Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Lola continues to get bigger (and heavier!). She has a vet appt. this Friday and I'll be anxious to see what she's up to. I'm guessing 18lbs.

She's almost sleeping through the night. The past 3 or 4 nights, I hear her stirring & scratching on the sides & the door of the crate, so I open the crate to let her out & she just stays there. So I shut the door again & then she starts crying. So, last night I decided to just leave her when the scratching starts and she goes till 5:00...then starts to cry. I take her out & when I come back, I feel inside the crate & she's peed in it! She's never peed in her nighttime crate. So I guess I'm expecting too much or need to withhold the water earlier. She had been out at 10:30. We're transitioning into the bigger wire crate tomorrow. She just fits in the plastic crate, but cannot sit up the whole way.

Tonight we worked more on eye contact and targeting and started "down". I haven't really added the cues yet, but will start this week. She's holding eye contact for 8-10 seconds before looking away and targeting at about a foot away. I've only had her target my hand at this point, but will add the target stick (or in our case...wooden spoon) later in the week too.

I've really tightened up the reigns on Sherman this week. Tonight I had him hold a down stay for about 30 minutes while Penny & Lola played. Sherman feels the need to intervine during their play sessions, breaking the whole thing up. He shoots across the room and gets in Penny's face or steals the toy they're playing with. Scott & I have taken a liking to calling him the "Fun Police" (a term I stole from Amy R. of PghDogs). We make siren sounds when he's patroling their play. Lola tries to play w/ him but he just puts her on the ground. Penny now refuses to play w/ him. He'll bring her a toy or try to tug on a toy she has...and she just drops it & walks away. He gets what he deserves. He's really been mean to Penny. He does get play time w/ Scott & I everyday so he's not terribly neglected .

Anyway, Sherman's never really been big on Stay. I've gotten him to the point where he'll Sit Stay w/o distractions, but I've never really tested him on the Down Stay. So tonight he laid at my feet while I was at the computer and observed the girls having a blast. 4 or 5 times he inched up in position to pounce, but settled down with one little "Uh Uh!" I've also made him hold the wait longer at doors and while the girls eat. Sherman finishes his meal in record time & really likes to hover around waiting for Penny to spit out some kibble or Lola to leave her bowl to check out something in the living room. He now has to sit on the rug, about 8 feet away from both of them and wait. Once they are done and leave their bowls, I make him hold the wait for at least 30 seconds and then release him to clean up. It's so easy for me to get lazy w/ his NILIF, but his behavior is so much better when I enforce it.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

I had orientation today for our puppy class at WPHS. Marsha is the instructor & I'm so excited for this class to start. I haven't taken any classes from her & have heard great things. We went over lots of stuff & spent a good deal of time talking about nutrition. I thought this was wonderful & is really missing from a lot of classes. We decided to have class next week even though it's Super Bowl Sunday. We'll be done by 3:00...home in plenty of time for kick-off.

Later in the evening I saw Molly outside w/ their Dach/BeagleX, Minnie. I decided this would be a good chance for Lola to meet them so we took both dogs into the back yard & let them run around. I'm realizing that while Penny is very good w/ Lola, she lets her get away w/ entirely too much. Lola was jumping on Minnie's head, biting her ears & legs...all the stuff she does w/ Penny. Penny will put a stop to it after a while, but poor Minnie was visably stressed out. So we kept the meeting short and let Minnie escape the little white Tasmanian Devil.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Mmmm 'kay...remind me again. Why did I want a puppy? For the life of me...I can't remember. I was just thinking back to the lazy Saturday nights I used to have before the "holy terror" entered our house. ~sigh~.

In the last hour that I've been catching up on email and stuff at the computer, I've gotten up 2 dozen times b/c of "the silence". Lola usually stays & plays in the bedroom right where I can see her. And she's done just that for 50 minutes of that hour. She's taken 8 or so toys out of the basket and has been doing a marvelous job of entertaining herself.

(Her imaginary friend that lives under the bed has been playing w/ her too).

But she keeps adding stuff to the toy pile that she retrieves during "the silence"...2 different socks, a big wool sweater from the dry cleaning pile, 1/2 dozen hair bands..mostly w/ gobs of my hair attached, 2 pieces of cellophane from the trash and (my personal favorite)...a pair of my dirty underwear from the laundry. And in between her scavanger hunts, she has taken great joy in racing from one side of the room to the other at warp speed (this is driving Sherman nuts).

But, back to Why again Did I Want a Puppy??? Oh DoG...b/c I laugh everytime I look at her w/ one of those silly things in her mouth. B/c I can't stop smiling when I watch her play...all by herself...w/ a toy twice as big as her. B/c during her rampages around the room, she stops to check in w/ Mom...plop into a sit so I'll pick her up and she smothers me w/ kisses. B/c I've never appreciated Sherman & Penny more. And I'm sad b/c the puppy breath is almost gone.

I have always wished that I could have seen Sherman & Penny as puppies. I get glimpses of what they would have looked like w/ the pups we get at the shelter...but I have no idea where either of them came from or how they were cared for as babies. I'd give anything to make sure their start in life was wonderful...and maybe they wouldn't have the issues they do now. I'll never regret holding Lola at 6 days old and watching her discover everything new. I try so hard not to take that for granted.

And I really do love having this puppy...especially right now when she's snoring like a log on Sherman's dog bed.

Second puppy class...I flew solo today. I need to get a harness for Lola so I can keep her in the back seat. On the way there, she insisted in walking back & forth between my lap & the passenger seat. Not safe. The crate doesn't fit in my car so I'd solved the problem in the past by keeping the dogs in the back, securing Sherman w/ a leash I'd tied in the trunk & slipped through the back seat. I really do need to get a larger vehicle...no car payment on a fuel efficient Civic is just too nice right now though.

Anyway, Lola walked in the building all by herself. She's doing pretty well w/ not pulling on the leash & when she does, I say "whoops!" and stop moving. Took 3 times before she figured out that a tight leash means we stop. Smart puppy. This was of course w/o distractions. Our problem surfaces when she sees people she knows (or kids). She is a people puppy for sure. That I am happy about...it can be used as a reward for good behavior.

We started class by reviewing what we went over last week. I didn't do any work on "settle" and it showed. That's my priority for this week. She's got a great sit & responds to her name 50% of the time. All those puppies are a terrible distraction! We have a very annoying frustration bark thing going on now. This is a problem at home too. Lola wants Sherman to play w/ her so very badly & he just lays there & glares at her. This puppy's got a set of lungs on her. I did some body blocking w/ her and took her outside a few times when she started being vocal.

New things for this week were "come" & "LLW". I do a lot of recall stuff at home and she did pretty well...blowing me off a couple of times for a tail in her face. LLW is fine & she's doing pretty well w/ that. I hope to have 1 dog that walks nicely on leash!

The play session went a little better. She starts under the chair but did come out to play a lot more than last week. When a big group of puppies hit her all at once...back under the chair we go. I try to stay close by so I can intervine if it becomes too much, but let her handle things on her own. On one of our "time-outs", we ran into a young BC mix that was having a private lesson. He was twice as big as Lola and that seemed to be more her liking. She did lots of play-bowing and was really excited to play. She just needs to get some confidence in herself. That will come.

It was 50 degrees & sunny so I took advantage of the day & took 3 walks. Sherman & I had a nice stroll through the neighborhood. All that boy needs is a 1/2 hour on his flexi & a little attention from Mom & he's happy as a clam. Penny & I went up to CA ave. and worked a little. We did lots of heeling w/ distractions. She was in heaven. She was so relaxed that when 2 Besenjis walked past us, she sat down on her own waited for them to pass. Atta girl! I really need to do this more often. A 15 minute walk w/ 1 dog is so much more beneficial than a 1/2 hour walk w/ 2. Lola & I just took a quick stroll down our street. She did really well & was unphased by an ambulance and an old loud car w/o a muffler. We met two young boys that were more than happy to help me train her. She was a wiggling, jumping, outta control puppy and they made her sit & then made a big fuss over her. Good puppy.

I had class from 4-6 (first class w/ dogs). It was a packed house, especially the first class. Saturday should have been called "dog day". I didn't take my bait bag of until 6:30!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

What is up with the weather in Western PA??? It was another mild day for January...mid 40s. Last night we had thunderstorms. Thunderstorms!!?? In January?? I've never heard of such a thing. It's supposed to get cold & snow on Wednesday...Lola hasn't had much exposure to snow. This should be fun. For now...the pups are really loving this weather and their outside playtime.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

We had another gathering for the AFC championship game.

Pittsburgh's going to the Superbowl!!!

Woo Hoo! What a game! Pittsburgh brought the big guns to Denver and upset the Broncos 34-17!

Everyone was pooped after the big game!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

We had our first puppy class today. I actually convinced Scotty to come along to watch. It was held in the new Animal Friends building (which is amazing!) and there were about 10-12 puppies of various breeds and ages. Lola was very unsure of what was going on. I carried her in b/c we haven't done much leash work yet & I don't want any part of her learning to pull on leash. We got ourselves situated and listened to the rules. I was happy to see some friendly faces. Penny & Sherman have taken many classes at AF and Lori & Lilian were both there. Sue, the instructor, participated in the first class Penny ever took, but she was only there one day.

This was my first puppy class ever. All of the other classes I've participated in, either as student or assistant have been teen or adult classes. We started out with the Settle command. Hmmm...very much like Margot Wood's Sit on the Dog. Margot's is for a min of 30 minutes 2x per day though. We broke this down into small time periods. Lola had a very hard time settling. Here she is throwing a temper tantrum:

She was more interested in the other puppies, play bowing and barking at them. But after a while she finally got it and it was time for the first puppy play session.

We let the puppies off leash & the most bizzare thing happened. Lola was petrified. I mean really scared. For most of the time she hit the deck when approached by another puppy or hid under the chair. I got up & walked away from her b/c I didn't want to encourage this fear, but I kept a close eye on her in case it got too much. The other puppies seemed to find her boring & really just left her alone. After 5 minutes or so, we leashed up the puppies and continued w/ class.

The next thing on the agenda was to teach a marker word. I use both the clicker & "yes!" at home. "Yes" seemed to work better in this environment, so we stuck with that. Sue had us work on attention using the puppy's name. I've already done some work w/ her on this at home & she has really done a great job. In the class situation, however, not so good. I had about a 40% success rate in calling her name & her stopping what she was doing and looking at me.

We then started to work on Sit. Lola already knows this very well & we had no trouble w/ this. They teach sit using luring and this was initially how I taught it. Lola has to sit for most everything at home so we get lots of practice.

My homework for the week:
* Attention w/ distractions
* Settle
(*set by AF...they also want us to work on using the marker word & sits, which we already have a good start with)
more work on leash (right now, Lola prefers chewing on it or acts like a fish outta water)
start downs
lots of recalls

Friday, January 20, 2006

So I mentioned a while back that Apache, Annette's dog, was sick & and it was potentially really bad. These are Annette's three dogs, Apache is in the back (Cheyenne lying down in front & Chip hanging out in back).

Well here is the outline (in her own words) of what happened w/ him. He really is a miracle and I'm really, really glad he's better. He's a great dog.

Apache's Christmas Miracle & My Resolution
Annette Sexton

You may have read about my Apache in the summer issueof Pets N People. We've been busy the past fewmonths. Apache did get his obedience title in Octoberin a local obedience trial (see picture). InNovember, I noticed a small lump by his left eye. Iwaited for about a week, then made the first vetvisit. They lanced it, thinking it was an ingrownhair or infection, but while the scab healed, the lumpnever went away. I was starting to stress, & growconcerned, as more appeared along his spine. Vet #2treated as an allergy, but mentioned the possibilityof cancer. Lumps kept spreading, getting bigger, butnot bothering him in the slightest. Everyonesuggested a different vet, and I decided to try onemore. Vet #3 did another exam and a biopsy. He'sonly 5 years old at this point, my best friend, and Ihad to wait 2 weeks for the biopsy results. The results came back right before Christmas (the 20thI believe), and the real drama began. He has a raregenetic anomoly, an auto immune disorder called'Cutaneous Histiocytosis'. Vet #3 made some calls, sodid I, & I began searching the internet on my manysleepless nights. Apparently no vet in the area, orthat I contacted outside the area had ever encounteredor treated this, & I was on my own. The lesions arecalled histiocytes, and can spread, but can also comeand go. They sometimes grow in the throat, nasalpassages, & eyes. The disease/disorder itself doesnot kill, but complications can be many & evenpainful. Conventional treatment starts with highdoses of steriods, if necessary, followed bychemotherapy. I didn't like the risks associated withsteriod use in such elevated doses, so I kept lookingfor information & alternatives. My sister was kindenough to pour through all of her herbal remedy booksto find possible options. Dec. 22nd was terrible, histhird eyelid in both eyes was extended & irritated. He couldn't see, & panicked, so did I. I seriouslyconsidered euthansia &, sobbing, made some calls. Mysister, Thank God for her efforts, gave me an herbaltea remedy to use as an eye wash which eased thediscomfort that night. Another sister ran him back tovet #3 the next day (my work had been extremelypatient & supportive up to this point, but end of yearin a financial position required me to be there), whoprovided the steriods & antibiotic ointment for hiseyes. I didn't follow the recommendations, becauseafter 3 days with the tea eye wash, his eyes hadcleared up. Back to researching. I had foundmultiple websites documenting dogs deaths fromelevated steriod doses... I didn't consider this anoption, & made an appointment with a holistic vet.More phone calls, research, pleas for help, and money,but I had hope. This genetic issue is a hyper allergyresponse triggered by stress, heat (in his caseanyway), & allergies. Apache has had severe allergieshis whole life, & I have the vet bills and tests toprove it. I decided to make some major changes in hisdiet, followed some of my sister's, my internetcontact's, & the holistic vet's recommendations. Apache will no longer get vaccinated, per the vet'srecommendations (refer to critteradvocacy.org for someinformation prior to your next vet's visit). He noweats raw rabbit from a butcher shop (which isdifficult to locate & expensive, if anyone has anyother connections, let me know), yams, baked potatoes,carrots, a premium dry natural dog food called SolidGold, and various natural suppliments. Within a week,he went from 60 histocytes, down to about 20. Currently, he has only 3, including the first one byhis eye. Apache appears to be in remission, but I know he canrelapse, as it's in his genetic make up. I opted notto follow conventional treatment, but I have a greatsupport system in my sister, the internet holisticgroups I've found, and a patient holistic vet who iswilling to work with me. Unfortunately, this means nomore competitions for my dear boy, since my stressruns right down the leash to him. You still have theopportunity to meet my 'genius' dog (biased opinion, Iadmitt, but he does have many many fans). He is stillmy favorite demo dog for my obedience classes, & forany other shelter demostration that my schedule, hishealth & the weather allows me to attend with him. My resolution is to simply enjoy and be grateful forevery day I have with my big, silly, flashy,intelligent boy.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The ExPen idea has been scrapped. I came home at lunch to be greeted by my 3 favorite puppies. Don't know how she did it, but the doors were secure & the opening was hinged. She must have slipped underneath ~sigh~. So, she's back in the crate where she should have started. I'm keeping this to myself to avoid a few "I told you so's...".

As of yesterday, the crate worked fine. At first I thought she had held it the entire time, but came to find she peed on her blanket, rather than the papers. Let's hope we've turned a corner. I've been working w/ her a little every night getting used to the crate. She's still not comfortable chewing when in the crate so we need to work on that too.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

So, I've decided to move the ExPen into the living room. I should have done this from the start. Didn't I learn anything from Penny. Lola spends no time in that kitchen when she's home w/ us. It must be like a prision for her. Probably 70% of her "free" time is downstairs w/ her pack. So it only makes sense that she spend the day down there. I put another DAP unit in the living room. In the morning & afternoon, she went in the pen w/o much fuss. There was some crying, but that's OK. It's not like the screaming that she used to do. I put her small crate in there w/ the door removed.

I did come home both times to a mess. She peed twice & pooped once each time. This seems to be the trend. She's still having digestive issues and the pumpkin just isn't doing the trick. Penny has always had a sensitive stomach too. Wonder if it's a Boxer thing? One Boxer trait that's proving true is the gas...it's toxic. I just fed Lola dry food last night & this morning & she seems to be improving.

Poor Penny is just a bundle of nerves. She was so unsettled all day. Lots of pacing and following me around. I took Sherman on a quick walk by himself & then Penny & I went on a nice jaunt together. It was kind of cold, so it wasn't as long as I'd like...I'll make up for it on the weekend. I did some obedience stuff (heeling, automatic sits, fronts) w/ her & by the end of the walk she was much more relaxed. I need to get her back in class. She really needs that hour of one on one time. Sherman does too, but he'd be just as happy w/ a nice walk on his flexi. Penny likes to think & work. Shelley supposedly had a Thursday night class @ 8:00. I should call her & see if it's still on.

Monday, January 16, 2006

I should have named her Houdini...I don't know how she's doing it...but this is the 3rd escape from the ExPen. I was assisting tonight from 7-9 and Scott had a hockey game. I put her in the pen before I left and was greeted at the bottom of the stairs by a little Lola when I got home. She really hasn't done too much damage being out. She's gone to the bathroom on her papers and nothing appears to be chewed. That won't last long though. She'll be 12 weeks on Saturday. Next week we move to the crate. I'm not having much luck finding a divider so I'll have to rig something. She's sleeping 6 hours w/o getting up at night so I hope that will continue.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Super Steeler Sunday! It was gonna be a tough game against the Colts. We decided to have some people over for the game. Most of the same people but the game was earlier this week. I thought that Lola would run around & eat up all the attention. Ya know what she did during the game? She SLEPT! On a big pillow in the middle of the floor. And the game was really intense so there was lots & LOTS of yelling. She didn't wake up till it was over. Silly girl.

But we won! Steelers are going to Denver for the AFC championship! WooHoo!!!!! It's gonna be another tough game. But we're on a Roll. If ever we were to make it to the Super Bowl & win...it should be this year. With this most likely being the last year for the Bus...we need to roll into his hometown & get him that ring!!

Here we go Steelers, Here we go!!!!!!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Lola made her first public appearance today (aside from the vet). We took a trip to PetSmart so she could ride around in the cart & socialize w/ people. She was pretty clingy in the car at first, preferring to ride in my lap than on the seat, but she soon settled in and curled up in her blanket on the passenger side.

I put her in the cart when we got there & fed her chicken when people approached the cart. Not that she needed any reinforcement...she loves people! We walked around for a while, making friends & just having a lovely time.

A funny thing happened on the way out. We were approached by two girls (who I'll refer to as #1 & #2). They looked 15 or 16 yo.

#1 "What a cute puppy! What is she?"
#2 "That's a pitbull"
me "Er, actually she's a Boxer"
#2 (looking at friend & rolling her eyes) "She's a pitbull"
me "Umm, no, she's a Boxer. I met the parents & saw the litter at 6 days old. She's not a Pitbull."
#2 (to #1) "Well white Boxers are very, VERY rare"
me (laughing now) "Not quite...25% of a litter can be born white if the parents have white on them. I wouldn't call that rare"
#2 (again to #1) "Well, almost all white Boxers are born deaf"
me (laughing out loud now...) "The statistic is appx 18% are born deaf. Thanks for the warning, but I did my homework before getting this puppy"
#2 walks away in a huff.
#1 scratches Lola on the head, smiles and walks away. I think she knew her friend was a dolt.

Lola was pooped from our outting. She slept for the rest of the night!

Friday, January 13, 2006

It was another beautiful day & we spent our lunch hour outside in the back yard. Lola is discovering the joys of sticks and leaves. It's so cute to see her discover all kinds of new stuff. Spring is gonna be a blast.

We took advantage of the last 1/2 hour of daylight & hung out in the front yard. Lola got to meet a bunch of new people and charmed them all (of course!). She's really learning to sit for everything and it's becoming automatic.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

So, Lola has figured out how to get out of her ExPen. Piece of junk from JB Wholesale. First of all, the pins to close the door are too short and there is too much play in them. A couple of bangs on the door and they work their way open. So I tried putting a clasp on the top & she wiggled out the bottom. Second time I put a clasp on the top & bottom & apparently there was too much play so she wiggled out again ~sigh~.

I got smaller clasps and some wire & made SURE the door wouldn't open. As of yesterday afternoon, it was Ft. Knox.

I can't wait to get her out & about in the world. Hanging out in the front yard is a small step (and she's fascinated), but I wish I could take advantage of this nice weather and explore more. We're hitting PetSmart on Saturday.

The pups had a ball hanging out in the backyard at lunchtime. It was 55 degrees and sunny.

I started doing some targeting w/ Lola. Just my hand right now. And I used praise & yes, rather than the clicker. She's a natural!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Things get a little better everyday. Lola has really settled in. She knows she is home & is really starting to show her personality. She is exactly what I wanted in a puppy...confident, smart, attentive, friendly, social & very comical. She's surprisingly not overly clingy either...with the exception of being separated from her pack. I find her often playing by herself w/ a toy or chewie when the other dogs are resting. She & Penny continue to be best buddies. It was warm again today & they play outside for about 20 minutes at lunchtime.

The DAP thingy seems to be working pretty well (the technical term being ComfortZone w/ Dog Appeasing Pheromones). I'll admit, I was skeptical & it really could be coincidence. But the nighttime crying is completely gone & the screaming when we leave for work is noticably reduced. Scott said she settled down w/in 5 minutes after being put in the ExPen. The ExPen is working out well too. I put one of Scotty's t-shirts in with her & when I came home at lunch, she was curled up on it. Looks like we have another Daddy's Little Girl. I still have a lot of work to do w/ her before she's crated during the day. I want her to love her crate like Penny did.

We spent 10 minutes or so in the front yard on a long line taking in the neighborhood. I wish we had a little more daylight. I'm trying to get her used to her leash. She's not fighting too much...she'd prefer to chew it! I confirmed that we're signed up for KinderPuppy class at Animal Friends beginning 1/21. If the WPHS has their Tuesday night class, she'll be attending that one too. I'm waiting to hear when it will be starting up...quite possibly on the 31st.

My perfect little canine family!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

~Sigh~ We're still having major screaming fits anytime Lola is left alone. I'm continuing to ride it out, but really need to make a commitment to working w/ her everyday on enjoying her crate & her ExPen. We have it set up in the 2nd floor kitchen w/ papers, a big blanket, a fleece blanket, lots of toys and I've stuffed several kongs (which she's yet to be interested in). I'm sure she'll do better crated w/ Sherman & Penny downstairs, but I'm not putting them through all her fussing.

I'm using the DAP thingy at night in our bedroom & it seems to be working at night. She goes right in her crate and she snuggles up & goes right to sleep. The crate is almost too small for her. We'll get another week or so out of it & then we'll have to move to the wire one. I need to make it smaller though. It's still way too big.

We had our second vet appt. She weighs 11 lbs. Right now she's all legs & big feet. She got her second set of shots and was pretty tired for the rest of the night.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Steeler Sunday! Today was the first playoff game against the Cincy Bungles. Scott invited about 10 of his friends over for the game. There was going to be an 18 month old there too. Excellent opportunity for socialization!

Penny & Lola were wired Sunday morning. They played inside for about 45 minutes and then we went outside. We're having unusually warm weather (almost 50 degrees) so they ran around the yard and had a ball. Penny was getting really wild & flipped Lola in the dirt a few times. I decided it was time to take a break & herded everyone inside. I let them chill out for 20 minutes or so then took Lola upstairs for her first bath.

I adjusted the showerhead so a slow, thick stream of warm water flowed. She shivered a bit & tried to escape, but after a minute or so, started to enjoy herself. The whole bath took about 3 minutes (gotta love that short boxer fur!) and I wrapped her in a fluffy towel, sat down on the floor and dried her off. She loved that part of the whole experience & fell asleep in my lap. She slept till about 3:00 when the guests started arriving.

Once the baby got there, we put Sherman in our bedroom w/ a couple stuffed Kongs. He is not very tolerant of little kids and they just gravitate toward him. He's soft, fluffy & has a really cool tail that's fun to pull. He shouldn't have to deal w/ that and I'm not putting someones child in the position to get hurt. Penny & Lola, on the other hand, were great with Aidan. Penny is so wonderful w/ kids. She's so patient & if they're too much, she just gets up & moves. Everyone fussed over Lola & she had lots & lots of great interaction w/ everyone. She's pretty wiggly & wild w/ new people and I'm going to start insisting that she sit before being petting from this point forward. Never too early to start that!

Steelers won!!! We face Indy next week...I'm scared.

By the time the game was over, the pups were pooped. We all settled into bed @ 9:00 and had a good long snooze.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

I had Lily & Jez, two of the neighborhood kids, over to play w/ the dogs today. I put Sherman & Penny upstairs b/c they can be really jumpy & rough w/ kids. Lola seems to love kids. I'm very happy about that. She is pretty nippy w/ them, Jez in particular (she also seems more fond of men). It starts out as a lot of licking, then they giggle and the nipping starts. Since the kids like coming over to help, I'll take advantage of that and let them help me train her.

We took a quick car ride later, just to get her used to being in the car. I drove about 1/4 mile to Kuhn's. We just sat in the car & she looked out the window & observed. She was a little nervous & shivered a bit, but I had her sit in my lap & fed her chicken when someone walked by. We stayed about 15 minutes & then went home.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Well, it's been quite the whirlwind week! And I'm kicking myself for not updating each day, but HEY!...I have a new puppy I'm taking care of!

Lola started off last week w/ diarrhea. She's been up 2-3 times every night to go to the bathroom. It started to improve w/ a bland diet (boiled hamburger & a bit of white rice) and canned pumpkin, but I started adding her puppy food back & it snowballed. I finally took her to the vet yesterday and they put her on prescription food and Flagyl, which is an antibiotic to clean up any funky bacteria in her body. Her stool sample was fine, her temperature was normal and she's gained 4.3 lbs. And I thought she was losing weight. So, no more Puppy Chow. I was in the process of weaning her off that anyway, but we're gonna start right in with the Chicken Soup once she's about 1/2 way done w/ the prescription. The vet said no treats, but I boiled some boneless chicken breast for training.

She continues to adore Penny & Penny seems to really like her. It must be nice for Penny to have a dog to play with. Sherman continues to tolerate her, but still gets really, really snarky at times. Usually when Lola gets near him when he has something good, or gets too wound up & tries to play. My good friend Debby scolded me for not allowing Sherman to communicate w/ her and teach her to keep her distance at times. So I started allowing this & Lola does respect his space 90% of the time. There have been moments when he gets really grumbly when Penny & Lola play...and he takes this out on Penny. As I view this as very unfair to Penny, Sherman gets a time out when he tries to pull his crap. We've also had several "Come to Jesus" meetings, but I try to reserve these for times when he is really being a punk. I try to be very consistant w/ reinforcing calm behavior from him when Lola is around and when we have moments where he doesn't growl or tolerates a bit of puppy play, he gets the motherload. We're all going through an adjustment w/ the new puppy and it's just gonna take some time.

As I tend to be a pretty anxious person to begin w/, this week & a half has been pretty stressful for me. I recognize that I can make myself nuts and trying to follow all of the "rules" was making me insane. I went through the same thing when Penny came home. I lost 8 lbs in 3 days and was a wreck 24/7. I'm trying not to go through that this time around. So, I'm making my own Rules!

The issues were having & how we're solving them:

Housetraining - being a very small puppy, Lola can only hold it a short time. I've been very consistant about running her outside to potty every time she wakes up from a nap, after she's been playing, about 20 minutes after she eats and about every 30 minutes when she's awake. We have had many accidents, though. For example, last Wednesday before class...I was home w/ her for about an hour. In that hour, she peed outside 4 times & had 7 (yes SEVEN) accidents in the house. I was cleaning up pee everytime I turned around! In addition, we had 3 days of heavy rain and cold days. A little puppy, w/ little fur & fat does not want to be out in the cold & rain. So I'd take her out, she'd run to the door and shiver. Not to mention the diarrhea...

So we've taken a new approach to things. Papertraining, sort of. Not the way most will tell you to do it. And it will likely take longer to housetrain her. I recognize this. But it's working!! We were at Scott's parents house on New Year's Day & they just got a new Rotti puppy (a little cutie named Barron). They had newspaper & pee pads EVERYWHERE. This wasn't an excuse for them not to take him out b/c they did, numerous times. And the outside potty policy still stands...lots of praise & reward when they go where they should. So we're taking her out often, but if she's running around and the urge to go hits her, she runs to her papers & goes. My carpet is much happier!!

Screaming while alone or crated - This she'll just have to grow out of. When separated from her humans or her dogs, she *screams*...bloody murder. Fortunately, she does not do this at night. There is a bit of fussing when she first hits the crate, but I try to keep her awake till 8:30 running around alot & playing w/ Penny and she's pooped at bedtime. She usually wakes at 12:30 and again at 3:30. We pee the first time out & do both on the second run. I know this won't last forever and it's really not that bad.

We bought an Ex-Pen for her as she's crated while we're at work & is forced to pee in her crate. The crate is too big, but I'm not comfortable leaving her for 4 1/2 hours to hold it at her age. Once she hits 12-14 weeks, we'll really concentrate on using the crate for what it was designed for. I've read a lot that once they learn to go in their crate, they never adjust to not soiling it. Well, that didn't hold true for Penny. She peed in it everyday for the first 2 months we had her and was forced to lay in it. She eventually got the hang of things and her crate was clean until we stopped using it about a year ago.

I also bought one of those DAP thingys...it's supposed to help her calm down when she's alone. We'll see.

I've started doing some clicker training w/ her & she's a very smart cookie. The only thing we've worked on really is sitting and some downs. I've also done some recalls w/ her and she's been great. Within the next week, I'd like to start getting her used to the leash & do some attention work. I'm also planning some outings over the weekend and will try to do 3-4 short car trips each week. Finally, Lola will have her first bath on Saturday.

While I'm looking forward to the time when she's a bit more self-sufficient, I'm trying to savor every puppy minute I can. She's growing fast!