All posts for the month August, 2009
Beebs’ stylin new boy home came, and now he’s got roooooommmm…BB 20 mo
BB’s new crate finally came, and I do mean finally. Ordered back in May, he’s waited most patiently all scrunched down to get in and out of the old one. But NOW, a boy has space. Well, not quite a huge crated like his don’t-fence-me-in brother Kenai. But BB likes a cozy fit.
He thought we’d gone bonkers watching us put it together, too. Kenai headed for his crate, not liking even small things picked up over his head. BB scampered off this way than that way until I convinced him none of the rattling parts could touch him if he hung out inside the expen.
I’m just glad I hadn’t waited until Thursday to set it up, because I wouldda’ had to do it alone. Guess a person could by themselves, but it would be a strange and wonderful version of twister: sit on a hip, hold 2 sides together with your toes, prop up the top with your head…
Strange human games aside, Beebs decided he needed treats to relearn “in the crate” like his show off brother. We haven’t used it since his back began to hit the top of the old crate when he got in a hurry. BB is always in a hurry. But now he does ‘in the crate’ like a champ.
This new crate isn’t wider or longer, which surprised me. I’d figured on a inch or two more all around, but it works out fine. His old bed fit with no problem, it didn’t stick out too far behind the couch.
What I’d wanted and got was inches up top. He can do the sit-n-spin to turn around just fine. But his head and shoulders are actually 2.5″ taller than Kenai’s. Now he can zip right in and zip right out with nary a scrunch.
BB was the “birthday boy” of the day, getting most all the good stuff and attention. But Kenai wasn’t neglected entirely–he got a new “chuck it” ball for his 2 at once toy times.
He picks up a soft toy and carries it around while playing soccer with a ball, ie 2 at once toy time. A regular tennis ball is small enough to get stuck under everything, which means I wind up playing twister to reach it, then sit n spin to get up!
Nothing against twister or sit n spin; loved those games in my younger, more flexible days. These days, though, well, effective pain control is a must if I foolishly don’t act my age… or buy small balls I have to fetch for the dog.
I was watching TV, and was disappointed to discover a really cool video was bogus. Don’t have a link to it, but these guys in Germany set up one of those roll out waterslides, you know, the kind you pour water on, then body surf straight into the backyard fence if you get carried away with the approach?
Well these guys set it up so someone went down a big hill, up a huge ramp, then flew evil kenevil style until landing in a kiddie pool of water some distance away. First time I saw it, my first thought was “wow, they are seriously good at physics!”
Sorta dumb geeks, smart enough to figure out the math and dumb enough to use it for this silly stunt. It was pretty cool watching the man fly off that ramp and land right where he’d planned. There’s something that makes a person feel better seeing someone that smart do stuff that dumb!
Turns out the video is faked. The only comfort to my disappointment is thinking the guy in the video might just have done a time or two what I would have: made like a human gutterball. I wouldn’t have made it to the bottom of the hill, at least not on the slide anyway.
Let alone up a ramp and into the kiddie pool. I’m pretty sure I’d have to crate Kenai if I wanted to try, or he’d consider it a game of tag-you’re-it and smush me into the mud with a sasquatch paw. I’m not sure which would hurt worse, the patch of rocks or the game of tag.
Well, just when ya thought…we’ve got a new septic system, a repaired propane tank and lines, chat on the driveway, and now: the water heater isn’t working. It keeps going out since the gas company fixed the lines last Tuesday. 4 times, in fact, its gone out. Yeesh! Well water’s frigid cold, btw.
Roto Rooter came out to relight the pilot and see if we needed a new one. It would seem I have to win the lotto, or make a bunch of dough doing a dumb geek stunt myself to pay for all this. I’ll be in hock the rest of my life at this rate. I’m afraid, truly afraid, to wonder what could go sideways next!
Oh well, Brown made a new friend of the roto rooter guy, once the initial shock of a huge dog standing on the bed waiting for him when he came out of the laundry room wore off. Kenai thought he’d hit the doggie lotto, sniffing the britches of a guy who’d been crawling under houses all day.
Kenai and I “fixed” the mailbox Saturday too. Gotta love Jesus for allowing Gorilla Glue, I really do. A DIY-er would be ashamed of themselves, but frankly I was impressed with myself being able to hold up the mailbox and secure it with bungee cords at the same time.
I glued the living daylights outta that thing. Didn’t even glue it shut, glad to say. Glued my fingers pretty well, but enough scrubbing and mineral oil saved the day on that front. As of today, the post in the ground is wobblier than the mail box, so there, take that.
Today is Kenai’s 3-wk blood draw to see if the antibiotics are killing the ehrlichia. Once he’s done, into the vet comes BB for a second titer to see if his first was a false negative. Neither is “difficult” at the vet, but 120+ pounds each of excited and looking for friends can be exhausting when you have CFS.
Taken seperately, they are pretty good about not pulling the leash and such. Together… the ongoing affliction of dufusness in the Brother’s Grin! They try horsing around, is all; they get excited and want to play. They’re too big to do that on a leash, silly boys.
Kenai doesn’t know it yet, but we have an appt with our trainer Friday. We’ve been “off” since June, so it’s well past time to get my toes back in the water. We’re going to her place this time, instead of her coming to our house. On the menu: loose leash walking.
Brown’s gotten really sloppy about walking on a leash, and it needs some serious work to slow him down and get the nose turned off a bit. Thank
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on August 18, 2009
Kenai watching the heavy equipment filling our yard, 20 mo
We still had the “tonka toys” in our yard to entertain Kenai and BB until Tuesday. The recent level of noise made the post on http://www.theotherendoftheleash.com/what-do-barks-mean/ appropriate reading!
It was about dog vocalization, ie barks, whines, grunts, yips, whar-whars, and such, as a form of communication. The boys are communicating like a pair of magpies recently, with all the backhoes and heavy equipment!
Of my two, BB is the most vocal, perhaps because I’ve discouraged Kenai from vocalizing in public. Even a play bark from a Dane can get us tossed, service dog vest or not. BB is very, very vocal relative to his brother. He sometimes sounds like a coon hound, the hound of Harmonville.
I know that monkeys and some other animals have specific calls for specific predators, but in terms of the domestic dog the research is tending towards the conclusion that they are communicating emotional content rather than specific information when vocalizing.
Back in May of last year I had a whole post about Kenai’s puppy whining, and pretty much came to that conclusion without actually putting my finger on it. I can beat around the bush right good, huh. http://greatdaneservicedog.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/puppy-talkby-lisa-harmon/.
Whining is Kenai’s most common vocalization, for begging, anxiety, frustration, excitement, loneliness, and even mild indignation. He often combines pitches, adds snorts, ends in whimpers, or increases/decreases volumes.
He’s not a big barker at home where I’m more tolerant of it, though I actively discourage barking if it becomes a repeated and persistant thing I don’t want. That said, the second most common vocalization for Kenai is barking.
Play barking and yips in particular with Mom is a daily thing, at home at least, and has its own intrinsic sound. When playful, he has variations like “whar-whar”, almost mimicking syllables, and no whines.
He has an “excited” bark for critters he sees outside the window when he’s really wound up, and wants to chase. Mostly he whines his excitement, but once in awhile I’ll get a “lemme chase” yip or two.
Anxious alarm barking at home is just a bit more frequent than I would like, but it certainly does relay what he’s feeling. I’ve never heard a “leave me alone” warning bark come out of him, and he’s certainly been in situations where I wouldn’t have been surprised to hear it.
Growling is a very rare sound from Brown, even in play. Alarm/anxiety growls are what I’ve heard most in terms of growling. Strange men outside, that sort of thing. I’ve only heard Kenai give a deadly serious hackles up growl twice in his 20 mo of life. Once for coyotes and once at an out of control BB brother.
But he’s got a variety of growls, if rarely used. He’s growled a few times in frustration at his brother, when the little wumps makes too big of a pest. Not often, but it has happened and mostly when they were pretty small. Kenai has an amazingly high tolerance level.
Honestly, I’ve never really tried to deliberately categorize the wide variety of vocalizations Kenai has. Anyone who’s spent much time with their dog, though, has a solid visceral understanding of what their pup’s got on their mind from the sounds they make.
I can instinctively know he’s begging for playtime or something without consciously recognizing the pattern of vocalizing. I can be wrong, but typically I know what’s on his mind. How much visual cues are involved in my recognition, I don’t know. Guess it doesn’t matter, so long as I know, huh.
This is from Kenai’s latest smash n grab game; empty soda pop bottles rank high in the doggie toy currency! “I’m a little stink pot, short and stout, here is my handle (the tail of course), here is my snout…”
We have lots of errands to run, hopefully all done today; the vet for a weigh in, hardware store, get a necklace fixed, and the puppy store for food. There’s plenty of things for a boy to see and do on that list.
Once we get hot water again, we can go. The propane line got severed by the backhoe, so no hot water for showers since last week. They say troubles come in threes, but I think its more likely they come in 10′s and 20′s…
The pups don’t care if I smell, which is really nice. They’d be happy to avoid baths for the rest of their furry lives. Unfortunately, a bath is coming for them, poor dears. They don’t get honest to goodness foam up rinse off baths very often, not really needing them.
I do give them “baby baths” regularly: a warm washcloth with a tiny bit of doggie shampoo for the majority of oils and such, followed by a hypoallergenic doggie wipe. They get damp, but not soggy, and don’t fuss about it much. Wonky ears, but no real fuss.
The problem with cleaning up the pups is cleaning the car follows–dog hair is tough to get out of upholstery. The best way I’ve found is a rubber glove to loosen the rubbed in hair. It really does work–just glove the devil out of the back seat, then run the sweeper on the piles.
Then a good scrubbing with a nature’s miracle soaked rag to clean the dirt and slobber off the seats, and the car smells as good as the freshly washed boys. I have the feeling the car likes it better than the boys do…when this fit of cleaning will happen, I don’t know, but it is on the docket. Right after a shower!
I’ve used their “puppy practice” as a stress reliever this week, a fun and exciting counter to the noise and commotion that’s had them all on edge. Goodness how they love their clicker. BB would dance on tippy toe for a click, the funny boy.
Wait/name is a find me game, and I’ve been hiding farther and farther away, clear across the house. They get to run to find me, and run back to the living room afterwards. Kenai’s regularly offering ‘in the crate’, knowing it will get him a treat without fail, and sometimes 2 or 3.
BB is master of the down now, and even down/stays when there’s a treat in the offing. He’s allergic to being still, so that’s quite an achievement for him. He’ll hold it if I’m standing over Mom, leaning on her, laying on her lap. The greatest good-boy though is I can walk around him and step over him.
Kenai’s been enjoying the Pigs fly games, regularly nose nudging objects for his click n treat now. I try to stay behind him, so he has to come to me for the treat, then return to the basket. The idea is to convince him he doesn’t have to be facing me for a click.
We’ve continued to try straightening his body position, with “come brace” in particular. It was the most affected by his belief he has to face me for a treat, and most important to get the body in the right place. There’s been improvement when he has room to swing out the tush, yay.
All of this is at home, of course. He’s still in a weird, intense fearfulness state. No point in trying to work with him in public right now; Kenai is way, way too skittish. When he gets like this he seems stuck in a permanent flight response, and even walking down the sidewalk is very stressful.
That bizarrely intense fear has to be related to either the tick borne diseases or the intestinal problems. Maybe both. The vets are at a loss about what exactly is wrong in those boy bowels, and how to fix it. We ever get his platelets up, normal, and stable there’ll be a visit to endoscopy.
Well, today will be full, with car rides and another especially loved event: the cardboard carton shred. I save the soda cartons until I have 2 empty ones, then let ‘em have at it. Kenai’s the big shredder. BB just wants to play keep away and tease with them.
Yikes, so much to do!
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on August 12, 2009
New toys, new toys…Kenai 20 mo
The Brother’s Grin have new toys, and made the most of them right away. Kenai wasn’t sure about the unusual texture and sound (they’re hard plastic), so Mom and I set about making them as exciting as possible.
Kenai learned the little ball is QUICK, ever so quick, quick enough to roll right between his legs! It’s just a bit too big to get in his mouth too, so it’s all about the sasquatch paws. And that big ball is shy, you see. It rolls itself under things, hiding beneath BB’s raised feeder, or sneaking under the table.
Such a boy, that Kenai. Not so long ago he would have richocheted that thing off of every cabinet in the kitchen with absolute enthusiasm!
BB needed no such introduction to the new toys. He went right after them like they were manna from heaven!
Wiggle wumps did his best to get his mouth around them like their jolly ball, but no dice. Oh the chasing and cornering!
I eventually had to take them up, for the sake of the furniture.
Like the crab baby tossed up on the back of the couch? Results of a flinging match, naturally. Such boys, such boys. Never a dull moment with the Brothers Grin!
Having so much trouble getting online, I’ve lost touch with several blogs. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to catch up with folks today or tommorrow.
Their puppy practices were missed for a couple days, moi being down with a hemiplegic migraine all weekend and into Monday. They normally get at least one a day. I’m changing the trigger word from “practice” to “wanna work” but mostly it’s for fun and maintainance of what they already know.
I do sometimes use practices as supplements to their exercise: distance targeting, find me games, and such. BB especially needs as much additional running about as possible, being a much higher energy boy than his brother.
Slower or not, Kenai gets all shiny and bright when he hears “find grammy”: race to the kitchen, not there, race to the master bedroom, leap on then over the bed, race to the bathroom…fun, fun, fun! Nothing slow about compliance with that command.
They’re getting more “practice” at watching without barking–the county insisted our septic tank was 5 feet too close to the well house, though there’d been no problems for 40 years. So we’re getting a shiny new septic tank as well as new lateral lines, all for $1000 more thanks to a paper pusher.
There’s backhoes, dump trucks and all variety of heavy equipment outside now, making all variety of noise. Watch without bark isn’t so bad, it’s getting him out to potty that’s going to be a challenge! This is different, that’s different, what was here, who stood there…
All deciphered with a big black nose. The nose knows!
During his kennel run Thursday, I pulled up a stalk of Johnson’s grass, and used it like a kitty lure, swishing it all around. That perked up the pooky feeling pup! He chased it this way and that way, and threw in a small goober zoomie from all the excitement.
Finding a new pastime is good, seeing as Kenai’s not terribly boisterous about his “messin with Sasquatch” time with Grammy of late. He’s just feelin off, I guess. He still loves getting a new plastic soda pop bottle, and other boy games thankfully.
Hopefully this round of antibiotics will do the trick for him. One week down, three to go before the next titer to see what his antibody levels are for ehrlichia and rocky mountain fever. Crossed my fingers, and BB’s toes too.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on August 7, 2009
Why is the car leaving without me? The car isn’t supposed to leave without me…Kenai, 19 mo.
Kenai’s been having a different sort of week this week. We’re sleeping in the living room–he’s so scared of coming down the stairs from our bedroom I decided it was better for awhile, until this fear of stairs goes away. It will, when he’s feeling better.
It’s not such a good idea for me to be standing on steep stairs for 5-10 minutes at a time either, coaxing him, not with the weird world-crawl to the left from inner ear troubles I’ve been fighting since last fall. And he really is afraid trying to go down them. Why continue the trauma, not when he can’t seem to help it?
So we are now unwilling night owls, since Mom watches TV until after midnight. My alarm clock puppy still wakes me up at 5:30 am. It’s working out okay, and we still have our morning time together. We will hang out, maybe play a bit, maybe have a practice. It’s just the two of us.
Kenai’s tick disease titers came back crazy bad for both Ehrlichia and rocky mountain fever, so the first 6 week treatment was not effective. Seems like all the doxacycline did was make it mad! That explains the neurological signs and phobias. Like the stairs.
Boy has to go through some more antibiotics, and lets hope to heaven the doxacycline works this time because it’s pretty much the only drug for tick diseases. If this is drug resistant…no, I’m not even going to follow that thought trail. Nope, don’t like the destination it takes me to.
On a better note, there’s a new forum for people whose dogs have pancreatic insufficiency, at http://www.epi4dogs.com It it open to owners, vets, vet techs, researchers and pretty much anyone who deals with the disease and its complications in pets.
And on a happier note…my ENT doc says what I have isn’t quite yet the progressive Meniere’s syndrome!! It’s endolymphatic hydrops, a sort of pre-Meniere’s stage. If I cut out sodium in my diet right away to 17oo mg or less a day, I may not have the hearing loss I’ve been anxious about.
I might anyway, but the odds are in my favor if I’m a good girl. (that does that happen on blue moons…) The results were a big surprise, but a good surprise for a change. The past 12 mo or so have been, shall we say, strenuous?
While we on the topic of strenuous, Kenai’s outside time wasn’t. He doesn’t run too hard these days unless his brother is outside with him. He stood at the kennel door waiting for his bro, and when he didn’t come, gave me a quizzical look. Didn’t like my answer, either.
Told ya he didn’t like my answer; BB’s not coming to play. Stick out my tongue, boy, he isn’t impressed with me as a playmate is he?
Wednesday morning I decided to give a go at the pre-shaping exercise in the book “When Pigs Fly” by Jane Killian. We’ve been “on vacation” since May, it’s probably time, huh? I put down an empty basket and click/treated for a sniff. Then I waited for him to start offering behaviors to click.
I waited. Finally I tapped it with my foot so it turned over. That got his interest. Any sort of interaction with it, even a puppy peek got a click/treat. The treats seemed to actually disrupt his touching and interest in the basket. (He cuts out the additional effort, goes straight to the source of treats?)
Kenai just doesn’t have much interest in the basket. Probably since it doesn’t bark or give him a chance to chase. Oy. But this was just the first day. I decided I wanted to play with it! Picked it up, “trotted” around as strangely as I trot, and other such silliness.
The next time we pulled it out, I used by body to play keep away via bumper butts and see if that got a rise out of him. “You can’t have it, na, na, na, na, na, na!” The hope was he’d wanna mess with it when I let him have a turn. Oh yeah…that did the trick. Now it’s a trophy!
An empty rice jar had good results too, and he was just jumpin’ for his click/treats. Mr Don’t Touch My Nose was rolling it around with his nose like nobody’s business. I continued to click/treat for anything he did to it, wanting to wait until I choose what behavior to “shape” and encourage.
But the saddest sorrow ever to strike Kenai’s puppy heart is the untimely demise of Mom’s waterbed Wednesday; the magnificently unrivaled comfort of his “grammy bed” is lost, hidden for all time beneath the waves of squirting waveless waterbed tubes. But…
Thursday night the new “grammy bed” came, so we were able to return to our grammy bed naps together, me and Brown, Friday afternoon. Oh the luxury of a good extended snooze with a dog as long as I am tall!
But little boy got cold, durn air conditioner. (I forgot to turn off the fan, shhh). He never lets me cover him up, and yet he not only held still for it, he dozed off under the covers. Guess he was really cold.
At one point he thought Mom was going to come see him, a thing a good as peanut butter, maybe better. But she didn’t, and Mr Stoic just hunkered down again waiting for the cold to be over.
I decided a bit of time outside would warm him up better, so we headed for the kennel. Had to go past our “stink-holes”, the two trenches where the septic tank’s lateral lines were dug up looking for the blockage. County didn’t come out to okay the plans, lazy buggers. We waited all week.
So I pour a concentrated liquid called “Blue Lagoon” by a local company ,Aire Master, into the awful mess, to control the smell. Think I’ll call the guys and let them put a bug in the county’s ear Monday. We’ve got open sewage in those trenches, and have for 11 days now.
I digress, though. The kennel warm up was just the two of us again, so it was mostly Kenai walking the perimeter with his nose to the ground. That’s okay; when he’s hurting its best not to have him running too much or too hard. Walking around is still moving, and he’s still outside.
He paused in his sniffies for a jolly ball flinging session, and I caught his attention right in the middle of it. Ha! I’m not usually so quick with the camera. Gotcha, puppy guppers!
Talos the SDit candidate had a much more fun outside time than Kenai the other day: his “mom” gave him an opportunity at lure coursing for some go-get-ems.
Oh Kenai would excell at that…he leaps fallen trees, bounds over barbed wire fences, sprints a straight away like a cheetah, and will either jump over or devastate any obstacle if a critter chase is in the offering.
I wonder if they can move those lures fast enough to outpace his giant stride?
Talos is very lucky in his selection of a “mom/trainer”; she knows her stuff. I check her site regular. But poor little guy (yeah he’s big but still little), got himself stung by a bee or wasp. Fat toe pup, snoring off the benadryl instead of being the demo boy for the session. Medical leave, right?
That’s the report for our week, funny and frumpy both. I’m hoping for a quiet, boring weekend just the four of us. With any luck?
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on August 1, 2009