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.

 

36 hours without peeing?!

To the best of my knowledge, a solid 36 hours have now passed since pnutbuttercakes last expelled any of the contents of his bladder. I find this hard to believe, and expect that him having peed in the night, or somewhere without my noticing, must be far more likely. In an case, I do hope that he pees soon.

He has attempted to bite me* three times now when I had a paper product near his face while it was trapped in the cone. This is surprising, given that he normally has no problems with these items. In fact, he, like many other dogs, quite enjoys eating tissues, dirty or clean. Why in the world would you let this happen three times?! you ask. Why didn’t you stop and counter condition after the first time, or if not then, for pete’s sake after the second, surely it was obvious then! you exclaim. Well, d’oh. I don’t know. I was feeling tough love I guess, but there is no excuse for exposing him to something so upsetting. He has never snapped at me, not since the very first day that I met him.

I find myself frustrated and hurt when he squirms, jumps away, or snaps at me. I should know that (in some cases, not this tissue situation) causing him discomfort is unavoidable, though it can and should be mitigated if at all possible with cheese and other edible delights. And I most certainly should not have continued to shove tissues in his face. What was I thinking?! How awful. It certainly makes me thankful though, that I opted to muzzle him in the vet’s office.

Tomorrow I will counter conditioning him to having tissues and paper towels near his face and used on the cone. I expect this to take one day. However, I recognize more and more lately the importance of proceeding very slowly and staying where the dog is comfortable. I notice that he really does proceed faster when I proceed slower (clear as mud, I know). Therefore, I will keep him below threshold; that is, I will keep the scary paper products far enough away that he does not feel panicked or threatened at any point. If he snaps, I am far far too close.

Overall, taking care of this sick dog who probably feels like bleep is making me similarly feel like bleep. It is draining and so upsetting. I hate to see him in pain, I hate to cause him pain, and I greatly dislike keeping an eagle eye on the location of his rear end to make sure a blanket is between it and any other surface. I must work hard to have patience and empathy; it is all too easy to respond in anger.

Oh, also? He can push the collar down is neck by bashing into walls or the ground, and then reach his bum to lick it. These e-collars are appallingly ineffective.

 

* I say “attempted to” loosely, because if he wanted to bite me, he would bite me. What he was really doing was warning me that if I continue, he might bite.

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? 😉

the CONE of SHAME

I wish I had a picture uploaded…mi pobrecito is wearing his second cone of shame of the day. Que terrible! He could reach around the first e-collar but by the time I realized, the vet’s office was closed so I had to go somewhere else and pay for a second one. Urgh. He won’t walk anywhere and still has only peed once today, early this morning. It is now almost 11pm!

Long story short, he had an abcessed anal sac (sometimes referred to as an anal gland) which burst, and he was bloody and licking it like crazy. I called first thing this morning and we got in for 3pm; I was so incredibly nervous. It took a lot of effort and recalling of happy memories to not cry on the way there. Treatment in the vet’s office involved a shot of painkiller and some weird jelly stuff rubbed on his bum. Also, a muzzle, and lots of vomit on the floor. Vomit is apparently normal after getting the painkiller. He began panting (also related to the painkiller), and had hugely dilated pupils and stress wrinkles around his mouth (is “stress smile” a term commonly in use? ’cause that’s what he had), both of which I had never seen on him before. He seemed…spaced out. What a terribly stressful day for him 😦

Home treatment includes two weeks of 24/7 cone, painkiller 1X a day and antibiotic + bum bath 2X a day. I had to have my Mom restrain him while I did the bum bath. Oh it was so awful; I could never be a vet, or pediatric medical personnel. But my Mom reminded me that she had to restrain a screaming a kicking me for eye drops as a child, and that I quickly forgave her. I still hate eye drops. I think eye doctors probably hate me. What were we talking about?

Oh, dog. He wouldn’t eat for most of the day, until around 8 he allowed me to hand feed him kibble one by one. The worst part of this whole thing is clearly going to be applying the chemical laden cloth to his wound every morning and night. I cannot believe how incredibly squirmy he is and how tightly he can hold his tail down. I feel like such a cruel ash hat, but I think it is probably really important. I want to get some kind of heating pad that can stay heated all the time that he could have access to, to sit on/press his own rear end against instead of me having to forcibly apply it.

Definitely going to get them expressed by a vet tech if I ever ever see him scooting again…I didn’t think it was a big deal at the time, just tried to get him to stop. Ah how I regret this! 😦 Not only did I screw myself over this time by letting it get so far, but I have effectively punished bum dragging such that he does not often engage in it anymore.

In other news, I was super pleased with the vet I saw. In fact, I was so impressed that I wrote reviews for two websites promoting her! I am going to copy some of that here because I want y’all to hear ye hear ye.

“Dr. Jodie Wilson was just incredible! I was so amazed at how understanding and knowledgeable she was about interacting with fearful dogs.
She suggested that we muzzle him but did not insist; I respected that very much. I agreed that though he has never bitten, I would feel more comfortable with him wearing it.
Dr. Jodie Wilson explained what she wanted to do as a treatment plan, why each of the elements were useful, and how much it would cost. [I have been to vet and doctor visits where I just feel like an idiot and like I am getting sent home with some magical pixie dust that cost an arm and a leg and I would never have agreed to purchase, had I known what I was getting into. So this was amazing.]
She also said that any time I want to come in and get a couple of treats so that he can begin to change his mind, I should feel free to do so! (And she was understanding when I said that he wasn’t there yet. Wow!)[Also, I have read so many times that this should be done. Also, Debbie Jacobs of Fearful Dogs Blog fame has managed to make the vet a not 100% awful place for her extremely fearful dog, Sunny; I am at a loss as to how she managed this. Also, also also.]”

Things in square brackets were not in my published reviews. I can’t explain how validated I felt when the vet commended me for knowing so much about fear reactivity in dogs. She said something along the lines of “It’s so great, it sounds like you’ve really spent a lot of time and dedicated yourself to learning about behaviour and helping this dog.” I just wanted to melt in satisfaction for finally having found someone who thinks what I know is useful and correct!! WOO! To my amazement, she offered to refer me to a veterinary behaviourist who could help me make a plan and carry it out. I declined because I don’t want to spend $250+tax (estimated) to hear someone explain counter conditioning to me. Not that I want to insult veterinary behaviourists. Although I did hear that a bunch of them banded together to write a really crappy uncoordinated inaccurate book full of contradictions (hint hint to anyone out there who hears of this book and considers buying it…don’t).

The cherry that broke the camel’s back – pnut has gained 1.6kg since his weigh-in last year. That is a whopping 32% increase in body weight. Appalling! I always obsess about whether he is getting too fat or too skinny. I thought he was so handsome – I guess not! Overweight-ity can be a contributor to anal sac problems, so we need to fix this right away. No more table scraps, fatty!

Totally unrelated: I never watch soccer, but being friends with all the Colombians has encouraged me to follow the World Cup. After watching a couple of soccer matches, the NHL play-off game paled in comparison! Surprising. I thought I was married to hockey. I guess this makes me a bad Canadian eh?

Short and Sweet

…were today’s walks. I am amazed at how common fearful dogs are (totally unrelated to our walks).

We saw a dog from a distance, and some people here and there, and a bike passed us by at close quarters. A lady was coming towards us on the narrow pathway, so pnut sat and I stuffed him with treats until she was gone. It was a bit much for him, he was visibly anxious about it and slightly reluctant to take the treat as she was directly beside us, but he did continue eating. He had a hard mouth a couple of times today. I feel that though the walks were short in time, they were not short in content. I have increased the size of the morsels that I provide for counter-conditioning, because chintziness is no way to change bad feelings.

In other news, I wish I had a friend my age who was equally obsessed with science-based cruelty-free behaviour modification and lived nearby and had a dog they were working with. Not sure where to look for said dream amigo.

Sorry, we are in training

Walk 1: Went back to the mall because it was nice and early, I figured there wouldn’t be too many people around. It was good, but a bit overwhelming towards the end. I don’t think I should have stopped to break up treats. We need to keep moving! Moral of the story: take big treats on neighbourhood walks where triggers are likely to be far apart, but portion ahead of time for cc in busy areas. The Vitality Jerky Bar treats are incredibly stinky – I wash my hands with a big ol’ glob of grapefruit soap which d’habitude leaves my hands sweet and fresh smelling, but not after handling these stink bombs! But he likes them and they’re nice and big, so stay they will.

Triggers: several people in motorized scooters, a toddler and mom, a few people here and there, and someone who commented on his cuteness, to which I awkwardly responded ‘Heh heh, sorry, we are in training,”. This apology and explanation were entirely unwarranted, as she evidently did not intend on approaching us, but was instead simply walking past. Next time, just say thanks.

Walk 2: A rushed trot around the neighbourhood in between the second and third periods of the 4th game in the NHL final round LA vs NY (spoiler: NY won this elimination game, thus evading elimination!). We walked out of the house as a man slooowly walked by, singing in the wavering style of (what I know as) traditional-ish Chinese music. Pnut was not impressed. He is currently trying to dig a hole to China starting through my bed. We also passed several delicious (read: disgusting) morsels, one of which was outside a house with a cat in the doorway and someone inside commenting “Oh, he must smell the chicken!”. Lady, if all he wanted was the food inside your house, and he was being that insistent about it, do you think we would ever get anywhere? Nuh-uh. Then we passed two ladies chatting. Shortly afterwards, we passed an elderly Asian couple shuffle-jogging. Again, pnut is significantly more nervous around Asian people. Last was a yard containing three guys playing basketball. Then home! Where mis padres me preguntaron whether the dogbean barked at anyone. Why, no, I replied. Funny how treats will do that. My Mother scorns my doling-out of treats at the appearances of triggers. It takes an internal deep breath to not shoot off about why this or that or how she is so something or how I feel that nobody values or respects my passion or knowledge. But, they don’t value or respect my passion or knowledge, so best to just zip it.

I don’t think dogbean barked at the door at all today! If at all, only one quiet little bark I think it was. More dedicated practice is still needed. I fantasize about him being able to “Do as I do”, but there are bigger fish to fry at the moment.

Tomorrow I pick up my friend. And then my friend and I pick up her dog. Woo! Dogs all around. Then I will watch the first World Cup game at 1pm, and Friday morning I will return to the shelter to walk dogs. Dogs and sports!

Treat Trio for Counter Conditioning on Walkies

“Let’s get to it”

-Michael Bolton

 

Three walks today, two with me and one with Pa. Reportedly on the first walk he barked at a lady gardening who greeted him, as well as the neighbour who greeted him from the window of his truck. Not bad, but also no good for him. Or his reputation – I am going for “dream dog”.

I chose to keep both walks in the neighbourhood after he was so tense walking around the mall yesterday. On the second walk, after dinner, we saw a lady jogging, some toddlers playing loudly and their moms yelling intermittently, a pair of beautiful quiet yellow dogs walking with their man, and some average sketchy Asian people (somebody ahem pnut has a problem with Asian people…they are always walking slowly and backwards and with umbrellas and visors and other suspicious items). I felt that this was an extremely successful walk, until we were back on our street and a man on a bike with a big white dog was following us and catching up quickity split! 😦 Pnut noticed and kept turning around to stare as I tried to hurry him along, stuffing treats in his piehole the whole while; we were only a couple of houses away when the other dog began whining. It seemed to me (though it’s not like I have a degree in animal behaviour or anything, hardy-har-har) that the dog wanted simply to greet Pnut. Or maybe it was “jealous” that Pnut was getting treats. Whatever. Either way, Pnut was rather alarmed at this development and I ended up intermittently pulling to get him home – not a good thing to do, as it simply adds stress and discomfort to the situation, but it is preferable to standing there and letting the other dog come by while Pnut (presumable) stares on in paralyzing horror.

On our earlier walk, we passed by a guy cutting tree branches who offered us one to throw, and an elderly couple pushing a stroller. As we passed the elderly couple, we were going past a guy playing basketball in his front yard, and just up the street was another person approaching as well as a man using power gardening tools (?). Before that, there were a couple of very little kids riding bikes and yelling, which just happened to be very near two people walking and talking who then parted ways as an SUV pulled up. Jeepers, on that walk all of the triggers managed to group themselves! But he did wonderfully.

In fact, I can’t believe how well he did today! The two golden dogs appeared only a few metres away from behind some bushes, and while Pnut was visibly alarmed, he did not bark or even growl, and was able to stay with me and respond when I called him. This is incredible! Not to mention him not reacting at the man with the branches who spoke to us – we managed to have an entire exchange without being interrupted by barking, which my conversations on walks generally are. On a related but totally insignificant note, the branches were huge, longer than my room (I know you don’t know how big that is but measuring things is for wussies), and the dog is 12 lbs, and the man said “If you need a stick to throw, I’ve got plenty.”. Thanks bro, always looking out for a dog in need.

Anywho, super pooper! Heh. Super proud of pnutterbutter. I also walked 3 dogs today at the shelter and took my friend’s dog to be boarded. Dog day!

And I have decided that there is an ideal combination of treats for counter conditioning on walks. It is the beautiful trio of freeze dried crunchy liver (Crouch? Grouch?), Zuke’s minis, and Orijen treats. I am currently using vitality bars (don’t recall the brand) as a substitute for Orijen because I ran out when I dropped my treat bag somewhere during the first walk. Hmph. They are pretty good too. Recently, I have been considering whether perhaps straight up hooman meat – I mean, meat designated for consumption by hoomans – is cheaper than dog treats. Thoughts?