Saturday, November 23, 2013

Puppy Love

I realized I hadn't blogged about Miss Ivy lately. 

There hasn't been much in the way of "training" lately. As soon as she got the potty thing down, I was just so relieved that she was doing that so well, that I haven't really pushed much else. She knows the sign for "no" although most of the time she ignores it. Typical boxer behavior. 

I just thought I would take a minute to tell you about what she does do.

Her ears do things that kill me. They seem to have their own personality as they grow and morph into whatever they are becoming. Silky, pink, velvety triangles that wiggle and flop. 

She gets dead-panned looks on her face that make my heart hurt and my tummy tickle. 

Her puddles. 
It wrinkles.
As a matter of fact, there isn't much on her that doesn't puddle and wrinkle. 
Her neck begs to be kissed. And, surprisingly, she lets us. 

Her eyes, they do that goggly, boxer thing that is both endearing and hilarious. 
She is exquisite and adorable. 
She's my puppy...and I love her.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Pack Leader-ish

It has become more and more apparent that Ivy is going to require every ounce of the exercise-discipline-affection rule along with the rules-boundaries-limitations rule. Woooweee that girl is stubborn! I've been doing affection-affection-affection. And, while it's been fun, she is now pushing 4 months old and is really needing to learn the gosh darn rules. High-energy is just a mainstay of the boxer breed. Some are more high-energy than others but, if you have a boxer, your going to have to provide an outlet for all that energy. I think this is why so many of these babies end up in shelters. 

Let's face it, we live in a fairly lethargic culture and people don't want to take the time or effort required to raise and keep a pet that is going to obligate them to get up off their butts. 

Sorry for that side-rant

So far, our leash-training/walking exercises have been fairly short sessions. Just a stroll down the road a bit or a walk to the barn. So, today we did a real walk. She went two miles with me. 

When Aimee was here with Daisee...
(This is Daisee, isn't she cute?) 

Anyway, when they were here and went walking with us, Daisee was pulling on the leash and about choking herself, even having to throw up a couple times. I asked if I could have a try at walking her and, within a few minutes of calm-assertiveness and quick concise corrections, she was walking like a champ. I had claimed my victory a THE dog whisperer. 

Yeah, Ivy wasn't nearly as quick to be corrected.
I could feel my patience wearing out and that's bad. Dogs can sense your energy and, if you're not sure of yourself, you can forget about them trusting you with their discipline. 

We stopped a few times and adjusted the collar and leash situation. I would make her sit, catch my breath and compose myself with some calm assurance and we would continue on our journey. 

It wasn't until she started to physically wear out that she began complying and quit pulling and trying to run off with my arm. She is surprisingly strong. 

Even on our last leg home, she was still trying to get away with running ahead and/or sneaking behind me to be on Emma's side and grab HER leash. Oh how she wants to be the pack leader. 

It dawned on me that I had a couple of those prong collars in the barn that we had used on our show goats and that I had seen Cesar Milan (the actual dog whisperer) use them on exceptionally stubborn dogs.

We stopped by the barn and found them. After I took a couple links out of it to fit her tiny widdle head, I put it on her and we walked the last quarter mile home with much less struggling. 

Isn't that just the most horrible awful looking medieval torture device? I've been assured that it only pinches a bit and is actually less painful than a jerk on a nylon collar would be. And, that last bit of the walk was far less effort on my part. 

I do plan on reading more about leash training and those prong collars before our next walk, which will be tomorrow. And the next day, and the day after that and the day after that......

Friday, October 4, 2013


Well, it had to happen sooner or later. With Ivy being completely deaf, we knew she would have to be restricted to the yard and leashed when on walks etc... I figured if Emma was confined to the yard, that Ivy would stay put as well. Wrong. 

My other handicapable dog, Faith, who is blind but gets around with Vulcan-hearing (Rodney says she can hear a flea fart) and a heightened sense of smell (even for a dog) sometimes goes on ventures outside the safety of the yard. Miss Ivy decided to join one evening and about gave us a stroke. 

So, we bought a collar for the invisible fence (or force field as we call it). It's as big as her head and I was reluctant to put it on her at all. One thing I've learned is that a deaf dog (or blind) has a much increased "sixth sense" and will very quickly pick up on your mood and energy. Dogs do this anyway but, a dog that is missing one of their other 5 senses just seems to have an increased ability (or need) to be much more in tune with emotions. And guess what? I am a extremely emotional person. Not only am I having to train a deaf dog to obey but am having to learn to keep my emotions in check for her sake. 

I had to dig down and confidently place the collar on her neck. No pity. No angst. No fear. Calm assertiveness. And she received it happily. 

I've not witnessed her testing her boundaries yet but she has remained in the yard since putting it on. This morning I walked to the shed (which she normally would follow me) but she went as far as the oak tree and sat down and waited for me to return. I assume she figured out where the boundary is in that direction (only about 5 more feet from where she stopped). 

Please understand that it is for her safety. The "correction" that the collar gives is not painful and is certainly a better alternative than having her lost or injured. And, once they learn their boundaries, they rarely test them again. I only mention this because I've had online rants from strangers after they've seen Emma in her collar. *rolling my eyes*. 

We've also not had a potty accident in a week! Hooray for progress!!! 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

13 Weeks

Miss Ivy is 13 weeks old today. According to my bathroom scale she is 19.4 pounds. I think it is a safe to say she's gonna outgrow Emma. We are hoping that Emma gets a little more bluff in on her before that happens because Ivy can be pretty rowdy during playtime. 

We had some house-guests this week which included our little almost-3-year-old nephew and I was very pleased with Ivy's response to him. She had the standard boxer outburst of joy and wiggles and kisses. Luckily, Brayson was just as excited to see her. She is at that critical age where it's important for her to be exposed to plenty of different situations and, so far, she's handled them all beautifully. 

This morning, we had a bit of a break-through. She actually whined because she wanted outside to potty. Not only did she really need to go, but she went out in the rain. I was so proud of her. Up to this point, I've been constantly taking her out after every nap or any time she even walks near the door not even giving her a chance to alert me that she needs to go. I'm definitely not letting my guard down by any means but, I think she has proven that she is getting the picture. 

I also think that once she is completely potty trained that Jenni will be getting some new flooring in the living room. The carpet is 14 years old now and I've raised 2 kids, half a dozen dogs, three litters of schnauzers, not to mention baby goats and who-knows-what has been tracked in on our boots. There's a stain from a RED candle that got knocked over and, a hint of blue near the piano from where Kyle broke a gallon pickle jar of Gatorade. I've shampooed it a million times but it is actually starting to cause me some anxiety now. And, we just can't have that. Im looking into that do-it-yourself laminate flooring. If anybody has had any recommendations or suggestions on this, I'm open for ideas. 

Anyway, Ivy is doing awesome as we continue our progress. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Kennel training

I haven't taken much time to try to kennel train Miss Ivy. The only time we've put her in there was when it was necessary, if we were going to be gone for a while and couldn't have her roaming about. 

She HATED it. I've never seen a dog that upset. She drooled and cried so much in a 45 min span of time that she had a blanket soaking wet. I've heard that deaf boxers can have extreme separation anxiety and, I guess Ivy is no exception. 

She also started being somewhat obsessive with her chew toys (pig ears, oinkies etc) and it was suggested that she only be allowed to have them during kennel time. 

Soooo, I figured I'd better get to work on figuring this whole thing out. First of all, I moved the kennel from an obscure corner in my bedroom to a cozier spot in the living room. Somewhere where she could find solitude but not be completely isolated. Then I got one of her oinkies (it's just a rawhide wrapped chew toy) and offered it to her in the kennel. She got that glazed over look in her eye but I patiently kept offering it to her only if she went in the kennel. She finally surrendered and went in. Of course the first thing she did was grab it and try to run. I made myself a comfy spot on the floor and the game of wits began. 

She would try to high tail it out of the kennel with the oinky and I would stop her, take it away and place it back in the kennel. We did this for about 15 minutes and she finally laid down to chew on it inside the kennel, to which I signed "yes" and smiled as big as I could. She attempted a few more times to sneak it past me but I was consistent and kept on putting it back. Then she decided to give it up completely and crawl in my lap to snooze. I simply placed her in the kennel. She woke up for a second but was pretty worn out from the morning and voluntarily laid down and fell asleep. 

As you can see, Emma is on puppy watch. She actually is more likely on oinky watch, but it's cute nonetheless. 

Anyway, we've made a small step in getting comfortable with the kennel and not dreading it quite so badly. I plan on leaving the door open and hoping she will start voluntarily choosing to sleep and find comfort there. 
Comfort but not solitude apparently. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ivy the farm dog

Ivy quickly figured out what time it is when momma starts gathering milk jars. Time to visit the goat pen...which means milk for Ivy. It's amazing the power goat milk has over a puppy. 

She loves riding in the car but, I am constantly holding in to her pretty tightly for fear that her bravery will overtake her common sense and she'll bale. 
She also has to be tethered to the milking stand while I work. The first time I took her with me off-leash, she decided to go running down the road with Kevin and Emma when a truck was passing and nearly gave me a heart attack. She doesn't seem to mind it at all because she knows what's coming. 
And she patiently awaits it. Sometimes I squirt it directly in her face (which I would have taken a picture of if I had three arms) and sometimes I put it in a little dish for her, you know, proper lady style. 
Either way, she's most appreciative and it makes the whole chore of milking so much more entertaining. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


It was suggested that Ivy have her own Facebook page. Since I already have a personal page, a photography page, one for Ouachita Valley Soap and two blogs...I decided that I would simply start a series of blogs on my farm blog. 

For those of you that don't know, Ivy is our newest addition to the family. Rodney and I (and I actually mean "I") had been toying with the idea of getting another boxer for a while. I follow a lot of boxer pages on Facebook and they seem to always be in pairs, or more. Some of my boxer buddies had even told me that one of the best things I could do for Emma would be to get her a brother/sister to play with. 

So, a few weeks ago, we were having coffee on the deck and I was browsing Facebook and came across a picture that literally made me gasp. It was two little white female boxers and the caption read, "these two little girls are all I have left." To top it off, they were very nearby and for sale from the same breeder that I got Emma from. It was more than I could bear. 

We talked about it a little. I showed Rodney the picture along with pleading eyes and a series of reasons and explanations of how glorious it would be. Nothing was agreed upon but I immediately started messaging the breeder and, within an hour, I was holding the most precious puppy in my arms. 

Upon getting her home, it became very clear that something wasn't quite right. She wasn't responding to any sounds or my voice. I thought maybe she was just overwhelmed by the new surroundings and, typically bully-breed stubborn. I was concerned because I had heard that a lot of white boxers are deaf. I started googling how to tell such a thing and, after a series of tests, it was pretty apparent that I had just become the momma of a deaf boxer baby. The confirmation came when she finally fell asleep and I started shouting her name...nothing. No response at all. 

My first reaction was fear and sadness. I wanted to melt into a puddle and weep. She was so beautiful and could she have a flaw? I felt very overwhelmed like, "what did I just get myself into?" I have a blind dog but she was grown when I got her, very independent and liked outside better than inside so, we just let her figure things out herself. With Ivy, I was dealing with a baby. How in the world do you potty train a puppy that can't hear you? How do you tell them "no" or, this part killed would she know how much I love her if she couldn't hear me say it? 

I laid all my fears aside and decided to just do what I knew to do, and that was to love her. I started researching everything I could about deaf dogs. There is a lot of information out there. I posted a query on facebook and was contacted by a lady who also has deaf dogs and has been an invaluable resource for answering questions. 

One of the first things I learned was that they need to learn to watch you. They need to know that making eye contact and watching for your signal is how they will know what to do and, what not to do. I watched a video that gave a brief explanation of the most common ASL signs for dogs. When the woman in the video started explaining that the dogs knew their names, to come, and even to get in their beds...I was flabbergasted and filled with doubt and insecurity. Not that Ivy couldn't learn it but that I would be able to teach it. So, we started slow. We started with the "watch me" command. 

I was immediately amazed at her willingness to be attentive. Especially with me waving a hot dog around in front of her face. She seemed to know to sit without me even having to explain it. I would slowly bring a piece of hot dog up to my nose, wait until she made eye contact and then reward her. It didn't take long until she was voluntarily staring me down. Talk about melt your heart. Those puppy dog eyes are hard to resist especially when they are working so hard to be obedient. 

Potty training has been quite an experience. The only way for me to congratulate her on going potty outside was for me to bend down to her level, smile and clap and give two big thumbs up. It definitely made me thankful that I live in the middle of nowhere. She seems to know the "potty" command now but has associated it only with peeing. We are working on poop now. She is also at that stage where she knows that its good to potty outside, she just hasn't quite grasped the concept that going inside is bad. Plus, being a baby she has to go every 5 minutes. 

Emma has been amazing. I so appreciate the fact that she can hear and that she is so obedient. A lot of times, I will ask Emma to do something just so Ivy will follow suit. It really is a great help to have her. 

We are BOTH learning patience. Like I said before, it isn't that I doubt Ivy's ability to learn but have great trepidation in my ability to teach. I feel absolutely certain that she was intended for me. That we were fated to be in each others lives. If for nothing more than for my heart to expand to even greater capacity. 

We love her. We love her. We love her. 

I knew after Eddie came into my life that I would probably never be boxer-less again. And, I knew that one day, we would have two. Since Taylor took Charlotte to live with her and Sophie is pushing 14...I reasoned that it was as good a time as any to expand our little family. Rodney is participating greatly in spoiling her. Its so awesome. 

I'll be posting our progress as I'm sure we have many adventures awaiting us.