Thursday, March 17, 2022

An Update

I know, it's been awhile, but I thought I'd post an update just in case anyone out there is still interested in what is going on with our girl-hound. 

Cully has been here two and a half years now. It's been two and a half years of non-stop training. I would like to say that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and in some cases, I think maybe she's finally got it, but in others...sigh. We never would have been able to do it without the trainer, but we finally have her dog agression under control. She still doesn't like dogs but she will ignore them on walks which, at this point, is all that matters. Her fear of trash trucks and motorcycles remains but is manageable. 

I am sad to say, however, that Cully's counter-surfing is here to stay unless I do as the trainer suggested and get an e-collar. Cully doesn't realize it, but she is getting closer to that training measure every time she gets caught. Last night I almost lost an entire head of cauliflower. What dog in their right mind will eat a cauliflower? Most humans won't even eat a cauliflower. Cully, however, cannot be trusted when one is within reach. Opening the veg drawer in the fridge brings her running. Hearing me unwrap a head of lettuce has her drooling. (The Lettuce Reaction makes me laugh every single time, mainly because I think of Ray's equal but opposite Lettuce Reaction. The retraction of his lips as he'd politely take that disgusting thing in his teeth and walk to the front hall to discretely drop it out of view of the giver.) Cully LOVES lettuce. Anyway, enough about her training. 

Personality wise, Cully is a sweetie. She's a bit quirky and incredibly stubborn, but sweet sweet sweet - except when it comes to squirrels. Cully despises squirrels in her domain and will explode out the back door like a squirrel-seeking missile if she sees one of the fluffy interlopers. Strangely she ignores them everywhere else but they are NOT allowed in her backyard. She enjoys the company of her cats, must have a paw on whomever she is talking to, and is especially attracted to old men. Other than these little things, Cully is your normal, everyday, vegetable-loving hound. If that is a normal thing. Vegetable-loving (shakes head in disbelief).

Paw's on.
Cully and her favorite toys.
Celebrating Valentine's day with her favorite cat.
Celebrating St. Patrick's Day.
Hanging with Li.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

From Z to A

"Where are the zucchini?" asked Gregg. 

"On the kitchen counter." I replied. 

There was a long pause. 

"No, they're not." he said.

I sighed and got out of my chair to point out the obvious. I was thinking that, as usual, he couldn't see what was right in front of his nose. 

But the zucchini weren't on the counter. Maybe, I thought, I'd left them in the fridge. Nope, not there. Maybe I'd accidentally put them in a cabinet. We checked all cabinets. Nothing. I was getting a bit desperate. I wondered if I'd thrown them in the dryer or left them in the bedroom.  I was wandering around the house looking for zucchini but found no zucchini. No zucchini remnants. No skin, no stem. Nothing.

Neither one of us thought that the zucchini could have been a victim of counter-surfing. Our Ray would never have let an entire raw zucchini ever touch his lips never mind steal two of them. But this girl dog...hmmm. And although we wondered, we decided to give Cully the benefit of the doubt and chalk the zucchini up to covid brain. 

Three days later an avocado disappeared off the counter. The pit, however, was found in the backyard being joyfully played with by a certain vegetable-loving hound. 

Thursday, January 21, 2021


Why we call her Miss Pink Belly

 A couple of months ago, I hired a dog trainer. Although we had conquered most of Cully's fear issues, her fear of trash trucks continued to be a problem. And as she became more confident, her dog aggression  seemed to get worse. Although her dog aggression is still not under control, today we walked by a trash truck without Cully trying to back out of her skin, escape to the nearest backyard, or even walk up into the middle of someone's front yard. It has only taken one year, three months, and an enormous amount of treats but she is finally getting it. Although this might seem minor, this a major victory. 

Next up, dog aggression. And then maybe we'll tackle that little issue of counter surfing...

One year, three months.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Weird Coincidence?

Gregg and I like to watch mysteries. Cully is actually named after a character in one of our favorites (Midsomer Murders). So when our girl-hound started digging on the stair landing, my mind immediately assumed that there must be something sinister buried in that spot. Because, you see, that was Ray's favorite indoor place to dig. Outdoors he was not particular and neither is Cully. But indoors they both chose/choose the exact same location. As a matter of fact, Ray dug the stair landing so much that by the time he died there was very little rug remaining there. 

That is a coincidence. But not the weird one. The weird one is in the video. I took the video of Cully on  January 8, 2021 when I just happened to be sitting on the stairs with my laptop and she came up behind me and started digging. And when I found an old video of Ray that I had taken when he was still alive, it was from January 7, 2018. Almost exactly three years to the day from the other. So, do dogs need to go through some weird ritual digging in the early days of the new year to assure a good bone harvest? Or is there a body buried beneath our stairs (cue creepy music).

Saturday, October 10, 2020

She's Come a Long Way

November 1, 2019
(scared to go outside)

October 9, 2020
(taken through the kitchen window)

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Nine Months

 It's hard to believe that we've had Cully for nine months now. In some ways it seems like yesterday when we were bringing her home, but then I look at her, draped full-length on her favorite couch, and it seems like she's always been here.

I'm not going to lie, she has been an ongoing challenge. Just when we think we've got one of her issues under control, it crops up again, randomly and unpredictably, like a weed. Some things, I am sure, will never go away. Her fear of trash trucks and motorcycles seems to be insurmountable. But I'm hoping that we can get most of her other fears/issues under control. Eventually.

Overcoming her fear of the backyard at night took a long, long time. This week may be the first week we haven't had to wander around the backyard in the dark for an hour or so before Cully would pee before bedtime. We seem to have it down to twenty minutes or less (knock on wood). Although just when I thought we had it licked last time, she walked outside, flopped herself down on the grass, crossed her paws in front of her, and looked at me like she was ready for a long conversation (I wish I had a video of this, it was really funny). Like I said, random and unpredictable. 

Cully still exhibits aggression to other dogs. I'm very tuned into her body language while we are walking, watching for her head to go up and her eyes to laser-focus on a foe. Nine times out of 10 she will walk by other dogs without blinking. The tenth time she goes ballistic. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the dogs she chooses to hurl insults at: they aren't all small or all big or all bully breeds (like Ray's bĂȘte noir), they are just random dogs on random leashes being walked by random people minding their own business. We are working on this but I feel a bit out of my depth as a dog trainer since I've only had one other dog and he had no issues at all.

On the upside, Cully seems to like people. I think in her past life she had very little interaction with them since she showed no fear but no real interest either. Now that we walk around the cul-de-sac every day, Cully has gotten to know some of the neighbors and has had a chance to show her sweet side. She has a few fans on the block which I think has boosted her confidence a bit. When I think of how long it took to get her to even walk around the cul-de-sac on a leash and how much progress she has made since then, I feel hopeful that she will continue to improve. She'll never be a confident, calm dog but at least she can be the best Cully she can be. We are working on it. 

Hangin' with Li