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Harry Barker and the Furever Home

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December 14th 2008 6:01 pm
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Okay, so y'all know I love answering questions on Dogster Answers.

In all fairness, I should reveal that I do have my mother help me with the tough questions. Things that deal with potty training issues, for example. Sorry, can't remember that far back. So, mom tackles those tough questions.

Most of the time, the questions on Answers (hey, funny!) are usually great questions from well-meaning owners. Questions that either I or my mom had at one time, or that we wonder about,too! It's a great place to learn.

An awful lot of questions have been frustrating, though. Questions like, "Hey, y'all, my dog's tail just fell off. What can I do to avoid taking him to the vet?"

Or, "So, this is the 27th time my dog has bitten the postman. Are they going to take my baby away from me? What can I do???? I'm desperate!"

Wow, people. It sure sounds like you need a recap on the rules. What rules, you ask? (And, I'm so glad you asked.) Why, Jack's New Rules, that's what!

- Be prepared to support your dog financially. Honestly, this sounds harsher than it really is. And, I don't mean you have to be wealthy to own a dog. Of course you don't - most don't go on to college. But, do keep in mind you have to feed him. Every day. For the rest of his life. Oh, also, we like toys. And, we tend to chew them up and you have to buy new ones. And, if you don't, we'll start in on your shoes and handbags. So, get the toys. Also, sometimes we eat the toys and we need to go to the Doggie ER. And, that costs money. Which if you don't have, could cost us our lives. And, then you'll be really sad and cry.

JACK'S NEW RULE #1: Before you get a dog, do a budget and make sure you can afford basic food and normal vet visits. Having some extra money stashed aside for emergencies is a great idea in general.

- Sometimes, we get sick or injured. Guess what? You peeps gotta take us to the vet. Minor injuries can turn major and no attempt to self treat should be done unless you REALLY know what you're doing. And, by that, I mean, you're a vet. Anyone else needs to get their dog an appointment with one. The sooner you take the dog in, the better chance he has for a good outcome.

JACK'S NEW RULE #2: Take your dog to the vet for anything you'd take a two year old child to the doctor for, and with the same urgency.

- Dogs don't do stuff out of spite. Ever. That peeing in the living room at night? It's not because he's mad at you for not giving him your leftover baked potato. It's because, despite what you WANT to think, he's not housetrained! And, guess what else? It's YOUR fault, not the dog's. Go back to square one with the house training.

JACK'S NEW RULE #3: Patience and consistency are the keys to training. Denial never trained a dog, yet.

-Dogs don't speak English. We speak Doggish. Which is mostly eye contact and body language with the occassional auditory yelp. When you teach us commands in English it's a little bit like you learning Swahili from us. Only, forget that you even know what Swahili IS and you're getting close. Changing commands, talking to us like we know what you're saying is not going to work. Not EVER.

Treats? That, we understand. Use treats when we're doing something you LIKE and something you WANT us to do. You'll be suprised how fast we catch on to what we're NOT supposed to be doing and how good of a motivator those treats are. Much better than yelling.

JACK'S NEW RULE #4: Praise and reward can work wonders in the right direction. It's only counterintutive if you don't appreciate how much us dogs want to please you.

- Dog's don't generally do stuff "out of the blue" one day. See an aggressive behavior like growling or avoiding eye contact and bristling when Auntie Sue comes by for a visit? Guess who shouldn't be surprised when Auntie Sue's hand goes missing one day? YOU. There were signs probably for years beforehand. Signs. Yep. Like, growling, snarling, avoiding eye contact and bristling. Some dogs bite when confronted and scared, but chances are, you ignored signs of aggression or didn't realize what you were seeing.

JACK'S NEW RULE #5: Watch for any signs of behavioral changes or aggression and deal with them before they cause potentially tragic results.

-It's up to you people to make sure us doggies understand what you want from us. If something you're doing with the training isn't working within, say, seven to ten days...if you're not truly seeing ANY progress, it's not working. As a rule, if your dog learned to sit in three days but you've been trying to teach him to not jump up for three months, you're doooooinnnng it wrong. Give up on that particular method and try a new approach. The bottom line here is that your dog CAN learn. He WANTS to learn. You need to be the person who figures out how to get through to him in a way that he can understand.

JACK'S NEW RULE #6: Dogs adapt. So should you.

- A puppy isn't just for Christmas. Or Easter. Or Valentine's Day. Or Arbor Day......People, you've heard it all before. Adorable puppies purchased for the holidays and come February, the shelters are packed. This is a rule that applies to any dog at any stage of life. As dogs, our owners are our WHOLE WORLD. If we are parted from you, it's incredibly, horribly painful for us. It's a tragedy and our world, our head, our hearts are turned upside down. Sometimes, circumstances cannot be avoided. Things just get bad sometimes. But, please, please try and remember that we're totally dependent on you and totally in love with you. We need you. More. Than. You. Will. Ever. Know.

JACK'S NEW RULE #7: A dog is for life.

- Us dogs have seen it all. Trends come and go. We still stay dogs. Know why? We know a secret you guys sometimes can't figure out:

It's all about the individual. A dog's theme song is, I Gotta Be Me. No trainer of the month, technique of the month, is going to work on every dog. Far from it. A smart owner takes common sense training and behavior tips and advice and works them into their own routine in a way that works for their own dog. Got a dog who is terrified of the crate? Guess what? Nothing says you have to crate train her. Not all dogs are alphas or wanna be alphas. Not all dogs have the same learning curve. And, those trainers you see on tv having the dog whipped into shape in 10 minutes flat? Okay, that can happen. But, remember two things: 1) At the end of the day, it's still television and 2) Never underestimate the power of a novel person interacting with a dog. I could come over and maybe have the same results. The real work starts when the camera is off and everyone goes back to their routine.

JACK'S NEW RULE #8 : One size does not fit all. Adapt your training to your dog's ability and needs.

And finally:

JACK'S NEW RULE #9: I really like chicken.

So, that's about it. In closing, I'd like to say that we dogs ask very little from you peeps. A warm bed, food and some affection earns you a lifetime of love and loyalty from us. One harsh word can linger forever or some of us more sensitive types, but we're always willing to let bygones be bygones if you put in the effort. Dog ownership is a lot of work, sometimes. And, it can be an overwhelming responsibility other times. But, so is any partnership.

Love your dog. As much as he loves you.


Louie Louie, Oh gotta go.

November 10th 2008 9:19 pm
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I joke, I kid. I kid......He can stay. Louball has been with the family for a whole year, now. A YEAR.

I can hardly believe that. It's a whole third of my life I've known this crazy guy, now. At first, he was not exactly someone I wanted near my peeps or in my house(s). He was boisterous, obnoxious and he kept biting me and smacking me around all while trying to "play." Tell me I wasn't that terrible as a pup!

Anyhoo, he learned the ropes fairly fast and pretty soon we were brothers from other litters. Cool, huh? He's a good guy, Lou. He's fairly brave and he likes to play. What could be better in a brother?

Lou wore a plastic red cowboy hat for Halloween and won a contest at our doggie athletic club for funniest costume. Ha! Little do they know he wears it around the house when nobody is looking and pretends he's Shane.

So, anyway, the prize was one whole day at the club for FREE. And....wait for it......waaaaaiiitttt.....also, a B.A.T.H.

Hahahahahahhahahahhahahahhahahahahahahahhahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahhhahahah ahahahahahahahhahahahhahahahahahahah.

Hooooo, oh, man, I can't breathe. Wait, wait, hahhahahahahahahaahhahahahahhahahahhahah. Srrrrrrsly, it's poetic.

Oh, my stomach hurts from laughing. Oh, my god.

Anyway, if you're reading this buddy, hahahahhahaha, hope you have a great time!


It Was My Party and I Barked Cause I Wanted To....

October 20th 2008 9:28 pm
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Sorry to have deprived you of a new diary entry, dear readers. I realize it's been a while since I updated, but you see, I've been quite busy since my last entry. Chasing things, securing the perimeter of the homestead, knitting new bobble hat for winter and also keeping my head-dancing brother, Louie, in line.

But, I wanted to take a moment out of that busy, busy terrier schedule to say hi to all my pup pals and pawesome friends!

My birthday was just this past weekend and my family graciously feted me with a lovely party yesterday! I knew something was up when mom and dad began to furtively hide some of my toys. They always seem to do that just prior to my brother making an appearance. And, when they put the birthday scarf on....well, I knew something was gonna go down. And, soon. So, I stood by the window to await my birthday surprise. And, wait I did. About 20 minutes, which in dog minutes is like 130,977 minutes, as you well know.

Eventually, grandma and grandpa arrived with that gem of a non-blood related sibling, Lou Lou. And, he was wearing, of all things, a birthday hat! He's nothing if not ready to party at any moment, that loveable heathen.

In they came, bearing a large bag of gifts and hugs and kisses all around! Mom made a deeee-licious cake out of white rice and Wellness kibble, complete with on-fire wax sticks (What in the world all THAT is about is yet another human mystery best left unknown, methinks.)

After Lou and I played and played, we had to wait for the peeps to eat their smellicious dinner and then we had our "cake." Lou, in his own special way, felt it was all for him, somehow. Each of the toys I was given found their way into his mouth, or he tried to assault me with them. But, I paid no attention last night; it was my birthday celebration, and I was in a good mood. Not even head dancing or thigh biting could bring me down...and really, he's not so bad. You know, for a brother. I just waited it out; after he left, I arranged all my toys on the living room floor without worry that they'd be eaten or turned against me as deadly weapons.

Tomorrow, we are going to daycare while our moms eat something together (perhaps the are sharing a Kong?) and I'm looking forward to seeing him again. He must be growing on me.

And, thank you to all of you who wished me such wonderfully happy birthday wishes. I'm three, and I'm feeling all 21 years of it. But, I'm blissfully happy. You know, in between being worried about someone breaking into the house, and all that.


When the Chicken Had Eyes

March 12th 2008 9:59 am
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Hi, all! Jack's mom here.....

Jack is busy building a detailed miniature of a historic house in Brussels. (My dog speaks Nerd, what can I say?)

Folks, I'd like to take a moment out to talk about the unsung hero of dogdom. Yes, I'm talking about the stuffed animal dog toy.

Jack's first stuffed toy was a fuzzy orange basketball. He loved that ball and it remains intact to this day. His second toy, a round, overstuffed terrycloth chicken with large, bulbous eyes met a much less pleasant fate.

Jack was given this toy on his first day with us. He immediately grabbed it from my hand and pranced around the kitchen with it in his mouth, shaking it and throwing it in the air.

Within an hour, the first eyeball had vanished, only to re-emerge from Jack's mouth whole, but a little worse for the wear. Not to mention soaking wet.

Over the next week, the second eye was worked on, as well as the firey red felt wattle, and the orange beak.

It is the second eye that still haunts me. It glared at me for two long weeks, a mixture of seething anger and questioning innocence (Why?WHY?)

Soon, the eye was completely white. The "iris" had been quietly dispatched in the garden and the entire chicken was covered in seemingly strategically placed smears of dirt and grass stains. What was left was a macabre blank white eye, which gave the impression of staring straight ahead, but at the same time being completely eerily present and aware.

One morning, I awoke to a spitting sound and saw Jack spitting out the red wattle. It was then that I knew the eye's days were numbered.

One night, after a fortnight of completely ignoring the terrycloth chicken, Jack sat up from his bed and walked over to the toy basket. He plucked the chicken from its hiding place under the basketball and a large fleece bowtie and started spinning it around by the eyeball until the chicken flew across the room.

Stunned, Jack appeared glued to the floor, his teeth slightly parted, with a terrycloth white eyeball between them, some uneven strings and a small tuft of stuffing hanging from his parted lips.

His eyes darted back and forth between the floor where he was standing, the spot where the chicken landed and my eyes.

I took the eye from him so he wouldn't swallow it and he never looked at the chicken again. He'd done what he intended to do; his job was done. From the moment that chicken was given to him, he was on a mission to take the eyes off. Nothing more, nothing less. Everything else was pure folly.

Stuffed animal dog toys. The unsung heroes of the dog toy world. Here's to them.


Mom Has Kennel Cough!

March 10th 2008 12:47 am
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Well, at least that is what I think she has. She's been coughing a lot like I did when I first came home. And, she's been very tired and hanging out in bed a lot.

The upshot is that I've been spending loads more time with my DADDY! Daddy, daddy. Daddy, daddy, DADDY! I cannot stress enough, my friends, how much I love my DADDYYYYYY! He's been taking me for my morning walkie and even feeding me my breakfast. Then, at night, he takes me for my evening walk while mommy rests.

Mommy has been extra-cuddly lately. I think she feels kinda crummy. I know I did when I had kennel cough.

I feel badly for her, but there's no WAY I'm catching that bug again. I've been wearing a surgical mask around her when she's not looking. As soon as she falls asleep, the hand sanitizer and mask come out and I spray alcohol on all my toys, too, just in case. I was thinking of calling up grandma and asking if I can come and stay with her until mom stops being all germy, but I don't wanna impose.

And, anyways, the longer she's sick, the more daddy time I get! Wooowweeee!



March 1st 2008 10:27 am
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Hey, everyone! I'd like to give a bark out to my little bro, Louie Louie since today is his birthday!

He's the big 01 today!!!!

Yahooo for Louie Louie!

Hey, Louie, if you're reading this, Happy, Happy Furry Birthday to you, little bro. You deserve lots of hugs and kisses and TOYS today.

Big Brudder Jack


Psssst....Yeah you.....come here. Little closer......

February 11th 2008 11:17 pm
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I got a secret. I don't want it spread all over Dogster or anything, so keep it hush-hush. Okay, here it is:

I like Louie.

SHHHHHHHH! What did I just say? Don't tell anyone! Keep it under the radar. I don't want anyone finding out about this.



January 19th 2008 2:50 pm
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Yep, its that time of year again. Time to reminisce about two whole years since my mommy and daddy sprung me from lock up. Next week will be my two year annifursary in my forever home.

Ah, I remember it well. To honor the big day, mom has decided to recall our meeting and has asked me to provide my version, as well.

Mom: There I was, minding my own business at the dog shelter..
Jack: Nobody who goes to the dog shelter is minding their own business.
Mom: Okay, okay, let's just say I was casually looking for a dog, but after months of disappointments, I was resigned to waiting a bit longer. Then, I saw him.
Jack: Well, technically, I saw YOU.
Mom: Yes, okay, but when I looked at you, I thought you were a very sweet 14 year old dog. With puppy eyes.
Jack: Yeah, I know the hair was bad. Hey, I'd been through a lot. And, I was a bit of a pigpen that first time. But, I gave you THE EYES.
Mom: You sure did. I couldn't stop looking. They were the sweetest, cutest eyes I'd seen in a LONG time.
Jack: Or.....ever.
Mom: Stop pushing it.
Jack: Okay.
Mom: So, I brought your dad back and we found out you were only 2 1/2 months old. What a shock!
Jack: Yeah, I thought you were older, too.
Mom: So, we brought you home, but first we went to see your grandma and grandpa.
Jack: I liked them right away. Loved the backyard.
Mom: And, when we got you home, you went straight in and...
Jack: ....peed in the living room....I know, I're embarrassing me, my friends are reading this!
Mom: Well, you did. But, you only had three other accidents in the house. You were a very good puppy. You slept through the night in your crate.
Jack: (Shudder) That )(&*&^$@() crate. Hated it.
Mom: Well, moving on, let's just say that we loved you from the moment we decided to bring you home.
Jack: Ditto. I knew you guys were my family and I loved you, too.

So, there you have it. Two years and no accidents later, here we all are. On the eve of my annifursary I am going to send a special wish out to all my brothers and sisters in the shelters and on the streets. May you all find furever homes with as much love and good treats and warm beds as mine. Each and every one of you deserves it.





December 15th 2007 1:06 pm
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What on earth did I do to deserve this? Everything was going along just fine until they brought him home. Nobody ever bit me. Nobody ever ran over me and caused me to tumble down a hill, out of control.

Nobody ever took every last one of my toys and use it himself.

In case you don't know who I'm talking about....its LOUIE. Sigh. Big, dumb, oaf Louie.

He just can't stand still. He can't run past me without biting my ear or my leg or my butt. I especially hate THAT.

I mean, I guess he's an okay guy, but he needs some serious refining of his manners.

On the other hand, he's the only dog who has ever been able to catch me when we play chase.

Yeah, we play, okay? I admit it. He's kinda fun. KIND OF. Not really. Just sorta. A little bit.

Actually, I might like him a teeny bit. If he'd stop biting my butt.


Oh, my dog, its a puppy.

November 23rd 2007 2:06 pm
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Sigh. I am exhausted. My new little brother, Louie is a complete goofball. I mean, I guess he's kinda fun and all, but he's just crazed all the time.

I know that I wasn't that crazy when I was his age. (Why are you laughing out loud, mom?)

I wanna play all the time, too, but there's playing and then there's battering ramming my head or hitting me with the broom or biting my leg or my undercarriage.

And, this guy doesn't take a hint. He just keeps going, like the energizer puppy.

I guess pretty soon he'll be out of his puppy stage, right? Actually, it is kind of nice right now. He tires himself out and I sneak some time with his toys. Also, I peed on his bed when he wasn't looking. (Was that wrong? Blink Blink) He's kind of easy to take advantage of, so I'll have to be good and not go too far with the practical jokes.

As long as he knows that what I say GOES, then he can stay. I might even stop peeing on his bed.

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