Sasha: 9 month update!

I’ve been kinda putting this off, because it’s gonna get lengthy, but I do want to write out all our successes and many, many frustrations πŸ˜€

Firstly, here are the cues Sasha knows at 9 months, with tasks in green:

  1. Sit
  2. Down
  3. Touch
  4. Wait
  5. Recall
  6. Leave it
  7. Up
  8. Off
  9. This way (turning)
  10. Let’s go
  11. Back up (too far ahead on lead)
  12. Stop (freeze when walking)
  13. Side (move to the curb and wait to cross the road)
  14. Cross
  15. ‘Tween (between my legs)
  16. Two (front paws on an object)
  17. See (look at me)
  18. Positive Interrupter (stop what you’re doing, come to me for a treat)
  19. Drop
  20. Hoop (sit from down)
  21. Head up (stop sniffing and look up when walking)
  22. Tall (stand on back legs)
  23. DPT
  24. Seizure alert
  25. Check (if you’ve done a seizure alert, do it again so I can be sure)
  26. Stim alert
  27. Panic alert
  28. Over
  29. Circle
  30. Go get daddy

I’ve probably missed a few, but never mind.

Sasha entered a teenage phase over a month ago, and she is AWFUL!! Although entering her teens meant she had some form of personality (and wasn’t just an overly timid, bland puppy) she turned from at least being an obedient little one into a giddy dog that’s testing the boundaries, leaps all over the place, nips bums and is just aΒ gobshite XD

She’s hilariously funny, very spunky, and SO DAMN FRUSTRATING!

This means mainly we’ve been taking things back to basics, because she’s trying her hardest to forget all her training πŸ˜‰

As a result training sessions are short (eg. on an hour long walk we might start with 10 minutes free time on lead, 10 minutes off lead free time, 10 minutes on lead working etc), Β I’ve lowered my expectations, but am making sure Sasha knows she can’t get away with things.

Sasha is actually the worst teenager we’ve had, because before this she was so…beige HAHAHA. She’s honestly like a different dog, and whilst she’s way more fun now and I mostly enjoy the challenge, dealing with my frustration when she’s being a gobshite (eg. refusing to sit and just grinning at me wagging her tail) can be difficult!

Having to get her to do what I want, but without losing my patience, is hard for me.

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Sometimes she seems so fantastically trained, and I’m so proud of her!

We continue to work on impulse control. Her “leave it” is awesome, but in other ways impulse control has taken a huge dive. Β She’s started trying to approach people as we’re walking, her stays need building up basically from scratch, and for the first time EVER she blew off recall yesterday.

Ah, teenage dogs…

As a result of her teenage-ness, strict mummy has had to emerge. Any time I ask something of Sasha, I make sure she does it. If she breaks a stay, she’s told to get back into it. If she keeps breaking it, I make it easier for her – but she still has to do it.

Any situations she getsΒ highly excited around, we train and train and train, until she’s able to focus and not act like a loon. Once she’s nailed it, I let her off duty so she can de-stress…she’s still not allowed to pull on lead or go wild, but she can sniff, move away etc.

A good example of this were sheep on the beach about a week ago. They were EVERYWHERE, and some surprisingly close. Sasha lost it when they all started running, and was bouncing about on the end of the lead after them. We spent 10 minutes learning we had to be calm around them; this meant heeling, holding stays even as they ran behind me, and focusing.

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The same thing around cows

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One of our biggest struggles is people.

Sasha is now more confident around people, and so she looks like she wants to say hi – if allowed she will pull hugely towards people. BUT the instant they try interact with her (lean over, reach out, try stroke her head etc) she becomes anxious &Β scuttles away. So that’s *really* annoying.

We have a two pronged attack; 1) Teach Sasha to stay close and completely ignore people, even when they try interact with her, and 2) COVER her new harness in patches telling people to stop, ignore her, she’s in training etc.

The ‘spoonie side’ of her training is going really well.

She’s nailed stim and anxiety alerts, and responds within seconds of me beginning, even if she’s off lead and distracted. Her seizure alerts are good, and we’re also adding a crying response.

Me having a seizure on the canal, then coming around and rewarding her

Seizure alert, and waiting to feel better

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Deep pressure therapy

Something we’ve been working on are our stays. Sasha SUCKS at stays, she’s just about okay if there are no distractions…

…but any distraction and she’s dreadful.

If we’re stood about talking to someone, she will be looking about, turning, trying to walk fowards or back etc. If she’s doing a sit or down stay with distractions, she breaks super easily!

These are things we’ve been working hard on, which was why I was so proud of her doing this around new people and my partner opening gifts yesterday πŸ™‚

And these were some really tough stays I put her through today!

First, me swinging

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Focus around lots of tiny calves ❀

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And finally we’re still trying to get in as much public access work as we can, in pet friendly places. But with a tripawd and foster pup, it’s tough!

I’m not too concerned about getting her everywhere though, because we don’t have the patches attached to her new harness yet anyway, but we checked out a new pet shop recently πŸ™‚

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So we have a good amount of positives. Mainly…

  • she has personality now, and is more fun!
  • she’s enjoying training more than when she was a puppy
  • she’s grown in confidence so much
  • she has loads of energy now, hikes are fun!
  • strict mummy is having a good effect on training πŸ˜‰
  • her spoonie training is paying off big time

But we have things to work on too, obviously

  • bomb proof recall, seeing as she blew it yesterday!
  • focus, and the fact she has to focus around everything
  • forcing through the teenage gobshite-ness!!!
  • continue confidence building

Aaaand that’s our 9 month update πŸ™‚

Yay Tolly! And a day out

Toller had her first check up since surgery today, and it sounds like it went really well!

(I can’t go to appts due to the lights at the vet, but my bf called me right after)

Apparently when they were waiting, three nurses were walking through the waiting room and said “Oh hi Tolly!!” when they saw her, and came over to love on her. How sweet is that? πŸ™‚

They were seen by our favourite vet, and she said Toller is doing GREAT! There’s a slight rash by the stitches, most likely from rubbing on the top, which is normal and already clearing up. There’s some bruising from the op, which is also obviously completely normal.

The vet has cleared Toller to do 2 minute on lead walks 1-2x a day (aaaagh excited!!) and has said she can walk a little more in the house. Yay!

They’ve said we can stop her pain meds on Wed-Thurs, which seems CRAZY, but every pain score they’ve done (even immediately after surgery) she hasn’t reacted to at all.

And yesterday my parents came up.

We had a great day. Sasha was SUPER confident around them, for literally the firs time ever – it was awesome to see. She went up to them, sat for them, it was really cool – she looked like a normal dog haha.

We went on a huge hike. I think we were out 3-4 hours, but we did have several rest stops so my dad could fly his drone, and for the first 30+ minutes I was very seizurey and had to sit down a lot. The rest of the walk was lovely though, we all had a really nice time πŸ™‚

Sasha’s training for the most part was wonderful; she was very excited and distracted walking through the field of sheep (but I was way off my A game too because that’s when I was most poorly), and she was too excited to do much training, but she was happy and confident with everyone which was much more important. She met loads of doggy friends, including two Border Collies which she enjoyed bounding around!!

Pics πŸ™‚

But look how frickin’ huge she is XD

My dad took some lovely photos. Love this one of me and Mojie πŸ™‚

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My partner and Mojie!

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Sasha smiling!

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Sharing snacks hahaha

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We had several rest stops on top of the mountain so my dad could fly his drone. Really good socialisation for the pups! And the photos are stunning – look at this view!!

Look at Sasha XD

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Coming down the other side of the mountain

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Once back from the walk we dropped the pups off, my parents said hello to Spud, then we drove to get takeaway pizza and eat it on the beach. Talk about best meal ever πŸ˜‰

I found some hella impressive quicksand. This all looked like normal sand when I first walked across it, it scared the crap outta me!!

Birthday cake on the beach πŸ™‚ (it’s not his birthday until tomorrow, but we celebrated it about 4 days ago and then he celebrated it with my parents yesterday haha!)

Sunset πŸ™‚

So it was a really enjoyable day. We also got a nice leaving of Sasha, she was left for 2 hours and did wonderful ^_^

Oooh, quickly, I also finally got to give my mum her mother’s day ‘gifts’!! Mother’s Day was in March, but they hadn’t been up since, so I’ve been adding to the gift every week or two hahaha…I started needle felting a few months ago, and may have made my mum a Barbapapa family HAHAHA!

2 days after amputation

Toller is still doing great πŸ™‚

Her pain meds make her very sleepy, so we have to adjust how long she is out her crate. Usually it’s 20-40 minutes. Our vets seem to be really strict about crate rest after amputation (some places are much more lenient) so for now at least we’re following their advice.

This means Tolly’s still on crate rest at least until her check up on Monday. Eventually she’ll be spending time in the 42 inch crate we’ve set up as her play pen, and the next step is spending more time free in the house. At some point we’ll begin special exercises to strengthen her core muscles, and building her up to walks πŸ™‚

Spud’s gonna be meeting my parents tomorrow. That will be nice for her πŸ™‚

It’s Boo’s birthday in a few days, he’s going to be seven! Unfortunately his main birthday gift won’t arrive until a few days after (we forgot to order it with all the Tolly stuff, ooops!). He’s getting a food dehydrator so we can make all sorts of treats and chews for him, he’ll LOVE that!

We did order some new puzzle feeders which will arrive on his birthday though, so at least he has something.

Kasper’s had less walk as we prepped for Toller’s surgery. Once her amputation was done we got back into the swing of it, and he was SO HAPPY to have his walks!!

He might be seven, but he can still go as far as Sasha, and he SPRINTS everywhere vs her leisurely pace. He has crazy stamina and walking him is always such a joy.

Smiles all round πŸ™‚

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And I’m going to do a training post/update for Sasha at some point. For now here are some photos from a very wet walk today!

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And whilst we’re talking about wet dogs…check out Miss Sashie splashing through the sea on a hike the other day!!

Picking ourselves back up!

Admittedly we’ve had an AWFUL week (two weeks?) so yes, I broke when we found out Toller’s leg wasn’t as healed as we had hoped for.

BUT, I’m picking myself back up, my partner has been wodnerfully supportive, we have a plan and I think we can make it work πŸ™‚

Things are improving. I’m tired and in physical pain, and mentally still a little fragile, but I haven’t cried today…which is a huge frickin’ achievement hahaha!!

So yes. We’re waiting on the basic Β£70 wheelchair to arrive (2-5th May) and I’m honestly so excited! Some of the reviews said the chest straps dug into their dog, so we will be padding those, and that it’s very cheaply made and won’t last long…but we’re aware of that. It’s hopefully just a temporary measure whilst we save and raise money for a custom chair, which we could get months down the line πŸ™‚

Her fund jar!!

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Please check out her go fund me here!

We spoke with the head nurse of another surgery today, who agreed a wheelchair was a good way to go and that amputation should have been offered from the start. She was really lovely and reassuring, and we chatted to her for a good 20 minutes ^_^

Anywho. Pics of everyone πŸ™‚

Kasper played PROPERLY with Sasha for the first time yesterday. As in fluid movements, play bows and chase. It was lovely!

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Puppy dog eyes!

Unfortunately in less than two minutes he’d gotten overly excited, which resulted in over-aggressive play and attempted humping. Immediate time out for Boo with a frozen apple puzzle feeder!

This apple was stuffed with peanut butter, wet dog food, and coconut oil πŸ™‚

Speaking of frozen treats, ice cube treats are SO EASY to do!! And our three go barmy for them, I actually don’t know who loves them more…and they’re a perfect crate treat for Toller too! They come highly recommended from our pups and are so easy to make.

There are three varieties here: coconut oil, salmon oil and peanut butter, & salmon oil and wet dog food.

Sasha walk

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Tired pupper πŸ™‚ You can see a little of my dog gear wall behind her too haha!

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Spudder playing with loo roll πŸ™‚

Happy-ish days!

Sasha walks so far her legs shrink

No, not really. They’re still as ridiculously long as ever XD

But we did do a massive hike!

We walked along the canal, and wow I forgot how busy a sunny weekend made EVERYWHERE. There are a ton of fair weather dog walkers in this area, we can walk year-round every day at all times and go weeks without seeing someone if the weather isn’t good; as soon as the sun comes out you can’t move for other dog walkers, regardless of what day it is!

Despite it being super busy, Sasha did awesome! She greeted a few other dogs (including a tiny extremely excited furball of a puppy that I wanted to pick up and carry home with me!!) and when two separate groups of walkers stopped to chat, standing on opposite sides of the canal path and leaving us with less than 1ft gap to walk between them, she did so with no anxiety at all πŸ™‚

 

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Finally we leave the canal and begin following the lane that will let us join the farmer’s fields, which are always dead.

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Sasha’s round a slight bend just enjoying herself, I can see her happily bouncing but not what she’s really looking at, and I call her to me to pop her on lead, as sometimes the field we’re going through has livestock in. She comes instantly, I clip her lead on, and when we continue I see that she’d been looking at sheep about 2ft away behind a metal gate!

So that was very cute! And also a really impressive recall πŸ˜‰

We passed through the first field and then Sasha got to go off lead and stretch her legs again. Field zoomies, yay!

Looking around us at the surrounding fields we couldn’t believe there were even several other dog walkers here!! We drifted from the path in search of wood for our vivariums, which Sasha was obviously very helpful with XD

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We had a quick rest, enjoyed some drinks, and lay just soaking up the sun for about 15 minutes.

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You have no idea how much I love this photo!!

When we were all feeling rejuvinated we collected our sticks and carried on. The views in these fields are amazing, and with a blue sky above them it’s incredible. We decided to walk a little ways extra (if we followed our usual route we’d be on the canal and back in town within 15 minutes, and we wanted to see more of the countryside).

Getting Sasha to sit for this photo was like trying to get blood from a stone. Damn teenager, every time I asked her to sit she would just stand and grin at me XD

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We finally turned to come back and rejoin the actual route. We’ve walked a few minutes down the path, and all of sudden there’s a gate?! We’ve been doing this walk for years, this has never been here. Ahead of that there’s an even more serious looking metal fence, with huge chains holding it shut.

There’s no other route off this path, we would have to go alllll the way back (adding 40+ minutes onto our journey), so I hop over the wooden fence to go read the signs on the next fence, to see what’s going on.

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Oh. Nice. Back we go then XD

We repeat the entire loop and, even though I was worried about Sasha getting too tired to make it, make it she did. She was lagging for the last twenty minutes, but we got there!

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About ten minutes from home she did a big seizure alert, and sure enough less than five minutes later I had a huge seizure, that left me feeling very out of it. It was annoying being so close to home, but I knew I had to sit and recuperate.

The last 10 minutes took 20, but we got back safe and sound and had a lovely walk overall πŸ™‚

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We have SUCH a teenage Poodle on our hands atm πŸ˜‰

Things that Sasha hasn’t done since she was four months old, or things that she has NEVER done, she is starting to do!! The most obvious examples are cat chasing indoors, after not being bothered at all, ever; and jumping excitedly and nipping on walks…you’ve NEVER done those things!!

We’re sapping her of her adolescent arsiness with big walks everyday (she will zoom for several hours, which is so weird to us when she’s always been such a lazy dog!!), training and play indoors, and lotsa puzzle feeders!

Last night I made up a bacth of edible puzzle feeders and two Toppls, all to go in the freezer.

We plug the ends with bread

And the filling is wet dog food, salmon oil, peanut butter and leftover bread crumbs πŸ™‚

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Ready for the freezer!

Yesterday our big walk was lovely!

We walked through some fields where Sasha was able to have a little off lead time, but unfortunately some cows were put in the field earlier yesterday that we were unaware of, and so strictly on lead for Sasha through there!! This was Sasha’s first time walking through a field of cows, and she was amazing – no fear at all, and actually play bowed at them a few times XD

We walked to the pub, had a seat, and decided spur of the moment to have a meal!

I haven’t had a meal out in aaaages so it was really cute, especially that Sasha was able to be there too πŸ™‚

As we waited for the meal we had lots of fun training, Sasha was LOVING it!

Sit stay to between

Look at her focus

Off lead stays πŸ™‚

Lots of mucking about. Which means LOTS of jumping πŸ˜‰

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And when food came Sasha was great! She sat or stood next to me, mainly keeping watch on my grub but happily watching her environment too. She was so good the entire meal, and got frequent rewards…the cheese and red onion marmalade panini was a hit with her too πŸ˜‰

And if you don’t like reptiles, look away now!

First up is Satsu, who we’ve had for about a year now? He’s doubled in size, and we recently moved him into a lovely tank which he seems really happy in πŸ™‚

And we have a new scaley baby, Nakano the Fire Skink πŸ™‚

Isn’t she beautiful?!

She’s our first skink and we couldn’t be happier with our choice, not only is she amazing in looks but seems to have a really chilled inquisitive personality too. She’s only been home a few days and already dozes on top of her log tunnel in plain view πŸ™‚

I handled her for the first time and she seems to love me haha, she was so still and chilled as I held and stroked her…then I passed her to my partner and everytime he held her she went CRAZY!!!

Omb guys it was *hilarious*! She’d flail and run, and I’d take her back and she’d instantly hold still and just watch the world go by XD

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Third good day in a row: day trip!

Well guys, I never thought I’d say this, but we have had THREE good days in a row πŸ˜€

I’ve had more seizures today, but they haven’t hit me as heavily…seizure rage has been short lived and contained, and I’ve recovered from seizures quickly. I think this is due to us increasing the dose of CBD, which is exciting as I really thought it wasn’t working at all. We ordered some new CBD oil today too which is 2% higher so can’t wait for that to arrive!

Anyway, to celebrate so many days where I’m able to function, today we had a day trip!!

(waiting for the bus)

We bussed itΒ for 40 minutes to a river, hopped off, paddled, picknicked, hiked, then made the return journey home. This was the first time I’ve left near-to home in many months, and was Sasha’s longest bus journey to date…smashing all records!!

Sasha was absolutely incredible on the bus! Last time we rode a bus with her we carried her on and off (see I said it was a long time ago!), this time I wanted to see if she’d get on herself even after not experiencing a bus in so long – SHE DID!!!!

Not only that but she walked up the aisle of the bus, with strangers sitting just a few cm from her, and didn’t try sniff or interact with them at all πŸ™‚

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She was an angel on the bus, and because nobody acted stoopid and tried to interact with her, she was SO confident in her surroundings πŸ™‚

We hopped off the bus and mozied to the river, then realised our first mistake –Β shimmering sunlight on moving water triggers my seizures.

Oooops!!!

Because we haven’t gotten out much, we are still not used to these adjustments that need to be remembered.

This was the biggest iffy moment, as because of the ripples I had a seizure and we dealt with some seizure rage.

BUT we did bounce back very quickly, went for a lovely walk and enjoyed the views. We then discovered that sitting on the opposite side meant the water was a lot less triggering as the light wasn’t hitting it the same, and we were able to chill out nearby…I just had to avoid staring XD

Omb guys Sasha LOVED this walk!!! She was overjoyed to be somewhere new; bouncing about, sniffing, charging madly at us…it was *awesome*!

Impulse control as a jogger ran past

Oh but so beautiful

This was the ‘bad side’ with the shimmery ripples!

My partner nipped to a tourist castley thing across the road and bought us some awesome picnic foods to share πŸ˜€

After we’d eaten we went for a walk through the beautiful woodland / fields, with Sashie on lead as required!

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And guess what?

We saw a herd of deer!!! They were tucked out the way so none of the other walkers we spotted saw them, but there they were, easily over 50! Such beautiful animals and the antlers on some were fantastic!

I wish’d I’d taken my camera so I coulda maybe got some decent photos, but it was so incredible! Can you spot them behind us?

We walked on and just had the nicest time. Even when there was so many things to sniff and explore (and so much poo to eat πŸ˜‰ ) Sasha still alerted to a seizure and wouldn’t leave my side until I was okay ❀

Again Sasha climbed aboard the bus and was so chilled all the way back…look at the cuuuteness!!

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So there you go, our celebration of a third good day πŸ™‚