Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Time for a little bragging.

I have been making a point to work more with Sadie in a positive way. Sadie doesn't look like it but under that big block head of hers she is actually a very sensitive dog. If you get angry around her she will get worried even if you are not actually upset with her. Originally when I was first learning how to train Sadie the classes suggested a lot of corrections. And I will say 1 1/2 year old Sadie was kind of a crazy dog and that helped us get to the point where we could walk her. But when I started working with her one on one recently I noticed that she would go between overly excited about the treats to nervously sniffing the grass or messing up when she wasn't clear what I wanted her to do. Exasperated at all the issues I was having with the dog I thought was pretty well trained I let out a sigh and grumbled to myself a little bit. Sadie then started throwing up all sorts of appeasement and avoidance behaviors and I found that she was so stressed now that I couldn't work with her at all.

I took her back in the house and did some fun hand touches to end the training on a positive note. Sadie was happy but I was not I thought we had a good strong relationship and I found that as far as training went I was wrong. Thinking on it I hadn't worked with her much since we picked up Simon. Nik had taken her to some classes recently but other than that she hadn't been worked with much. And almost nothing with me in over a year. As I cuddled my Sadie girl later that night I made a promise to make a point to work with her more. Sadie and I had gotten very used to spending most of our time together cuddled up and getting pets and loves. She was an easy dog to skip because she has fantastic house manners. But I knew if I wanted to get our relationship to where I wanted it to be we needed to work on being the team I wanted us to be.

With what had happened when I had tried to work with her I knew I needed to kind of start over and work with her from step one.The first thing I did was I stopped feeding her breakfast from her bowl I would feed Simon his breakfast in his kennel and Sadie and I would work using her breakfast as a reward. To cut down on the distractions and issues we starting working just in the house. My main goals were to improve her lose leash walking, her heel position and get more solid on her stays and in doing so build her confidence in her self and in me. She has always been a smart responsive dog so she took to this right away. After a little while of working in the house I took her outside and worked just right in front of our house. When she was doing better with that I moved it to walking around our block and now we are walking further to places she hasn't been before. During our walks we will take breaks to work on downs and sit stays. I also reward her for eye contact and walking on a lose leash.

 In the around two weeks we have been working on this her improvement is remarkable. I can now walk Sadie with just her buckle collar and expect lose leash walking most of the time. Granted we are just walking around pretty mellow neighborhoods but it is still a big step. Her response to any tension on the leash is to look and me a walk towards me. She is more willing to leave distractions such as other dogs or kids on bikes than she was before. Her stays have become pretty amazing wither her holding a down stay for over 3 minutes. We also went to a park with Simon I wanted to get some pretty pictures of them and Simon was naughty and Sadie was fantastic. We had dogs barking at us from fenced yards and Simon pulling on the leash and I could get Sadie to walk relaxed at my side and I didn't even have a treat in my hand. 

Moving forward my plan is to take a long walk from our house to a busy park a little over a mile away. If she keeps being good we will walk around the park and do some fun agility training if at some point it becomes to much and I can't get her to focus we will just turn around and walk home. I plan to slowly do this to the locations with in walking distance so that she will have had an easy first bit and part of a walk already before she is challenged. Using the method if  is working for us we will be able to walk to a few parks, a school, petsmart, and around the local zoo. we might even try to walk to agility class and then we would get a ride home with Nik and Simon. 

I am so excited with how good she is doing. She will be doing agility with Nik so it is helping me better balance working with Simon and Sadie. Someday soon I would like to be able to walk both of them at the same time and have them both behave. We are not there yet but is my goal for the summer.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Dangerous dog.

I have come to the realization that Bacardi is a very dangerous dog.

You might be shocked to hear it I mean who would ever think of this happy go lucky sweet playful dog as anything other that friendly.

But that in fact is the problem.

She is dangerous to me because she makes having three dogs look so easy.

 We have been able to adjust to having her as part of the family even temporarily with no problem.

She get along great with Sadie and Simon and is not destructive or messy. Honestly having her around is not much more work than just having my two dogs.

The most difficult part of having her is just the fact that we leave her food and medicine at her house so you have to drive there at least twice a day.

 And her house is like a block away so even that is not hard.

Barcardi it's been great having you stay with us we are going to miss you when your family gets back.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Some days are a struggle.

Those close to me know I have been suffering from migraines pretty badly. Sometimes when they hit the whole day is just a fog of pain. My dogs are pretty amazing in that on those days when I spend most of the day in bed or laying on the couch they will just lay around me and be calm and supportive. Man how did I get along before I had them. They will follow me from room to room find a comfy place to camp out and then just relax until I feel better.

Good dogs.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Look who is visiting us!

I am really excited to tell you all that we have a house guest. Bacardi will be staying with us for two weeks! Her lucky owners get to visit family in Germany so she gets to vacation with us.

I have really been enjoying having her stay with us. She is a very relaxed dog and she gets along fantastically with Sadie and Simon.  It's almost no extra work having three dogs with her than it is normally having two.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Good Bye Clover.

Today we had to put our ferret Clover to sleep. She had been sick for a while and on medicine but over the weekend she went downhill. We took her to the emergency vet and they were able to stabilize her and give her something for her pain. They let us know that she wasn't doing well and that we would have to get her into the vet as soon as possible on Monday.

I took her in today right after they opened our vet clinic was amazing and worked us in. The vet was amazed how much worse she was doing in the week since she had last seen her. They were going to run some tests and see what was wrong and what our options were. I left her there in the best hands I could. They called me a few hours later to let me  know what they had found. The vet said she was going down hill and that they had discovered that it appeared that she had cancer causing all her problems. Unfortunately she was so sick the she wouldn't be able to survive surgery and even if she did the cancer had already spread and there was a good chance that removing it would damage the surrounding area and would make her worse.

We had run out of options for treatment and we were left with a very sick little ferret in a lot of pain who was just wasting away. As much as we hated it we only had one option left to take care of her as best as we could. So today we had to say good bye to our small little wonderful friend. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Last night at the Emergency vet.

Last night we had to take our ferret clover to the emergency vet. It was a rough night but she pulled through and seams to be doing  better. On Monday we will take her to her normal vet to try to figure out what is wrong with her and see what our options are. Feel better little Clover girl.

I will post more info about her and the other ferrets when I have time.

I just wanted to add I love that we have vets willing to be open and help people at nine at night. Thank you!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Hanging with the little dog.

For anyone one who doesn't know this is Paquette my Mom's dog who sometimes hangs out with us. Paquette is the last of the dogs I grew up with I was just becoming a teenager when we got her and I love this little dog.

Paquette recently spent the morning hanging out with us and I realized how grateful I am that I have the dogs I have. Paquette is around 5 lbs and is up in the double digits age wise so she is kind of fragile dog. Not a dog you would expect to be friends with a 60 lbs pit mix or a 40 lbs one year old husky.

Originally Paquette wanted nothing to do with Sadie when they met. At the time Sadie was a little over a year old and a lot more playful. Paquette would lay down the law and refuse to be around Sadie going as far as to hide or act aggressive. You could tell that Paquette was not comfortable and was stressed and it really made me sad to see that.

 We did what we could to make sure there visits were always pleasant for both of them. We always let Paquette leave if she felt uncomfortable and encouraged Sadie to give her space. It took about a year for Paquette to decide that she could trust Sadie they learned to just be mellow around each other and would even sleep together.

When we got Simon we made sure he met Paquette right off the bat and rewarded him for being relaxed and calm around her. We would also keep him on leash a lot of the time so it was up to Paquette if she came close to him or not. Thankfully he learned that lesson of how to treat little dogs when he was young and Simon is very respectful around smaller dogs.

It was very important to us to make sure our larger dogs were respectful of Paquette and other small dogs because we love get together as a family and spend time together. We wanted to make sure Paquette would be safe and not stressed out the whole time.