Re-introduction

Lacey is a sweet little pup who loves to be around people and who loves to play with our cat Violet. But she has absolutely no understanding at all of correct social behavior around other dogs, including our dog Glimmer.  Instead of sniffing and using play bows to invite interaction, Lacey tends to chase and jump at Glimmer’s face. This makes Glimmer very nervous and anxious, and though she gives the puppy every imaginable cue to tell her she doesn’t like that behavior, Lacey is consistently failing to read those cues.  Instead, she becomes more persistent, not less, which makes Glimmer nervous and very fearful.  The last time a dog jumped at Glimmer the way Lacey does, it was to attack her, not play with her.  Sadly, almost every experience Glimmer has had with other dogs has been negative and traumatic for her, and as a result, she has become anti-social and highly mistrustful around them, even when they are in her house and she knows I have control of them.

Lacey has been fostering with us long enough, now, for me to see quite clearly that this situation must be addressed. So, beginning today, I am putting her through a re-introduction process that will not only help her learn to associate her kennel with calmness and relaxation, it will also teach her how to be calm in the presence of her foster pack. When she is not in her kennel, she will be attached directly to me by a long leash. This will help her learn that in order to have any freedom around her foster pack, she must be calm and she must not jump at or otherwise chase them, even when they invite her to play.  She must learn self-restraint, and she must learn to recognize and respect the end of a game when her foster pack lets her know they want to take a break.  Having her on a leash will help her learn that only calmness and polite behavior will be rewarded.

It’s going to be quite an adventure.  Lacey is a very independent little puppy who wants everything her way, all the time, and if she doesn’t get her way, she howls and throws temper tantrums. It’s going to be quite an interesting journey, helping her become her very best, most balanced self…

First Vet Run

Lacy has had ongoing bouts with diarrhea since she came to foster with us.  Last night, she had an accident in the house and I noticed the poop was very bloody.  I collected it as best I could, then called Lacey’s forever family and told them she needed to see a vet immediately.

After all was said and done, Lacey is now on the road to optimum health.  To our immense relief, the poop tested negative for Parvo, Giardia, and all other infectious, contagious diseases.  But Lacey is now on antibiotics to clear up whatever is going on inside her gut, and she’s been put on a diet of soft gastro-intestinal food. She also has a package of pro-biotics sprinkled on her food once a day.  Lacey is very thin – feeling along her body, her hips and ribs were quite prominent, but because she’s so fluffy, no one noticed that, including me.  But thanks to our phenomenal vet team at Castleridge Animal Hospital, we now know the true state of her health.

Lacey was born Dec. 19, 2015.  She will be ten weeks old on Saturday.  She had one vaccination and one de-worming treatment on Feb. 12. They were administered to her by the original owner, who lives on a farm and takes care of the veterinary care for his animals.  We never did meet him, though Lacey’s forever family made several requests to do so.  Instead, we had to deal with the owner’s proxy, who cared for Lacey and her siblings and handled their adoptions.

It’s very fortunate for Lacey that the right family found her when they did.  She has been a very sick little puppy…

Progress and Plans

Lacey is 9 weeks old today.  She is making wonderful progress with her potty training, and she’s developing the ability to focus during our training sessions.  She is doing very well with the “sit” command, and she is learning “leave it”, “off”, and “down/lay down”.  She is also practicing “chew toy” – a command which initially began as a redirection technique for when she starts to chew on the furniture or other inappropriate things.  Lacey taught me this technique; I did not teach it to her.  She was chewing on the dog’s bed, I caught her and told her “no chewing”, and without missing a beat, she stopped chewing the dog’s bed, she reached for one of her chew toys, and she started chewing on it, instead.  That was so unexpected but so awesome that I had to reward that behavior.  Now, when she chews inappropriately, I am practicing that “chew toy” command with her and make sure the behavior is positively reinforced every time.  Thanks, Lacey!  🙂

Last night, Lacey was taken to her forever family for a visit and some burst training.  Burst training is training in very short bursts.  It’s perfect for a puppy Lacey’s age, since their attention span is pretty much at zero when there are tons of other things around to distract them – in Lacey’s case, her human child, who she stuck to like glue.  We were there for two hours, and Lacey spent a total of maybe 10 minutes actually working.  LOL  😀

Leash training is a little more challenging.  Lacey is very uncertain about the leash. She feels slight tension on her collar and instead of moving forward on her own to ease it, she fights it and bites at and tries to chew the leash.  Once she becomes more familiar with how it works, though, that behavior will resolve.  It just takes time, patience, and calm, consistent energy.

Kennel training is a very different ball of wax.  Lacey is extremely fearful of the kennel, and we don’t know why. What we do know is that she needs a lot of help overcoming that fear, so today, we are going to begin that process.

I am working on filming Lacey’s training sessions. I think it’s important that her progress can be seen as well as read about.  Have a great day!