Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordful Wednesday: Ashke Recovering

To give you all some context for this video, Ashke has been sick since Sunday night, which has caused me a lot of worry.

I ended up taking him to the veterinarian on Monday, since a lack of appetite is extremely unusual for him. He's almost 17, and I wanted him checked before it could become worse, as not eating can sometimes cause a serious liver condition in cats. He got a steroid shot to make up for the prednisolone pill he'd vomited, a shot for the nausea, and some subcutaneous fluids to make sure he didn't dehydrate.

That night he chowed down on the Prescription Diet EN and seemed much better. (I know, ick. But it was only a few cans.) Tuesday morning he happily ate breakfast.

Tuesday afternoon he threw up all the rice grains from the EN, and later refused food even if I gave him his Wellness canned turkey. He barely licked at the "gravy" in his cat bowl early this morning. I was all set to drag him back to the vet for bloodwork...

...and he decided he wanted a snack in the late morning. So he had one, and kept it down. He's been snacking on small portions every few hours, he looks much more alert, and he is actually interested in his surroundings.

I'm hoping this trend continues.

So...this is a video taken this afternoon. In it I say a lot of nonsensical things to my cat, because I am very happy he is feeling better. He says a number of things back, which probably amount to "I want another snack!"

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day!!!!!

Chan says fake squirrels are fun too!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Return to Nosework!

Chandler and I have returned to Nosework classes! The local training center decided to schedule some Sunday night classes, which works with my schedule. I jumped at the opportunity because I felt like Chan had essentially been "going to seed" for the past year or so. As a working dog breed, it is important that Chan has an outlet for his instincts, and Nosework is a great way to channel his talents. This class was being run by the other Nosework instructor, Tricia, and as she has been involved in Search and Rescue for almost a decade, I was hoping to learn a lot from her perspective on training.

As it turns out, our Nosework II class is full of shepherds- only all the rest of them are of the German variety. Strictly speaking, it is a small class. There is Chandler and I, another lady and her very nice female German Shepherd, and the assistant instructor with her four German Shepherds. The assistant instructor has competed in Shutzhund, and very helpfully instructed me in some ways I can keep Chan better focused and motivated.

Chandler was very happy to be back in class, and even whined eagerly at the beginning of his first run.

He kept up that excited rush all night; hopefully he will soon calm down and work more systematically. After looking at the video, I think he slows down immediately after he passes the correct box and circles back after checking out the last two boxes and the camera. I think there is a good chance he knew that was the correct box. Tricia said he was a good worker with plenty of drive for the job. I had emailed her about his problems getting distracted on course, and her opinion is that he clowns around because he does not want the game to end. Accordingly, my assignment is to work on his toy motivation so he can get a bigger "jackpot" after the find.

Overall, it was a really great class, and I learned a lot:
1. The motion a dog makes as he passes by a hide and then whips his head around as he catches the scent is called a "hook"
2. I can't keep Chandler is a room close to the training area because he is a horrible mama's boy and cries like a baby when he's crated and separated from me. (So embarrassing; I need to work on crating skills.)
3. Dogs like to step on the boxes because this squeezes the scent out with the air.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Visiting Miss Jure

Our last outing in 2011 was a trip to Hamden to visit Jenn and her new pup Jure, who is now 10 months old. She's done a lot of growing in the few months that have passed since the last time we saw her. One thing hasn't changed, however. She still likes to shove her nose toward other dogs' faces. It is supposed to be a submissive gesture, but Jure takes it to a level that is rather pushy.

Jure: Hi! Hi! Hi!
Chandler: Hey kid, long time no see.

I don't think Chan knew quite what to make of a dog that seemed to want to velcro herself to his muzzle. He could probably have stopped her with a well timed snark, but he's a bit of a marshmallow, temperament-wise. Instead he put up with it patiently, once he discovered that whirling away would not work.

Chandler: Um...why are you stuck to my cheek?

We quickly headed out to hike so Jure would have something else to focus on. Once we were on the trail she zoomed ahead and started running through the woods looking for squirrels and other critters. Chandler seemed content to stay mostly in his usual spot about 50 feet ahead of us on the trail, sniffing the local odors, although he did indulge in a few zooms up and down the trail with Jure.

Inevitably, we ran across a huge puddle (perhaps a mini-pondlet would be a better description?) at the side of the trail. As usual, my water loving dog quickly waded in and laid down to wallow, much to Jure's horror and astonishment. But she was game, and followed him into the puddle in an attempt to get him to play.

Chandler: This is my alligator impression.
Jure: I bet the alligator can't get me!!!!!!

Which was successful.

Chandler: I'd rather you chased me.
Jure: Ok.

However, Chandler learned one thing during the chase: Jure is very speedy.

Chandler: Usually they're further behind right now...
Jure: I'm going to get you!
Even at full speed, she'll stick herself to your cheek.

Chandler: You do realize we are moving at full speed, kid?
Jure: I'm still going to get you!

...although it is much easier when you're standing still.

Jure: You're fun when you run.
Chandler: Want to try another round?