aithne: (boone nine months)
 Spotty Dog: *has been practicing his showdog poses*
Me: Oh, you want to be a showdog, huh?  Westminster's on, you want to apply for next year?
Spotty Dog: *uh huh, uh, huh, uh HUH!*  *pose*  *flirts ears*
Laura: "What do you mean, flawed?  What do you mean, oaf?  What do you mean, neutered? What do you mean, riddled with disease?"
Me: Yeah, I don't think we'll let him fill out the application.
aithne: (pip cute)
I had opened the front blinds so I could vacuum; we usually leave them closed as Pip likes to let us know whenever there is anyone in the cul de sac, which she thinks of as Hers. She'll sit on the back of the couch and watch out the window all day long if we let her. A few minutes ago, this happened:

Pip: Someone's in the street! Bark bark BARK!
Boone: Pip is barking, must relay the message! *goes into a paroxysm of barking that quickly resolves into actual howling*
Me: Hilarious, dogs. Shut it. *gets up*
Boone: *shuts it*
Pip: *fails to shut it*
Me: *goes downstairs*
Pip, the moment she sees me: Bark? Errrr.
Me: You just lost window privileges, dog.
Pip: *rolls over on back, looks cute* That was...Some Other Dog! Not me! I'm cute and sweet and I would never bark like a mad thing!
Me: So where is this Some Other Dog?
Pip: ...invisible?
Me: Good try. *closes shades*
Pip: *follows me up the stairs and throws herself at my feet, sighing* I am SO DEPRIVED.
aithne: (boone nine months)
Boone loves to shred paper. A couple of nights ago, I was working at my computer when I heard Boone come in. He dropped something on his dog bed and settled down.

I turned to look...

...and it was NOT one of his toys, like it often is. He was happily shredding a paperback. One of Bryan's, to be exact.

Boone doesn't often destroy things; he's got a much softer mouth than Pip, and he's not so aggressive about needing entertainment. But he has his moments.
aithne: (boone nine months)
We've done a lot of training stuff with Boone and Pip; the approach those who've taught us has been most traditional positive/aversive training, with corrections when needed and food and praise and affection as rewards. This mostly works. However, Boone turns out to be a very reactive dog. He overreacts to certain stimuli--in his case, it's people at the door, dogs when he's on leash and can't go greet them, and a few other things.

In the case of other dogs, it's a very WOO HOO I LOSE MY MIND! reaction. He wants so badly to rush over and greet the other dog that he ends up lunging, barking, and making very weird noises. Speaking to him doesn't distract him, neither does correcting him. He is in OMG WANT headspace so deeply that he literally doesn't see, hear, or smell anything else. As soon as he's allowed to greet the other dog, (or if I pick him up and turn him so he can't see the other dog) he snaps back into his normal headspace.

This calls for a different approach. I've been doing a lot of reading, and everything I've seen has recommended clicker training for dogs who need to learn self-control and focus. Boone literally needs to learn how to control his unmanageable reactions, and for that he needs to learn alternate associations and behaviors to go along with the sight of other dogs. He needs to learn to look at another dog and then break the stare, since the escalating stare is the thing that allows him to go into the "lost my mind" headspace.

So the first game we are playing is called Yummy Clicker, which is the "loading" technique to create an association between the sound of the clicker and a high-value treat. It's worked startlingly well--once I have the clicker in my hand, Boone's attention is on me and only me for several minutes, even if I don't use it. He is convinced that the clicker dispenses treats. This means I can use the sound of the clicker to mark behavior I want to reinforce.

So the next phase is teaching him to target, or touch an object or a human hand with his nose. After that, we get to start learning some games like Look At That!, There's A Dog In My Face (and There's A Human/Child/Cat In My Face), and I Have Arrived In A Limousine (which is all about being calm after getting out of the car).

I'm hoping that this will help him learn to focus, and help us be able to walk around other dogs a lot better. Might take us a few months, but we'll get there.
aithne: (boone nine months)
Here's one of Boone's:

boogieing

This is "up!", where he stands on his back legs and looks cute. He's getting better at balancing.



Pip's trick is altogether more active:

bounce!

This is "bounce!" which is a redirection of the jumping she tends to do a lot. She's a good bouncer.

one year

Apr. 13th, 2008 08:04 am
aithne: (boone nine months)
From this...

It's a big world, and I am very very small.

To this:

Boone

It's officially been a year since Boone arrived.

Happy anniversary, dog!
aithne: (boone nine months)
I've been falling behind in my dog blogging duties!

I mentioned a little while ago that Boone was feeling under the weather. Turns out he has Addison's Disease, a fairly rare endocrine disorder that he is the wrong size, age, sex, and breed to get. Our dog is an overachiever!

Addison's is a very serious disease that can kill dogs if it's not caught early enough; fortunately, we have a good vet who took very vague symptoms and came up with the answer. Boone will need a shot every 30 days for the rest of his life and occasionally some supplemental prednisone (since he no longer makes some of his natural steroids) but other than that, he should live happy and healthy and long. It took him a couple of weeks to really bounce back from being sick, but he's on his second shot and he's feeling a lot better.

Otherwise, he's doing very well; he generally comes when called, he's learning how to sit for greetings, and he did brilliantly at the party this weekend. He's still not very good with children, but I think I see some signs of improvement on that front.

Pip is still a ball of fur and love. She is of the opinion that once she is lying on a human, she is completely absolved of any responsibility for anything. "Gravity?" she says. "Gravity is your problem now. You won't drop me. I know it." She goes limp and cuddly and it is very, very cute, which is a good thing as she has gone through a series of terrible adolescent phases. The list of things she has eaten and/or destroyed is long. I will be so glad when she finishes with the whole puppy thing!

We're in training class with both of them, and I think this time we'll go on and do the advanced obedience class as well.

(I think I had more, but this damn headache is kicking my butt. ow.)
aithne: (boone nine months)
Boone has been feeling under the weather for the last few days. He pretty much didn't eat this weekend, though he looked perfectly energetic and in fact spent an hour and a half on Saturday running around like a nut with a bunch of other dogs, and Sunday we went to another dog park and then for a three-mile walk.

I left Pip at home for Sunday's dog park adventure, because this was a new one and according to the Web site the entrances weren't gated. Pip, for all of her wonderful qualities, has kind of an issue with coming when called. As in, she doesn't unless she feels like it, and if there's something more interesting where she is (a stick, a ball, cat poop, air molecules), she doesn't feel like it.

We're working on it.

It turns out that the park would have been fine for Pip, since the entrances were pretty far away from the big open area all the dogs were in. And evidently, when we left without her, it was sob sob oh the misery they left me here BY MYSELF I'm so loooooooooonely! for a half hour. And when she was let out of the crate, the first thing she did was to run to the front window to make sure that Boone and I weren't hanging out in the front yard, just to fool her.

And Boone, at the dog park, ran around and sniffed and looked a bit intimidated by the huge romping dogs. In other words, he was acting perfectly normal. Sometimes he doesn't really eat for a couple of days; this is a dog who will never be fat, because he turns his nose up at food unless he's actually hungry. So we didn't worry about it much.

Then came Monday, and he was just...droopy. Ears lower than usual. Tail carried a bit low instead of curled over his back. Not coming to lick my legs when I got out of the shower. Pip said, Play with me! and he said Sorry, not feeling like it today. Which was worrisome enough, but when yesterday came and he was so droopy he was looking almost Phalene-like, it was time for a visit to the vet.

The vet poked and prodded him, tried to give him some of the Stinkiest Food In The World (Boone actually turned his back on the stinky food, but he's like that sometimes, doesn't accept food from strangers), and xrayed him. He thought there might be a blockage, and there was a suspicious area on the xray, but it was by no means conclusive.  And he was full of poop.  So he had been eating something.

This is hopefully the only time in this dog's life that I will be able to say to him, "I have SCIENTIFIC PROOF that you have to poop, dog!"

So I've been feeding him this laxative/lubricant stuff, and last night he ran around the back yard and did his thing, and this morning he's a lot perkier.  I had to coax him over, but he did come over and lick my legs after my shower.  And he had some breakfast, though he rooted around under the (expensive, good for him, made of freaking VENISON) canned food to eat the kibble underneath.  The dog, apparently, was constipated.  And doesn't really like his new food.

Argh.

Well, at least it wasn't serious.
aithne: (camera)

not the shape of my heart
Originally uploaded by Nareshe.
We went to the Seattle Flickr Dogs meetup with the puppies today, which was so much fun! Boone and Pip were both good, and Boone especially was a lot braver than he has been recently, especially since there were a lot of big dogs, and kids. He actually went up to some kids--obviously not sure of himself, but willing to give a sniff and a try.

Pip was a mad dog, running around and barking her fool head off for a while. There were so many dogs--there was a bulldog meetup at the same time, and dogs of all sizes from tiny to huge. Ours would go running off, circle around to keep an eye on us, and then take off again, obviously really enjoying have the space to run amid the hills and the trees.

We had a bit of a whoops in the parking lot where I dropped Boone's leash as he took off after a pack of small dogs heading in--but, wonder of wonders, calling him back worked. He skidded to a stop and looked at me like,"What? OH! Sorry, lady." and came back to me.

So very impressed with him today. That's pretty much the kind of voice control I need to have him under.

The picture is of a shy Saluki girl who was so pretty, though she wouldn't get near any humans other than hers.
aithne: (pip cute)
Pip went to the vet to have a retained baby fang pulled, and for a urinalysis.  The baby fang came out without incident (and we have the fang!  It's very cool) and her urinalysis says that Pip's urine pH is all wrong, and she has crystals, so she's on the special dog food from here on out.  This is probably why we've had the problems with housetraining that we have, so when her bladder's more comfy we should be able to get her completely housetrained and start taking her to dog class.

She was a little more sleepy than usual last night, but this morning she's romping like usual, so she'll be just fine.

On the other hand, there is Selena, who yesterday started acting very ill, peeing where she was standing and being all wobbly.  Poor thing.  She's been at the vet overnight for IV fluids and a hot water bottle to warm her up.  She's down a pound and a half from when I took her in to have her thyroid retested less than a month ago--poor thing is only six pounds now!

The vet is supposed to call this morning and tell us how she's doing.  I hope she feels better.

And in yet more news, I am currently the only non-sick human in the house.  Both Laura and Bryan are down for the count.  I did, however, finish Book 2 of Imryne last night, so I should post that tonight and then whip out a chapter of <em>The Water and the Wild</em> this weekend.

Currently, though, I have vampires and werewolves on the brain.

Also, these scarves?  Beautiful, but I'm sorry, there is no scarf worth how much they want for theirs.  Except maybe a vintage Hermes. 
aithne: (pip cute)
I took Pip on some errands with me today, to the vet and to Mud Bay and then through the Starbucks drive-through. It all went really well, at least until the end. There were kids at the vet, which made Pip very, very happy, as well as a giant boxer to which Pip was very obviously saying, "WHOA. I didn't know dogs came that BIG! I'm a puppy, see, i'm lying down!" I handed her leash to the boys (two of them, probably eight and ten, obviously brothers) while I was paying for Selena's medication, which made both sides happy. It's nice to have a dog that likes small people rather than treating them at best with distant suspicion and at worst with outright hostility. Mud Bay (local crunchyhippie pet store) was all kinds of sniff-worthy, as well. Then we drove home.

Unfortunately, Pip evidently gets carsick. Breakfast came up while we were in line for the drive-through, which was not pretty, but fortunately it was only part of breakfast. The rest of breakfast waited to come up until we were home, thankfully. But she is happy as can be, and I got a fun toy for them at the store (a tennis ball with a fake fox tail attached to it, with a squeaker hidden inside) which is an instant hit.

Today, writing alternating with cleaning, i think. I've been putting off some chores that really need done.
aithne: (boone nine months)
SO pleased with the hounds right now. I just went for a walk with both of them, implemented Brilliant Idea (two leashes the same length, Humans Are Unstable lessons), and I suddenly had two dogs, both walking on loose leashes, with the least amount of rioting necessary, in a reasonable approximation of heel. (Boone a tiny bit ahead, Pip a bit behind.) They did almost everything right, including aforementioned loose leashes and minimum of rioting, as well as sitting before crossing roads. So, so pleased. Makes up for this morning's Puppy Riot in a big way. We even passed Big Barky Police Dog's yard without much fuss.

Very happy with puppies now. I have an errand to run, and they'll get to run around afterwards and then they and I will have a shower. Right now, I'm letting them run around the backyard and get filthy, because they deserve it.
aithne: (pip puppy)
Today was Bath Day for the puppies, both of whom were smelling quite doglike. We have pretty much an ideal setup for washing dogs--a glassed-in shower with a handheld showerhead. So I rounded up the puppies and got them into the shower (a trick in itself) and then washed both myself and them.

Washing dogs is a lot different than washing cats. (I know, duh.) The dogs...just kind of stand there. And let you wash them. They look miserable, but they seem to be convinced that the best way to make the washing stop quickly is to submit to being scrubbed. Then it was time for Drying-Off Antics and breakfast for them and me. Boone does acrobatics wile he's wet, in attempts to dry off. It's amusing to watch.

The difference in them last night, after they had been out of their crates all afternoon, was astounding. They actually both settled down with me to watch a little TV after my brain had become too fuzzy for any more writing. Pip curled up in my lap and Boone kept my feet warm.

Other sweet moment: yesterday morning, Pip made a successful bid for snuggling between the first and second going-outs of the morning. (She sat down and made lttle pointing motions with her nose at me, a pretty obvious "pick me up lady!". Then when I pucked her up, she tucked herself into the crook of my neck, and I kid you not, sighed happily. *melt*) Juniper was downstairs eating instead of on the bed and I happened to be in my pajamas, so I dropped Boone off in the bedroom crate and settled back into bed with Pip.

She tucked her front paws and her nose into my armpit and went to sleep.

Awwwww.

I'm not a boy, but she still likes me sometimes.

The dogs are clean and not getting to play outside today because of it. Pip is currently crashed out in her crate after ringing the Magic Bell twice not because she had to pee but because she just wanted to run around outside, and Boone's being a watchdog on the couch. And it's time for me to write.
aithne: (pip puppy)
Argh. Dogs.

Okay, I did discover that Pip, when by herself and once I'd expressed to her that Humans Are Unstable in terms she really understood (changing direction randomly helps) is really good at walking on the leash. She walks on a loose leash and in the heel position and oh my goodness I was pleased with her once we'd gone a little ways. Must just get her to do that all the time so I can walk her and Boone together more easily.

(It's also about time to buy her a training collar; I need to remember to measure her neck, since she's such a wrestler-shaped dog.)

We're currently in the phase of The Magic Bell Always Opens The Door, though, which makes life interesting in some ways. The Magic Bell is the bell we have hung by the back door that the dogs are supposed to ring to let the humans know they want to go out. Part of potty training is, when the bell is rung, to always go to the door, put the dog that's rung the bell and is waiting patiently by the door on a leash, and go outside with said dog and let them do whatever they need to do, then bring them right back inside.

However, there is a phase with the Magic Bell where the dog has discovered that ringing the Magic Bell means that the door opens, and this is new and interesting power. So the dog rings it about every five minutes, just for novelty's sake. It's important to keep up with it, no matter how frustrating it gets, because the phase does end after a week or two. Supposedly.

Pip has gotten a lot better about actually going when I take her out, having mastered the art of the courtesy tinkle, so she spends less time in the crate. But last night, man. I was attempting to write a sex scene involving four characters, and every five minutes, Pip was ringing the Magic Bell. So I would get a couple of sentences done, start getting into the flow of it, and *ring ring!* goes the Magic Bell.

This is not conducive to even getting the basics of the geometry of group sex right, much less making it flow correctly. I finally tossed Pip in her crate for twenty minutes, where she sulked, and then let her out and enjoyed a full half hour of not getting up to take one dog or another outside.

I did finish the scene and then the story, which I will be editing and posting tonight, but it took me quite a bit longer than it did. I have a lot of respect for people who write with children in the house. I can barely do it with dogs, and I can shut the dogs in their crates if they annoy me overmuch. (I try not to do it at night, because they're currently in their crates for eight hours a day.)

I think I'm going to start using Laura's desk in the library to write at, since it's closer to the door and doesn't involve me getting comfy on the couch and then needing to immediately get up to let the dogs out.
aithne: (Tepoz in bunny slippers)

Unfortunately, it's raining *hard*.  My commute (all three miles of it) was just slightly tetchy due to the new streams pouring down the sides of the valley and over Talbot, and the fact that 180th is somewhat underwater was also an issue.  The backyard is one big puddle.  Poor doggies.

And it's not supposed to let up at all today.  This is going to be all kinds of fun.

[livejournal.com profile] zaratyst made some dog videos!  One behind the cut, others at her Jumpcut site.

see the Doggie Dot Dance video! )
aithne: (pip puppy)

puppies, sacked out
Originally uploaded by Nareshe.
One seven-pound girl puppy + one twelve-pound boy puppy + a day's worth of rain + a mad dash inside like a speeding bullet + Kris sitting on the couch = HI LADY WE GET YOU ALL WET NOWS!

However, I managed to teach Pip that sitting down gets you treats, and I think she's learning her name.

This picture was taken last night after they had both sacked out in my office. Right now, it's World Puppy Federation Wrestling behind me.
aithne: (puppy)
He is now officially Boone, which means I can stop calling him "Puppy" now. Yay!

Things are starting to get into a routine, which is nice. I'm on the evening and morning puppy shift (I take over when it's bedtime, he sleeps in my room, and I get him up and potty and feed him and everything in the morning). I've been trying out different things, and i think I've settled on an order to do things in that works.

In other, non-dog news, [livejournal.com profile] damiana_swan posted a review of Every Sacred Thing! Squee!

Speaking of, i have limited signed copies of Every Sacred Thing available. They're $20 if you're local, $25 if you need them shipped in the US, and international shipping is available but the price will vary depending on the country. Let me know if you want one!
aithne: (puppy)
There was no whining out of the puppy last night after he was put in his crate for the night, which is a lovely and amazing thing. (The breeder was right; he was just trying to put us on, he's used to spending nights in a crate.) And then there was progress on the housetraining front this morning, so yay!

There was a strange barking incident at 4 AM this morning, which I can't decide if it's because Juniper had decided to come in and snuggle, or because the dog had a dream. If it was Juniper, he was nowhere to be found afterwards, and since the door wasn't pushed open like it would have been if he'd come in, I'm thinking dream.

However, it's about time to introduce to my cat the idea that the puppy is in fact confined at night, and is no threat whatsoever, and Juniper still owns the bed and the human in it. And to introduce to the puppy the notion that Juniper is, in fact, the boss of him.

Greebo has come to this conclusion independently, it seems. Yesterday, Laura fed the puppy lunch, and Greebo wandered up and said, "You just sit right there while I sample your food. No, sit. Mmm, puppy food." He helped himself to some puppy food, then strolled off, while the puppy sat and watched.

*****

In other news, I think I need this shirt. Because as a matter of fact I am that big of a geek.
aithne: (puppy)
No, really, we can't keep calling him 'puppy' forever.
aithne: (puppy)
Well, we have survived the first 20 or so hours with the puppy. This whole "housetraining" thing is going to be interesting, I can tell. It'll get better once the puppy settles down from the trip, I think.

I think we lucked out and got a snuggly Papillon. (They're all people dogs, but a lot of them aren't really lap dogs.) He wants to be on laps, and last night he fell asleep on me, then Bryan, then me again. He did make quite a bit of noise last night (his crate is in my room, since I have the morning dog shift), but he didn't whine all night like I've heard some do.

He's getting used to the collar and leash, and going up stairs is fine but coming down them is still scary. He still doesn't have a name, but he should have one soon. Juniper hisses at him but otherwise seems not to be wigged out. Greebo is curious. Selena is disdainful. Esme is sort of wigged, but she's coming downstairs sometimes, so it can't be so hugely bad.

So I think things are going as well as can be expected. Yay!

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