a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Day 7 cont'

Monday, January 28, 2002

Day 7 cont'

Backfill: Nov 16 '03 I dunno, today was discouraging. On the walk, she tugged at the leash every step (this is *with* the Gentle Leader). She's not hauling at the leash like when she's just on a buckle collar, but she's figured out real quick that she can pull some. So it's pull her back an inch, relax, she tugs. Pull her back an inch, relax, she tugs. This is fixable, I know.

But then we passed dogs on the other side of the street twice during the walk. Yowch. She threw herself wildly at the end of the leash, screaming (it's the best I can describe it) and thrashing frantically. I dropped the other dogs into sits, let go of their leashes, praying that nothing untoward would happen, and just used her collar and my hands to settle her at my side facing away from the dogs across the street. And that was almost a real wrestling match, even using the technique that Rachel demonstrated (and I'm not sure that rachel intended it to be used for this sort of thing, but I didn'tknow what else to do). Then after the other dogs were out of sight (and I had to wait for that to happen), she really yanked at the leash over & over even though her head got pulled to the side each time for a block or more. This is on top of being pretty wild just walking past yards with barking dogs.

And she's starting to bark at lots of things in the house & yard now when I'm not watching her. I'm trying to leave her out of her crate as much as possible,and she seems to mostly settle down now along with the other dogs, but then just when I think she's napping on the floor behind me, there's a ferocious barking frenzy from in front of me where she's seen someone arrive at the neighbor's house. And that's without the other dogs instigating it, and they sometimes do a little of that when they're bored. I hate to think what it would be like if they were also barking & encouraging her.

And of course she knows she's not supposed to bark, because as soon as I head in her direction she skeedaddles as fast as she can go out of my way. Even if I could catch her, I'm not sure whether it's then too late to give her the bitter apple. Will check with rachel on that.

In the yard, she went into a barking tirade when some people started talking in the yard behind us. Same thing, trying to get my hands on her to control her, she zooms out of the way & keeps barking. So I've now dug out my old 20' training lead from Rem's puppy days & I'm going to have to keep her on that whenever she's out in the yard & we're not actively playing, which means for every potty--and it's FREEZING out there! I mean literally! So now I've got my long down coat by the door so that I can slip into that when I want her to go potty--

BUT it's complicated by the fact that now she thinks she's on a leash & she doesn't want to go potty, she wants to follow me around & act like she's going for a walk, so it takes 10x longer to go potty.

I know that this is temporary, just to try to keep her from starting up bad habits here until I get a plan for what to do & how, but all of the barking & screaming today had me pretty discouraged.

Also took her to the vet to have her ears looked at. Vet predicted he wouldn't be able to get the scope into her ears; I said I thought he would. he called in an assistant & all 3 of us kind of held her and she was a very good girl, which surprised him.

He had to try twice (without the assistant) to be able to look in her mouth, but he got it OK.

Anyway, ears are fine although there appear to be big chunks of dried wax down near the eardrums. I'll put drops in for a few days to see if we can float 'em loose.

BUT out in the waiting room when she heard the other dogs, there was that screaming & throwing herself around the leash & walls again. Embarassing, even though the receptionists knew it was a new foster dog. And exhausting, too. But she was a very good girl with the vet, although panting so hard that he had to hold her mouth shut to listen to her heartbeat. Says she's got a good heart.

And then we worked on Go To Bed again, and tricks again, and she's SO smart. As you said, Gina, if only *we'd* gotten her at 4 months instead of someone else. I'm just having doubts about how ingrained this is in her personality & habits & whether it'll ever improve--or heaven forfend get worse! Because she's noisier every day. Some of that is because she's getting used to us & the place. Will 2 weeks be enough to tell?

Tonight I started trying some food leading to get her to do Lefts and Rights. She mostly followed the food in a circle but her inclination is to sit down halfway through instead, so I have to keep moving myself to keep her on all 4 feet, 'cause I don't want her learning that Right & Left mean to turn halfway and sit!

BTW, I started with a clicker with her the first night, and I get the impression she's really figured it out.

She did really good this evening about sitting in place while I served up all the dinners. First time I think I haven't had to set her back into position at least once.

I tossed a ball into a corner (accidentally) where there were some PVC poles & hardware leaning on the walls, and when she dove for the ball, the stuff came down on her with a big crash. She tucked tail (tucked stub?) and ran the other way, but 30 seconds later was chasing a ball into the same corner (poles gone) without even thinkng about it. So she's got a sturdy constitution.

And of course she's zooming thru the tunnel & between the lines of weaves & over the jumps.

It's just a question of whether I can live with her aberrations long enough to fix 'em--and whether they really can be fixed

OK, that's it for tonight.

Still waffling over Pika or maybe Tiki. I kinda like Tiki, but I'd take that over Pika only because I don't want to bump agains the other PEEK dogs.

I'll send Gina the bill for the vet--I think it was about $45?

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