How did he do during the night?
Mr. Barney seems to be doing fine.
I have yet to get him to howl (or, more accurately, join me in a howling duet). And he seemed to want more to eat tonight, which we resisted. Other than that, things seem good.
During the night, well, who knows, because I was sleeping. He made a couple of early moves that would indicate a desire to join us on the bed -- front paws up on the edge of the bed -- but a firm No from each of us put an end to that. When I turned the light out he was in his bed on the floor on my side. By the morning he had migrated over to Gail's side (without his bed). In between, who knows.
Basic stuff is fine. Eating, drinking, peeing, pooping all seem as they should be. He sleeps a lot. Occasionally I refer to him as "she" or "her", thinking back to when we had a cat, but it hasn't seemed to bother him.
Question -- how much should I be walking him?
And he has gotten a small number of "Inara treats" the last two evenings. I drop a few little pieces of chicken on the floor (though perhaps not with the style that Inara scatters tidbits) and he scarfs them right up. :-)
This is great! Love the report and really hope that you get a duet going!
In terms of walking, take him out as much or as little as you want. Sometimes he will get really excited about following a scent on a trail and can go for miles, but that is less likely to happen in the snow. If he shows no interest in hiking, there is no need to force him.
Big excitement -- after quite a bit of demonstration on my part, Barney joined in on howling practice! With gusto, I must say. :-)
I realize there is no video, so there may be doubters as to whether the PG and Barney duet really performed. Well, we did, and we were wonderful. Will have to be better prepared with the camera next time.
And then, obviously feeling revved up, in quick succession there was --
-- A dash down to the bottom of the driveway, Barney hot on some scent, pulling me along. I insisted on a u-turn at the bottom, not feeling we were ready to take on the big trucks. It was good speed all the way up too, save for one close sniff at a little bit of faded yellow on the snow (not his), followed by a pee right on top of it. Though, to be honest, the action indicated more his state of mind, as all available liquid had been used up at the start of the walk.
-- Finishing off in less than a minute the roughly 75% of breakfast that still remained.
-- At now it seems to be nap time.
Life appears to be good.
OK, this time we've got video -- howling practice 2
Otherwise, so far so good. Some observations:
1. Barney does seem to sleep quite a lot. And that's not counting all the time where he appears to be conscious (mainly based on his wide-open eyes), but there is no movement and no apparent brain waves. Not that I'm complaining as it does make it pretty easy to take care of him.
2. Who picked out his food. It may be good for him, it may be especially formulated for seniors (of which Barney seems to be one, and which may explain #1), but still -- it just smells awful.
3. Of course it's possible that Barney, who seems to have a pretty active sniffer when we go out, maybe Barney thinks it smells wonderful. I guess it's possible.
4. And then #3 might explain why Barney doesn't seem at all upset by the fact that he, to be blunt, smells pretty bad too. But I've never had a dog. Maybe he smells the way all dogs do. Oh, my....
This thread and it’s accompanying mental images is absolutely making my day!
Since Mr. Barney is the inspiration for all this, he deserves all the credit. I will let him know when he gets up (it is now 10 am and he is still snoozing). Ah, the life of the retired hound.
A little more on the life of the retired hound --
Sometime after 10 he roused himself for his morning routine. A quick trip outside to pee. Actually it was a really quick trip outside, as it was -1F and Barney had nothing on except his harness. I mean, if you sent me out under similar conditions (definitely no photos if it ever does happen), I'd be damn fast too.
Over the course of five days here, and increasingly cold weather, Barney's preferred pee site, which started on a bit of bare ground across the driveway, has moved to the snow bank on the near side of the driveway, to the top of the section of stone steps (also just below the set of wooden steps that get you up to the front door).
Meanwhile, I have decided for some reason that Barney peeing on the stones is acceptable, a good rain will take care of it, but peeing on the wood steps is not.
And so, starting sometime yesterday, and certainly this morning, we head out the door and Barney is ready to pee, like, immediately, whereas I am determined to persuade him to wait until off the wood steps. And my favorite form of persuasion is a good strong tug on his leash.
So far it's worked. We get up a little momentum as he heads out the door, and by the time he realizes he's outside and peeing is now allowed, he's already going down the steps, his little legs trying to keep up with his body, his body of course being hastened by the pull on the leash.
By the time we reach the first bit of stone, well, maybe I've eased up on the leash a little, maybe now that he's on a flat spot he's feeling more confident. Whatever, a rear leg goes up and out and business is taken care of. And then quick as could be, back up the steps and into the house, him pulling me this time.
So we've got one more trip out tonight in a little while. So far the margin has been about 12 inches to the good, 12 inches from Barney's DNA being a part of the wood steps forever.
It's 5 degrees outside and dropping.
I am not optimistic.
Barney is just not the right kind of dog for these parts. Sassy is outside napping on the snow on the deck, finding it quite pleasant.
Barney's week in Sunderland is about up, and it's time to review the progress.
Boris and Alli have been concerned that Barney has, well, there's no point in avoiding the truth, Barney has gotten soft. When we stopped to visit them in DC three weeks ago, and had a look for ourselves, it was pretty clear that as Barney had moved into senior citizen status -- he had let himself go to pot.
It was time, they agreed, to get Barney to HTFU (and if you don't know what HTFU stands for, then maybe you need to harden the fuck up yourself).
The program -- a week in Sunderland with PG and Gail cracking the whip, nothing spared, the goal to get Barney back to his youthful figure and enthusiasm.
The week is about over, and it is clear that we have not coddled the hound.
Like all really serious athletes, when you go off to a training camp you give up lots of things you might like to do (booze and sex, for starters) because there is only time and energy for three things -- eating, sleeping, and training. And that is exactly what we have imposed on Barney, a strict regimen with a carefully planned training schedule, the best possible nutrition, and sufficient rest to be able to handle all the hard workouts.
I must say that Barney's attitude was always the best. We pushed him hard, but he never quit.
Food -- he finished every morsel of the special food we gave him. How he did it I don't know, the stuff looks awful. But he's tough.
Sleep -- with all the workouts he was doing, enough sleep was essential, especially since the workouts were getting harder each day. He never let us down, taking advantage of every spare moment to doze off.
Training -- this was the part where we didn't know if he could cut it. We had several different workouts --
-- Stairs. Roughly six times a day there were workouts outdoors. Sometimes just the wood steps for speed and agility. Sometimes both the wood and the stone steps for endurance and mental toughness.
Add to that several trips daily up and down the indoor stairs up to the second floor, and remember, with those little legs of his, each step is quite the challenge.
And then today, add the stairs down to the basement and back up again. By the time the day was done, he had climbed the equivalent of a 10-story building.
He sure wasn't getting this kind of training in DC.
-- Lunges. No, not human lunges, Barney lunges. You think it's easy settling into a couch, you just sit down. Barney has to get up there. Where he wants to get is well above his head. He puts his front paws up, they just reach the top of the cushion. He lunges, and if it's a good lunge, he get's his middle just far enough up and with enough momentum that when his body tilts back to horizontal, he's about 2/3 on the couch, 1/3 hanging out in thin air. From there it's not hard to squirm the rest of the way on.
A bad lunge. Well, just keep trying. You think we were going to pick him up?
Up and down, up and down. If he was on the couch, we'll call him off. If he was off the couch, we'd call him on. He'd catch a bit of sleep when he could, though never more than 3 or 4 hours at a time.
And as the week went on, you could see the improvement.
-- Shakes. Full body shakes. Like you might see other dogs so when they are wet. But Barney wasn't wet. He is just training to be an alpha dog, the kind of dog where you're not quite sure what they are doing, but you sure didn't want to mess with them. Barney did the shakes at least a dozen times a day, and always after peeing. You did not want to mess with him.
-- Howling. The was the final piece of training. There are several benefits from howling:
By straightening out the head, throat, and windpipe, you get much more oxygen to the lungs, and thence to the muscles.
You strengthen the muscles of the neck and the back. And if you don't think these are important, try running around with you nose a couple of inches off the ground and see how long you last.
And then there is the matter of self-esteem. If you look carefully at him right after howling practice, you can see the confidence, you can sense the renewed optimism, it's pretty clear that Barney realizes that he has HTFU and life is going to get a lot better.
Boris and Alli are due here in the morning. The hound has worked hard this week. Hopefully they are bringing some treats.
Several thumbs up on this thread and Barney’s training.
Well, having Barney here sure has given me a lot of smiles, and writing about it a bunch more smiles....
A little after noon today Boris and Alli and Inara showed up to reclaim the hound. (Not sure if this statement should be followed by a :-) or a :-( or one of each. Probably one of each.)
Barney seemed delighted to see them. Boris checked him over and pronounced that the hound didn't smell bad, just normal, though he then hedged, yeah, his breath is pretty fierce.
We gathered up all Barney's gear, including a nice puffy vest that we somehow had forgotten to use. Well, that's not exactly true. A puffy vest during HTFU week? Really? The vest stayed in his bag.
Barney did a last couple of shakes, and of course one more pee is his now usual spot just past the wood steps.
And then he was gone.
I wanted to share some observations we have had since collecting Barney from the highly-touted PG And Gail Bootcamp for Bloated Beagles.
We were pleased to discover that during his training camp, Barney put on 2 pounds, surely all of it pure muscle.
His training appears to have paid off. On his walk yesterday, he tried to run up and down the stairs of almost every house we passed. I think PG and Gail made effective coaches.
Most importantly though, his confidence levels are high, and the glean in his beagle eye makes it clear that this hound has his sights set on new heights.
Thanks for the news about the hound.
The only thing I might quibble with is attributing the two pounds to muscle. We only had him for a week, and at most I'd think he put on a pound of muscle. High quality muscle for sure, but still only a pound.
As for the rest of the gain, I'd say it's composed of roughly 1/3 pound of self-esteem/confidence, 1/3 pound of joie de vivre, and, unfortunately, 1/3 pound of aroma.
So if by any chance you feel he needs to slim down a little, a bath would be a good place to start. And maybe brushing his teeth, such as they are. :-)
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