All posts for the month October, 2008
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on October 30, 2008
Kenai gets some Chloe play, the poor girl! 43 wks old
Wow! What an exhausting day Monday was. It began as usual; early breakfast, then a quickie run to the c-store, our near daily ritual. I spend 42 cents for a soda refill, but mostly it’s the early morning ride that we enjoy. The scenery is so pretty, especially in fall. Mornings are my favorite time of day, with evenings as the long, long rays of a setting sun splash over the landscape coming in second.
With Mom and BB up, their morning rituals began while Brown Rhino and I went upstairs for computer time and toy times. Once Mom the not-a-morning-person has her eyeballs focused, medicine downed, I come down and make breakfast then take Kenai for his morning run about. After that we decide the logistics of our day, and go to it.
Monday’s go to it was we all four went to Miss Melba’s, ostensibly to hook up a DVD/VCR dubbing machine, which BTW, I can’t get to work right. Mom and I only inflicted one boy at a time on little Chloe the lab. She and BB play well together, since he’s only got his front feet and mouth to play with-too gimpy to leap about or squish her. They got to hang out and romp for an hour or so by themselves while we ate lunch. Oh that woman can cook. Kenai did not like staying inside with the peoples until we were done eating.
Then it was Kenai’s turn, the school yard bully. No, he’s not mean, he’s so excited to play with another dog that he forgets his strength. He’s got 50 pounds on her, and those legs are both long enough and agile enough to keep up with her, even when she turns on a dime.
She snapped at him once for a too hard swat, and a couple times she came over to us for rescue from the vigorous play. I had to use his gentle leader for control then, so she could get a break to catch her breath. Darn that boy is beastly strong!
After a quick nap inside, the Brothers Grin wanted to play with each other, and being so tired, they kept it confined to the floor, laying down for their nip and swat games. That I don’t mind, but when Kenai gets up, it’s game over. He’s too big to allow the thump and wump on little brother, who is too easily injured to take it.
After awhile though, I was tired of it, and they didn’t want to leave each other alone. Then they got some scolding and sent to their corners. No playing under the dining room table-someone is bound to stand up. I think Mom and I might start allowing them floor play time after their runs, since nobody got hurt or nasty about it.
Maybe if they know they will have some play time every day with each other, they won’t be so pushy about it. But not until our house is our own, and it’s just the 4 of us again. Mom and I both will be feeling better, and able to better handle the inevitable stand up and escalate that will happen. I once saw Sasquatch up-end little brother with a single foot wallop. Ouch.
And speaking of ouch, when we got home, I took a pain pill, Kenai got a pain pill, and BB got a pain pill. Monday afternoon and evening was unnaturally quiet. I turned up the heated mattress pad, piled on the covers, and crashed hard as the pain subsided. Kenai scooted over to the heat off side, and didn’t want to get up. The jangle of kibble hitting the steel bowl managed where I had failed.
Our first stop though, before Melba’s was the vet for the weekly weigh in. HE’S GAINED WEIGHT! He’s up to 119 pounds even, my love bud. The caramel coat has a little shed, but he’s starting to shine good again. He ran like a banshee outside, and at Melba’s house with Chloe. He’s feeling better, finally.
The only concern is his stools are a bit softer with the EVO food at 30%-50%. I may have to drop it a tiny bit more, but he has such good energy on it. And that weight gain is so encouraging. Maybe I’ll just wait it out and see if I have to drop the EVO, since he needs the calories. He’s still a touch too thin, even with 3 added pounds.
And BB-wow, he’s bony but not like the carcass of a filleted grouper, and his energy Monday with Chloe was double or better what he’s had recently. He hasn’t had any loose stool with 50% EVO and 50%Eagle Lamb, which is good since he is in desperate need of a big calorie boost. So yay! His overall behavior is less nippy and chewy too, though not dramatically different. I watch him everyday, anyway, for any bone growth changes; that EVO is high in minerals.
As exhausting as Monday was, and painful for me, the uncanny quiet the rest of the day gave me a chance to recover some. I discovered that I was pretty anxious about watching Kenai with Chloe, afraid that he would hurt her or hurt himself, being such a forceful player. He can be a thug when the testosterone is flowing.
But there wasn’t any aggressiveness, nothing but hearty playfulness. Maybe the anxiety is because I really don’t have the strength to manhandle him anymore when he gets too spirited? Or perhaps because I haven’t got the command control over him I’d like when he’s excited.
I haven’t got enough influence on that excited brain to command an “off” verbally without having to take hold of him to enforce it. At least not yet. He isn’t doing anything except not knowing when to pause! I’ve got to relax about it, I guess. Still, I would feel so awful if anyone got hurt. If Chloe was more his size, I wonder if I would be less concerned or more?
Kenai astounds me with his athleticism. He can cover the almost 2 acre field from one end to the other in a matter of seconds, flying by like a leopard. He can also flush and catch a rabbit, if given 20 feet or more, no matter how many turns and corners are taken. (He slaps a foot on long eared furry things, then lets it go to chase some more.) He easily cleared a 4 foot tall, 4 foot wide hedge in one bound like some African antelope, just the other day. Didn’t even break stride!
Nearly any Dane can do these things because of the huge length of their stride, but there is an added measure of majesty when Kenai does it I’ve never seen in my previous boys. Some days, he reminds me more of a mountain lion than a dog, with their gracefulness and strength. It’s our very own splendor in the grass, those rocket runs! He’s immensely powerful, but not in a heavy, plodding bear like way, if that makes sense. That’s one dog that could hunt!
Of course I’d be terrified that he’d get hurt if used for hunting, the breed’s original purpose, but it’s awesome to see the raw power he has at his disposal. Yet he’s so gentle most of the time, delicate enough with those feet to turn his foot and lightly tap a ball out from under a plant stand without touching anything but ball.
When I get to heaven, I’ll be able to run that fast too. We can do together then, and I have the sneaking feeling that he’ll enjoy it!
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on October 28, 2008
This is the scenery on our early morning outings now, all frosty and colorful!
Oh my little lonesome dove… Kenai seemed to be needy for attention the past couple days, since the hard fall made him more sore. He’s wanted attention while I wanted to rest or work on the computer. I’ve been thinking for awhile that maybe I spend too much time on the laptop. I am typing off and on through the day. Then I think, if I someday have a job where I’m on the computer most of the time, he will have to adjust to that.
I’d like to have our toy times and fun upstairs after his breakfast, while he’s feeling playful, instead of going straight to the computer. But while my brother is here monopolizing the dial up line all day and night…early morning is the only time I can get on my internet line without being forced to ask and bugged to get off.
You know, having a sponge attached to your coral is terrifically frustrating. Once in the door a mooch settles in and what’s yours is theirs. It’s like having gum in your hair: it sticks to everything, you can’t brush it out or it mucks up your brush, if you apply pressure it spreads out and sticks harder, if you extricate one strand the residue sticks up other strands, chilling it just hardens the knot, and it doesn’t ever fall out on it’s own…
This thought thread continued, but I put I on another blog, since it goes farther into politics and social commentary than I like to deposit on Kenai’s blog. (http://gracewonder.wordpress.com/). There’s enough with Kenai’s training and development for me to gab about. Gab I do, too, being very much a talker.
Chloe the hearing dog’s blog (http://hearingelmo.wordpress.com/) had a good personality defining article on it, and I found that I landed as a contrasting mix of melancholic, list making thinker, and extroverted mouthpiece! Maybe that’s the hang up communicating with Kenai—he doesn’t know which one of me to talk to!
Not really, I’m sure the clog in the information pipeline between us is mine, thanks to the fibro fogs. Those fogs require nearly obsessive focus on one thing at a time, with blinders to everything else to limit the ridiculous distractedness. But it does give some creative cartoonist a good Sunday funny strip topic. Boy, if I could draw, the misadventures with Kenai would provide years of income!
My Sasquatch had his first too loose scrap heap today since implementing the 3 feeding regime, and no reflux until his meal with the aspirin. I’m going back to two meals a day since he might be getting too much enzyme supplement with 3 meals. And he doesn’t seem satisfied with only 2 cups at a time, even with three meals. I’m also slightly reducing the EVO to about 1/3 of his food; the high protein can cause diarrhea. He’ll have to do without aspirin since he can’t seem to tolerate it at all, poor guy.
BUT, guess who’s afternoon brushing didn’t coat the deck Sunday?! There’s a bit more shed than was once normal for him, but the fur coat is getting shiny and full again. Pretty soon, he should have the gloss of a glazed donut how he used to. Then I know he’s healthier as well as handsomer. (I know handsomer is terrible English, but I liked the rhyme.) Today I’m supposed to swing by the vet for his weekly weigh in, and I’m hoping he’s at 120 pounds.
I can’t get that stupid kennel apart to move it. Lord knows I can’t haul the good rich soil from the garden rows out, so I’m going to have to abandon it. With a little dirt leveling, the boys will have a shorter, wider run than intended, but at least they’ll have a place to exercise that is safer than watching the brown bottoms disappearing. Once good and tired, maybe they’ll stick closer when loose in the yard with me.
Next year’s veggie patch will have to be somewhere else, and the process of soil enrichment will begin all over again. Like everything else, I’ve found easier ways of gardening, though the energy I expend is concentrated on building good soil. There’s less plant care that way.
Like everything else, gardening has also become an exercise in patience—I don’t fight nature if at all possible, I just work with it and wait for it to do the work so I don’t have to. Takes longer, but doesn’t wreck the body. The body is wrecked right now anyway. Season changes are deadly on the fibro and chronic Lyme. Spring and fall, anyway. Ouch.
I did a bit of thievery and took one of BB’s pain pills Sunday, just to be able to sleep. That much pain will awaken me, even through sleep meds. And the irony is, the less I sleep, the more I hurt, so the less I sleep… At least that cycle works in the other direction too; the better I sleep, the less I hurt, so the better I sleep. That’s the direction to go.
Kenai’s outside time has been unleashed, at least until I get the soil level in the unmovable kennel. He just has to have the freedom to run to be happy, the rugged rumpus. Deep down I knew it wouldn’t go well keeping him leashed. His spirit deflates.
Great Danes are classified as working dogs, but really they are hunting dogs. They were developed to hunt bear and wild boar, so they have a nose and chase instinct like any bloodhound or bird dog. I’ve said it before, but Kenai is very ancestral, very much a throw back to the hunting dog days.
It isn’t so much entertainment to tree a squirrel or flush a rabbit as it is fulfilling his nature, as the Dog Whisperer would say. What to do is a quandry sometimes, because that need to “hunt” has to be under my control, and isn’t. I cannot seem to get a submitted follower role out of him in that field. Uugh.
How could such a momma’s boy be as equally independent? I swear if he could vote, he’d register as an independent. I’m a melancholic positive talker, he’s an independent momma’s boy; we both have conflicting habits. Between the two of us, there are four of us…Ha! So plan 21 thousand is to run off the bulk of the energy in the unmovable kennel, then loose awhile. First the UK then the open plains.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on October 27, 2008
Kenai had a hard fall on his left side Saturday. He landed mostly on his shoulder and neck, but the back end whacked down pretty good too. The limpy gimpy didn’t last too long, tough bugger, but he still got a huge smear of traumeel liniment from shoulder to foot, hip to toes, and an aspirin. It seems like the aspirin upsets his tum, though, despite the food.
A few hours later he was begging for a run outside anyway, and I didn’t see any slow down in the jet fuel burn. All the same, that didn’t feel good, and probably still doesn’t. He’s been whiney, and wanting touch time, which means “mom, make it better” in Kenai lingo.
We proceeded to have a nice nap together on my bed, and just hung out quietly—gotta fix the lonesome dove, sweet guy. Even when cuddly, he’s not one to snuggle, so it was just together time. Feeling sweet or not, he’s still a putz about his dignity.
We went to the Gateway Café for “lupper” (lunch-supper meal) about 2:30 in the afternoon, but I didn’t take Kenai inside; let him rest on the car upholstery instead of a hard floor. By the time we stopped at the gas station, though, he was not being left for anything. So on went his vest and he did just fine.
He wanted to see his “girlfriends” running the register, who always ask what he’s been up to. Once he comes to the counter they talk to him, and he gets a small amount of nose touching. After greeting his friends he’s good with being ignored while we take care of paying.
Then it was home for a meal in the puppy bowl. I’ve started breaking his meals back into 3 a day again, seeing if that has anything to do with the occasional refluxing, and not the aspirin. Once he’s gaining weight and doing better, we’ll go back to 2 a day meals.
4:30 was another nap time. This time Kenai was in the mood for full body lean, sharing a pillow with me, and arms around him. He went right to sleep like he did as a little baby bud, all wrapped up in momma’s arms. If I rub his legs or stroke his side when he’s like that, this hulking adolescent makes baby noises! After about 20 minutes I was so stiff and aching I had to distract myself, thinking about nice things to look forward to.
When my brother’s gone I can change my diet back to low carb, and start feeling better. Maybe I’ll have some strength reserves again by Christmas? That would be nice, having the oomph to decorate more than a tree. One year I had garlands hung all over the house in an Old English theme. I even pruned the holly bushes out front for it. Gosh that was beautiful. Another year it was a Victorian style, and that was gorgeous too, all those blown glass ornaments and giant ribbon bows.
I don’t care what it is this year, since I’ll be proud of myself if more than the living room is done! I’d love to put the big nativity up, but up it would have to go, out of BB nose reach. The theme will be PEACE—no noisy niece, no freaked out BB, no burdensome woe is me mood from my brother, just a peaceful, quiet holiday. Silent night, holy night, and Hell will descend on anyone who tries to ruin it…is that contrary to the Christmas spirit, upset me and you die?
The tree goes on Kenai’s end of the living room, so I’m not too very worried about it: he doesn’t use his tail to rearrange thankfully. He’s always been very careful not to bump things. BB is another matter. He’ll require watching. And maybe some duct tape. Now that’s some useful stuff, duct tape.
Sunday morning was a 5 am wake up, but not from hunger; whiney wumps wanted his mommy cuddles. It didn’t last long, thanks to my hurting driving me out of bed. He got his breakfast (1 cup Eagle Lamb, 1 cup EVO, flexicose, and enzymes), then back upstairs for his after breakfast digestion time. When the full tummy drowsy wears off, he’s ready for playtime, and his now totally favorite noisy ball is the weapon of choice!
We are supposed to go to Melba’s today, and I’ve give anything to get out of it. But she really wants my help with her DVD player, and she isn’t one to ask for things all the time. She’s one of those lovely people who gives kindness and is actually grateful for any little kindness you give back. Still, the thought of Kenai, BB, and Chloe the Lab all in one house…that’s an activity for one of my good days. Kenai might be staying in the car.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on October 26, 2008
The vet visit confirmed big shrinking guy’s leg pain is not bone or joint related, all connective tissue. Neither of us liked how touchy his back was, but I’m thinking having his legs up under his body, which changes the way the walk, as well as his muscle loss might be the culprit. He’s staying on the flexicose, and we’re adding buffered aspirin if his tum can hold up under it.
Kenai is now also on powdered pancreatic enzymes, allowed to set on moist food. Thursday night was a cold turkey switch to Eagle Pack lamb and rice kibble and his stools firmed up with one meal… The oatmeal in the previous food was causing tummy upset, poor guy. Friday we added the low fat, grain free kibble to start upping his calories. Boy does he love that stuff! By Friday afternoon, he was playing like a puppy—haven’t seen that in a few weeks. He had a little reflux I think though. Hummm.
With any luck, the kibble will also get some meat back on BB’s prominent bones. He doesn’t have the crazy-starving behavior or puddling stools his brother had, so it’s not probable he has pancreatic insufficiency too. I wonder if the crazy-stressed boy is just so wound up and strung out all the time that plain old nerves are burning up his calories. I wouldn’t be surprised at all.
I’ll be immeasurably relieved when my brother’s gone, so Mom can put herself back together and deal with BB’s behavior problems in a patient way. She said last night that she knows her behavior is awful with him, and it feels totally out of her control. Pretty far gone, Mom is. So is BB… when our home and our lives are our own, we can begin to focus on the sibling saga of The Brother’s Grin!
I hate to go into my siblings’ saga because I’m beyond intolerant and clear past ticked off that he’s still here, still unemployed, still hasn’t looked for an apartment, still playing those damn computer games 12-15 hours a day, and I’m ensnared in weekend number 31 with my niece causing disturbance in my home. His first evacuation date was the 30th of September. Some days, I could cuss to frighten a longshoreman if I was the swearing type. It’s going to be very hard to be civil the next few days.
Kenai’s outside time: the long leash activities are not enough exercise. He’s unsatisfied, and was beginning to resurrect those outbursts of goober runs in the house. So Friday morning’s run was off leash and letting it hang out. While his parts were ripping up the sod, I looked at how to disassemble that long kennel around the veggie garden so he can run in it with me and a ball. Or he can just be in it for the sake of being outside.
I couldn’t even budge the nuts and bolts, so I’m going to need help. A hardware store run is probably in the future, buying new brackets and some WD-40. Its dimensions if I make it one chain link section wide would be (I think) 6’x 48’ run. That’s longer since I have it in a two section width to fit the garden right now. Longer run means more run. IF I CAN GET IT APART! Yikes, it must have been bolted together by superman when the guys put it up.
This morning (Saturday) I didn’t wake up the brown hornless rhino, taking the flaked out on his back picture at the top of the post first. He was snoring rather loudly, at least for him. Once the snap shot went off, he was up and ready to eat and play and play and play and play and play…I think he’s feeling better. God help me.
Mom got him a new toy, and he gave us the most hilarious, unexpected reaction to it. Instead of pouncing on his new noisy ball with a rattling jingle bell in it, swatting it around as any other, he acted like it was a poisoned porcupine! He leaped around it, barked at it, almost touched it than didn’t… not until BB had a go with it did he decide it was worth getting back!
OMG he complained while BB played with his new noisy ball. He grumbled and warh-warh-warhed, fussing and being highly indignant at the thievery. Once I stopped laughing, I took the ball upstairs for him. Maybe he might try ever so carefully touching it. It was an hour before he actually gave it the sasquatch treatment, like any other ball, the gufus.
Aside from being a way to get him past his dislike of noisy things, it’s also much lighter than his other balls, which means it moves faster and goes farther when bashed. Playtime is more vigorous, more rapid, i.e. more exciting. I haven’t seen him play like this in such a long time. Does my heart good, watching a puppy be a puppy again. Not so sure this new found energy will be as good for the rest of my parts, but my heart is happy.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on October 25, 2008
Kenai feeling important in his walking harness, 42 wks old and too skinny.
We had ourselves a very busy day Wednesday, starting at 4:45 am (uugh). How nice if I could roll over and go back to sleep…but once I’m up, I’m up until dropping down for a nap in the afternoon. The creature sending hungry boy thoughts in the dark had to wait until 5:30 for his breakfast.
So at 6 am we had our first outing, going to the gas station. He and I were still the only ones up when we came home, and enjoyed the quiet with a bone and some computer time. Then we tried new things for Kenai’s first outside time Wednesday morning: we had a small tennis ball to play with within the 25 foot circle his long leash allows, AND I pulled out his easy walk harness.
With the harness, I don’t have to worry about injury to his neck, and it’s designed to reduce pulling, unlike other harnesses. With those two changes, Kenai had more fun than Tuesday, despite not being loose to run. We walked around, he sniffed and pounced and listened to the rustling leaves.
We practiced his come and go games, and some look at that stuff: see that squirrel, hear that bird, then come for love and treats, and you can go looking for something else. A fancy way of teaching him to check back with momma when he notices something. Odd, when they’re tiny tots, you encourage curious checking things out, then when they’re big you discourage it… next pup gets rewarded for their natural checking in behaviors.
Next we drove up to the sweeper repair shop, just to find out it was closed that day. That means a trip another day, which I guess is fine. Sometimes I feel like I need a pretext for his public work, since I wouldn’t go if left to my own devices! For me, I’ll postone, for him I go.
I’m really glad for the training suggestions and feeding ideas left as comments; I’ve been fending off a little fatigue based discouragement, and new ideas make for good weapons to fight the good fight! I’m determined to stop the chasing, that’s for sure. I’m also worn down to a shabby dilapidated lump in the chair!
While being lumpy in the chair, though, I play this home movie trailer in my head: Kenai running free, enjoying the romp of going here and there, noble and strong. Then when I call, he instantly spins and hits the rocket boosters back to me. He’s done that before, after the “recall boot camps” over the summer. I know he can do it.
The first few times he did a whiplash turn, I forgot myself and jumped around with him! Pain makes a person remember quickly, though. Every time he turned and burned when I called was powerful joy for me: finally, he showed some enthusiasm for what I wanted! And that turn was sharp enough to slice tomatoes, too. He thought it was the best game in town.
I wish I knew why that “thrilled to play with ‘mom’” recall didn’t become a habit to him, why it seemed to wear off. I utterly treasured those few days he would recall like a dog to teach the rest of them how it’s done! Then it would just go away. I’d start over, get the yippee, then the disappointment again.
Maybe it’s just his growing up stages? The sudden demand for deciding what he wants to do, ignoring when he feels like it is very teenager. Taking advantage of my growing weakness? Bored too easily? Performance pressure revolt? Not feeling good grumpiness? All of the above in a puppy stubborn cauldron, stirred by stress in the house? Hummm.
Me and He were out with leash and harness three times, giving up my nap for one of them. Oh my aching parts, and it still wasn’t enough excercise. I think I may have to leave the veggie patch undefended–move the 30′x10′ dog kennel protecting it from nibbling critters to the field, and let Kenai have some kennel jogging for exercise. That darn thing is so hard to take apart, and the sections are heavy.
Anyway, after Sasquatch had his third sniff and come session, I find out Mom’s invited Melba for dinner. My “not cooking tonight” went right out the window. We had the strip steaks I was saving for when my brother was gone, if that will ever actually happen. I even made a big bunch of my favorite pricy Jasmine rice.
Kenai’s teenage intensity meant he wound up with the gentle leader on to back him off Melba-in her face looking for love and fun. Very not polite at all. When the gentle leader failed to quiet him, the crate did. I stuffed him in and left him for a few minutes. When he came out, he behaved better. Pouting, but polite.
It was a good time, seeing Melba again, but I totally disentigrated at 7:30, going to bed some 15 hours after the day started. I have no idea who drove Melba home in the rainy dark, I didn’t even hear her leave. It was my turn to wake up Kenai Thursday, at 5 am! Ha Ha, my turn!
One really happy thing about Wednesday was when I checked the bottom of my shoes before coming inside, I had my hand on Brown as usual, but when I started to wobble, he counterbalanced! It came naturally to him, thank goodness. I have enough to teach him, without teaching him to counter balance instead of move away and let me bounce! Thank you buddy!
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on October 23, 2008
This is not as much fun, ma…turn me loose? Kenai 42 wks old
I’m still having some anxiety about Kenai’s food issues, so I hope you’ll pardon my compulsive thinking about it. With suggestions and research in my head, I spoke to someone who’s dog also has pancreatic insufficiency, and she also mixes a grain free with another natural kibble. Her dog handles oatmeal okay, whereas Kenai doesn’t.
He can only seem to get away with rice. At least I know that much after all this time, huh? A lot of people suggest raw diets, but I’m lucky to have the energy to make my own meals, so Kenai’s 2 and BB’s 3 is just an absolute total last resort. Mom’s really been fussing about all the food changes; I can’t help it! Fuss at Kenai, it’s his fault, sorta.
I am going with a mix of the EVO low fat grain free kibble and Eagle Pack Lamb and Rice. If mixed half and half, he’ll get about 400 calories per cup, which is 40 calories more than he gets now. Times that by 5 cups is 2000 calories, or times 6 cups he usually eats that’s 2400 calories; some 250 protein calories more, to help him grow and maintain muscle mass. We’ll start Thursday after seeing the vet. I hope this is the LAST food change, and we’ve gotten to the root of his problems.
Also big on my mind is our outdoor follies. It’s interesting, that I feel somewhat like I did when he was younger and learning all the “rules” of our training games. I have the urge to report every day again, and I get all silly happy when things go according to design! I hadn’t planned on an intensive training period now, but that’s what’s happening I guess. Kenai, will you quit throwing monkey wrenches in my spokes?
Our first attempt at having Kenai circle me on leash for exercise wasn’t so hot; he’d do quarter circles at the end of the leash, sometimes half circles. I need some incentive to keep him going—he’s not a natural pacer. Maybe some of the come and go games we worked so hard on actually stuck?
He spent his first outdoor time on leash Tuesday and it wasn’t particularly satisfying to him. He pulled the leash loose once for a wild goober run. Then I made a nice wrap around the wrist knot so he couldn’t do it again.
At least he got to sniff about and be outside. The upside for me is I could instantly correct from a distance the attempt to mark, and when I wanted him to leave something alone, I could enforce it. After his quarter or half circle, he would come back to me, and of course I rewarded that. The goal is to condition a response where something exciting means “look and go to ma” instead of chase or pace.
Yet that habit of losing interest cropped up after awhile, and the treats weren’t as appealing to him. I should try some real meat.
How I wish there was a place he could run that’s fully fenced; somewhere he could stretch out those legs and still be contained. Then it wouldn’t matter much if his recall was poor to middlin because he couldn’t put himself (or me) at risk of a fall.
I hate taking away from him his time to run free and strong, when he can amaze me with his speed and power. I’ve heard too many horror stories to take him to a dog park, at least not without Cesar Milan with us!
We’ll have to sell the house when the market starts looking up again, so the next place will most definitely be fenced. I struggle to keep up the 3 acres around the house, so I’m thinking 2 acres would be enough for the boys to run without running through the flowerbeds or knocking down tomatoes. Ideally, there would be an acre or so in back I could fence off where he can be out loose and do his rocket runs.
It would be nice to also have enough room for a winter veggie greenhouse, and two other veggie beds to rotate. I’d fence them off as well, just to keep critters out that don’t belong to me. A small pool somewhere would be a good thing. And a front yard all full of flowers! Okay, that’s enough daydreaming.
After Kenai the Exasperating had his unsatisfying not-running wander, we ran some errands for Mom. The smoke shop was the first stop, and he didn’t do so fine without his gentle leader. The next place was to look for a no-slip show lead, in hopes of alternating it with the gentle leader.
Even when highly excited, dogs will stop pulling and walk better with a lead up behind their ears. Works like a charm with Kenai, and sled dog in training BB. Most leads will slip down the neck, though, and I spend all my time putting it back up. Our search was fruitless, this time.
Then after a rest at home, outside we went with a purpose. I pulled out my truck and drove it into the field, and Kenai began learning the art of moving around on a long leash without going too far from me or getting tangled up. While I pitchforked a few piles of clippings and leaves for composted into the bed, he moved around and only squished me once by tightening up the leash around my middle.
He also did pretty well about not getting knotted up in the leash, but he still did it some. After I showed him a couple times how to untangle by coming closer to me for slack and lifting his feet, he didn’t need help again, figuring it out for himself. Walking beside the truck when it moved to the next stack of piles was a bit harder—nervous excitement. But as long as I left the door open and held the leash, I could talk him along with me.
He scared me a little once, when he got all squirrelly and tried running past the end of the leash. That always scares me when a dog comes up short by the neck. Always. There’s plenty of soft tissue like the trachea and the esophagus that can be damaged, and misalignment of the neck spine can cause Wobblers and the like. He seemed fine, though, no tenderness or weird nerve stuff. I’ll still watch him carefully for awhile though.
I had a grand total of 30 minutes of strength before the muscles were screaming, so we came in and rested until suppertime. I threw on a pot of beef stew and called it good: folks could feed themselves as they wished now that my end of the deal was done. That was it for Tuesday.
That was a really full day for me, though a slightly unsatisfying one for Kenai. He was pretty droopy and withdrawn. I hope we can get his recall back before he starts getting depressed, not allowed to run full out how he likes.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on October 22, 2008
Kenai epitomized: the nose chasing a scent. 42 weeks old.
I wasn’t happy with our weekly weigh in—Kenai’s lost weight, down to 116.4 pounds again. A Great Dane puppy should not lose weight, they should be gaining about 2-3 pounds a week at 10 months old, and he’s getting half of that at best. It took him a month to gain 4 pounds, and this week he lost weight. Now I’m worried. His coat is still rough and shedding, and he was 4 months old before he needed his first brushing. Now it’s every day.
So I did some research, and found that dogs with pancreatic insufficiency do best with the powdered enzymes, and grain free diets. Of all the grains in dog food, brown rice is the most tolerated in EPI dogs—the boys did best on Eagle’s Lamb and Rice formula. That part fits.
My local puppy store carries Evo: it is a grain free kibble, and the low fat formula is within the fat tolerance ranges. But those darn mineral ratios scare me. I’m seeing the vet Thursday, asking about a vitamin b-12 shot for him since dogs often have a deficiency.
The EPI explains why we’ve had to change diets so many times for the boys—nearly every food out there has grains of some kind. I hate changing foods, so much happier with one food from start to finish. Maybe this will be it for the kibble swapping, if I decide to change one more time.
Normally I would never, ever put a Dane puppy on such a high protein, high mineral food, but he’s just not getting enough calories with 6 cups of food a day. Perhaps I could mix the EVO with Eagle Lamb and Rice, reducing the overall protein and calcium?
Something else I need to do is find a pair of snow boots, since my feet and lower legs get soaked every morning when Kenai gets his AM run about. Waterproof would be nice, especially with the chilly temps in the mornings now. Froze toes is no fun, especially when you have to put on the shoes that are still wet inside the next day! Maybe next month we’ll have the money, but I doubt it—my brother is going to take most of it getting him out of our house. Grrr. At least he’ll be out.
Monday, Kenai didn’t get a morning run, so I gave him one in the afternoon, after our nap time. Once again, after some leashed obedience work, off he went. This time I had to climb over a low section in a barbed wire fence to get him. That’s it, he doesn’t go running in the field anymore. Inside it’s recall boot camp, outside it’s recall boot camp. “Look at me” all day long inside and out.
I’ll get a long flexileash when I can afford it. Right now I have a nylon 25 foot, and he can play with balls and toys, or wander around sniffing to the end of the leash outside until he’s got the come command down totally solid. I can’t risk him getting away from me and being hurt.
He has to earn the right to be off leash from now on. We’ve worked on recall every day of his life with me, a sum total of 231 days often with 2 outside times per day. He knows the command. He’s not doing it, though, and that’s insupportable.
I think he knows Monday’s escapade way overstepped his puppy bounds, because the stinker toed the mark the rest of the night, and I mean toed it. Probably it was my mood, but he was almost cautious. He really scared me going through that barbed wire fence.
Someone left some great suggestions on the last post, the most interesting of them being teaching him to longe like a horse on a long leash, trotting in circles for exercise and such. I would have to figure out how to do it, though, never having had an actual horse, just Great Danes everyone calls a horse.
Maybe he’ll just pace at the end of the leash on his own, looking for a way to get loose? One thing I know, it’s got to be a wide circle, or I’ll make myself dizzy! That would be interesting: longe awhile, then come here, I have to lean on you awhile. (Oh, I can just see that…) LOL
Also suggested was going back to the Control Unleashed exercises (box work, default attention, and whiplash turn). I’ve already started the back to basics, using treats to reward looking when his name is called, and also “come”, picking times when he’s got a bone, watching a squirrel out the window, excited by his brother, or for no good reason at all. Next I’m starting in while he’s leashed in the field. He could skip a meal with all the lamb crunchies he’s getting throughout the day!
But my concern is this: Kenai is not an operant, human-interactive dog. I swapped operant like BB for low energy in Kenai. He will enjoy the games then get bored with them and refuse to participate. A few months back I instituted a “recall bootcamp” with the whiplash turn, and boy was he good with it on and off leash—for a week.
Then his sharpness declined, and he returned to the ignore-yous no matter what I did. A few weeks later, we went back to “boot camp”, and the same thing happened. That was a lot of work, and the good results just went away.
This dog has worked me half to death, and I don’t overtime or holiday pay! I’m fighting that independent nature of his, still wrestling with what he pays attention to. He has always focused on his environment most, the exasperating boy! This is going to take a long time…
Still, I’m going at it, and will stick as long as the CFIDS lets me maintain the additional energy expenditure. We still need to have his public outings, so I have a feeling dinner is going to become a feed yourself thing more often. Keep the creative suggestions coming for when he gets bored and doesn’t want to do the exercises anymore!
I’ve never had a dog give me such problems with this before. Then again, I’ve never had a Kenai, the ancestral puppy. Each new pup makes ya learn something, don’t they?
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on October 21, 2008
Kenai’s FBBV, “fruit bat boy vibes”. 41 weeks.
This is one of Kenai’s funny pics. Here he’s sending me boy vibes because he wants to play tug and toss with the toy in my lap. “Anytime now, ma! Feel the vibes…”
Kenai’s absorption in the out of doors has become a big problem the past few days. He’s taken to chasing critters atop not coming back when I call. The field is only partially fenced, and I don’t have the money to fence it off. This can be dangerous, and I have no control over him in his heightened state of pursuit.
Officially at my wit’s end with him and that field, I don’t know what to do. I cease to exist when he hears a squirrel. I’ve gotten him to control himself on leash in that field, but it requires an unyielding demand to stay, with both leash correction and a “bite” on his flanks from my hand going behind me. He becomes entirely too excited, and I don’t know how to break it. Let alone control it off leash when he’s too far away to grab.
I’d considered calling the clicker trainer we’d had a session with outside many months back, but I wonder if her energy as a new person would change his behavior only until she left. It’s the only real exercise he gets, and a long leash won’t do: he can run the 60 foot length of the garage in 2-3 seconds.
Walking more isn’t an option for me, obviously. He does have to be granted the opportunity to be a dog, to sniff and run, and stretch out those long legs, which limiting his exercise to a treadmill won’t provide.
Okay, Kenai, enough with the “figure this out, Mom”!!!
Adding to my worries is concern for all the ways my brother will take advantage of us some more as he moves out (will Mom keep her word this time?). He’ll want money for a deposit and 1st month’s rent etc, which means we do without (again), probably on groceries until next month.
He’ll want furniture, our furniture, stripping our nest to feather his own. He has a bad habit of taking what he wants without asking, usually high value stuff, so how many of our belongings will disappear with him? You get the point.
The idea of having to take care of himself entirely by himself, and living poor until he isn’t poor is repulsive to him. He feels entitled, and cannot grasp that we don’t owe him anything. He wants this, he wants that, and we’re supposed to roll over and provide. He could win the lotto, and it still wouldn’t be enough.
To live comfortably is a common desire, but he wants to live comfortably on our backs instead of his own. Reducing the living standards of a 70 year old woman on social security and a disabled person with no income doesn’t seem to bother him enough not to do it.
It’d be easy to let him clean us out just to have him out, like the past 2 times he lived here “temporarily”. But it irks the devil out of me that he still gets to take from us, to do injury over and over without punishment or reparation.
I want so desperately to be free of this human black hole forever, no more stealing our tranquility, squandering our resources, or subjugating our lives ever again!
I think Kenai is entering adolescence a little early. He tried for the first time to hump something, as dogs are want to do. He got his hash fried about it right away, and the strangest look came over him when the moment passed; it was as if he couldn’t figure out why he did that. Hormone surge.
Ladies, ever caught yourself having a PMS fit and didn’t know why or how to stop? That was the feeling I got from Sasquatch’s expression. He was almost confused. Later, outside he hiked his leg to mark, and got his hash re-fried.
Well, he’s only a week and a few days away from 11 months old. He hit the baby stubborns early, he hit the terrible twos early as well. I think we have a teenager now… in duplicate. This could get exciting: one insecure dominant boy (BB), and one confident dominant boy (Kenai) in the same house.
At least they don’t like loud music or want to paint the bedrooms black. I should be glad for that, right? No goth puppies. Time for me to ramp up and be ready for the dominance challenges and extra outside times coming.
Maybe the hormone surge has something to do with his merry critter chasing through the woods?
I got so anxious yesterday at Kenai’s trying to run into the brush that I did a truly AG (Assemblies of God) thing and slapped a command in Jesus’ name on him. It worked! Once. Then I turned on God and told him if the Blood and Authority of Jesus works, it should work every time because half the time doesn’t cut it! Can ya tell I was frantic? Thank God the cliff is fenced off—it’s a 20 foot sheer drop. He’s scaring the fool out of me.
I know, I don’t talk religion or politics here, having a new blog expressly for my faith over on the blog roll. Let it suffice to say that I’ve reached the point of needing supernatural help with Brown and his intolerable recall refusals in that field. What is it with him?
We have some outings today, being Monday the first is his weekly weigh in. Tomorrow his growth and training progress pages will be updated with a report for this past week. Tuesday he and BB will be 42 weeks old. How that happened, I have no idea. Doesn’t seem possible. The idea occurred to me that his teenage stage is the last of the developmental stages, so I’m running out of time to shape the adult behavior he’ll have most of his life.
That damn field…
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on October 20, 2008
Last post I told you Kenai was the same color as the alder wood cabinets, so here’s the proof! 41 wks old
Wednesday’s good time with our friends unfortunately laid me out worse than I had expected. Thursday being Thursday with both puppies while Mom was gone all day wasn’t as recuperative as napping upstairs and spending time with Kenai. BB was good and quiet, but the couch isn’t my bed.
Friday I didn’t make it to the goodbye breakfast with Norm and Dolly. I was in too much pain and still exhausted, darn it all. And with yet another crappy weekend with my niece in the house coming, number 30 in a row, I had to conserve all the energy I could to get through it. Mom told Norm and Dolly I loved them and to drive careful for me.
Kenai and I kept BB company in the living room until she came home and then took a big nap. This time Kenai napped with me, tucked up against my legs. Oh it felt sooooooo good! Having your best bud right next to you, the warmth and weight of his leaning snooze releases a lot of pain and muscle tension. He doesn’t give me that too often so I really enjoy it when he does.
But the recovery time ended when my niece came Friday afternoon. BB went crazy as usual and Mom did too, both strung out on nerves. I left, thinking a run for Kenai outside would do us both good, having fresh air and the beauty of waning sunlight through the landscape. Not. He took off into the woods chasing squirrels and didn’t come back until I was pulling the car out to go looking for him.
Needless to say, I was scared out of my mind, in a full blown anxiety attack and couldn’t breathe. That was it, to hell with everything, I went upstairs with Kenai and between you and me, had a good hard cry. Last weekend was supposed to be the last weekend with my niece coming to our house and making it chaotic. I could have turned cartwheels when I saw her go out the door last Sunday night, believing her father wasn’t far behind. We were going to have a celebration dinner with our other friends, Wade and Melba this weekend…
Eventually, you can’t make yourself laugh at the same old disillusionment and upset, you just have to cry it out and wait for the drained flat feeling to wear off with some TLC. And TLC I gave myself, leaving Kenai to decimate a new bone. If I didn’t get recomposed, some somebodies were going to get their chakras balanced. I don’t like doing that, so I retreated to sort my own socks.
I had a lovely long bubble bath, a home-made salt scrub (Epsom salts, ginger, and cheap apricot scrub from the store), a good head scrubbing hair wash with extra time in the lather since the massage and hot water felt good on the scalp, and after a little airing out and powder, I slathered on emu oil moisturizer to soothe the skin.
I made a regular (okay, an irregular) spa out of that tiny bathroom, and something of a decorated butter cream cake of myself, with night cream soaking in. There were things to do Saturday, but no way was I thinking Friday night about all that had to be done and where the heck I could find the energy. I just withdrew into this minuscule bubble of body care and relaxation.
Sometimes the spirit needs a little extra soothing, and if it doesn’t get it, all the cares and vexations accumulate like leaves against a fence. It’s amazing how naturally dogs can relax themselves, with playtime, a little cuddles with a friend, or a nice long nap on momma’s bed. They don’t put it off like we do, and if we put it off for them too long, they have blow ups like us humans.
Saturday Kenai and I made a small outing, nothing special and he didn’t get out of the car for any of our quickie stops. But I made note of and relayed to my brother the three apartment complexes I saw with for rent signs when I got home. I didn’t care if he wanted to hear. It was a not so subtle “get out and take your kid with you”.
The thesaurus has a very visual and satisfying word for “causing inconvenience to” called “incommode”, and incommode is what Emily and her parents have done to me for 7 and a half months now. By God they can go to the commode and incommode themselves for a change.
I guess baths and facials aren’t the only therapeutic techniques—a good thumb through the thesaurus can be gratifying too.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on October 19, 2008