post surgery cones

14 Nov

So is there anything funnier than the canine post surgical head cone?  That funny shaped plastic protection. 

I know it is necessary and it actually does protect the surgical site.  My dog’s eyelid had a procedure, so it is very important to protect the suture.  But…..I can’t help but giggle at the sight of that cone.

He bumps into everything.  He tips the water and food bowls over every time.  I am happy to clean it up without complaining.  (not big enough not to laugh).  He drags it on the ground while smelling things, looks like a vacuum hose when he is face down to the ground. 

He went outside and enjoyed the nice weather, sitting stoically on the ground…with the cone.  HAHAHAHA!! He was sooo cute. 

It does drive him nuts.  I can tell his frustration from hitting into the walls and stairs as he is walking around.  He bumps into everything, and it has to be tiring for him.  He is being good-natured and is just moving forward…so to speak.    I am happy his surgery went well.  I am glad he is healthy.  What a blessing!!  I can tell you that it is a bit funny, knowing that he is ok, so watch the cone of healing.

 

 

Dog having surgery

11 Nov

Well, as it goes you can’t have 4 dogs without one of them needing some medical something or the other.  My dogs are young and healthy.  I have never been one to spend a lot on medications and treatments, but sometimes when it is necessary – it needs to be done.  I do the time left probabilities, quality of life potential vs cost ratio.  I hope I don’t have to use that formula on family members, because I have gotten good with the formula.  (just saying…)

So needless to say the puggle has a cyst on his eye lid.  It looks miserable.  He is young (4), otherwise healthy and this should be a quick surgery and repair.  No rehab, a little pain med and a funny plastic neck helmet for a few days – back to normal.  Now the doc wanted me to send the removed tissue to get lab worked for cancer.  On my family, of course I would do this.  I’m not so convinced it is a good idea with a dog. 

I have 2 family members that had dogs with cancer.  Both rather young.  One was aggressively treated the other just pain meds.  The out come was the same, except the non treated one went a bit sooner.  She was also discovered soooo late staged.  It is outrageously sad.  I can’t think about the potential loss of my dear canine companions.  It pains me to try to write this thought process out.  I have never had a human tell me that the treatment for cancer they have survived was a piece of cake.  That it was no big deal.  I understand that if you catch this early then odds are in your favor.  But at least humans have better meds, treatments, testing, and better insurance coverage.  Even with pet insurance – is it worth it?  Perhaps.

Its an uncomfortable concept, and one I don’t think I am faced with.  I lean against putting an animal that I love so dearly through the ringer.  I think in this case(when it is a pet), where something may be aggressive and painful, maybe making good memories and best remaining times is more compassionate.  Sometimes not knowing is better.  Perhaps just foolish. 

I hope he recovers without a hitch.  Cyst’s can grow back easily.  So I hope there is a good long term outcome for his eye.  Here is hoping for one of those routine deals that we forget about in a few weeks.

Training dogs vs training humans

31 Oct

Well Banjo has been sprung from the po po.  woo hoo.  lol…lot o O’s. 

Let’s just say it has been an interesting first few days.  Here is how it went down:

 

Sunday 9 am Banjo’s mom arrives at the kennel.  Trainer/Parent review and education ensues.  Banjo is doing quite well.  Obeys, wants to please, is happy, and understands what is happening.  All is good.

11:00 am Banjo arrives home for the first time in 6 weeks.  He is greeted by his pack with good will, there is joy and happiness.  No other human is home but me.  It is peaceful and fun. 

3 pm a new dog arrives to live with us.  He is accepted smoothly with no issues. 

 

From that moment on the rest of the evening is smooth as glass.  Fun, obedient, orderly.  All is great.  And then….

Monday morning.  I leave out of town for two days on business.  I arrive at 9 am from my flight to the phone ringing off the hook.  Banjo and one other dog have run off.  No where to be found.  Family is either late for work or school.  I tell them to just go and hope the dogs will be ok.  11 am, I get a call from a local animal hospital that they have my dogs.  Some good Samaritan picked them up and brought them in.  I either needed to come get them, or the police would be called. 

Great…I’m 1000 miles away, everyone is at work or school….ugh.  I got hold of someone who was able to get them and lock them up at home.  Ok, that is great.  All is well.  I give specific instruction on how to manage Banjo and the other dog.  Commands, not suggestions! 

Monday night, 8 pm…the phone rings.  Do I really want to answer it?  Sigh…  Guess what one of the dogs (possible 2 dogs) have made a biological mess of my carpet – at epic proportions.  So bad no one will clean it.  Literally.  It was waiting for me when I got home.  It was horrible. 

I get home, I organize the dogs and suddenly there is peace.  They are all 4 laying at my feet sleeping and content.  I say come they come, I say down they lay down.  No barking, fighting, or messes in the house. 

So I call the trainer.  She is going to set time aside to come visit the humans and train them.  The dogs get it.  The humans do not.  So, human training 101 will begin next week.  Hopefully we can get this right.

Good luck to us.

Still in the po po

19 Oct

Well, I hope the jargon is taken with light humor and no offense.  It is a loving comment to my stubborn canine companion.

Yep… Banjo is still being trained.  The rascal is not wanting to listen.  What started out as a 3 week program is now pushing past the 6th week with a driven and determined trainer.

Paws and Heels are dug into the ground.  Both are determined to win.  The trainer has the upper hand.  Opposable thumbs, advanced cranial skills, and a loving heart wanting to help this dog ‘get it’.  The dog just wants to run free. 

If you recall he is a Rhodesian ridgeback.  A dog bred to hunt lions.  Logic would have it that- that dog cannot be too smart, otherwise it would refuse to do the job it was designed for.  I wonder, what do they do when they find a lion?  Huh…something to think about.

Any way, I miss him dearly and am not allowed to visit.  It disrupts his behavior and cooperation when I am there.  That cannot be a good sign.  He is still in the big house, the pokey, the clinker….and so on.  He cannot get out until he comes on command off leash.  The whole point is to train him for his own safety.  He likes to run into the street. 

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?   We will find out.

Canine attitude

30 Sep

Continue reading

That darn dog – time to train

20 Sep

Well, I have to say my dog Banjo is something else.  He is a Rhodesian ridgeback mix.  He is about 2 1/2 years old.  Anyone with a larger breed dog will tell you that the puppy phase lasts a few years more that you would think – so far his is 2 1/2 years. 

Banjo has a heart of gold.  He also is very tall and long.  He can reach anything.  The other dogs actually use this to their advantage.  They run point for him, and make sure the coast is clear.  They also get him to reach things for them.  Yes, you betcha – I believe this conspiracy is real! 

Banjo doesn’t need opposable thumbs.  He has the nose that can open any door, drawer, or cabinet.  I have no idea how.  He doesn’t destroy things.  He doesn’t mess in the house, break things, damage items or anything bad in the house.  He has the sweetest face, and really wants to please his family.  God love him, he just doesn’t know how. 

He is always underfoot.  He loves to give everyone who comes near him 1 kiss.  Just one and then walks away.  That means he will jump and jump until he gets you, and then go lay down.  He doesn’t hurt anyone doing that ( on purpose), except and occasional bump.  Regardless, it is unacceptable.  I have tried many techniques to break him of this, nothing so far has helped. 

He also likes to see what is going on.  He will be in the middle of everything as a result.  Being a large dog he is, many times,  just out of eye sight – but a big enough object to always trip on.  So there are many folks who are constantly trying to catch themselves from falling – and most people do not respond happily to that.  He gets hooted at quite a bit for that.  I have worked with him on boundaries and sit/stay.  He doesn’t quite seem to grasp the actions, word associations, or commands I have worked with him on.  He just looks confused and sad when he gets into trouble. (getting into trouble usually means crated or put outside for a short time)

So with all the pressure and verbal tirades of the family to “do something” I have found him a trainer for a few weeks.  I have him one on one with someone who is on a mission to help him.  I have brought trainers in home, taken him to classes with a group, privately and despite the different types of help – he couldn’t grasp it.  I have to give him the benefit of this type of training in hopes that it is me that cannot properly train him – and for him there is  hope.  He is not bad, or mean, or an angry dog.  He is sweet, and tail wagging.  He only barks if he needs to go out, or if he sees a squirrel.  Other than that he is quiet.  When he does bark it is very loud – the rafters shake.

Well with him gone I am the only one who seems to miss him.  Not a good sign for Banjo.  I hope this will be a good outcome for him.  Or at least for my family.  I have invested enough time and money into this guy for training and so forth that – well lets be honest – I need to think a bit more carefully of who is a keeper in the house.  (joking)

I think if he is better behaved, and understands his surroundings better he will me a much happier dog.  I think it will help him to ‘be in the know’   as well as understand the word no! 

God’s speed Banjo – I love you.

.

Socializing dogs

17 Jul
About.com offered these two articles about socializing dogs that are very helpful  The first is for puppies and the second addresses adult dogs.  Below that is an ariticle written by Nikki Litwin on Cesar Milan’s site.  These are all great articles and very helpful if you are having struggles getting your dogs to make friends and influence other canines….
 

Dogs are social animals and live in packs.  They have

How Should a Puppy Be Socialized?

Socialization should involve as many people and situations as possible. Introduce your puppy to a wide variety of people, including men, women, children of all ages, people in wheelchairs, men with beards, and people wearing all kinds of clothing (e.g., uniforms, sunglasses, raincoats and umbrellas, hats and gloves, etc.). Before your puppy has gotten all of his vaccinations, you can begin to socialize him by inviting people to your home to meet him.

Handling exercises are another important part of socializing. Think the ways your dog may be handled in his lifetime – a child could pull his tail, a veterinarian might need to restrain him, you may need to hold his feet to clip his nails. If you get your puppy used to being handled in a gentle manner now, you will be less likely to have trouble handling him when he has reached adulthood.

Once your veterinarian approves taking your puppy to new places, you can begin socializing him outside your home. This is a good time to get him used to riding in the car, meeting other dogs, visiting the groomer and pet supply store, and taking walks in your neighborhood.

Socialization should always be kept positive. Allow your puppy to approach new things in his own time. You can use treats and praise to encourage your puppy to approach unfamiliar people and objects. Never push your puppy past his comfort level or he may become fearful of the things you are trying to get him to accept.

ADULT DOGS

The good news is that it is fairly easy to socialize an adult dog. Here are some ideas for making sure your dog gets plenty of socialization throughout his life:

  • Take regular walks in places your dog will get to meet other people and animals.
  • Visit the dog park.
  • Invite over friends and their dogs for playdates.
  • Enroll your dog in a dog daycare once or twice a week.

It’s important that all of your dog’s interactions with other people and animals be kept as positive as possible. Use praise and treats to tell your dog that having other people and animals around is a good thing.

How and When To Socialize Written by Nikki Litwin

Socializing dogs is a hot topic among trainers, breeders, and vets. Do we risk their health and take the puppy out and about? Or do we protect them and isolate them until they have all their shots?

I believe there is a happy middle ground. As a breeder, trainer, and rescue volunteer, I have been in the unique position to see the benefits of early socialization and the consequences of early isolation. Puppies go through many emotional and developmental stages in a very short amount of time. There is a “window of opportunity” to achieve the most benefit from early socialization and unfortunately, that “window” does not always coincide with the completion of their shots.

So how do we get around that? Here are a few suggestions to help you socialize your new pup as well as protect him until his shots are complete.

It is always a good idea to consult with your vet to make sure your puppy is in good health at all times. Most puppies stay with their mothers until they are 7 to 12 weeks old. That is a crucial time for the pup to learn about doggie manners and to begin the bond with people. They learn about bite inhibition from the mom and the other pups. When they bite each other in play, they learn that biting too hard can have consequences. If you have a puppy that did not have that learning lesson, you can imitate that lesson by yelping loudly when your pup bites you. The noise will startle them and make them realize that they hurt you.

Only when the dog returns to a calm, relaxed state, should you give him something appropriate to bite and chew on. This is their reward, as well as a distraction. You want them to concentrate on that object, but only when there is no confusion about the behavior you’re rewarding. If you give it to them too soon, they may mistake the “treat” or toy, as a consequence for being over-excited and biting. Practice this every time they start to get too involved with chewing on or biting you, especially when playing with them.

Meeting people and experiencing new situations is most critical during the 3 to 12 month old period. It is something that dogs need their whole life to stay social and to be reminded that our modern and busy society is a good and safe place, but it is most critical during that ever-changing developmental stage. A good goal with your pup is to make sure they meet at least five new people every week. You can do this by inviting neighbors, friends, or your children’s friends over and having them bring a toy or treat for your pup when they visit. Even better would be to teach your pup to sit before receiving these “gifts” and then you are teaching greeting manners as well as socializing! If you have a limited pool of people to work with, have them come over wearing hats, sunglasses, costumes, strong cologne…anything that would make them look and smell different to the pup.

Puppies also need to experience new situations and environments when they are young. Show your pup the world in a positive and fun way. The secret is to avoid taking them to places where you are likely to run into strange dogs with no known shot history (therefore potentially exposing them to parvo or other dangerous viruses). As a rule, dog parks should be avoided for pups who haven’t received all of their shots yet.

Have them on leash on your front yard when the neighborhood is most busy. Play with them, feed them yummy treats, and let them watch the world go by at a distance where they can be curious but not frightened. If something seems to make them especially nervous, find a distance where they can feel comfortable and work with them till they can move closer without fear. This is also a good time to teach and practice off-leash skills, such as “stay” and “come.” Pups that learn boundaries early in life will be that much more disciplined as they get older.

Take your pup to the pet store and let them “shop” through the store. Let them smell and explore. This is an area of high distraction, so keep your own toy or treats with you to focus them on you and practice attention work with them. If someone wants to visit with your pup, that is a perfect time to practice your greeting manners and introduce them to a new person at the same time. If you are not comfortable with them being on the floor, bring a piece of cardboard to fit in the bottom of the shopping cart and let them ride through the store. This is a particularly good approach for small breeds as they won’t feel so intimidated if people want to lean over them.

Go for coffee or ice cream with the family. Take the pup and let them watch the world go by while you are enjoying your time. Take a towel or small blanket with you and a special toy or treats for the pup to bring the focus back to you and teach the pup to stay on their “spot.” Again, look for those opportunities to work on greeting skills with strangers, and remember that the best time to do activities like this is after some good exercise! Go for a long walk or run before asking a puppy to stay still for an extended amount of time.

A great toy to take along is a Kong stuffed with peanut butter that has been frozen. The pup will lie down and work at getting that peanut butter out and be calm for quite a long time. Bring a plastic, zip lock bag to store the Kong for travel. It keeps things neat and tidy!!

Socializing can be easy and fun and should be part of the total approach to training your new pup. Begin training early and begin socializing even earlier. Enjoy the process – you will soon have the most perfect, balanced, friendly pup that everyone adores!

Nikki Litwin is the owner of Total Dog Training in Los Angeles. She has been training dogs for 22 years and specializes in proper puppy raising and rehabilitating shy dogs. Her passion for dogs includes showing and competing with her German wirehaired pointers and Cavalier King Charles spaniels.