Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Two Steps Closer

Yesterday I was approved for Care Credit and I made an appointment for a surgery consultation for Monday June 5th.  If all goes well at the consultation Delilah will be going straight into surgery that day.  I'm very nervous.  But we're now two steps closer to a more active and pain free life for Delilah.

For anyone not familiar with the blog, Delilah has bilateral Grade 3 Luxating Patellas.  That's a big reason why we stopped agility.  She sometimes has trouble with walks too.  She hops around a lot on three legs.  She's only about 2.5 years old, and if we don't do surgery her knees will probably get worse and she'll develop arthritis.  She will likely be having both knees done during surgery.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The AwkWalk

Through Meetup.com I discovered a support group for owners of fearful and reactive dogs.  They do group hikes that they call "AwkWalks" which are basically a structured group activity where you can practice training and counterconditioning your dog in a non judgmental environment.  Delilah and I went, and there was one other dog and owner, and then the organizer came without her dog.  Anyone's allowed with or without a dog, and the dogs wear color coded bandanas- blue if they're friendly and yellow if they need space.

Delilah did so well and the other dog was very lovely too (I actually know her from the daycare I work at).  It was really nice to be able to talk to other owners that face similar challenges with their dogs as me and Delilah.  We also talked about the different trainers we've worked with in the area and training classes we've done.  We're definitely looking forward to going on more of these hikes in the future!



Monday, May 8, 2017

Some Hiking Photos

Here are some photos I took of the hikes Delilah and I have been on over the past week.

Unfortunately this weekend looks like it's going to be too cold to hike (it's in the 40s right now!) but we were able to get a couple in at the beginning of the week.  We've seen plenty of signs of spring by now- lots of wild flowers are blooming.

I carry compressed air with me now to deter aggressive dogs, after Delilah almost got attacked a few weeks ago.  So far I have not had any more issues with off leash dogs.

Delilah's recall is going very well, a few times now I've called her off in the middle of chasing a bird or a leaf, which is pretty impressive considering how high her prey drive is.  I still don't trust her enough to be completely off leash, but she now has leash dragging privileges.









Saturday, May 6, 2017

Reactive Rover Graduate!

Last week Delilah graduated her Reactive Rover class!  I'm so proud of her, she tried so hard to focus and work during class, even when she got stressed or anxious.  She was such a good girl!  I'm really glad we took this class, it was so interesting and gave us a lot of ideas and exercises to work on.

I talked to the trainer after the last class and asked him if he thought she was ready to take "normal dog" classes.  I was specifically interested in his recall class.  He said she might not do well in the recall class because there are some points when the dogs are off leash in class and he wouldn't want her getting trampled by bigger dogs, but that he does drop in class that teach the same skills, just on leash, that he said she would do well in.  So we might end up doing those.  Or we might just go straight back to sports.


Obviously, before we do any more training, she going to need to get surgery for her knees.  She has grade 3 luxating patellas and they have been getting progressively worse.  So the next thing we're going to focus on with her is that. 

After, if surgery goes well, we may do private agility lessons with the goal of being able to take agility classes if she is able to handle that environment without getting too stressed or overwhelmed.  If surgery does not go as well as I hope, we may start taking some nose work classes instead.  There are a few classes in my area and I've heard it's a good, low key sport for anxious dogs.


So proud of Delilah!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Run Free Sophie Bunny

A couple of days ago I had to euthanize my rabbit, Sophie.  She had been a little lethargic and "off" in the afternoon, and when I came back in the evening from picking my boyfriend up at work, she got progressively worse that night.  I took her to the emergency vet and they thought she had an abscess or a tumor behind her eye.  She was suffering.  She would have been 8 years old in May, so she had a long life and was very healthy up until the end.

One day she was burrowing in the pile of laundry.  I heard the pile collapse and I turned around and just saw her little nose sticking out.






The trio- only Delilah is around now.  Sophie was "just one of the dogs."

One of our Easter photos BD (Before Delilah).

Sophie playing with bubble wrap- she loved it!

Meeting Delilah when I brought her home.  Delilah thought she was a dog!


Sophie loved the dogs.  She was always so sassy and feisty.  Mia was scared of her, and sometimes when Sophie got bored and Mia was sleeping nearby she would thump and then watch Mia bolt up and run away.  If I was eating something that she wanted me to share with her, she would beg, and sometimes nip me if I didn't share right away!  She started out as a family pet that my parents got for me and my sisters when I was in high school, but after I moved out she came with me and lived with me in three different apartments.  Once we had a roommate who had three other rabbits and a cat.  Sophie became BFFs with the cat- they would chase each other around the apartment and just hang out together.  I'm really going to miss her.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Reactive Rover Update and New Diet

Delilah's Reactive Rover class last Friday went pretty well again.  There were three dogs including Delilah- it looks like one of the dogs that missed last class won't be back.  We expanded upon the Look At That game and now we're naming the behavior "look" and clicking and treating after Delilah looks at the trigger and then looks back at me.  I could tell she seemed a little more stressed with the third dog but she was able to work through it well.  At one point I knelt down and she walked up and stared me and I scratched her neck for her.  When she gets stressed she stares at me when she doesn't know what to do and she's trying to hold it together.  She's a very good girl, she tries very hard.

In other news Delilah has about a month left of her Zignature kibble and then I'm going to switch her to a BARF raw diet.  I'm very excited to try this and see how it goes!  I just joined my local pet food store's Raw Club so I'll get 10% off of meat and raw food and if it's on sale they'll double the discount!  I've also been scoping out my local grocery stores looking for different organs and proteins.  I'm primarily going to feed her chicken, beef, and turkey but there's also fish, rabbit, bison, goat, and more around her that I can occasionally throw in!

My main concerns are about feeding the correct amount and proportions for her small size, choking on bones, and if eating meat on a regular basis will lower the value of food used for training.  I bought a couple of books about feeding raw diets called "Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats" by Kymythy R. Schultze and "Dr. Becker's Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats" by Beth Taylor and Karen Shaw Becker.  Both books have A LOT of information on nutrition as well as some recipes and diet plans that I could follow, so that's really helpful.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Reactive Rover and Homework

Delilah's second Reactive Rover class last Friday went really well. One dog is no longer coming to class and another didn't show so it was just Delilah and the black dog who has also been pretty good so we were able to get a lot of one on one attention.

We did the Look at That game for a lot of the class and the trainer started it by moving around the room and making different noises and movements to get the dogs' attention and we clicked and treated as soon as they looked at him. Then we took turns where one owner would walk their dog around the room and give them lots of praise and keep them moving while the other dog sat and got clicked and rewarded for watching the owner and the dog that were moving.

Towards the end Delilah started getting stressed again and started looking for spots on the ground. I was able to get her focus for the rest of class and I asked the trainer about it. He said not to drop her treats on the ground because that might be why she's looking for the spots. It's going to be hard bending down to give her treats in a timely manner lol. But I'll give it a try. Small dog problems haha.




We had some homework to take the dog out to different places (or around the neighborhood if they're reactive on regular walks) and play LAT with triggers.  Overall Delilah did really well on her walks and also at a few places I took her.  She had a couple of issues.  Once when I took her to a pet store.  It was a weekday morning so it wasn't busy at all and she did really well with the employees there.  But then when I was at the register paying for a Pet Corrector (to deter the off leash dogs I mentioned in my last post) a woman came up behind us and bent right over Delilah and started talking to her.  She reacted snarling and lunging immediately.  The woman was still trying to pet her!  I stepped in between and asked for space but Delilah never recovered from that so we left the pet store after paying.  I noticed Delilah doesn't like people leaning over her, talking to her, or making direct contact, but is perfectly happy to greet strangers that act neutral or make themselves small (standing sideways or crouching down).  Basically she does better with dog savvy people.

The other time we had an issue is I met a friend for a walk that Delilah hadn't met before.  She barked at first but we quickly got that under control and she was comfortable walking with the friend when we were outside.  I invited the friend in the house and Delilah started barking when she saw the friend was going to enter "her territory."  Since I was trying to be social and didn't want to work with Delilah while I had a friend over, I put her outside on her tie out with a raw marrow bone for her to chew on and she seemed happy about that.


We have another class tonight and I'm very excited!  Delilah doing really well in general and I hope this class is helping her.  It's certainly very interesting and I'm glad we're taking it.