Saturday, October 9, 2010

How to pray for your dog

This is a little bizarre, but some people indeed feel the need to pray for their pets (one sure hopes that they don't neglect humans!). To actually see a book on the subject was really a surprise to me. Of course, the title of the book almost had me misled into thinking that it is meant for animals who pray for humans. Now that would be most welcome. If Casey spent more time praying as opposed to digging in the yard!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day19: Listen to me when I bark at you!

Today we had a family day. My niece was visiting and we had about 15 people in the house and eating outside. Casey was in heaven with all the activity and attention...and then in hell once we went outside to eat! No one was giving her food (because we are discouraging begging) and because she had already eaten lunch. I had her clipped to a 15 foot tie-out near where we were sitting. She began to bark and bark and bark and bark. Ugh. There was no way to make her stop. Saying no didn't help. Ignoring her didn't help. I finally gave her a kong filled with frozen peanut butter and that kept her quiet for about 5 minutes as she gulped it down with a lightening fast tongue. I reluctantly put her in her crate to calm down. She barked and then got quieter so I rewarded her by letting her out. She again commenced barking at us...begging for food. I sat with her but she was just too focused on food to care about my affection. Oh, well.

I had to put her in her crate after we went inside and while she barked for about 10 minutes, she quickly fell asleep. She was soo tired and needed to rest. It amazes me sometimes how much puppies and toddlers are alike. They get overtired, wound up and put everything in their mouths! I officially have three children...and I didn't have 9 months to prepare for this one! It is a learn as you go kinda deal and I hope I am doing a good job.

I am also trying to work on the training by reinforcing sit, stay, paw and down, but adding “turn away” and “back”. Back is the hardest because she doesn't naturally move backwards when wanting a treat. I have to wait for her to back up on her own or nudge her and then give her a treat. She is catching on well though. I will keep working with it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 16: Crate attack

Today was hot, I do understand that. But in my defense, I had the air conditioner on for a while to get the room a comfortable temperature. I made sure you were well hydrated. I had a fan pointed at you while you were in the crate. I didn't want to work for 2 hours today any more than you wanted me to. But, Casey, did you have to destroy your crate?? Of course you did! I totally understand that it was warm, you had no idea when I would be back and you panicked. No worries. It is fine. I would have behaved exactly the same way.

So...I had to revamp Casey's crate today after the tore up the cardboard in a frantic moment. It's fine. I am actually toying with the idea of giving her the entire crate but I am concerned that if she is not COMPLETELY housebroken, she will regress and wet in her crate if it's too big. I think I will wait a little bit longer. Not too much longer, though. She is getting bigger everyday and stretches a lot when she gets out in the morning!

Despite the heat, we managed to have a nice walk in the park today, followed by a quick run off the leash. Understandably, Casey was a little more lethargic than usual, but I am glad she got some exercise. I try to chase her in the yard with “rope” every morning but I wear out too quickly!

On my way home from work, I bought her an organic homemade dog treat at the farmer's market in downtown Salem. They had such a great selection that I couldn't decide. Biscuits of all shapes and sizes. All kinds of wonderful, natural ingredients. I finally asked the woman behind the stand for her recommendation. She said that for a puppy, the brown square wafer-like one was best. It could be broken into pieces for training and dogs LOVE it—she claimed. Not until I had already bought it did I realize that I had purchased a grilled, seasoned beef LUNG. Gag. Oh, well. I already gave Casey half and she seemed pleased. It took the edge off her indignation at being left alone in the crate today. Nothing like a little beef lung to smooth over hard feelings!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dog Harness (Day 15)

Today I decided to bite the bullet and get a harness for Casey. It just so happened that I fell upon a clearance sale at Petco and was able to get a large harness for $4! Score! I took Casey for a walk to the bus stop wearing it for the first time and it was like a miracle took place. She was easy to control and she trotted along with me but left plenty of slack in the leash. It was almost enjoyable to walk her! I was so excited with the results. The only issue was that the harness was a tad too big for Casey. I had gotten the larger size so it would last her a while. However, she was able to lunge forward at one point and she almost slipped through it.

I returned to Petco with her, and the girls, to see if there was another smaller harness on sale. After a dramatic encounter with a large German Shepherd in the store, we found a medium sized harness and a retractable leash on clearance. I got both for only $5!! What a deal! She is now wearing the harness around the house to get used to it. She doesn't seem to mind it a bit. She kept biting at the larger one while wearing it, probably because it hung a little low in the front.

As a side note, Casey is taking the potty-treat thing a little far. She has managed to discover that if she wets twice, she will get two treats! The second try is usually a drop or two and she runs right over to me to get her reward. Silly puppy...or smart puppy!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 14: Follow the Leader

So, today was another day of leash training. I spent a good deal of time walking with Casey, pulling her back, stopping etc. Nothing seemed to work well. The moment she had extra slack in the leash, she would pull and forge ahead, willing me to follow her. No can do, Puppy! We had a battle of the wills—and I barely won. She is getting larger everyday and I am determined to turn her into a compliant walker before she weighs more than I do! Time is of the essence.

I am nervous that her standard nylon collar isn't enough to train her. It requires a substantial amount of force to get her to stop leading and I am afraid that I am going to hurt her or choke her. At the same time, she has choked herself by pulling against me—to the point that sometimes her entire upper body is of the ground and she is walking on her hind legs.

Some books and friends recommend a choke collar for training. If put high up near the ears, apparently this collar can work wonders by giving the puppy a quick jolt without risking injury. Still, I am not sold. Maybe it is the name... “choke”. Who knows. I am sure it is completely safe, but I looking into getting her a harness instead. I have heard that a harness can be very helpful in walking larger dogs. I feel like it would give me a better handle on controlling her safely. I think I will try it. I hope it works!

Incidentally, we only had one accident today inside. She was out a good deal of the afternoon and we let her run free for about an hour to tire her out. She could barely keep her eyes open this evening. Man, I love a tired puppy!

Cat laser toy for dogs

Few toys provide as much entertainment with relatively little effort on the cat owner's part as laser pointers. For some reason a lot of such toys are made to resemble mice (or so the designers seem to think). Apparently, puppies also love to chase these little laser dots that somehow always escape out of their paws.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 13: Snaggletooth

Yesterday, we noticed that one of Casey's canine teeth was at an odd angle. It was sticking out of her mouth and was quite humorous looking. Obviously, it was extremely loose and today iit came out. I assume she swallowed it since I never found it, which is a shame since I am sure the doggie tooth fairy would have made a visit tonight. What puppy wouldn't want to find a tasty bone under their pillow in the morning?

I also took her out today for some more leash training. Needless to say, it was a LONG walk to the bus stop! Everytime she pulled on the leash, I would stop, tell her to “heel” and wait until she stood next to me with slack in the leash. Let me tell you, there was a LOT of starting and stopping! But, I am seeing some improvement. She seems a little less aggressive and more willing to wait for me. We did not end up using the reverse direction method when she pulled because she didn't really care which way we were headed. She was pulling in either direction! Apparently, speed trumps destination in the puppy's focused mind.

With regard to housebreaking, we had a little setback today. She had two wet accidents and one poop!! She had not pooped in the house in several days so that was a curious event. Hopefully, this was a one time thing and not indicative of a true relapse in her training. Nothing is quite as refreshing as doggie poo simmering on the porch carpet on a 90 degree day! Gah...

One strange thing she has done a couple times in the evening is attack her dog bed—like it is the vilest of prey. Tonight she frantically scratched, growled and bit at her bed. She looked like she could use a good ol' run outside with “rope” (her knotted rope toy), so we went out for a bit. It was still warm but much more comfortable than earlier today. She ran hard for about 15 minutes, trying to avoid us as we grabbed at her rope as she flew by. She was rewarded with a cool drink of water--despite it being a little late for liquids. She was thirsty and tired. And as they say, "A tired puppy is a good puppy"...and a good puppy leaves her bed in one piece!