Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Good Days...And The Bad!


***WARNING***
Long-Winded Post
Be Prepared to Read

Yes, I know this is loooong overdue and that you are probably a bit nervous seeing the title that I have chosen for this posting. Please excuse me but I need to vent a bit about dogs in general and then I'll get on with my happy-go-lucky post on Dublin. :o) If you choose to skip over this part, please see Paragraph Eight for the second half, the "better" half, of my post.

So I've been telling Judd for the past week or so that I've been needing to post something on Jacey's blog about her and Dublin. Between my conversation with Judd last night and Dublin's evening, I have decided to forgo the stacks of laundry that need to be folded, the dishwasher that needs to be emptied, the vacuuming, and all of the other things that I need to get done this morning.

Judd is in Spokane for meetings with work. Some of his co-workers who helped get Jacey her service dog told Judd (and some others that weren't aware of this blog) how great it is and that they love reading it...or something like that anyways. This news helped me go over the edge and ignore my laundry and "housewife/motherly" duties for a moment. The other part that put me over the edge for posting this was in fact Dublin last night. So here comes the venting part....

So, Judd is gone. I have been left to manage the chaos in the house that comes from Bailey, Carsten, Jacey, Kenna, Trevin, and of course, Dublin and Sasha. (Not that Trevin adds much chaos to the mix but I had to add him to make me feel better about saying "chaos".) I felt like I've been doing quite well until last night when Dublin began to irritate me. Yes, you heard me right, irritate me!!! So after a long day of managing the five children and two dogs mentioned above, I was ready for a quiet evening. I was going to attempt to relax and sit my duff in my chair to knit. Well, Dublin was whiny so I figured he needed to go out...so, I let him out. Nope, no potty. Okay, so let him back in, sit down and pick up my knitting. Dublin starts whining again, so I think, "He must be wanting to go in with Jacey and lay on the bed." Soooooo, I let him into Jacey's room where she and Kenna are peacefully sleeping. Close the door and go sit back down in my chair again and... Dublin starts whining at the door. At this point, I'm getting a wee bit irritated with not knowing what his deal is - he already ate dinner, went outside to use the bathroom, and attempted to lay down with Jacey. Add the fact that Jacey is asleep and I would like to continue enjoying the quiet that ensues from this, I'm beginning to become impatient with him. So, I think - okay, I'll put him in his kennel for the night. Nope. That wasn't it either and the two bones that live in his kennel made an amazing deal of noise that surprisingly enough didn't wake Jacey or Kenna up. So, I take the bones out and close the kennel again. Nope, still whining. So, I finally let him back outside in hopes that he'll do his deed and quit whining...which he does! Hallelujah! On his return inside, I note that his paws are somewhat muddy and figure that he'll lay on Jacey's bed to clean his paws with his mouth...like Sasha does. I give up the idea for knitting and figure I'll go to bed. I get comfortable when I hear even more noise coming from Jacey's room and it's not whining. I couldn't figure out what it was, so I figured Jacey must be awake and getting into stuff. So I take my pillow and head to her bedroom. Open the door to find this:

Dublin figured he'd "scratch" it off like he does when he's done doing a download outside.

Carpet worked well, but Dublin thought he'd give it a whirl on Jacey's bed.
This is where I found him when I went in...
I even found chunks of mud on my wall and the dresser!

At this point my cool has left the house and I am extremely frazzled with Dublin.  My evening has not been relaxing and I got absolutely no knitting done.  Dublin goes back into the kennel and I pray that he will be calm so that he may live another day!  And thankfully he chose wisely and is still here today!  :o)

So the next on the venting agenda - Sasha!  Yes, I know this is a blog about Jacey and Dublin but Sasha gets to be a part of it today because she too, is lucky to be alive and still within the walls of our home.  Therefore, venting is needed on this lovely creature.  She has been peeing on my carpet a lot more lately and has taken up the hobby of chewing up things in the yard that are not edible, creating the need for her to throw up in my house at random points throughout the day.  Add the fact, that she has also taken the liking to chewing things up in the house.  She's chewed up a pair of jammie pants, Kenna's little FurReal Puppy, a stuffed animal's eye, a jammie shirt, a few children's board books, and Carsten's Duvet cover in the corner and I can't remember all the rest.  However, she reached her end of living it "free", living the good life of being allowed to roam while we are gone when I came home to find that she had chosen to nibble on this...


Phoebe the Mouse

She only took a few nibbles out of the back of her head, an ear and sweater, when she discovered the top button was quite enjoyable to chew.  Sasha now resides in a sweet little kennel located in our entryway whenever I leave the house.  We've never forced the kennel on her before because she couldn't stand it.  She gets really shaky and will run into another room in hopes of hiding out and skipping out on the kennel.  That's when I take Dublin's training collar and place it around her to walk her to the kennel.  It seems night time is when she really doesn't want to go in it.  She's been better about going in it on her own accord during the day when I go to pick up Jacey or what not, but night time is always a fight.

Okay, thank you.  I feel a LOT better now.  On to the "good" stuff.

Oh wait...I lied!  Dog hair....  I HATE DOG HAIR!  I might as well trade Sasha in for two dogs for the amount of fur she sheds!!!

Notice the amount of black fur versus the white?!

Hey, is that another dog in my house?

The last time I posted I talked about how Dublin was having a hard time bonding to Jacey compared to the other way around.  I finally called and talked with Jeremy, the head trainer at 4 Paws, about this and my concern with his growling. 

So here's my report on the bonding process....  We needed to find an activity that both Dublin and Jacey would enjoy doing together, even if that meant playing tug'o'war with a tug toy.  This was something that was discussed during training in Ohio and that we should not have the dog play in this way.  But Jeremy said that if I were to buy one and only one toy that Jacey and Dublin would enjoy playing with together, it was worth it for the bonding.  I just had to set limits for Dublin in that it was only okay to play tug with Jacey and with this one specific toy.  When the toy goes away, the tugging game is over.  I bought a rope that has a tennis ball on it and Dublin LOVES IT!!!  I have been trying to get Jacey more interested in it by telling her she needs to go get "her" rope from Dublin.  There have been a few times that Jacey will take the rope and run off with it.  Dublin isn't far behind her when this happens!  But for the most part, she prefers throwing it and going on to something else.  Poor Dublin gets teased with the idea of playing with this toy only to have it put away because Jacey has moved on. 

I continue to have her feed Dublin in the morning and have moved away from handing her the bag with the food in it while Dublin is right there.  I try to set it on the counter and move away so that Jacey can get it down and feed him, making it more like Jacey has "control" of the food rather than me.  I have also taken this treat bag, put a few treats in it and placed it on Jacey's pants with the string tightened down on it.  Dublin follows her closely when she has the bag on her hip or even a ziplock bag with a few treats in it. 


video

Dubbie has also gotten a lot better about laying down near her chair when she is working on ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis).  Jacey will always take time to get her beanbag chair if Dublin is relaxing somewhere and join him.  As for when she is aggressive with him, we just need to be constantly giving him praise and treats.  I also need to be better about doing some of the things that Jacey likes to do (deep hugs, head-butting, etc.) while giving him treats when she isn't around so that he becomes more accustomed to it.  So we are moving forward slowly, but definitely forward.


Jacey joins Dublin on his place and decides to look at a book while she's there!


Yep, she loves books and really enjoys loading up on them with her tub.


Dubbie is staying close by in case any treats fall out of her bag!
I also had him do a lap for a few seconds before Jacey wanted him off.


After church, Jacey excitedly gets Dublin out of his kennel to look at a book with him.
(He does not attend church with us.)


I put Dubbie in a down to "hang" with his little girl.


Dubbie goes "over" Jacey as she enjoys his company.

"Here's your breakfast, Bubbie!"

As for the growling...Jeremy said since we've had him out in public and he doesn't growl at people, it is definitely related to Judd, the garage and the smells associated with trapping.  The growling comes because of insecurity and fear.  Dublin has never smelled these things before and they are a bit overwhelming for a dog with amazing sniffer ofactories!  Jeremy said to just let Dublin get used to it over time on his terms.  If he breaks a command or doesn't listen and runs off, let him.  Let him go to his "safe" place.  There we can go and grab his muzzle and tell him no to let him know that we don't approve of his growling. 

We have a coyote that I shot WAAAY back when Judd and I were dating that he had tanned.  Jacey also received one of the fox pelts that was auctioned in her behalf on Trapperman.com when we were fundraising for her service dog.  Jeremy said to place this in the middle of the floor of our house and let Dublin do his thing.  That his been running along the wall while growling to get by them, to laying in the hallway while I am at the couch (he would prefer to be near me), to now pausing along the wall to sniff them out.  He has even been willing to come to the back edge of the couch while I am sitting there to get reassurance from me, in the form of praise and silly talk.  He doesn't growl hardly at them now, just our mud boots that may be at the back door where he goes out.  He skirts away from the mud boots quickly as he goes out the door.  Kind of funny....  The way Jeremy explained it is that the door to the garage that Judd comes in and out of has become the "boogie man" door.  Judd has also become the "boogie man" because of the scents that he carries with him.  Over time though, Dublin should get used to these smells as being normal for our home.  It just is going to take time.

To be honest with you, I haven't really wanted to go anywhere in public with Jacey and Dublin.  I know that's horrible of me to say, but it is true!  Not that I don't want to be in public with them.  Just that I need to be confident with myself in taking at least the three little ones and Dublin.  It is quite a load.  Just picture me with an arm through an infant car seat, a cute little girl in the other that is also holding a dog leash that is attached to Dublin which Jacey is attached to.  Quite the little train I must say.  It would make it even more interesting if Jacey decided to plop herself on the ground and not want to walk.  So, needless to say, I have been working on my skills (or juggling act, whichever you prefer) with taking Dublin out with just Kenna and Trevin.  I am definitely feeling more confident in myself AND Dublin.  I went to Sam's Club a couple of weeks ago with the trio and I was extremely proud of Dublin and for the way he represented service dogs in general.  I stopped to look at a few different clothing tables and each time, I just dropped the leash and Dublin would go into a down.  It was fabulous!  I actually walked away from him and around the corner of one table and Dublin just chilled in a "down".  I am grateful for all the wonderful training that was done by his foster mom and the 4 Paws staff.  If only I could sneak Sasha down there for some one on one training!  Dublin made out quite well with the treats that day!  :o)  Judd and I have even taken him to a couple of restaurants for lunch and he's done fabulous just hanging out under the table. 

Kenna, Trevin and Dubbie wait for our water jugs to fill at Walmart.
"Good boy, Dubbie!"

"Just chillin' with Mom and Kenna."



Dubbie under a restaurant table behaving himself while we feed our faces!
 
Kenna decided she needed to visit Dubbie and give him some love.
This was a great restaurant because there was TONS of room for feet and dog!!!

Can anyone guess where we are?
Hmmmmm....


"Good down Dubbie!"

What a handsome boy!!!

There's that treat bag!

I recently had a PTO meeting to go to and Judd wasn't going to be around to watch the kids.  That meant leaving my comfort zone of just having Kenna and Trevin to now hauling all five kids down to the school with me.  I was grateful that it was just to PTO and nothing like a banquet or dinner or something else that may have caused me to want to go into the fetal position.  :o)  Bailey and Carsten are thankfully very self-sufficient and can manage themselves.  They are also good about walking with Kenna and helping me out with her.  I tethered Jacey to Dublin in the parking lot and proceeded to go inside for the meeting (where I happen to be the PTO President).  Jacey was very good about not sprawling on the ground but walked behind Dublin and me.  It was the best feeling to know that Jacey was, one: walking, and two: not running away from me, and that these two things were happening without me being directly involved!  Jacey did great the entire meeting being tethered to Dublin.  Not one meltdown!  She was able to color and every so often would seek out his treats so that she could give him a few.  The night was a success and my confidence level definitely went up!



Hey, how did this picture get in here?!
 
And this one?  Weird!


Hmmm...strange!  I give up!

Also, the other day I went to pick up Jacey from preschool.  She came out with a folder that was for me and decided she wanted it fiercely.  I got it away from her once to lay it on the front chair of the van.  Unfortunately she got it while I was quickly visiting with her speech therapist.  Go figure!  So I had to take it away from her again.  This sent her into a lovely meltdown where she straightened her back and her legs so that I couldn't strap her into her carseat, all the while screaming.  I eventually got her strapped in but the screaming continued.  I took her hand and opened it, against her liking, and allowed Dublin to "kiss" (lick) it.  I held it for several seconds in hopes that it would stop the meltdown.  It only made her madder.  I gave up on it, closed the van door and went around to get into the driver's seat.  By the time I sat down in front of the steering wheel, there were giggles coming from the back seat - from Jacey!  Apparently, she decided that it was an okay idea to let Dublin "kiss" her hands.  She also had lunch on her face that he enjoyed trying to get to.  I am sure that without Dublin there, the ride home would have been one of the hundreds of others before - when Jacey would scream the entire ride home.

On the way to school...

So, what do I hope you get out of this long-winded post?!  It is that life continues to be insanely busy, crazy with five kids and two dogs but that Dublin is doing his job better everyday!  I feel more confident in my skills as Dublin's handler in public.  Jacey loves her dog, and the fact that she can take her dog anywhere she goes is awesome.  It is a very wonderful feeling knowing that because of Dublin, I can juggle Jacey and four other kids.  Jacey is so much happier these days and loves to search out dogs in books and says "doggie"  throughout the day.  I am so grateful for the people that made Dublin a reality - both those that helped us meet our fundraising requirement and those that trained Dublin in preparation of coming to live with us.  Please know that Jacey, and all of us, have been forever blessed by having Dublin in our home.  Thanks. 

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading my miniature novel (or is it a blogel?).  It feels great to have it done and have you all updated on our little adventure!  'Til next time...


Amy

***Oh...and I'd love to see more "followers" of my blog.  So, if you want to make a housewife happy, click "follow" at the top.  Thanks!  Comments would be fabulous as well!  Go ahead, tell me how crazy you think I am!!!  :o)


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4 comments:

  1. I LOVE that you are honest. We've raised enough money for our dog. I just had to record all the situations I could for the trainers. I felt terrible because I basically had to neglect her to get her to give her distressed sounds. If I'd only waited until after she'd started physical therapy.

    I am a bit worried about being able to handle a dog on top of everything else we have going on. It's good to hear that you are thriving so well.

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  2. Love the honesty. It's good to see how things are going!

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  3. Thanks to Judd for sharing your blog with us while we were in Spokane this week. Look forward to seeing future updates about Jacey's progress and your beautiful family!

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  4. Thanks for sharing! We just received our fundraising package in the mail this week and are excited to be part of the 4 Paws Family :)
    (www.paws4thor.com

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