Puppy reactivity & seaside trip!

Mojo is this awesome dog who has been a dream to socialise and train, other than one thing…

He HATES other dogs :/

This goes way beyond normal puppy unease, and is true fear. I can only imagine it’s due to his first home, as there was definitely at least one other dog in the house with him, and the dog/s were completely unsupervised (hence why he came to us, because he was having continuous accidents and things were been destroyed!).

Mojo is doing heaps better with other dogs after weeks of training, but at 15 weeks old he still can’t meet an unknown dog as he’s too scared.

If I know the dog won’t run over to him (maybe the other dog is on lead, or only interested in fetch) Mojo can be on the ground, and we will work on LAT, engage disengage, and general confidence boosting behaviour.

If there is a dog within about 8 feet, Mojo will climb onto my lap for safety. He might do little huffs, but usually he’s happy to sit and watch as I feed treats.

Anything closer than 4ft is in the danger zone. Mojo will back off my lap, growl, and try move away from the dog.

Previously he barked at all dogs, regardless of distance, and trembled. So progress has certainly been made. I can now carry him whilst other dogs are by my feet, and he will do engage disengage. It’s VERY rare he barks in my arms now, unless the other dog is reacting.

The main issue is that he’s 15 weeks old as of this Monday, and not met any strange dogs. I struggled with the idea of ‘throwing him in at the deep end’ and forcing him to meet dogs on walks before his socialisation window closed, but let’s be honest, flooding would just set him up for further failure and much future fear.

So I guess we’ll go slow and steady, and I’ll accept that he will most likely always be reactive, may never be able to meet unknown dogs well, but we can get him more confident around dogs and show him they’re not scary.

If there were ANY decent puppy/training classes nearby, I would give that a shot. Classes can actually be great for reactive dogs as long as they’re well planned, and it could really help him…unfortunately the classes near to us are TERRIBLE. About as bad as it gets. And I’ve not found good classes within 30 miles.

So I can’t go that route and I also don’t know anybody who has a dog that would be good to train around, and even if I did I doubt the owner would understand / help.

Just yesterday there was an interfering old busybody walking two dogs on the beach, one ‘not very nice’ and one supposedly friendly.

After I explained Mojo was a rescue and scared of dogs, she asked “Shall I hold my dog’s bum up to your dog so he can smell it?” (this as Mojo is backing off my lap growling at her dog a few feet away).

Me: *trying to hide a smile at this idea* No thanks, he’s fine just watching for now. He’s learning dogs aren’t scary, so we can’t throw too much at him.

Woman: It’s best if you don’t baby him though, you know. Isn’t it? You can’t treat him like a baby.

Me: (silently) Oh she’s one of those morons. Well, time to completely ignore her

Woman: It’s probably best if you just put him on the ground, stand up, and just ignore him. That’ll be the best for him. So he learns his place. You should probably do that.

Me: *continues to not even look at her whilst reassuring and treating Mojo, who’s doing really well* XD

Eventually she walked off. What an idiot.

Other than that, and some people stupidly interacting with Mojo (saying “oh naughty me, I’m distracting you from training aren’t I!” and reaching for his head when Mojo was focusing on me, a woman who grabbed at his head as she walked past and just carried on walking, etc etc) we had a really nice day πŸ™‚

Train ride on the way there!

Yay seaside πŸ˜€

Mojo’s first experience of a proper beach – of course he loved it!!

So much to sniff, so many new things to experience! Seaweed was a huge hit πŸ˜€

We walked along the beach and all of a sudden this end-of-the-world siren started. It was SO LOUD!! We were all a little bit freaked, I scooped Mojo up and cuddled him, he was dealing well with it, nobody else seemed panicked…turns out it was to announce the bloody tide coming in!! Really?!

It was at this point we met the stupid woman with the two Lhasa’s. Once they’d gone there was a Lab playing fetch ahead, clearly with no interest in me or Mojo, and so I sat the little guy down and we did some engage disengage.

We couldn’t get a photo fast enough to get the Lab in it (two throws of a ball from the slipway was apparently enough for the dog, then it was back into the car), but you can see Mojo volunteering focus and the edge of the slipway where the Lab was running from!

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After beach fun and saying hello to some people, we carried Mojo around a few shops and then we sat outside whilst my partner ran in to get some drinks and some fish and chips. We found half of a bird’s egg that had hatched, and Mojo decided it was very nice to chew on and mostly eat πŸ˜›

We then pootled back to the train station, and just behind there’s two picnic benches so we sat and ate our grub!

Before eating:

After I’d finished eating hahaha!

Working on him tucking out the way in small spaces πŸ˜€ ❀

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One quick pootle as my partner drank his cider…

…then it was time to sleep all the way home πŸ™‚

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I was utterly out of spoons after this trip. The rest of the night was spent feeling crummy and napping πŸ˜›

I had someone comment on FB asking why Mojo was the only one who got the seaside trip, so though I may as well preempt that and explain here too!

Sasha is too fearful; she couldn’t manage the train journeys and wouldn’t enjoy walking through the small town. Kasper is slightly too nervy, but also just too wild and frantic. And Tolly would get tired very quickly, doesn’t like riding trains or buses, and missed out on so much socialisation it would all be a bit much for her.

 

 

Another day of sunshine

Enjoyed a walk with Kasper and Sasha yesterday, with not one but TWO seizure alerts from Sasha πŸ™‚

She really is doing phenomenally with alerts atm, and also alerted almost FIVE MINUTES before a seizure in the house yesterday…I felt really off at the time so assumed she was alerting to that or maybe a little seizure, then about 4.5 minutes after her initial alert I had a huge seizure out of nowhere!

Also Kasper, the world’s grumpiest dog, is super lenient with Sasha.

Idk where this came from, because he never used to be, and he has NEVER accepted some of the things he lets Sasha do from other dogs, not even Zoey, and Sasha is waaay past her ‘puppy license’ now at 8 months old and twice the size of Kasper…

But whatever the reason he lets her barge over to things he’s sniffing without telling her to bugger off, and he takes treats with zero anxiety even if his face is right next to hers. Even if she moves towards his treat. It’s actually pretty rare for him to snark at her, which for Kasper is a miracle!

And of course Sasha thinks he’s the best big bro ever πŸ™‚

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No that’s fine Sasha, you stop to sniff this rock in a field with the horse that charges people and bit me a few years ago XD

Thankfully it seems much better behaved since they built it a stable, and now spends most it’s time in there even as people walk through.

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Kasper is an insane water dog (as long as it’s not in the paddling pool I got him for his 5th birthday, which he tolerates but doesn’t really like XD ) whereas Sasha completely missed the memo that Poodles are supposed to be water dogs, and thinks her brother’s insane when he dives in water!!

Cows with the sea behind them. Very different from manatees, which are true sea cows XD

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And to show quite how much bigger Sasha is than Kasper!

Chillaxing.

We are fostering Charley searching for a permanent home for him – preferably one where there are no other pets, a huge garden, and someone with experience of Collies(/crosses) and PR training.

Whilst he fit in very well until Toller’s accident, there is no way we can keep everyone happy whilst keeping Toller separate from everyone, Charley separate from Kasper, and without walking Charley. I just can’t do it. I’ve tried and tried, and I can’t.

I’m by no means giving up on my dream of a new family member, I just have new requirements.

The dog MUST be a small dog – not only does this decrease danger of Tolly being re-injured, but the vet has said she won’t be able to roughhouse with a bigger dog, and it would be nice for her to have a playmate…otherwise the only interaction she’s gonna get is sniffing Sasha’s face.

Something with enough energy for big hikes is needed, a bit of carrying is fine, but breeds such as Frenchies are obviously out!!Β And a breed without an overly sensitive temperament. Terriers are a good fit for us.

I’m also not looking at rescue dogs, or at least not rescue dogs older than 10-12 weeks. As rescue centres won’t adopt dogs to us (due to not working, having a decent garden, or 6ft fencing) we have to rely on rehoming from the owners, and THEY JUST LIE!! This results in us having a dog that is not at all acceptable for our family, and it isn’t fair on the dog, our dogs, or us.

I’m happy with anything Terriery. I’m not sure if a Border would be too sad, so I’m looking more at JRT, because I have a lot of experience with them and love their spunky energy and the fact they’re not sensitive at all. We also need a female puppy, because Kasper accepts any female puppy.

I’d love a puppy sometime this summer / autumn for socialisation reasons, but will wait for the right breeder.

If I get any hate for any of this, comments will deleted and blocked. If you don’t agree with breeder pups, unfollow me. My life, my decisions.

Bad days, hard work

The days have been a bit of a struggle.

Bad times with seizures, my body feeling exhausted but everytime I nap I wake up in intense pain, it’s all been very difficult. Factor in having to care for four energetic dogs where one’s on crate rest & miserable, another can’t go on walks as he’s a tit with cars, and our oldest doesn’t like the other boy-dog in the house…and I’m pooped from trying to keep everyone happy.

I had a super bad day for seizures yesterday. This week we’ve had to cancel and re-arrange a lot of plans that seizures have ruined, but at least we’ve gotten good at that πŸ˜›

We have done some huge hikes with Sasha and Kasper though. Often I do better out the house (I think it’s as the light is more ‘samey’ out in the world (forgive me, my brain is mush) whereas indoors the house dims it and then you get the sun shining at you through windows!).

So forgive me if I don’t talk much, I’m not very coherent and I’m not doing very well physically. I did want to post these beautiful photos though πŸ™‚

I’ll do today’s walks first! Sasha doing a sit stay (that red spot behind her is a cyclist that had just gone past – her impulse control is coming along wonderfully!)

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And we had an amazing walk with Kasper. My favourite dope recalled perfectly from chasing birds, he responded immediately every time I called, and had lots of fun splashing in various puddles, ponds and mud holes πŸ™‚

Enjoy a photo from at the start of the walk, and one at the end – spot the difference?! πŸ˜‰

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And in between pics πŸ™‚

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And yesterday Sasha had her biggest walk yet.

We’d been planning on catching the bus to a nearby seasidey town, but I was too ill to be around people. Instead we just looped around the countryside near us, where I could have seizures and recover in privacy. Although I was swimmy-headed for much of the walk I had less than half a dozen seizures total, and Sasha successfully alerted off lead, so it was a victory for all πŸ™‚

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I challenge anyone to tell me she’s not absolutely adorable πŸ™‚

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My favourite family photo ❀ ❀

The tide washes up unimagenable amounts of litter on the shoreline, and sometimes we can use large pieces for confidence work.

Here I am testing Sashie’s confidence climbing on a plastic crate (A+ Sash, no fear!) and next we did body conditioning by getting her to fit all her limbs onto a narrow plank!

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She only had to sit next to this, because I think jumping on it would kill her XD

Can you believe the tide brought this here?!?!

Sasha dived in lots of bogs. She had some super mud boots on the go.

But seriously, look how proud she was XD

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The photo below looks like I’m mocking the sign, but was actually supposed to be supporting it.

This field has not one but THREE signs politely asking dog owners to refrain from letting their dogs off lead, and the times I’ve walked through this field (at least two dozen times) I’ve only ever seen off lead dogs here.

It doesn’t matter if your dog is impeccably well behaved off lead, it doesn’t matter if their recall is flawless. Nor does it matter if you are 100% certain there’s no livestock about. The land owner has asked you to keep your dog on a lead, and so you should do it out of respect.

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A huge fun sunny hike!

**quick update**

Kasper stays. There’s no way we can rehome him, so we’re just going to have to find a routine that keeps everyone stimulated, tired and happy, whilst keeping Kasper separate from Tolly and Charley, and Toller separate from everyone XD

But I’m sure we can do it. We just need to adjust.

**/update**

Had a perfect walk with Sasha yesterdayΒ πŸ™‚

Also I’m considering suspending her out-the-house training, and focusing on at-home tasks for now. I’m too ill to train her outside the house, and it’s making me despair and really beat myself up. Going out purely to train her with the world, then getting seizures and crying because I’ve let her down and I’m never going to be able to manage it is stupid, especially when I actually don’t go ANYWHERE that Sasha couldn’t come as a pet.

So we’ll continue to improve tasks at home, but outdoors intense training will take a huge step back. I think we’ll both appreciate this! The tasks she performs at home are (these are tasks she already knows, not ones I want her to learn!):

  • Seizure alert
  • Seizure response (lying down in front of me so I can fall onto her)
  • Stim interruption
  • Panic alert
  • Interrupting when I’m accidentally finger twiddling, which often results in dislocations (this is caused by panic, psychosis, or even happens in some seizures!)

Yesterday we had our first official ‘no longer having to worry about training walk’, and it was GREAT because I had some seizures, and I didn’t have to feel like I’d ruined anything πŸ™‚

It made a huge bloody difference and was honestly one of our happiest walks!

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I think this is my favourite photo of me ever!

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Sasha was having SUCH A GOOD TIME zooming and splashing in the puddles, it was adorable! This video is possibly the best thing since sliced bread πŸ™‚

Someone got ever so slightly muddy XD

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And this is a perfect example of the goal with loose lead walking; the lead sits in a lovely ‘J’ shape (or reverse, whatever!)

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And I seem to be entering a more extreme hypomanic / leading-to-manic episode.

I’ve had a week battling insomnia and getting little sleep every night, well last night 5am came and went and I was still wide awake. It was then me and my partner both realised that it was the approach of summer causing this; lighter days ALWAYS trigger manic episodes, without fail, and there’s nothing I can bloody do about it.

5am me; incredibly bored, wide awake, with an exhausted body!

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Hiking to relax

I finally feel a lot better.

We took Sasha out on a big two hour hike today, we went to the beach and way out to the furthest point by the cliffs. I didn’t have any seizures after the first half an hour (which is weird as the bright grey sky messes me up like no other) and we had fun, Sasha had a ton of fun, and I felt the stress eeking away. *huge happy sigh*

We did so much training on this walk and both REALLY enjoyed it πŸ™‚

Stand stay

Sit stay!

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Our beaches in this area are so gross XD

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Toller’s splint fell off today, which is fine. The good vet warned us it most likely would. Instead of taking her in tomorrow we’ll wait until our appt Monday. If we see the good vet again (please can we see the good vet again!) she may not even opt for another splint.

I got creative with Toller’s time out the crate tonight, and alongside puzzle feeders and kissy games she also watched our tiny quail chick pootle from palm to palm, and I found a training game we can do from daddy’s arms!

My partner holds her still, and I obviously hold treats at waist level. I then say her name, and mark & reward when she makes eye contact. Simple, but her tail was wagging like mad as we were playing πŸ™‚

Our quail chick is three days old btw, I haven’t had much time to mention it with everything going on – he hatched at the worst possible time!!

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I’m really hoping he survives, he seems incredibly healthy so far and spends hours every day pootling about, and sleeping in my bra. Sasha loves him XD

And some training videos of Kasper and Sasha.

Kasper showing off his awesome recall (especially considering the state of his recall when we adopted him!)

Having an awesome time training πŸ™‚

Two videos of Sasha doing hands free heeling (lead is attached to my belt)

And this is a really impressive video when you take into her account what she is doing and the fact she is only 7 months old.

This video involves her walking up to horse poop in a heel, stopping when asked, then being released to go eat some (she got startled as some rolled, so watch out for her freaked out body language!). I then tell her to carry on, which she does immediately πŸ™‚

Horse poop can be such a good training tool hahahaha πŸ˜€

Busy times

Firstly, let me introduce you to two new hair balls!

Mopsie and Dusty, two 1.5 year old Lunkarya guinea pigs πŸ˜€ ❀

I’m going to copy their story from where I’ve posted on our mouse blog, no sense typing it out twice πŸ™‚

A nearby breeder, who I’ve been hoping to get pigs from for a long time, is retiring – in fact it’s a funny story – I contacted them earlier this year to see if they had any babies available, and they were all reserved – turns out that litter was from one of these!!

Anyway, they are closing down their breeding programme as they’ve had a run of bad luck…this is a truly phenomenal breeder who always puts the welfare of her pigs first.

The pigs live in large hutches, and everyday she swaps them around so they all have access to a huge run. She feeds them the best diet and no expense spared, and at any sign of illness her pigs are rushed to the vets. Really happy to have piggies from her!

So that was yesterday.

Sasha has decided she is madly, head over heels in love with these girls. This was her first time seeing guinea pigs, and I literally just sat down with Dusty (white face) in my arms, and Sasha was calm but adoring!

Whilst my partner did the final touches to their cage, Sasha was actually sleeping by my side with her head covering the guinea pigs XD

I don’t think the guinea pigs were thrilled about the arrangement, and then today I introduced them to spud hahaha!

Last night we had an awesome walk through town; Sasha defeated an enemy that she has hated since she was 14 weeks old…

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THE METAL FLOOR!!!

Every time we pass this floor I do enough training around it so Sasha is walking on it comfortably. This time we approached it, I had treats at the ready, and Sasha just walked on it like “Oh this? Sure, I got this” XD

Bloody awesome!

We’ve definitely come out of her first fear period, which is nice as it was bloody awful!! Today family came up, and she met them coming into the house and got really excited about seeing them – Tolly-spud was there too so it was a wonderful mad house!

Then we drove to a garden centre and me and my partner walked Sasha on the beach whilst my family picked up cakes and looked around.

Sasha was wonderful with two dogs off lead – one just whizzed about barking, the other was a tiny short legged JRT that wanted to say hi but was really timid. It would belt up to Sasha, barking sometimes, but when she’d go over to say hi would flee with a tucked tail!!

She did two awesome recalls from running to other dogs / people though – turned on a dime bless her!

We were waiting so long we got a nice mix of off lead fun and training – here we are working on our new trick outdoors πŸ™‚

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We got a bit stranded on the beach, it took us almost 30 minutes to get back to the shore line because the channels of water kept forcing us further and further out XD

We met my family again, Sasha desperately tried to get an old grumpy terrier to play haha, and then we walked back to the car. My partner rushed into the garden centre to buy a filled bone for Sasha, and I waited in the carpark with pooch and my family.

The garden centre was rammed so the carpark was insanely busy too. Bear in mind that Sasha would freak out when people approached her just over a week ago (damn fear periods…), today she stood right by my side and held focus whilst dozens of people passed within a foot of us, including noisy children!!

The next plan was to go to a nearby pub for a drink.

When we went in, it was like nobody in there had seen a damn dog before, even though the pub was dog friendly!! Everyone stared, eyes locked on Sasha’s every move. One room we went in there was a table of people calling out to her (seriously?! Wtf??), and if we’d ended up sitting in there I think my very calm and gentle partner would have actually ended up yelling at them XD

We moved back into the main room and sat down, to shouts of “look at that huge dog!” and the people a table over staring at Sasha like morons…omg people.

Sasha was absolutely amazing though. She didn’t give a shit about the entire world losing their heads though, she shrugged everything off, and was great. We haven’t done public access for a few weeks and she’d never been into a pub, never mind as we sat and had a drink, so that was great!

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She didn’t do much of the filled bone we’d bought for her, but she was happy to sit and share my crisps, and watch what all the people were up to πŸ™‚

Busy few days for us, especially because my mood’s so out of whack. Seizures haven’t been too OTT yesterday or today (less than 10 both days!) but my mood is making me want to stand and bang my head against a brick wall!!

Oh I’m also learning American Sign Language with my partner, so we have a way to communicate after seizures. I learnt to count to 10 today XD

A full day out

Wow. How different our lives are!

A few weeks back walking into town felt like the biggest deal ever – today we smashed that out the water and traveled a few villages over, ate at a cafe, and went for a huge walk πŸ˜€

I had family come up today to celebrate an early Christmas with us.

We traveled to a village about a 10 minutes’ drive away…I say village, the village itself has maybe twenty houses total hahaha it’s even smaller than our village, and where we went today is on the outskirts so there’s literally five houses tops!

Anyway, there’s the most gorgeous cafe there and, although we’d never been, it looked beautiful and the cakes looked amaaazing πŸ˜‰

The outside space is absolutely beautiful, and is quite large with just a few tables out there. Two are under these gorgeous wooden constructions and ours even had fairy lights on which lit up when our food arrived!!

Whilst we waited for food I did a lot of training with Sasha, lots of focus work. Not only were there two people sat with us that she doesn’t know well at all, but to my right in this photo is a shop where people were coming and going, and to my left were two other families eating.

The food from this place looked INCREDIBLE!!

I didn’t get anything (I’m weird with when I get hungry) but I did have nibbles of various foods and woah it was amazing. Sasha enjoyed a pre-prepared bone as we ate, and then me and her worked on her down stays and focus πŸ™‚

After everyone had eaten we exchanged presents and then went for a walk along the cliffs and down to the beach. The tide was in this visit so we only had a tiny explore of the beach then followed the cliffs further.

As we were walking back to the car we passed a huge dairy farm and noticed a sign saying pour your own milk for sale.

Guys, it was aΒ milk vending machine!!

It was this tiny room off the road right by the dairy farm where you could see all the cows! There was a line of bottles, honesty boxes to pay, and the machine you got your milk from – so frickin’ weird!!

Sasha was very patient as we figured out how to work the machine XD

Miiiiiilk!

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After the drive back to our house we came home to play with Tolly and walk Kasper and Rey (and let Sasha have a nap!), and my family drove to the seasidey town and entertained themselves for an hour.

They picked up some pizzas from our favourite italian restaurant on their drive back to us, and we ate them out in the garden with Sasha and Toller pootling about and doing training πŸ™‚

Just as we finished it started to drizzle, so we said goodbyes and Happy Christmas’s…and that was our day!

Guys, Sasha was absolutely amazing. She was so well behaved and I couldn’t have done any of this without her. We actually had a proper day out, we ate at a cafe and everything…woah!

(oh also, early Christmas pressie for Sasha – have I shown it off already, her new collar? πŸ™‚ )