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!