Kiana

Not too much has been going on here with all the social limitations due to COVID-19. We go for long walks at least every other day with the dogs, alternating days with Rogue and Canyon because Kiana gets too excited when we walk all four dogs together, but otherwise we’re staying home.

Huib still needs to work, so it’s always a bit stressful when he leaves. I just never know if he’s going to bring something home. So far his long-term care home is doing really well. They had one staff member with a positive test a few weeks ago, but so far no residents or other staff members have come down with it. This is really something to celebrate, as many homes in Ontario have lost high numbers of residents, but of course, the news only talks about the bad things that happen.

Since I don’t have a lot to talk about, I thought I would take some time to formally introduce everyone to Kiana.

Kiana’s registered name with the Canadian Kennel Club is, REBELFIRE’s Force of Nature. I chose this registered name because Arizona is a wild girl, so I thought her daughter would be similar. So far Kiana is really living up to her name. In Persian, Kiana, means earth, wind fire, so this fits well with force of nature.

In September, a week before turning eight months of age, Kiana earned her WC or working dog certificate. To earn this title, a dog must successfully retrieve two ducks on land and then two in the water. She wasn’t quite ready to hand me the birds, so Huib ran her at the test, so he could catch them before they fell. We also tried to earn her JH or junior hunter title, but she was only able to obtain one pass. Kiana has learned that once she hands the duck to us twice in the water, then the game is over. Instead of doing this, she has decided to play. While wanting to strangle her, we were also laughing on the inside, because she was tossing the duck in the air and then pouncing on it as it fell back into the water. She had quite a good time. I hope to have her finish this title in the fall.

In November Kiana tried to earn her TD or tracking dog title. Unfortunately, she got distracted by a smell and turned the wrong direction. Hopefully we can try again in the fall.

Kiana is one of the smartest dogs we’ve had the opportunity to raise. She loves to learn, but isn’t overly food motivated. Food is an easy thing to use in training, but I kind of like that Kiana isn’t a huge fan. I’m hoping it will mean she isn’t as easily distracted when someone tries to offer her food when we are out.

Kiana’s favourite things to play are tug, fetch and brain games. She loves when we put treats into cardboard boxes and then have her figure out how to get them out. Her usual choice is to shred the box and then spread it all over the kitchen. Kiana loves walks and can be a bit of a puller when she’s excited, so usually for the first two kilometres of a walk, she’s pulling.

Kiana is in training to be Rogue’s successor. Rogue turned nine in April, so I’m hoping to retire her shortly after her tenth birthday. Kiana is doing well with her training. So far we are focusing on obedience and manners. In July we will start working on guide tasks. I want her growth plates to fuse before I ask her to put pressure on her shoulders. I know she loves jumping and running, which can be hard on the joints, but at least I’m not encouraging the behaviour.

As long as Kiana passes all of her health clearances when she is two years of age, we hope to breed her in the future.

I can’t think of anything else to say about Kiana. It has been so cool to raise a puppy from the moment it’s born.

If nothing else is happening, I’ll talk about another one of the crew when I write again. Stay safe everyone!!!

Not Like Most

“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

This well-known saying, is one I’ve heard regularly over my thirty-two years of life.

Time and time again, people are telling me not to change things if they work.

Most people would listen to the advice, but I’m not like most..

Assistance Dog Blog Carnival buttonI received three wonderful guides from The Lions Foundation of canada Dog Guides. Gryphon only worked nine months because of an unfortunate incident with a car, but Phoenix worked seven years and Cessna will retire after eight.

Given this record, most people would be planning to return for a fourth, but I’m not like most.

As many friends and readers of this blog already know, instead of returning to Dog Guides for my fourth guide, I have decided to give owner-training a try.

Most people would look for a puppy who is calm, confident and shows an eagerness to please, but I am not like most.

Rogue is confident, but instead of being calm and eager to please, she is busy and independent-minded.

Most people would rather not spend the time and money raising a puppy, and would rather have a guide who is fully trained and ready to take on the challenges of guiding a blind person.

Not me, I’m not like most.

I look forward to the challenge of raising and training Cessna’s successor. I enjoy the obstacles Rogue places before me, and believe that her spirited nature makes me a better person and subsequently a better trainer. Together, Rogue and I approach problems with enthusiasm, because I know she’ll forgive me for my faults, and she knows I’ll forgive her for her mistakes.

Most people want a service dog who will perform their tasks when they are asked to do so.

Not me, I’m not like most.

I like dogs who have a mind of their own. I don’t want a dog who will go into robot mode and work the second I pick up the harness handle. I want a dog who will question me, and who will make me work for their respect.

We all have our hopes and dreams regarding what a service dog will bring to our lives. some hope for miracles, but others just hope they can make the partnership work.

When I applied for my first guide, I looked forward to getting rid of my white cane, and to the opportunity to share my experiences with another. I was young and full of dreams, but I knew from the start that I needed a dog who would challenge me, and who would force me to go outside of my comfort zone to make our partnership work.

Phoenix worked well and challenged me almost daily. If he wanted to do something and i didn’t allow it, he’d plan his revenge and I never knew when it would come. In order to keep his work at its best, I not only had to practice his basic obedience a few times a week, but also had to make trips into bigger cities for him to feel challenged as well.

“Marchin’ To Your Own Drum” is something most service dog handlers do, but for some, it is something we take to heart because we’re not like most.

Different

We’re all different here at ruled by paws 🙂

Canyon’s Angry Bird

Today Huib and I went shopping with Rogue. Cessna wanted to stay home, so we did some public access work with the little Hurricane. She didn’t really have a great outing, but I did manage to find a really cool toy for Canyon. At the Staples Business Depot, they had a clearance section filled with various odds and ends. It sounds like a funny place to find a toy, but they had some plush Angry Birds’ toys that make the sounds as well when squeezed.

Canyon really likes balls, stuffed toys and things that make strange sounds, so a plush Angry Birds’ toy that makes noises was perfect.

Rogue Swims!

Today was a beautiful day, so we packed the gang into the orlando and headed off to Clear Lake.

Rogue hasn’t been much of a swimmer, choosing to bounce around on the shore while the others retrieved a toy or stick we threw for them.

Two weekends ago, we went to Woofstock in Toronto and bought three life jackets. Today we put one of the life jackets onto Rogue and hoped it might give her a little more confidence – it worked!

She didn’t swim as much as the others, but she swam nonetheless.

Random News

I’ve got a lot of random news to share with everyone.

First, last week I wrote about our trip to Guelph and the Toronto area. While there, I had a chance to see my family doctor and was given several different migraine medications to try out. She gave me a few different daily preventatives, a daily nerve blocker and one to take when I feel a migraine coming. A lot of these medications were suggested by a pain clinic doctor I saw back in March, but she also added a couple that she feels might help. Back in the early 2000’s I tried out a bunch of different preventative medications without much success, but I’m hoping that these new medications might have a better outcome.

On Monday night, I took my first Gavapentin (just a low dose right now) and woke up tuesday with barely any signs of a migraine that I’m sure I should have had (the weather is quite rainy and humid right now, which is a huge trigger for me). I took my first Atenolol (again a very low dose right now) Tuesday morning and my migraine really didn’t move much past a pain level of 1-3 out of 10, so a big win for me. It could just be a fluke, but I did the same last night and this morning, and so far my migraine isn’t getting any worse than the 1-3 out of 10 pain range. In a week, I will increase the Atenolol to a full tablet and leave the Gavapentin at just one 300mg capsule and reassess in a month’s time. If my migraine does begin increasing then I will try the medication my doctor gave me for break threw pain, but I’m not sure what it is called at the moment and I’m hoping that I won’t have to resort to it. In a month’s time, if we feel the Atenolol is not working well enough, then I will stop it and try one of the other two preventatives my family doctor and the pain clinic doctor suggested.

Next, Rogue and I have begun to use her “touch” cue to press a button. About a year ago, I bought a button that when pressed, plays various types of laughs. It is like the Staples Easy Button, but when I saw this one on sale for less than $10 at Halllmark, I snatched it up for training. rogue has an amazingly firm “touch”, and my visual impairment has made it tough to teach her to “touch” a stick or a spot on a wall or the floor, so I decided to put some navy blue electrical tape onto the laughing button and then start teaching Rogue to press it when I point and say “touch”.

I first had Rogue do some practice touches with the palm of my hand. then, I held the button, so it was facing her and waited. I wanted to see what she would do without giving her any hints as to what I wanted. She had an idea of what I wanted, so started moving towards the button, I clicked and gave her a treat for each movement towards the button. Then, I upped my requirements for a click and waited for her to even lightly touch the button with her nose. each time, I’d click and give her either one treat for just a light touch, or a jackpot of treats and a party for actually making the button laugh. She quickly caught on to how she could get more treats and began bumping the button as hard as she could – I then named the behaviour “touch”.

Once we had the pressing the button while I held it at her nose level perfect, I decided to start moving my hand around. I held it low, she pressed. I held it so she had to take a few steps, she pressed it again. Then I started holding it up so she had to jump up a bit to press and of course, she did it flawlessly.

I then put the button onto the floor and pointed and said “touch”. she bumped my hand with her nose. I waited, she bumped my hand with her nose several more times and then started to get frustrated. I couldn’t see where we were misunderstanding one another, so we stopped the lesson and both slept on it.

The following morning I figured it out, I had been lumping (or moving too fast). I got out the button and started practising what we had done the day before. Since we were doing it in a new place, I began by just holding the button and not saying a word. She knew exactly what we were doing and hit the button hard, making it laugh every single time, so we named it again – “touch”.

I then placed the button on the floor, but instead of just pointing I kept holding it and waited. It only took her a second before she was moving towards the button and I clicked and gave her a bunch of treats. After several perfect “touches”, I named the behaviour again “touch” and then started saying “Rogue, touch” and she came over and pressed the button.

Instead of completely removing my hand from the button at this point, I began holding the button with less and less of my hand. even when I was just touching the side of it with my index finger, rogue came over and pressed it when I said “touch”.

By the end, she was pressing the button when I pointed and said “Rogue, touch”. She is such a smart and forgiving puppy. Even when I make a mistake, she tells me what she needs and we start learning again together. I’m not sure what we’ll do next, but for now we’ll keep practicing our palm touches and button pressing. Rogue’s favourite behaviour is “touch”, so even though we are not further in the new levels books, I decided it was okay to move further with her “touch” cue because unlike other behaviours we’re learning, “touch” is fun to her and gets her brain moving.

Yesterday we got a call from the adoption worker. her case load is quite busy right now, so she has decided to move the adoption training to late fall. This is okay with us because right now it looks as though my step-dad will need to come stay for a bit, but it’s also frustrating because it seems as though each time we get somewhere with the adoption process, we’re left waiting again without any sight of the finish line. Hopefully in the fall things will begin moving full steam ahead.

Finally, today is our calico, Logan’s 10th birthday. Here on ruled by paws, the cats don’t tend to get much written about them, but I thought it was a milestone worth mentioning. We got Logan from the Guelph Humane Society when she was just 10 weeks old. She had been part of a family, but was surrendered to the shelter just hours before Huib and I went to see the cats. Huib lived in a bachelor apartment and for his birthday, I decided to buy him a cat, since I thought he needed a friend while he studied. We had planned to pick out an adult cat, but when we saw Logan, it was almost love at first sight. She was so cuddly and purred so loud that we thought for sure there was a little boat motor inside her. We told the shelter staff that she was the one, and after filling out some paperwork, we were told that we could come back in a week for our new kitten. She needed to be spayed and given her vaccines before we could bring her home. even though Huib likes to joke about giving Logan away to anyone who will take her, I know he loves her and that she’s going to continue providing us with years of entertainment.

Happy 10th Birthday Logie, you are one comical little calico!

On The Road Again

This past weekend we took the dogs south. I had to see the doctor for some medication refills and to touch base on what the neurologist had suggested for migraine relief, so we also made a vet appointment and planned to visit friends in Toronto.

the vet visit went well. Everyone was checked over thoroughly and then had blood withdrawn for Heartworm and tick borne disease testing. Dr B gave the labs their rabies vaccine and then prepared homeopathic remedies for both of the goldens. Aspen’s remedy is supposed to help her with anxiety and possible pain, since Dr B feels she needs some chiropractic adjustment. Back in the spring last year, Canyon ran full speed into Aspen, sending her flying, so now she seems to be out of alignment and Dr B would like us to take her for adjustments the next time we are in the area. I honestly never thought I’d be taking my dog to a chiropractor but I also couldn’t imagine ignoring Aspen’s possible discomfort.

After the vet appointment, we drove to Ren’s to see our friend Kelly and do a little shopping. We often stay with Kelly during our visits south, but she is currently fostering a dog from Aussie Rescue that is not too dog friendly, so visiting her at home wasn’t really an option. At Ren’s we chatted briefly with Kelly and bought Canyon a new toy – it’s like a cuz, but is all holey and has a water bottle crunched up inside it – as well as some blueberry treats and some kitty Greenies.

We then set off for Toronto and stayed with Taz and Caleb for the weekend.

On Saturday we drove to Newmarket to buy some new running shoes for Huib and then to Aurora to plant some flowers at my Mom’s grave. A few years ago, Huib and I created a little garden in front of her gravestone and try to plant flowers each summer. After we were done, we set off for Etobicoke and took Phoenix’s foster family for dinner at Swiss Chalet. Ray and Alice are doing well. Alice no longer needs a wheelchair and just uses her walker to get around. It’s so amazing to see the progress she has made since her stroke three years ago.

sunday was Woofstock. We drove the Orlando downtown and then parked it in the Metro’s underground parking lot. We thought we’d park there so that the dogs could have a safe place to rest if they became too overheated or tired.

Look who else came…

It’s Rogue’s sister Ruby!

Ruby is a little bigger than Rogue and has slightly longer and darker fur. She is absolutely adorable though, just like her sister. I can’t wait to have the girls meet in a less chaotic environment though because similar to Rogue (at times) Ruby was a bit timid and subdued, so it will be neat to see her in her own environment.

Woofstock was great, there were tons of different vendors and organizations to see. We got various treats and bought life jackets for the girls and winter coats for the labs. the life jackets are red with black and the winter coats are purple and bluish purple. I really wanted to get them each a cooling coat (it feels like a shammy and you cover it in water to keep the dogs cool) but they were over a hundred dollars, so we will need to wait on that.

Time to cool off…

By the end of our trip, the dogs were completely exhausted! they all piled into the Orlando and we didn’t hear from them until we arrived in Huntsville a few hours later.

The Rogue Kitty

Doesn’t she make a cute kitty?

Last Week In Pictures

Sunday Is For Swimming

Monday Is For Malls

Tuesday Is For Trains

Wednesday Is For Watching

Thursday Is For Training

Friday Is For Fools

Saturday Is For Snuggling

The Learning Never Ends

At 5:00am on Thursday, I awoke to the sound of Rogue heaving, or at least I thought. I quickly helped her off the bed and squatted down beside her, rubbing her sides and calmly talking to her as she continued to make this awful sound. It lasted about 30-45 minutes, with short intervals of Rogue wagging her tail and licking my face, so I was at a loss as to what to do. I checked her throat to see if I could find anything lodged. I felt her neck and belly to see if I noticed any difference. I gave her treats and water, hoping it would help calm her stomach (I thought she was trying to throw up). I tried to stay calm, knowing that she didn’t seem panicked herself, so wanted to continue keeping her that way.

when the episode seemed to have finished, I helped Rogue back onto the bed and we laid together, waiting for Huib to return home from work. I told him what had happened and he checked her over and couldn’t find anything wrong, so we decided to have a nap and then reassess after that. Rogue had a few more episodes and Huib reaffirmed my observation that this was not your typical “I need to throw up” behaviour. Instead of sounding and looking like Rogue was trying to expel something, it looked and sounded as though she was trying to clear her sinuses. It was like she was experiencing post nasal drip and was trying to get it to stop.

At some point, I went onto Twitter and posted a tweet about my observations and was informed that what Rogue was experiencing sounded like Reverse Sneezing. I had never heard of this and was delighted to learn that it was not serious and that it was actually quite common (I had never seen one of my dogs do this before).

Reverse Sneezing is quite scary to observe. It looks and sounds like the dog is gasping for air. it is quite common in flatter faced breeds such as pugs, but can also happen to other breeds. According to this article, “the most common cause of reverse sneezing is an irritation of the soft pallet and throat that results in a spasm. During the spasm the dog’s neck will extend and the chest will expand as the dog tries harder to inhale. The problem is that the trachea has narrowed and it’s hard to get the normal amount of air into the lungs.” Reverse Sneezing can be caused by a number of factors, but in almost all cases it is not serious and will resolve on its own.

Since Thursday, Rogue has had less episodes, and as of today has gone over sixty hours without Reverse Sneezing.

Huib got a short recording of her the other morning to send to Dr B and we were told that it should resolve itself, but to keep her posted. We are thinking that maybe Rogue was reacting to something outside since the grass has begun to go green and the trees and plants are beginning to bloom. I’m really hoping this is a one time thing, but I guess we’ll know more as time goes on.

It’s amazing to see how much more we have to learn from our dogs. After having Phoenix and dealing with all of his health issues, I thought I was set, but then Cessna taught us about coconut allergies, and now Rogue has introduced us to Reverse Sneezing.

**Just a quick note: Blogger has decided to begin implementing their new platform so I have begun to set up our blog over at WordPress. I will try to continue having posts up here as well as over at http://ruledbypaws.wordpress.com, but if Blogger does not improve their accessibility then I will be forced to completely stop posting here. I hope you will all join us over at WordPress, if you need any help with doing this please leave me a comment and I will try to help you out.**