Saturday, February 27, 2010

Where did my tiny, little puppy go?

Erie sometimes pees when she's excited so my normal routine is to pick her up and carry her outside first thing in the morning.

Today when I picked her up, I thought "Where is the little puppy? This one is a big chunky girl!"

Now I'm really curious how much weight she has gained. She was 15 when I got her 11 days ago.

Friday, February 26, 2010

When Sit Clicks

The "sit" command finally clicked for Erie today. She knows it well enough that I'm confident using the command because I'm 90% certain she'll respond.

Sit is so useful- especially when it's the only action command they know (she also offers eye contact for her name).

Puppy jumping up- ask her to sit.

Puppy circling like she's going to use the house as a toilet- ask her to sit.

Puppy barking in crate and you can't let her out- ask her to sit.

And so many more uses.

So great!

We had a good day. She's mostly a good girl and when she's not she's affectionate enough to make up for it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

When does she become an adult?

[Erie in a rare quiet moment]

The puppy stage is killing me and it's only been four days.
Erie is pretty good in the crate. Sometimes she cries for a little bit, other times not at all. But on tie down or in the expen she barks for a long time. But I am very grateful that she is decent in the crate since that's where she is at night.

I'm glad that I've been able to fulfill her exercise needs in my backyard. I was kind of worried about that. It's large enough but I was unsure how a vizsla pup would do in it. Once she's fully vaccinated, I'll take her out to fields and dog parks for some better exercise.
I had to work Wednesday and Thursday so I had a local puppy raiser come feed her and take her out. I left her in the expen because even with the raiser letting her out I didn't expect her to be able to hold it that long. The second day, she climbed up the side, squeezed in between the pen and the top- it was a little, tiny gap; I do not know how she did it- climbed over the baby gate that kept the other two dogs out of the kitchen and spent some free time alone in the house. She didn't do any damage as far as we know. I'm beginning to suspect though that maybe she peed on the dog bed in the living room.
She had her well puppy exam yesterday and had a yeast infection in her ears. Poor girl. It's itchy.
She's doing really well responding to her name and that's about all I've had time to teach her so far. Beginning a new job and getting a puppy at the same time is hard work. We'll work more on things this week I hope.
In the meantime we're just ignoring her in all her barking and patiently waiting for it to have some effect on the mutt-head.
It'll happen . . . right?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Introducing the Harry Potter Dog

The "surprise" that everyone knows about (LOL). . .
I should be asleep because in addition to the new arrival, my first day of work at my new job is tomorrow. Can you say "poor timing?" But I had the day scheduled to pick up the puppy waaaaaaay before I got the job and I couldn't be like, "Oh, actually, I can't start that week. I'm getting a dog." I know YOU all understand, but somehow I doubt my new employers would.

So, for now, I'm keeping it short and sweet. You get some photos and an explanation of the title.
Explanation first:
I've wanted a vizsla for forever. Ten years or so. Never could get one- timing was never right. But I graduated. Guess what I got for graduation? That's right.
Her registered name is Kezza's [that's her mom's name] Pride of the Mountains [kennel name is Mountain Pride Vizslas] Deepest Desire. I named her for the mirror in Harry Potter. In the first book/movie when Harry discovers the Mirror of Erised, Dumbledore tells him "it shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts." Hence the registered name. Her call name is Erie (pronounced "Harry" without the "h"), short for Erised (the name of the mirror). Get it?
Anyhow, I'll post more later- how she's doing, why I wanted her, what we'll be doing together, etc. But I'm going to bed now.
The photos are from today. I went out with her breeders, Kit and Bob (let me also recognize Judy, the owner of the dad, Budha, and co-breeder) to work their older dogs before I took her home. This was the fourth time I've visited and the second time I've been able to watch them work their dogs.
Oh, right- BED. NOW.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cost Comparison

If you've been reading you know that I had to go to ER last month with a kidney stone. I don't have insurance which of course means I owe everything from the visit. I finally got my last bill in the mail today. I was charged for two CT scans, blood work, a urine analysis, an anti-nausea pill, the hospital visit, and the physician (why on earth can a PA charge $306 to talk to me for 30 seconds ?!!).

How is that with all that, I still managed to spend more money at the veterinarian in a five week period?

Dogs are expensive creatures.

We love them anyways.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Doggie Dinnertime

Okay, never mind on the puppy club meeting. I was debating whether to go or not, because I'm getting over being sick. Then when I realized I wouldn't be home till like 8 (I've got some stuff I have to do afterwards) and I haven't fed the dogs yet, I realized I couldn't go.

Why you ask?

Because doggie dinnertime in my house is no longer a 30 second affair. Nope. Now it takes about twelve minutes just to get the bowls on the floor and longer than normal to eat.

With the onset of Jacoba's pancreatitis I was looking for a very low fat food that is healthier than the SD she was prescribed. I decided to start feeding my dogs a partially raw diet. Not all raw. I don't think that's a good idea. I think the kibble catches and makes up for any "nutritional mistakes" I might make. I found a dehydrated raw food product made by The Honest Kitchen that they eat for dinner now. They both like it and Jacoba seems to be acting healthier. She did have another attack, which may be related or may be coincidence. She is on a bland diet for a few days because of it. As I slowly transition her back to the raw, if she has an attack again, we'll know she can't do it. But I hope she can. I believe it is a very good option. I am not one of the "purists' who believes it is the only option. I am choosing to feed it because I do think it is a very healthy option, not because I am absolutely convinced that our dogs should eat raw because wolves do. I'm sorry, but I don't think that wolves and dogs are nearly as related as the purists say they are.

Anyhow, the reason this foiled my plans to possibly go to the meeting is because I have to let in re-hydrate. It was already late when I got up to go and when I saw what time it was and still hadn't fed dinner, I knew I wouldn't make it in enough time for it to be worth it. Guess that's what happens when I decide to late that I'm going to go despite being sick.

Cami's dinner is soaking as we speak. I need to stick Jacoba's rice, chicken, and cottage cheese in the microwave for a few seconds.

The lengths we go to for our pets.

For your viewing pleasure:

Jacoba being a lab and all, it was really difficult to get her to look at me

Cami is actually a super cute girl but she kind of reminds me of a squirrel in this one "Come on, Jacoba!"Poor Cami gets tired of waiting: Finally! Cami's green raw food (and a little kibble) Jacoba's temporary bland diet (with a few pieces kibble)Don't mind my filthy floors. I don't get around to those much, you know, with all the reading I have to do.

I Have Time on My Hands

So I've been reading a lot.

I think I have a job. I'm relatively certain. I had a second interview on Thursday and the girl that interviewed me told me she was recommending me for hire and indicated that she thought that meant I would be. She told me to expect a call as early as that day to start getting paperwork filled out. But that was Thursday and its Monday now. The reason I'm still holding out and haven't given up is because they called to tell me on a Thursday to expect someone to call me for a second interview, and she didn't call until the following Tuesday. If they haven't called me by tomorrow I'll be worried.

In the meantime I'm continuing to apply to both full time and part time positions. If I did, in fact, get this job, I'd like a second PT position, so I'm still searching. It's kinda rough. I really need a job. I have dogs, you know? Expensive ones. Especially since Jacoba had a pancreatitis incident again this weekend. Exactly a month after the first one. I didn't take her to the vet this time since I was fully prepared to take care of her at home (as long as she doesn't have diarrhea or vomit, which she didn't, this time or last time) but I think I'd like to take her to the NON ER vet and talk about long-term care options.
Anyhow, back to reading.
I started by reading Patricia McConnell's The Other End of the Leash (Cabana's blog has a nice post today about Trisha's blog).
To put it simply, I loved this book. I learned a lot about what I do around my dogs that messes with their heads. It made me grateful that I have wonderful dogs that figure out what I want despite the mixed signals I give them. Or maybe my dogs are just the exception. I showed Cami in 4H for years and we won Champion every single year except one and that year we lost by only a point or two (Shawna- I still blame that stupid beagle that harassed Cami during the long whatever- I don't remember if it was sit or down. Otherwise we would have won again. But congrats, or whatever :) The fact that she was that good at figuring out what I wanted in spite of me says a lot about her.

I actually showed Jacoba one year too, when she was a PIT, just for fun. This was in a regular 4h obedience class- we didn't have a guide dog one in my county. I didn't expect anything but a good time since we train GDB puppies much differently than how a dog needs to perform in an obedience competition. We got a blue ribbon and came in third in points. Not bad for a dog that doesn't sit on "heel halts" (since GDB pups aren't supposed to sit every time their handler comes to a stop).

I digress . . . the point is, Trisha is a fantastic writer who teaches us the right way to communicate with our dogs without making the reader feel stupid for having been wrong. And considering the research fanatic I am, I appreciate that she has a PhD in animal behavior. I highly recommend this book, both for entertainment value and for what you can learn.

Next I read Communicating With Your Dog by Ted Baer.
Or rather, I tried to read it. It didn't take me long to decide it wasn't worth my time. I approved when at first I read not to punish/correct/make any comment about, etc an event that happened in the past. But in the next paragraph he said something along the lines of,"if your dog makes a mess in your home, make her do a sit-stay and watch you clean it up telling her she is a bad dog." Ummm, not exactly ignoring it, is it? And not exactly positive either. Next book.

The next two were worse. One was way old-fashioned: "Grab your dogs by the scruff and shake her." That one went out right away. Then "the best way to communicate with your pet is to send thoughts of what you want from your mind to hers." Now, if you believe that is possible and a potential answer to your dogs behavior problems, more power to you. You go ahead. I however, do not. I absolutely accept that our attitudes and feelings can increase or decrease the tension and other feelings in the environment that our dogs pick up on and then act on, but there's a big line between that and telepathic communication.

Following that, I read Pat Miller's The Power of Positive Dog Training. Another one I loved, like McConnell's book. She too is an easy read, with possibly a little more now that I've told you what to do, this is how you do it, than Other End of the Leash had.

At this point, however, as I picked up Ian Dunbar's Before and After Getting Your Puppy (considering how much I had heard about it, I wasn't as impressed as I had hoped to be), and then Gwen Bailey's The Perfect Puppy, I started to realize that most positive-reinforcement based training books are relatively equal. Some are written by better writers. Some are more user friendly or have more pictures. Some say a few things I don't agree with. I do have my favorites. But they are pretty much the same material over and over again.

I got two more from the library today and am waiting on three more but two of those are related to training bird dogs. One of the ones I picked up today has raving reviews, so I am anxious to read it, despite my recent conclusion about these types of books. I'll let you know what I think of My Smart Puppy. I also would like to read McConnell's For the Love of a Dog, and How to Be the Leader of the Pack as well as several other Pat Miller books and Morgan Spector's Clicker Training for Obedience. Basically I've got enough books lined up to keep my busy for a bit.

Anyone else have some good suggestions?
Does anyone else hate loading photos on to blogger as much as I do?
Is anyone else going to be late to their puppy club meeting because they were working on their blog? Sorry, no time to proofread.