Month: October 2014

Sunday fun

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It’s been a very calm day so far, girls were sleeping off their morning walks and I was cleaning. I decided to treat them to a little search game with empty egg containers, envelopes and oat meal boxes. I rolled a bit of their kibble in empty envelopes which I then placed in an empty egg box. And just for a bit more difficulty I put the egg containers in an empty oat meat box. They love this game 🙂

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Accept your dog

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Sometimes we just stumble upon right text at a right time. For me today it is a blog post about accepting the dog you have:

http://blog.chako.org/accept-the-dog-you-have/

I had a conversation about exactly this topic minutes before I saw this post.

I think that (I hope) I do accept my dogs the way they are most the time but sometimes I just forget.

Today we had a situation with Chili that made me forget and wish she was different. Even though when I’m thinking about it now, and when I was there in the moment I didn’t think it was very bad I think that in my head I made it worse that it was.
We were in the park with Salma and Chili and an older gentleman with a hound female German shepherd mix approached us from behind. The dog was curious and young and she wanted to come up to our dogs, she met Salma first and while they were sniffing each other Chili run up to them and tried to displace the other dog. She jumped up twice to make herself taller and growled. The dog didn’t move, they continued to sniff and separated. We stayed behind and the shepherd and his owner continued on. I threw a ball behind us for Chili, I didn’t think the other dog will turn back and run after her. But she did and Chili got pissed. I can’t be sure but I think I heard the other dog growl when she couldn’t catch Chili and then Chili got angry and chased her away. It was loud but short and from where I was standing it didn’t seem dangerous. But the shepherd run away and didn’t want to come back (even though we walked away). She did come back after a while and they continued walking but I feel so bad that Chili scared her. If she didn’t run away I wouldn’t consider this as a serious fight but she must have been scared. And the thing is Chili isn’t really protective of her toys, she usually will spit them out when other dogs are around or just ignore them that’s why I wasn’t careful with throwing her ball in the park.

I can’t forget that Chili always will be a nervous dog never mind how much work I will put in her.

Additionally she got spooked by people just before we got in the park which I think could add up to her nervousness.

I have to remember that she is wonderful in so many other ways. She is very affectionate, she loves to learn, is very motivated and she listens well. And happy and playful most of the time.

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One of those days

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I woke up with a painful throat which pissed me off, I don’t have time to get sick (and after 10 months since my last cold I though I was invincible). I had to finish my essay in behavioral problems in dogs and horses even though I felt like sleeping the whole day. And yes I had to walk Chili in the morning. If walking in a heavy rain and wind wasn’t bad enough she rolled in something very dead. I had to wash her as soon as we got home, I didn’t even take my shoes off. Even Salma was repulsed by Chili’s new fragrance. But well, too bad those things happen. Stupid enough I decided to walk both dogs together in the afternoon. I was even very proud of myself how well it was going. I lost my voice but still my girls behaved well… Till I decided to go home that is. Chili disappeared in the bushes and I could call her I tried but sound coming out of my mouth were disappointing. She did appear a minute later holding the biggest and dirtiest rabbit I’ve ever seen. I walked away, I knew I cannot catch her and that for her in that moment this rabbit is so important that I cannot compete with it with my stupid treats. She didn’t follow me and Salma so I came back to see that a woman with a pit bull is watching Chili eat. Nice. By that time Chili had only ears (and I guess a bit of head) left and was running after me and Salma but keeping safe distance. If I wasn’t vegetarian already this would put me of off meat for a long time. I was pissed at her but at the same time it’s not fair towards her. Let’s forget about our human expectations for a while. We had a good time walking all together and then Chili’s time got even better. She followed her nose and found a tasty dead rabbit. That’s what dogs have been selected for generations: to scavenge. There is absolutely nothing wrong with her behavior, she is an opportunistic scavenger and I’m the one who is crazy wanting her to just leave her treasure behind.
On a more serious note: I gave her a medicine for her stomach as a precaution and I will de warm her in two days (I want all the rabbit to go out first). I wonder though how she manages to eat a whole rabbit with the bones and fur.

Working with Salma

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Today I took Salma to the park alone so we can work on her rabbit issue without Chili stealing my attention. I had special treats and a 10 m long line with me. I’m surprised how much attention she payed to me. We worked on her recall (when she was not too preoccupied, baby steps) and I rewarded her every time she chose me over the environment. But most of all it was fun!

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Never ending story with a fearful dog

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I haven’t been writing for a while, I’m busy with the studies (spent few ours on operant conditioning today and my head is about to explode) and Chili has been sick. Just after her visit to emergency clinic which was traumatic enough (I wanted to start working on her attitude to vets ASAP) she developed nasty wounds on both of her ears. There was no time to work on her fear I had to take her to the vet immediately and it was bad. As soon as she saw male vet she didn’t want to walk into the exam room and I had to force her in (it’s not something I ever wanted to do, I was being as gentle as possible holding her side with the harness). In the room she was standing in the corner and crying but yet the vet had to see her ears and check her temperature. She did get antibiotics and cream for her ears. And now I’m worried what’s going to happen next time we have to go there. I wanted to work with her this week but after some thinking I decided to start working after out visit on Thursday (this time with the female vet). I have to wait for the levels of cortisol in her blood to go down after so much stress and since she is getting a steroid that suppress her immune system even further I want her to rest and relax as much as possible (which is difficult enough living in a city). I can see that she is more alert since last week and I don’t want stressors to keep on stacking up. I am working with her with clicker getting her to accept me touching her ears I also want to introduce a symbol that she can associate with her ears being touched. I want to do this in order to make her visits to the vet more predictable and also that she will know that when the symbol is not there she won’t be touched. Hopefully in this way she will feel that she can know what to expect. This I will do through classical conditioning.

And on a positive note we received paintings of our girls today!

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Little balloon

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Chili woke me up today at 5 a.m. She was crying so I thought she might have an upset stomach (as she never cries at night I take it seriously). I took her out, and she kept on shaking her head from left to write so strong her ears were flopping around. In a light I also noticed that her left eye is almost fully shut. Left side of her face and both of her ears were swollen! I immidiately called emergency vet, but the earliest open spot was at 9 (they asked if she has problems with breathing and if she is eating and drinking). I managed to calm her down enough to fall asleep and we slept next to each other on the couch. Once I got up to get ready for the vet I’ve noticed that her eye is worse, and she was so annoyed with the itchiness.

As I thought it is a allergic reaction to something but we don’t know to what (as she didn’t eat anything new yesterday, we also don’t have new plants or detergents). She got an injection against swelling and itching. Now she is sleeping it off and her face is slowly starting to look normal.

On the other hand I had to take her to a new clinic she doesn’t know and she had to go through very unpleasant examination. It broke my heart to see how she was trying to turn away from the vet when she was looking into her eyes. Chili saying (in capitals) that she doesn’t want to be touched and still she had to be checked. I did ask the vet not to touch her or talk to her in the beginning to give her chance to explore the office on her own terms. Again another vet must think I’m crazy because I grabbed her hand when she tried to pet Chili on a head and told her “Please don’t pet her from the top”. It was a very stressful experience for her and I need to start taking her for training visits to our regular vet ASAP. The vet kept on saying that she did very good, but again the fact that dog is not growling during the examination doesn’t mean it is doing good. On a plus side Chili did eat a treat from the vet at the end.

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