Thursday, August 14, 2008

Day 9 of 30DR



That is the JAFCO muzzle I purchased for each of the dogs. I chose it because it's designed to be comfortable enough to be worn all day (though I definitely don't intend to make them wear theirs all day) and because it seemed the least Hannibal Lecterish of the ones I could find. The hot pink plastic ones I borrowed from Greyhound Rescue are pretty but hard and chafey and only intended to be worn for very short intervals (like during a race--long story).

I meant to begin acclimating the dogs to their muzzles today but procrastinated. So it'll start tomorrow.

Also tomorrow I've accepted an invitation to bring B-dog over to a co-worker's house to play with her 3 dogs. I'm nervous as hell about this idea and may still chicken out but as I watch my dear boy napping on the step, having been physically separated from P-dog for over a week (behind babygates all that time) I know that he needs real dog-play time and he can't quite have it with P yet. Also, being in a pack of dogs might be good for him psychologically.

The part of me that's nervous as hell is the part of me that's harkening back to August of 2006 when the dogs were rejected by Camp Bow-Wow for "not being comfortable with themselves" around other dogs.

I've been thinking about that trainer for a while now, the one who advised me "to get Zen with the dogs" and who was totally right and of course I tried in my own way but didn't follow her advice about acclimating them each back into the dog park and into other dogs and that is one of the reasons I'm totally blaming myself for the wretched scenario here at home.

I'm tempted to take B-dog back to her for an evaluation without P and see how he does. I worry that this weirdness with P is making him less practiced at dealing with / tolerating / ignoring obnoxious dog behavior toward him. That's why part of me thinks we should go ahead and visit my coworker's dogs. But then I think about McConnell's "hope and fear" mode, which is what I'll be in if I take him to that house where he'll be supervised by my friend and me but not by a trained professional.

Oy.

And like my posting from two years ago I'm thinking, "Shit it's August. If only it were the beginning of the summer and I could really work on this." Oh brother. It's like I've just slid backwards year after year.

* * *

But none of this is really why I logged on to the blog. I mainly logged on to make some notes about today's dog scenario.

P-Dog:

* Ate almost none of her food today. Barely a few bites of kibble. I gave her multiple chances but she just sniffed it and walked away.

* Hid under the bed during the thunderstorm, as usual. But also hid under the bed this afternoon when B was behind the gates in the living room and she had full run of half the house.

* On at least one occasion P stood in front of B, separated by the babygate. They stood looking at each other for a few seconds without seeming to snarl or cower. That seemed good. I think I said, "Good dogs" but am not sure. It happened rather fleeingly, though I am trying to train myself to give them immediate feedback to anything especially good or bad.

* At one point today (or maybe it was last night) they were going into their crates and P was in hers first and B did not want to walk anywhere near his crate. P was staring him down somehow. Not growling but definitely working her mean energy on him. I could feel it myself. B paused at the threshold and I had to talk him and walk with him all the way across the room and to his crate. She never growled this time, even after he got near her crate en route to his. But it was tense for sure.

B-Dog:

* Just seems sort of subdued. He doesn't play really at all unless I initiate it. He ran around the yard a little tonight but he's not getting any real fun that I can see except maybe fore our short "mental health walk" today.

* Ate all his food, right when I gave it to him, at both times today.

Me:

* I missed today's bike ride because time somehow slipped away as I did work-related emailing. I ended up with only about an hour between meetings so I chose to give us a "mental health walk" by taking the dogs to the lake and walking the in a new place. I took B down his first boat ramp; he was apprehensive about it but did it and we both felt proud afterwards.

* I'm feeling really tense about having the dogs separated so much, even though they can see each other. It seems unnatural and stressful for them and it's no party for me either. And now there's the added stress of trying to decide whether to "throw B to the wolves" tomorrow at my friend's house. (Not wolves, but two mixed-breed dogs: one B's size, one P's size, and a Chihuahua or two.)

* I should have ridden my bike before doing any emailing.

It seems worth noting that P never growls at B when they're around their traveling crates in my car. Those crates stay in the same location most of the time, so it seems to me there's a potential for a territory thing there. But they don't seem to mind each other at all in that space.

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