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 πŸ™‚

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Plus, as ever, it was cuteness overload πŸ˜‰

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

And then it was time for everyone to sleep.

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 πŸ˜‰

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.Β 

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! πŸ™‚

 

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 themΒ as much as possible BUTΒ 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 πŸ™‚

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!! πŸ˜‰

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!

 

Happy 7th Birthday Boo!

Today has been Kasper and my partner’s birthdays.

I’ve had a really shit day. My worst day for seizures in this seizure-heavy week. Loads of guilt about being ill and ruining the day (for my partner especially) and to top it off we did a walk with my partner’s parents, our first time seeing them in a year, and one of the first things they said was “I thought she was supposed to be well trained?” about Sasha.

This was because she was running about off lead having fun. Like, seriously? Way to make me feel like utter shit, I definitely haven’t been working my arse off for the past 6 months trying to give her any semblance of confidence and show her training is fun. I really wish I hadn’t been so out of it with seizures, I would’ve loved to have ‘responded’ πŸ˜›

I was really fucking proud of her on this walk too! She was confident around new people, did THREE seizure alerts on the walk, and held focus and did good whilst we stood about, my partner opened presents etc. For a teenage gobshite and a dog who is nervous with strangers, she rocked!

So, his comment crushed me. Really upset, and really ill at the time too. Bleh. Oh look, so badly trained -_-

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That’s his parents stood right behind Sasha here – look at her happy face!

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Opening presents

Anyway. Kasper had a good day at least.

The day started with his gifts arriving!! They weren’t due until the end of this week, so that was cool.

We got some treats going in the food dehydrator asap, but as we weren’t expecting it we hadn’t bought meat in, so apple slices, sweet potato chews, and potato ‘crisps’ will have to do!

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Alongside a food dehydrator, he got a new Sumo puzzle feeder (topped with a frozen treat to act as a ‘plug’!)

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And his final birthday gift, a new collar πŸ™‚

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I wrote out a message to him πŸ˜‰

Happy birthday, Boo!

And his final birthday good-ness was an off lead walk. Lots of tearing about like a crazy thing, chasing smells, some training, and even a paddle in his favourite pond. He LOVED it! Yeah, Boo had a good birthday alright πŸ™‚

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Very quick Tolly update!

For her walk today she went to the football field. She was sprinting about like a loon, and the cutest thing? SHE AUTO SAT WHEN SHE CAME TO ME!!

One of the earliest things I teach puppies is an auto sit – get called to me, sit. Come to me unasked, sit. Unsure of something, sit. Toller hasn’t done any training or had chance to do an auto sit in 11 long weeks, so the fact she offered this was just so darn sweet. This dog guys, this dog ❀

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™‚