Anya’s Prospective-Catching Up

Yowza! It’s been a long time since I posted anything to this blog. I blame my Mom, and that’s all I have to say on the subject.

Anyway, a quick update on what’s been happening in my life.

This winter I went on a REALLY long trip that involved going all the way to North Carolina to spend some time with my mom’s youngest sister and my old buddy Cat. IMAG5971
After that, there was another long car ride that didn’t end until we reached what my mom calls the patriarchal farm which in the Upper Peninsula, AKA the end of the world. Once the car riding was over, I had fun there. Not only did I get to play with some new dogs, I met some interesting little kids, chased cows, and played in the snow.

FYI, there’s A LOT of snow in the Upper Peninsula.

Once we got home, life pretty much returned to normal. I played lots, slept lots, and whenever possible I helped my mom with barn chores.

We didn’t get much snow this year, but we made up for it by getting lots of rain. Do you know what happens on a farm when there’s lots of rain. You get mud. A ridiculous amount of mud. For the record, I hate the way mud feels when it squishes between my toes.

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Now that it’s spring time, there’s more wildlife on the farm. A few weeks ago, my mom managed to get a picture of some deer that usually graze in the hayfields.IMAG6764_1
And, we have a new litter of baby foxes. I think they’re cute and would be lots of fun to play with but my mom, the partypooper, says absolutely no way.

That’s all for now!
Anya, The Farm Chiweenie

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2017 Chiweenie Training Goals

Finally! 2016 has ended and we’re chugging through the first week of 2017. Many have made New Year’s Resolution and I suspect that some of us have already broken a few. Most of us are so focused on what we want to have happen, either personally or professionally, to ourselves, that we fail to think about the others in our life, such as our chiweenies. Today is a good day to assess your chiweenie and think up some training goals for the pair of you to complete during 2017.

Why it’s Important to Have Training Goals

It’s my belief that training goals are important because they encourage you to keep working with your chiweenie, which not only helps turn them into a respectful member of the canine community, but also helps build a close and respectful bond between you and your dog. Spending just 5 minutes a day working on a new trick makes a world of difference.

I feel that it’s important to have goals, rather than just randomly working on stuff because they keep you focused. They help ensure that you’re not pushing your dog too quickly, and they help teach your dog to learn properly. Just remember to be realistic about the goals, both as far as what your chiweenie is ready to learn and how long it will take them to pick up on new tricks. If you’re not sure what 2017 training goals would be good for you and your chiweenie, consult with a professional dog trainer for advice.

Petparent.com also has some training idea goals you may want to consider.

Anya’s and My Training Goals for 2017

I’ve spent the past few days studying Anya and thinking about how far we’ve come in our year together. I couldn’t be happier with the progress she’s made. She’s bolder, better socialized, and knows a few obedience tricks that had been missing. As pleased as I am with her, I have no intention of sitting back and saying she’s good enough. There’s still plenty we need to work on.

General Training

At the very top of my list is exposure. Anya’s come a long way, but she still needs to go out and do more things. Not only would I like to see her become more relaxed when dealing with a new place/situation, I also want to work on her behavior when she sees another dog and dealing with large crowds. The only way this will happen is I keep taking her to new and exciting places.

Obedience Training

By nature, Anya’s an obedient dog and with a strong desire to please, which is handy when working on her obedience training. Right now she knows how to sit, sit pretty, lay down, and roll over. Except for roll over, she knows both the word and hand signals for the tricks (hand signals have proven to be the most effective with her.) The glitch in her training is that she only performs her tricks when I’m sitting on the floor in front of her, so this year we’re going to work on doing each of these while she’s leashed, and once she has that, practice them while on walks and exploring new things. The other thing we really need to drill is stay. She’ll stay put if I tell her to and then proceed to watch her, but she doesn’t hold her position, something I hope to correct in the upcoming months.

If we can master stay this year, I’d like to start working on long call. Since she’s pretty good about coming when called, I don’t think it will take much work.

Trick Training

The last thing I want to work on this year is teaching Anya how to do a Spanish Walk on command. Occasionally, she does this while playing and with her short legs, it’s about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes us to perfect this trick. It might not be a useful trick, but I don’t care. When it comes to tricks, I want to have fun.

I’m looking forward to celebrating Anya’s accomplishments in the upcoming months.

Good luck to you and your chiweenie as you work together to learn all sorts of fun and useful things.

 

Straight From Anya: Walk/Write 5K Challenge

So, in addition to being a phenomenal, pint sized farm helper, I’m also responsible for supervising my mom while she writes. I got to admit, I’m not particularly crazy about the second part of my daily duties. Supervising the writing process … BORING!

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Still, I do my best.

Needless to say, I rarely get excited whenever my mom has a writing thing planned, but this past weekend was different. This weekend the 10 Minute Novelist Group held their autumn Walk/Write 5K event. Basically in addition to writing 5K words, participants were also challenged to get off their duff and walk (or run) 5K. At last, a chiweenie friendly event.

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Friday

The event kicked off on Friday. It was a little cool and a little overcast, but all in all, not a bad day for a walk. My mom and I headed to the local park where we spent about an hour and half rambling through the woods and taking pictures. Lots of pictures. The walk was pretty uneventful. We did hear a woodpecker and accidentally spooked a blue heron.

I did get into a little trouble when I tried to drag mom away from the lake, I REALLY don’t like water, but since she’s bigger than me, she had the last word and even made me lay still long enough to have my picture taken.

When all was said and done, we walked a little over 4 miles.

In addition to finishing up some freelance work, mom did pull out her manuscript, Shattered Glass, and picked at it a bit, but her word count for Friday was embarrassingly low. Still, even a few words is better than no words at all.

Saturday

My mom spent the bulk of the day outside or in the barn working on prepping stalls for the winter, which was just fine with me. The barn is loads more fun than her apartment. It did mean our walk started a little later than planned on. We took a different route, one I haven’t walked in a few months, and headed down to the local lakes. It was lots quieter than when I was last there, which is fine with me since I’m still not crazy about crowds, but I was disappointed to find that the little lakeside ice cream store was closed for the summer. I really like that place.

The sun and lake were gorgeous and it was a perfect evening to be out and about. We spooked another (or maybe even the same one) out of a tree, and spent some time watching the sea gulls and swans. My only complaint is that we got a lot closer to the water than I like. According to my mom, we’re going to work on my water phobia next summer. I’m pretty sure I don’t like the sound of that.

Anyway, we logged 4.1 miles on that walk AND fellow farm dog, Cougar got to tag along. This was great, partly because everything is better with a friend, and partly because Cougar gets in trouble more often than I do.

At the very end of the walk, we made a quick trip to the local Tractor Supply Company Store because it’s dog friendly and Cougar has never been there before. He was a little afraid of the automatic doors and was a little shaky the whole time we were there, but I bet that it won’t take many more visits before it’s his favorite place.

My mom’s word count for the day, 1282. I think she should have written more.

Sunday

Sunday was Sawdust Day in the barn. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but the end result was that the humans push a lot of huge wheelbarrows around, the stalls fill up with fresh sawdust, and my mom said she’d already walked more than enough steps (mind you, she failed to record the exact number) that we weren’t going for a walk later. Personally, I think this had more to do with the fact that she was way behind on her word count than anything else. Next year, I won’t let her get away with that and will insist that she hit the trails and bring me along.

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Mom did spend the extra time writing. Her word count for the day was 3,431 words which bumped her total to 5,038. Not great, but enough to say she completed the challenge. Barely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Straight from Anya: The Playground

Mom’s been pretty busy the past few weeks with a mountain of copywriting work that never seemed to get any smaller. Subsequently, that meant the amount of attention I got was limited to helping her out in the barn and some pretty short periods of fetch in the apartment.IMAG4186

It was so boring.

Finally, she finished the last page on Sunday night and despite the fact that it was still a little on the warm side, we decided to go for a walk. Something might have been said about me being a bit pesty, but I don’t know where the idea came from, just because I walked across her computer keyboard, once … or seven times.

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The plan was to do a lap around the park, when we passed the school at the entrance to the park, there weren’t any kids about, so we decided it was a good time to make use of the equipment.

 

 

I’ll be honest, I was a little scared at first. I’m not particularly crazy about new things, but after a few minutes I adjusted. I even got brave and checked out the slide.

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And slid down it with mom.

And later slid/walked down by myself.

Since it was to hot to spend much more time playing on the equipment, we resumed our walk which included a quick stop at the pond where I took a quick dip to cool off before  heading home.

It wasn’t exactly the marathon walks I really love, still it was nice to get off the farm for a few hours.

Ta for now,

Anya, the Farm Chiweenie

Meet the Chiweenie: Anya Schira AKA The Farm Chiweenie

Anya is a roughly 13 pound, black and tan, chiweenie I adopted from the Noah Project in the middle of January. Prior to meeting her, I’d never heard of chiweenies. Now I think they’re marvelous. She’s a year old, has 4 inch legs, and loves to run. She’s affectionate and does well on her own.VIDEO0146_0000137264

Even though I keep hearing about how stubborn chiweenies are, I have to admit that Anya has been pretty trainable, which is good considering I’ve been kind of hit and miss in the training department. As long as I have a treat, she’s willing to do what I ask. So far she’s learned sit, sit pretty, down, she sort of crawls on cue, and swats at my hand when I tell her to say hello. Currently we’re learning how to roll over. The biggest training challenge I’ve run into is her short legs. It’s hard to get her to track a treat downwards when her neck is twice as long as her legs. The good news is that she has a strong desire to please and loves phrase.the pack

While I wouldn’t call Anya stubborn, she does occasionally exhibit something I call “Queen Anya moments” where it’s very clear she would rather be doing something else and questions my authority. I think if given a chance, she’d love to rule the place.

Personality wise, Anya seems to be an interesting mix of both a typical dachshund and Chihuahua. I’d say the Chihuahua nervousness balances out the dachshund fearlessness. She often shivers even when it’s not cold. She spooks sometimes, but doesn’t have any trouble with anxiety and will usually check out whatever startled her. She’s very social and Anya blanketloves people (I’ve put a lot of effort into socializing her) however, she’s often introverted when she goes somewhere new or first meets someone new. I’ve learned the best way to get her to warm up to new people is to have them look away from her. She’s much braver when they’re not looking at her.

Anya is a high energy puppy. I’m often grateful that she’s in the barn all day with me where she’s free to romp and play to her heart’s content. The all-day play sessions mean she’s ready to curl up on the couch and chill once we do go inside. We also go on a long walk at least once a week. Don’t let her little four inch legs fool you, this little chiweenie can walk 5+ miles without getting tired.IMAG2656

My biggest fear with Anya is that she’ll get lose and run into one of the horse pastures and get stepped on. There’s a strict barn rule that the horses and dogs aren’t allowed to mix because we don’t want the K9’s getting stepped on, bit, or kicked. There are also parts of the barn where dogs simply aren’t allowed to go. At this point Anya is still learning the rules and sometimes forgets which side of the gates she’s supposed to stay on. I’m a little worried that someday she’ll slip outside with someone and because she’s so small, they won’t notice her and lock her out of the barn.

Even though I’d never heard of chiweenies prior to this year, now I can’t imagine my life without Anya.

Written by Jess Schira who was under the supervision of Anya Schira, The Farm Chiweenie, at the time.

All photos posted belong to Jess Schira

My Surprising Discovery About Dog Collars and Chiweenies

When I first met Anya, one of the first things the employee at Noah’s warned me about was leading the Anya by a collar. She said I needed to make sure I used a harness.

I was startled. I’d always used a collar when leading dogs and never had a problem. I managed to swallow my instinctive sarcasm and not point out that at that very moment, the only thing Anya was wearing was a bright green collar.

Luckily, The Noah Project is run by wonderful people who not only want to find homes for the dog and cats they take in, but who are also interested in making sure all adopters are properly educated. She said that toy breeds, such as chiweenies, are prone to a medical condition called collapsing trachea, and that when a small dog yanks against a collar as some are prone to doing, it can cause the trachea to collapse, leading to problems.

Since I’m not the type of person who takes anyone’s word for anything, I went home, booted up the computer, and did some research. It turns out that pulling on the collar isn’t the only thing that can cause a chiweenie’s trachea to collapse. Coughing and over-exertion is also a problem. The condition is most common in toy breeds who have passed their 5th birthday.

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“No collar on me!”-Anya, the Farm Chiweenie

The good news is that most dogs who have a collapsing trachea are able to live long and full lives, provided their monitored and otherwise remain in good health. However, it’s also important to acknowledge that not all dogs are so lucky. Some struggle to enjoy a high quality of life after their trachea has collapsed and require a great deal of medical care and attention. In some extreme cases, surgery is required to correct the problem.

Rather than deal with a serious and potentially life threatening problem, I suggest you fit your chiweenie for a really nice harness. If you have a little one who likes to pull, look for an anti-pulling harness. There are some really nice front leading ones that are a great choice for a Chiweenie who is just learning how to walk on a leash.

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“Okay,  full disclosure. Mom does make me wear a collar sometimes when we go on walks, but the leash is attached to my harness, not the collar.”-Anya, The Farm Chiweenie

Oh yeah, before I forget. The friend who was with me at the time asked about using a dog head halter on Anya, which was also discouraged because they have a tendency to slide into the little dog’s eyes. Chiweenie noses just aren’t long enough to manage the halter.

Good luck and don’t forget to give your chiweenie an extra cuddle from me.

Written by Jess Schira

Recovering Lost Chiweenies (and Other Types of Dogs)

Being on social media sites last weekend was a painful experience. So many chiweenies (and other types of dogs) were parted from the humans they love. While this is a frightening experience for everyone, there’s hope. Every single day, there are stories about formerly lost pooches who located their humans.

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“Lost chiweenies? Did their humans give them a bath, take them to the vet, or threaten to never feed another hot dog ’cause those are the only reason’s I’d run away.” -Anya, The Farm Chiweenie

If you’ve lost your chiweenie, you can’t assume they’ll simply show up at home if you wait long enough. These are house dogs who don’t necessarily know how to track themselves back to your doorstep. You need to be pro-active.

  • Quickly search your yard and home and make sure they haven’t crawled under or into something to hide. You should also contact all of your neighbors and ask them to do the same.
  • Contact all local animal shelters, police stations, and veterinary clinics. Even if they haven’t found your pet, they’ll know to be on the lookout and will call you if they learn anything about your lost chiweenie’s location. Request that they post the information on their social media sites.
  • While you’re making those phone calls, you should also design and print out several fliers. Make sure they include your name, your dog’s name, and your contact information. A large, clear, recent photo of your chiweenie should be printed on the flier as well. Post these everywhere! If you are posting a landline phone number rather than a cell phone, make sure there is always at least one person at home who can answer calls.
  • Take to Facebook and other social media sites and alert members that you’re looking for your lost pet. Most areas now have community Facebook groups where members are free to post information about things they’ve either lost or found, including pets. Not only are these sites a great way to reunite with your pet, but arrangements can be made for you to meet in a secure, safe area, such as a busy parking.
  • Keep fresh water and food near the door your pet routinely uses when they enter and exit you home. If they find their way home, they’ll be hungry, tired, and thirsty. The food and water they see will encourage them to stick around.
  • If your pet is microchipped, contact the company that registered the microchip. It’s likely that they have methods and resources for helping lost pets reunite with their owners that you don’t. Every little thing helps.

When you get word that your lost chiweenie has been found, make sure you act quickly. Shelters in particular don’t hold onto found dogs for long. The shelters near me have a stray hold that lasts from 4-7 days. In addition to quickly going to recover your lost chiweenie, make sure you have both proof of ownership and your current dog license. If you can’t find your current license, contact your county treasurer and see if they would be willing to fax or email a copy of the document to the animal shelter.

Reuniting with your lost pet will be thrilling, but for your sake and theirs, you need to stay calm. Your pet is already scared and most likely feels guilty. If you get overly emotional, it’s likely they will too, which increase the odds of the them bolting once again.

Good luck and don’t forget to give your chiweenie an extra cuddle from me.

Written by Jess Schira