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Thursday, May 01, 2008


I realize that this isn't the kind of progress that I usually report on the blog, but it's Finn related, and since I'm pretty sure that at least half of you are only here for the dog (and cat when he wakes up), this one's for you.

Finn is a rather delicate dog. One morning when he was outside doing his business, a bird landed next to him and Finn freaked out, stopped what he was doing and ran and hid behind Mickael. I believe the bird was a robin, not a pterodactyl. Our current project with Finn is to toughen up his pads. After a winter of carpet and backyard, he just wasn't ready for the hard concrete of the suburban sidewalks. We've been working to toughen his pads or develop some nice callouses or something, so that he doesn't hurt himself on walkies. Like I said, Finn is delicate.

A couple of weeks ago, we were at the store and we were looking at dog toys. Finn has had toys with squeakers in them, but they've always been stuffed animal type dog toys which he rips to shreds in under 30 minutes. For obvious reasons, Finn doesn't get stuffed dog toys anymore. (Yes, we've tried the brand lined with nylon webbing - he ripped it apart anyway.) Caleb wanted to get him a squeaker toy and since we realized he'd never had one that wasn't stuffed around the squeaker, we decided to give it a try. That's what the pink elephant in the photo is - Finn's squeaker toy. We brought it home and Caleb gave it to him and showed him how to squeak it. Finn ran and hid. Caleb played with the squeaker toy for a bit and then we left it out for him to investigate on his own terms. Finn went way around it and pretended it wasn't there (except that he was going way around it). We put it away in his toy basket and it ended up on the top. Finn stopped getting out toys. A few days later, I sat down with the elephant next to me. Finn came charging over and sat in my lap (he thinks he's a lap dog). I held the elephant very carefully so it didn't squeak and he sniffed it. Then he smooshed it a bit with his nose and it squeaked a tiny squeak. He didn't freak out since he was in my lap, but I could tell he wasn't too sure of this thing. Once I got up, he went back to ignoring it. After about a week, he would occasionally touch it with his foot and make it make a small squeak, and a few days ago he barked at it.

Yesterday, he was in a playful mood so I threw it across the room. The retriever genetics took over and he chased it. Then he tried to pick it up. He couldn't figure out how to pick it up, but he finally figured out that he could grab the legs or trunk so he brought it back to me. He sat down and dropped it for me and I tossed it again, this time making it squeak when it landed and bounced. He went after it, picked it up and brought it back. We played fetch for a while yesterday with it and when Caleb got home I told him what had happened, so Caleb played fetch with Finn and the elephant. I'm not sure if the squeaker sounded too loud for him or he didn't like the texture of the elephant in his mouth or if he just got over it, but I'm proud to announce that Finn isn't afraid of his toys!

At least the ones he has now.



Blogger jennsquared said...

How cute!!! My giant 120 lbs Great Pyrenese, who thinks he is a lap dog, is afraid of the wind!!! I know! I totally understand what you are going through.

9:35 AM  
Blogger adrienne said...

Oh, so sweet! My dog was always odd about new toys, so it sounds so familiar.

10:05 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I had a friend in high school who had a huge playful lab who was terrified of his water dish. I mean he would drink out of it, but he would also hide from it. He was also afraid of squirrels and boxes.

also, I love that elephant. If I still had a dog, I would have to track one down!

10:16 AM  
Anonymous sharon t said...

Just walking Finn on the sidewalk will help to toughen up his pads. He'll be fine. There is something to put on dog's feet to toughen the pads - but that's usually used for hunting/working dogs that will be on really tough terrain, um, not the city sidewalk.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Finn & paws. There's a product called "Tuff Foot" that you can apply to pads that helps toughen them up. I used it and it seemed to work (but then again it could have been the increase in walking on streets as well). I'm not sure where you can get it but a search should find it or a substitute. It wasn't expensive, comes in a small bottle and is easily applied. [I note that commenter Sharon T mentions a paw pad product, this might be the same thing.

Have fun with the toys Finn!

12:49 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

What a great story. I think most Goldens think they are lap dogs. Our dog a TON of squeaker toys. His favorite toys. I think we also had about every "food" squeaker toy they make. I miss having him around.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Finn is right. That elephant IS kind of scary. Nimitz doesn't think much of anything about it as he's not that into toys. We've had him out on sidewalks since we got him a few months ago and his pads seem to finally be used to it. We have some stuff called Mushers Paws (I think) that's sort of a wax covering to help protect his foot that seems to work. It's fun to put it on and watch him slide even more than usual on the wood floors. :-)

3:53 PM  
Blogger Knittripps said...

I may have mentioned it before, I don't know, but my Golden is afraid of the laundry basket. I've started "working with him" on this by approaching him slowing and petting and talking nice to him while holding it. He still is not crazy about it but now he doesn't run like he used to!

6:03 PM  
Blogger Connie Peterson said...

Our golden would rip all her toys apart and pull the stuffing out. If I threw the stuffing away and re-sewed the toy up, she would cuddle it - guess she didn't like "fat" toys.

Peanut sometimes plays with squeaky toys but is not much of a toy player. But she IS afraid of wind and snow as well as thunder.

7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see what Finn is like at age 10. Jack, our Golden, submitted to a snowman once and now he walks up to the mastiffs that live on our block like he is the king of his street!


9:24 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

LOL!! Looks like a heffalump...or a woozle.... =)

5:17 PM  

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