Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gatsby's Gastrointestinals

Warning: Gross details about dog puke.

Gatsby has gastritis. He was throwing up last night, it was very unpleasent. It was a light brown watery liquid. I'm pretty sure it was well digested food. It really didn't seem to bother him, all Gatz wanted to do was eat it. I can't figure out what caused it though. He eats really fast but from what I read (hurried Googling for "dog vomit" at one in the morning) that usually causes regurgitation, not vomiting. He went to the vet this morning, I almost didn't take him in but I'm glad I did. He got a shot for it and is on a 24 hour fast. Friday morning he'll get a little bit of rice and bland chicken and we'll take it from there. I'm nervous because my entire family (all five of them) is coming to town tonight for my birthday this weekend, plus I have to work for most of the day tomorrow and it's not something I can get away from for a bit.

He's been pretty run down this afternoon, curled real tight in a little ball. I'm not really worried about him, it's just a little puke from an upset tummy and I'm sure he'll be fine in a few days, but still. I fret. I go back to school on Sunday and won't be able to be with him as much. Dogs aren't allowed in the dorms so he has to stay at the apartment with Deb. It's only five minutes away and I'll be able to let him out at noon between classes and be home most weekends, but summer's ending. Back to life.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My Dog is Weird

I had a milk jug in my room because I was going to cut it down so it would fit around another milk jug to act as a water jug/bowl combo for when we go to the dog park. Because I'm lazy, I hadn't gotten around to it. Gatsby decided this was not supposed to be a water bowl, but a plaything. Since he's generally adorable when tossing a thing around and working out a way to carry it, I let him go for it. I had an eye on him and after a while he came to bed.

This morning he rediscovered it and pulled it into the living room to play. I left the room for a couple minutes to futz with something, and when I came back discovered he had peed in it. Not ON it, INSIDE a milk jug. Through the narrow little neck that milk comes out of.

My dog is weird.

Sidebar: I picked up The Other End of the Leash, by Patricia McConnell today. I'm very excited to read it because I have a suspicion that if I can get my body language sorted out, Gatsby and I will really make headway. I've got agility plans for this dog, and I kind of think I want to try obedience or rally.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Nose Driven"

Gatsby has one thought. Smell. Things. Everything else: lookin' at stuff out the window, keeping me in eyesight at all times, licking every last atom of peanut butter out of his kong ball, these are all obstacles in the way of smelling more things.

When the nose goes on, the ears go off. While frustrating when trying to build a reliable recall, I wish I could see like this dog smells.

Now, one perk of having a purebred dog despite being an outspoken shelter mutt lover is the AKC will let my dog smell stuff and let me stick a bunch of letters on to the end of his name. They call it Earthdog, and if I didn't not pay rent I would grab a shovel and dig a 9" trench in the yard right now. There's a trial in Illinois right across the border Labor Day Weekend. I don't know how Gatsby can't not love it, it is all of his favorite things. Sniffin', barkin', other dogs, and more sniffin'. I am, in a word, stoked.

I'm going to make a little cardboard tunnel for him to make sure he'll fit. Legs like a giraffe, my mini has.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Crates are Great

When we paid for Gatsby, we got his crate as well which was absolutely FANTASTIC because otherwise that would have been another fifty dollars. But when we got him home, there was not much success with the crate. He would go in with a little persuasion, but when I came home to let him out he would be so excited that he'd pee in and immediately outside of the crate. That week was awful. I tried putting the crate on the tile in the hallway so at least he'd pee on tile and if he could just hold it for the ten foot bolt to the door, we'd be set. I forgot that he was a afraid of tile. All in all, the whole thing was just a huge hassle, and since he really could hold it until the excitement of someone coming home, we just stopped crating him and left him free in the house.

That went a lot better. No accidents in the house and when he ran to the door it was just a matter of sidestepping the jumping and peeing. I think he didn't know that we were going to come back and now that he knows we will, he's better. Still bonkers to see us, but no pee. Good dog Gatsby!

I still want him to be comfortable in the crate though, just in case plus that's where he's supposed to sleep during the school year. I've been feeding him in the crate while I shower in the morning, so there's good connections between the crate and me being gone.

Last night we went to the motherhouse fields to run around and try some off-leash recalls. There was very little of both of that. Gatsby mostly just sniffed and dug for gophers. He dug his very first hole! I'm very proud. Videos and pictures of our outing will be up later today. By the time we got home (after custard for the humans) he was beat, even though it was an hour before we usually go to bed. I'm sitting in the living room watching the Rachel Maddow Show and watch Gatz trot out of the room and hear his tags jingling in my bed room. Then nothing. Then tags again and he appears in the living room looking at me like, "Well come on, are we going to bed or not?" I get up and follow him, and find the dog curled up at the back of the crate (cuddling his food dish, I might add). He slept there most of the night, but hopped up on my bed at one point. I know I really need to break him of this, because it's not going to fly with Deb, but I just love having him sleep with me! He's so warm.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Different Tricks, Different Treats

I bought a bag of puperoni the other day at obedience class because I was running late and completely forgot everything (including the clicker, which I now cannot find for the life of me). We were mildly rebuked for not practicing enough (my fault, because I would much rather work on "stupid tricks") so I've been making an effort to do stays and fronts more at home. And since I have the 'roni, might as well use it, right?

Gastby loves it. It stinks, which I'm sure helps this nose-on-feet, and tears up into tinier pieces than the kibble anyway so one stick goes pretty far. I read somewhere that size is pretty immaterial to the dog, since it's about the flavor. I've been calling him away from the window when he gets barking at something and I can actually get him away! Only when he knows I have a treat though. Fading rewards continues to kick my butt.

Other things we've tried are cheese (cheddar block and Kraft American singles), which he likes but doesn't love and Oscar Meyer sliced ham which seemed to work but made his stool runny (and stinky!) and was a pain to carry around. I'm going to try nuked-to-a-crisp hot dogs next, I think. He's on grain-free kibble (to which I suspect he might have allergies, we'll find out Friday at the vet) and in an ideal world a raw diet for treats, but I'll take what's cheap and gets results. I put more thought into what the dog eats than I do.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Future Plans, Long and Short.

Gatsby is progressing nicely through basic obedience. "Stay" is kicking our butt, what a wonderful time for me to lose the clicker. We're about halfway through the Petsmart beginner class and just signed up for intermediate with a 10$ off coupon. The two classes actually overlap by a week, but they move to Sunday mornings instead of Friday which I need because school starts on the first. I really like the trainer, who happens to be certified to conduct Canine Good Citizen tests which I definitely want Gastby to earn. I know my aunt wants to get him into therapy work. Baby steps. I've got to get this dog to FOCUS! first. That is hands down our biggest hurdle. Then can come the actual hurdles of agility, which I am dying to do.

I'm making vet and groomer appointments tomorrow. I think I'll stick with his current vet, at least for this first visit. Gotta pick up a new rabies tag, one that doesn't have his old name on the back and get an updated id tag. I've got a good recomendation for a groomer and reference pics of how I want him to look from a mini schnauzer magazine. The last groomer took him way too short (as if this dog needs to look any ganglier!) and nicked him a few times besides. One last sigh for a clipped-not-stripped terrier coat.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Before I really get into talking about Gatsby, I need to talk about the process leading up to him. And that story starts twenty one years ago, with a fourteen year old (admittedly he was not always fourteen, but he was always a grumpy old man to me) black cockapoo named Cody. Cody was two years older than me, and never liked me half as much as I adored him. My first word was his name; “Here, Cody!”, “Cody, sit!”, “Cody, no! Don’t drag the baby out by her bald and oddly shaped head.”

Cody was for the most part a well-behaved dog, his obedience school diploma was framed over his food dish, but he was also a little snit. He’d hide behind the couch when he was tired (of me), poop in the living room when he was displeased (at my father), and whine when the car slowed down. My earliest memory is when he bit me when I pulled his tail.

I don’t have a lot of heartwarming memories of him, he never mystically knew when I had a bad day or let me dress him up (there is one picture of him in a Christmas sweater, and he is snarling his little heart out), but I was head over heels for that dog.

Gatsby is a weird dog. He growls to himself nearly constantly, draws on the windows with his nose, and barks at leaves, but he also lays outside the bathroom door until I’m done with my shower, lays down practically on top of me, and goes absolutely nuts when I come home (complete with excitement pee). I have a dog, and that beats every single con and downside you can throw my way.