Friday, February 26, 2010

A Boon Class

In class #2, Boon showed marked improvement. He whined much less...when he was in the presence of the other dogs, he pulled some on his leash, but found it much easier to focus on my instructions. I know that continued exposure to new dogs and experiences will increase his aptitude and comfort level.

Last night, we worked on leash walking: Boon walking by my side, sitting when I stop...and we also worked on the Leave It command. Boon responded very well. My prize memory of the night was when I said "Leave It" and Boon stopped focusing on the sweet, little corgi/jack russell mix and looked right at me!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Boon Vocab

Today as Boon and I were working together, I began to think about how many words he understands and usually obeys. Boon knows the following words: ball, basket, Boon, come, down, eat, get out, go back, good boy, gravy, ice, kennel, leave it, let's go, nice, night-night, no, ok, outside, release, retrieve, sit, stay, treat, up, watch me, water. He is such a smart boy!

We have been working really hard this week. He has made great strides on the easy walk harness: he is pulling much less and is learning to SIT at my side when I stop walking. Tonight we will again step into the realm of doggy distraction as we go to his second obedience class. I hope he remembers everything that we have worked on...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Boon of Training

Since Boon first came into our home, my desire has been for him to become the very best dog that he can be. As Boon has been growing and learning, my husband and I have also been learning: learning how to communicate with Boon, what not to do, what we do not want Boon to do, etc.

Boon is such a sweet puppy. There are times when he pushes the limits and/or ignores a command, but he generally desires to please. At home, he is spirited but well-behaved. Outside of our home, as we found out when we took Boon to the vet, the stimulations and distractions have a greater affect on him than his desire to please.

Because of this, we decided to enroll Boon in obedience training. We knew that he needed more exposure to other dogs and people. Obedience training would provide the opportunity to fulfill both scenarios as well as lay a wonderful foundation for Canine Good Citizenship training.

Last Thursday was Boon's first obedience class. Prior to class, I took Boon on a long walk, wanting him to be somewhat tired as he embarked on this new endeavor. The facility where Boon will be training also houses a doggy daycare and a boarding facility, so upon our arrival at the facility there were many doggy distractions. As we drove to the facility, Boon seemed tired, but on arrival he immediately went into full-force-ahead mode...he whined and strained on his leash, pulling toward all the smells and sounds.

There were a few dogs in the entryway; he went crazy...he pulled his way toward them and greeted them (whether they wanted to be greeted or not), he barked and whined and lunged. He really could not contain himself. I know after our vet experience I should not have been surprised, but I was...I felt like I had not prepared him sufficiently to go into this new experience, and yet we work on his commands almost everyday...I kept telling myself that this is what the obedience training is all about: giving him this exposure, allowing him to get used to other environments and teaching him to obey when he is out of his comfort zone.

There are two other dogs in Boon's class: a two-year old boxer and a tiny corgi/jack russell mix. They are both very sweet dogs, neither of them as spirited as Boon. Boon continued to whine and pull, wanting to be near them...they just stared at him. Once class began, the trainer had to consistently raise her voice so that she could be heard over Boon's whining and yelping. "Well", I thought, "it is obvious that this is exactly what Boon needs!" As class progressed, Boon became a little more comfortable. We were able to work on SIT amidst distraction, and he slowly began to focus on me more than the other dogs and people.

After class, the trainer recommended that I get an easy-walk harness for Boon. I have limited arm strength, and Boon gets stronger by the day, so it will be very helpful to have some added support which, hopefully, will aid in deterring the lunging and pulling. I apologized for Boon's loud shenanigans...the trainer kindly said: "He is not a problem. He will be a star student - I can tell". This was a great reassurance.

We have a lot of work ahead of us, a lot more learning to do together. While Boon needs this exposure, I need a huge dose of patience. I want to do this with Boon. I am confident that the rewards will outweigh the struggle and that all that wonderful energy can be channeled to produce amazing results.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Snow Boon

Last Friday, Dallas, Georgia was covered with 3-4 inches of snow. We have not seen that much snow in years, so it was quite a treat.

Boon had a blast playing in the snow. He licked the snow, he ate the snow, he chased snow balls, he ran and jumped. Surrounded by frozen water, he was like a kid in a candy store!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Beautiful Boon

6-month-old Boon, relaxing after a busy day.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Appointment #3 for Boon

Last Thursday, Boon was really giving off a terrible odor. At first I could not determine where the odor was coming from...but through process of elimination, realized that it was coming from his ears. Right away, I started doing some online research...I found that this kind of odor usually indicates a yeast infection inside the ears. So, I contacted the animal hospital and described the odor...they said that it would be a good idea for the vet to check out Boon's ears.

Just a few days prior, Boon had finished the antibiotic that was prescribed for his swelling...the swelling had cleared up nicely and was almost indiscernible...but now it looked like he had an ear infection??...something did not seem right about this picture...

The next morning Boon and I had our third visit to the animal hospital. Overall, Boon did well at this visit. He whined a little and had a difficult time sitting in one place...but he allowed his ears to be swabbed and cleaned out. It was determined that Boon did indeed have a yeast a topical med was applied to each ear, and would need to be applied once a day for the next two weeks. When it was time to render payment, Boon seemed to decide that SIT and STAY were highly unnecessary words. He showed a strong preference for pulling on his leash, which made it very difficult to take care of his bill...but thankfully, the receptionist gave a helping hand and Boon and I were soon on our way.

I was concerned that Boon was having so much physical unrest. I started doing more research regarding dogs, ear infections/lymph swelling, I read that this often means that the dog is allergic to something he/she has ingested. I began thinking about all the things that Boon regularly eats...any signs of unrest in him after he had eaten certain things, etc. The first thing that came to my mind was: pork.

Boon loves pork-hide chews...he will sit and chew on them for hours at a time. A few days after he started on his antibiotic, he showed marked improvement in his swelling...but on about the third day, I gave him a pork-hide chew...the next morning, his swelling seemed retrogressive. At that time, I thought through everything that he had ingested and wondered if it was the pork-hide which had caused this retrogression. Since that day, I have not given Boon another pork-hide chew...but when I learned that he had a yeast infection in his ears, I decided to look through the ingredient list on each of his treats...sure enough, there were other treats which also contained, as an experiment, I have taken Boon off of all pork. Hopefully, this will be beneficial and will aid in keeping Boon healthy and balanced. In the last three weeks, we have had three visits to the animal hospital...I really do not want to make it four in a row.