Kenai and his lovely eyes, 30 wks old (oh ears…why’d you choose to flop for this pic?)
Kenai gave me a bumper crop of great pics yesterday morning. The one above is the best picture of his beautiful soft eyes I’ve ever taken. (Never mind the clapping ears…). For some reason his eyes don’t show up so well in most snapshots, unlike his brother, BB.
Maybe all the extra skin he still hasn’t grown into? Or maybe he’s demure, a bashful beige beauty with a tail? Awww…NOT. Bashful he ain’t. Not Dopey, either, though sometimes he does a great impersonation of Sneezy out in the high grass. Whatever the reason, I’m just really pleased to finally show ya’ll his splendid eyes. He uses them on me regularly.
Once again, I deprived him of obedience class last night, though I am not so sure it was a deprivation. This slump in my health is really starting to concern me. Up until recently I’ve been able to push through, even if all I did was exercise, train, and take care of Kenai.
His care and training is something of a sacred cow, being my biggest priority in how I spend my limited energy. The edges of that sacred cow have some evidence of tiger teeth these days, darn it—our spit and polish has developed a slow bleed.
Nothing I do can sustain enough energy through the day for evening outside playtimes despite his needing it, and I’m only averaging 3 days a week on his outings. Naps have slid from occasional necessity to mandatory daily things. Not that I’m unaccustomed to getting worse and getting better then getting worse, physically. It’s been this way for years.
I don’t relish the thought of finding myself ailing, but that’s the vile disposition of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. Up and down, with down being the most common.This is what I was afraid of: running out of strength before Kenai was really solid on his obedience and public work.
Guess we all have to face our fears, but I was hoping to avoid that one.
There’s so much in our training that needs, really needs, attention and practice. His obedience training had been on a slow pace from the start because of my limitations. Now it seems we’re on a slothful one. I hate slothful, even if it’s slothful for a reason.
Thank God this didn’t happen back in May, and that is my poofy pink cloud in this situation. May was when Kenai got thoroughly depressed, his brother spending a solid month in puppy hospital. Among other things. Now he’s thoroughly bored a lot more than he should be. I despise the idea that he’s not having all the fun his puppy heart deserves because moi can’t manage it.
The world won’t end because of this decline in my health. I was just hoping to spare Kenai the consequences of it. He’s got so much squirrelly puppy energy by evening, he is getting scolded for things he wouldn’t do if he’d had a satisfying turn in the field. Or if I wasn’t weak enough for him to think he could get away with stuff. Weak energy don’t lead an independent dog, no matter how gentle and sensitive he is.
All that whiney stuff said, a long term perspective makes a world of difference in living with short term complications. Danes don’t really mature and get set in their training until roughly 2 years old. That leaves me a year and half to help Kenai settle into the well mannered gentleman he is already becoming.
He has an outstanding innate temperament, which is my ace in the hole. (Thank you Teri—you breed them well!!) Any behaviors he acquires or doesn’t can be unlearned or learned when my strength returns. So it’s a bumpier ride than it might have been…such is life, and I’ll have to deal.
We didn’t go anywhere yesterday, Kenai and I, and I doubt we’ll get out today. Mom’s heading into town today, for her hairdresser appt and errands, so Kenai gets to hang out in the living room, where we have the expen set up for his bro BB to nap and chew in. She’s usually gone 6 hours or more. Think I might use the time to sew up the swelling pile of fuzzy babies with holes or popped seams.
Some of the Brothers Grin’s very favorite babies are a bit raggedy. Kenai has 2 which he’s loved since the day he came home: yellow ducky baby and fleece lamby baby. All their squeakers still work, despite occasionally rough treatment, and if I take them up to put away for awhile, he goes looking for them. He misses them so badly, he won’t play with anything. You can guess what state they’re in: well used.
Making the boys wait for the repairs to be done is something of a misadventure. They see their toys in my hands and try desperately to let me have them. Kenai does his prettiest sits and downs, talks like Scooby Doo, pouts when all attempts fail… but when it’s done and I toss it, he has such a ball! The leaping and pouncing sounds like a herd of water buffalo to my brother down in the basement below. I don’t feel sorry for him.
Mike’s giving us a line that the computers will be down at work until Thursday, though I hesitate to believe him. Maybe they are. But what business lets their computers be down for 9 days? I think he’s quit, since he’s been bitching about the job for awhile, and he can use being unemployed as an excuse to make Mom not put him out.
Maybe I’m wrong and he hasn’t quit, but this is like his 3rd or 4th job in the past year. He’s just quit without having another job before, when he was still married and supposed to support his family. And he holed up in front of the computer for months while Mom paid our bills and theirs too.
He’s been playing his flight simulator game for 12 hours or more at a time since last Wednesday afternoon. He says he’s putting in job applications online, but he sure hasn’t left the house for over 7 days. He only takes a break from the swearing and comes up for coffee or to eat horrendus amounts of food at supper.
I think he’s quit, and plans to lay around the rest of his life. He’s been saying things around me that indicate he has completely blown off Mom’s telling him he can’t stay here much longer. The human black hole strikes again. He made a mistake and let one slip in front of Mom over the weekend while trying to soothe his daughter during one of her tantrums.
He told Em she could help him put up our tree this Christmas and what decorations he was going to use in the house. Mom got mad and asked him what made him think he was going to be living here at Christmas, or putting up our decorations. He’s going to make her evict him. That’s a hell of rotten thing to do to a mother who’s done without for you all her life.
I don’t want to discourage anyone from helping the disabled, but when you feel the compassionate urge to offer your assistance, may I suggest you don’t do what my brother has: come in and take over, arranging things to suit yourself. It can be really offensive that he assumes we want to be “taken care of”, and does things we tell him not to do, like cutting the grass because he thinks it needs it.
It’s always a commendable thing to offer your help to someone, but please respect that the person may not want it. My brother’s attitude is ‘well this place is a mess, and since you can’t do this and that, I’ll do it’. He’s rather insulting, without even knowing it. The property and house doesn’t look good enough to satisfy him, and that’s his motivation. What we want means nothing.
There are alot of emotions that the disabled feel, and alot of “shortcuts” to getting things done that wouldn’t occur to someone who’s healthy. Everyone has their ways of doing stuff, and you could unintentially make more work not less for someone if they feel like they must go along behind you and fix “mistakes” you’ve made.
You can also find yourself wondering why they are so grumpy, even rude to you, since all you want to do is help. The attitude you have towards them and their difficulties can either make having your assistance a pleasant experience or a damaging one.
Your attitude can make someone feel that you’re there to do a little something as their friend, just helping out like you would any other friend. Or you could make someone who is struggling to be functional and productive feel like they are helpless, useless, and always will be.
It’s all about approach. People with limitations are often a little sensitive, having their self-worth a bit dented, especially if the limitations are suddenly imposed. What once they could do for themself, out of the blue they can’t. It’s a rough sea when that happens. When in doubt of how to be helpful, take a page from the doggie book: touch, sit beside, give hugs, and make ‘em laugh.
I hope if you know someone who’s struggling you can offer a helping hand, but keep in mind that what a person wants from you might not be doing for them, but being for them: being a friend, willing just to sit and listen, or hang out for no particular reason at all. When I fell really ill, nearly all my friends faded away since I couldn’t do stuff with them or for them anymore.
There was one person, one fine and noble soul who was just THERE. She didn’t clean my house, cut my shrubs to the ground, or decide to decorate my Christmas tree for me. Arlene was magnificently, encouragingly, humanely still there. The days she popped in for a visit were bright spots in a dark place. I was her friend, and that was the greatest help anyone ever gave me.
She wasn’t at all afraid to ask me to bake a batch of cookies for her visiting daughter’s birthday, or ask me if she could have a split off a pretty hosta in my yard. She knew my limitations were there, and never once made a big deal out of them–she focused on, and helped me see what I could still do. I still had immeasurable worth, even if I wasn’t quite as useful as I once was: usefulness is not the measure of a person’s worth.
I hate to read something that ends on a down tone, so let’s have a laugh. With all the pictures out in cyberspace of Great Danes, looking regal, imposing, and elegant, I thought I’d let those of you without a Dane see the Marmaduke side of the breed. Those of you with a Dane may recognize some of these poses! Most of the time, my boy is dignified and calm.
Then there are the goober runs, aka zoomies. That’s when he gets all the Goofy, Dopey, and Engelburt out of his puppy system. There’s not a way to describe the hysterical funnies of a zoomie and do it justice. You just have to see for yourself. So here is a small gallery, Kenai the Comedian’s impressions of other critters, taken in mid-goob:
Kenai’s impression of a Neopolitan Mastiff, complete with smunched down ears and droopy face skin! Gravity does terrible things to the beautiful sometimes…
Kenai’s impression of a Philidelphia Eagles halfback, or a really really short cutting mare!
Kenai’s impression of a parachuting greyhound… love the lips! Talk about drag…
Kenai’s impression of a wild boar. Notice the skin on his back? Can’t defy physics…
So there is Kenai in all his undignified glory, enjoying the devil out of his goober runs. Then its back to stateliness and grandeur! (Minus the messy eating habits). When he was a toddler, the zoomie took about a 20 foot circle area, but now he’s closer to 1/2 an acre! What a good boy he is. I’m so glad to have him.
There’s a difference between compassion and pity: one maintains respect for them as a human being, the other makes a project out of what used to be a person.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on July 30, 2008
Kenai all suited up to go inside with me, 29 wks old
Saturday was a big day for Kenai, spending his morning running errands after a first-rate playtime outside. I had planned on only 2 stops, but it sort of grew, in a way only an errand list can do. First stop was the grocery store, since I had decided on roasted chicken for Sunday lunch. It wasn’t the mom and pop store, either, but the ‘big boy’ Price Cutter: 18 aisles, a bakery where the cookies smelled so good, a deli with ladies giving out samples, and some nice long lines at the register.
Little big butt took it all pretty much in stride, though the urge to rubberneck and sniff was there. It got the better of him once. Those ladies were giving out food, Mom—how come I can’t have any? He wanted very badly to sniff and say hi to the people in line with us, and nasty old Mom wouldn’t let him. Boo hoo. I didn’t ask a sit/stay of him, knowing his back legs were a little sore, I just wanted him to stand beside me and not show interest in stuff. He did pretty well in that department.
One lady asked to pet him, and I was fine with it. Mostly because it is a chance to ingrain in Kenai that he gets attention only when I want him to. Otherwise, he isn’t supposed to show curiosity. That’s tough for a puppy. Nearly everyone notices the “do not distract” on his vest, and many ask about it. That gives me an opportunity to tell them why it’s there, and that some handlers will say no for various reasons. So far, I’ve only met one person who has encountered a service dog before.
Next was the smoke shop, where getting some lip smushing and ear rubs are inescapable. The owner is a dedicated dog lover, and has watched Kenai grow up from the week we brought him home. So he always gets his love! I don’t really care that he gets attention while vested there, since they’re friends. If I needed Kenai to do something for me, they wouldn’t get in the way of that. And when it’s time to pay, it’s all back to business. The off switch is a good thing for Kenai to have.
I chose to stick in some no-vest fun, making a stop at the most favorite puppy store in the world. I’m glad I did, too, since he did not want to get out of the car. When he did get out, slow as cold molasses, I put the vest and stuff away. Not all outings are serious business, or my gentle boy might decide he doesn’t really want to do all this going places stuff. A puppy has to have some fun, too. In the store, off leash, and prancing around was the “business” of that stop. We didn’t buy anything, but had a good time.
The vet was our last pull in, were I was glad to find we’d successfully slowed Kenai’s growth on this new food. Big guy has lost a couple pounds, down to 100.4 pounds, but I’m not worried about it: the heat has been atrocious and he’s eating less of this food. Fewer calories. I’ve upped his amount to 5 ½ cups instead of 5 and we’ll see how he does. He’s still not putting on muscle mass, looking lankier than I like since it is a departure from his previous growth pattern. So I called his breeder, and she said her pups will hit a lanky spell about 6 or 7 months old, then go back to being filled out again. Okay, just so I know.
With so many other critters in the vet’s lobby, Kenai lost his composure and started pulling even with the Gentle Leader. We had to wait for a new bottle of pancreatic enzymes, so he went back to the car. I was tired, still having tremors, and wasn’t up for doing battle with Kenai’s excitement. Being so hot, I leave the car running when he’s in it, AC going full blast for him. He may still be a puppy, but at 33” tall, most people are really shocked to find out he’s only 7 months old. Rare is the criminal who’s idiot enough to get in a car with a strange dog of that size.
The hardware store would have to wait, since I was getting clumsy. That’s my final warning before the arms and legs just quit working. So I took the hint and went home for a rest. I get home to find Mom in one of her compulsive cleaning modes, and she wanted me to do this and that and more of this. After a nap, was the answer. Sasquatch woke up from his nap with tons of puppy energy, and in need of another playtime in the grass. So back in the car to eat out… I can sit down in a restaurant, but not in the field!
I didn’t take him in, not too sure he would stay down. Wiped out me wanted to relax, not fight the puppy popping up like a high-strung gopher. I left the air on for him as usual and we came out to find him curled up and cold! Poor guy. So we opened the windows and let him thaw out. Needed it myself, after splitting a shake with Mom and both of us freezing up our frontal lobes!
The outing didn’t dispel enough of flop ears’ energy, unfortunately. He needs a second run outside each day, and I just can’t seem to manage it for one reason or another. Those long legs don’t get the same satisfactory expenditure in 20 minutes that they did when they weren’t so long. He was running in the house, and playing rough, which earned him a scolding. He got the idea, and lay down with a bone to devastate. He had laid waste to it by bed time, got his ½ cup snack and finally the day was done… whew.
Sunday morning came way too fast, but I got the chicken stuffed, covered it with bacon strips, filled the bottom of the pan with carrots, and went back to bed! That happy idea didn’t last. Kenai wanted to play. There are days when veterinary tranquilizers would be useful. Since I didn’t have any, we played with his toys for awhile. Have I ever mentioned that taking a hit from his head is like being bashed with a cinder block? And never, ever, no matter what, play with a Dane barefoot! Those are the rules of rumpus with dogs that are bigger than your gardening shed.
Kenai strutted about wanting a game of keep away (NOT), ripped a toy playing tuggie (oops), found the hidden grunting turtle several times (yippee), flung the big teddy and shook it to death, stood on his head with a captured squeaky squirrel beneath him (bull elephant smush), then settled down to devastate a bone. That would do for the time being, thankfully. Eventually we had to head to the field, but at least I got a little snooze.
One of the best parts of the day was that snooze—low and behold, who should decide to nap on my bed with me but Kenai! The boy who seemed allergic to cuddles climbed right up and leaned for well over an hour. Yay! I didn’t sleep outright, but I RELAXED, that’s for certain. It was the best lie down I’ve had in a long time. There’s nothing better for sore muscles and tension than a full body Dane lean.
The rest of the day was a huge spread of food, a dip in the pool, and trying to unobtrusively keep my headaches from starting up with our friends there. I was never so glad to hit the bed, finally at midnight. Late nights don’t hold the same allure they did when I was 20, I’m afraid. I just hoped in the morning that bone Kenai obliterated allowed him to empty out the food he ate. One puppy bowel affliction per month is more than sufficient, thank you very much! Thankfully he started ‘going’ again this morning.
It being Monday, I need to update his growth page and his progress report page. I’ve filled out his weekly command progress sheet and decided on which ones to focus upon this week. Come heel needs more work, since I haven’t been especially disciplined with anything: sort of do it when I think of it this week. So does no feet, the swatty snot. Back is pretty weak, most particularly around BB and at the door. He’s been almost disrespectful to people this week, wanting to smush and crowd. Not a very polite little boy at home, and I don’t like that.
All in all, it was a big weekend for Kenai and me. We’re taking today off as much as possible to rest up and recover!
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on July 28, 2008
A little blurry, but still a beautiful shape. Kenai, 29 wks old
So Kenai’s run this morning was fun and productive. All week we’ve been working on come heel command, and it’s likely he is a bored with it as I am. His coming when called has started to slip a little, so I decided to focus instead on his recall, with a really sneaky plan: when he looked up at his name, I threw his ball as a reward for looking. Needless to say, he was king of look at me! A little variety gets alot of results.
I don’t usually take a toy outside with us, so when I do it’s a big, big, wonderful fun change for him. He hasn’t developed much interest in bringing it back, which is why I don’t bring out his toys–too much walking for me when he leaves it in the underbrush… But today’s recall play was fantastic. Even when I hadn’t thrown the ball, he would come running to me, in case I was going to. The morning burn-it-off was a huge booster shot to the recall boot camp of last month.
The three parts of a recall are looking when I call his name, leaving whatever he finds so interesting, and returning to me. I don’t expect an obedience trial response, ie a flying leap into sitting in front of me. What I’m after is that he leaves the critter poop alone. I’m happy if he comes my way, and if I want him to come right to me, I can say come front or come heel. Maybe I shouldn’t let it slide when he runs past me, but my goal is for him to stay out of ickies.
When he does rocket run past me, it’s a game of “touch the tushie”, which can be lots of fun. Get a little closer my sweet, and I’ll goose you… goosing his toffee tush almost inevitably brings on a case of the goober runs, aka zoomies. That’s even more exercise, to wear out the puppy. All the better for his obedience command practice or outing later. A tired pup is a quiet pup.
Unfortunately, most of the pics I took today were blurry. Still have alot of weakness and tremors in my limbs. Typically, I’d just delete the blurry ones, but the pic at the top of the post has such a gorgeous outline of Sir Kenai the Dignified that I had to keep it! Below is a better one of him waiting for me to toss his ball.
C’mon and toss my ball, Mom! I’m watching, I’m watching… Kenai frozen in mid-step, 29 wks
Oh those ears!! The right one simply refuses to stand, wanting to flop over his head or do the piglet droop from the middle. The left one stands, but it wants to lean, too. Lord this is frustrating. I’ve never had so much trouble getting cropped ears to stand. Kenai is becoming more and more fussy about getting taped (and untaped), and I know it’s not the most fun in the world.
I’m breaking down and looking into the quick brace system, expensive or not. I’ll call them Monday, tell them what’s happening, and see what they suggest. They use lightweight forms made to the size of the dog’s ears, with surgical glue and remover on the inside of the ear: no hair lost, no tape to pull the delicate skin. It’s supposed to work very well, but I don’t know how it will do starting this late. Guess I’ll find out.
The lumbering lumberjack wasn’t bored this morning at all. Talk about “lords a leaping’, and I’ve got some pics to show you! The fun isn’t over for today, either. We’ll be going into the smoke shop for some cigarettes, and swing by the vet for another bottle of his pancreatic enzymes. And a long overdue weigh in. I haven’t weighed the stinker for over 2 weeks.
Mom’s pushing me to load up the mower and take it in to get repaired, but that will wait for Monday, when my brother and my neice aren’t here. I hesitate to leave Kenai in this chaotic house, with BB’s attitude of emerging dominance, a 2 year old having tantrums (Kenai gets upset when she screams), and Mom being passive as a marble statue. Not to mention my brother is given to hitting dogs.
So when Monday comes, Mom will put BB in his pen and Kenai will chill out in a calmer house while I’m gone. Oh, I thought about taking him in the truck, but I’m not even trying to get his big brown butt in and out of my half-ton! I’d probably herniate something important. Rupturing is not good. I’d rather not.
I’m hoping today my niece is less fussy and loud, since Kenai gets really bent out of shape when she has fits. Last night’s big tantrum turned him into a puppy pretzel… It all started because she wanted her 4th glass of chocolate milk before supper, and wasn’t getting it. Then when she came into the kitchen to tell me what she wanted for supper, I said sorry, kiddo, I’ve got the spaghetti on.
I’m a little uncomfortable letting a 2 year old tell me what to make. Her mom is willing to be a short order cook, making three different meals for the 3 kids. I’m lucky to be out of bed at suppertime, let alone making this for her, and that for us. Sweet little Emily is getting awfully bossy and demanding, and she stood there and demanded her hot dog.
Now if I go ask what she wants, or I don’t have something on the stove, I’m fine with making something special for her, but that’s not how it was. She was demanding what she wanted, and decided to pitch a hissy when I told her I already had pasta started. When she throws fits at home, she gets her way. When she throws fits with her father, he breaks down after awhile and gives her what she wants. She’s almost 3 now, and I will not be bossed by a toddler.
So Em had an education–you want hot dogs, you ask (not tell), and if I say no, then it’s no hot dogs this time. She screamed for her mom, she stomped her feet, she howled and let it all hang out. She got spaghetti for supper. She only ate it because my brother gave her the chocolate milk she had wanted in the first place. Dumbbutt.
I love my neice, but I don’t like how manipulative and bossy she’s becoming. The saucy attitude is starting to be her standard personality, and the fits are working, at least with her parents. Em decides everything about her life: what she wears, what and when she eats, if she wants a nap or not, even where to sleep. When she wants to sleep on the floor, or under the bed, her parents let her. She is allowed to stay up till midnight or later. If she wants to play with you, she doesn’t ask, she tells you to sit down, with a loud and commanding voice.
That’s normal for a kid to try, but when she gets away with it, the one who really gets hurt is her. Pushing the easy button over hot dogs now has consequences for her later on. I want her to being understanding that she won’t always get what she wants with everyone she meets. She’ll be three in November, so head start and preschool are not so far away. Sweetheart learned Auntie Lisa don’t give in.
Anyway, Em’s spaghetti fit lasted 15 minutes, at least upstairs because Mom had to tell Mike to take her downstairs, she was tired of the noise. When the circus went downstairs, Kenai collapsed on his bed and went to sleep. I was really suprised that BB didn’t go crazy barking at her–he just went to his crate and turned his back. Calming signals. It was Kenai had his whiney panies knotted up.
We’ll see how today goes, and what kind of fun Kenai can get me into. The weather is brutally hot and humid, which disagrees with my constitution appearantly. I may be wearing my bathing suit when big butt goes out for some afternoon play, and I can dip my bigger butt in the pool afterwards. The pool agrees with my constitution. Ha!
I do have to plan out lunch for tomorrow, since Wade and Melba are coming. It’s called make ahead menu, as much as possible! But what the heck, I might take Kenai to another grocery store and get some carrots and stuffing, for a roasted chicken. Kinda sounds good. With coleslaw, sliced tomatoes, and roasted carrots. Might be on to something here…
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on July 26, 2008
Kenai the dignified (and sleepy), 29 weeks old
Kenai’s been awfully tolerant of my being laid low for a couple weeks. He’s starting to get fussy about it, wanting so badly to go play and have his public outings. Of course, his fussy is running in the house, and going straight to the garage when he’s supposed to go potty. It could be worse… I may be a bore, but I do know how to find the ball he lost!
So this morning we headed off to the gas station, the bank, and the store. I could only handle him inside one place, since I’ve got the lovely shaking in my arms and legs today. If he was fully trained and I knew I could count on him not to pull the tiniest bit, or misbehave no matter what…I’d have loved to take him everywhere so I could lean on those ever-burgeoning shoulders! But, there’s no fast forward button.
Once those tremors start, the next step is the limbs refuse to work at all. Hence, pay a little extra for full service gas, and use the bank drive up window. It wasn’t a total loss: Kenai got lots of oogling and a packet of doggie treats! I chose to strap up the vest for the grocery store, as he’s never been in one. Until today.
The store it was. We only had to have milk, soda, and bread. But we had to have milk, soda, and bread. So I got myself a cart, a nice clangy rattler, and walked nice and slow with it. He wasn’t sure he wanted to walk that close to the noisy thing, but he heeled. And the freezer section made noise, too. Did you know those glass doors open? Kenai didn’t, but once the cool air hit is nose, he decided it was pleasant enough! So pleasant in fact, stink butt tried to open one on his own.
I didn’t set things in the cart, I dropped them. Mostly on purpose. I went ahead and picked up some hashbrowns, and shredded cabbage for coleslaw on Sunday. I found out this morning our friends, Wade and Melba are coming for Sunday lunch. It’s making lunch or swimming with them, but not both, since my energy reserves have plummeted. So the menu is make ahead stuff. If they bring a watermelon, we’re set.
I’m sure Kenai would help with the watermelon. He’d help with any of it…
Today’s episode of the sibling saga: My brother’s been off work for 3 days, with the computers being down. His first response wasn’t to use the time to hunt apartments, or deal with his financial situation. He decided to start screwing around with my yard and equipment again. What part of leave it the hell alone is incomprehensible? His other response was to have a 3 day weekend with his 2 year old at our house without asking. So right now, a whiney screamy kid is running loose while her Dad is in my kitchen and depleting what’s left of our monthly groceries. Uuggh.
I caught myself involuntarily cringing when I heard Emily’s voice this morning. Crap on it, I was trying to teach BB not to! But 16 weekends without so much as a ‘would that be okay’ or ‘should I take her out for the day’ is just an imposition. Even Mom is finally starting to resent having lost the Grandmother’s right to say “not this weekend” when we’re too sick or too tired. Or just don’t want to deal with the noise, commotion, and tantrums of my sweet but 2 year old neice. Sometimes it’s just too much, and there’s where else to go.
So if my legs hold out, I’ll be looking for somewhere cool and quiet to take Kenai tomorrow. I thought about a cafe where I could sit and read, but the tots really only gives me 30-40 minutes of down stay before he’s stiff and uncomfortable. A movie would be too loud for him just yet, I think, and at 2 hours I’d be pushing him maybe a little too far. I’ll have to put on my thinking cap and come up with something.
Taking Kenai out takes energy, more than you might think. He has to be brushed and sprayed with deoderant. He has to be loaded up, unloaded, vested, and unvested. He requires attention to watch where he walks, how he responds, and if he needs a slobber towel swipe. Every step takes some energy, and that’s just part of having a service dog. If you’re training an SD like me, the obedience practice and attentiveness takes even more. Comes with the territory.
The pay off is worth it, though. You don’t have to clean up and pay attention to a wheel chair. But staying out of the wheel chair as long as possible is a good thing. Canes won’t alert you to gathering anxiety, nor put a nose on your arm to comfort you when you’re scared of those looming steps. Kenai may be medical equipment when working, but he’s the most fun contraption I’ll ever have to use!
He’ll have to make do with some cuddles and shortened field romps today. I’ll try to get him out more, just for less duration. Hope that will satisfy the high speed hoot. Maybe a new game of some kind? “Help Mom strip the bed?” maybe? Oooh, or play with the hose? We’ll see what happens…
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on July 25, 2008
Kenai listening to the foxes, 28 wks old
Kenai’s gone ga-ga for his brother’s ‘squeaky bone’, a tennis ball shaped like a bone that squeaks. He carries it around, he makes noise through the entire newscast, he takes is upstairs to bed with him… BB didn’t give it so much as a look, but Kenai has claimed it as his true love. He’s discovered he can make it squeak by stepping on it with his foot, which means my little big boy has entered the inevitable era of the Great Dane foot stomp. No other toy has been marvelous enough to spark his interest in foot stomping.
So now he stomps his foot when he barks. He stomps his foot when he’s excited to eat. He stomps his foot when he’s frustrated that I won’t give him my popcorn. If the earthquake warnings go off for SW Missouri, and you happen to know a seismologist, just tell them it’s only Kenai playing with his squeaky bone…
In addition to the thud of love, Kenai has really perked up on this new food. He’s eating 5 cups a day, with normal stools, shines like a glazed donut, and has lots more play energy. I’m thinking it likes him as much as he likes it. Eagle Pack is such a good food. I’m really glad we could get him back on the brand, even if it isn’t the puppy formula (he’s on the lamb and rice now). When we first brought the Brother’s Grin home we started them on the Eagle puppy, and Kenai’s growth was superbly even and muscular. It’s amazing the difference changing foods can make.
My brother’s habits have more than doubled our living expenses, and we are literally broke for the month again. In fact, in the hole. Mom finally told him he has to leave. We have a finite amount of money, and there’s none coming in, so we can’t afford to support him. Pretty much his entire adult life, married or not, working or not, Mom always paid the bills he couldn’t. We won’t even get into the suffocating cloud of mopey misery that comes and goes with him, or the total bedlam of weekend visits by his daughter.
Since she didn’t lay down a date for him to be gone by, I’ll lay money he’ll be here well into the fall. He’ll drag his feet until Mom’s so angry that it becomes a crisis. God help me but my brother is a human black hole, a ceaseless affliction. And Mom has never learned to say no with any conviction until it’s a disaster.
Leaving that life-sucking topic behind, Kenai and I have obedience class tonight. There’s something about having to perform while being watched that makes me anxious. Guess I have to dig about and conjure up some confidence, because if I’m not sure of our teamwork, Kenai won’t be either. I remember getting so nervous before music performances in high school and orchestra auditions in college that I would throw up. But I always did well, so what the big deal was, I don’t know. Still don’t know. Maybe it’s just a remaining childhood thing, from having to be perfect or else for Dad. Whatever it is, I’d like to be rid of it.
We had lots of fun playing outside this morning, me and sasquatch. I brought out the most marvelous squeaky bone and used it as both lure to “come heel” and reward for doing it. It’s a skill I’d like for him to start becoming reliable on, as a continuation of our recall practice. Just come running and wind up on my left side before getting to go play again. It might have been practice but it was super fun!
He’s got the leashed come so good that it’s a big leaping game. And I’m happy with how well he runs my way off leash too. He still declines the come from time to time, but yippee we’re doing fabulous! Come front is killer good, but in public he doesn’t walk backwards in front of me, so come front has a limited practicality. Come heel is the thing to do. (Come side will be next, in case I need him on the right side…)
Kenai is a blast to watch play when he’s feeling frisky. Mister Dignity gets all puppish and leaps around. He tosses a stick or goober runs like a maniac. His lips flap and his taped ears bobble, the rump goes one way and the skin goes in another, slobber slinging in all directions. Mostly I love to watch him play, until he scares the fool out of me by pouncing in a pile of fallen branches where copperheads could be. Oh, and don’t forget trying to dig his way down into the groundhog runs. That’s when I’m abundantly glad to have put on that “recall bootcamp” not long ago. He’s a fearless adventurer, start to finish. I’m not.
Dogs probably wonder why we’re nuts…Sometimes I wonder too.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on July 22, 2008
Sir Speedy stretching his legs, Kenai 28 wks old. The cute little toddles is a big boy now.
My trip to the puppy store Thursday paid off, and I’m glad I bit the bullet and went. I’ve been sick as a dog (pun!) all week, more miserable than I’ve been in years. Very glad I went though. The Frontline Plus and flea spray seems to have vanquished the nasty little buggers that hitched a ride home from obedience class with us. I hate those darn things. Ticks you can pull but fleas jump. Grrrr.
And the tip a friend gave me about Eagle Pack Lamb and Rice being the only formula that didn’t give their dogs loose stools also panned out. Both the boys love the taste, and Kenai’s stools are FINALLY normal. I just have to watch their growth, since I want to slow it down and the Lamb formula has a fairly high calcium content. I’ve restarted the MSM supplement to control it.
BB lost considerable weight from his ordeal, but he would eat the whole bag of Eagle Lamb if I let him. So he should pack it back on now that he’s home. The bag says 4 1/2 cups a day for a 100 pound dog. Right. It’s an adult formula, and these are growing puppies. They’ll get a little more than that. But I do like feeding them lower amounts, since it stretches out the pricey bag.
If 5 cups a day isn’t enough to keep them from getting hungry, I’ll throw in some oatmeal. Vets say to use rice or potatoes, even pasta. But that’s all starch and they put on fat from it. I want to keep them lean, so rice defeats my purpose. Oatmeal is my preferred additive to keep the hungries away.
Kenai didn’t get to play at the puppy store Thursday, since I needed him to be calm and obedient. He wore his vest and gentle leader. The sinus infection my neice brought with her last weekend moved into my nose, and it set of a migraine storm/fibro flare of biblical proportions. That pic of Kenai was one of the mere 3 play times he had all week long. I even slept on the couch one night because I was afraid of falling on the stairs to our bedroom.
For all his boredom, Kenai behaved most gracefully. I can’t fault him for a little whining and restlessness. Saturday I was feeling a bit better after some muscle relaxants, and we did some playing inside. And yesterday morning was good, too. So into the car we went. I bought a big bag of Eagle, and a couple interesting toys for little brother BB who is stuck on bed rest. Then it was time for lunch out.
The restaurant was packed, loud and busy. Big test of puppy composure. Our back booths were taken, so Kenai had to do a down stay right in the middle of the place, with people coming and going all around him. His tendency to take up the walkway needed some reminding to move in, but he kept his large self mostly out of the way. He did very well just laying there for about 30 minutes! Crying children, clanging dishes, loud voices, people walking by from all directions…
Yay!!!! That’s my big butt boy!
After 30 minutes he was getting restless, his legs sore from the hard floor (darn growing pains), and just wanting to get up. He made it another 20 minutes until we were finished eating, though he was getting up and had to be returned to down stays 3-4 times. The place was clearing out, and almost empty when we finished. I don’t expect “perfect” from him, though I keep in mind what we need to practice and polish up.
My boy’s doing good in his training. Maturity and practice will put the finishing touches on his performance. One thing I do need to consider is Kenai’s desire to keep an eye on who is near me. When I feel really ill and fragile, Kenai will do his sit stay at the counter facing backwards. He’s not reactive, he just wants to be able to see who is near. He’ll wag his tail at them, but won’t turn his back.
I’ve tried several times to turn him around, and the smart little stink decides he’ll do a down/stay in front of me when I’m at the counter, that way he can still see. Uugh. Stubborn boy. He can tell when I’m weak, and wants to be on sentry duty. He maintains his dignity and gentleness, but I’m wondering what will happen someday if an agressive dog or person gets too close.
We’ve had a couple incidences with a snarly dog that focused on him, and it will make Kenai step back a bit. But once it was directed at me, while I stood and chatted with someone, and he got right up against me, with most of his body sheilding me. His tail came out from its hiding place and his head came up. The little dog backed off, but someday one might not.
That’s normal, for dogs to protect their “pack”, especially Danes with such a very strong social bond with their humans. But it could get us in trouble as a service dog team. He cannot ever, ever, growl or bite as a service dog. He hasn’t tried, but under the right circumstances, any dog will. In a way, it is comforting to know that Kenai would protect me, but then again, it is a concern. I keep that in mind when dogs or people approach us that seem a bit unstable.
I watched a dog whisperer show where he dealt with walking your dog around unleashed dogs. I know the “technique”, and have a couple times used it in my life, but some days my ability to project a calm and assertive energy is not so good. Those are the days I am concerned that Kenai will take it upon himself to deal with a situation. The burden is upon me, to be aware and capable. I don’t want to let Kenai down about it. I hope I don’t, and I’ll try not to.
My rhino baby isn’t so little anymore. He’s moved out of the “all puppy” stage of life, and into that transition between mature and immature. Sometimes he is downright majestic, calm and very adult. Then we have bursts of “goober puppy”, with zoomies, snuggies, and funnies. Then it’s back to Mr. Dignity. We’ve gone from glimpses of the adult Kenai admist the playful puppy, to glimpses of the playful puppy admist the growing up boy.
I still have a few months before adolescence hits, in all it’s unnuetered glory. I’ve got a little time to get my legs steady again, thank God! We’ve come a long way, me and Kenai. We’ve gone through alot together already. My friend with the brand new Dane puppy has made me notice just how grown up the toffee tank has become. The tiny toddles that followed me around now has a long lope! (And a mind of his own!)
He’s really a remarkable young fellow, so patient as I work out the kinks of how to train a service dog from the ground up with all my limitations. He’s become a stunningly beautiful dog, too. We get stopped constantly to be told how he was seen across a parking lot, or they just had to come and say what a magnificent dog he is, or how well behaved he is.
If they only knew the blood sweat and tears! There are days that a compliment makes it worth the effort, so thanks and good wishes to everyone that goes out of their way to encourage a service dog handler!
A note about BB–he’s doing better, and eating like a horse. All his poops are loose enough to come right out and his suture lines are closed. No problems now, and we’ll get him back on track with his PT as soon as he’s off bed rest and the staples are out. Keeping him quiet for the week will be the biggest problem.
I’m just glad to have my little four pack back together. Everybody’s home where they belong. Now if we could just get rid of the intruders…
“Fish and houseguests start to stink after a week”, –an unknown but wise soul
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on July 21, 2008
Kenai waiting for little brother to come home, 28 wks old
Kenai got himself some playtime yesterday morning, and a ride in the car. We had to do the nasties, and get his ears taped up. Those ears were practicing every incorrect stance in the book, and just needed to be posted again. Sorry buddy, no fun. He set a record, though, as the first pup the vet’s ever needed to use 6 paper towels to post with. We left the posts longer than the ears to help pull them out since they like to cross over his head.
As reward, we stopped next at the puppy store. His stools are still on the loose side, and since he’s getting his pancreatic enzymes, I’m stuck thinking it’s the food again. I don’t want to change his food again. Might have to, so I was looking for a food for him. He gets to go off leash in that store, and while I was checking out bags, 2 moms came in.
Kenai greeted them at the door, running up to say hi. They seemed hesitant, so I called across the store for Kenai to “back” and “sit”. Low and behold, he did! They were really impressed. So was I for that matter! He followed the little girl around, sitting when she stopped walking, and politely mooching her lollipop. He even did a “leave it” when part of the pop fell off the stick. And Kenai did his down, up, and stay commands when the little girl asked him… I guess some of our hard work has actually stuck.
I didn’t get a chance to check out the flea stuff, so I need to go back today since I’m finding a couple of fleas again. Darn it. You’d think a dog training club would have flea and tick control in their property and buildings. Anyway, I have to go back before my head starts up again.
I don’t know for sure what’s going on with me, but I don’t like it. I’m running a fever for three days, and I haven’t hurt like this in years. The upper body is the worst, with the neck pain being out of control. It’s setting off migraines again. Kenai’s been a little short on play time and going places because of it. Sorry buddy. We didn’t last long yesterday, and came home.
Kenai’s legs are hurting too, and I ordered a homeopathic pain/inflammation remedy for dogs Wednesday. Hopefully I’ll get it by Saturday, and it will relieve some of his discomfort. I hate to see him stiff legging around like an old Dane with arthritis. Gotta slow his growth down somehow.
After a good nap, I told Kenai that BB was coming home and he high tailed it to his brother’s bed and camped out at the window. I just emptied my pharmacy and laid down to wait. Then he saw Mom’s car! Happy, happy boys, that’s for sure. Beebs got put in his expen and Kenai laid down right beside it until my neice and her 2 half brothers came in from swimming.
I had tried to time their swimming so that they would be gone before Mom got home with BB, but it didn’t work out that way. So I was really fast with BB’s look at that game to keep him from barking–don’t want to stress those sutures. I’ll be doing that all weekend, God help me.
While I was occupied with BB, I heard the oldest boy Evan, who is 13, blowing on Kenai’s face real hard, and looked around to tell him not to do that. I was just in time to see my toffee tank sit up and slap him with one of his giant paws. Whacked him in right in the back of his head, too, like some Italian Grandma. Kenai got crated, ’cause it was no accident, and not gentle either. Big little Boy meant that. A little grumpy, methinks. Can’t do that, though, grumpy or not.
Evan has ADHD, and refuses now to take his medicine. He also has a nasty streak, and Kenai doesn’t really like to be around him. I make the furry one behave, and watch Evan too, but Evan can get Kenai riled up quick, and I almost thought the paw slapping was deserved. Maybe he’ll learn, but I doubt it. He really can’t control himself with his ADHD.
Those paws are not to be taken lightly. I checked Kenai’s paws the other day to see how they compared with his father’s, the beautiful Bennie. Bennie’s paw covered my hand from the wrist to the tip of my longest finger. Kenai’s go from the wrist to just past the palm of my hand now, at 7 months old. They’re practically snow shoes! He does get good traction with them. Can slap pretty good with them too.
Kenai stayed in the crate until everyone left, then got his supper. He wanted so badly to go run and play, but by then I was severely nauseated. Sorry buddy, again. Back to bed with lots of meds. He’s so good about putting up with my problems, sweet boy, even when he wants to play. So today I’m taking back to the puppy store, for some flea stuff. I can manage one quick outing. No work, though, just regular puppy. Leave the vest.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on July 18, 2008
I’m a happy boy, Mom… let’s play some more! Kenai 27 weeks old
Kenai went to obedience class last night, and Scooby Doo didn’t show up!! We had some attempts to rubberneck, to bugger with other dogs, and to get excited, but the Gentle Leader made it all so much easier. He loose leash walked so well we made it to 4 marshmallows on the spoon. We’d have done 5 or more if my hands weren’t having tremors. Sorry buddy.
I found myself to be nervous before we left for the OC. No way was I going to let my anxiety give him another awful class. So I did some praying, some singing, and some deep breathing all the way there. I really wanted him to do well, even if there is touch of ego in that: how good it is to show off the marvelous boy that rocks his public outings. More than that, though, I don’t want him to have any more flubs, because he should be proud of himself.
Dogs know when they’ve knocked out a killer show. You can see a dog’s head pick up, their tail come out, and they stand up taller. It’s easy for them to feel when they’ve made you happy, and they enjoy it. Makes ‘em feel good, knowing how well they’ve done. Kenai did his work, did it well, and did it without treats. Affection was his reward, and at one point, he got so happy he licked the make up off my face and leaned.
He held his sit/stay and down/stay while I went all around him, ran in front of him, looped behind him, jumped over him and anything else spastic I could think of to try and make him break it. When released, Kenai stood his beautiful self up and popped out an honest to goodness show “stack”, like he was in a conformation ring. Talk about proud of himself!
His legs were (and are) very sore, which makes holding that sit/stay even more significant. He held, even if it hurt. But I don’t want him to hurt, I want him to be comfortable. So I’ll be checking out some homeopathic remedies to reduce his pain and inflammation.
I just don’t know that it is Panosteitis in the bones, because he keeps going for the big tendon at the back of his hind legs. If I press the bones he’s fine, but if I mess with the Achilles and flexor tendons he reacts. Pano is a nutritional growth issue where the bones are very dense, and painful as they grow. Pups can chew their legs, and even go lame.
Kenai is a heavy boned, fast growing Dane pup, so it is certainly possible. But I just hesitate to say he has Pano: it’s almost as if the tendons aren’t growing quite as fast as the bones and are being stretched harder than normal. I don’t know. Whatever it is, I’ll see what I can come up with to help him.
The only rotten thing about last night was Kenai came home with fleas… oh I was mad! None of my dogs have ever had fleas. Ticks, yeah. But I not fleas. Now I have to find something to get rid of them, on him and in the house. I don’t like using flea and tick stuff on my boys: if it makes me sick, it might make them sick if used too often. I brushed and sprayed him with the natural repellant I have, and sprayed the furniture/carpets and such. But repellants don’t kill.
BB wound up having surgery yesterday, to remove what looked like a peice of metal from his intestines. It was metal. It was also attached to a collar… how on earth he got it and swallowed it unseen is a mystery. Had to be overnight, the same night he decimated that bone. Beebs is doing very well, though, and had his stomach “tacked”, called gastroplexy, to prevent his stomach from twisting if he happens to bloat.
But the vets put on such pressure for us to neuter him I got mad. They called 3 times, not to tell Mom about her puppy’s emergency surgery but to pressure her to neuter. Not a word about how long the surgery would be, what complications might arise, etc…nothing but neuter, neuter, neuter. The final call, they said since we weren’t going to castrate, they’d just go do the surgery and hung up. Mom was sobbing, and I was pissed.
BB has an undescended testicle, which isn’t too rare. It’s hanging out up there, atrophied and useless in his abdomen since it can’t get through the super narrow pelvis. Undescended testicles are more likely to grow tumors and even become cancerous. I know that, and that one single sentence was all those vets had to say, and we would say thank you but no.
It would be nice to not have to worry about another surgery to nueter him later, but we have medical reasons NOT to neuter yet, if at all. And you cannot look at his smashed up pelvis, his impaired leg and tell me he won’t ever need another surgery to keep him walking. It’s not like there won’t be an opportunity later.
Nuetering is an elective surgery, it is not medically necessary. And BB cannot risk developing the super fast bone growth that giant breeds usually will have if castrated before adulthood. Male Danes will grow super tall and super skinny if neutered before 12-18 months old. Experts in giant breed growth are starting to say it all over the place, finally.
If BB’s leg bones grow too fast, he is far more likely to speed up the process of deformity in his damaged leg. He bears most of his weight on his front legs, and they are splaying already because of it. Neutering him now would make those other legs longer, faster, and weaker. They could even fracture the smaller bones from nothing but the improper distribution of the weight of his body.
Our sweet Bananna Butt could wind up an amputee or even need to be put to sleep if the deformity cannot be repaired again, or the other legs give out. I WILL NOT ENDANGER HIS LIFE FOR SOMETHING NOT MEDICALLY NECESSARY. I was so angry at the heavy handed tactics and the fact that they told us nothing at all about his emergency surgery, that I called Dr. Fox, the vet that had done BB’s leg surgery.
Ten minutes later, Dr. Fox called back after going into the operating room and finding out what was going on. He certainly knew I was mad about the inappropriate way we were treated. He did as he always does: give a complete and detailed report of what was being done, what complications we need to worry about, how long BB would likley be in intensive care, and asked if we had any questions. THAT is how you talk to a dog’s owner.
The vet in charge hasn’t called us yet today. She’d better suck up her pride and either apologize or seriously alter her bedside manner. Mom’s still very fragile, so I have the phone. Boy do I have the phone… I better not get avoidance, either. Can ya tell I’m a little displeased?
We hope to have the Beebster home again this weekend, but he can’t leave until he’s eating and pooping normally. So we’ve got our fingers crossed.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on July 16, 2008
The side I see most of when Kenai’s in the field, 28 wks old, today in fact.
Sorry that the type is kinda small: in the post writing box, it appears as heading 2. But for some reason, when I preview the post, it’s tiny little type. I cannot get a larger typeface, no matter what I try. Now what’s the matter?
Merciful heavens, last week was absolutely punishing. Kenai had himself a nervous breakdown at obedience class Tuesday night. Imagine Scooby Doo in a haunted house and you get some idea of what a nightmare it was for us both. I was so utterly frustrated, I had a mid-level melt down myself. I mean, bless it all, the lion pawed king of a snoozing down stay in a restaurant couldn’t hold it for 30 seconds in class.
It took me 3 days to restore a positive outlook about our training, and only after first figuring out what exactly about the OC (obedience class) sends my toffee tank into near earth orbit, and secondly coming up with a plan to deal with it. Don’t groan, you! That’s just me, always have a plan…have plan, no give up. Helplessness sucks and I thumb my nose at it whenever possible.
Discouragement almost got me. I must have some fundamental character flaw, though, because I just cannot bring myself to give up on Kenai: I know that I know that I know he has it in him to handle anything I ask of him. It’s up to me to make that easier for him, hence, the need for a planned approach.
So what number is this now, 27 B plan, 329 J plan, 38 DD plan…seriously, when we get to an F cup, I’m hanging from a bridge by it. Yep, crack the wallet, we’re buying the high quality bras. No Wal-Mart fall aparts, thank you.
Anyway, after much experimentation, I’ve discovered the OC is a nightmare for my toffee tank because of the noise. He reacts strongly (for him) to high pitched blaring sounds. Class, yeah. It’s not happy excited barking, but shrill, over-wrought, and LOUD. I come home with a headache every week, so I get it, buddy. Several more weeks of this coming, too.
One dog in particular is large enough for the endless scream to be truly skull piercing. That’s alot to ask of a Great Dane, ignoring so much crazy anxiety around them, especially as a puppy. Most Danes just do not like that kind of instability. The little dogs can make a dentist grind their teeth, but the larger girl, oh my. I don’t hold it against her, though. She’s a rescue and her new family has gone to extraordinary lengths to exercise and try to quiet her. Kudos to them, too. I may mention the book “Control Unleashed” to her handlers—can’t hurt.
For Kenai, the gentle leader has made a return appearance so I can control his rampant rubbernecking and tango dancing when uncomfortable with something. Poor guy. He still hates it. But it immediately stopped his attempts to haul me around like a load. The GL is just enough to bring down his anxious excitement in public. He’s still anxious more than I’d like, but he walks and obeys easily with it. Every outing is nearly effortless for me now, with barely a touch on the leash for him to stop what I don’t like.
These ups and downs with him are more frequent and intense than I’d expect from a developing puppy. But Kenai’s the first pup I’ve brought home with a plan in mind. That’s always tricky, shaping a pup’s personality to fit what you want them to do. Kenai definitely has the goods, it’s just a matter of accentuating what he does that’s right and discouraging what isn’t. It’s far easier to get the pup home then decide what they are good at after a few months of living with them. I’m asking more of him than any of my past loves.
Taj would never have been able to stick his nose in the chip-n-dip aisle and come out with nothing to show for it. And taking Brazos, at a lean 220 pounds, into a store… the clerk would have automatically assumed it was an armed robbery! Kenai is carrying more expectation than the others. Good thing he’s built like a locomotive, huh?
I would have written about our numerous outings since the GL returned, except I couldn’t get online a single time since Friday afternoon: my brother didn’t get off the dial up line at all until he went back to work Monday morning. I even tried at 3am since I couldn’t sleep. His latest deal: sign up for this high speed and get free installation, free this, free that…I asked what the catch was, and turns out it’s a 2 year contract for $60 month. “I’ll pay for it”, he said.
That was more than I could take, and reminded him of the myriad of times he’s been told he wouldn’t be staying here indefinitely. 2 years, and I’d be stuck with a bill I couldn’t pay when he finally gets kicked out. Jumping up (blank), he honest-to-unholy-hell believes he’s going to live here the rest of his life. I would feel sorry for him if he wasn’t catastrophic to everyone around him. Ever know someone you’d pay your last dime not to help you? Okay, enough of that before I take Kenai’s 38 DD plan and strangle someone with it.
This week is starting off just as punishing as the last one, and I really hope it turns around. While I sat here writing a post yesterday, the Orkin man came to spray for all the buggies and bities. I left Kenai upstairs shutting the door behind me, planning only to be downstairs for a few moments. Next thing I know, there’s Kenai, poking the man with his nose and insisting on some attention. OMG, he can open doors now… Hummm. No more quickie runs to the kitchen and back for a cold soda, I guess.
And while I was downstairs, Mom wakes up and takes BB outside to relieve himself. Five minutes later, we’re loading up the car with puppies and running to the vet. Beebs is throwing up and cries when he tries to poop. Pardon my language, but OH SHIT. Our vet is on vacation, but his partner pops BB on the xray table and finds out what happened to the ham bone we thought Kenai had absconded with.
BB had obliterated it to tiny bits, and plugged up his bowels with bone chips. His pelvis is very narrow from being fractured (likely the same injury that caused his hernias and leg problems), so he’s on low dose laxatives to keep his stools loose enough to get entirely out. Odd, but we want BB to have loose stools and can’t get Kenai’s completely firmed up. Anyway, we didn’t even get to go home for deodorant and a mouthwash gargle: straight up to U of Missouri vet school again for some emergency care.
The little Blunder Butt is still there, sweet baby. Today the Brothers Grin turn 7 months old, and BB gets a couple more enemas for his birthday. Kenai gets his ears taped to help cut down on the terrible decibel levels entering his sensitive ears in the OC, later tonight. And no, I’m not giving him a ham bone when we get home!
I am, however, going to take it easy until Kenai’s pre-class run time tonight. It’s a 4 hour drive each way to U of Mo, and I drove. It kicked my ample bum, too: not in good shape this morning. So I’ll just rest up, saving my energy for emptying the rhino baby’s rocket boosters out in the field—it will help him focus in his class debut as himself, not Scooby Doo.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on July 15, 2008
Joker, the soon to be service dog in training
This is Joker, the new Dane puppy of my friend, Roni. Joker is also intended to become a service dog, just like Kenai. What a cutie! That face just begs to be smooched.
There was a comment that got me thinking about a post I should write: how to modify the principles of the “Dog Whisperer”, Cesar Milan, for young puppies. If you follow Cesar’s mantra of exercise, discipline, and affection, as I do, you will find that puppies are not the same as adults! They need exercise, discipline, and affection too, but how you go about it needs some modifications.
Puppy capacities are different than an adult dog, just as human children can’t be approached and treated as if they were adults. Personally, I have found that a combination of Cesar’s ideas and positive reward training is the most effective way to teach a puppy how to live happily in my “pack”.
Exercise is obvious in how it applies to puppies. Puppies are energetic, and need lots of frequent exercise to burn some of it off so they can behave well for you. Interactive exercise is the most beneficial for puppies that are learning the rules and dynamics of pack life: dominance, submission, what kind of play is allowed and what isn’t, and how to turn their playfulness on and off at appropriate times.
Fetch is the easiest of the ”tire the puppy and teach” at the same time games. You can toss a ball in the back yard, have them swim down a floatie toy and bring it back to you… whatever. The going to get something, then bringing it back and surrendering it to you is a submissive behavior. Dominance and submission aren’t always “serious”: they can be, and often are best learned by pups, during play time.
Another interactive exercise that teaches while it tires is recall practice. Puppies investigate, so while they sniff the petunias, you start walking the other direction and call them to come, with lots of excitement. They run to you, to see what is so very exciting, recieve affection or a treat, and get to go check something else out. You’ve also taught them a command that can save their life.
Coming when called, to me, is the absolute most important obedience command, and should be taught to every single puppy. If you teach a puppy no other commands, like sit or down or stay, you still need to teach them to come when called! If a pup learns this, they can stop dead and rocket back to you instead of out in the street.
With Great Dane puppies, I am cautious about what kind of exercise they get. Too much heavy duty running, jumping for toys, leaping off perches and the like are the most common culprits in bone and joint injuries. You can walk till you drop and not do any harm to a healthy puppy. But I never, ever, allow or encourage a Great Dane puppy (under 12 months old) to jump.
Discipline has the biggest changes between how an adult dog is treated and how a puppy is treated. You need to teach a puppy not only what you don’t want, but what you do want. Redirecting after correction, and encouraging are the best ways to teach your pack rules to the little ones.
For instance, a young pup doesn’t know your socks aren’t a toy, because everything is a toy until they learn what isn’t. So when the puppy goes for the socks, a mild correction followed immediately by returning their attention to the fuzzy squeaky toy and a few moments of play will teach both what is and what isn’t acceptable. That is redirecting after correction.
For correcting a puppy, it doesn’t usually take much. A frowning “no”, and maybe a firm poke will often be enough. If the pup doesn’t back away or tries to snatch the sock, they need to learn that that sock is YOURS, and you meant that no. So “claiming” the sock, as Cesar does will get your point across.
Claiming is a preventative sort of correction, because once the pup understands that you own everything, then as pack leader in their minds, you have the right to decide what is played with and what isn’t. It’s easy to do, and can prevent alot of chewed up books and turned over trashcans! The attitude you do it with will determine whether or not the pup “gets” the idea: calm, patient, but definite.
To claim the sock the pup won’t let alone, you stand up, step on the sock, and stand over it like you own it (because you do). At the same time, you can use your fingers in a claw position to finger bite the puppy that hasn’t backed away. They should back away on their own, not be shoved back, which is willingly surrendering the sock to your posession.
It’s the same with any object or space: the toy, the garage they aren’t allowed in, the cat, the good couch in the front room, the 2 or 3 foot area around the door they aren’t allowed to charge into. Claim anything the puppy is interested in that you don’t want them to mess with.
Once the pup has backed away, then the incident is over, and your attitude returns to fun so you can redirect them to what can be played with. And make the toy more fun than the sock! Swish it around, run off with it, play tuggie (be sure you win!), or any thing else the puppy enjoys. A few moments of this will suffice to make the toy or bone better to play with than the sleeping cat on the footstool!
You don’t need to be angry, frustrated, or irritable with a young puppy. They are persistant little creatures by nature. The wolf that gives up too quick will go hungry, so persistance is instinctive. Patience is more than a virtue. They just have to learn what you want and don’t want, and if you really are going to enforce the rules of the pack.
It takes as long as it takes, and most puppies will need several firm reminders that the dishtowels are permanently off limits. As the puppy gets older, the intensity of your correction and attitude might need to be stronger, but patience is the name of the game with puppies. Older pups will often test you about what they’ve learned is off limits, just to see what they can pull off.
Encouraging behaviors you want is just idiotproof with young puppies! It’s so easy. Rare is the pup that doesn’t care about your attention or treats. First, you have to decide what you want your puppy to become as an adult. If you want a calm and quiet companion, then recognize and reward any calm behavior they offer you.
Not barking or returning to their bone when the neighbor’s dog starts, deserves a reward. Laying down at your feet earns a treat and some affection. Enjoying a nice puppy massage or tummy rubs encourages a puppy to quiet down at your touch or soft voice. Sitting while you prepare their food, or before getting attention is a wonderful habit to reward.
If what you want is an active, competition dog, then look for behaviors that mimic the training. Burrowing under the blankets and coming out the other side gets lots of love if you want an agility dog to run through tunnels. A pup intended for tracking that follows the scent trail of a favorite chew toy you’ve hidden, needs some “good boy, find, good girl” (and maybe some help) until they find it. A pup that watches you move but stays still needs rewards if you want an obedience trial dog.
Affection is the tool that encourages the pup to repeat their actions. So if you’re giving the pup affection, even if they are ripping apart your purse or nipping your ankles, you will have more ripping and nipping. If you give affection for peeing outside or fetching your slippers, you will get more peeing outside and fetching. You will get the adult dog behavior you rewarded (or didn’t correct) in a puppy.
Once you know what you want from your pup, you can shape their behavior by giving overt affection only when they do what you want. We humans tend to believe that loving a puppy is kisses, hugs, and petting. Those things are affection and affection is a behavior, love is an emotion. Dogs feel our love without overt affection. They are keenly aware of what we are feeling, so all you have to do to let the pup know you love them is to feel it when they are near.
Puppies really need lots of affection and reward. If their little world is happy and fun, you will likely have a happy and fun dog. A puppy that doesn’t get much affection or encouragement, just a bunch of corrections, will often be insecure as adults. That’s the benefit of positive reward training: you find yourself looking for things to praise and reward, thereby finding your focus is on how good your puppy is instead of how often they misbehave.
One last thought, is that shaping your puppy’s behavior with exersice, discipline, and affection doesn’t change the puppy’s personality. You may have gotten a puppy with the intention of having them become a search and rescue dog. But as they live with you and grow, you may find they simply doesn’t like that activity, or don’t have the natural tendencies to succeed in S&R.
Accepting the puppy for who they are, not just what you want from them, is part of loving them. You can shape behavoir, but trying to change the puppy’s basic nature will only be emotionally damaging. If the pup won’t cut it in search and rescue, or doesn’t want to be a working dog, then we need to respect them enough not to force the job on them.
With Kenai, the first puppy I’ve gotten with a specific purpose in mind, I have times when I question if I’m asking him to become something that he just doesn’t want to be. He isn’t naturally given to being attentive, and that is a trait I am having to work against. So I encourage attentiveness with affection and reward as much as I can.
But if a day comes that adult Kenai looks at me, with his harness, his pack, his vest, and his eyes say “I don’t want this, Mom”,…if I cannot return the fun and enjoyment to his service with encouragement and reward, then I have to relenquish that. Dogs are living creatures, with emotions and desires. They should be respected as such, and loved for no other reason than they love us.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on July 9, 2008