Friday, November 20, 2015

Daddy's Girl

Sam sent me these while I was at work.  He was trying to do some work on the computer and she climbed onto his lap all the way up to perch on his shoulder.  Delilah loves her daddy. <3

Monday, November 16, 2015

Sophie and the Bubble Wrap

Here's a post about my bunny, Sophie!

I was trying to get Delilah to play with some bubble wrap.  She was surprisingly uninterested.

Sophie was pretty interested though!  She liked chasing the wrap around and popping bubbles.

And then I stopped playing with her and put the bubble wrap outside of her pen.

She decided she still wanted to play and pulled it into the pen!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Ethan Allen Homestead Take 2

Delilah and I went to Ethan Allen Homestead again.  This time we explored the wetland trail as well.  Delilah did so well with recall with one exception.  She was running through a field and found a dead goose.  I had to run and grab her before she decided to eat it or play with it.  The trees are no longer beautiful, soon it will be cold and snowy!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Delilah Bit My Boyfriend

On Sunday night Delilah, Sam, and I went to my parents' house.  Delilah LOVES going there- she loves running in their yard, seeing them, seeing Mia, and playing with all of Mia's toys.  Literally all of them.  My mom gave her a chew to bring home and Delilah carried it all the way home.  She was chewing on the couch around 9 pm when I went to take a shower.

I heard a yell and Sam came running into the bathroom.  He had a "large" (for a small dog) puncture on his brow and a small one on his eyelid.  He had gone to sit on the couch while she was chewing and she lunged and bit his face.  If she had been a bigger dog or if he hadn't closed his eyes, she could have caused damage!

The past few weeks she's been a little snappy with him- when she's napping on the couch he sometimes tries to play or cuddle with her and a couple of times she's snapped.  She hasn't made contact though- she's just tired and annoyed.

What disturbs me is not so much the bite but the fact that she lunged for his face.

I'm probably going to have to use the money I've been saving for agility classes for a behaviorist or trainer that specializes in behavior modification instead.  :(

Some Other Issues

1) Resource Guarding Towards Dogs.  She had displayed very minor resource guarding towards other dogs (a snap at most) when we first got her.  She spent more time with Mia and with dogs at daycare and she seems more comfortable around them now and hasn't guarded toys or human attention/people for 2-3 months now.  We're still keeping an eye on it but it doesn't seem like it's going to be a problem.  The book "Fight!" by Jean Donaldson helped me understand it better as well.

2) Reactivity and Fear of Strangers.  This presents itself in yapping, snarling, low body posture, and lunging while on lead.  We have been playing the LAT game while on walks and also reinforcing neutral and positive reactions towards strangers.  We haven't been pushing her or letting people greet her.  But she seems more comfortable and even friendly towards some strangers now.  Sometimes she'll pull towards strangers wiggling her butt.  She still gets nervous when they try to interact with her directly.  She also hasn't gotten any better inside my apartment or my parents' house when someone comes to the door or a friend is over.

3) Impulse Control.  Her impulse control is poor in general.  She is very impulsive and obsessive.  She will literally scream if she is being restrained and can't get to something excited like squirrels, hoses, toys, etc.  We've been playing impulse control games, working on "drop it," and "stay."  She has gotten much better about toys, still freaks out about squirrels and water though.  I'm not going to actively discourage this because although it's a little embarrassing I want to do terrier racing with her at some point, where obsessive prey drive is a huge advantage.

4) Hyper-Attached to Me.  This one's newer.  She's starting to fixate on me a little.  When we're home with Sam she shows a preference towards me.  When I leave she'll sit on the couch and watch the door.  When I bring her to work she screams in her crate even though she's crate trained at home and when she's in a playgroup that I'm not in with her, she'll cry and try to find a way to escape and come find me (she's been successful several times).  I'm worried this could develop into separation anxiety and it's just not a healthy attachment in general.

So we're working on a number of different things and will probably be getting some professional help for some of these issues.  We'll keep you updated.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Food Switch Up: Blue Buffalo Chicken vs Castor and Pollux Ultramix Duck

I've decided to rotate Delilah's food and try a different brand and/or formula each time she needs a new bag.  Before I got a dog I had researched raw and homecooked diets, but the fact is, I don't have a lot of money for that and I can get kibble for cheap or even free through my job.  This week was the first switch over for dog food.

*Disclaimer*  I am not a veterinary nutritionist nor do I work for any pet food company.  I will not be going too much into nutrition, rather just noting my observations.  I will include links to analyses from Pet Food Advisor for anyone interested in the nutritional value of these foods.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula: Adult Chicken and Brown Rice

I had originally bought a bag of Blue Buffalo Adult Chicken and Brown Rice formula since that is the food the rescue had her on and with all of the big changes in her life, I figured I should at least keep the food consistent until she had time to adjust.  I bought a 30 lbs bag for about $37 (with an employee discount) and it last her almost 4 months.  She ate about 1/2 - 3/4 c of food a day (we use kibble for training so it varies).  It wasn't a bad food.  She certainly enjoyed it.  It was rated 4/5 on Pet Food Advisor and you can check out their analysis of it here.  I was happy that the first two ingredients were chicken and chicken meal, as opposed to something like "chicken by-products," "corn," "soy," etc.  The third ingredient was brown rice.

There's been a lot of controversy surrounding Blue Buffalo lately over their use of by-products which the company had claimed not to use.  From my understanding, by products themselves aren't necessarily bad ingredients- they may just contain organ meat.  But they also tend to contain meat that isn't suitable for human consumption, meat from animals dead on arrival or sick, and the process of rendering these "inedible" meats can be controversial as well.  Since I don't know much about these ingredients other than what I've heard I don't have a strong opinion one way or another.  If what I hear is true and not just sensationalism, then by products sound like something to be avoided, but I don't know enough about the issue either way.

Delilah was underweight when I got her- literally skin and bones- and weighed about 5.8 lbs.  She gained a little more than 0.5 lbs on this food- weighed about 6.4 lbs at the heaviest- but then she got sick and lost it all.  I also noticed her feces tended to be larger and soft.  Not diarrhea, but they definitely left smears in the grass when I picked them up.

One more thing to note is that she had AWFUL breath.  A big part of this was that she hadn't lost some of her baby teeth and gunk was getting wedged between the puppy and adult teeth.  They finally fell out so with regular brushing her breath seemed to be getting better, but was still kind of gross.  I'm going to see if I notice any difference on different diets.

Castor and Pollux Natural Ultramix: Grain Free-Duck, Sweet Potatoes, and Whole Peas Entree

I chose this food because it was on sale at a local all natural food store.  The ingredient list looked good- the first four ingredients were identified meats and meat meals with sweet potatoes being the fifth ingredient- this looked like a high protein food with high quality ingredients.  Even though I know these are buzzwords, I like the idea of "natural" and "grain-free."  I bought a 15 lbs bag for $15.  She's eating about 3/4 c a day more or less.  This food got a 5/5 star rating on Pet Food Advisor, you can read their analysis here.

Delilah REALLY likes this food- you can smell the quality (you really can, compare the smell to something like Beneful or Science Diet- they smell like crap).  It's a high protein food but it didn't upset her stomach when we switched over somewhat gradually.  She's digesting more of this than the Blue Buffalo food- her stools are small and firm- no more smearing in the grass!  (Also, I think the heart-shaped kibbles are really cute.)

Delilah got sick a few weeks ago and lost a lot of weight.  When I brought her to the vet she was literally back where she started- 5.8 lbs.  I'm feeding her a little more food now and she's gaining weight again.  Her spine, hips, and ribs aren't as prominent.

Other than that, she's only been on this food for about a week.  I'll write more about my observations of it during my next food switch up.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Happy Halloween!

I was so busy with Halloween and stuff yesterday that this is a little late, but happy Halloween from me and the pups!  We didn't get any trick or treaters at my apartment but my parents got a lot in Essex.  Mia LOVES little kids so she's always happy on Halloween.  Delilah hates kids so she's probably glad we didn't get any.

Delilah was a vampire bat!
Mia was a koala!

Also, Sam and I carved an owl pumpkin during my work Halloween party!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Delilah Graduated "Good Manners" Basic Obedience Class!

Last night Delilah graduated her "Good Manners" class!

She performed the three tricks we had been learning this past week.  The first one was "twirl" where she jumped and spinned.  The second was "shake," pretty self explanatory, I held my hand out and she put her paw in it.  It took a couple tries but she did it.  The last one was "drop it."  We had been practicing with her toys at home and she was getting pretty good at it.  I forgot to bring a toy to demonstrate with so they gave us a toy to use.  It was a stuffed hedgehog that made giggling noises.  She was so excited about it that she fixated on it and wanted to destroy the sound box (she loves noises).  She wouldn't drop it.  That's okay because the trainers were very understanding (and amused).  She still got to keep the toy and graduate from class.

We're still practicing what we've learned- "set up," "touch," "come," "down-stay," "drop it," "shake," "twirl," and "place."

After class the trainers all told us we should do agility!  And recommended that I read "Control Unleashed."  It looks good, I'll have to check it out.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Hiking at Ethan Allen Homestead

On Thursday we went to the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum and Historic site where there are a lot of hiking trails.  We walked along the river, through fields, and in the woods a bit.  I loved the variety of ecosystems.  The trails required the dog to be on leash so she was on leash most of the time but I did let her run around some fields when there was no one else around.  Her recall has gotten really good but there were a few times where she was distracted by squirrels and mice.


Good sit!

Delilah, come!

A herd of wild Holsteins!

Can you spot the terrier?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Past Week's Training Update

I've been preoccupied with Delilah getting sick so I haven't really posted much about training.  Here are a few updates:

Class 10/14

Sam and I went to class with Delilah- we learned the left side sit ("setup"), sit-stay, and down-stay.  This wasn't a good class.  Delilah yapped almost the entire time- either she was yapping and I couldn't hear the instructions or I was trying to work with her to be quiet and I missed them.  I have pretty bad social anxiety and I was getting anxious about her drawing attention to us.  We were learning the left side sit and I was to the edge of the room where I felt most comfortable and one of the trainers told us to move more towards the center so we'd have more room.  At that point I had an anxiety attack and started crying and Sam had to work with Delilah for the rest of the class.  I was really ashamed of myself.  If I can't handle a simple class how am I ever going to be able to do agility with Delilah?

Class 10/21

This class went much better- we had been practicing the "setup" and stays and we were doing pretty well.   Delilah got complimented during the class that she was doing it perfectly.  The only this is towards the end she started getting bored/distracted and breaking the stay.  In the beginning she was doing it perfectly though.  Our homework for next week is to teach Delilah three new tricks.  I taught her "twirl" yesterday and now I have to think of two more!

Training 10/22

I taught Delilah twirl, we practiced sit-stays and down-stays.  I also took her on a two hour hike and she was off leash for some of the time- her recall's getting really good but there are still times when her prey drive takes over and prevents her from listening.  I have pictures from the hike that I'll share in a new post!

Training 10/23

Sam's friend stayed over last night and this morning I took Delilah out to "meet" him.  She's REALLY BAD with people in the house- she yaps, snarls, and darts in as if to nip them.  I had her on the other side of the room on a lead and played the Look At That game with her.  Whenever she looked at him quietly she got a click and a treat.  She barked a few times but overall did really well and I was able to walk her past him quietly to put her back in our bedroom.  I still think she would have barked and maybe even have bit him if he tried to interact with her directly but he was really good about ignoring her so we were able to do some training.

I'm going to do some more trick training and practice "stay" with her later today.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Delilah's Been Sick

Delilah spent a few days last week having bloody diarrhea.  I took her to the vet and it cost $200 for the diagnosis and treatment.  She has roundworm and whipworm.  Both parasites can come from soil contaminated with feces.

I live in an apartment complex that kind of looks like an old two story motel.  We have a little yard in the back to bring our dogs out.  Some of my neighbors are young couples who seem like responsible dog owners but most of the tenants seem to be college kids.  They let their untrained dogs roam around off leash and charge up to people and dogs.  But "don't worry, he's friendly."  They'll be running after their dogs yelling "Mabel come, Mabel, get over here!" and of course the dogs don't listen.  The owners never bothered training them.  I don't know if they think dogs speak English or what?

Anyways we live on a somewhat busy road in our city and they just let the dogs out and don't even watch them.  Of course they can't pick up after them if they haven't even seen where the dogs have gone.  And when they do see, they still don't pick up after them.  I've witnessed this.

It's gotten to the point where I can't take my dog out at night without stepping in anything.

I've contacted the landlords about this.  I'm hoping that we can come up with a solution.  I really hate living in a city.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Sleepover with Mia!

This week my parents were out of state, so Mia got to spend the night at my apartment.

I was worried about how Delilah would react to sharing her house with another dog.  There was some resource guarding of me, toys, food, everything when she first met Mia a couple of months ago but they've been getting along really well since then.  I'd love another dog in a couple of years so I was really hoping this would work out.

Luckily everything went well, Delilah really enjoyed having Mia in the house.  She tried to play with her.  Not only did she like having Mia around, but she was also more confident outside with another dog.  Mia loves people and tries to walk over to strangers wagging her tail.  Delilah hates strangers but she would follow Mia curiously and watch what she was doing.  She seemed more comfortable around people and loud vehicles with Mia around and seeing that Mia wasn't scared.

The Fluffy Collection reunited!  From left to right: Mia, Sophie, Delilah.
Sophie and Mia were both neutral to see each other again.  Usually Sophie really loves Mia and Mia is scared of Sophie.  But they weren't particularly interested during the visit.  Here is a video of Sophie playing with Mia a few years ago when we used to live with my parents.

I brought Mia and Delilah on a long walk to the waterfront and let them run around the dog park (which was unoccupied) before we headed back.  Mia was exhausted when we got home, it didn't seem to have any impact on Delilah's energy.  

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Delilah Goes Apple Picking

Yesterday Delilah got to go apple picking with "Mommy" and "Daddy" at Chapin Orchard.  She was so excited and seemed comfortable with being near the other apple pickers.  A few little kids tried to run up and pet her but we blocked them and we heard their parents tell them that they can't just run up to strange dogs.  People in the country are so much better about being around dogs than people in the city.

It was so beautiful out there with the leaves changing to vibrant oranges and deep reds- it made me really want to move to the country.  Someday- the sooner the better.

Didn't take too many pictures.  I was too busy enjoying the day and keeping an eye on the little troublemaker.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Last Night's Class

The trainer was back for our class last night!  We got to move on to new stuff, yay!

During class Delilah was very yappy.  Especially in the beginning.  It was kind of distracting for me because I was trying to keep her quiet when I should have been listening to the trainer or watching the demo.  Delilah REALLY loves this trainer though.  She usually hates people but last night when she saw the trainer (who she had only met once previously) she started yapping and lunging at her.  But not in an aggressive or fearful way like she does with most people that give her attention.  Her entire little body was wiggling!  It's very interesting to me.

She did well with mat work and with down.  She lay on her mat for most of class.  When she got up to yap I'd remind her "place" or "down" and she'd lie right back down!  So while her behavior was worse, she listened better, if that makes any sense.  Now down is her go to behavior whenever I have a toy or treat she wants.  It used to be sit but now she lies down!  All of that work last week has paid off so far.

The new exercises we did were "It's Your Choice" to work on impulse control, the collar game, and restrained recall.  "It's Your Choice" is a game where you hold or place the treat in front of the dog and if she tries to take it before you hand it to her, you cover the treat.  Once she leaves your hand alone you open it.  When she leaves the exposed treat alone you can hand it to her.  The collar game is to get her used to her collar/harness being grabbed.  You grab the collar or harness, give her a treat, and let go.  The last one is restrained recall where one person holds the dog, the other person shows her a treat or toy and runs away calling "come" so the dog chases them when she's released.  Delilah already has a decent recall but she LOVES this "game."

I like taking a class and learning new exercises and games to play with my dog.  I like having a trainer to guide us and I like the class structure.  I could train Delilah to do most of this myself like I've done with Mia, but taking a class is really nice for both of us.

I'm starting to think that maybe I should just accept that Delilah is a vocal dog and expresses her emotions with sound.  I thought she'd only yap if she was scared of someone, but last night she yapped because she was happy to see someone.  She cries when she's upset, screams when she's excited, and once made a strange yodeling sound when I gave her a new bone while pushing it with her nose.  She's so tiny and experiences emotion so strongly I don't think her little body can physically contain it, so she has to express herself with energy and noise.  She physically starts shaking when she's excited.  When she's happy she flings her body around, flailing her limbs and crashing into furniture.  She's just my crazy little dog.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

You Can Jump On My Shoulders

Delilah was hanging out on my shoulders last night while I was finishing "Show Dog" by Josh Dean.  At one point she was actually draped around my shoulders like a scarf!  It's really cute but it can also get annoying when you just want some space.  She is the epitome of a "velcro dog" or a "lap dog."

Training class tonight.  Hoping the trainer's back so we can move on to new stuff.  We've been practicing "down" all week and she's finally starting to get both the word and the hand signal- I don't have to lure her anymore!

Also put a word to her mat down- "place."  She goes to her mat, lays down, and stays there until I release her.  We're still working on the release but she's starting to get it- I can toss a treat and she'll stay until I tell her it's "okay" to get it.  I'm not sure if the place command is what the trainer had in mind when she said mat work, but it's a good one for Delilah to know anyways, and a pretty impressive string of some simple behaviors.  I'm proud of her at least.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Sam's iPhone Pictures

My boyfriend, Sam, sent me some cute pictures he took on his phone to post on my blog.