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Everything posted by TxMom

  1. I'll join the club here: my depression is seasonal (SAD), and since I live in Texas it probably isn't nearly as bad as it could be. But last winter was particularly long and grey here and it really did me in. Didn't want to get out of bed. Doing anything sounded exhausting. I fed the kids and changed diapers and that was about it. The guilt was horrible. Eventually I realized something was wrong and it wasn't just me being lazy or something, and things picked up quickly from there (along with the change in seasons). This year I'm very aware of the little ups and downs. It hasn't gotten bad yet this year, but there have been bad days or weeks here and there -- and I've also got the three kids and we homeschool, so that takes a lot of what energy I do have on the bad days. Some days, Livi gets a good morning romp in the backyard or the living room, a long walk later, a few nosework sessions scattered throughout the day, an hour or two at a park with the kids, and more interactive play in the backyard in the evenings. Some days, Livi mostly gets tethered near wherever I am and gets to play by herself in the backyard when she gets fidgety. A lot of days fall in the middle. I'm new at this and I may be wrong, but I think that's ok. I think it's helping her become a well-rounded, flexible dog who will be a pleasure to live with. I kind of take the same approach with my kids. Some days we have a lot of fun and do a lot of cool stuff. Other days they mostly have to amuse themselves for any number of reasons (doctor's appointments, sick sibling, housework needing to be done, whatever). A lot of days fall in the middle. I think it's helping them become well-rounded, flexible people who are easier to live with. I'm not there to see, but I'd bet Aed would rather be with you even on your bad days than anywhere else. On my bad days, when the guilt hits, I look over my fence at the neighbor's dogs who live in the backyard 24/7. I've never seen anyone out there playing with them. I'm not saying it's right, but there are a lot of dogs who live that way and I think our dogs, who know they're loved and part of our lives, are much better off. (Also, on the health-checking bandwagon: my two measurable issues are low iron and low vitamin D. I'm on supplements for both. Neither completely solves the problem, but when I started on iron supplements especially I noticed a HUGE improvement in my energy levels.)
  2. Livi is pretty unenthusiastic about food, although it's changed in the last week or two (we've had her almost six weeks). At first she'd eat about half of her meal, reluctantly, if I put her in her crate with it and left her long enough. Now she'll eat the whole meal (although I'm offering less) pretty promptly in or out of the crate, but it's not like she goes nuts over it. I set it down, she walks over, sniffs, and starts eating. She will, however, get very excited about the exact same kibble as a training treat. When my kids were tiny, the doctor always told me they were probably fine if they were energetic and playful, sleeping well, gaining weight at a healthy rate, and pooping regularly. I know there are limits to the baby/puppy comparison, but it seems to me that the same principles apply in this case.
  3. I'm doing nosework with Livi, and there's a recommendation that at some point I get a halter that she wears for nosework. I'm not sure yet how seriously we'll pursue nosework to decide how much gear I'm going to invest in, and I don't know how critical it is to have a harness for it. We're not very far into the class yet, and that all comes up later. But it got me wondering: at what point would it even be rational to get a harness for her since she's still a puppy? Is there an approximate age at which her chest and neck are probably close enough to adult size that it shouldn't matter as long as the harness is adjustable, or is it best to just wait? Or buy something cheap for now and expect to replace it later? (I hesitate to go cheap, but then, it's not like I'd be using it to control her pulling on a leash or anything -- I get the impression it's more like having dress-up clothes to cue her that we're working.) Edit: That should say harness, not halter. It's been a long day...
  4. Livi will work at a kong for peanut butter (even frozen), but if I try something like mixing her kibble with peanut butter she'll get the easy stuff and give up on the rest pretty quickly. The exercise thing is what I've run into so far. Every time I told people we were getting a Border Collie they'd give me The Look of sympathy and tell me they hoped I knew what I was doing (actually, it reminded me a little of being pregnant with #3).
  5. Fenzi has a Tracking 101 course running right now. http://fenzidogsportsacademy.com/index.php/courses/17#course-details Registration ends 12/15, so you've got some time if you're interested. Livi and I are currently doing Nosework 101 and so far it's been money well spent!
  6. TxMom


    Ruth, that's all I was looking for -- it's just hard to know where to start. Thank you! It's especially difficult because this person is several states away and may or may not cooperate. We'll offer what help we can, anyway.
  7. TxMom


    To change the trajectory a bit, if I may -- for those of you who have seen hoarders get help, what works? I have a relative we're concerned is going that direction (not with animals, but the hoarding of stuff and not taking care of it) and we don't know how to help before it gets worse.
  8. The guy at the pet store was telling me that things like antlers and hooves should be for sometimes, not all the time, because they're harder than the teeth and will wear them down. I haven't looked into it since she doesn't chew on it much anyway. I got it because the rescue group had it on their Amazon wish list as a favorite chew for their dogs -- I figured it'd be something familiar.
  9. Waffles, I was just thinking of trying one of the West Paw dog bones for Livi. Has your experience been that they're pretty universally appealing? Livi is chewing on everything she shouldn't if I turn my back, and I'm trying to give her more options. Tried a large edible nylabone thing (made in the USA, to keep this pertinent!) and she LOVED it, but it didn't last long at all. She doesn't seem like her elk antler lately. The bully ring gets some attention. She likes her kong if it's stuffed, but doesn't chew on it like I've seen some dogs do.
  10. Would a saddle blanket do the job? Sounds sort of like what you're describing.
  11. This was my exact thought with Livi! White nails: no problem, this will be easy. Ha. Although now I'm wondering if being able to see the quick made me more confident to clip further back than I would otherwise and maybe that's part of the problem. I'm still hopeful she'll come around with help from the advice here... but if not, I'll feel better knowing I'm in (lots of) good company! I'm sure my husband will help me out if need be. He does the cats' claws, bless him.
  12. I'll try for more distraction, more treats, and trimming in smaller increments. I think it may be that I'm trying to trim too close -- less aggressively and more frequently might be the solution, which would be fine. I'm not terribly worried about her current toenail condition; I just want to eventually get to a place where it's not a big deal. We're also working on handling ears, mouth, tail, etc. I'll let y'all know how it works out!
  13. I've tried gradually building up comfort with paw handling and rewarding with treats for nail trims, but Livi wants none of it and she seems to react specifically to the actual moment the nail is clipped. In fact, she was pretty ok about me handling her paws until after the first time I trimmed her nails. Is there any chance the clippers I have are causing unnecessary discomfort, or that I'm doing something wrong, or is it just an acclimation thing? These are the ones I have: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000UGEVDQ?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s01 She's generally very polite and tolerant of being touched. She loves everyone she meets and is happy to let anyone pet her, including kids. She didn't like being brushed at first but I've seen significant improvement there while I think she's getting worse about the nail trimming. Just makes me wonder if I'm doing something wrong. I don't want this to turn into a big deal if I can help it.
  14. I'm so sorry. Please pass on my condolences as well.
  15. Livi has a fleece pad in her crate just because it makes me feel better, but no bed yet. I think she might enjoy a bed (if the kids leave a couch pillow on the floor she'll find it and lie down on it every time), but I'm waiting till she's a little older in hopes it'll last longer if we get it after she's past puppyhood. A friend of mine manages an independent pet store and she tells most people to go with the cheap or no beds. But she does recommend the nice memory foam beds for older dogs who are just not comfortable on a regular bed or the floor. I guess the better cushioning helps with comfort and the stable surface helps them get up and down safely. Makes sense.
  16. This morning we were down before she started; whether because she was more patient or we were more prompt, I'm not sure. There's no party when she gets out. Her crate isn't far from the back door, so she goes straight out and I ignore her until she's pottied and then praise and play a little before we go back in for breakfast. She's actually not all that excited about her food usually, so instead of feeding her immediately we let her hang out near the table while we eat and then I crate her with her breakfast when the kids come down to eat a little later. After they eat we go out for more playtime. Eventually it'll be a long walk (that was our routine previously) but we're avoiding public areas for now and then will start with shorter/slower walks.
  17. Ok, I was wondering if it was just too long for her age. I set up a baby monitor in case she woke up overnight and she didn't at all until after a few days when she started barking just before we were due to go downstairs, around the same time as she started barking in the crate in general. It's never happened at, say, 4 a.m. That's why I assumed they were related. I can do a middle-of-the-night potty break if that's what she needs. There's no food or water in the crate. She eats in her crate, but earlier in the evening. She does get an evening play session that usually results in a case of the zoomies, and when we come in from that she flops right down in her crate and seems tired. I'm not hearing any restlessness overnight, just starting about 10 or 15 minutes before we go down.
  18. Over the last week or so, Livi started whining and barking when she didn't want to be in her crate. It escalated for a few days, peaked over the weekend, and seems to have mostly died off yesterday. I'm assuming she tested to see if we really, really meant she wouldn't get out by whining and she found out that we really, really did. However, I think we may have inadvertently fed a second issue. Her crate is downstairs rather than up in our bedroom, because the bedroom has always been the cats' safe zone and we didn't want to disrupt that. There's also not another good place for a cats-only room. Livi has started whining and barking about 10-15 minutes before we're usually downstairs for the day (this started after several days of routine, so she knew when to expect us). Given the timing, I'm pretty sure it's impatience rather than a sudden urgent need to go out. What I had been doing was proceeding with my routine as usual, going down but ignoring her until she's quiet. But now I'm beginning to think she barks until we come down, then knows to be quiet once she sees us in order to get out of her crate. In other words, she thinks her barking is getting us downstairs, and we've been reinforcing that without realizing it. Does that sound right? If so, I'm assuming we just don't go down until she stops her fussing in the mornings? She gets her last potty break at 10 p.m. and we get up between 6 and 6:30, although if she's persistent with the barking and we're waiting for her to stop it could end up being closer to 7. At four months old, is that likely to cause more problems? I could try to get up before she starts barking, but it seems like that would just be avoiding the issue... and she'd just as likely start waking up earlier herself and we'd have the same problem again.
  19. Waiting on Livi's third set of shots before we take her out in public much, but once she has them I'm hoping to make it to some meetups!
  20. For what it's worth, I don't know that it's a bad website issue so much as that they don't appear to be very active anymore. That's the perception I got when I checked their website as we were preparing to adopt, anyhow. In years past they seemed to have dogs moving through, but lately it looks like there's not a lot going on.
  21. Have you looked at Border Collie Rescue & Rehab, based in Allen? http://bcrrt.com/ We were approved to adopt from both them and ABCR. ABCR wound up having the right dog at the right time, but both seemed like solid groups and were a pleasure to work with. Wish I could offer more.
  22. All good food for thought! Thanks, y'all! On the toy front, she seems to have times she really like them and times she doesn't care much even if I'm wiggling it on the ground, playing with it, and generally trying to make it look as interesting and fun as possible. Sometimes she'll play a (relatively) extended round of tug/fetch, where she grabs the toy and we tug for a while, she lets go and I toss it for her, she runs around with it for a little while, flops down to chew on it, and then brings it back for a repeat. Other times she'll grab a toy on her own and toss it around, catch it, drop it, grab it, lie down and chew on it, etc. And then there are times I can try to make the toy as appealing as I know how and she just ignores me. Normal, or is it a question of better toys or making them more interesting? We've got balls, stuffed squeaky toys, a rope tug, an antler chew, a kong... she does consistently love the stuffed kong, but I don't want to go overboard with it.
  23. When I was a kid we got a Border Collie pup and named him Oreo. A few years later some acquaintances asked if we'd take their Border Collie because they thought he needed a bigger yard (I think really he was getting old and they weren't interested in spending time with him anymore, but whatever). My parents agreed, so he came to live with us. And his name was also Oreo. We thought about changing it, but we figured the poor old guy already had enough to adjust to. So we had First and Second Oreo for a few years until Second Oreo passed on. If you're going on a bug theme, you could also consider June bug.
  24. I've got no problem waiting this out -- I expected this phase when we decided to go with a puppy rather than an adult, and that's no biggie. Just wanted to be sure my reactions were right, particularly with her trying to keep my son from taking her stick. Ouch and withdrawal of attention, trading up, naps when needed. Check!
  25. I'm pretty sure I'm on the right track on this, but I want to check myself because it's going to be much easier if we do it right from the beginning than if I have to go back and undo mistakes later. Livi, being a puppy, gets mouthy. First time gets a gentle, "no" and I remove my hand, foot, whatever from her mouth. If it keeps going, I'll do more or less what I did with my kids at a similar developmental stage, which is to put gently my hand under her chin, look her in the eyes, and repeat "no." I'm not pulling her face around or forcing anything, just making her take a moment to pause and hear me, if that makes sense. And I'm not using an angry tone, just a serious one. If that doesn't stop it, it's the crate for a time out. If that doesn't do it, I assume she's getting overtired and crate her for a nap. Usually she falls asleep right away and wakes up with better behavior. Today, she and my 7-year-old were playing the the backyard. He tossed a stick for her. She ran after it, brought it back, and flopped down in front of him to chew on it. He reached down to pick it up and she put her mouth on his hand. Definitely not biting, no force involved, no growling, just being a puppy. But I'd like to make sure it stops there. Should I start by teaching her a "give" command (trading a treat for whatever is in her mouth, then adding a cue), or is there a different approach that would work better? She does the same thing when I try to brush her, for that matter, and I'm working with her on building up tolerance a little at a time. By the way, the vet put her age between 3 1/2 and 4 months based on her teeth (four adult incisors, but not all six yet). Just in case that's relevant.
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