Thursday, December 31, 2015

Practice Makes Perfect

I've been fighting the urge to do a year end post. It was not a great year because we lost so many friends and our own Miss Morgan, but I've decided to move ahead and just let 2015 go. Instead I'll let you in on a little problem we're having with Miss Norma Jean.
Portuguese Water Dogs are expert counter surfers. It seems to be in their genes. Fudge broke the habit at an early age when he pulled a towel off the counter. Drying on the towel were several pieces of pottery and a couple broke. That scared the boy into giving up the habit.
Samba, on the other hand, started early. At three months she wasn't tall enough to reach the counter, but she pushed a chair over and was able to reach a plate of cookies. Once they have a success, there's no stopping them. She grabbed a newly opened container of Ben and Jerry's which she shared with Fudge and her best score was an entire turkey just out of the oven. I got that one away from her before she had a chance to eat it.
Samba passed the surfing gene to all her pups. Noah grabbed a piece of lasagna of Rob's plate, right under his nose. Sky stretched for and devoured an entire box of frosted sugar cookies. Bailey has managed to reach several bags of dog treats which she usually shares with her sisters. I've received reports that Gracie helped herself to a take out Mexican dinner while her Mom's back was turned. Each of them check out the counters a couple times a day and I am always reminding Rob to place things out of the reach of those stretchy legs.
This week Norma Jean who checks the counters regularly, made her first score. Rob decided to have a mid-day snack of coffee and a muffin. He put the lemon raspberry muffin on a plate and walked across the room to microwave a cup of coffee. I walked into the kitchen to see Norma Jean standing on tippytoes and eating the muffin from the plate. I yelled and Rob turned in time to save about half his muffin.
Well, after a fine score like that, an enterprising pup isn't going to give up. We were both careful to put anything edible out of reach till yesterday when Rob made himself a sandwich. First he took a nice hoagie roll and covered it with cheddar cheese. He left it on a plate while he cooked up some sausage with onions. When the sausage was ready he carried the pan over to the counter where he'd left the roll, but no roll and no cheese. Also no Norma Jean. The others were standing there watching him, but Norma Jean was in another room finishing off her cheese sandwich.
Now she thinks she's a pro at this counter surfing thing and we have to watch her constantly. During the evening, when everyone else is snoozing in front of the TV, I can hear her checking out the counters. I know most of you are probably aghast at the idea of your dog standing up at the kitchen counter reaching out a leg and pulling a plate of food toward them, but that's normal life with a Portuguese Water Dog. Just ask anyone who lives with them. So I'm trying to think up a way to discourage the girl. I may have to  dig out the shock mat again so that when she touches the counter she gets a shock, but Samba used to stand on the thing and thought it was just a pleasant massage, so that may not do it. I'll let you know if I win this battle.
Now bring on 2016 and we all hope it's a good one for all of Blogville.


Marjie said...

Best of luck in conquering this problem! I hope you are all drying out a little, so the pups can go outside and burn off some energy. Happy New Year, Sue.

ElleC said...

Our Barney once ate an entire loaf of unbaked bread dough. Thank goodness it was discovered fairly quickly. A call to the vet + going outside + hydrogen peroxide = a vomitous mess and a good outcome. He didn't feel very well for quite a few days. Another time it was a pound of butter. Many more things, probably more than we even know.

We set out bait for him once, chopped jalapenos (I tested them, they weren't super hot), but somehow he knew and left them alone. Our microwave shelf became the Barney shelf. Even he couldn't reach that.

Now he's old and can't jump up anymore, once again the counters are safe. I'm not sure I'm happy about that.

Bella Roxy & Macdui said...

We are SOOOOOOOO jealous, with our short legs we can only get what's dropped on the floor.

Molly the Airedale said...

I, Mitch, have only managed to score 3 piece of pizza off the stove once and it was only because a dinner guest put the box too close to the edge. Our mom is a real drill Sargent and is always on top of a possible counter surfing situation. Can we please come and live with you, Norma Jean?!
Happy New Year to all of you!

Hailey and Zaphod and their Lady said...

Hailey is a counter surfer, fortunately she can just reach the edge so if we push things back, she can't get them.
Wishing you a wonderful New Year.

rottrover said...

Even when Ruby was at her most frail, she was sneaking stuff off of the counter. A favorite is the parmesean cheese container...Gizmo once stole a plate af bar-be-qued ribs off of my husband's place at the table. Bart once ate 3 dozen iced sugar cookies my mother-in-law made for my husband (yes, there was a trip to the vet...) and Allie once ate a box of See's candy (big dog, no problem, vet was called)... The hlidays are dog's favorite times of the year!! Happy New Year to all of you! Yes, this has been a rough year. Looking forward to 2016!

-Otto and Lisa

Ruby said...

OMD!!!!! This is tooo funny!!!! Ma's Angel Maggie, the Irish Terrier, was INSANE with the counter surfin'! She loved, loved, loved bread! One time Ma had a couple of slices of bread on the pull out breadboard to make a most delicious sandwich. When she turned to open the fridge, Maggie took BOTH pieces of bread and woofed them down right in front of her!!!! and she had NO apologies! She just looked at her like...'what'? Butts her favorite was just plain paper towels. You couldn't leave papertowels in reach of her little paws or you will have confetti! And, one time Gpa left peach pits wrapped in a paper towel, Maggie got it, and instead of giving up her 'prize' she swallowed the whole thing! Yuppers. after 5 grand in surgical costs and a very worried couple of weeks, she was okay, butts Ma was like your Ma...drill sergeant!!! And now I'm not allowed to put my paws on the counter....killjoy.

OMD, I have missed SO MUCH!! I hopes to catch up this weekend with all your adventures!!!!
I hopes you and your whole pack have a most FABulous New Years!!!!
Ruby ♥♥

My Dog Sam - Ruptured Disk said...

Hi Sue, we laughed and laughed. That was a good end of year post. My peeps have had a challenging year too. Our move back into the city is still ongoing insofar as unpacking is concerned. There have been challenging issues with my brother sheltie. With luck, that localized aggressive growth won't be back anytime soon but we're actively monitoring the situation. After that last CT scan, my dad said, "oh well by the time we have saved up enough again, one of the kids will need something else and that 4K TV will be old technology". Wishing you and Rob and all under your roof, a safe and healthy 2016. Peace.

Lapdog Creations said...

Oh boy.... hope the cheese sandwich was good Miss Norma Jean! And I hope your Mama & Dad laughed a little...

Tut is our culprit. He'll "sneak" his long legs up on the stove edge and get what he can if we're not careful. His best score was some s'mores cups fresh out of the oven... .he ate the marshmallow and chocolate topping off all the ones he could reach, right from the mini muffin pan. Thankfully it was milk chocolate, which is not so toxic. Other than that, it was during his recovery from Pancreatitis that he went into the trash and got out chicken wing bones. Thankfully I heard him and grabbed them right out of his mouth before he could swallow... clearly he was telling me he was hungry, I suppose.