Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Still Watching Rem / Tika Has A Busy Day

Remington: Not much new to report on the Remington front. (Half an hour ago I said there was nothing new, but now I'm adding this.) I took the dogs out back for their predinner playtime. In the ancient past, Rem would play ball or tug-of-war or chase, and we'd usally end up with a good rousing game of Box. (As in cardboard.) In recent months, it's mostly been Rem standing around and watching or cruising for squirrels, jumping up onto the hot tub to get scritched, and then sometimes when he's feeling good, a little bit of shake-the-Box. Tonight, he went out, peed on a shrub, and went back inside to lie down on the carpet and watch. Not good.

Went inside to see if he felt like doing tricks for doggie junk food, one of his favorite sports. He did some in slow motion. When I offered him the first freeze-dried liver junk food, he took it gingerly, spit it out, sniffed it. I picked it up and offered it again, and he took it, chewed it methodically, and looked sort of like he was thinking that he ought to want more but wasn't sure. I gave him a bunch after each slo-mo trick, and he took each one carefully and again chewed each about 40 times. (These are about the size of my fingernail, understand.) This is not normal, either.

Gave him half a can of chickeny substance with a little kibble for dinner. He didn't do the dinner dance, but didn't go hide in the hallway like he's done before when feeling crappy. Ate it slowly. Left a few spoonfuls (and kibble) in the bowl and backed away and looked at it. He ate the rest of the chickeny stuff carefullly when I offered it on a spoon. Then he went to his bed and lay down.

As a test control, I offered him a few hunks of actual chicken, for which he perked up a little and scarfed down in true better-not-let-it-get-away style.

His gums are not robust pink, but I'm not sure that they're graying, either. Still, I am not optimistic. And I still haven't really seen the signs that I'm looking for, and it's hard because I'm not exactly sure what they are.

As for Tika--I was just thinking this morning how much she has learned since I first got her. Now, when she's lying on the bed and I tell her to move, she knows what it means and knows where to move to. No more wrestling matches. She almost never grabs the bedding and yanks it around anymore--the few times she comes close, she mostly just closes her mouth on it. She really doesn't bark all that much any more, either. I don't know when or how it slowed down, but it just suddenly occurred to me that she's not a nuisance that way these days. She does love to bark at the yard guys with the blowers and mowers. I try to bring her inside so that (a) I don't have to listen to it and (b) she doesn't get injured. This morning when they arrived and she was in fine barking-at-the-blower mode, I leaned out the door and called to her--and she came right in! It wasn't so long ago that we were playing catch-the-naughty-doggie-if-you-can around the back yard. Stuff like that.

So when things fell completely apart in our agility class today (following our weekend in which things went from good to awful), it was in sharp contrast. She did all the I-don't-have-to-pay-attention-to-you things that she used to do way back when our agility classes started--when was that, 6 or 8 months ago? Not staying at the start line, running off to chase squirrels or birds, not coming when called. She got Rachel really pissed off at her, too. Rachel suggested a couple of time-outs in the car while I got Jake out and did some agility with him. She'd be better for a few minutes and then go back to it. Near the end, just trying to stand there with her on leash and get her to pay attention to me, she was yanking me off my feet. A couple or three hard-to-enforce down-stays, and she'd come back to looking a me for a brief bit, then go off again.

On the other hand, she did stick her contacts, so the practice I've been doing in the yard for 2 days has probably helped, because she certainly did NOT want to stick them on Monday when we first started. Sigh.

Rachel said, oh boy, you're going to have your hands full this weekend in Turlock!

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