Tuesday, November 29, 2016

False Pregnancies

Suck.  Or maybe I should say that Miley's false pregnancies suck.  It's two months of her emotions messing with her mind and driving both she and I crazy.  Miley gets clingy and emotional/depressed during this time.  It's not uncommon to find her standing in the kitchen with her tail tucked, head hanging and emitting a quiet, high pitched whine.  For no apparent reason.  She's upset and she has no idea why, but it surely is the end of the world.

Before Dominic entered the scene, Miley's moping and whining was so bad that I really thought I was going to lose it.  There was no appeasing her.  I couldn't put her in a crate, because she would just whine non-stop.  Leaving her loose in the house created the beaten looking dog in the kitchen.  Occasionally I could get her to settle on the couch, but that was usually only as long as I was on the couch with her.  As soon as I got up, she was up.

Now that the ever exuberant Dominic is around, once Miley starts whining, he's there in a flash to pounce on her and shake her out of it.  That lasts as long as they're playing, but once he wanders off to something else, it's back to depressed Miley.

She becomes incredibly motion and sound sensitive.  Any creaking of anything in the house unnerves her.  Motion of any sort, particularly on the periphery of her vision, has her wipping around with tail tucked.  When we're training inside the house, the sound of the wind outside, even faint, can cause her to break her stay and come running up to me.  Dominic adjusting his position on the dog bed while he holds a down stay and I work her, will cause the same tail tucked, melting reaction.  the noise sensitivity isn't just in the house either.  Its any where that we go.  Hiking, to the pet store, just out on a walk.  Trying to work her through it and somehow desensitize her hasn't seemed to work.  I realize that its somehow hormone related, so that doesn't make it easier to get at the root of the problem.  And then after the two months are up, these symptoms gradually fade.

Probably the most irritating and difficult to predict the onset of is the furniture chewing.  It happens each time and I haven't been able to pin point the timing in the false pregnancy when it occurs.  She has nibbled on the base boards in the crate room, my bedroom door frame, a small section of the office room door frame, a little bit on my bed frame, but most irritating is my dresser.

She hasn't damaged the structural integrity of it, yet.  But as you can see, she's done some damage.  I thought I had things under control by putting up a baby gate to my bedroom any time I wasn't home.  That kept her from continuing to chew on my dresser.  But she decided to move on to the couch.

I'm really not happy about that one.  At this point, I have no idea what she might chew on, so she is now crated whenever I'm not home.  I have no idea what kicks off the chewing.  It seems to be anxiety related, maybe separation anxiety as she only does it when I'm not home.  And a couple of the times (the dresser and the couch) she did that while Dominic was loose in the house with her too, so it couldn't have been for lack of companionship.  She is definitely way more anxious when she's going through the false pregnancy than at any other time, so the separation anxiety theory makes sense.  I just don't get it though!

Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to Miley's uterus and ovaries taking a one way trip out of this household so that I can get my normal Miley back.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

November Wrap Up

I know that November isn't quite over yet, but I've got non-catch up blog posts that I want to get to and Christmas decorating to get after!  November was an eventful month!  The first weekend I was in Bend for what turned out to be just a weekend get away with friends.  Originally I was going to run a half marathon, but I've been plagued by a hamstring injury that finally forced me to do some much needed physical therapy, so I withdrew from the race.  My friend Bre was still running it and I definitely wanted to cheer her on, so what not have a fun weekend in Bend to boot?  It was a GORGEOUS four days filled with hiking around Smith Rock and the painted hills as well as some delicious brewery hopping.  Just what the doctor ordered!

And I'm not sure if you heard, but an election happened.  I won't get into politics on here, though, so don't worry.  I find those conversations best to be had in person if both parties are willing.  Instead of spending my evening glued to the TV, I took advantage of the nice weather to take the dogs for walks and start fiddling around with night time pictures.  I did go for a patriotic slant in as much as there's a flag in the pictures.

On the 9th, Dominic turned one year old!  I can hardly believe my little snugly puppy is a year old already!  He's got this hilarious mixture of "hey girl" swagger combined with derpy boy puppy that has me over flowing with cuteness aggression at times.  I'm constantly entertained by him.

Training wise, I've been making sure that I'm consistent with getting the dogs out to a different location each week to work on distraction training.  I'm getting a pretty good grasp on how long it takes Miley to acclimate and what sorts of things will draw her attention away from me.  What I'm really impressed with is that she has started using giving me attention and swinging into heel position as a way of dealing with distractions that she's a little unsure of.  She's starting to use that position and eye contact connection as a support system and that is EXACTLY what I want her to think of it as.  The few times she's done that, I've mondo rewarded her.

Dominic has also been impressing me.  He hasn't had much distraction training and definitely hasn't had as much obedience training as Miley, but he has shown me that there is definitely some really good potential in there.  He's already working for longer durations (longer durations for him could be a 30 second heeling "pattern") before getting his reward.  Granted, he is HIGHLY food motivated and knows that the treat is coming, so that definitely helps.  But he is understanding the concept of work mode and getting rewarded for that as well as starting to understand that he gets rewarded for checking in.  There's the glimmer of the beginnings of understanding how to ask to work, but that's still pretty faint and probably more coincidence with him feeling like he's gotten a good grasp on the environment.

With the days getting dark so early, I have to admit that I'm feeling a little uninspired when it comes to picture taking.  Giving myself the personal challenge of figuring out outdoor evening shots has helped.  Thankfully we've got Christmas coming up and that is filled with picture ideas! :) I did take a few random videos of the dogs on some of our little jaunts and put them together.  There's even a clip in there complete with Dominic using me as his braking system.  Freaking boy puppies.

And then there was that big eating holiday recently. :) The dogs got their own special Thanksgiving dinner with a cornish game hen each.

Here's to this week hopefully being a gentle one.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

October Wrap Up

October was a fun month.  I had planned on getting Miley spayed and gastropexied at the beginning of it.  My mental math at the time put her due to go into season again at the beginning of November.  As it turns out, I was remembering incorrectly.  She was due at the beginning of October (something I actually didn't realize until I started updating the blog!) and like clock work, she came into season.  I cancelled the spay and got ready to hunker down for a potentially irritating three weeks.  I have never had an intact male at the same time that I've had an intact female, let alone while the female is in season.  Thankfully Dominic was still young enough that he didn't completely lose it.  Actually, for the first week and a half things were going pretty smoothly.  Other than a lot of sniffing from him, I could still let them hang out together in the house while supervised.  Then the part of the cycle hit, as it always does, where the girls become undeniable.  Dominic never went off his food, but it did get to the point where I put an x-pen up to divide the house.  And eventually I was keeping them at opposite ends of the house and out of each others' sight.  Under ordinary circumstances, I would have felt bad keeping them separated like that and splitting my time between the two.  At the time, though, both of their brains were so hormone addled that all Miley wanted to do was lay down and be mopey and all Dominic wanted to do was be in constant motion while he tried to comprehend what his body was doing.  It was a bit much at times.  There were a couple nights of mournful howling.  It's a little fuzzy now whether I was part of that.  But we made it through.  And now have Miley's wonderful false pregnancy to live through.....

Also in October, I got some family photos back that we had taken in the spring.  The photographer is a friend of mine, Danielle of HOW Pictures. :) She does a great job of capturing moments that will melt your heart.  This photo shoot was without exception.  Here are a few of our pictures:

And with October being the Halloween month and this being Dominic's first Halloween, naturally I had a little fun with him. ;)

We also managed to fit in a little Christmas card shoot!  But those pictures are going to have to wait until December. ;) While a chunk of the month was preoccupied with juggling the hormones swirling in my house, I did take a little bit of video.  Here are some of the random moments I caught:

And the biggest news of today, THE OREGON STATE BEAVERS BEAT THE UNIVERSITY OF OREGON DUCKS!!!! Woo hoo!!!!

I did a little then and now on Instagram...

I could not for the life of me find my OSU flag, but I guess that just gives us goals for next year! Some of our previous Civil Ware moments can be found here and here.  Happy weekend everyone!

Friday, November 25, 2016

September Wrap Up

September was a full month, but at a much more doable pace.  I didn't have weekend days that were double and triple booked.  And I wasn't doing any travel for the entire month!!  Which also meant that I had the time to have a regular training schedule with the dogs!!  July and August were full of fun outings and great times, but I was really looking forward to being home and re-establishing a more normal routine.  One of the weekends we did head down to Silverton to hang out with my parents.  The dogs had a pretty miserable time while there...

Dominic was finally old enough, the weather moderate enough and the location ideal that he got to come along on one of the group hikes I planned!  We started off with a light hike to Niagara Falls.  You read that correctly.  There's a Niagara Falls in Oregon.  I know.  Weird.  It was not the most impressive looking waterfall considering it was September and we hadn't had much rain throughout the summer.  But it was a fun little hike!

After that, we headed to the beach!  It was a GORGEOUS day out a Proposal Rock in Neskowin.  This was Dominic's first time getting off leash on the beach.  He was not thrilled about the water and made sure to not even get his feet wet, but that boy can seriously make for some pretty pictures!

Now that I was able to make time for it during the week, I started taking the dogs out to various locations to do distraction training.  Part of that training was working on stays.  And I figured that since I was there and had my phone, I might as well take some pictures during those stays. ;)

One of the parks we went to even had a little fairy and miniature garden gnome set up off to the side of the path.  That my friends, is how you know you live too close to Portland....

After Dom's breeder saw some of the pictures I'd taken of him and how he was maturing, she asked if I could get a good stacked shot of him to potentially put into an add.  At that point, I realized that I had done basically no conformation training with Dominic.  With each subsequent dog I somehow do less and less actual conformation training, to the point with Dominic that he hasn't even been to a single conformation class.  It's not the end of the world and it's not like a performance sport where the dog really does need to understand what's expected of them.  I can use food, I can chatter at him constantly throughout his time in the ring and I can touch him as much as I want to.  The only thing that he really does need to get used to is me manipulating his legs in ways that he's not used to and eventually get used to the judge doing the ole testy check (I feel really bad for boy dogs in conformation!).  But hey, we'll give the ole stacked shot a go and see what we come up with.  I hit up my friend Andy on relatively short notice and asked him if he'd be willing to help me get the shot I was looking for.  While he hasn't shown dogs, I explained how Dominic needed to stand and at what angle the shot was preferred to be at (since he's built pretty well and I'm not looking to hide anything, we wanted the full on side profile shot to showcase everything).   I also warned him that Dom had basically no specific training for this and I wasn't sure how cooperative he was going to be not only for me hand stacking him, but hand stacking him in a distracting outdoor setting.  Once we had everything figured out and were heading to the park location, naturally, it started raining.  And continued to rain the entire time we were there.  Despite the rain, Andy got some shots that I am absolutely in love with!

My little puppy was starting to look grown up!  Dom's breeder picked the second picture to include in an add for the Great Dane Review issue that was coming out during the national specialty in October.  The add was to showcase Dom's sire's get.  I was pretty pleased with how Dominic did out at the park.  I was doing things with him that he wasn't used to me doing and he was behaving in a pretty distracting environment while it was raining on us to boot.  Because I do so many other random things with him, I was pretty confident that he would sort of figure things out based on my body language and general ways that I moved and signals that I gave him that I could pull from other things that I've asked him to do.  Now I just need to convince people to cup my dog's balls and we'll totally be ready for the conformation ring! ;)

Again, I didn't take a ton of videos during the month, but I put a small compilation together of what I did take.  I hope everyone had a delicious and relaxing Thanksgiving!!