Kelly's review of the Wobbler at Corgi Butts
PS: Sorry for the blurry shots. When I win the lottery, I will invest in a camera that can handle the "action" of a Corgi constantly moving. Consequently, all the pictures I have of my sister are similarly blurry because she never stop talking long enough to get a clear shot. Sorry, sis, it's true.
PPS: You know I'm joking about Theo being defective, right? I love Theo, chicken tendencies and all. In fact, sometimes it's awesome having a dog that runs for his mommy rather than getting in the middle of a bad situation. All dogs have their issues, and if being a 'fraidy-dog is one of Theo's, I'll take it.
Fellow Corgi rear-end obsessed blogger, Kelly, at Corgi Butts
has been awesome enough to put together another Corgi Blogs calendar! Just like last year, all proceeds will be going to support Corgi charity. This year, however, she's leaving it up to us to vote between the finalists for who makes the calendar, and Theo is a finalist
Want another month of admiring this guy?
! Just make sure to include number 6
in your vote! You know...if he makes your list. I won't be surprised when he doesn't win this year. There are some truly awesome pictures to choose from. I guess I'm really going to have to step up my photography game if I ever want to see Theo's pretty mug featured anywhere again! It's hard when you have a dog that is scared of your camera...
A huge thanks to Kelly for taking the time not only to organize another great calendar, but for raising money to support a great cause!
We're back! You might think since it's been forever and a half since I posted anything, Theo and I have been sitting around watching paint dry. Not true! We only paint the walls just to watch them dry Tuesdays and Thursdays.
many moons ago that Theo experienced a big change in routine when I got laid off from my job. Unfortunately, my job hunt has been wildly unsuccessful, so Theo is still hanging at home with me. I feel terrible about this, and even though I walk him twice a day, I still do my best to get him out and around dogs. I figure he was neurotic enough before
he stopped hanging with other dogs regularly. I don't want him to become totally incapable of interaction.
I figured out pretty early on that the dog park just wasn't going to work. Or at least, regular trips to the dog park. Sure, he goes bananas when we pull into the parking lot. He can't wait to get inside the park and bark his brains out. But after about 5 minutes he's done. He's said hello to the other people, presented his bum to the dogs for sniffage, and he's peed in all the spot he's interested in. Not exactly the mental or physical stimulating exercise I'm going for. You know what does keep his interest? Corgis
! Of course!
I've become much more active with our local Corgi community! I used to attend a few of the meetups every once in a while. When I was working I would get so busy on the weekends that I missed them a lot of times. Not anymore! I make it a point to get some Corgi time in for Theo at least once a week. Sometimes more! There's a group that meets Friday mornings for hikes and walks in different spots around the area. I could never go before because I was working, but now I'm there every week, Theo in tow!
Theo's grown to love our weekly Corgi walks so much, in fact, that he knows
when it's Friday! He waits on baited breath all morning for me to get ready, and when I finally emerge and begin gathering our things, he goes wild
! He yelps, he yips, he whines, he paces! He makes noises I've never heard him make before. And if I ask him if he's ready to go, the barking begins and doesn't stop until we're in the car, pulling out of the driveway! Seriously! It's kind of hilarious, if not a little deafening. Husband didn't believe it until he finally witnessed it. It took a couple extra minutes to get to the car that day because we were too busy rolling on the floor laughing. I've been meaning to get a video of the scene, but I always forget! It's comedy once you know that he's not, in fact, dying a slow, painful death.
Um, I'm sure it has nothing to do with that fact that there are often treats involved. Naw....
There have also been two extra special Corgi outings in the last 2 months. A farm! There's a small farm about 25 miles away that hosts a very limited Corgi meetup once a month. The owner has two Corgis, and she invites the first 12 people who RSVP to come and romp around the farm with them. Since I have nothing better to do than check the meetup website everyday, I've been one of the lucky few twice!
One of them was just last weekend, and Theo had the time of his life! Unfortunately, these pictures are from the time before that, which was merely an awesome time. So you'll just have to use your imagination.
Or I could tell you about it.
He ran! With the other dogs! Up a hill! I've never seen him go so ballistic over new sights and smells. Since everything was fully fenced, we were allowed to let our pups romp around off leash. When Theo is off leash he always sticks pretty close by me, or at least he's always obviously aware of my presence. If he wanders away from me at the dog park, he always peeks back to make sure I haven't moved from where he left me. Not at the farm! If a dog could say "See ya, Mom!", he would have! That dog would have made Toucan Sam proud with all the following of his nose he was doing. And he peed on everything he could find! Theo's not generally much of a marker, but that place was screaming (wafting?) "Theo" when we left. Maybe that was his way of saying he never wanted to leave?
And since it was a farm, there were animals! Chickens, a horse, and ducks! All safely tucked away and out of a herding dog's reach. Except one unfortunate, lone duck. During last weekend's meetup Theo happened across a duck they weren't able to catch and put away before the dogs arrived, and Theo made sure to teach it a lesson for it's obstinacy. But this is Theo! My chicken
! The dog that wouldn't herd sheep because he was afraid of getting stepped on. Well apparently he put on his big boy diapers that day because when he saw that duck, he launched
after it! I totally lost sight of the chase, but Husband said Theo caught up to the duck and pounced
on the poor thing! Not sure what he was trying to accomplish by squashing it. Maybe he was just trying to jump on its head? But thankfully no harm was done. Husband said one of the farm workers gave him a very
dirty look. What did he expect?! Put your dang duck away next time! But it's a good thing to note. Theo is not scared of ducks. Perhaps we'll give duck herding a go sometime! Then again, perhaps it's just a singular duck he feels tough around. A whole herd might bring him back to his senses.
It was really a special experience to wander around such a beautiful place with a dozen happy Corgis running under your feet. And after we were done walking, we just sat on a grassy and let the dogs play. Sufficed to say, Theo was completely pooped after both outings. And I say a pooped Corgi is a happy Corgi!
Last weekend we lucked out on the weather, a cool 68! But I think any future farm visits will have to wait until things cool down again. I've had to switch Theo's after lunch walks to after breakfast or it gets too hot. I almost got a sunburn at 8:30 this morning! The house is sweltering and I can't afford to run the AC. Poor guy.
And that's only the tip of the iceberg! Ok, it's more like the entire underwater portion and there's that little tip that sticks out above the water line. I'm talking about blog material, of course. Theo and I have been getting up to some other shenanigans, but that'll have to wait for another post. Which I am fully committed to posting soon!
I've often mentioned how Theo got a bit mixed up in the play department. He rarely plays with other dogs, but he will always play with me. As if I'm a dog! I say I don't know how it happened, but that's a lie. I totally know how it happened. I initiated play with him! I gave him the doggy signals that I wanted to play. It's all about speaking the doggy language!
If you are interested in a hearty giggle, check out how I inadvertently taught Theo to consider me his favorite playmate.
First, you gotta get down on your dog's level. That's right, get down on the floor. On all fours. Oh, you thought this was a PG post? It's not too late to close the browser. I'm baring my soul here in this post. I can pretty much guarantee you're going to think I'm a total freak by the end of this post. If you didn't know I was a freak already.
Anyway, first off, you dog's gotta be in a playful mood. Obviously. So, you're on the floor, on all fours, facing your dog. Keep your head lowered a bit. Look your dog straight in the eye. If your dog will look you straight in the eye, that is. Theo always is so comfortable with eye contact. So you're on level with your dog, facing your dog, and you have your dog's attention. If your dog is anything like Theo, he's just waiting for the signal.
What's the signal? Well for me and Theo, it's a simple bob of the head. I look him square in the face, eyes bright with challenge, and bob my head forward a bit. Kind of like imitating a pigeon. Seriously. It helps if no one else is in the room to laugh at you. Heh. But when Theo wants to play, this simple signal is all he needs to rush forward and start to play.
He growls a bit and usually starts by putting his chin over my shoulder, but if he's really into it, he'll jump on my shoulder and bite my hair if its tied back, or mouth my ears a bit. And he'll generally prod and poke his nose in my face in a challenge.
Ever had a corgi jump on your head? It brings a huge smile to my face every time, no matter what mood I'm in.
Sometimes this spawns into him wanting me to chase him, so he'll back off and challenge me back, or sometimes he'll lose interest with my face and go after my hands. That means he wants to play rougher. He knows my head is delicate, so he is always very gentle and just play bites, but my hands can take more teething. Or, in other words, I have trained him that he is allowed to play with my hands a little more rough. Though thankfully I never had to train him to be gentle with my face, besides his puppy bite inhibition. Man, I don't miss him biting my nose with those sharp puppy teeth!
When he gets too rough with my hands, I stop playing, say ouch, just like with bite inhibition, and then tell him gentle, and let him have my hand back, as long as he continues to play nice. Theo usually looks at me abashed, and then saunters over to my hand, and does this really light teething thing as if he's trying to say "Look mom, I can do it gentle, like you said."
If I keep my posture tall and my head up, Theo feels extra challenged, and being a chicken, will usually back off (and want to do that chasing thing I mentioned). If I lay low to the ground, it's more submissive and Theo will usually respond by pouncing on me. It's fun to read his body language and speak dog for a bit. Also, shaking my head and looking away seems to be a submissive move too.
A few weeks ago a friend of mine was over. She kind of inadvertently initiated play with him, and he got all excited and ready to pounce on her head. Then she turned back to her seat and resumed talking with us, and Theo was all let down! She had just wanted his attention. It was funny.
Word of warning!
I trust Theo implicitly with his teeth near my face. Even though he growls and sounds tough, I know he would never really bite me. When I tell him he's playing too rough, he listens. Do not attempt this with your dog if your dog might bite your face off. Obviously, that would be a bit of a bad idea. Some dogs just play more like this: