Posts Tagged With: Kedric

Who We Are

This week, my vet was back in the country, so we scheduled Ked for his ultrasounds. They came back clear of cancer, or any other kinds of bladder/kidney/liver/stomach disease, so that was awesome. The only un-awesome part is that we still don’t know exactly what his issue is, so we’ll be going back for more tests in the future. They thought it was possible that he had an infection in the bladder lining (since his is a bit thicker than normal), which is hard to diagnose, and doesn’t show up on tests very well, and although she thinks the Amoxicillin he was on SHOULD HAVE gotten rid of something like that, we’re doing 10 days of a broader spectrum antibiotic, just to make sure. The next thing on the list to see if we can rule out will be Cushing’s. If it is Cushing’s, he only has one symptom, so that’s atypical… We’ll just keep going down the list to see if we can figure it out, but in the meantime, as long as he’s acting normal and happy, I’m not going to stress.

Rowan has finally come in heat, at 10 months old. I was really hoping she would come in at 6 months, so she’d have two heat cycles under her belt by around a year old, when I want to spay her, but now it’s looking like I won’t be able to expect her back in season until she’s about 15 months, at the earliest. At 15 months, we’ll be at the sheepdog trial, so I don’t want to have her in season there. At 16 months, I will probably be heading out of Utah… So I’m thinking I’ll compromise and go between a year old, when I originally wanted to spay her, and 15 months, when we’ll be at the trial. I’m thinking probably the 14 month mark – July. It was really a lot easier to decide on when to fix a dog back before we had all the information we do now. Spay before this age, and risk all these side-effects, spay after this age and risk all these other side-effects… Ugh. I feel like 14 months is a good compromise between cancer, endocrine, hormonal, and bone plate issues. I don’t want the inconvenience of having an intact dog to factor into when I decide to spay her. When I spay her will have life-long repercussions, so I want to do what is right.

This week I got the RV transferred into my name (finally) and got temp tags so I can go get it fixed and inspected. I also picked up new-to-me kitchenware so I could pack all my own kitchen stuff and still have stuff in the kitchen to use. My roommate talked to the landlord and confirmed that he would be staying here in the house when I move out, and the new prospective roomie filled out paperwork and turned it in to her to get approved. She told me I was welcome to stay, because I’ve been a great tenant, and said we could work out rent to have 3 people living here. *lol* Very kind of her, but that won’t save me the money I need to save up, so… nope. The roomie and I have been touching base to figure out when the best time for both of us would be for him to vacate for a couple days so I can shampoo all the carpets (including his bedroom). In the meantime, I’ve been working on packing the remainder of my stuff.

It’s a cold, wet day here in the Salty City today. Mother Nature’s indecision over the status of spring means mostly rain, a bit of sleet, and occasional snow falling. Yesterday it was warm and sunshiney, with bright, poofy My Little Pony clouds.  Days like today call for good music and a big mug of hot cocoa while I pack, so I’m working on the closet (when I’m not sitting here typing).

Yesterday I was shoe shopping with Em, and thinking about how picky I am (not hideous, no leather, must fit my fat feet, no known sweat shops), and looking at everyone else who was out shopping, and thinking about how they picked out their clothing, and I was scratching my head at some of their choices. So today, while packing the remainder of my clothes, I was looking at my choices, and smiling about what they said about me. I choose things based on what is the most practical and comfortable. All my pants have extra pockets. They are all denim or khaki-type material. I have short socks, long socks, thin socks, and thick socks. Almost every single shirt in my my closet is a printed t-shirt. Almost all of them are animal causes or band shirts. There is some environmentalism and comedy thrown in for good measure.

(Exhibit A, my favorite Tori Amos shirt, and one for Squatters, a local brewery that donates money to No More Homeless Pets based on the sales of its dog-inspired beer, Chasing Tail):

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I pulled out my most favorite shirts out of the bunch, to see what they say about me. They are the shirts that I don’t want to wear because I want to keep them forever and I’m scared of them getting stained, torn, or just plain worn out.

Here’s the first one. Let me just say that I had an inner battle over buying a shirt made by Hurley. I refuse to pay $50 for a damn piece of cotton, no matter how much I love it. So the day these went on sale for cheap(er), I jumped on them. I wish I would have bought two. I lovelovelove this shirt. The painting is by Brandon Boyd, one of my favorite singers of all time, and I just love the design. If you look closely, you will see that the whale has a teardrop. The shirt is organic cotton and buttery soft. Yes, I’m a hippie. But I don’t care, this shirt is amazing!

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The second shirt is made by Life is Good, and features Jake and Rocket going for a hike. It’s simple, it’s cute, it has the dog hiking with his human, and has a message I try to live by when I’m out in nature. The shirt is also buttery soft organic cotton and I love it. They no longer make it, and do not bring back designs they’ve retired. When I saw this shirt at REI, I jumped on it. Matt rolled his eyes at me, but again… I wish I would have bought two! The day I brought Rowan home, she put a hole in this shirt with her claw, and I know that it’s only a matter of time before it completely unravels now. 😦

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The last shirt I got from Tori. We were packing her stuff for a move, and I saw it and was like MUSTHAVE! She never wore it anymore, so she gave it to me. The shirt was rare when she got it… She saw someone wearing it and had to have it, so her dad searched high and low to find it for her. It is made by Patagonia, and the front says “Support Sustainable Forestry”. I love the “hidden message” in red. Trees are near and dear to my heart.

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I think my wardrobe is a fair representation of who I am, and what means the most to me. Saving the animals, saving the world, music, farming, doing what you love, and hilarity. 🙂 Oh, and… ya know, since I’m a crafty hippie… lots of tie-dyed stuff. 🙂

Categories: dogs, lifestyle change | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Slowly But Surely

I’m kind of torn between wanting to update this frequently, and not wanting to post nothing but dog training. Currently I am working with the puppy (now named Rowan) every day, but have not been working much on the RV, so I feel like that’s all I’d be doing. The puppy is learning and doing better. Not reacting as much, but still has obvious issues. She wants to eat the cats, has not learned the art of “Quiet” very well yet, and does still react to my roommate and one of his friends (although that also seems to be improving). I don’t think I mentioned this, but she did nip my roommate’s friend a couple weeks ago. He was one of the people she tried to bite when she was new here. She’s taken quite a while to get over her issues with my roommate, and she’s still not there 100%, so I figure it’s going to take quite a while for her to get over her issues with this friend, because she doesn’t see him as often. He had been over to visit, and it was the first time she’d seen him since the day he kept trying to pet her after she’d warned him to leave her alone and she snapped at him. So this time, she ran up to him, and he reached down quickly to cover himself, and it spooked her. She jumped back away from him, then jumped back in and nipped his pant leg. It was closed-mouthed, and she just pinched a tiny bit of the jeans, but it was still very upsetting for me. I am not sure if she went in with the intent to bite in the first place, or if she only decided to bite once she got spooked. It happened too quickly. So I’ve been wary of letting her near him ever since. She needs to get over her issue with him, because he comes over frequently, and I’d rather not play interference. He is very sad that she doesn’t like him because he loves dogs, and wants to be her friend. She’s seen him twice since the nip, and did not try to bite him either time, although she was not comfortable with him either time. The second time she saw him was today, when I was outside working on my RV. He was carrying a computer, and she barked and barked at him as he walked through the yard, then circled him, sniffing the air around him, and then turned her attention to my roommate, who was leaving the house behind his friend. I thought it was pretty ballsy of the friend to walk through the yard with her loose out there. I don’t know why he didn’t tell me he was coming so I could grab her, but I was relieved that she didn’t try to attack him.

On our walks, she has been pretty good. Definitely needs improvement in just about everything, but she isn’t reacting to cyclists, runners, skateboarders, or strangers with insanity anymore. Some people she is wary of, and will cross behind me to walk on the opposite side as they pass, then she wants to sniff the air behind them. Most people she walks calmly past and (mostly) ignores though. She gets treated for all good behavior around strangers. People she’s met before and had good interactions with, she is a crazy excited puppy toward when we run across them again. Lots of new people passing seem to see her and want to make friends, since she still looks like a puppy. Most of them she is shy with, stepping back from their outstretched hands, then she steps back in and licks them or lets them pet her, and then instantly turns away from them (if they are someone she is unsure of), to direct her attention back to me, because I give her tons of praise and treats for good interactions with strangers, or she jumps all over the place like a complete lunatic 6-month-old puppy (if they are someone she’s decided she really digs).

I’ve been trying to only have good interactions with dogs as well, but they’re such wild cards. You never know what you’re going to get as people are approaching you. Yesterday I was walking my usual route when suddenly there was a loose dog on the sidewalk. A little Pit-Hound looking mix. The owners saw me coming, their dog was off leash, and they acted like everything was fine. And then the dog approached Kedric with all raised hair, passed him by to get to Rowan, and then proceeded to growl at her and try to jump on her (twice). WTH? Why would you let your dog approach strange dogs if he has aggression issues? NOT the experiences I’m looking for with a fearful pup! We have had some good experiences with larger dogs, but for the most part, she’s pretty scared around them, until they get to know each other well… And who has times to sit and let dogs get to know each other as you’re passing someone on a walk? But little dogs she LOVES. She goes all crazy for them, and wants to play, and I have to hold her back, because I don’t want her to jump on them and hurt them. She likes to play tag with Stella, the little Chi-something that lives in our apartments, and she REALLY wants to play with Sam, the Jack/Rat mix, but he’s an old man, so he doesn’t put up with her shenanigans for long. So at least I know, for my own references, that she needs more exposure to good-natured, well-trained larger dogs.

So basically, I’ve been doing nothing but eat, sleep, shower, work, and dog training for the last month. My brain is tired. I need a serious vacation from work, some kind of recovery period. It also sucks because I can never let my guard down with this pup. Today, as I was leaving the back yard, she slipped out before I could grab her, and was intent on not being caught. Scary moments, for sure. When she’s in the house, the only place she can be off-leash is in my room. The door has to be closed because she flies over the large baby gate like a Grand Prix horse… Or should I say she used to, until she crashed the gate trying to get to one of the cats, and broke it in half. Until she is trustworthy with the cats, the roommate, and recalls, she cannot be let off leash outside of my room though. So I’m pretty much thinking she’ll probably be on leash in the rest of the house until we move into the RV. Which is a pain in the ass. When I take a shower, she has to go in her kennel, because I can’t trust her to not chew shit up, and I can’t leave her outside in the yard, because I view her as a liability (and don’t trust people to keep the gate closed). I’m just getting to the point where I will SOMETIMES leave her out of the kennel for a couple hours in the morning, after she’s went out to potty, and before I’m ready to get out of bed, but I can’t sleep well then, because I’m constantly checking to see what she’s into. She is the BIGGEST pain in the ass.

So I’ve been looking into trainers with different philosophies online. Basically, I am an eclectic kind of girl, and I like trainers who are the same way. There are a whole lot of training methods I look at as either evil, or completely unrealistic. I need to find a happy medium. I just ordered some Michael Ellis DVD’s. Expensive as hell, but I really dig him. The more I see of him, the more I like him. He makes sense. He has great energy, and gives the dogs the benefit of the doubt, treating every one as an individual. Highly skilled marker trainer, but also believes that it’s okay to tell your dog when they’re doing something wrong, rather than ignoring it and hoping your dog figures out the right way. Let’s be honest, folks. I don’t have 20 years for my dog to decide that she’d rather not do the things I don’t want her doing. I may be wrong (I’m not), but I’m pretty sure that Border Collies are considered the smartest breed in the world. So I’m pretty sure my dog understands when I say, “Hey, I don’t like that behavior,” and she isn’t going to be in mortal fear of me the rest of her life. I can disagree with behaviors without the relationship that I have with my dog bursting into flames. Really, who thinks this shit up? (Maybe they just have ultra-sensitive dogs that they’ve over-corrected?)

I despise clicker training. Don’t get me wrong – I think marker training is AMAZING. But the clicker itself drives me nuts. I could NOT listen to that damn thing all day. Maybe my hearing is just sensitive, but clickers seem SO loud to me, and who has the extra hand for that? I have a bag of treats on one hand, and a crazy, reactive dog in the other. I am not an octopus.  I can hear people using a clicker a block away from my house. Dogs have amazing hearing. Who designed these things to be so damn loud?? So I love marker training philosophy, and will stick with it, because it is undeniably the best training method out there, but until I start to go deaf, you will never see me using a clicker. I will also continue to tell my dog, “Nope, that’s not right”, and I roll my eyes at the people who say that is a terrible mistake. Maybe they’ve never owned a dog with such a high-functioning brain?

Anywho, yeah. So this is my brain lately… Dog training, dog issues, dog reactivity, what we need to work on next, what skills need improved on, what tools I need to have for the next step, etc. It gets pretty boring, believe me. There are days I’d rather just sleep all day, and maybe read a book later. But time is critical. Rowan just turned 6 months, and I feel like the closer she gets to adulthood, the harder it’s going to be to change her innate reactions, and fear-based behaviors. So for now, my brain is in doggie overdrive, and dammit, I’m tired.

The winter is supposed to be officially rolling in… oh, 36 minutes ago. We’re supposed to have a day-and-a-half-long snowstorm to kick things off. So I got the dogs walked this morning, then finished sealing almost every seam I had left on the RV (there are like 3 things that need redone, but nothing that some rain or snow could hurt), then put the tarp on top. I still haven’t gotten around to resealing the roof. I need a skinny person to hop around up there for me for that project, and all the skinny people I know have been busy, so it will probably just have to wait until spring. But the tarp is on, so I’m not so concerned about that.

When Em was here last, we tried to figure out what the deal with the washer fluid was. All the tubes seem to be in decent shape, and there is some suction in the tubes… just not enough to generate fluid spraying onto the windshield. Rather than bother with tearing shit apart that I know nothing about, I’m probably just going to take it in and have it fixed. Maybe the motor is dying. Or maybe there is a pinched or cracked line somewhere down in the engine compartment. I don’t know.

So I have to get the washer fluid fixed, get it inspected/licensed/registered, and I’m considering reupholstering the cushions to make them a color I like (and because the top bunk upholstery is falling apart in the center, where people have slid off the bed). Then a tune-up and oil change and whatever other basics I need, and she’ll be good to go.

I have a list of the things I am going to need while on the road that has been on my computer for years, and I am just now starting to go through it and color code everything, so that I will know what I have, what I need more of, and what I don’t have at all. It’s pretty exciting. 🙂 I brought in my emergency bags tonight so that I could go through them and make lists of what was in them, so I will know what I need to add into them… I do like to be prepared. 🙂 (Girl Scout for life!!) (Yes, I’m a nerd.) 😀

I tried to get a happy family picture the other day when I was raking leaves in the back yard… Here’s how that turned out. (Kedric’s face says it all).

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And here’s Flash with the tarp on, ready for winter!

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And until I can really get on the ball with my exercise program, I’m not even going to bore you with the details. Been so busy with this crackhead puppy that my exercise routine has been put on the backburner. But that’s temporary, I swear! 🙂

Hope everyone’s having a great night.

Categories: dog training, dogs, goals, RV maintenance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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