Kenai in the frosty ice fog, 24 mo
All posts tagged migraines
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on December 21, 2009
Now that’s a pic that does him justice…Kenai 14 mo old
Every once in a while, if I take enough pics, I’ll get a really beautiful shot of Kenai. This is one of them. I’m no photographer, so it’s a thrill to capture the moment just right. There’s my gorgeous guy, in a soft mood and wondering why those other silly dogs are disturbing his beauty sleep with all that noise.
We haven’t been doing much since the last post, outside of our obedience practices at home. Bless his heart, he’s been all worried about me; a really nasty migraine swamped me and wouldn’t go away. I’m really out of it between the migraine and the meds, so he’s tried his best to contain the boy energy.
His play’s been limited, and it’s starting to squirt out sideways, so today he must get outside for a romp and wander. We have to go to Walgreens, (oh the $60 co-pay), and at least do the drive through at the bank if it’s open. The ever scary post office is also on the docket. Since I’m not in top confidence, we’ll do the drive up drop box and give the sweet guy a pass on his nemesis.
That’s alot for a bad day. I’ve gotten a pot of stew on, so cooking for the two-leg foks is pretty much eliminated. Contrary to what she might think, Mom is a big girl and can cook breakfast for herself! Running the sweeper will have to wait for a better day, and so will the bath. I washed my hair at least, so I don’t go out in public looking like an oil slick!
We’ve introduced a mat for Kenai, actually his original crate mat. He got so happy when he saw it, that he rolled around on it and played with it. Memories from the tiny toddles days? It’s absurdly too small, but he loves it. The proportions are similar to a rhino in a crib, but his young boy heart is glad to have it back.
I’ve been putting it where he normally lays down (couch, sliding door, living room bed), and made “on your mat” an obedience command.All our pre-meal practices are revolving around the mat now. It’s where he waits before “come”, and where we wind up after “stacked” commands like “come/down/okay”.
I move it all over the place, too, so he really gets the association with the mat. It isn’t solid yet, since the treat takes more attention than where he drops his lovely bum. But he’s getting it. We’ve yet to take it out in public, and I’m still waiting to hear from our new trainers. The next meeting will be the blue mat debut.
Mat work is a great technique, creating a mobile “home base”, and a familiar place to relax anywhere. With luck, it will make down/stays in strange places less nerve-wracking for him, while he’s still got a bad case of nerves. Not feeling better yet.
Kenai has returned to another little boy habit that I thought was worn off: the boy bottom stretch. He slides his front end on a bed, leaving his rump off and stretching his legs out behind him. Ohhh feels good, ma…
He stays like this for awhile, then gets one knee up and rolls his toffee tush up onto the bed. He really likes having his massage in this position–circles down the back, up and down the legs.
If I slide on the bed with him, we have head rubbing, face smushing, ear scratching, and eventually rolling onto his back for tummy time.
Doesn’t matter how big they are, they are still “little” at times! BB goes back to silly puppy, but Kenai goes all sweet and soft, per his gentle spirit. That’s my boy.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on February 14, 2009
Kenai, 44 wks old Tuesday!
My vigorous young canine looks so much better: he’s not shedding, he’s shiny, he’s not itching. Brown Bear also feels better than he did a couple weeks ago. That’s what I like best. And we may have found a fenced in place for him to run loose, if we don’t get caught. The local park has some baseball fields, with a big “no pets” sign. But if we are there really early in the morning, we might just get away with it.
I know, we shouldn’t ignore the sign. But the tennis court doesn’t have a gate, it was one of those arrow head entrances; walk this way and turn the other way. The court isn’t gated off, and he already knows he can get out. Maybe I’ll have the courage to try the ball field Wednesday morning.
It would be so nice for him to run free in a big space, and so nice for me not to worry that he isn’t contained. It’s not like he digs, and he doesn’t “go” anywhere but at home in his spot. So I won’t worry about that, either. He just needs the chance to run like a spotless cheetah for his mental health. I’m still asking and looking around for another place, since I don’t feel comfortable breaking rules.
Monday was another busy morning. Puppy meal, out, and upstairs by 5:30 am, followed by some computer time. Then at 6:30 we headed to the park to scout it out, seeing how many people are there at that time. (We’ll have to try 6 am). A swing by the vet was next for his pancreatic enzymes, with the usual weekly weigh in, to update his growth page.
There are always questions about Dane growth on the search engine terms, which show up in the blog stats. That’s why I keep up the pages, and also to have a record. Forgetting is one of my best skills. It’s good to be able to go back and see how he’s changed, and so other people can have some idea of what to expect from their first Dane pup.
Mom was up when we came home. So while BB ate and Mom took her medicine, Kenai and I played a good long game of ball, two at once toy times, and bigfoot pouncing in the living room. He enjoyed a rest while Mom and I had our breakfast. All of this was over by 8:30 in the morning! Oh I don’t like daylight savings time…
My head was threatening another migraine, or the continuation of the day before’s, so we took it easy until lunch time. Muscle relaxants sometimes help with migraines, so I was drowsy for a few hours, hanging out in the living room with BB in his pen. Kenai was drowsy too after that big new adventure in the park—I could almost hear his “that was sooooo exciting, ma!” The overgrown rhino baby needed his nap.
When Mom came home at lunch time, she really wanted to get something to eat from town so Kenai went for another ride. That was it for the day; we both crashed after lunch, sleeping long and hard. Our resident Brown Bear’d been on the run with me for a few days, and we both needed a flop around day. Only big guy’s rumbling tummy got me up.
His new service vest came Tuesday, and it fits so much better. There’s plenty of growing room, too. Now he can be comfortable holding a down stay, without me unlatching the front of his vest. Next post will have a few good pics of him vested to everyone can see how handsome he feels in it!
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on November 5, 2008
Even at 13 weeks old, Kenai matched the rugged beauty of the Alaskan Kenai Penninsula he was named to honor! Here he’s in his element, with his head up, his tail out, and confident eyes! At 37 weeks old, he is still the outdoor type! Our new camera shipped Friday, so there will soon be new pics to enjoy.
Kenai has been bent out of shape about my chest cold. He was quite anxious with the wheezing and rattles for the first few days. Bless his heart, he was in my face sniffing, whining, the whole 9 yards, for 3 solid days. He doesn’t like the 2 a day “medicine baths” I’m taking either. I can’t use any of the OTC cold meds because of my thyroid disease, so what’s left is home remedies and herbal kinds of treatments.
I fill up the tub hot enough to melt plastic, dump in a bunch of Epsom salts, mineral bath stuff, and ground ginger (followed by myself) twice a day. I get a lot more junk out of my lungs then so the tissues are handy. I keep threatening to buy some Echinacea, though I try to keep the pills to an absolute bare minimum.
I got so disgusted swallowing handfuls of vitamins, supplements, and prescriptions for years and not getting enough relief to make it worth the cost. I have a “thing” about taking more pills than I can live without now. I do use a gentle detox liquid when I’m not doing well, which btw has a remarkably good pain reducing effect too.
Once I got off the regular use of pain meds a couple years ago, taking magnesium, Lyrica, and floressence has kept my pain manageable. Not gone by any stretch, but enough to grit my teeth through more often than not. The liquid is too expensive to take every day, but when I need it, it’s there.
Oh I reach for the pills sometimes, but not before I’m ready to cry and not more than three times in one a week, because regular use of them actually heightens pain sensitivity. It also gives me migraine storms, which I could do without. That’s the cruelty of chronic pain—the longer you need pills to live with it, the worse you need them.
If I’m really having a bad few days, I’ll take the rarely used monster sleeping pills and go away for 8 or 10 hours. Believe it or not, once you loosen up the super stiffness from being semi-comatose, the fibro pain is usually less than it was. Good sleep is the miracle pill.
Kenai doesn’t care for my dunks in the drink, but he isn’t happy about my being sick either. The sooner I feel better, the sooner he can stop being a puppy pretzel. He didn’t want to stay on his bed in the kitchen the whole first half of the week, preferring to stick to my hip.
He’s decided he likes bread and rolls, even when it’s still dough. I caught him licking the mixer’s dough hook while I kneaded on another counter. That got a big “uh-uh”! He didn’t put the puppy tongue away until I really scolded him, either.
Our toy time Tuesday lasted all of 5 minutes. Sometimes Kenai prefers a more direct interaction—if he can’t roughhouse with BB, he wanted to roughhouse with me and that wasn’t going to happen, either. If he couldn’t play the way he wanted, he didn’t want to play at all. Brat. What he needed was a good detoxing run outside.
Hunting puppy did really well about not vanishing into the brush on me that day, hide and seek games being responsible for that. That and his wanting to keep track of every sneeze and wheeze. We had lots of fun between coughing spells, hugs and sore leg rubbing too. They seemed a little better that day, thankfully. The only thing running faster than Sir Speedy was my nose!
His majesty’s playtime took enough out of me Wednesday to need a nap between bread risings. Oh I did not want to get up. But if I laid there any longer than the 2 hours I had, the rolls would have risen and deflated into hockey pucks. That’s not good. The boys would have played with them, swatting them around before chomping. But I wouldn’t get my warm potato rolls, all buttered and light. I’m going to miss home-made bread when I go back to my restricted carbohydrate diet.
So down to the kitchen we went, and I closed it off so Kenai could play ball-in-a-blanket. That’s not what he had in mind. I picked the bones out of the stew, kicked the ball back to him, threw in some flour to thicken the now yummy broth, kicked the ball back to him, baked the rolls, and kicked the ball back to him. Did I mention he likes to have soccer practice with me? We have a good time, me and Brown.
Thursday was the worst I have ever seen BB—he was howling, barking, whining for a solid 6 hours. Whining I would mostly ignore since nothing was going to quiet him. I just lay down in the room with the two pups between tasks to rest for awhile. Once he settled down into just whining, if I so much as moved, up he came and so did the volume. The strange thing is if I left for more than a few minutes, he would quiet down—that’s backwards from his usual behavior. What was happening was he had “shut down”, freezing up with panic when he was alone.
It was terrible, for all of us. He’d had a really bad week with a sick and crochety Mom, then a Thursday hit. Poor guy. Normally Beebs would doze off long enough for me to quietly go do something and be dozing still when I came back a few minutes later. He’s always upset when Mom’s gone, but as long as he has company from me and Kenai he handles it okay. Some days it’s even peaceful and fun. This was just crazy insecure. He never calmed down. Thursday was just a plain awful rotten day, and he was inconsolable.
Then came the dreaded Friday, his crucible beginning when Emily comes. There are only 3 more weekends after this one, so the end is in sight! Then Mike will be gone and Emily will not be coming to grandma’s for a long time. We’ll go see her and leave when we’ve played all we wanted. It’s not like she won’t ever see us again. She just won’t live with us for 48-72 hours at a time.
Anyway, Friday night meant a dinner at the café to avoid whatever manic energy Em’s brothers would bring through the door with them at the drop off. Mom and I don’t feel good fighting this cold, and are just too tired for the chaos ourselves. It’s just gone on too long, ya know? 24 weeks is a long time to have someone else plan out your weekends. A run to the café was mutually beneficial, for us and the pups.
The café was full, and we sat in a different place than usual, so it took Kenai longer to get around to relaxing. He popped up twice during the busy part of our stay as people came and went all around him, but as the place thinned out, he chilled. That’s my fault: I should sit in a different place every time we go so he can learn to be as relaxed anywhere as he is in our usual spot. Overall he did fine, just not as stellar a performance as he usually gives.
As usual, several people commented how handsome or well behaved he was, or asked about his training, etc with good will. But every once in a while, you’ll come across a nasty person, like we did Friday night. “I think it’s disgusting to bring a dog into a restaurant” was her comment. I handled it politely, saying he was a service animal with a medical reason for being there, and left it at that. She never did get over herself.
Maybe I’d have felt the same way if a service monkey sat on the table and messed with the rolls or silverware for a person before I found myself disabled, I don’t know…It’s always different when it’s your foot in the shoe, I suppose. Some people don’t like dogs, some are very obsessive about perceived cleanliness, who knows what her deal was.
I hope for her sake she’ll figure out soon that dogmatic opinions (sorry bad pun, but it’s a good word), dogmatic opinions act like astringent to her own heart—grace and goodness can be found in all sorts of places you don’t expect, so if all you see is “I don’t like”, you miss it entirely. And you miss the good in people too, because you’re wrapped up in the great (un)importance of what you think.
I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt, that she may be a kindly mother, or a good friend, and just has a problem with dogs or dog people. But I have the sideways sad feeling she’s only good to people she approves of. It’s been my experience and observation that critical people don’t attract too much variety in friends, and certainly don’t have good skill at keeping those different than themselves for long.
Just look at my father’s life—the only person he approved of was himself, and not even he had the insolence to shoot off his mouth at a stranger walking past him. He had plenty of cheek and doctrine, too. He died pretty much alone, having run off anyone who would have cared for him with meanness.
Guess we all have our severity in some form or another. For me, it is hard to resist being indignant with people contemptuous enough to tell even total strangers what they need doesn’t matter as much as what “I think”.
Derisive people do terrible damage to the undeserving in this world, and that is what gets to me—it makes me angry for the undeserving, and sad for both. I’m not at all anxious that the lady had the presumption so be so derogatory about Kenai, don’t get me wrong.
I don’t mind the skin off my nose half so much as the skin off someone else’s who would be upset or hurt by stuff that gets said and done to them by the more calloused among us. So I have to check the indignation with disparaging people sometimes. Everyone needs to tell themselves to quit stewing and get over it, myself included.
There’s no getting through to people that adamant and abrasive, not with words or retribution anyway. Not until all their doctrines have been smashed by self-created grief and their opinions have become painful to their own hearts will the unkind re-think and learn a little kindness. Unfortunately, some never do, growing more and more caustic with life. There’s no telling what beauty and joy they passed up, or denied to others.
Maybe I’m wrong about the lady, and for the sake of all she knows and meets, I hope so. Like I said, grace and goodness can be found in all sorts of places you don’t expect.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on September 20, 2008
Kenai checking things out, 31 wks old
Today is Kenai’s last day to be 7 months old–tomorrow he will be 8 months old. It’s astonishing how different he looks now compared to his 9 wk old toddly self he was when I brought him home. He has grown tremendously fast, as Dane pups do. From 30 pounds to 104 pounds in 22 weeks.
The only way I could gain that kind of weight is if I go off my thyroid meds! Then I could give you a competition, my boy! Diminutive little brother BB is still under 80 pounds, poor guy. But that keeps him from having more orthopedic problems than he already does, so that’s okay. He’ll be our perennial puppy, both in body and spirit.
There’s not a lot really to report on the Kenai front since Friday, besides a trip (finally) to the puppy store for chew toys. I’m trying to keep all quiet on the Midwestern Front, resting up as much as he’ll let me. Puppy energy doesn’t go away just because I need to rest. It gets stored up, and sometimes comes out sideways if not burned off regularly. So being sedentary isn’t an option. Still, I’ll get as many naps as I can out of him.
The date has been chosen! My brother will supposedly be gone by the end of September. Come October 1st, there’ll be a champagne party hosted by yours truly. I’m gonna drink at least 2 glasses, and hibernate for a month. Might have to hibernate from a hangover if I drink more than 3 glasses! Seven more weeks, Lord give me strength.
That will make a grand total of 25 weeks that my life has been pitched into survival mode, more than 6 months of just barely containing the crises. It’s felt like that game at fairs and Chuck-e-Cheese where you have a hammer and have to hit the targets that pop up out of a hole. Stamp out this emergency, deal with that situation, look out to the left, scrap those plans…
When playing such a game, it’s not really possible to do anything else. My list of what’s not getting done is pitifully long. Not a pleasant way to spend half a year. I could have done without it, most certainly. I won’t miss the turmoil one iota.
I will enjoy the small things I’ve missed, like being able to linger on the internet to answer emails and return later to read group postings. Or making something for supper I actually want, not something picked because it’s inexpensive even in the massive quantities my brother eats.
Oh, and not having to pop up the moment my niece unexpectedly appears and sets BB off will be sumptuous. No more having to hide the keys to my truck, the mower, and other expensive equipment so they don’t get damaged. Buying one loaf of bread at a time… wow.
Any hassles will be of our own making, Mom and I, not thrust on us by someone else’s lack of consideration. Those hassles will be deserved. What an eccentric sense of freedom it is, being happy to just make your own problems. Borrowed trouble is bad enough if you’re foolish enough to take it on, but imposed trouble…Oh to be released from it! And pray to God that Mom’s learned her lesson? Three times of Mike moving in is enough to make the Dali Lama hurl off a mountain.
I just have to endure 7 more weeks (it’d better not be more, Mom) of this weekly exhaust myself and recover cycle. If I can hold onto my legs, keep the migraines controlled, and manage the stress, October will be paradise. Then I can return to my healthier diet, focus on Kenai’s training, and recharge my depleted energy reserves. Stress is not good for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, not good at all.
Maybe even start back with my yoga practices? Right now the only asanas I can manage are passive poses, for relaxing and stretching. But the best thing will be to see about registering for a spring semester college class again. No way could I have managed the study time with all this foolishness going on. I want to go back to school next spring!
Kenai will go with me, and that is such a glorious thought–the hard work paying off! I doubt I’ll let him join a fraternity, though. I’d love for him to retrieve, but not out of my underwear drawer! He’ll be over a year old, in full adolescence, so no panty raids or beer. Nope, he’s going to be a scholar, despite having the size and speed to make a terrific half-back for a football team.
Which class to take is still in the air, though I’m waffling between finishing the math or political science classes I had to drop last spring. I’ll start my boy off with one class, so getting a consistent full hour of silent and still down stays is on his training menu. If I can get an hour and a half, then I can take class on the Tuesday/Thursday schedule, and only go twice a week instead of 3 days a week.
I believe I will add a stop at school Monday to the errand list, to see what I need to do to be ready for spring semester. If I do pick the math or poly sci class, I won’t need to buy books. Yep, it’s one of those two, and I’m leaning towards math. Uh-oh, I’m getting excited–Kenai, do a goober run for me! A great big silly one, please, with lots of funny wiggles. He doesn’t feel like it, so hold on while I goose the baby bottoms…
Our trip to the puppy store Saturday was fruitful, finding plenty of buy 2 get 1 deals on bones, pressed rawhide, giant bully sticks, and other boy toys. The bully sticks lost 12” by Saturday night, and the bones were getting wrecked too, so nasty me took them up. Kenai stood there staring at the bookcase pining for them! You know he’s figuring out how to get them down…
Kenai would chew till he threw up (or worse), so I get the thankless job of restricting their intake of bits and pieces. BB’s already done that plug-up-my-bowels thing, and I’m not having repeats. Bent bottom Beebs already has an impressive collection of scar tissue. He doesn’t need more, and Kenai doesn’t need any.
Rain came again Saturday, and I was glad about it—didn’t feel guilty for not getting Kenai’s afternoon run in. He went out to potty without a problem, but didn’t loiter any. Besides, last month was really hot and dry. Even below normal rain for July, we’re still 20+ inches ahead on precipitation for the year, which means we should finally have some decent fall color from the trees. Another reason to look forward to October!
Flaming red maples, glowing yellow ash trees, fiery oranges, rose hips and holly… how very beautiful fall is around here in SW Missouri, with all the native hardwood forests. Those forests have taken a severe beating the past 5 years, with drought, pests, wildfires, record ice storms, and floods.
A wetter, cooler summer seemed to nurse them back from the brink, though a few trees did die. I’ve got a 90 foot oak in my front yard that’s dead as can be, and no money to pay an arborist to take it down. The water tables were down more than 17” last summer, too, and are back up now. Good thing, since people were having to drill wells for water, looking for deeper tables.
If I seem to be waxing lyrical about autumn, bear with me. It’s always been my most cherished time of year, surpassing even spring. This break in the summer heat has given me a taste of autumn! As much as I love the thousands of daffodils and crocus I’ve planted, the cooler temps of fall refresh me.
After a long winter, cool springs aren’t refreshing. The short days, muddy grey light, and storminess just doesn’t feel like relief from the doldrums. But after a long bout of withering heat, 50 F degrees is. The snakes are gone, the sky isn’t hazy, humidity drops enough to breathe, and yard work changes from a necessary chore into a delight for my senses. And who doesn’t like wearing big soft sweaters?
Best of all is the color…Color is a powerful thing, and affects me intensely. Having once been a ceramic artist before the Lyme disease took my hands away, I could not live without rich hues and bold swaths of color. My house is full of saturated pigments, from warm yellows, terra cotta washes, deep blue bedrooms, and olive green baths.
The only pastel walls are in Mom’s room, as mint green is her favorite color. And despite the Lyme disease stealing from me the finer brushes needed for ceramics, I’ve painted large landscapes and garden murals where I could without going overboard.
To me, a bright and blazing fall has more renewal in it than spring ever could. Spring’s flowers are a promise—life is coming back, blooming despite the short overcast days. It’s a sort of “hold on, better is coming”. Autumn is an extravagant display, an over the top rejoicing that the hardships of the spring storms and summer heat is done with.
Maybe that’s why I like it so much: it’s a reward for enduring. I’ve done a fair amount of enduring in my life, and look forward to the times when adversity is over for awhile. I guess then, that it is entirely appropriate that this October is when I get my life back. Or at least can start rebuilding it again.
adversity is a catalyst for wisdom, unless you have chosen to let it make you bitter…
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on August 11, 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 watching TV, 25 wks old
We had a familiar, unwelcome visitor from Friday through Saturday afternoon: rain by the boatful. Not some dinky dinghy either. More like an aircraft carrier… So the boys haven’t had much playtime so far this weekend. I did get them each out for an outdoor romp between frog-stranglers, puddles, heat, and wash outs be hanged. But another really unwelcome visitor returned in force because of it: a left side migraine.
It’d been threatening for a few days. I’ve been easily confused, a little disoriented at times, and my neck was sore enough to make my face hurt. The heat, the lack of sleep, and a REALLY noisy 2 year old (what’s her deal this weekend?) was just too much for Tylenol to keep the monster lurking. It hit hard, and fast. I was down in 15 minutes.
For me, the left side migraines are the worst, far and away. They can become literally blinding. The vomiting is intense. I often loose sensation in my face and limbs, my speech gets slurred some. You get the idea. They’re bad. They require repeated treatments to deal with.
When the DHE (dihydroergotamine) fails, I’ve had left-side brutes break through morphine after 30 minutes. They are one of the few things that can make me cry in pain. Often a diagnosis of fibromyalgia gets you labeled a whiney woman, but I’ve walked on broken bones before. I do my damnedest not to give in to pain, but the left-side screamers are unbearable. I despise the bloody things.
So Saturday night was a total wash out indoors too. Poor Kenai didn’t get unruly at all, despite having so little exercise or even playtime with toys. He’s an awfully good, calm boy. Not a bully stick or bone left in the house, though. Awfully good, and a regular fur coated chainsaw! I’m hoping to get to a puppy store with him today, and replenish the supply of chew toys.
One good thing, because of the heavy rains, Kenai “held it” some 16 hours, and his stool was normal. Finally firm, halleluia. (does that sound like an anti-cellulite cream or something?) I truly do wonder if his bowels simply move things through too fast for the excess fluid to be extracted before it comes out. I’ll have something to ask the vet if the loose stools return.
Happily, Kenai’s outdoor recall bootcamp seems to have “taken”, and there is vastly less difficulty with him coming, inside and out. I didn’t do much with it yesterday, and really didn’t have to until near the end of my legs. It was time to go in anyway. Of course, I’ll have to maintain all our success, and keep working on it. I’m very proud of him, and really do enjoy our field play.
CONFESSION: I have long had nagging discomfort with Kenai’s independent streak, and the not coming when called was a major symptom of it. Ending this long standing inclination of ignoring me is immensely encouraging. I was beginning to have questions about whether or not Kenai was going to be willing to work for me.
No doubts at all that he can lay down an impressive obedience performance, like he did for Joni the clicker trainer. She has that “dog whisperer” energy, and it lit my toffee tush boy up like a bonfire. As wonderful as it was to see, the lurking question was, would he do it for me?
I’m the one who needs him to be obedient and solid, but am often unable to summon the ideal energy. His now coming when I call him has dealt a giant blow to that uncertainty! It feels good. It feels really good.
There are some trainers who want to quash all hints of autonomy in a dog, particularly one being service trained. I didn’t want to manhandle Kenai and demand he do what I said. How much better to have him want to help, and be a willing participant! I wasn’t going to watch his confidence evaporate into anxiety because his spirit was under attack.
Honestly… As firmly as I believe in, and practice, being the pack leader, we humans can seriously misapply the concept of dominance.
The danger of “dominating” a dog when it isn’t necessary can be either making a timid dog terrified, or making a confident dog insecure. An inappropriate response with BB, and he shuts down, shaking. With Kenai, he becomes anxious and defensive, unsure of why you’re carrying on so.
They won’t be entirely comfortable around you, because you seem to misunderstand their actions. It creates confusion and instability, which never leads to a balanced pack. Or good teamwork.
We don’t always understand or recognize the subtleties of a canine pack. It’s hard to think like a dog when you aren’t one! Humans want to categorize and simplify the complexities we face. We can’t really do that with complex social creatures, and manage not to make a mucky mess of things.
As for Kenai’s habit of ignore-you, there is a difference between a dog disrespecting your pack leader status and a pup that’s just not inclined to pay attention. I can count on my fingers the number of times Kenai’s actually tried to challenge my dominance!
I have long ago instilled the routine of leader status: he hasn’t got a puppy part I can’t mess with, a food bowl I can’t back him off from without a word, a favorite napping spot I can’t move him from, or a toy he won’t let easily go of.
I always advise using such things as controlling the food and play, as well as making them earn everything they want to establish leadership, before resorting to the physical corrections.
Trainers often tell you to roll the dog on its back, or pin it down. When a dog in indeed challenging you, those actions are quite effective if done calmly and followed through with determination until the dog surrenders.
When you’re not being challenged, those actions often make the behavior wilder, more aggressive, or plain old frightened. Your response has to be appropriate and measured or you’ve created instability rather than balance.
The few times Kenai has tried posturing, standing over me with attitude, biting at my hair, drop the head stare at me, and the like, he gets met with a swift and unmistakable reminder who the toughest bitch in this pack is. Then it’s over, and isn’t tried again until the next hormone surge.
No, the ignore-yous is Kenai’s native personality coming out, and independent often comes along with confident. The two traits tend to be companions, in humans and canines. Kenai is a confident dog, and he has a streak of self-reliance. Most confident humans are also self-reliant.
I would much rather control and shape his personality, than to forcibly exchange it for some idealized image. That’s like going into a marriage with plans to make your partner become what you decide they should be. I’ve lived in a family where that is the attitude. Dysfunction and divorce is inevitably the result. Both my father and my brother have wrecked entire families, several times, doing that.
I don’t wish to replicate those failures, even with a dog. Kenai doesn’t require “dominating” when he’s got a case of the ignore-you’s; he needs to be trained to pay better attention because it doesn’t come as naturally to him as it does BB.
When he gets too big for his britches, he gets put in his place. There is no need to ride his back day and night. Some dogs, yes, you’d better be relentless. Had a couple of them, too. That’s not Kenai. You’ve got to understand your dog!
A second symptom of Kenai’s self-assurance, is the tendency towards protecting me when I’m not well. Kenai will begin to growl at strange sounds at home, and be a little harder to hush up. He’s not even close to reactive, normally just sitting up when he hears something, then laying back down when I tell him to.
But when I’m not at the top of my game, he will growl and not shush easily. In public Kenai doesn’t growl, but he will walk a step ahead of me, or stand between me and others. So guess who has to change her energy a bit?
We can overdo dominance when it comes to occasional protectiveness. Dogs are naturally protective of their ‘pack’. It is an instinctive survival skill, and there isn’t a dog out there that doesn’t have it. Some prefer to run and hide, but it doesn’t mean they don’t fight if cornered.
Frequent possessiveness of things and of people can be a bright red flag, when it comes to who stands where in the pack, and an indicator of emotional dysfunction. It can be a difficult and even dangerous trait to deal with.
But protectiveness isn’t always a dominance challenge. It can mean nothing more than they know you are weaker than they are, at that moment. You strengthen up emotionally, and a dog who isn’t challenging you will get the point and surrender the role. A dog that is challenging you, won’t. Kenai backs down.
Here is a good example of the subtlety of working with Kenai: he can go practically all day unexercised without misbehaving while I wimp out, yet leave me no wimp out room with who is in charge of sentry duty.
And the only way I know when his mind is switching into taking care of things myself mode, is by where his shoulder is in proximity to my leg, or how difficult he is to shush. More than two shushes, and it’s time to check my emotions.
He’s my emotional bulletin board. Some dogs are like one of those bulletin boards where all the posts on it are in color, big borders, bright highlighting that draw your eye straight to what you need to see… Kenai is more like black and white with 12 point times new roman type. You have to stop and read carefully, or you’ll miss it entirely.
I do miss some things, but I’m catching on. How many times have I said, “Lesson learned”?
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on June 29, 2008
Everyone knows I can do a sit stay. Would ya get the gunk out of my eyes and let me have a drink, now? It’s humid out here…Kenai 21 wks
Cruddy day for us, yesterday in puppydom. We had to sit out a tornadic storm Thursday night, so the four pack was together on the couch until 3 am. Then I stole BB’s twin mattress next to the couch and crashed until 5 am. Hard on the system… the weird night time accomodations seemed to throw the pups off schedule too. Danes generally get bent out of shape when their routine is disturbed.
Being sick to my stomach Thursday, and the sleepless night that followed beat me up pretty bad: I’m hurting and very very tired despite not doing much of anything Friday. Kenai’s sore legs are bothering him too, so he got a nice long puppy massage. He’s losing some of the extra insulation, and the ribs are starting to come into view again. But the cut in kibble is bothering his tummy when paired with some new training treats. Sorry kid, my fault.
And wouldn’t ya know it’s the weekend again…another wild and stressful weekend will hit about 8 am today. My 2 year old neice was sleeping when Mike brought her last night, and he kept her downstairs asleep all evening. So we got a small reprieve. But she has an ear infection, so today is likely to be filled with screaming and fussing. Bless her heart, I had tubes in my ears when I was her age from all the ear infections. Poor baby, it’s miserable.
I don’t know that I’m up for it, though. Could I have a couple more Wednesdays? I’d even take a Tuesday or two. Bah, humbug. Well, brighten up Harmon, and deal with it. Positive attitudes go alot farther in reducing the stress, right?
I know better than to make plans for what kind of day I want, until Kenai’s been awake and I get some idea of what mood he’s in… When you want a quiet day, puppies invariably give you a crazy one. When you feel like having fun, they’re sleepy and lazy. They do have a way of making you change gears.
Kenai’s gummy bear nickname is about over, since I can at least see all his big boy teeth above the gums now. Have to find another new one to laugh about. Swatty snot? He’s gotten awfully fast with those feet…reminds me, I need to teach him “no feet” commands, so he doesn’t lay one on Emily.
Yesterday’s outdoor play wasn’t much fun, since it we dodged outside between rain storms. I was really suprised that he didn’t want to come in when the thunder and light rain started. I had to make him because of lightening, but getting him to stop the runaway game took awhile. He really didn’t want to come in.
Having the little bitty leashed practice sessions before tuning him loose seems to have taught the idea that paying attention outside is important too. He has made a game of coming when I call him, looking up and having a good hard rocket run towards me while the clicker goes off. He’ll run past, then turn and get his clicks on the way back, followed by hugs and tushie rubs as a reward. Then it’s off to explore some more.
He likes that come and go game! I like seeing his eyes all bright, even if they do have allergy gunk in them. (Pollen counts are high). He was awfully bored yesterday, only getting the one short play time in. He’s got a tired “mom”, and I wasn’t up to much fun, with all the rain. He whined some but what can ya do? I just gave him rubs and we made supper together.
I’m working on a new page about doggie phobias, like the storm we had last night. It’s not quite ready, but I’m getting there so check back. I can’t seem to sit and work on the computer for extended times without setting off a migraine since I cut my Lyrica dose. Patience with puppies, patience with me…
I’ve also been needing the cane more lately, darn it. It’s a pain to mess with when you have a leash and a puppy and a clicker and a treat bag. I need a third hand. Or to lose the cane. Usually it’s the cane, since I haven’t grown appendages! Sometimes a third eye would come in handy, too. Part of having a service dog, though, is learning how to juggle your stuff AND theirs.
But there’s progress on the pool front, finally. It’s been sandblasted, so that part is done. Now if we could get some rainless, not humid weather for pouring the concrete steps! Can’t pour concrete in a thunderstorm. Or paint it for that matter. We’ve gone with a medium blue so it looks all deep and refreshing when you’re starting to melt in the sun. I’m no candybar, but I do tend to wilt…
Chelsea the Dane’s blog had a 7 item list of good dog owner habits that I really liked. It’s rather inspired me to play around with one of my own. I think I’ll get one fleshed out and maybe make a page of that too. I know patience has to be on it. Awareness too, of your own emotional state. My blahs go straight down into Kenai’s observant eyes, in no time flat (flat…pardon the pun).
Respect? Yeah, ya have to respect what a dog is capable of and isn’t. Maybe acceptance is a better word. They will try their best for you, even if it isn’t what they really want to do. Joy is a biggie on that list. Dogs are such joyous creatures. They run like the wind and play with a rock and repeat whatever makes you laugh because joy is the stuff of puppy life. Any excuse to have fun will do! Take it away from them, and you’ve lost something vital.
Well, it needs work so I won’t bore you, trying to drag along with the slower circuits of my brain after a rough few days!
One of the funniest things dogs do is what I call “snooting through the carpet”. They put their nose flat down and do these short little bursts of sniffing. I’ve always wondered why. Looking for a snack? Checking out what was there? Maybe some pot roast hit the floor there? Who knows…
The transition back to a four pack has not gone too well for the boys. I believe we have a problem developing. Twice now, while I was making Kenai’s food, when BB came in the kitchen, Kenai growled and snapped at him. I will immediately correct, and it’s a seriously dominant correction. Then I make Kenai down stay until I put his food down. Hasn’t helped.
Where the devil did that come from?! I can pick up his food and he backs away, Mom can, heck even 2 year old Emily can. But BB gets the growl. Dammit, I don’t like that. And I don’t like that BB is fiercely protective of toys and Mom. Kenai can’t go up to her without BB swinging around snarling. Then Kenai brings out the teeth in return.
So we have a spitting match going on again between our two males. I’m not entirely sure how to proceed about it. We had a pair of male littermates once, but Shabah never cared about who was top dog. Right now, both the boys want to be top puppy. I’m just glad they aren’t females, because those disputes can get really bloody, as I’ve been told.
There are 3 camps of thought I’ve encountered about squabbling dogs: one is to just let them fight it out. Not allowed at my house. Another is to decide which of the two I will let have status over the other. Uh-uh, don’t like that either. The third is to clamp down on both of them, and teach them that nothing is “theirs”, it’s all mine, and I can give it to whomever I wish.
The last one suits me better. Not because I’m a queen bitch type, but because it creates a pair of submissive dogs (in theory), rather than a submissive and a partly dominant dog. Question is how, and which of the puppies is setting off the whole business, or is it both?
I’m leaning towards BB being the instigator. I can walk Kenai past him without reacting to the snapping and wildness. Unless teeth hit flesh, then Kenai has to be hauled off before he does damage. BB seems to be a bit wild at times. I think he’s bored, and needs more exercise, but that’s not up to me to get done.
He was possessive long before Kenai got nasty about his food. I love BB and I make Kenai back off and wait while I work on BB’s leg for his PT or just give him attention. The more I think back, the more I realize Mom hasn’t done the same to BB: she doesn’t approach Kenai much since BB’s been home, and he misses her. He looks over at her alot, and when BB’s in the expen he wants to go and sit next to her.
Last night I mentioned it, and she gave him some attention while Beebs was in his expen. Kenai soaked it up, and was really happy for the hug and a smooch. He got so happy he started playing with a crackle toy!
I’ll be asking around for suggestions, and would love ideas from you readers. My plan of attack is to bring a screaching halt to BB’s possessiveness of Mom, but that’s not up to me. Mom has to do that. I want Kenai to get the idea that if another dog is directing crap his way, a human deals with it while he doesn’t react. He can’t react to other dogs as an SD. And BB needs to get the idea that Mom isn’t “his”.
This food guarding of Kenai’s is coming to an end, too!
So you can guess how tense the two brown babies are with each other right now. Wouldn’t it be nice for them if they could be brothers without being buttheads? Just hanging out peaceful like, and chillin’?
I think Kenai being an “only child” while BB was gone, and BB getting so much individual attention at the hospital is was re-started this nonsense. We had it settled after an intense bout when they were younger. Here we go again! I was really hoping to put off the dominance nonsense until they were closer to pueberty, but appearantly not.
Well, I’ve got to go empty the junk my brother piled in my truck last month and left, so I can get it inspected. I didn’t realize my tags were expired, so that’s first thing Monday. I have to get tags so I can get my big mower on the trailer and up to be fixed. Mike bent up my blades using it in the feild after I asked him not to. I know where the holes and high spots are, but he did what he wanted and now I have to scrape up the money to fix it.
I gotta cut the grass soon! It’s knee high again, with all the rain we’ve had. Pretty soon the snakes will be getting into it, and that could be a problem. So ya’ll have a good weekend, and I’ll blabber some more later.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on June 7, 2008
Kenai’s had himself a day of a firsts. This was the first day he laid down in the back seat of the car and stayed put on the way to get his ears retaped. This was also the first day he was left in the car while we ate out, and he stayed in the back seat the whole time! No climbing in the front, no straddling the console, no honking the horn with his butt while he turns around…
I’m getting more and more glimpses of the noble fellow Kenai’s going to be when he’s grown, and I think I’m going to like it very much. Right now he is definitely a puppy, all feet and taped up ears. Not to mention the puppy energy! I like that too, enjoying his enthusiasm for new things and piles of old leaves.
I am catching him looking and acting very dignified more often of late. He seems, knock on unchewed wood, to be less stubborn overall. Of course that can change as fast as the weight at this age. Oh but the glorious moments of peace!
My brother and his wife are separated now, and Mike is in our basement. His 2 year old daughter Emily now spends weekends here with us. So I have 3 toddlers to contend with on weekends, and it is often way too much for my weakened body. And I have far more difficulty with migraines, anxiety, and insomnia.
I feel guilty sometimes, when I take Kenai and go upstairs. I love my neice to peices, but the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue have put limits on how much I can handle. From Em, and from Kenai. I hate it, but that’s the bare truth. I am forever amazed at mothers with fibro and CFS that manage to keep up with youngsters.
And sometimes I guiltily wish I could send her home so I could have a break from the tantrums. I get thoroughly exhuasted from all the activity, and preventing Kenai’s hard playing puppy habits around her. He’s gotten way too excited around her in the past, so I keep him leashed when she’s around. That way I can immediately stop any nonsense.
Great Danes are wonderful with kids, but all puppies have to be taught what they can and cannot do–Danes included. Tonight, unlike last weekend, Kenai did beatuifully! That was the biggest first of the day! He didn’t pull at the leash half as often, trying to go get attention from her. And he was excellent about sitting or laying down anytime she came close. After a few times of telling him, he did it on his own.
There are reasons I make my dogs down stay with small children–first so the child isn’t intimidated by a huge dog, and secondly, so the dog knows the child’s space needs to be respected. A pushy Dane can frighten a kid really quick, even if they are just happily wanting attention.
I don’t let my boys get pushy with me, so why should I allow them to do it to a child? It’s just good doggie manners. And it is a requirement for a service dog. So Kenai, too, gets the down stay command, young or not.
He was so very good for a little toddles, save for the whining behind the baby gate while I cooked. He was stuck with me while Em played in the other room. Em wanted to help cook, but I didn’t have Kenai’s crate bed out of the wash yet. Next time, baby girl! We have to eat 3 times a day, so there’s lots of opportunity. That’s hard to impress upon kids, whether furry or not.
After dinner, Em wanted to play with me a little. I had Kenai on the floor next to me and within a few minutes she decided she wanted to play with him too, which was a minor victory–she has some timidity with dogs. I was right there on the floor with them, watching Kenai’s every move. I prevented one poke with the paw that might have scratched her, and undone her new confidence. Other than that, he was the perfect gentleman. YEA!
After 15 or so minutes, his ability to be in a down stay with all the excitement was wearing thin, so it was time to stop while all was praiseworthy. And she was becoming fascinated with his taped ears, so it was definitely time to find something else for her to do! I let her touch them, and see how soft. He never moved. But grabbing hold would not have had a good reaction, and she was determined to get a yank or two.
He’s learning to be gentle with her, but when Emily is excited or throwing a fit, Kenai does too. Even if he hears a tantrum from another room, he gets upset and too squirrelly to allow. That’s a Dane for you; always, always wanting to see why a child is crying. But part of Kenai’s service dog training is to walk past screaming children–that seems a giant order right now. Oh I wish that “Calming Signals” book would come!
I’m not a total pill, I promise! I’m just being cautious, so neither of them has a bad experience with each other. The last thing we need is Kenai not liking kids, or Em not liking Kenai. So short and frequent times together is the safest way to go with both of them. And it lets me rest so I’m good for another hour or two later.
Baby steps…it’s all about baby steps!
“There’s nothing wrong with taking baby steps. It’s when we leap too far and too fast that we tenderize our rump roasts…”
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on April 11, 2008