Thursday, September 22, 2011

Halfway point

Ugggh man I haven't written in a while. I really want to keep up with this too so I feel terrible about falling behind. But my husband is gone for a month and since he left I just haven't had time or motivation to do this. Especially since I'm the only one taking care of the puppies 24/7! Well we're almost to the halfway point of this separation and the puppies just made it halfway through their classes this week! (Hence the title of this post).

It's interesting to see the different teaching and training styles of the trainers doing Harley and Ace's classes. I find things I like and don't like about each one. So hopefully it'll help make me a better trainer too, cause then I can pull all the things I like about the classes I've taken and combine them. The trainer teaching Ace's class (who is my co-trainer where I work) begins every class with a puppy massage, and I've begun to use the same technique in all of my classes too.  It's basically just calmly and slowly petting your dog while holding them close to you to get them to calm down and not be so excited or anxious during class. It really helps Ace out- since he has a problem with getting too excited around other dogs. I have to massage him periodically throughout class to keep him calm. I've begun doing the same thing with Harley in her class because she gets really excited too. It's funny, my husband and I thought that Ace would be worse in class because he's so excitable when he sees other dogs on our walks, but actually Harley has been worse about acting up in class. Until yesterday, that is. For some reason Ace was just not on his game yesterday and kept freaking out when he saw another dog and he wasn't interested in his bully stick. The bully stick worked the first week, and a little bit last week, but not at all yesterday. And it didn't work at all for the really anxious dog in my class that my manager suggested it for. I had to switch that dog into private to see if he'll be less anxious that way.

Last weekend I had to leave the puppies home alone overnight while I went to camp out for a free dress giveaway for Marine wives of Camp Pendleton. I had to work that Friday night til 9:00 and then I came home to take the dogs for a long walk and prep the kitchen so they wouldn't destroy it. By prep I mean spray every surface with no chew spray, and put bully sticks, kongs filled with peanut butter, and toys all over the place. Then I left around 10:00 to make the half hour drive south to my friend's apartment, who then drove us another half hour south to her friend's apartment, who then drove us to the event site. We got there a little after 11:00 and I got home the next morning a little after 10:00. So the dogs had been inside and alone for over 12 hours! But, amazingly, nothing was destroyed. They didn't even chew their whole bully sticks! I think that's partly due to it being overnight and not during the day. They're used to being in the kitchen all night while I sleep- I don't quite trust them yet to leave them in my bedroom with me. And there have been a couple nights here and there when they were in there for 12 hours- like when my husband would go to bed early and I'd stay up and go to bed later without taking them out and then he wakes up extra early and doesn't take them out before he leaves for work and I then sleep in longer than normal. Because they were much more ill-behaved when I left for work on Sunday for 7 hours. They're not used to being alone that long during the day- cause usually my husband is home for at least part of the time.

Dealing with the dogs while my hubby is gone is a lot harder than I anticipated! I'm the only one here... so I'm the only one they go to when they need something or want attention. It's exhausting! well, having two puppies at the same time was exhausting anyway, but at least I was sharing the work with another person. I can't imagine what it'll be like when he deploys! I need to make sure that they're trained pretty perfectly before that so that at least I don't have to worry about them being terrible at walking on leash or freaking out when they see another dog or having accidents in the house, etc.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First day of school and anxious dogs

Man it's been a little while since I last wrote something for this blog... almost a week! Argh I can't believe I fell so behind! I'm so disappointed in myself.

Well anyway, Ace has his first day of class tomorrow night which I am excited about. Though I'm also nervous since he gets very excited around other dogs, especially when he's on the leash. He's gotten a lot better on his walks- last night when we took both of them out, a dog was coming towards us and Ace never freaked out. He just watched it as it passed right by us. I was so proud of him! But just to be on the safe side, I'm going to buy a bully stick to distract him with during class if I need to. My manager actually suggested that because the other day I had a dog that was going crazy in class because of all the other dogs. He was barking the entire time and I could barely hear myself think and had to keep stopping class to try and distract the poor dog. So my manager suggested I just have a bully stick in class in case a dog does that again, then I can give it to the dog and let him chew on it and calm himself down. Then I can suggest that the pet parent get a couple for their dog for class times and other situations they need their dog to chew on something and not get too anxious or excited.

I feel like a terrible pet parent, I haven't worked with either of my dogs in a couple days. It's just been so crazy since my colleague resigned- I come home from work exhausted. And then our A/C broke and water soaked the ceiling and leaked through the fire alarm and set it off at 2:00 am the other day... it's just been a mad house here all week! 

Well, I'm exhausted.
More tomorrow, I promise.
Thanks for pawsing!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Velcro dogs and tear-jerking poems

So I was just thinking about that phrase "velcro dog" and thought that it fits Ace pretty well. Whenever the pups are asleep and I'm chilling on the couch and need to get up to go to the kitchen or bathroom or whatever I try not to wake them up - cause they take forever to go to sleep in the first place. But it seems like whenever I get up and no matter how quiet I am, Ace knows it and follows me around. As I was meditating on him being a velcro dog, I decided that that's not exactly an accurate description. It's more like it's a bungee that connects us. Because when I "pull away" it's like he "snaps back" to wherever I am. I can never go very far before he just appears at my side. I think he just likes to be able to see me. Because when I got up earlier to go into the bathroom he just laid down in the hallway and watched me. He didn't even come all the way into the bathroom! lol

I found this poem that someone else posted... I have no idea who wrote it, but it is very touching. My husband would say that I'm a big sissy, by which he means I cry at everything (even Lowe's commercials at times) and so this poem, of course, made me cry.

My family brought me home cradled in their arms.
They cuddled me and smiled at me and said I was full of charm.
They played with me and laughed with me and showered
me with toys.
I sure do love my family, especially the girls and boys.
The children loved to feed me, they gave me special treats.
They even let me sleep with them - all snuggled in the sheets.
I used to go for walks, often several times a day.
They even fought to hold the leash, I'm very proud to say.
These are the things I'll not forget - cherished memory,
because I now live in the shelter - without my family.
They used to laugh and praise me when I played with that old shoe.
But I didn't know the difference between the old ones and the new.
The kids and I would grab a rag, for hours we would tug.
So I thought I did the right thing when I chewed the bedroom rug.
They said that I was out of control, and would have to live outside.
This I did not understand, although I tried and tried.
The walks stopped, one by one; they said they hadn't time.
I wish that I could change things, I wish I knew my crime.
My life became so lonely, in the back yard, on a chain.
I barked and barked, all day long, just to keep from going insane.
So they brought me to the shelter,
but were embarrassed to say why.
They said I caused an allergy, then they each kissed me goodbye.
If I'd only had some classes, when I was just a little pup,
then I would have been a better dog when I was all grown up.
"You only have one day left." I heard the worker say.
Does that mean I have a second chance?

Did you cry too? :P Well, I think it shows exactly why dogs need training and why so many dogs end up in the shelter! Please make sure this doesn't happen to your dogs. Please train them! Behavioral issues and lack of training is the number one reason dogs go to shelters. And it's the easiest thing in the world to fix most of the time.  Here are a couple of quotes I found that I really like as well.

Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend  -   Corey Ford
In order to truly enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely train him to become semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.  -  Edward Hoagland
If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went - Unknown

Well I have to go into work tonight for a few hours to cover classes again. I guess I should stop thinking of them as K's classes and think of them as mine, since they are mine now, but I didn't post the class or schedule it or have the students from week 1 so it's hard to think of them as my students. Well I'm only going to be in half an hour before the first class and stay half an hour after the second class- just to give me enough time to set up and then clean up. I wish I didn't have to cover classes on Saturday since my hubby has a 96 this weekend (meaning time off- he doesn't work Friday through Monday) so I'd love to have more than one full day with him. I work Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday, so I have parts of all those days with him and then all of Monday. Still, if K hadn't resigned, I would've had all of Saturday with him too. Ugh. Oh well. I get the commission. I am happy about that. lol.

Well, gotta start getting ready soon. 
Thanks for pawsing. :)