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.