Sunday, December 30, 2007

Teenage Dog, other stuff too

My baby dog is growing up! And all the sudden I'm noticing it in a big way. Last night we had "Fight Night" at our house where we order a Pay-Per-View of UFC Championship. We've hosted it a couple times and I have fun because I get to entertain several people and cook for them. I've made my home made chili the last two times and it's a hit. But anyway I digress....

Foenix is now almost 14 months old and starting to test me and he's trying to find his fit in to our lives as an adult dog. This is a hard time for both the dog and owners and the most common ages for dogs I get in my training business (around 12-16 months of age is average.). This is due to changing dynamics in the pack. The dog is maturing, but not yet fully trained, tests training/manners boundaries and if so compelled the dog will try and move up rank in the home and with guests. A young dog, just like a young adult human is very unsure of himself, and yet strives to change without the complete set of 'tools' they will need at this time. They will try and make things happen even if it's unwise timing.

Foenix is testing Eric and I a little bit. It could be worse and we are dealing with it well, its just small things at this point, like marking in the dog room. So I've taken back some of his freedom in the house and implemented a leash-drag to give us more control of him. Sounds like a lot but really it's average things we are doing. Foenix is a secure dog who is pretty sure of his place and well trained and that makes so much difference at this time of his life.

Back to last night.... Well one guy we had here watching the fights on TV was a person we've known for a long time and Foenix has met him several times. I had Foenix in his crate most of the night because I was cooking and stuff. So when he came out I gave him his beloved bucket to play with. He loves to "kill" buckets and he will really tire himself out playing. I love it because he will keep himself occupied and give me some space. Anyway Foenix had his bucket and this man came over and started rubbing Foenix on his back and ears. And my pup decided he didn't like that and growled a very obvious warning to our guest. He looked so scary!! He was lip-licking (a clear sign intent) and he froze over the bucket (another clear sign of aggression, even without the growl) and his pupils blew up huge and his eyes glittered green!! (again a clear sign of agitation).

And you know what the guy did? He continued to pet and rub my dog without acknowledging the clear warning!!! I stayed where I was and had to yell at the guy to get away from the dog three times before he looked up at me and stepped away. Let me tell you I was so proud of Foenix for his control and not biting this guy. Foenix was actually very appropriate and his reaction was very good. He showed excellent restraint in the situation. However I will never put him into that position again because I cannot risk my dog for the stupidity of a person!! Foenix will play ball or tug with anyone, but now I know that he will guard his toys from people and I will work on him with that to make sure it does not get out of control. With Eric and I Foenix never guards things, he will allow us to take anything from him, even food items. But with others I would never alow this to happen and I won't make this mistake again.

Rules for Teenage Dog.... and Teenage People!!

1. Define rules and boundaries clearly -- Black and White!
2. Keep consistent expectations!
3. Practice manners and reward good behavior!
4. Keep consequences fair and just, but also swift and to the point!
5. Give them lots of good things to do, otherwise they will find plenty of bad things to do!
6. Be patient, losing one's patience makes you seem weak and therefore ineffective!
7. Spend time with them, even whey they'd rather be doing something else!
8. Make things fun and upbeat no matter how much you'd rather go hide!
9. Remind yourself that this to shall pass...
10. Don't forget they are not quite adults yet, therefor still in need of your constant guidance!

Some other stuff...

We have only about six more weeks to go before Hannah is due :) I'm looking forward to her being on the outside cause she is getting too big for the inside, LOL. I'm tired lately and feeling ready to be done with this, I feel as big as a house. Yet people tell me I'm carring her small, that's nice to hear. Her room is not even close to being started let alone finished so Eric and I have a lot to be doing in the next month.

Ok I'm done for now.....

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My Christmas and Other Stuff

I really need to start blogging more often. But my excuse is that this Christmas has been the busiest, craziest one ever. I mean E-V-E-R!! I don't really care to analyze why, but it just has been. Even Eric seems to think it was unusual, and he isn't even carrying a bunch of extra weight strapped to his abdomen!! he he.

I hope everyone out there had a very good and safe Christmas. I know we did. This year it was our turn to go to my side of the family. I love Christmas with Eric's family too. We have very similar traditions. The thing I will say is that my family tends to take far fewer pictures, thus far fewer embarrassing pictures of me eating or talking with a stupid expression on my face. LOL!! And believe me! I don't want my picture taken right now. But, all joking aside, I do love each and every holiday with the In-Laws, they are always special to me.

We spend Christmas Eve dinner at my sister, Lori's, house with her family. Her husband Tom, three daughters, Tierra 17, Jeanie 16, and Kaila 9. I'm very close with all my sisters, all 4 of them. And I have a total of 13 nieces and nephews!! So we had a wonderful dinner of prime rib, and all the trimmings. It was delicious, but alas I cannot eat very much and even though I tried to go lite when dishing up my meal I ended up with half of it left...which Eric promptly noticed and took over. :)

Then we went back to my Mom's house and spent the night there with my Mom, Dad, and sister Jackie. Jackie is my oldest sister. She went and got her daughter from Seattle where she lives with her dad. So my niece Sydney came over on Christmas morning and opened all her gifts and went out to find her girlfriends in the neighborhood to play. They Eric and I went back up to my sister, Lori's place and stayed the night there. It was fun and we even enjoyed a White Christmas, but no accumulation. The snow melted right away, but it was fun to watch!!

We got back home yesterday evening. The dogs went with us if you are wondering. Foenix got to play with Lori's 7 month old Rotti girl, Zoey. Zoey is a nice pup, but needs lots of training. Lori's husband, Tom is considering sending Zoey to my house for a couple weeks of training. The thing is I'm not sure how much good that would do as it's really training the owners and not the dog that counts. Zoey is smart and typical of a Rotti- somewhat sensitive, but likes to be in charge. Zoey has the best "selective hearing" I've ever seen on such a young dog. But really she's a pumpkin of a baby and very sweet. For what training she has she does well with.

Foenix usually overwhelms other dogs with his energy level, so I was careful of how he and Zoey played. Once Zoey found out that he was a good wrestler she was very happy to rough house with him and they had an awesome time. I think Zoey is the first dog that Foenix has ever played so fair with and had such a good time. I'm glad to see he has a compatible play partner now....and I have to honest when I say I was also happy that he tired himself out with her so I didn't have to do it. Lately I just don't have the stamina to keep him occupied and exercised properly. But we do the best we can and he gets regular training.

I could write more but I'm too tired and need to get some housework done.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

My Reason for this Blog -- Bite Prevention and Training

I just got a comment from an non-family member, which was a pleasant surprise :) I was not sure who, if anyone, other than my family ever reads this. So it got me thinking again about why I started this blog and I'd like to outline my reasons.

First of all I wanted to have an on-going diary of my pregnancy, and now soon to come, my daughter. But my bigger goal was to show people how dogs and children can interact in a home or public in a safe manner. If you care to look at dog bite statistics it is startling how many children are bitten by dogs each year. And even more surprisingly the majority of those bites come from in the home. The family dog is most responsible for bites and attacks on kids. It is all too sad and, in fact, a very preventable problem. What gets to me so much is how this problem is on the rise, not decline. Why is this happening?? So I would like to chronicle the training of all my 3 dogs to be with my children, the ups and downs of this new chapter in all our lives.

As I've explained in my first post, I have three dogs. One Rat Terrier/Basenji mix dog, Buddy, of 18.5 years old, one 6 year old Papillon Zeke (who is slightly spoiled rotten) and one year old Working German Shepherd dog, Foenix. I also mentioned the French Ringsport training I've been doing with him. This training involves teaching the dog to bite a decoy. This is where I would like to dispel some myths regarding canine aggression and having a dog in the home that is taught when and where to bite. Most pet dogs are taught the opposite things -- Do Not Bite People!! And yet I have Foenix, a dog being taught to bite, in my house living as a member of my family, just as my two other dogs do. Is this safe? I will not answer that right now, but hopefully allow anyone caring to read my blog come to their own conclusions.

Part of the equation for a safe child and dog friendly home is the training both the children and dogs get. Another large part of it is the base, natural temperament of the dog. I'm sorry to say that many so-called "child friendly" dogs are really not that friendly, they only tolerate the attention from the little ones. Unfortunately the people watching the interactions are all to ignorant of what is really going on in the dog's mind. And when the dog has been pushed too far and the adults back is turned, even for just a second, terrible things happen. Often resulting in a dogs death and sometimes reconstructive surgery for the child.

On another topic.....

Eric has been going to the chiropractor for a couple weeks now and he's doing somewhat better. The sciatica he's having just needs time to work its self out in a way. Poor Eric is praying for it to be over soon-- it's almost been a month since he's been normal. We are all getting weary of the problem!!

And one more topic change....

I went in for my obstetrician check up yesterday!! Everything is looking good, we have now picked out Hannah's pediatrician and are on the books for our pre-registration at the hospital and tour of the birthing suits. We also picked out which class we are going to. We chose the 8 hour one-time class due to our unpredictable schedules. I'm very excited!! :D

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Foenix is starting another bout of Pano as of two days ago. Its affecting his right hind leg, it's very painful at times. He won't put weight on it at all for at least part of the day. For some information on this condition check this out: Pano Information
He's not had any pain for about three weeks so it was time for him to get it again. This time the onset of pain was more rapid than before. One time recently it took a week for the pain to get bad enough that he quit putting weight on the leg. I'm hoping that this bout will pass and he'll be ok for training on Tuesday. Well even if he's still having some trouble we are still going to training for more than one reason. He needs the outlet and I need to go to the club and talk with them a little more. I am contemplating printing out a copy of the conformation email I sent them....still am unsure about that.

Hannah is doing will, lots of kicking and she seems to keep very low in my pelvis all the time. When we had our first ultrasound at 18 weeks she was in the classic head-down position and I was surprised to see that. The Tech told me some babies spend most of the pregnancy in this ready-set-birth position. I've read a lot about birthing, babies and pregnancy lately. It seems most first time mothers get to this place in the pregnancy call "Lightening" where the baby will drop into the pelvis in the birthing position. I've read that this causes eases the breathing and Shortness of Breath and heartburn that horrifies us in the latter weeks (months). But it seems my little over-achiever and stays in that spot most of the time. I did have about two weeks of very bad heartburn but that seems to have passed (knock on wood). But what I do have is lots of trips to the potty with little 'return' for my efforts. I probably go about 15 times a day and usually a couple times a night. And this is not from a UTI or anything like that, just my little darlings' head crushing my pelvic floor and bladder. Lucky me, LOL :)

My stretch marks are getting worse :( but they could be a lot worse than they are so I guess I won't complain too much. I use the Palmers Coco Butter stuff but I truly doubt it does any good. But I like it cause it smells good and feels good rubbing it on. I also put it elsewhere and it does a great job with any chapped skin.

Ok so I'm about to get pretty graphic with some skip this next paragraph if you think might not want to know certain things about my pregnancy.

I mentioned in an earlier post about no leaking from my mammaries. Well I can say now that I know what colostrum looks like!! The other night I started leaking slightly and I was totally grossed out by it. I mean, I've seen horses, goats, dogs, cats, rats, mice, even other mother's do it. But ME? Oh yuck. I can't really say why it bothers me other than it just seems totally animalistic and strange. I look forward to nursing Hannah and will continue to do so as long as I can, maybe even up to one year, but for some reason I was taken back by the leakage. It was embarrassing. But I will tell you, as strange as it was, I now look for it all the time and am also fascinated by what my body is doing without my consent. Hmmm...I'm still getting used to the idea that apart from the conception I really have no part in this pregnancy. I am merely the vessel. It happens with or without my consent. I have no control over it. But I'm glad cause if it were up to me to make my daughter she would be surly be missing some body parts or something because I really could not put the time into planning a healthy child. Thank you God for that!!!

Ok end of 'personal time' and you can read beyond this if you wish....

Note to self..go pick up more prenatal vitamins..

Eric is doing well at work. Today he had a visit were the Auto Center Regional Manager was there watching and observing for the day. It stressed Eric a little, but I know he did a good job. I'm proud of my husband for the hard work he puts into his job even though it is not what he'd like to be doing. Love you honey!! Thanks for hanging in there for us.

Obviously I'm running out of things to say, so I'll end here. Good night! :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Had a Strange Day!!

I'll start at the beginning. That's logical right? I have to ask the question because today was so strange and such a roller coaster I need to ask. LOL :D

First thing at 8AM Eric and I were both up and getting ready to take Foenix to Ringsport Training. I was especially excited because we've not been for over a month due to finances, Foenix having Pano and altogether a really busy schedule!! On Thursday I got a call from the Training Director's wife she talked with Eric first actually, then I called her back. She was, as usual, very nice and was calling to check up and see how we were. I talked with her for a while and then I asked about Eric and I coming to train on Tuesday since we both had the day off. She asked her husband and I heard him say, "yes, but it needs to be early". So we decided that 10AM was the time and it was set....or was it??

I got off the phone and jokingly told Eric that I was not sure if they would remember the conversation, LOL. Such prophetic words...HA! I just had a feeling about it.

After thinking about it I emailed them the next day to confirm the appointment. Not expecting a reply because I've written lots to them without a reply, but they always seem to have gotten the email by the next time I see them. So fast forward to today and we get up to the club and no one is there. Hmmm...we honk, walk around their house and still nothing. So we leave. More about this later in the post.

One thing I did not mention is that on the way to the club we stopped off to get some Cliff Bars and I always get a small carton of milk to drink. It tasted funny to me right off, but I had brushed my teeth a few minutes before so I continued to drink the milk...big mistake!!! When I got down to about two swallows left I suddenly felt 'something' touch my lips and I pulled the carton away to see a big, slimy, gross, thing slap the side of the milk carton. I almost drank this stuff!! Oh-MY-Goodness I was instantly nauseous, Eric looked at me then the carton and didn't know what to do. I could not speak for fear of just puking all over the inside of his car. I finally got to tell him to pull over, and proceeded to empty my guts on to the Subaru dealership pavement. Right next to an Espresso stand-- so I had an audience. Ewww. So that was strike one of the day.

So we met my Mother-in-Law at the office as we were going into have an ultrasound. She was very excited to be there to see her granddaughter. :) Just before going in Eric got a call from the auto-repair shop that had our SUV (the transmission was going out) and the guy tells Eric that the job will cost us $3100.00!! That was above our highest estimate cost and was a shock. So I did what all pregnant women seem to do so well. I had a small emotional breakdown right there. Strike three. Am I out yet? Nope...

So the ultrasound was fun and we found out that my cervix are not dialating early as we thought. ( I had started to have contractions that felt real to me). We got to see our daughter, confirmed the sex. She's a she. We also got to see her feet, face and hands. They are so cute. As of today I'm 30 weeks and 6 days along, and Hannah weighs 3 lbs 10 oz. I could also see that she has my high cheek bones! Her face is pretty cute!! We got some pics of her foot and arms. What cute little feet she has. I'm in love. :sigh:

So after going back to shopping we decided to have dinner out. Then home bound we were. We let the dogs out and I was in the house getting things put away when I brought the dogs back in about 15 minutes later. First Buddy and Zeke came in then Foenix. He was carrying something in his mouth. It looked like a stuffed animal, but there were not stuffed animals in the back yard. Then I realized I just watched him bring in a wild bunny. We have several that live on and around our property. I followed Foenix in time to see him proudly spit it in the middle of the living room. The bunny was still alive, but barely. I burst into tears and started calling for Eric. He came inside with some firewood and was shocked to see the poor little bunny.

I put Foenix in his crate and then we got a laundry basked lined with a towel and Eric gently put the rabbit in it. It was clear that Foenix had shaken the little thing and broke it's back as the hind legs were immobile. It was clearly in shock and was not going to live. I was so sad and still am. I don't blame the dog, he was just doing what nature tells him to do. But I was attached to this bunny and family and was truly saddened by his fate. Strike four. Mr. Bunny died a short time later. :(

Well all in all the day was a roller coaster. I'm emotionally drained and tired. Going to be. Goodnight.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Long time not posting...

Alright, so I was slacking off here a bit. I've been busy with lots of dog training, working and general holiday preparation.

First of all looks like Foenix's training is put on hold for a while. We don't have the money to be paying our training dues at the club. I don't feel really bad about it at all, but Foenix is really bored lately. He tries to be so good in the house but his energy level just can't handle the down time for very long.

You wanna know what he did today? Do the math: One Under Exercised Dog + Heavily rained on back yard + too much time in back yard = dog that digs crater next to house and comes to the door the color of a Chocolate Labrador instead of a Black Sable GSD. LOL!!!! OY Vey. I marched him to his crate, and let him partially dry off before marching him into the bath tub. One thing about our puppy is he is a water baby from the word GO! He would stay in the bath for as long as I wanted him to just to jump back in after he is dried off. Bathing was no big deal to him and I'm just thankful that he is not a dog I have to wrestle around. I just could not do that right now.

That is how my day started. Dog bath, my bath afterwards and cleaning muddy paw prints off my carpet. Eric has a pinched nerve in his back and it's giving him so much pain, today was his worst day since Thanksgiving. He could not stand up straight again and so he took his full dose of pain meds tonight. He is going to have to see the Chiropractor tomorrow or Friday at the latest.

My alternator went our in my car on Saturday of last week. Eric ordered the part and was fixed yesterday. It felt awful to be trapped at the house but I dealt with it. Makes me very aware of how I take my car for granted, kinda like when the power is out and you go into a room and try to turn the lights on.

My next thing this week was the big storm we had. Lots of flooding and road damage all over our area. We had a huge sink-hole now next to our local bowling alley. While the storm was brewing and I was trapped at the house I asked my Father-in-law to come and take me to the store so I could deposit my paycheck, mail a letter and get some dry kindling for our fire. He was such a gem and came over without hesitation. Have I mentioned how great my In-Laws are? Well if I have not, I should have because they are a blessing to me in so many ways. Now that I am writing this I am realising that I don't pray for or about them enough and will have to make a more conscious effort to do so. I hope they know how much I appreciate them.

I was having some braxton-hicks contractions a couple weeks ago. They suddenly stopped. If you don't know what those are here's link to tell you : Braxton Hicks Information
They are not painful, but they are very noticeable and I would get them, for instance, if I was vacuuming or doing a lot of bending over while cleaning or whatever. They are a normal part of an average pregnancy and are nothing to worry about. But when my Father-in-law took me to the store three days ago I started having some different kinds of contractions. They felt totally different. My belly would get hard and then seemed to relax but the contraction feeling did not go away. In fact this would last for up to three minutes at a time and go on and off for an hour. It was not painful, but uncomfortable. I was not about to panic as I had a Doctor's appt. scheduled for today. But I did have them again yesterday, same thing. It feels like I did a bunch of crunches really fast, that's how it feels when this is going on. My abs were really fatigued feeling. I know fatigued abs too, I used to do 300 crunches every night!!

Today at the doctor I told her about this 'thing' with contractions (?) going on and asked her what she thought. She was slightly concerned about it and ordered an ultrasound to check my cervix to make sure they are not thinning and dilating already. She was not overly concerned as this could just be stronger braxton-hicks but she wants to make sure I am not going into pre-term labor. I'm 30 weeks along now so if I did go into labor early Hannah would very likely be fine and healthy though pretty small. In the end this is nothing to panic about, I do have an ultrasound scheduled for Tuesday and we will see what, if anything, it shows. Honestly it sounds worse than it really is...I didn't have any of these contractions today at all. Maybe I was just worried about having no car or something? I don't know but I don't feel like this is a big deal, but it will be nice to have it checked out.

I am very anxious to meet my baby. This is new for me, even though I've been excited about it for a long time. I had a very vivid dream a few nights ago about her and I woke up laughing at myself. I dreamt that she was born walking and eating regular food and that she could communicate her needs to me without guess work on my part. Oh what a dream that is. Also she was really cute and I had lots of fun with her. I can easily pick out my anxieties about becoming a Mother by this dream. I seem to be worried about meeting her needs, her development and if she will be cute or not. (that makes me sound so shallow doesn't it). I swear I don't really care what she looks like as long as she is healthy...but my subconscious says differently.

Since that dream I have been very excited about meeting her and seeing who she is. I think this is a gift from God telling me to be excited and look forward to being a Mom. Eric is also excited, but to a lesser degree. Naturally he does not have the same feelings about this as I do because he cant feel her move around constantly and doesn't have the dreams I've had. It will probably hit him hard about the time she is with us for the first 24 hours. It makes me all emotional to think of Eric as a father because of my own up bringing. Already our child is blessed beyond measure to have Eric as a Father and my wonderful In-Laws and family to be a part of.