Cassie and Sully

Cassie and Sully
Aw! Aren't they cute together?


Sully enjoying the snow

Big Boy!

Big Boy!
Sully in his vest and Gentle Leader

Sully and the vacuum

Sully and the vacuum
Okay, so he's not so good with chores.

Getting Bigger!

Getting Bigger!
Such a handsome boy!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Gotta love antibiotics!

Whew! I think we're finally done with puppy diarrhea.( I know. Not the most pleasant of topics.) But from what I understand, something a lot of folks go through with little ones. We were going crazy trying to wean Sully off of the bland (rice and eggs, or rice and chicken, or rice and ground beef) diet he was on. Every time we would try to get him back on normal puppy chow, the poor little guy was dashing outside to create another pile of goo. Turns out, it wasn't the food that was the issue. It was a UTI! His little system was so inflamed and irritated from the urinary tract infection, it was affecting his stools. The diagnosis of UTI certainly explained the constant trips outside, and the numerous accidents - and finally, piddling in the kennel. Now he's on a bland, prescription diet, (doesn't THAT sound appealing!) probiotics and antibiotics. UTI's are kind of hard to detect in puppies - I mean, they piddle all the time anyway! And, if they're "going" on grass, you can't see if it's bloody or odd looking. He wasn't licking himself (more than normal) and it didn't seem painful. Live and learn. (We had stool samples checked several time for parasites, another common cause of diarrhea.) It is such a relief to figure out the cause!

The neighbors, who already have me pegged as some kind of loony, think I've gone off the deep end. ("Uh oh. She's cheering and clapping - about puppy poop. Should we call someone?") ("And did you see what she's wearing? In public? What's up with her HAIR?!") Okay, I've pretty much lost all dignity. I appear in the front yard in my "jammies". Not designer, classy jammies. Purple plaid flannel pants and a tee shirt from some event. Whatever shoes I could get on as I raced out the front door, puppy in tow. My hair just gets that way when I sleep, okay?? I just hope and pray someone isn't out and about at that moment. But they always are. The guy that delivers the paper has given up talking to me. He greets me with a cheery "Good morning!" and I just mumble something unintelligible. Some woman walking her dog came over to meet Sully this morning. I told myself she wasn't dressed in her Sunday best, either. But at least her hair was all going in one direction. I think Sully will be learning to use the run in the back yard this weekend. He's not crazy about it. (See photo) But it's much more private, which will go far in repairing what's left of my pride.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Now summer can start!

Planning a grad party kind of takes over your life. Planning, shopping, baking, cleaning, setting up, taking down...yikes. But that's done now! My youngest has now registered for his college classes. A bunch of his friends came over last night, and I listened to them laughing and talking downstairs - I'll miss that!

Sully is our "empty nest filler". And he's filling it out more and more! When we got him, he weighed 8.5 pounds. Wednesday, he tipped the scales at 17.2! Oof! No wonder he's getting harder to lift! We're still struggling with puppy diarrhea - he has been through a prescription of Metronidazole and is on probiotics. I cheer when he has a normal stool! (He thinks he's doing an extra great job of going outside, so it works!) He's now at 1/2 rice and eggs and 1/2 kibble. Hopefully, his little system will get back to normal soon. Rice cakes as training treats are a pain.

We have fallen into more of a routine. Up at 5:30. Outside. (As a former coffee shop manager, it's do-able.) Then we eat breakfast.( Sully in his kennel, me at the table.) Then I finish my breakfast and read the paper while Sully licks every last atom of food out of his bowl. Then a trip outside. Hopefully, cheering will ensue. Back inside for playtime. I read part of a paragraph, notice he's not in the same room, hunt him down. Show him a toy. Read some more of the paper. Hunt Sully down. Peel his teeth off my pant leg. Give him a toy. Try to...SULLY! Off the leather chair!! Peel his teeth off my slippers. Throw a toy. Fetching ensues. Then my arms become more interesting than ANY toy - time for the kennel! He gets a few ice cubes, which he munches happily. Then, if all goes well, he falls asleep. This gives me time to: Empty and reload the dishwasher, make the bed, start a load of laundry, wipe down the bathroom, work out, shower...Pant, pant! Then, off to the studio, after another trip outside. We greet friends at the studio, then do a bit of training. That's usually enough to wear him out, and he sacks out in the kennel at the studio. He's usually just waking up at lunch time. We head outside, then home for lunch. After lunch, more training - then a walk. Hopefully, more cheering. Back to the studio. Some playing, chewing - maybe some more training. Nap. Hopefully until about 4 when I'm ready to head home to make dinner. Outside. Head home. More training, playing. Supper. Playing. Walk. Playing. Outside. Playing, chewing. Outside. Bedtime is around 9:30 - for both of us.

He' picking up on all the skills really well! We're working on eye contact, name recognition, grooming, walking on a loose leash, fetching, recall, greeting people with our paws on the ground, taking a treat gently, "getting dressed" (putting his own slip-collar on), etc. And he's been doing everything for stale, salt-free rice cakes! What a trooper!

Tonight, an evening with his pal Cassie while we go to a wedding. Much puppy wrasslin', I'm sure! He can hardly wait.

Now that things have settled down in the entertainment segment of my life, I'm hoping to update more! Of course, now I'm about to plunge into the summer art fair season. I'm trying to create work for that and the galleries that have my work - so I'm glad for the fact that Sully is a good napper!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Happy Father's Day to you dads!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Go Sully!

Sully's class is going to be the first in Helping Paws history to wear a slip collar instead of a gentle leader. At least, that's the hope. The gentle leader (as I'm told) is a great tool, but there are some drawbacks. It can be difficult for a graduate to buckle on the dog. And sometimes, the nose band can cause skin issues. Some dogs balk at it, and that can be a reason to disqualify them as a service dog.

So, this week we're working on introducing the dogs to the slip collar. It's a nylon (blue, of course!) strap that looks like a regular dog collar, but it can tighten when you pull on it, like the old-fashioned "choke chain", only less severe. (We'll work with the Gentle Leader later as well, just in case. )

First, if the puppy shows interest in it, we click and treat. (By the way, when I say "treat", we're actually using a portion of their daily food - keeping these dogs nice and lean and healthy is important! (Not to mention the consequences of giving other foods...ahem, like diarrhea.) Then, we click and treat (C/T) if the dog touches the collar. Then, putting their nose through the collar. Guess who stuck his head right in? Captain Fearless. Guess he likes the color blue.

We're still working on name recognition. Say the puppy's name, wait for them to look at you , C/T. Eye contact. Wait for the puppy to make eye contact, C/T. This week, we're extending the eye contact - working up to all of 10 seconds! Hard to do with a puppy distracted by things like... dust. (Not that we have any.)

We're working on lots of other stuff, too. I personally am working on remembering the fact that I got a new, tiny camera that fits in my purse. But you have to actually take it out of your purse and push the little button in order for it to work. It's my homework for the week. And I, unlike Sully, do NOT use part of my meal for treating. I only work for chocolate.