Sunday, July 27, 2008

Chandler & cats updates

Chan's obedience classes are going quite well. His biggest problems are probably his enthusiasm, and the fact that he is "environmentally challenged" as the instructor says. As far as the latter goes, he finds EVERYTHING interesting and gets distracted, although this has improved greatly through Family Dog 1 & 2. For the former, he just gets so excited, and will have difficulty listening. If he's revved, he'll just start throwing out a bunch of behaviors in the hopes that one will work, and never hear that you were asking for "paw". However, he is listening to me much better, and has been offleash several times in the last week and listened to my "leave it" when people were at the foot of the neighbor's driveway; this is a big improvement from charging while barking. Unfortunately he did decide on Tuesday to take off across the street after the mail truck. Thankfully we live on a dead end. In the fall, I'm going to have to teach him that he must wait politely at the mailbox for his biscuit from the mailman, instead of chasing after the truck barking.

His socialization seems to be going quite well. We were up at the lake two weekends ago, and he crashed the neighbor's party. Well, he did hold out until they cut the cake, and then he broke. He was fine with all the men that were guests, and even the yorkie that doesn't like other dogs...but of course, he was focused on mooching cake. Sometimes I wonder if he comes from a long line of farmdogs that hung out in the kitchen. *laf*

We went for a walk with his second cousin Addy two Wednesdays ago. She's about 5 months old, and a little spitfire. I think her owner was glad to finally find a dog that would play with her. Apparently they have an older lab that just goes "ugh", and another dog in the extended family has started hiding when he sees her coming! Well, she never got to jump all over Chan, because she couldn't catch him at first, and then he started chasing her- which I think emphasized that he had decided to be in charge. They did end up having a blast. :)
Rowan seems to be doing well on her chicken diet, although I've been trying to slip her some of Ashke's canned food because the chicken is not totally balanced. Sometimes she wants it, sometimes she doesn't. Mixing in bone meal seems to be working well, and I've been investigating cat vitamins. Most of them seem to have stuff mixed in that would probably upset her digestion. Soy is common enough, but cellulose seemed a bit strange- its not like she's a termite. I'm probably going to go with Wellness Welltabs for cats, as those ingredients seem to be absent.

I've been struggling a bit with the recipes in the Strombeck book. It's not the most user friendly. I finally found that clams were added to the recipes for the tuarine...three chapters after the main chapter of recipes. Clams are out due to my mother's allergies, so I'll have to look into a taurine supplement for safety, if the Welltabs don't cover it. I tried adding hard boiled egg and vegetable oil on Saturday. She ate it then, and then "foofooed" it this morning. *sigh* I'll have to try again later, and meanwhile stick to the plain poultry recipe. Hopefully she'll actually eat the vitamins.

Ashke is fine...except he seems to be getting rounder. I think I need to cut back on his calories. He's put weight back on with the Instinct cans, but I don't want him to overdo it.

Heh...their fall checkup should be interesting...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Chandler therapy for toy poodles

I was rather surprised to hear from a friend that "Chandler has saved
another dog!" today. My first thought was "Wait...what?" It turns
out that she was speaking behaviorally, but the story is still funny.

About a month ago, we went out hiking with Kit, her sheltie who is
Chan's best friend, and Jess (a friend of Kits) who has a active 14
year old toy poodle named Babe. Babe had been attacked by a golden
retriever a few years ago, and had been afraid of dogs ever since
then. Beforehand, she'd been a very social and happy dog, but now
she'd practically try to climb up her owner's leg if she even saw a
large dog.

Chandler has always been really good with small dogs and is very
social, so we figured he'd be safe to have on the trail with Babe.
Things were going pretty well; all the dogs were offleash and Babe was
relaxing a bit when he passed her on the trail.

Then it happened. Babe was out in front with Jess a few feet behind
her. Chan had been sniffing something, and suddenly decided that he
needed to zoom up the trail and get back out in front. He passed me
at a run, and zipped right past Jess on the narrow trail-only to find
a toy poodle suddenly in his way and very little time to react.

So he jumped right over Babe.

Babe's reaction to having 60 lbs of English Shepherd fly right over
her was the canine version of "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! HELPHELPHELP!"

I felt really bad, and was afraid we'd accidentally reinforced the
fear reaction. (In retrospect, I'd do leashed walks before trying an
off-leash walk.)

But apparently since then, Babe has been back to her normal self.
She's happy and wagging out in public, doesn't panic around other
dogs, and will actually greet some of them. The only thing I can think
of is that for her, the absolutely most scary thing of having a big
dog looming over her happened...and she didn't get hurt...and the hike
went on...and the big dog still didn't hurt her.

Today she sniffed noses and rears with Chan and wagged her tail.
English shepherd fly-over therapy is not something I'd repeat, but I'm
happy to say it seems to have worked for Babe. Now all I have to do
is stop laughing...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Rowan more self satisfied that usual, lately.

This is both good and bad.

The last batch of chicken cat food I got seemed to disagree with her, causing a vomiting, unhappy kitty.
I've pretty much exhausted the possibilities with commercial canned cat food, I think,
so she's been eating cooked boneless chicken breast for most of the past week.

Turns out she's 100% less pesty and fussy, and has an amazing tendency to eat everything in her bowl.
However, plain chicken isn't a balanced meal for her, so now I'm doing massive research into making cooked meals. Most of the pertinent information out there is now all about raw food, which makes it a bit harder,
as the parental types I'm living with at the moment would freak out over raw meat. *sigh*