Saturday, July 30, 2011

Training Session #14

"I'm not afraid of the rain."
 wet Brando watches the rain on the car windshield
I'm happy to report Brando is doing very well in his obedience training, which is helping him move forward toward earning CGC.  My daughter and I have been taking Humphrey Bogart to stand on the sidelines during his sessions.   I was hoping that Brando may feed off of Humphrey's good energy.  Humphrey loves everyone, and vice versa.  This plan doesn't seem to be working.  Tonight, before we began the workshop, the trainer talked to us about herbal supplements to try to help Brando to calm down.  He's afraid that Brando's fear based aggression is turning into aggression.  I can see it.  Even going for a walk, he's getting worse.  We met up with Ms. Passerby, again.  Only this time, instead of Ms. Passerby trying to guess his breed, she started barking at Brando.  "Can I have one?"  she asked my son about the puppies.  We all started laughing since he didn't know how to answer her.  Brando let out one bark when we started laughing.  She immediately started furiously barking back at him, which sent him into a tizzy.  Tail up, he was dominant,and lunging.  He went from zero to 10 in a second.  I've never seen him so mad.  The angrier he got, the more intense her barking became.  The trainer has trained us how to handle strangers, but not a barking stranger.  I really wasn't sure what to do.  "Leave it!"  wasn't cutting it.  Body blocking was working either.  He wanted to bite Ms. Passerby, and if he had his way, he would have.  That's the first time I've seen him escalate so quickly, and to the point where he was in complete control of the situation. He finally calmed as she left his line of sight.  "What in the world was that?!"  I never want to believe it's Brando fault.  I went straight into a motherly protective mode,  "Why would you bark at a dog?!  What was wrong with her?  She was just egging him on!  He only barked once, and she had to bark a million times back at him....."  See my point.  When everything settled, it dawned on me that Humphrey couldn't have cared less about her, or her barking.  He wanted tummy rubs.  Brando's trainer has strong feelings about how Brando was treated before we got him.  I thought his breeder was a nice old man, was it a front?  Could it have been a puppy mill?  Is the trainer right?  The very thought makes my stomach turn.  He said if we don't see some improvement in a few more sessions he's going to recommend we talk to the vet about Xanax.  He thinks Brando needs more help than just training.  I looked down at my little love, and for the first time saw just how miserable he is.  Can a dog suffer from "puppy panic attacks?"  Is a herbal supplement the answer or just covering up the problem?  Is it unfair of me to ask Brando to be CGC?  Xanax?!  Look out Google, here I come!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Furry Friends and One Crustacean

Brando's kitty and small Cavalier

Brando and James Cagney with orange hedgehog


Another little kitty.  Love this photo, look at those squishied lips!
Mort the Lemur Brando's favorite

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More on the Lump

If I don't give you this treat, will that cause you stress?!
Yesterday morning, we woke to a mess of blood. Having three rambunctious boys, I thought one of them had done something.  Strange, but no blood on the boys.  As I walked through the house, trying to figure who or what (remember we have three boys) was bleeding, I bent down to say good morning to Brando.  He was bloody.  I'm not sure if he scratched the lump or if Humphrey did it when they were having their morning wrestle, but Brando was bleeding.  His white fur was staining to a brown.  It took a second to sink in. I think I may have even been hyperventilating when I told my husband.  Brando seemed fine.  He was trying to wiggle out of my arms to get back to "Cavalier Wrestle Mania" with Humphrey.  The good news is his lump is GONE!!!  A phone call to the vet confirmed that I shouldn't worry (I'm still checking for a lump!) she said Mother Nature may have taken care of it for him. She also said since he's been on antibiotics there wouldn't be any reason to worry about an infection.  The next thing she said had me concerned.  No stress for Brando.  Stress could be one of the causes of his lump, and make it return. stress.  That will be interesting since Brando is afraid of his shadow, my car keys, the tags on his collar, sometimes other dogs, or a car passing by when we go for a walk.  His fears vary from day to day, and I would imagine being fearful could cause stress.   Our lives can also be stressful since my little guy has frequent seizures that can cause chaos in our already unstable day.  As we all know, dogs can feel our stress and tension, so that can't be helping Brando either.  No stress.  Those are two words that will cause more stress.  Hey, at least the lump is gone!!  That's fantastic!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

For The Passerby

Dear Mr.and Ms. Passerby,

When we take the puppies for a walk, I've noticed something about you and other passersby.  Each and every last one of you wants to be an expert on dogs.  This seems to be particularly so for passersby who don't have a dog.  "What kind of dog is that?"  When we tell you, you proceed to say that's not the breed we have, and that it must be such and such a breed. Here's the thing, passerby, my husband and I are not experts when it comes to breeds.  Although, as children, and in the 20 years we've been married, we've had a dog or two.  Saint Bernard, Keeshond, Bouvier, Poodle, YorkiePoo and a Westie (both of which we're stolen out of our yard).  Our rescue dogs include a Golden Retriever that we knew going into the relationship hated women, he went back to the family after trying to tear the arm off my coat (hey, we tried!), a black lab mix that used to run away at the drop of a hat (very nightmarish), and our German Shepherd, Rosie, who used to have separation anxiety, she's cured since someone is always home with her.  We've also fostered 8 Labs at one time from the shelter.  They all had heartworm, and they wouldn't eat.  Everyday we made them rice and chicken until they finally started to eat dog food.  We can't forget our Cavaliers, and our Biewer Yorkie, James Cagney.  James Cagney was given to us.   As you can see, we've had a few dogs during the course of our lives.  So why is it, passerby, that you continue to argue the point about the breed of our dogs?  On a recent outing, you came right out and said "Those dogs are Springer Spaniels."  Excuse me sir, forgive me for being so stupid, you're absolutely correct!  These aren't Cavaliers.  Why didn't YOU tell me sooner!  "No, these are Springer Spaniels, look at their coloring."  You're not the first. A lady in the park wanted to argue that the puppies were Chinese Crested or Japanese Chin.  Chinese Crested?!  I must have looked ridiculous, as I know my jaw dropped, while you continued on and on about how they looked like a Chinese Crested.  So what is it about people and dog knowledge?  I'm just curious.  Why does every last passerby know everything about every breed?  When my husband and I are the passerby, we politely smile and continue on walking.  Never once saying "You are mistaken about this Poodle.  It's quite the Pomeranian!"  So please, Mr. and Ms. Passerby, can you try to smile politely, ask to pet the puppies, and stop telling us we are wrong about the breed of our dogs! 

Christine Childress
parent of four beautiful children
and four fun lovin' dogs

P.S.  Watch where you step!  Never mind, you already stepped in it!

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Lump Continues......

      As the days pass, I'm still doing the lump check.  It was nearly gone.  It was smaller than a pea, which is considerably smaller.  Unfortunately, it's growing again.  Brando was taking two different antibiotics.  One antibiotic he was to take for 2 weeks.  The other for the next month.  While he was taking them together, it seemed to really help.  I was concerned that when he ran out of one, the other was not going to be enough to take care of business.
      Brando is in training for Canine Good Citizen.  (By the way, he's doing very well.  He's getting better with socializing with people and dogs.  It's a slow process, but from one week to the next he shows a grand improvement.)  Yesterday, Brando's trainer picked him up to feel his lump.  His eyes told a story.  Everyone wishes there was something they could do for Brando.  The vet wants us to wait until the antibiotics are completely finished, to insure they've had time to work.  I have no choice, Brando has no choice.  He's going to have to get poked again.   The vet said Brando has a higher tolerance for pain than a human, but I'm not so sure I buy it.  He cries.  Unfortunately, poking him again seems to be the one thing that may make him better.  I just wished the first vet would have done this test in the beginning.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thor and Brando

As a child, our family pet was a Bouvier des Flandres.  He was a cute pup, but soon grew to be bigger than an average Bouvier.  Thor weighed over 120 lbs, and he had an eye something like Sammy Davis, Jr.  Thor had a glass eye due to the glaucoma that developed at 6 months old.  The vet that took care of Thor also took care of the tigers that belonged to Gunther Gebel-Williams, and an animal whose owner was Robert Conrad.  Anyways, everyday, three times a day, I'd watch my mom give Thor his pills.  She'd grab his mouth, pull it open, and shove her whole hand and arm into his mouth until the pills went down. Maybe it didn't happen quite like that, but to a small child this is how it looked.  It reminded me of a lion tamer.  Every once in a blue moon, we'd find pills hidden in unsuspecting places.  Behind the couch, under the kitchen table, or best of all, Thor would make like he was digging a hole in the shag carpet, and "bury" the pills.  We'd ask Thor, "Did you spit out your pills?"  Needless to say, he never answered.  30 year later....."Oh Brando, did you spit out your pill?"  No reply, just a sound something like "PATOOOIE!"  There, the pill sits, square in front of Brando.  I pick it up.  The pill is dry.  Not at all slimey or gooey from being in his mouth.  He does somehow manage to enjoy the treat that surrounds the pill. Just when you think the pill is gone--"PATOOOIE."  I think I've figured him out.  With each "PATOOOIE" comes another, and another, and yet another treat. I thought I'd have the same grace and style as my mother when giving Brando his meds.  Lucky Brando!