Kenai licks the last of the peanut butter off the spoon, 24 wks old
All posts tagged puppy diarrhea
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on June 21, 2008
Kenai listening to the talking toy, 24 weeks old
Okay, I need to get something off my chest: there is no reason to be afraid of a dog because he’s bigger than your MinPin. One statistic I read someplace said almost 70% of dog bites come from dogs under 20 pounds. By the time you get to the poundage of a Great Dane, the odds of aggressiveness are less than being hit by a truck. They are not called “Gentle Giants” for no particular reason.
We took both boys out yesterday, and it seems that our Great Goober Dane puppies have reached the size where most people are automatically scared of them. A lady came in the puppy store with her daughter, who hid behind her the entire time. Kenai did his down, he laid his head down, he even waved a paw at her. No dice. They left.
Kids I can understand, and was sorry that the child didn’t get a chance to interact with such a gentle pup as Kenai. But I understand. She’s only a little girl. Then when I walked Kenai down the sidewalk, people, adults, stepped out of his way. Huh?
We walked over to the cafe, where we’ve had both boys sit in the outdoor area with us two times before. But this time when we asked to let them sit with us, the owner had a bit of an attitude since they had grown, making us sit in the corner in case, as he said “they get up and bother people”.
What! We have never let them get up, never let them bark, never let them disturb anyone. It’s not like we would turn to an immobile pillar of salt when we sat down… They have always behaved beautifully. Not once have they “bothered” anyone, and we wouldn’t allow it.
I usually approach a person who isn’t sure because of a Dane’s size with an outgoing and friendly attitude. I go out of my way to display how well trained my boys are. But this guy… he was rude. I was polite about it, but still, it was almost insulting.
This morning, it all happened again. I took Kenai to the vet, and people grabbed up their Malteses, Terriers, and toy poodles. All we did was walk in the door… Not even slobbering, since we did the pretty mouth wipe before we shut the car door. He doesn’t whine or jump or act wild. But Kenai was the canine equivilant of Osama Bin Laden all the same. Why?
He goes directly to the scale for weighing (87.2 pounds, by the way), then we sit down. When I sat down, the woman got up and moved with a nasty face. (May fleas and seed ticks infest her pillow, for that face). Kenai looks and wags his tail, sometimes he does the puppy-butt-in-the-air for play if another dog seems interested. He’s 6 months old! It’s not like he’s a serial killer or Cujo the crazy. He’s a puppy. And people are scared of him. I don’t get it.
Now a large dog running loose, I can understand. I’m not comfortable with that myself, not knowing the dog and not having an owner with a leash. But Kenai is better behaved than some people’s kids, to be sorta blunt. He’s a happy friendly guy, and sometimes he actually gets confused by it all. Today, when everyone but the vet’s staff pulled away, he laid down and wimpered.
What’s the big deal? It should be obvious to the deaf, dumb, and blind that Kenai is very well trained. I use a european leash, and don’t even need my hands to control him: I speak to him. He is gentle and dignified. I actually enjoy exposing people to my Danes, so they get a chance to realize how well behaved the big dogs are.
I consider Kenai a sort of fur-coated ambassador, and love watching a person who was a little uncertain at the start begin to come closer, pet him a little, and interact with him. Rarely have I had a person brave enough to give any of my Danes a touch, walk away without a new outlook.
It’s so refreshing when someone actually comes up wanting to see him! Usually they have a Dane, had a Dane, want a Dane, or knew someone with a Dane. I’ve had people cross a busy street, or stop their car and get out to come love one of my boys, past or present. Kenai gets so happy that there is no trace of makeup or hand cream left!
Whew…got that off my chest. Soapbox moment over.
In a way, that hesitancy to come up and help yourself to Kenai’s attention is a good thing: people are less likely to distract him while he is wearing his service dog vest. At the same time, being such a giant dog may cause us more access problems, like the numbskull cafe owner. So my demands of Kenai for calmness and obedience will have to be higher than they would be if he was a smaller dog. Much higher.
About Kenai’s tummy: The vet decided we’d try some PanaCure in case he has some intestinal parasite. He’s had the full spectrum of antibiotics, to no effect. It’s a three day deal, and she’ll call in a week to see how he’s doing. If that doesn’t work, our next step is to check his pancreatic enzymes. He’s in too good a shape to be the pancreas, but we’ll just see how it goes before I start thinking about that.
Usually a dog with pancreatic insufficiency is skin and bones no matter how much they eat. They have diarrhea, poor coats, with a ravenous appetite. But they cannot digest the food properly, so they are malnourished. Kenai’s putting on weight, growing and everything. He just has diarrhea and is hungry enough to win a hot dog eating contest.
He’d set a world record for food consumption, I’m sure… It’d be an “outta the way, fat man”! He get so hungry, that he’s downright unruly. That’s so unlike him, and it’s only 4 hours or more after he’s eaten. Feed him, and he settles right down. He’s even started mooching while we two legged folks eat, and he’s NEVER done that.
It’s time for Kenai’s lunch, so we’ll go make a mess of the kitchen floor now. It’s always best to wear shoes in there: stepping in slobbery water drippings is kinda nasty… Yep, slobber is a lifestyle when you own a Dane.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on June 19, 2008
Kenai giving me the eyes. “I didn’t like that bath stuff. Can we have some ice cream?” 23 wks
Well it’s finally happened: Kenai had an honest to goodness bath. I used a bucket of warm water, some puppy shampoo, and a washcloth on the deck, since he really doesn’t like the sound of a shower head. A bucket was easier to manage than a very unwilling Dane! Just a baby, but pushing 90 pounds.
He didn’t like the sound of the sopping washcloth coming to get him wet, but he mostly stood still. I figured that’d be more pleasant than dumping the bucket over him. Less likely to cause a sprint towards the woods, too. The lather up wasn’t so bad for him, since he’s used to being rubbed and massaged all over his puppy parts. But the rinse… Darned old washcloth!
I’ve always had a drying off game called “shiney up the puppy”. Great Danes don’t typically like getting wet, so anything that makes it “funner” is helpful for getting them to tolerate their bath time. It’s not like I could ever get them out from under the bed when they hear the word “bath” and take off! Crawled under and got stuck is what would happen. Eyes peering out at you. Blink, blink.
So “Shiney up the puppy” it is! It involves large towels they can play with while I dry them off. I let them nip and pull the corners of it, and generally enjoy themselves while I rub and buff the little buff beauties. They can do the goofy dance, the flamingo step, the slide, the mashed potato, and any other funny little wiggle they want, so long as they stay in the general area. No running off allowed, but the moonwalk is fine. And playtime follows bath time, to burn off the that-was-icky puppy energy.
Other than bath time, Sunday was a mostly good day, having an outing to the ice cream store, where I got a shake and the boys got some puppy frozen yogurt at the puppy store. I get chocolate, they get peanut butter bannana. Kenai gobbled his down. He’s become the big gobbler of the house.
Kenai’s tummy stuff is starting to worry me—he can’t seem to go more than four hours before he is absolutely starving. Sometimes he acts like he’s got stomach pain. It’s not bloat, because I check. We’re going to have to talk to the vet, when he goes in for his 6 month old rabies shot this week. Lord, don’t let him have a long term problem with colitis. Those pills we got last time added up to some $4 a day and didn’t do a darn thing.
And no I won’t buy him the crappy canned food they keep saying to because he won’t touch it. No matter how hungry he is. It must be made of asphalt and sheet rock if Kenai won’t eat it. He eats critter poop and other disgusting stuff, for crying out loud, but not the vet’s stuff. Won’t even get up if he sees the can, and he can tell the difference in the cans.
Heck, Kenai probably would eat asphalt and sheet rock, the gufus…but not the vet’s food. Not even peanut butter in the stuff got him to eat it. I much prefer to feed a natural holistic food, so I don’t mind a bit. I don’t think it’s the food, because BB is just fine. He eats the same things, the same probiotics and stuff, drinks the same water. Let’s hope the metronidazole clears up whatever the problem is and it doesn’t come back!
Working on the boys’ misbehaviors when together, I had asked on a Yahoo group for advice from the author of the book “Control Unleashed”. She had some really helpful advice, and I’m going to give it a try. It may exhaust me, but better me be tired than them be dunderheads, right?
The first is exercise and full tummies: I run Kenai around outside a lot, but I’ve been slacking in the evening runs. I just get so wiped out by supper time, nap or not. So it’s suck it up and do it. Getting Mom to exercise BB is a whole different battle. I may have to just work with him all wound up. And if Kenai is hungry (poor guy) as he has been, he’s much more belligerent. Full tummies and tired tushies is the first step.
The second line of attack is taking turns. The toys are not left out. One gets to play, the other waits. One gets massage, the other waits. One does his puppy school skills, the other waits. I’ve been doing this, but they take alot of energy to control, so I haven’t put alot of time into it. I need to be able to crate one or both so I can rest or watch TV for awhile too.
I’ve also neglected to have a cue to start and a cue to end their turns. It is supposed to counter condition the boys that when one gets attention, the other one will too if they wait. That’s easy enough, saying “Kenai’s turn/Kenai’s turn done”.
Part of taking turns is a sort of “on/off” switch. Getting BB to wait could be really tough since his self control is limited. But if I need to, I can put him in his expen. Kenai is pretty good about staying on the couch while I mess with BB, so the groundwork is at least there.
I’m going to have to bite the bullet and clean up the really big crate in the garage. Using a crate should never be a “punishment”: ie, I’m mad at you so get out of my sight kind of thing. A crate is best used as down-time, a place to chill and enjoy the favorite bones, and a safe place to rest without being disturbed.
So the big crate needs to come in. I’ll be teaching Kenai to “crate up”, and when he comes out, he needs to re-orient to me: eyes on, sits, downs, and stuff before being given a cue to go see his brother. BB has his expen, but has never had to earn being released. He’s very good at paying attention to people, though. Much better at the watch me stuff than Kenai. Advantage for us!
The last skill advised is not so simple. Teaching Kenai the targeting, which is to go across the room and touch something or fetch something, will be harder. He’s not the sort of high energy dog that are typically found in agility type settings. He doesn’t run there, and run back. He’s a super calm natured dog.
I’m hoping the group obedience class can spark up a little more enthusiasm for such things. In the mean time, I really have to perfect Kenai’s reorienting to me. He’s not the “look at me” kind of dog, either. He’s subtle, and I have to get better at recognizing when his attention is on me even if his eyes aren’t.
Oh, Lord, I can see a ton of work here. There’s enough to feel overwhelmed. So time to break it up into steps: exercise/food is easy enough. Taking turns may be my initial focus, with the on/off cues and their crates. The thing is, I’m pretty much training both boys myself, which I didn’t want to do. I don’t really have the energy. So this could take awhile…
I wish Mom would do something about her depression. It’s so much easier to work with the two boys when she isn’t there. It’s not a cake walk, but still easier. That energy she gives off, the sound in her voice…sometimes I want to cringe, so I bet BB does too. It’s just destabilizing. The three of them can seriously wear me down.
It can be so perplexing, having two pups that are easy to deal with when seperated, but go ga-ga when together. Kenai is such a good boy overall, with only a few little difficulties. He’s gotten so good about my neice that I trusted him to sit on the couch next to her, while I was not sitting next to him.
I am so amazed at the obedience trial teams and rally dogs and such. The control that people can have and the dogs can have too is unbelievable. The focus it takes, and the huge amounts of training that go into it, make is seem impossible for me sometimes.
I don’t need Kenai to be able to run an agility course, but to have that sort of control of him off leash would be fantastic. It seems so far off, I have to just put it aside, like a picture on the wall, and work on one thing at a time. Just one thing at a time…
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on June 16, 2008
Kenai, my gorilla in the mist, 23 wks
Oh dear, Kenai’s back to antibiotics. His pooty problems restarted this week, and aren’t responding to the probiotics, the fiber, plain canned pumpkin… sound familiar? So we give Metronidazole a try, since it can also kill protozoa and other nasties puppies pick up. But after the last antibiotic gave him a bit of colitis, I have to watch out for colitis again. I’m told that the amino acid L-glutamine helps protect and repair the mucosal lining of the bowels. Guess that means a trip to the health food store.
All the cooties Kenai has been treated for are frustrating, but not too surprising really. BB doesn’t have the same tummy troubles, so it can’t be the food or water. Kenai gets exposed to all kinds of environments with his training and socialization, that his brother doesn’t. And living in the country, his field and yard have traffic from innumerable wild beasties. I keep telling myself that it will build a really strong immune system in him.
If only he’d stop eating ickies in the field!! We’ve worked on “leave it” and ‘come”, and he’s much better about it, but still, he’s a puppy: no such thing as perfect obedience from a 23 week old puppy. Kenai’s darn close to it, though. Unfortunately sometimes he ignores the leave it and gets to the critter poop before I get to him. He once even tried to roll in it. Doggie ideas about grooming are not exactly the same as ours…
If he was a human kid, I would wonder if he’s doing this just so he can get his peanut butter more often. He’s a PB fiend, my little big puppy. A spoonful of sugar may do it for Mary Poppins, but peanut butter is the medicine delivery system of choice for Kenai. He knows where it is in the pantry too! Doesn’t matter how awful something tastes, if you put it in peanut butter, he’ll eat it.
Kenai’s also getting the TLC for his sore back legs. We do the Tellington touch, and gentle massage on them. I’ve limited his run time, which he doesn’t like. (I don’t either, since he gets bored and restless without enough exercise). The right hind leg seems the most sore, along the Achilles tendon and hock joint. The coming rain isn’t helping either of us today. Poor kiddo. Growing up is an uncomfortable proposition for Great Danes at times.
Despite the poopy problems and the sore legs, Kenai still enjoys his indoor play, and manages not to be too grumpy about his discomfort. His happy play is so much fun to watch, I can’t help but join in! He decided to play soccer with me yesterday, tapping the tennis ball in my direction so I can roll it back to him a few times. Then it’s pick up the ball in his mouth and leap about. When he’s ready, he’ll toss the ball up in the air, chase it down, and do it all again. Puppy soccer!
Our games of tug have evolved a little too. I still refuse to loose, so I’ve made tug part of a “let go” and fetch game. He’s able to get his feet up to try and knock my arm loose, so I’ve gotten really fast at switching hands! Didn’t work, toffee toodles! And from time to time I do a “puppy stuck” tuggie game, where my hand has the baby from behind and between his front legs: he can’t get either the baby or himself loose. Just a little reminder who’s bigger and stronger. Maybe he won’t notice I’m not!
He has tried returning to the keep away games with me, which means I need to bring out the clicker and treats. No keep away, love. Not when you’re a service dog and need to retrieve things I drop. A lot of it is the competitive stuff between him and his brother. But it’s carrying over, which is normal for puppies. They have to learn there’s different ways to play with different people and dogs, and need reminding of that from time to time.
Kenai’s ears are almost done with the taping! Yay! I took the tape off Monday, and only the tips are drooping now, so instead of a full post taping, I’m going to try using only a strip of tape inside the ear. The base and ever treacherous middle fold are still standing so cross your fingers. I really hope for his sake that’s all we have to do for the remainder of the time it takes for his ears to stand. The posts and wrapped around tape has to be itchy, and getting it all off isn’t much fun for him.
It is unbelievable that next Tuesday, Kenai and BB will be 6 months old. How’d that happen?! He was this tiny little tank of a puppy I could pick up and cart off, now suddenly he’s tall enough to be petted while I’m standing. It doesn’t seem possible that my rhino baby has been here for four months. I’M AGING!! AAAHH! Okay, old lady fit over…
It’s really gotten dark outside, and the trees are blowing around pretty hard. I think our trip to the vet might be postponed until later. I don’t like the way the sky looks, so I’m going to close up here and go downstairs to check the local news. One of the skills you acquire living in Missouri is the ability to recognize wall clouds and the strange green cast of a tornadic storm. Time to go.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on June 13, 2008
Kenai’s favorite ball, 20 weeks old.
My buddy had himself a good day yesterday, once the ear taping was over. Those ears are heavy and loooonnngggg, poor kid. The taping is far from done, but his head will most definitely grow into them, and way before adulthood. Bless his heart, he looks like a fruit bat when they’re untaped and facing forward! When they’re taped, Kenai’s my little spike buck…
His poopy troubles seem to be on the mend. What I’m thinking was the antibiotic took care of the bacterial overgrowth, but then proceeded to give him a case of colitis. I broke down waiting for the vet’s medicine and diet remedy to do the trick and gave Kenai one of my Mom’s pills that slows her gut down.
He was pooping right after meals, which is normal, then again 2 hours or less after eating, and nothing was stopping the jet stream. I mean NOTHING. It takes 2 hours to get the food out of the stomach, but going through the intestines that fast wasn’t normal. There’s no way he was getting much nutrient from it either. I wasn’t going to mess around any longer.
So Mom’ Levbid slowed things down the first dose, some 11 days after the diarrhea started. By today’s dose, the stools were normal and the frequency was too. He’s still getting the vet’s meds, but at $2 a pill, that can’t go on long. Hopefully after a few days he won’t need the meds anymore.
Not having to poop himself silly gave him more playtime, and we enjoyed ourselves until the temps hit 85 F, then came in for a needed nap. Since using the Frontline Plus, I haven’t found a single tick on him. A far cry from 5-10 after each run, and much preferable to both of us! He didn’t have any reaction to the Frontline, thank goodness.
My boy does love his outdoor fun. Can’t imagine why the fresh air and sunshine is so enticing…it’s not like he’s a dog or anything. But then, rhinos live outside too! Kenai is now over 71 pounds, at all of 5 months old. His growth fascinates me, not by its speed but by its evenness.
He has always grown as much in muscle and width as he has height. Not once has Kenai looked lanky or scrawny like most Dane pups. Pictures don’t really do him justice, anymore than they do his sire, Bennie. I can’t wrap my hand around Kenai’s front leg anymore, and haven’t since he was 4 months old. The fingers don’t touch. Those bones are substantial, in ALL CAPS.
We’ve got all day to ourselves, Kenai and I. My big plans are a nap, a little play, and possibly another nap. Mom is heading up to Columbia to see BB and his vets, with our dear friend, Melba. Mike won’t be home until after 4 pm. And everything on the TV tonight is re-runs.
I might be daring enough to watch a movie. But that’s about it, unless Kenai throws a bone in the works, like wanting very much to go someplace. The best he’ll get today though is the nearby mom and pop puppy store for a chew. I refuse to even take a shower. How’s that for lazy?
This holiday weekend is going to be quiet and pleasant, and PEACEFUL for the first time in 5 weeks. Already made up my mind, and I’m ready for the head butting session: Mike and his daughter can leave us alone, in the living room or anywhere else we happen to be, when Mom and I want to be left alone. I will sit in my own recliner, and smoke without having to go outside or hole up in the bathroom and lock the door so Emily doesn’t burst in.
I’ll play with her for awhile, and enjoy it too, but when it’s been long enough, it’s been long enough. That’s why I don’t have children of my own: I can’t physically keep up with them. I can play and have fun for awhile, then I can send them home when it’s not possible or enjoyable anymore.
It’s not that I don’t like kids, I simply can’t withstand long periods with them. Just how it is, whether I like it or not. Whether anyone likes it or not. The day after suffering when I don’t have the option of ending our time together is intense beyond most people’s comprehension. It usually involves blinding headaches, vomiting, severe muscle pain, weakness…you get the idea. Limitations suck, but they’re a reality.
So, as much as I love my neice, and have a ball with her: no more chasing Kenai and I around when her Dad has parked his ass on the couch and doesn’t feel like playing with her. No more howling up the stairs when she’s bored and lonely, waking me up. He’s the parent, not me. Not Mom either. She’s 70, and has a perfect right to say no in her own home.
And I don’t mean I’m hiding upstairs with Kenai for some quiet ever again. They’re the visitors, and when we’ve had enough, Mike gets up and takes her away. Emily’s a normal active 2 year old, and there is no normal 2 year old who can sit quietly on the couch for days at a time. Mike don’t like it, he can get his own place. 5 weeks is long enough for even family to wear holes in a welcome.
Saturday and Sunday Kenai and I can enjoy a couple hours of yard work/chase the ball, and Monday too, unless I need the rest or we hit 90 degrees Farenheit. Nope, after tonight, we’re gonna hole up and wait for the drunks and the crazies to go back to work Tuesday!
It’s Memorial Day Weekend, by the way, for any non-American’s reading. Officially it’s a national holiday to remember our loved ones who have died and military veterans. Unofficially, it’s the kick off to summer. Around this neck of the woods, it’s the start of drink till you’re blind and drown yourself in the lake season. Those that don’t drown, drive home. I don’t get out much on weekends.
Speaking of memorials, I’ve already let Kenai’s breeder know I really want another pup from his dad, Benicio in about 5 years. That’s when it’s time to start raising and training a new pup so Kenai can retire from public life at 7 or so. 7 years old is when even healthy Danes start showing their age and slowing down, sadly enough.
Bennie is 6 now, so fathering another litter in 5 years is going to require a fancy batch of dry ice! I’m thinking a formal name like Shakira’s Tribute, and calling the new baby, Beno. The wonderful Bennie deserves a tribute, and if he could live forever, I’d never want another sire.
In case you’re wondering, Kenai will be nuetered around 18 months old. That’s the contract, and I’d do it anyway: I don’t show my dogs, so I have no business being a breeder. Conformation shows aren’t just beauty pageants–they make certain that a breeder’s dogs measure up to the ideals of the breed.
Teri knows what she’s doing! I really have never, ever, in all my life been so completely amazed and impressed with a puppy, as I am with Kenai. He’s a total package: stunning conformation, ideal temperment, and brains out the wazoo. A perfect copy of his daddy, and I’m in love with Bennie too. He wouldn’t fit in my suitcase, though, so I couldn’t sneak him home with us. Drat.
I don’t recall seeing if Bennie had any white marks, but both our boys do. BB has a tiny little spot on his chest, and Kenai has an arrow. Yes, an arrow. There’s a very thin line about 2 inches long of white on his chest, with an honest to goodness point at the top.
I guess he spends so much time flaked out on his back he needs it to remind him which way’s up. Maybe it’s directions for where to send the food. Perhaps he just lost his “this way to the complaint department” sign. I don’t know, but it is cute having pointy ears and a pointy on his chest too. Uh-oh, I feel a new nickname coming on…”pointy pooch”.
See what a little sleep deprivation can do to a perfectly normal person? Okay, not entirely normal, but close enough…
“You’re just jealous because the voices only talk to me…”
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on May 23, 2008
Why did we have to come here, Mom, ’cause I really don’t like this place much…Kenai at the vet, 19 wks
Poor kiddo, he still got his tummy troubles. 6 days of diarrhea, and if I go to Colombia to see his littermate in the puppy hospital, I can’t get Kenai in to the vet until Tuesday. The antibiotics don’t seem to be helping at all. Neither has rice, fiber, pepto, immodium, probiotics, digestive enzymes, or any combination of them.
He’s not vomiting, not even refluxing, nor does he have a temp. Hum. It doesn’t seem to be slowing him down any: he’s gained weight, now topping in at 70 pounds, and he is playful and alert. But still, a week of die-in-the-rears isn’t good. Especially since I can’t seem to get control of it. Whatever the cootie is he’s picked up, it’s a nasty one.
Living in the country, his field of play also gets traffic from coyotes, stray dogs, cats, and critters of all kinds. No telling where the bug came from. He’s a country boy, so there’s no way to avoid it, really. I’m sorry buddy.
I tried the “twilight time” technique when Kenai got excited at the pet store yesterday, and it was not a smashing success. I tried it at home again, and that wasn’t much better. Hum. I know he loves his ear massages, but I can’t exactly do that with his ears taped.
I think I’ll have Mom give it a try: I tend to hold anxiety myself, so it may be coming through my touch into him. Mom has a calming effect on people and dogs. My anxiety isn’t going away, but I’m wondering if Mom can help get the process started, maybe Kenai and I can calm each other down.
He’s just such a very independent little fellow, my Kenai. In a way that’s good, and in a way that’s not good. It makes him confident, but it also makes him look to me less. I also tried the “come and go” training outside, the book “Control Unleashed” described. But he simply didn’t turn towards me more than twice. He just walked around me to the end of the leash and looked around, sniffing, and waiting. Methinks this is going to take some ingenuity.
Kenai seems now to get into this state of low level excitement when we are out somewhere, and his native confidence makes him less attentive to me. Since his brother’s been gone, he’s also restless and inattentive at home. I expected that, Danes having tremendously deep bonding abilities. They get very upset when things aren’t “normal” in their pack.
He’s not a reactive dog, per se, swinging about to see what’s around him or showing anxiety. I just seem to slip off his radar, and so does food. He’s always been food driven, but not now. That’s a new development, and I’m sure it’s related to excitement level.
This excitement is something I really need to talk to his trainers about, because I’m loosing ground with him. He’s not even sitting when I ask, and he’s been great about that since I brought him home. He came home with an auto sit for crying out loud.
I’m thinking that really working hard on the twilight times will help, which can condition him to relax instead. It’s like the biofeedback I’ve half learned for my own health problems. Seeing another dog becomes a cue to chill, or another person. Both of which have to be ignored when his vest is on.
And I’m going to start marking and rewarding every sit and down he does on his own, too, to make them a default behavior. If I can hold onto the sits and get his downs reliable…It’s like everything he’s learned has gone out the window. And correcting him when he’s excited only makes him worse, which is normal. Like the last post said: a new approach is needed.
It’s a little disconcerting to feel like I’m starting over with his training. But then, that’s how it is with dogs sometimes. They get into a new phase, or develop a new habit, and it’s “back to basics”. When he hits his teenage years, Kenai will likely do what most dogs (and kids) do: act like he’s never had a moments’ training nor show much interest in it!
Maybe it’s good that this blurp has happened now, so I’ll have some ideas to handle it when he’s packed 100 pounds onto his current 70! It’s not like we’re never going to encounter places where he will get excited, roaming about with me as my service dog.
Happily, though, the “come and go” training from the book is working nicely with inside play. Kenai is bringing his toys back to me more reliably (fetch!!), and he looks at me more. I’m saving the clicking sound for when I want him to look at me, since I can’t always call his name. It’s a kind of signal.
While he is in this depressed and anxious state with his littermate gone, I am hoping to teach him only two things: to relax, and to focus. Everything else I think will come back once he can do that. Poor little furry buddy, having such a hard time without his brother. Hang on, sweetie, Momma’s gonna figure it out…
“Smooth seas do not make a skillful sailor…”
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on May 18, 2008