Madness

Madness, as in craziness, and as in angriness (apparently that’s not a word…how unfortunate).

I feel as though I have made zero progress, ahem, dogress this entire summer. Today on walkies I picked him up because two dogs came racing out of their front yard where they were loose, barking and growling at him. Not friendly like at least the last guy was. The owner got up from where she was working and eventually got their attention. And was kind enough to ask if I was okay. It’s one thing to have your friendly dog loose – still irresponsible, but understandable at least. But it’s another thing entirely to have multiple obnoxious and potentially vicious dogs completely uncontrolled, just waiting for somebody to walk by to pounce on them. Hng!

But it led me to thinking where the blame for pnut’s lack of progress really lies. And the truth is, first and foremost with me. I will not say that I don’t believe these owners and other impolite and uninformed persons aren’t also hindrances to dogress. Most certainly pnut is not at all to blame. The lack of thought and time I have put in to training him are what matter the most.

It’s interesting, because this is a field that challenges me like no other. (Dog training, that is.) When other projects and hobbies become difficult (ie I reach the asymptotal part of the learning curve), I generally quit. And when other projects and hobbies don’t go as planned or turn out their best, I can just shrug and ignore them. Pnut, however, is not a project that is likely to go away any time soon*, nor can I shrug and ignore him when he is barking his brains out at a stranger, though evidently some people can. It is very important to me that he become comfortable meeting new people. Not only would this simplify my life significantly, but I could not help but count it as a personal victory, that we overcame his fears. Obviously the most important reason for working towards more confidence is to make life more pleasant for him.

One more complaint before I go. It is, in my opinion, a huge source of stress for pnut when the door opens or is knocked on or the doorbell rings. Therefore, I have put some time into ds/ccing him to these events. Unfortunately, mis padres siempre try to “help”. There is no way to tell them off without offending them. I worked today with peanut outside so that he could see there was nobody there, and the sound of the doorbell was muffled. While I was feeding during the doorbell ringing, somebody knocked loudly and several times on the other side of the door right next to us. This put pnut’s fur all a-bristly and his tail at attention as his eating turned very sharky, all indicating a high level of arousal, which is exactly what I do not want. I terminated the session then. And such things as this constantly occur when I try to work with nutnut on this huge problem. I knock once and feed. Knock once and feed. Knock once and feed. Knock once and – somebody on the other side of the house bangs on a wall for 10 seconds to “help”. Uy. I just want to bang my own head against the wall sometimes.+

* My parents have each independently asked whether I am taking him with me when I return to school…and my Father offered to care for him if I have no other way to find a place to live. So much for them never taking care of my dog, as they claimed so adamantly when I adopted him! They clearly secretly at least half-hope that I leave him behind for them to love and fatten up.

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Energy

At various points today, PNUT has been a flaming bouncing ball of energy. He has also been more vocal in general lately. I am not a fan of this. Right now he is whining and staring at me from his “bedroom” aka the bathroom, as he does every night since getting the cone. I’m not quite sure how to reward quiet, since he is normally quiet, and the only way I can reward him is if I go over there, but if I went over there, he would stop whining anyway.

*20 minutes later*

I told him to go into his crate, and stay, as I went to retrieve some freeze dried sweet potato chips. I rewarded him immediately upon returning because he had stayed and not vocalized; I then continued rewarding him at short but random intervals as he remained quiet, as well as rewarding for relaxed behaviours such as lying down, putting down his head, and turning away from me. For fear that he may actually be expressing a need to pee and not just dissatisfaction with his location, we then left the room to go outside. Of course, he did not pee. He spent maybe 10 seconds sniffing the grass and then sat at the doorway. Now he is begging for food from my sister. This allows me to sit quietly and not half focus on clicking and treating every few seconds.

I have to put in a conscious effort to use short sentences. When I reread what I have typed, it seems like a lot of non sequiturs. Feel free to leave comments on my writing style; I used to love semi colons until a TA in a music course made me get rid of every single one in my 10 page essay and exclaimed “Ugh, what’s up with all the semi-colons everywhere! You kids these days are obsessed with them!”. Hmph, I thought. I like them. Also, I used to produce a sewing blog, and I loved the writing I did for it. It was so…advanced, yet humourous. It makes me look like a simpleton here in comparison.

On the topic of energy, I like to live on the edge and plug in my laptop to charge at the very last second when it gives me the about to die warning. Because I don’t have enough stress in my life.

Moving on, Peanut dragged his rear on the ground today and his scab rubbed off, leaving a red raw wound which hopefully will heal nicely and not be half skin and half dirt/grass as his previous scab was. I just realized the chlorhexidine label recommends only using it for 7 days. The painkillers were also provided for 7 days. My personal almost entirely uneducated opinion is that he needed at most 4 days of painkiller, but the chlorhexidine should continue to be applied for more than 7 days. I simply can’t wait until he is back to normal!

Speaking of normal, he had the cone off for half an hour this morning (don’t fret dear readers, he was being held to prevent wound access) and spent the entire time licking his legs and paws. This is an activity consistent with the diagnosis of a food allergy, which was suggested by the vet in response to his anal sac abscess. I never considered his licking particularly abnormal before, but now that I think about it, he does spend a significant amount of time licking himself. The book “Dog Food Logic”* suggests that beef, soy, and dairy are the most common allergens for dogs. Time for more research!

Oh yes, this post was to be about nutnut’s energy level. Yes, today I was trying to plan my course schedule for next term when I was lovingly attacked by a jumping, spinning, and panting dog who would not leave me alone! I’m not sure where his sudden burst of glee originated, but it merited immediate attention in the form of a nice walk. He continued to be jumpy and stretchy and loving all day.

And we saw a skunk in the neighbourhood for the second day in a row! Or, to be specific, I saw it and pnut did not. Thankfully. Also an Eagle in the field, with crows dive bombing it and cawing like mad! As pnut and I entered the park, the grand and majestic Eagle took off with a carcass firmly gripped in its claws. Good riddance! I have heard stories of Eagles (do I need to be capitalizing “Eagle”? whatever) stealing small dogs for lunchtime snacks, and I like my small dog please and thank you very much.

Getting away from scary ol' P-NUT as fast as he can

Getting away from scary ol’ P-NUT as fast as he can

* “Dog Food Logic : Making Smart Decisions for Your Dog in an Age of Too Many Choices” by Linda P. Case, M.S., published by Dogwise. I purchased a copy for myself and one for a friend after reading this review by Eileen of eileenanddogs. She runs a fantastic blog and highly recommends the book (God forbid I think for myself)!

Cheese & Hot Dogs

I’m not sure why I was so brain dead the first couple of days when I had to clean dog’s wounds and didn’t use food at all. I mean, he may never like it, but it can at least be a little more tolerable when yummies are involved! So today I grabbed the hot dogs and stuffed a couple in his face when I had a spare hand. My kind Mother holds him every day for the cleaning (terrible that he has to be forcibly restrained, I know 😦 ) and this morning he scratched her arms up good in his efforts to escape. But by the evening cleaning, he was much calmer about it. That is only three short trials using food, after two days of not, and already results are obvious! Note to self: don’t be a dummy; use food!

But where does the cheese come in? Every time he gets his 3 half pills of antibiotic, which is twice a day, I wrap each half in a bit of cheese. Yum! Cheese! And what a perfect time to train, when he is already getting delicious cheese. So yesterday and today, when I have given him the cheese in private, I preceded it with a tissue near the cone in order to counter condition to paper near his face. However, when other people were around, I felt terribly stupid doing so. Instead I settled for saying his name. In conclusion, I did not do what I said I was going to, which was do sessions to counter condition him to tissues near the cone. I felt an odd sense of responsibility, like I ought to do what I wrote on my blog that I was going to do. Really though, who is keeping track?! Obligation to a blog is not a source of stress I need to add to my life.

In happy news, the dog took a couple of cheerful walks today, finally pooped, and had a great time trying to get his ball while wearing the cone. It was so funny! He gets the ball between his paws, but can’t reach it with his mouth. He ends up trying to bite it through the cone, or pawing it until it is batted away and then runs and pounces on it. Endless hours of entertainment and I didn’t even have to chase him around to steal the ball! * And when I took him out for the first walk, he was so cheery, he practically bounced along the street! We ran into my Dad at the park (who was literally running). We had seen him maybe 5 minutes prior but Peanut jumped right up on him in a joyful greeting stretch. What a cutie.

In 100% not dog news, I painted a postcard today. I am proud.

*If I wanted to/was smart, I could use clicker training/shaping/positive reinforcement to teach him to bring me the ball and drop it at my feet or in my hand. I prefer to suffer.

 

Sometimes when I read other people’s blogs and they break the third second tenth whatever wall and ask readers for their opinions or experiences, I think things like “Ugh, why do you need other people’s approval?” or “What a doof, nobody has commented!”.

Fast forward to when I start my own blog: I too am asking for reader input! Wow, turns out life isn’t just a popularity contest – It is about building connections and having community too. If one person responds, I will be happy. (If more than five, I might become intimidated. Hah.) Or if nobody responds, I will still be happy, because this is my space to express myself and keep track of dogress in my life. It is neither an advertisement nor an application for anything. (AAAAAA) (A’s Anonymous) (Somebody needs to go to bed)

I have often felt that people who speak up in class discussions are kiss-ups or weirdos who don’t understand the social rule that thou shall not speak aloud in class. I am beginning to think I am the weirdo with the highly flawed thinking here. WHAT DO YOU THINK? 😉