Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Two Weeks Summarized!

Hey y'all!  Dog Mom here.  Where, oh where to start with this catch-up....  I think it's been a couple weeks!  Wow!

Looking ahead, I'll admit, I probably won't have time to post every day anymore.  Fall term of my last year of law school starts in a couple weeks, plus I'm going to be looking for a job or internship.  Then there's my crew to take care of and two dog training classes a week I'll be teaching.  And house, friend, and family obligations....  And other behavior/training shelter work and breed rescue stuff.... And a dog forum I'm helping moderate.  And okay, you get the picture.  Life is busy.  As it is for you, which is why I so appreciate everyone who finds time in their busy days to visit us here!

Other changes I hope to implement in the near future are some actual posts with *words.*  That's right, I need to get writing!  Most of my posts this far have been focused on photos and brief updates.  But I really do have a lot to say and share.

Okay, back to the catch-up.  I've finished teaching my first two class series!  Woot, woot!  Overall, my co-teacher and I got great feedback from our students.  No, I wasn't perfect; for instance, I need to speak louder, work on smoother transitions between exercises, and practice doing my demos more precisely while I'm talking through the steps.  However, I tend to be very self-critical, so I won't go on about that.

We've been back to my parents' in NE Oregon twice for long visits, which is where we are again right now.  They are off celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary, and I'm holding down the fort.  Let's see how sane I am at the end of a week with five dogs, two horses, and their business to oversee.

I'm pleased to say Orion's headshaking has greatly improved!  We think either the sun + high heat have been the critical factors in it, or that the melatonin treatment has worked.  The Guardian Mask finally arrived, but I have been waiting to put it on him until he has another "shaking attack."  Regardless of why the shaking has subsided, I am thrilled that he is comfortable and happy again.  He even ran into his paddock last night from the pasture to get his dinner.

Champ and I have been going to some school yards for extra exercise when we've been back here.  His free time outside is more limited than the other dogs' because his fence running has turned into fence fighting with the neighbor dogs.  It sucks, and I do not want him practicing fighting.  Bad, bad, bad.  What's even more frustrating is that these neighbor dogs literally have the run of the whole neighborhood full time since their owners make absolutely no effort towards keeping them contained.  With the minor-moderate progress we've made with Champ's fence running back at our home, I hate feeling like it all comes undone here, so I focus on management.  (Sadly, I'm not Wonder Woman and cannot train all seven dogs at once... maybe someday but not now.)  And obviously, the fence running is not good for his overall stress levels and reactivity.

On a more positive note, Champ's "play dead" trick is coming along nicely!  He's to the stage where he will throw himself down from a sit pretty reliably.  This is one of our favorite tricks.  A close second is his "pauvre chien" ("poor dog") trick, which is him swiping his face with a paw.  Sophie has nearly mastered "roll over," and Elsie, our chow hound, is doing awesome with "leave it."  My goal this week is to get their trick lists written down, so stay posted.

Speaking of Sophie, I took her to the Oregon Coast for the first time!  I can't believe she's almost 11 and had never been.  Considering how much she loved it, I have some making up to do for her.  Like Champ, she was fearless about the waves and wanted so desperately to swim straight into them.  However, the waves were very rough and cold when we went, so we didn't go far in the water.  She was just on a leash, too, because the beach, in Lincoln City, was so crowded.  I did let her go for a swim beforehand on a long line in the Siletz River--again, cold but she enjoyed it.  What I always love about taking her places is how easy and great she is with other dogs; she isn't interested in playing with them but she just doesn't care that they're around.

The river swim was also the first time she used her new EzyDog PFD!  I am so glad I bought it for her because while she loves to swim, it isn't her strong suit.  It took her a little getting used to swimming (she kind of rolled a tad bit at first), but I think she'll get more confident in it as we go more places.  My goal is to get a kayak this year so I can take them out on more water.  The other life jacket I bought was the Hurtta, which I think I'll end up liking more, but I have to say, for the price point, the EzyDog is very well made.  (I bought and returned a Ruffwear; quality was unparalleled but the fit was all wrong for Champ.)

Elsie pulled a fast one on us last week.  She's our newest that had been escaping from her previous owners' yards.  Naturally, I've made it a point to always know where she is here.  Although she's done awesome at respecting our fences/gates here, she has not been trained like the others to know that the driveway, gated or not, is the boundary.  So when my Mom was pulling in the drive and the gate opened for her car, she slipped through. I realized she was gone within minutes, and my dad and I started driving separately around the countryside trying to find her.  It was hot--near 90F I think-- and we live amidst farm fields, desert grasslands, and highways.  Needless to say I was totally distraught that we weren't going to be able to find her and she'd die from a) traffic, b) dehydration, or c) coyotes.  Most fortunately, nearly a couple hours later, my dad spotted her in a cow pasture.  She is now wearing blaze orange so we can keep tabs on her more easily around their property....  The ironic thing was that I was just telling her and my dad how much I love her that morning... and we almost lost her.  

The only other time she escaped my parents' (and went for a swim), in late July, [because someone left the gate open] was also ironic timing because she slipped out while I was putting flowers on our pets' graves.  July 21 was the one year mark of Jake's passing and July 26 was the two year mark of Levi's.  Losing her, too, that week would have made July the worst month of the year for us....  Another reason I wish our yard was dog-proof fenced separately from the rest of the property her, le sigh.  Gate Rules have been enhanced and more strongly enforced!

I think that about covers the last couple weeks.  You can see it's been pretty much dogs and family.  The rest of this post is going to be an onslaught of photographs!  Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

 At the elementary school I attended... ah, nostalgia.  The jungle gym he's on has replaced a beastly old wooden one that we romped on as kids.

 These metal play equipment are the originals!  So many memories!

At the field of my middle school.

That's his new Hurtta Lifeguard Padded-Y Harness!  We love it!

 At home:

Sophie at Lincoln City:

Sophie at the Siletz River:

At home:

 The Homecoming: Elsie being led home from her Great Escape by my dad....

The aftermath: she must now don blaze orange.

Oh yes, here are two photos of my garden at the Dog House on August 2nd!

This is what it looked like on June 2nd!

I will take photos of my parents' garden this week for a comparison, too!

Anyways, that's it for today!  Thanks again for stopping by!  Give your pup some extra loves from us!

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