Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Dog

Our dog is settling in to our family, our home, our way of life, our crazy schedule, and our hearts. She is an absolute dream of a dog with a wonderful, sweet disposition. We do have our challenges with her; she is still going all "statue dog" on us every now and again, but not as much. Our fantastic trainer, found through the Victoria Stilwell website, is very good with her. She uses positive reinforcement to teach The Dog (have to come up with a better blog name for her) what we want her to do. That's key to training her, too; if you teach a dog the behaviors you want they don't have time or opportunity to engage in behaviors you don't want. We are currently teaching her such nifty commands as "wait" (instead of stay), "leave it", and "back". We use back and wait to get her well back from the front door as we are going in and out, which is sometimes an issue with greyhounds. They are taught to bolt at the sight of an open door when they race, so they tend to continue doing that when they are retired and living in a home. The Dog seems to be dealing with the re-training rather well, however, and actually waited when I went outside today. (And she got a nifty treat for her trouble.)

It's not all work and training. We try to do something fun with her as often as we can, and if we can get her around other dogs it's that much better. We take her to the pet store, the local dog park, the dog park at the adoption kennel, (along with a lot of other owners since it's a great place to meet up with other greyhounds) and to a frozen yogurt place that has outdoor seating. She LOVES these outings and has developed quite the obsession with the car! She was starting to get a little crazy and jumpy whenever I went to my purse, and especially when she heard my keys jingle, so we brought that up with The Wonder Trainer and she gave us some great tips on how to handle it, along with tips on how to get her to get OUT of the car more willingly. (She was doing the statue dog thing about getting out.) For the keys, the idea is to de-sensitize her by taking them out and jingling them all the time. For the statue dog thing, The Wonder Trainer taught us how to practice, practice, practice by putting her in the car then taking her right back out several times a day. When she gets out she gets a great treat. (Today it was turkey dog bits.) We have to shove her out of the car, but she's getting the idea. She tries to get back in immediately, but then it's right back out again. The Eldest and I worked on that with her for about 10 minutes today, and when we took her to the dog park we didn't have a bit of trouble with her. Thank goodness!! (And The Wonder Trainer.)

We had a bit of a scare with her too. She threw up a sock! When we told everyone about it (like The Wonder Trainer and the head of the adoption kennel) they said we were incredibly lucky she threw it up. It could have caused an obstruction, which can be fatal if left untreated. I don't know that we would have recognized the signs, which can include no pooping, since 4 of us are walking her. We all would have assumed she was pooping on someone else's watch. Since that happened, we are now keeping a log where we record when she does her business. (And Martha Jr. lost it, after less than a week, so we'll be starting a new one.) (Sigh...) We may be clueless newbs when it comes to dog ownership, but at least we have a lot of great people to turn to for help and advice. The Wonder Trainer, the vet, the lady that heads the adoption kennel, and our neighbors from around the block who own two greyhounds for starters.

So that's how things stand with the dog.

Update on my dad:
He's still in ICU. They are having trouble establishing a site for his dialysis so that's where he'll stay until they get it worked out. I can't wait for him to get out of the hospital!!! I was visiting every day but I have to cut back; it's too much for me with the long drive and most of the time I visit he isn't awake enough to know I'm even there. My brother lives close to the hospital and he's taking good care of my dad; I need to let him do it. Not that I won't be there in a heartbeat if my dad or brother need me, but I don't need to burn out on it in the meantime. My dad's going to be in recovery from all of this for a long time to come. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Love to hear the doggie updates. We're kind of living parallel lives, but with rather different dogs. Our new dog is rather different than our last one too.

Sorry your dad is stuck in ICU but glad that he'll be getting out soon...