Monday, June 29, 2009

Pixie progress

Well, I've been a responsible pet owner. I had Pixie spayed two weeks ago. When the vet saw her, she told my daughter that I'm the 5th owner of this little dog, who they guess is about 13 months old. Seems there was a shelter a return, shelter return, an adoption and abandoned, adopted and abandoned then me... all in 1 short year.
I could understand if this were a ferocious pit bull attacking and mauling everything that breathes... but this sweet little dog mainly licks!
She is doing wonderful in her obedience training. She can Sit, Lay Down, Come, and Go In her House (crate). She can do these all with treats, sometimes without treats.
She is learning Turn Around, but this is tricky. If done in a certain way, she cowers down, as if I'm going to hit her. It's mainly turning clockwise, where I move my hand from her head around to her back right leg (which has a sometimes limp - it's not every step)
We are also working on Shake, but she has issues with touching her paws - unless in the bathroom. This will take some time to overcome, but the kids really want a dog to shake.
She has gained 1 1/2 pounds and is a bit over 6#. She is maybe a half pound overweight. We are working on fat to muscle and cut most carbs in her diet. Her treats are oven dried liver or chicken breast, lower in fat and calories, so she can train and have more than store bought treats! I prefer (so does she) the chicken ones. She has transitioned fully to home-made food (and treats) except for a sushi chew from petco.
Petco is still working with her on getting her to allow grooming. I know dogs would never get their nails done and bows in the wild, but Pixie isn't in the wild and I want a fully groomed dog for our Thanksgiving trip and Christmas. She really does not have enough fur to put a bow on her head, so we are considering a gel colored mohawk for special events.
She now leaves my lap. Except in the mornings. Every morning, we get up at 5:15 for my prayer time. I can't hit snooze or skip prayer, as she will fuss at me. This keeps me praying daily, without fail, no matter how tired I am. (she should get a click and treat for this)
She stay on my lap during prayer and bible study time. The moment my granddaughter walks in the door, Pixie is up and full of energy. Days I don't have grandkids. she sleeps on my lap until I make breakfast.
She takes morning walks with different family members. I make everyone take turns so she will walk with everyone. We are not allowing afternoon or evening walks due to heatwave. However, she loves to play Hide And Seek with the kids. After about 5 minutes, it turns into full blown chasing games. Then she wants to run after and "kill" her loofah dog toy. When she is ready to chase the toy for the kill again, she drops it in front of us. But she won't fetch yet, unless on leash and guided back the first time.
All in all, she has made wonderful progress. I am concerned about the history of abuse and how to correctly handle this. But I'm finding loads of information on several sites. Two that I use faithfully are

Both offer articles on positive correction/training of dogs. Pet Expertise has a neat free training book to download. It's different in that it has a progress chart and each action in various situations.

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