How to Tell If Your Dog is His/Her Own Villian in Five Simon-Induced Steps

One: Dastardly deeds and deviousness.
He develops a jerk attitude, like he’s deliberately snarky. He gives off little growls of indignation. When you don’t pay complete attention to him he comes over and starts to nibble on my toes. He sneaks through the cat door to the garage when he gets a little too excited and running around the house doesn’t do anything to quell the surge. He looks for anything butter-related left out on kitchen countertops. And when I go to him, tell him to get off counters, get out of the garage, and leave my toes alone, you know what he does? He smiles.

Two: Luring you into a false sense of security.
After respectfully listening to every command he has been given for a good long while, he starts to be a little more subversive in his “goodness.” We become trapped in a frustrating cycle of “He knows what I’m saying, he’s just deciding not to listen,” because dogs are totally capable of this. In fact Simon has subtly been trying to overthrow the current regime that exists in our house by initially only half-listening to commands. I tell him to sit, he squats as if to sit until I turn away assuming he is going to listen to the command he has followed through on over one hundred times already, except he doesn’t. Pretty soon he’s not even listening to the command, just running circles around me.

Three: Constantly coming up with ways to take over the world, the house, the couch, or at least your cereal bowl.
After displays of indignation and flexing his choosing power, he starts taking what’s mine. He barks at the front window, staking his claim to all who dare pass by. He leaves his mark on the nice, pristine front lawn to ensure the neighbor dogs that get lose don’t get any ideas about moving in on his territory. Even more boldly, he puts his head on my lap at night, staring me down until I have no choice but to move over so he can take my spot on the couch. The cherry on top, he’s learned how to distract me, jumping on the couch so that when I go to get him off he runs away to my unguarded cereal bowl, lapping up the leftover milk with wild abandon. He’s got no regrets.

Four: Finding a secret lair.
When he doesn’t want to be bothered, meaning he has had to listen and “leave” his ball one too many times and he’s ready to rise beyond covert subversion, he goes and hides in his dog house. His dog house being the one place no one can follow him into, basically because no one else fits, not even Rosee. He likes to sit in his house and bark at me. I take this as his way of manically cackling at the intelligence of his “evil” plan.

Five: You have already, thoughtfully, decided upon a villainous name for your canine companion.
Simon, as you may have heard, is The Dew Claw. Rosee is simply The Boss. Her powers are infinite.

IMG_1657If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, I mean steps, please do not worry. In the end the Pawed Crusader always triumphs over The Dew Claw, no matter how determined the latter is because good always wins out over evil (uh, duh!). And if you don’t believe me The Boss may just have to come and convince you (she’s decidedly flexible in her nature when she wants to be), but she’ll be smiling while she does it.

An Itch, A Scratch, and Shampoo

Rosee Bath
Yes, Rosee and Simon get bathed on our front lawn. Not only do the dogs get clean, but the grass gets watered.

Rosee and Simon get bathed pretty regularly. Do they enjoy getting bathed? No. Do I enjoy having clean dogs? Yes. Usually every Friday I spend the day cleaning, which means the couch covers, dog bed covers, kennel beds, and dog towels/blankets get washed, the dogs get bathed, and the living room gets vacuumed. I like doing this once a week because it helps keep the dog smell away, and if I didn’t plan a day for it all nothing would ever get done. You see, I am not a big fan of messes and am pretty good at cleaning up as I go. However, homes have a tendency to become dirty just through living. And while I love my dogs to pieces, I don’t love the permeating dog smell that comes with them if they don’t get bathed every once in a while. Plus, Rosee and Simon tend to have fairly sensitive skin and so bathing helps keep their skin at its best.

About two summers ago Simon developed a really bad skin allergy to something in the environment and his back erupted in bumps. We took him to the vet and were told that he has allergies and if we notice his bumps coming back we could give him some Benadryl. (Of course, I recommend you talk to your vet before giving your dog any sort of medicine because they know best, and at least with Benadryl, while dogs can take it, the amount is based on a dog’s size. Still, make sure to talk to your vet before you give your dog anything that’s not prescribed.) Unfortunately, at this time his bumps were so severe that he needed to go on a stronger medication, and he was also prescribed KetoChlor, a medicated shampoo. We were directed to give Simon a bath with this shampoo twice a week for about three weeks and then once a week after that until his bumps went away. Luckily, with medication and this shampoo Simon recovered quickly, but since then we always keep a bottle of the shampoo on hand because when I say their skin is sensitive, I mean it’s Sensitive. Pretty much anything makes them itchy, and any shampoo that was tried only seemed to make them break out more (even baby shampoo, which the vet originally recommended for their sensitive skin). So, at first I was a little skeptical of this new shampoo, but I gave it a chance.

KetoChlor is a medicated shampoo that claims it is for dogs, cats, and horses.IMG_1407 Of course, I’ve only tried it on Simon and Rosee so I can’t say if it works for cats or horses. It is supposed to help “delay…irritation” and “disrupts micro-organism colonization on the skin.” According to the directions once the bottle is shaken thoroughly, you can work it into your dog’s coat, let it sit for 5-10 minutes, and then rinse it off. It’s simple enough, but be warned that this shampoo does not soap up very much and therefore it can be kind of difficult to spread around. Also, this shampoo tends to be a bit pricey and is only available, from what I’ve found anyways, at veterinarian offices or online. Now, normally, I wouldn’t mind spending the money on a quality shampoo as long as it really made a difference in Simon and Rosee’s skin, but when it feels like I have to use almost a quarter of a bottle on just one of them during one bath it can quickly become an expensive habit. Furthermore, while the shampoo seems to help both dogs’ skin from being too irritated when allergies or other environmental factors hit, it doesn’t really keep their coats clean for very long. Typically, their weekly bath keeps them pretty clean and smelling nice until their next bath, but with the KetoChlor I felt that within a couple days Rosee and Simon could have used another bath. IMG_1416Their coats looked dingy, felt grimy, they had a lot of flakes, and the dog smell made a return. Then, if you add in the amount of shampoo used in one bath and the price of it, it just wasn’t practical to use the KetoChlor as the main bath time shampoo. Plus, my mom found a locally made, all natural bar of soap that is made up of about five different oils, and has worked out much better for the pups, but that’s for another review.

Overall, if your dog has sensitive skin and needs a little more than just flea medicine to keep the itchiness at bay then I would recommend trying the KetoChlor shampoo. I don’t use it all the time for Rosee or Simon, but it comes in handy when they get bumps from seasonal allergies, or after spending a day at the beach (sand flies) or the river. However, if your dog’s skin tends to be on the drier side, like my dogs, or if it’s a bit too pricey for you (which I understand since dog stuff can get expensive), then I would recommend finding something else for bath time.