Monday, August 31, 2009

Our New Dog !!

Training is the name of the game. We are so tired of yelling and running out to correct Prin. She is such a hard head it seems nothing curbs her evil ways. I felt we couldn't go on this way. Something needed to happen, so despite our hesitations we got an E collar. I made sure it was fitted just right, tested the tone alarm, and set the distraction (shock) strength. It has a dial from 1 to 10. Prin didn't seem to feel a thing until we reached 7. The instructions say the dog should only turn its head to the side for a second when applied. I am glad of that. I always thought the dog would yelp from pain. Anyway, Prin normally starts to bark and whine after about 5 minutes on her cable tie-out. We would tap the window, yell out the door, or run out and give her a good scolding. Always within 5 or 10 minutes she would start in again - AARRRRRR!

The first day of Prin's new training was amazing. She barked. She got zapped. She went and laid down and started looking around. She likes to watch birds fly by. About 30 minutes later she barked. She got another shock. She went and laid down, and started watching birds again. I was standing at the window for maybe 2 hours with my finger on the trigger. After the third bark and shock, she didn't bark again for so long I gave up the vigil. Over the next 3 days she barked a few more times and I would hit the tone alarm. If she continued to bark, she got a jolt. Today is the forth day. Prin went out without wearing the collar, and was amazingly well behaved!!! We didn't have to yell or scold even once! Overall she's calmer on her tie-out, better behaved in the house, less stressed, and happy!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Working on the House

Well the last few days have been a whirlwind of work and activity. Weekend yard sales in the morning and afternoon house projects. The yard sales are going slow, but things are disappearing. We have all the doors replaced now. The trim is still calling for attention. Marilyn has been busy painting outside trim and it really looks great. The master bath is getting closer all the time to being done. A house is a lot of work! The biggest thing is emptying the house of all the junk. Marilyn has a list of closets and drawers and has been checking them off one by one. It's getting so we hate to cook or do anything in the house that will make a mess. The dogs aren't helping at all. We listed the house as partially furnished, but when we got home from the realtors they had chewed one of the dining room chairs really bad. They are now staying in the garage in cages or outside on cables when we are too busy to keep a constant eye on them. Prin is suffering from acute (not cute) anxiety with all the preparations to downsize and go out on the road. Here is a list I found on the internet describing stressed dogs:

Dog Behaviors That Indicate Stress (Fits Prin's behavior)

Rapid, shallow or deep, forceful panting - Stress panting is presented with the lips pulled back in a wide "grin" causing deep wrinkles around the eyes and forehead.

Increased urination or defecation - Stressed dogs will often urinate or defecate in an inappropriate area even though they're fully housebroken.

Vomiting or diarrhea - The dog's digestive tract is frequently the first bodily function to react to stress.

Yawning - Yawning is one of the most common signs of stress. A stress yawn will be more pronounced than a sleepy yawn.

Avoidance - A stressed dog will often turn away or shy away from us when they are stressed.

Shaking/shivering - Stress will frequently cause the dog to shiver or shake even though they may not be cold or wet.

Confusion - A dog will often present signs of confusion or abnormal behavior when stressed. Be cautious when interpreting this symptom as it can also be a sign of a seizure or diabetic hypoglycemia. (Prin is showing dull eyes)

Whining or growling - Vocalization is very typical in a stressed out dog and is a sign of heightened anxiety.

Stretching - Stretching is the dog's way of relaxing muscles tightened by a stressful situation.

While not an exhaustive list, these are just a few of the signs that can help you recognize when your dog is stressed.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Prin Today - The big Puppy?

This is Prin today.  She's a big puppy, if ever you saw one! She is very smart. Maybe too smart! We started calling her "Baby Knothead". We have to remind ourselves that she is only a year and a half old. Her biggest problem is being strong-willed, not following commands, stealing cat food, and chewing things like the hot tub cover or the handle on the easy chair. If she thinks I am going to get up and scold her, she will snap to and do what I want instantly, otherwise, she will keep an eye on me and continue in her bad ways. Sneaky, too!  She will come and look to see if we're busy and then go steal cat food. She is about 60 lbs., 2 feet high at the shoulder, and sets 32 inches to the top of her ears! Our other traveling companions are "Charles" the cat and a wild dog named "Sugar". More about them later.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The New Blog

Well here is our first blog. I uploaded a picture of Prin to see if it works ok. So far so good. Prin's nickname today is "Baby Knothead". She is about a year and a half old now and very strong willed. As most of you know we are planning to sell our house and most of the junk we have collected in the last 20 years and move into the camper. We are looking forward to the open road and new adventure. There is a lot of work to do and at times it seems overwhelming. We are staying the course and the jobs are slowly getting done. We will be posting more as we are going to try and make this blog an everyday thing.

Have a good day