May 24, 2011

Day Three: Out and About

Today was Ellie's first day on the town. :-)

I left Kane at home because I didn't want to deal with him on a leash and Ellie in my arms. He still has a tendency to pull to other dogs and I was planning to make the rounds at all the local pet stores (where I am referred to as "the owner of Kane—you know Kane, that pit bull I told you about who is so friendly and polite?").

Our first stop was at Wood's Marathon. This is an old-style, full service gas station and garage, where the attendants (all gruff old men or young hunky dudes) come out and clean your windows for you while you pump your gas. They're very dog-friendly, allowing dogs on leash inside the small room where they have the register and the pop coolers, and they have a big old container full of milkbones they hand out freely and slightly excessively. :-)

Kane is very popular there, even with the owner who was bitten by a pit bull when he was a kid and has slowly graduated from giving me the treats to give to Kane, to giving Kane the treats out of his own hand. There's a younger guy, maybe a few years older than me, who apparently had pits while he lived in Texas and absolutely adores Kane; he's constantly offering me money to buy Kane off my hands, joking around, knowing I'll never sell Kane for any amount of money in the world. I have to watch him when he has the container of milbones because when I haven't he's given Kane almost half the container! Luckily, Kane has a fast metabolism and has maintained his svelte figure. ;-)

As you can imagine, the sight of a fluffy girly puppy had all the big tough men melting to pieces around Ellie.
They fed her a milkbone or five (I saved the remaining 4 for later and gave a couple to Kane for being a good boy in his crate when I got home) and basically let her run wild and loose over them. She was an attention-hog, offering her belly for rubs to anyone in a 3 foot radius, and she got in some good exposure to the typical sounds you get in a garage.

After that, I stopped at the vets to discuss moving her appointment. I was worried it was too early. Mary gave the litter their first shots and deworming at 6 weeks, which I thought would've put the right time for her appointment into next week since you need at least 3 weeks between the two. Except I counted wrong, aha. I only had to move the appointment a day back, to Thursday. She got much love while there too, from Dr M and the vet techs. Hopefully, Emily, the receptionist, is working on Thursday; she's got a tiny pittie named Rogue, who only weighs ~30lbs. Rogue and Kane have a definite lovelove relationship. They're always making googoo eyes on the days Rogue is there, and Emily is always up for a giggle and a coo over our dogs. :-)

Then it was off to Petsmart. On the way in, we were stopped by an older couple who got a little breathless with excitement at seeing Ellie. They had just recently put down their 13 year old black tri female aussie because of issues with her age. We talked about our dogs for a good 10-15 minutes, discussing agility and rally which they'd done with their aussie, and towards the end, the older man asked to hold Ellie and actually teared up. It was achingly sweet watching them cuddle with each other. It made the entire day worth it.

While there, I got some good, smelly Bil-Jacs liver treats because Ellie's having issues with the Zuke's (I think they're a little too hard for her right now) and just walked around the store, letting anyone who saw her pet her. There was a younger couple, my age, who had just gotten a new boxer puppy.

Guys, he was seriously the cutest, most adorable boxer puppy! He had ears almost as big as his head! It was too bad he was so young. :( I'm not sure what his exact age was, as it never came up, but he was smaller than my miniature aussie puppy. Maybe 5-6 weeks old?

In fact, he looked a lot like this puppy (with bigger ears) who is listed as being 5 weeks old.

And here is Kane (and his sister Roxie) at 5 and a half weeks old.

Boxer puppy looked very similar to the above pics, with the domed head, too big ears, and wrinkles. Too young to be away from mother and littermates. :(

After Petsmart, it was off to Pet Supplies Plus. She only met two people here, both women, but her Eukanuba puppy food was on sale for almost half-off, so I grabbed a bag.

Joey's Pet Outfitters was next. This is a family-owned, semi-boutique type pet store. I love the staff, they're so friendly and helpful, but stuff is a little on the expensive side. They've built a dog park in the acreage behind the store that I can't wait to take Kane to as it has agility equipment and etc in it, but it's been too rainy here to put the fence in yet.

Seriously, the weather has been so ridiculous here lately. 13 of the first 18 days in May were rainy, and it's been the wettest spring on record. Of course, I'd rather have rain than the tornados the south has been suffering from.

The count is over 1100 tornados this season, when the average is a little over 500. 600 of the total tornados happened in the span of one day on April 26th. Last night, there was a wave of 30 tornados that stretched from Missouri clear up to Minnesota and Wisconsin. Joplin, Missouri was hit the hardest, with 116 dead and a town that has basically been leveled. As someone who has lived through a tornado, my heart goes out to them. There are no words for the terror and helplessness you feel in that situation.

But Joey's Pet Outfitters. I stopped in there to ask about their puppy class. They have one starting June 5th. Perfect for Ellie to get her second set of shots and fit it in under the 12 week window. Except it's $99 for only 4 weeks and there's a size limit of 4 puppies. Not a whole lot of socialization with other puppies there, eh?

I'm probably going to sign up with the puppy class Kane's doggy daycare, Annabelle's, offers instead. $99 for 6 weeks with a limit of 10 puppies in class. Only thing is that I won't be able to sign her up for this class session—I'll have to wait until the next one on July 7th. She'll be 15 weeks old … is there a big difference between exposure to other dogs during the 12 week window or waiting another 3 weeks? Anyone know?

After Joey's, we also stopped at Tractor Supply Company where I let her walk around on her leash and then went to Petco where, luckily enough, there was a group there from a local mentally disabled group home. They all adored her and she got in a little bit of some rough handling from some of them, which she took like a champ and only gave them more kisses, her stubby little tail wagging furiously. It was so great to see her bring them so much joy. :-) Several of them mentioned their parents owning dogs and told me all the ways those dogs were the best dogs in the world or how their dog could do this trick.

Ellie was pretty knackered by then, so we went home to get lunch and take a nap (both of us!). Kane got his biscuits and he curled up on the couch with me. It took me a bit to fall asleep even though I was tired, so I got to spend some alone time, just me and Kane. I sang his song to him and he wedged himself in between me and the back of the couch so I could rub his ears the way he likes.

It rained (surprise!) while we napped, but it was great because it lowered the humidity and temps. The pups and I spent most of the evening outside in the backyard, running around and being goofy. Ellie has no problems chasing after Kane and inviting him to play now and she's already displaying her herding background. She loves to run alongside him and try to nip at his shoulders or his heels if she can't quite get the speed. She's tried herding me a couple of times, but usually if I stop moving she loses interest. If she actually grabs hold of my pants, I yelp and she leans up against me in apology and tries to get a belly rub in, the little bugger.

Clicker training's going a lot better. She definitely understands click = treat and will look to the clicker after she gets a treat for a new one, and if her attention starts to wander, I can get it back by clicking. Our last session of the day, I started with her on a sit. She quickly understood that to get the click, she had to plop her butt down. Tomorrow I'll start generalizing it to different locations inside and outside and different positions with me standing, kneeling, etc. I'm not sure how it'll go with sitting or laying down, as sitting = cuddle time and laying down = jungle gym time, but we'll see. :-)

And then there was The Incident.

When I picked Ellie up, Mary let me pick a toy out of a basket to take home. I chose a stuffed kong toy shaped like a boomerang, with a squeaker in the middle. When I got home, I noticed Kane took any opportunity to grab it and run off to nom on it. I didn't think anything of it and managed the situation by putting it away with an "All Done" command or placing it in Ellie's expen.

Tonight I was making dinner. Ellie was out and both pups were in the kitchen with me. Kane left and came back with the kong toy, but I didn't think anything of it. Then I heard him growl, the sound of him lunging with his head, and turned in time to see Ellie tumbling back with a squeak.

Ellie is fine. Kane didn't make contact. The squeak was from fear, not pain.

In shock, I did a Very Bad Thing and scolded Kane and took the toy away.

You should never do this to a dog that resource guards something against another dog. Do it often enough and it'll reinforce that Other Dog around whatever the object is equals Bad Thing and by then, they've also learned that growling (and thus warning Other Dog) will only result in a scolding, so they will also go straight to biting.

And, as a generally slightly paranoid owner, I immediately posted an entry asking for help from my friends on LJ on what to do (OH GOD, IS KANE BECOMING AGGRESSIVE, WHAT DO I DO?!).

I should note here that Kane has never done this before, ever, for anything, to any person or animal. He is a very patient dog, laidback, usually a little oblivious about things at first, but well-meaning and able to take a hint. He's the dog at the dog park who will galumph after a ball and start bringing it back, but will drop it willingly if another dog comes up to him (whether they're actually after the ball or not). For the past couple of days, he's allowed Ellie to clamber all over him, bite his tail, chew on his ears, and be rude in the way only puppies can safely get away with. She's pranced right up and taken toys from him while he looks at me as if to say, "Moooom, she's doing it again!"

As my friends are all awesome and used to my sometimes-dramatic responses to things, they all told me to calm down and not worry about it. Kane was being a typical dog, he responded appropriately to her puppy obliviousness and taught her a valuable lesson. And they were right. On Ellie's part, she recovered quickly and invited him to play with another toy a few minutes later, but she's definitely a bit more cautious about approaching him when he already has a toy. I've noticed her giving him appropriate, Mother May I signals asking if it's okay to walk up to him. Kane acts like nothing of any importance happened, just another day in the life of an adult teaching a puppy some manners. I still erred on the side of caution and did some training exercises with Kane, wherein I gave him turkey and cheese chunks for calmly watching Ellie play with the stuffed kong toy and practiced "sharing" the toy, letting Kane chew on it, asking him to drop it, giving it to Ellie for ~10 seconds and then promptly giving it back to Kane.

When I sat down and thought about it (and recovered from my shock, lol), The Incident and resulting interactions between Kane and Ellie are what I missed when I had just Kane. Watching dogs play and interact together is so much fun, and it's doubly fun watching a puppy learn doggy language and proper social skills.

We had one accident today, totally my fault (as it always is). I was super stupid and on my way outside with Ellie after she woke up from her 2-hr nap, I got distracted by the phone and set her down. She waited patiently for five minutes before squatting. Good girl.

Replacement camera charger has been shipped. Prepare for the spam of cute fluffy puppy pictures and videos! 

Oh, and Mary gave me the new names of Ellie's littermates. Daffodil is now named Benelli Blu, Peter Rabbit is Gunner, Spring is now Emma, Rain isn't going home until tomorrow (today?), and Ducky is still looking for a home.


  1. 3 weeks is a pretty long delay at that age. Some say the window closes at 16 weeks but a lot of people say 12.

    Ideally you would sign up for both classes, but I don't think that's possible. I mean, even the June 5th class is later than I would recommend starting, but it doesn't sound like you have any earlier options.

    So...if you can keep up what you did today, get her out and about and keep meeting new people and be sure to meet new dogs as well, then I wouldn't worry about it as much. So call all your dog friends who have friendly, healthy dogs, and invite them over.

  2. @Anita

    Finances are tight, but on Friday, I can double-check and see if I can spare the $200 for both.

    There really are no other options. There are only three places that give puppy classes in my area, and the third, an Obedience Training Club, starts at about the same time as Joey's, I think.

    I'll definitely keep taking her out. Today I have plans to take her along Grand River in East Lansing, so she can meet 82954 million college students. Parvo and flu are really bad around here this year, so I really want to wait until after she gets her second shots on Thursday before she meets any other dogs besides Kane.

  3. I had a similar incident when I brought my 1.5 year old whippet border collie mix, Dolce home to my 8 and 7 year old greyhound girls. I freaked out when they would yell at him for something, but I have come to realize that they are simply teaching him an important lesson in dog manners.

    Still scares the crap out of me, though!

    Enjoying the story of Ellie :)

  4. Sounds like Ellie had a really busy day, both with meeting other people and with learning some doggy etiquette! I wouldn't worry at all about Kane snarking at her--it's natural, and even Jess (the most tolerant dog ever with dogs that she knows) will tell Lola off if she's being too obnoxious.

    I bet Ellie was trying to take the toy too much, and Kane just decided to tell her that if it's in his mouth, it's his. :) Just be careful not to give them any high value guardy things while they're alone together for a while, just in case.

    -- Sophie from courtoftails (comment form is being wonky!)

  5. All those people she is meeting is perfect! Be sure to also seek out young kids and eldery people as well. Hopefully some of those college kids will be wearing backpacks, hats, and glasses.

    I definitely understand your concern if parvo is big in your area. Do you have friends with healthy dogs Ellie can meet for now (or after her next shot but before her puppy class starts)? If not, then just try to really make up for it when she gets her shots and then when puppy class starts.

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