A bad day turns good!

My sleep is so out of whack atm and I really can’t work out why!

I have to fight for every bit of sleep as my body constantly tells me I’m awake, I usually sleep for 4 hours, lay in bed refusing to wake up for an hour or so, then manage another few. I’m panicking about it triggering a manic episode, but so far I think I’m okay.

Last night I got six hours of very broken sleep, and I woke up in the MOST foul mood.

I was up for a few hours and had a cluster of half a dozen simple partial seizures, after which I felt exhausted. I went back to bed, slept a few extra hours, and woke up feeling *great*!

Damn it body, why can’t you ever just work? ๐Ÿ˜›

Feeling good, we walked the other three dogs and then headed out with Mojo to the pub!

Taking Mojo places is such a different experience to taking Sasha to busy places. With Sasha you must hugely plan ahead, be prepared to tell people to back away from her, and always be scouring ahead for things she may be afraid of. With Mojo you don’t have to worry; you get to enjoy him enjoying himself, and if by fluke anything did go wrong, he can be picked up!

He was SUPER at the pub ๐Ÿ™‚

Next door are the two aggressive Labs by the play park. Them and the Terrier were barking just after we arrived. We were on the other side of the wall to them, but the barking was still clearly audible. Guess who didn’t react to them AT ALL?! I was so damn impressed!

I managed to fish out my phone and catch some barking on video:

Mojo claimed the beer garden as his own and enjoyed bombing about.

As we ate he sat by me on the bench and, for a young Terrier puppy, showed amazingly good impulse control. He was rewarded every 5-20 seconds.

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He found lots of treasures (an old shoelace, a stick, and some litter!), and he offered a ton of sits! He didn’t have to be on lead once ๐Ÿ™‚

Apple crumble!

At some point a group of four adults and a very young toddler (I wouldn’t guess he was even 3 yet) came to the veranda where we were sat. They were loudly telling their kid about the “doggy” he would get to play with, and I was like FUCK THAT…what parent tells their toddler, who they’re letting walk significantly far ahead, to GO GREET AN UNKNOWN DOG?!?

Hell no.

So I scooped Mojo up, and we began gathering our drinks etc to go sit somewhere else, because they were clearly stoopid. The veranda is very small and them being there would have ruined the meal. Thankfully they weren’t eating, they’d climbed up to look at the view and left within a few minutes.

On our way back home we did a little confidence building in the play park. This thing spins! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Mojo is a bloody legend

This dog is motivating me so much!!

Having Sasha as a puppy (and an adolescent hahaha!) who doesn’t want to train or play has been really tough on me. I struggled, and I do still struggle. She just is not a dog that thrives on training, and she’s not a “me” dog at all.

Enter Mojo, this highly food motivated pup who loves nothing more than interacting with me and learning new things…THIS IS THE DOG OF MY DREAMS!!!!

The difference between Mojo and Sasha is night and day, and I also feel huge relief and faith restored in my ability as a dog trainer haha! I say that jokily, but it’s true. Dog training is one of the few hobbies I am still well enough to do, and Sasha made me lose a lot of confidence…then along comes a loves-to-learn mutt puppy, and we click instantly!

I taught him ‘pressure’ ๐Ÿ™‚

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Every outing with him is so fab I want to post about it, so you’ll have to excuse all these training posts ๐Ÿ˜‰

Today we walked up through town to the canal. On the way up we did some loose lead walking, and then two Labradors started barking at Mojo from a car about 8ft ahead of us.

Mojo is reactive to dogs and dogs barking. At 9 weeks old he would start yappy-screaming every time he heard or saw a dog, and I’ve worked hard on this for the last 5 weeks. He’s gotten so much better, to the point where he did wonderful engage disengage and didn’t react to these two at all ๐Ÿ™‚

Our first stop was the canal; this was to further work on confidence around other dogs, maybe say hi to some, and to experience new things.

Unfortunately Mojo was KNACKERED due to having one of his whingey “I don’t need to sleep” nights, and so after literally two minutes walking he insisted on being carried ๐Ÿ˜›

He did see some dogs from my arms though, and was curious and not at all reactive, which was awesome to see!

After leaving the canal we went to the supermarket, and I expected Mojo to sleep whilst my partner went and grabbed some shopping – but nope! To Mojo, the supermarket = training, and he wanted to work!

He did some absolutely fantastic training, he offered so much focus, so many sits! He even ignored people that walked LESS THAN A FOOT FROM HIM and cooed at him, and he *still* chose to train rather than go say hi!! As you can see the lead was slack, I didn’t stop him at all, it was *his* choice ๐Ÿ˜€

A few times when I released him to go say hi, he would rush over all giddy and waggy-tailed, say hi and then hurry back to sit again hahaha!

Great day for socialisation though. On the canal he saw ducks for the first time, watched other dogs, and saw a barge go past. Outside the supermarket he focused around people of all ages and trolleys, and he got to greet half a dozen new people ๐Ÿ™‚

And from a wet walk yesterday – note, it wasn’t raining, the grass was just wet!!!

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And finally, a video of a giant puppy (Sasha) playing with a tiny puppy (Mojo)!

An adventure for all!

My seizures are much improved to what they once were.

Whilst I still have clusters, odd behaviour, fogginess, constant memory loss etc, I now only have 9-12 seizures a day on average (although this last week it’s been even lower, about 6!!). My highest recorded seizure count for the day in the past three weeks was 15; 6 months ago I was averaging 20-25 seizures a day, and my highest on record was 35!!

CBD oil works guys ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway. Because I’m doing so much better, today we decided to go into town. My anxiety was going to be sky high because I haven’t done something like that in so long, so we took Mojo with us (I always do so much better when I have a dog to focus on, and Sasha’s way too fearful to manage anything like that).

Omg guys Mojo was INCREDIBLE!!!

Throughout the whole day he had one moment of unease, which was when the train was pulling in – it was moving at snail’s pace, as they always do in this area, and it was screeching the entire way.

Other than that he was totally at ease on the train itself (his first train ride!), in a heaving city centre, being carried around a pet shop, then walking back and getting the bus home. He is AMAZING ๐Ÿ˜€

Train

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Loose lead walking around a city, curiously sniffing everything, no fear of the crowds or noise…he called away from things every time I asked, and held sit stays no problem as people walked past!

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Wandering past the castle

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We made it to the pet shop on the outskirts of the city and had great fun perusing the pets and choosing a new kidlet. I was torn between one of two snakes (Kenyan Sand Boas, which I’ve fallen madly in love with recently, or an African House Snake) OR a Syrian hamster.

In the end we opted for the Kenyan Sand Boa, because she was just too cute ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m gonna do a ‘herp’ post soon because we have some lovely herps atm (reptiles/amphibians), so I’ll deviate from dogs for a day.

After the shop it was another walk back through the city centre and then waiting in a PACKED bus station. I’m talking hundreds of people, and Mojo just slept in my arms hahaha!!

And his first bus ride took us right back to our house ๐Ÿ™‚

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I don’t know many 14 week old puppies that would do so well. None of my other pups have been so robust or able to focus around such busyness, so that was really cool to see, and Sasha couldn’t cope with half of that now hahaha!!

He was pooped for a good few hours afterwards ๐Ÿ˜‰

And this was a fab day for me as well as Mojo; my first train ride in about 6 months, and my first time into the city in 12-18+ months. I had two small seizures, but everything else was managed successfully. Woop!

Rainy days

Today has been a crummy day, and the weather matched!

This morning we headed out on a walk with Sasha and Mojie, with Mojo in the Ruffwear Webmaster harness. He was uneasy with this at first because of the dangling straps at the side, but then I realised there were loops where you could hook them and he was fine afterwards.

He looked adorable in it!

Unfortunately the weather was so grim he had to get taken back early, but we had a decent walk with Sasha.

We had to break through a wall of cows

Sasha was really good walking past a large number of cows in close proximity though.

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I had a bad episode of rage today. It prompted my partner to look into ‘seizure rage’, and he discovered that that’s not actually what I seem to have, but in fact it fits exactly to Episodic Dyscontrol Syndrome. This ties into seizures, and is where the person is powerless to uncontrollable rage. They tend to throw things and lash out violently, and afterwards (because it’s not who they are at all) the sufferer is often crippled with guilt. This is very much me!

EDS tends to be directed at one significant person, and the episodes are triggered by something that might be mildly annoying but the reaction seems to be way OTT. Seizure rage is anger at a much lesser extent, and isn’t usually directed at anyone in particular.

Sasha was amazing during the episode today BTW. It was truly exceptional.

When I was laying down yelling at my partner, she came and nose booped me, then lay next to me staring at me. When I stood up and was lashing out, Sasha jumped up at me to ask for attention / play, then did an auto block (standing in front of me) – this is hugely helpful, it gets my focus off my partner and I’m able to focus on giving Sasha love.

When I turned on my partner again, Sasha left the block to jump at me, before again moving into a block. It was honestly AMAZING.

After the episode was over I was exhausted. That’s when my partner did some research into seizure rage, and we discovered EDS.

We did some training – enjoy Mojo’s cute but fairly pointless trick!

Spud came out and wrestled. Everyone enjoyed puzzle feeders. We played some more.

This evening I tried Spud’s old coat on Mojo (she was wearing this right up until her accident at 5 months) and it fits him! At 14 weeks I’m not sure how much longer he’ll be wearing it, but we’ll see.

This is the only harness he wears totally happily on lead out on walks. The EzyDog, step in and his collar all result in frequent stops and mad itching, and the Ruffwear to a lesser extent. This bomber jacket also meant that he was happier out in the wind and the rain ๐Ÿ™‚

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Plus, as ever, it was cuteness overload ๐Ÿ˜‰

Once we got back there was time for a little more puppy play / madness / cuteness…

And then it was time for everyone to sleep.

13 weeks old, Mojo review!

Mojo is 13.5 weeks old,ย and is smashing everything ๐Ÿ™‚

Mojo is an AWESOME dog to work with. Heโ€™s spunky, confident, intelligent, and very food motivated. Currently we are concentrating on socialisation, focus around distractions, and basic obedience (sit, recall, heel etc).

The one iffy thing weโ€™ve encountered is other dogs; he was very reactive when he came to us, and although this has improved he occasionally lets out a little huff, and on the ground doesnโ€™t want to say hello to other dogs. Heโ€™s only met one unknown dog so far, and silently sat on my lap and observed – I was hugely impressed, as he didnโ€™t bark, came to me for safety, and was happy to watch โค

Raidenย reacted the same way at about 3 months, and he grew to be an extremely social adult., so hopefully with training Mojo can head in that direction!

Socialisation

He takes in his stride:

– people, observing and greeting (elderly people, children, teenagers, toddlers, people using crutches, wheelchairs and mobility scooters)

– heavy traffic (being carried and walking by busy roads, including loud lorries going past)

– shops, both going in and sitting outside watching people with trolleys etc

– a variety of surfaces (sand, grass, concrete, metal grates, bark chips etc)

– farm animals (cows, sheep, geese)

Training

Mojo has been SO FUN to train ๐Ÿ™‚

Heโ€™s so quick to learn, and the fact he is extremely food motivated definitely helps haha. So far he knows sit, down, touch, wait, two (front paws on an object) and his name.

Outdoors his loose lead walking is coming on a treat.

His off lead heel is incredible!

His recall is wonderful, because heโ€™s so young! Thereโ€™s no better time to concentrate on creating reliable off leash behaviour or recall than when your puppy is young. Get them off lead, and get them running to you ๐Ÿ™‚

Finally, his focus rocks!

Iโ€™m expecting this to vanish in the next month or two haha, but for now Iโ€™m working with it and rewarding it as much as possible.

The other day he did an off lead sit stayย whilst a man passed us on a path!! He’s 13 weeks old and he can sit and focus around anybody and anything, it’s amazing!

And he also walked loose lead through a park teaming with two dozen kids! He recalled to me when they ran past him, he offered sits, and focused when asked ๐Ÿ™‚

Heโ€™d just walked through that path you can see behind us!

Although I donโ€™t think heโ€™s going to be anย โ€˜easyโ€™ or even particularly well behaved dog in the future (heโ€™s at least two vocal breeds – Chihuahua and Yorkshire Terrier -, heโ€™s a rescue with a poor past, AND he was reactive / resource guarded at 10 weeks old!!) I do think heโ€™s going to be an incredible dog ๐Ÿ˜‰

1.5 weeks after amputation: first off lead walk!

Toller had her first off lead walk inย 3 months today!! ๐Ÿ˜€

It was amazing!!

She had SO MUCH FUN ๐Ÿ™‚ โค

On top of her pure joy, her recall was perfect, she didn’t stray far, she checked in and sat voluntarily…it was all just amazing!

She did 2 minutes walking on lead, and 2 minutes off lead. We’re still building it up very gradually, but she’s doing great ๐Ÿ™‚

I can’t wait until she’s fully recovered so that we can use the Ruffwear Webmaster on her. It’s supposed to be the best harness for tripawds, and a harness would make things much easier as atm she’s so excited that she pulls on a collar and a few times her front leg has skittered out and she’s face planted!!!

Lead work can wait until she’s got a few more walks under her belt though, I can’t blame her AT ALL for being excited ๐Ÿ™‚

How gorgeous and amazing is this little one? โค

My take on socialisation

Several times recently I’ve seen others advising that people don’t socialise their puppy “too much”, an example being that a pet shop visit was too much for a 10-12 week old puppy. I even read once that puppies under 5 months shouldn’t be socialised or taken out much.

In my opinion, this is all total and utter bulls**t ๐Ÿ˜‰

Puppies are born as fairly blank slates. Sure, they all have individual temperaments, but for the most part they are confident, neutral about new experiences, and want to make friends with EVERYTHING.

When we used to run puppy classes, I would tell owners that if they had a “nervous” puppy, it was a sign they would need to step up their game and really work hard to show their pup that the world and everything in it is a fun place.

Puppies are supposed to be confident.ย 

As soon as your puppy comes home, they can begin to be socialised. Because they won’t be fully vaccinated at 8 weeks, there are two options:

1) Concentrate on socialisation in the home; invite guests over, introduce to pets, vacuums, the washing machine, garden, play noises on YouTube etc etc.

(handling and dremel socialisation, some easy ‘at home’ socialisation)

2) Take them outside but carry them everywhere until they are vaccinated. The risk of them catching anything is so, so small, and this way you can socialise them with everything!

We carry puppies about from the day after we bring them home.

At first the walks are very short. This is to not overwhelm them, so we can observe their confidence, and judge how well they can hold their tiny bladders!! (eg. Mojo at 10 weeks could easily hold his bladder for 90-120 minutes, Raiden at the same age could only manage 20 minutes!!)

There is one huge thing you always need to remember when socialising a puppy –

You must take it at their pace!!

With confident puppies, by their second week home we are carrying them everywhere.

They join us on dog walks, which exposes them to roads, people, dogs, birds, cows, sheep, and many more things.

We carry them into town and into pet-friendly shops; this is a great way for them to meet strangers whilst with us (as we know very few people in this area), and also exposes them to busy roads, busy shops, new smells, new lighting etc.

We also sit outside supermarkets with them, which is great as they get to watch people push trolleys, here the clatter, and they have exposure to dozens of people in one sitting.

These are from when Mojo was older, but at his youngest he would just sleep through all this or lie and watch! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

If you have an extremely confident puppy (terrier puppies tend to fall into this bracket) you often won’t have anything holding socialisation trips back – pupper will be happy to go anywhere, see anything, and fall asleep in your arms when tired.

Mojo has had dozens and dozens of socialisation trips in the few weeks he has been with us, and until he was old enough to go down on the ground, he mainly slept on them all. I’m talking heaving traffic and air horns on the road RIGHT NEXT TO HIM, and he would sleep through it. When we went into a charity shop he would briefly pop up to see if anyone would fuss him, then it was back to sleeping!!

However, if you have a fearful puppy, you need to socialise themย as much as possible BUTย at *their* pace.

Read up on calming signals, stressed behaviour, and get to know your little one really well. You need to be aware of the tiniest sign of unease in your puppy. If someone wants to pet them, does your puppy want that to happen? A normal puppy will be desperately squirmy to say hi; an obviously fearful pup may turn away, lick their lips and tremble, but an uninterested puppy is often fearful too.

You can’t socialise a puppy too much, but you can rush a puppy and put it in situations it is not comfortable with.

12 week old Mojo could go literally anyway and be fine; 12 weeks old Sasha was fearful of many things and terrified of strangers, she wouldn’t have done well in a lot of situations!

You NEED to get puppies out into the world and expose them to as much as possible, at the speed that is right for them. The socialisation window for a puppy closes at 14-16 weeks old, and before that happens they need to have been taught that everything they have seen is positive.

After 16 weeks, they start to greet new things with caution, so before they reach that age they need to have enjoyed many, many things.If you teach a young puppy that experiencing new things is exciting and positive, this confidence carries across to experiencing new things as adults.

Raiden was a perfect example of this; he was well socialised and a confident little pup, and as an adult anything he stumbled across he wanted to explore and befriend!

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If you wait until after 5 months to socialise your puppy, you will most likely end up with a very fearful pup. Or it could swing the other way, and you could have a puppy that becomes madly excited about everything because it’s their first time experiencing it!

Imagine locking a child inside a house until they were about 8-10 years old, and not exposing them to anything…

Socialisation isn’t just rushing out and thrusting your puppy into every situation (and I’ve seen that, where well-intentioned owners pass their trembling puppy into strangers’ arms for ‘socialisation’, or drag them on lead to an unknown dog to ‘play’), it’s about exposing your dog to the world and making sure they’re happy with it ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, another hard concept for a lot of people to understand, puppies can be trained immediately upon coming home, and most of them REALLY ENJOY IT!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Training is a great way to bond with a puppy, it teaches them how to learn and use their brain, and there’s no better way to set your pup up for success than to practice training when they’re young and want to work for you!