Life With Dog: Ups & Downs

We’re adjusting to life with dog.

Smoother Sailing

  • Walks: Trayse is improving on his walks. He still lurches at the occasional passerbyer or dog, but I can keep him moving forward more often than not. He practices stopping behind me when I stop and is not allowed to mark his territory along the way. 
At Lime Creek Nature Center, Mason City, IA

  • Potty trained: Except for one isolated incident, Trayse is well potty trained. The previous owners of our house had two dogs and a cat. We replaced all of the flooring, and, even though I’ve been cleaning for weeks, I still find dog hair. We were concerned that Trayse would want to spray where the other dogs may have marked their territories along the baseboards or in the vents, but fortunately this has not been the case.
  • Kenneling: Trayse won’t willingly enter his kennel, but can be easily bribed with a treat. On the first day and night, he whined when he had to go to his kennel, but now he seems fine. He sleeps in the kennel through the night without a peep. 
  • Barking: Trayse generally doesn’t bark unless someone knocks on the door, he’s playing, or he hears loud or high pitched noises. 
  • Energy level: I take Trayse on long walks in the mornings which helps him settle during the day. Then, he gets a short walk in the late afternoon to get the jitters out before bedtime. We’re trying to follow Cesar Millan’s rule of providing exercise, discipline and affection in that order. 
What dog doesn’t enjoy lounging in the sun?
  • Baths: Loves them.
  • Car Rides: Also loves them and is obedient about laying or sitting down in the car which makes it easy to take him places. 


  • Stranger Danger: Trayse has a lot of work to do regarding socialization. He doesn’t respond well to strangers who enter our house so we will do what it takes to make sure he’s friendly to guests. He’s done better when I’ve lead him around by the leash and allowed him to sniff people while they ignore him. Then, he seems to relax. Our pet insurance covers a certain amount of dog training. 
  • The “No Touch, No Talk, No Eye Contact” Rule. We hope guests won’t take offense to this rule. Most of all, we hope it will encourage Trayse to get used to strangers without being defensive. We also don’t want to encourage him to get excited when people come and leave, including ourselves. 
  • Commands: We’re working hard to learn sit, lay down and stay. 
  • Meal times: Since we brought Trayse home, he hasn’t eaten at regular meal times, though he drinks water. He hardly ate during the first two days, but I attribute this to having recently received vaccinations. Now, he still doesn’t want to eat more than one meal a day and picks at his food bowl like a cat. I’m trying to offer it to him at consistent times and then take it away until the next meal time if he doesn’t eat it. 
  • Nail Clipping: It’s impossible without a tranquilizer. I’ve tried everything. 

Homemade Dog Treats
Recipe from Cesar’s Way

2 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour, unbleached flour or oats, depending on if your dog has sensitivities to wheat (I made the recipe with about 2/3 oats and the rest a mixture of whole wheat and unbleached flour).
1/2 cup of warm chicken stock-low sodium
1 egg


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients into the warm stock until it forms a ball. Over-mixing will over-develop the gluten.
  3. Roll the dough to about 1/2 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut into desired shapes.
  4. Place on a lightly greased sheet pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  5. I divided the biscuits into plastic bags and placed in the freezer. I bring out one bag at a time and let it thaw in the fridge.

1 Comment

  1. Val

    Great post! Good luck to adjusting with life with a dog. There might be some challenges as you mentioned, but one thing is for sure, they are pretty great creatures and somehow give us unconditional love.

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