The Calling

Inara has finally received The Call.  After all the sports/games/STUFF we’ve tried, we have found THE ONE.  The One that she has a natural talent for.  Nay, not just a talent, but a PRONOUNCED talent.  What is her calling?

NOSEWORK. 

The girl is apparently part Bloodhound.  When I give her the command to “search” she glues her nose to the floor and works it, occasionally lifting up for an air sniff, but mostly going for the ground sniff method.  We started a 4 week Nosework class last week, so we’ve had two classes so far.  And due to a wedding this past weekend we didn’t practice at all in between our classes, yet she still rocked it.  Right now she’s still sniffing for hidden treats, but next week we’re introducing a new scent for the dogs to find.  I hope she can transition her searching behavior to a non-food item.

This past week our instructor, Katie, lined up six boxes and put a container with treats in one.  The dog had to sniff down the line and find the one with treats.  Inara was crated so she didn’t see which box the treats in.  When I told her to “search” she went to the first box and sniffed each box until she found the one with treats and pawed at it, got her treats, and then continued sniffing down the rest of the boxes to make sure they were empty.  And just as cool?  She’s totally ignoring the other dogs when she’s working the line of boxes.

I’ve got a couple vids from our informal practice at home this evening.  This was our first time trying nosework at home.  These two vids our Inara’s last two searches, so she had done maybe 6 or 7 before these.  I was having her sit in the dining room while I hid the container with treats, and then I would call her to heel and give the cue to search.  This first one was apparently way too easy for her:

For her last search, I hid the container up off the ground so she had to work a bit harder.  You can see her look to me for guidance at one point, so I didn’t point or anything, I just encouraged her again to search, and she did!

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Hives, Prozac and Sharks

Heheheh, this title should get some odd hits coming in!  LOL

1.  Hives – Inara has never had hives before but for some reason broke out in them this week.  Fortunately they are confined to her back, just behind her withers (do dogs have withers or is that just a horse term?), so they aren’t hindering her breathing in any way.  That confined location makes me think something touched her that caused a reaction, but for the life of me I cannot think what has changed.  I gave her a couple Benadryl (please always consult your vet before giving meds to your dog) and they’ve mostly gone done.  She still has a couple small ones but I really don’t want to give her more Benadryl as it made her feel not so good.  Even stranger, I’ve had a few other friends across the country say that over the past couple weeks their dogs have also broken out in hives.  What’s going on???

2.  Prozac – Not for Inara this time.  For the cat.  She has always been crazy but her level of miserable-ness has increased exponentially over the past few weeks for some reason.  She growls out the window at anybody that dares to walk by the house.  She skulks around.  And best yet, she’s attacking Inara.  Not just a swat, but full-fledged yowling, swinging paws and chasing Inara through the house.  Kind of funny until you realize that at some point Inara may get tired of this and whip around and nail her.  So Prozac it is.  We’re on day three.  I really hope it works.  I don’t want to think about what to do if it doesn’t.

3.  Sharks – Okay, not really, but sort of.  I ordered something for Inara called a shark line leash.  It’s like super strong fishing wire attached to a small toggle handle, with a light snap at the end.  It’s to help us transition to off-leash work.  Because it’s so light, she won’t realize that she is still on leash, but should she decide to act like an ass (my dog?  NEVER!) I still have control over her.  A lot of friends recommended it to me so I’m kind of excited.  I think it may be exactly what we need to get over our training hump.  Here’s a link: http://www.jjdog.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=3CATSharkLinesSHAL

Finally, a friend of mine has been having some issues with her pit bull, Toby, and has started a blog to chronicle his training.  Today she posted that instead of pushing him further when he’d already had a great day, she STOPPED.  That was such a hard lesson for me to learn, so it made me thrilled to see that she got it so quickly!  So please visit her blog and give her some love!

http://tubular-toby.blogspot.com/

Between a rock and a dog…

Inara and I seem to have hit an impasse with our training.  Not due to lack of skill, but because I can’t trust her off-leash.  She’s totally ready for advanced rally signs, but even the 2nd level of rally and obedience stuff is off leash.  Ginger and I were talking this evening and we feel she’s kind of hit the max benefit from our Rally classes we’ve been taking.  Ginger thinks I need to expand outwards, into new training places.  That frightens me.  It’s very difficult finding good, positive trainers.  And quite frankly, other places are really expensive ($140 for 6 weeks?  Really?).  And I like Ginger and her style of teaching.

I suggested to Ginger that maybe she can offer “semi-private sessions.”  Her normal rally classes have 6 dogs and are $85 for 6 weeks, so I said that maybe she can offer 3 week sessions, with only 3 dogs, for $85.  It’d be a lot more individualized attention, and if we chose the dogs well we could do off-leash stuff w/o worrying.  Once Inara got used to being off-leash around those 2 dogs, another dog could be added in.  I’m not looking to get her playing with other dogs – I want her to IGNORE them entirely.

I may also just do some private sessions with Ginger out and about in the community, just for the change of scenery.  We all know that dogs don’t generalize, so I do maintain Inara’s training elsewhere.  It would be nice sometimes to have Ginger on walks in the park with me when other dogs are passing in close proximity.  Not because I don’t know what to do, but because my confidence increases with her around *blush*.

Any other ideas for me as to break through this impasse?  I’m going to start working hard with Inara on training/walking w/o relying on the leash to keep her by me, even outside.  It will be on, of course, but only as an emergency measure.  But while we’re doing that, I want to DO something – classes, seminars, something.

Inara with Joe, Big Mike and Johnny O of Rescue Ink.

Hineys, workshops and carnage

Inara has hiney issues.  There.  I said it.  Hopefully she won’t read this or she’ll be embarrassed.  But she does.  A few weeks ago I took her to the vet because she had some weird, hard growth coming out of her hiney.  The vet determined that it was an abscess that had burst, and the growth was actually a scab protruding.  She pinched it off and called it a day.  I took her in again on Monday evening because she had another growth, again coming from her hiney, but this one was fleshy.  The Doc said it was actually a wart and needed to be removed since it was right on her anus and probably making it uncomfortable to go to the bathroom.

So I dropped Inara off Wednesday morning at the vet.  Even for a minor procedure, it was tough leaving her there.  The staff was excited to see her though, so that helped.  They also said I could call at noon and probably pick her up then.  So I called at noon, but young miss gets hit hard by anesthesia so she wasn’t awake enough yet.  I could go pick her up at 3.  I showed up at 3 and walked into the nearly silent vet’s office.  The vet techs were sitting behind the desk and quietly gestured for me to peek over.  I did, and there was a very groggy Inara, barely standing, but still giving kisses and soliciting lovin’s from the techs.  Totally melted my heart.  Especially when she finally noticed me and looked at me with her sleepy little eyes and wagged her tail (nearly falling in the process).  The vet had removed the wart, as well as the big skin tag that had been on her elbow, trimmed her nails and gave her a shot of amoxicillin.  Grand total?  $48.  Love my vet.  And the best part was that because the vet had cauterized them, there was absolutely zero aftercare needed.

So I took the little girl home and had to help her out of the car and up the steps.  Before I could even get her harness and collar off, she staggered straight to the bedroom and just looked at the bed, looked at me, and back at the bed.  I lifted her up and she immediately fell asleep.  I curled up next to her and she napped on me for a couple hours.  She was still kind of unsteady on her feet the rest of the evening, but did eat, drink, pee and poop, so I knew all was good.

I had to work today so she just snoozed in her crate, and when I came home she was rarin’ to go.  She wanted to play fetch and tug with her Alien carcass, so we did that a bit.  Then we had a Tug O’ War workshop at Fortunate Fido.  I hemmed and hawed about going since I was afraid it might make her surgery sites sore, but decided to go.  I figured I’d let her set the pace.

There were 5 other dogs in the workshop, so of course Inara had to announce herself upon entering.  I got her settled and then she only had a few other outbursts.  Pretty impressive since there was a lot of activity going on with 5 other dogs tugging.  It was odd though – if Inara was the only dog tugging, she was a BEAST.  Totally focused on tugging and giving it her all.  However, if the other dogs were tugging, she wouldn’t.  Or couldn’t.  Not sure which.  She could do beautiful obedience with me, but if I asked her to tug she just flat out refused.  I don’t know if she was uncomfortable letting loose enough to play?  She was very relaxed during the down time, either lounging on a hip or totally sprawled on her side.  But she couldn’t relax to play tug if the other dogs were.  Very strange and definitely something I’ll work on.

She is beat.  I think all the tugging was a bit much for her, so I gave her a couple baby aspirin with her dinner and she’s now curled up on my bed snoozing while I’m lying beside her typing.

I shall leave you with two things:

  1. A video of her doing one of her favorite things ever – turning a stuffie into a carcass.
  2. A picture of her amongst her carnage afterwards.

Enjoy!

Oh the humanity! Think of the children!

 

 

History was made tonight!

Cleveland, OH has passed a new BREED-NEUTRAL vicious dog law!  That means Inara is no longer considered vicious!!!  This is such an amazing night for us and it wouldn’t have been possible without a great group of dedicated people.  I’m just beside myself!!!

Inara and I are on the news!

For something good, I swear!  LOL

A Cleveland councilman is trying to get the breed specific language removed from the city’s vicious dog legislation.  It was up before the Public Safety committee today and I, along with several others, showed up to support it and provide testimony.  After the meeting, a reporter who had recorded the whole session approached me and said she really would like some video of a pit bull and would I mind letting her get video of Inara?  I said that would be outstanding and we arranged a time.

A friend brought over her pit mix as well so the reporter could get video of the two dogs playing.  She recorded me playing with Inara; Inara playing with the other dog; us all walking down the sidewalk (trying hard to look super casual!), and then us sitting on the porch.

I thought there would only be that video in the news clip but nope!  Part of my testimony was in there too!  Eek!  And she actually showed a decent amount of video of me & Inara, not the 2 seconds I was expecting.  So it was pretty awesome and exciting.  🙂

Anyway, here is a link to the video (you may have to copy/paste):

http://www.fox8.com/videobeta/92d55d41-dfdc-4f0c-9146-2e1f723a431c/News/Changes-Possible-to-Dog-Ordinance