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Terrier TV

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

As the hamsters go about their hammy bidness, Chet Baker watches and salivates.
Mmm, meals on wheels.

The first two days we had them, he did almost nothing else but stare into the hammy tank. It got so bad I had to put them in a bedroom so I could have my boydog back. Now, he’s attuned to their schedule, and only bothers to watch them when they’re active, although he does check on them throughout the day, as a diligent terrier will.

Nobody watches anything like Chet Baker watches those hamsters. Their every move is fascinating to him. He loves it when they run on the wheel. HEY UR DOIN IT RONG

He loves it when they pop out of their little Kleenex box house or their toilet paper tube. He really loves it when they eat. Mmm, cornbread.

Chet is hell on chipmunks. In fact, having these hamsters around to fantasize about has increased his hunting acumen by about 300%. Since the hamsters came, Chet runs off excess energy and hunting desire by making dozens of laps around the house each day. He’s in terrific shape, since he runs at warp speed, zigging and zagging. The chipmunks are on red alert all the time. The deer are looking over their shoulders. The rabbits only come out at night.

So what could I have been thinking, bringing two small defenseless baby rodents into the same house with the lean, mean hunting machine that is Chet Baker? Well, I was thinking it would all work out. The eternal optimist, with an asterisk**

**ready to make it all work out.

There have been two incidents in which Chet forgot that these are not doggie hors d’ouvres, but cherished family pets. The first was when I heard a shoving sound and found Chet pushing the hamster tank with his paws until it teetered on the edge of its little table. Ai yi yi. A couple more lunges and it would have tipped over and …

He got a spanking, a big spanking for that. No lunging at the hammy tank, Chet BAKER.

The second incident was the very next day when Phoebe walked into the living room, hammy cupped in hand right under her chin, and Chet Baker leapt straight up in the air and nipped her finger in attempting to make the hammy his own. A startled yelp from Phee brought me around the corner like a mama bear. That was an even bigger spanking for Chet, one he has not forgotten.

It’s important that Chet understand that infractions will be severely punished, without exception. And after that second spanking, he got it. Now, when the kids are cuddling their pets, he pointedly walks out of the room. For the first two evenings, he walked into the kitchen, jumped up on a hard wooden chair, and curled up in its seat, as if he were giving himself a doggeh time out, removing himself from temptation. It was beyond adorable, rolling eyes and all. Of course, he got lots of extra kisses and bits of cheese for coming up with that idea all by himself.

He’s settled down very well. That’s not to say we’d ever let the hammies out of their cage out of our sight for a half second. The rule is, they have to be in their cage or in your hand if Chet is in the house. We shall see how it all works out. It is a severe test of a terrier’s trainability, to be sure. I am waiting for your essence...

It is a character building experience. But if Chet Baker has anything, he has abundant character. With the help of a couple of spankings, he is the Perfect American Gentleman.


I'll bet at night he dreams about them... and dreams of Mether allowing him just one little taste!

I'm loving your hamster posts. What a way to rock Chet's world, though! I brought in two kittens to rock my dogs' world - they who until now considered themselves, "kitteh chaser/killer hounds extrordinaires". Now they both will let the little kittens sleep tucked right in with them. It's too cute. It also helped that the kittens have vicious fangs and claws :o).

My dog (a dachshund/terrier mix) is the same way, though I doubt any amount of spankings could really teach him for good. My mom and sister have chinchillas. We ended up having to put them up really high at first, then confining them to the basement, after one time he got a chunk of fur and tail that was sticking out the cage, about 4-5 feet high. Lots of bleeding and uneasy chinchilla noises ensued. It was not a good scene. Now he's only allowed to chase the squirrels and chippymunks. Not eat, chase.

I'm remembering a bad childhood moment when the chaos of family life exposed two guinea pigs, fatally, to a neighbour's dog... Were Chet a gentle soft-mouthed spaniel, I would still be anxious. But a terrier, not wholly unrelated to Jack Russells etc.? PLEASE be very careful!

Posted by Nick from Ottawa October 21, 2009 at 4:24 PM

Thanks, Nick, I take your concern seriously (and sorry to awaken childhood trauma!)
Three weeks now, and the incidents were in the first week. He's still curling up on the kitchen chair when the kids play with them. Mighty good boy. But still half-terrier. We keep our eye on him.

Oh my--the look in Chet Baker's eye in that second to last photo.

"I will have you, big-eyed cornfed hammyster, even if I have to breathe in your tasty essence a molecule at a time."
Chet Baker, bidin' his time.

We lost several hamsters to our old dog, sadly. Once the top wasn't secured. The other I'm not sure about except we found little Duchess on the living room carpet, still wet with dog saliva. Never drew a bit of blood on any of them, but I'm sure it doesn't take much playing or shaking to kill them. We had to move them waaaaay up out of Rascal's reach, as she would have worried the cage when we weren't there until she managed to break in.

Chet Baker, I am sad to hear that you earned 2 big spankings, but your Mether is right - only firmness and consistency will prevail (along with proper supervision). The nose to nose w/ hamster photo is priceless - it shows the google-eyes to perfection.

My first pet was a hamster named Ogelthorpe. I loved him dearly and still think about him. He lived a happy life and died of natural causes - no mishaps! He was a Houdini who escaped his cage in my bedroom on a regular basis and he would go forage in the cereal boxes in the kitchen. Then he would return himself to his cage. He was just a regular hamster, but very smart. Julie - hopefully your 2 hamsters won't learn how to open cage doors & pick locks and escape - it could be very perilous w/ Chet Baker in the house!

Like the pictures we've all seen of cats curled with fluffy ducklings or giving a tongue bath to a bunny--natural enemies can learn to look past their first instinct.
And if anyone can, it will be Chet Baker!
I wonder if part of him feels a bit displaced--like the dogs that act out when a baby is brought home from the hospital.
Please pass a kiss from me to the Bacon.

I am cringing looking at the low placement of that tank. Chet is a remarkably good dog, but putting temptation in his path...

Back in the bad ol' flying squirrel days, I used to have cats that would sit outside my kitchen window all day waiting for the squirrels to emerge from their nesting boxes. They scratched my window screen to hell and gone before I realized that was becoming an issue.

Speaking of adapting, my Boston terrier, Sam Addams now has a rival for the affections of her BT friend, Brooke. Brooke's parents adopted a brindle bug puppy. Roxie is trying very hard to be the alpha dog in her pack, definitely coming in as a very strong beta. Poor Sam doesn't know how to handle a six pound ball of fur with needle sharp teeth, who seems hellbent on attaching said teeth to Sam's cheek. It's a little amusing seeing my 22 pound dog running for cover with a teeny guinea pig sized pup on her heels.

Our first hamsters (of many) were named John Deutschendorf and Annie (in honor of John Denver and his wife Annie). They lived a long time, but they were quite the escape artists. Fortunately we kept them in our finished basement, away from our miniature daschund, Bismark. They always crawled into the furnace room and would set up shop there until we found them. Over many years we had many hamsters, until my Dad couldn't take the burials anymore.

I'm loving all the names of everyone else's pets. Quite a window into all of our families, no?

Wayne, PA

I'd make sure that tank is up higher when no one is around. Chet may be well trained and a gentleman but training doesn't always win over natural instinct. Liam and Phoebe would be devastated if something happened to their hammies via Chet.

Even with a concern I feel for both the hammies and the Bacon, this post had me cackling. What a joy.

I think he will succeed in being the gentleman he is. He just needs a few hugs and spankins' before all is well.

does he woof or whine while watching the hamsters in their home? or just leave smudgey nose prints all over the glass?
Poor Chetty -- they must look as desirable to chase as a chipmunk (just like my dog can't discern any difference between chasing a black cat or a small skunk!)

Two years later, we still have happy hammies and happy Chet. Sometimes he watches Hammy TV, but mostly he ignores them--even at nose level. Things worked out!

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