Who's Teaching Whom?
DH and the kids stayed home from church with the dogs this morning. We didn't want to leave the two dogs alone together, and Baby was having diarrhea all over the place at the time (from the change in food, etc.).
One of the elders had specifically asked DH to make sure I came to church today, as the passage was James 5:13-18, and the elders wanted to anoint me with oil and pray for me. DH and I were so busy cleaning up dog diarrhea from the carpet that we didn't get the kids ready to go in time, and they wanted to stay with the dogs anyway, so I went to church by myself.
The message was excellent, and at the end of the service they designated different areas in the sanctuary where people could go to pray alone, sit to be prayed with by members of the prayer team about anything, or go to have the elders anoint them with oil and pray for healing of sickness. I went with the last group and was blessed by having a couple of the elders talk and pray with me and anoint me with oil.
Then I came home and we had lunch, I laid down for a few minutes, and then we had our home group Bible study. Both dogs (Baby and Kelly, the dog I'm dogsitting) did great during that, and didn't get at all upset by having new people in the house.
After that we took the dogs for a walk. Baby does not heel well when there's anything interesting going on. She pulls on the leash, but at least so far not so hard that she injures me. I'm going to have to work with her on that. Today I tried just stopping whenever she pulled on the leash, which made for a very slow walk. I think she may have been starting to get the message . . . I'm not sure.
When we ran into our neighbors also out for a walk with their two small children, Baby growled at them. I gave a correcting tug on her leash and told her no. I'm really going to have to figure out how to deal with that behavior--I do NOT want her growling at people. She did settle down quickly and then was perfectly friendly toward them after that.
We got the big crate cleaned up today, and I started working with Baby in it. I wanted her to stay out of the kitchen during dinner and she wouldn't, so I decided it would be a good time for some crate training.
She doesn't seem to have had any crate training. I coaxed her into the crate with some treats and gave her the Kong stuffed with her dry food, with a few treats mixed in. She didn't like being shut into the crate, but didn't freak out either.
She did bark and whine some. I took her outside 3 times when she barked like she needed something, and then put her right back in the crate. The first two times she did actually go to the bathroom. After the third time I put her back in the crate and waited for just a few minutes of her sitting quietly in the crate, and then let her out before she started making noise so she wouldn't think the barking and whining would get her out.
Her diarrhea is improving already. I gave her some yogurt and she loved it. She and Kelly also ate some mashed potatoes (I just gave Kelly a tiny taste) and a couple of raw baby carrots along with their dog food tonight. The funny thing is, Ebee hates mashed potatoes and usually gags on them and refuses to eat them. When she saw the dogs so excited about the mashed potatoes, Ebee decided she liked them too. LOL.
Baby seems to have been taught to stand up and put her front paws gently on your chest or into your hands. I haven't quite figured out yet what I'm doing that is signaling her to do this, but it seems to be in response to something. It's also her third-level attempt at communication (if we don't figure out what she wants from the throaty noises or the soft bark and/or nudge).
I have discovered that any time I hold my hand palm-side up for any reason, she tries to put her paw into it to "shake"--even if I'm just reaching out to pet her or making a gesture in conversation with someone else. I never realized how often I make that gesture, LOL.
We are working on giving her clearer signals to use for different things. For instance, she rings a bell to go out to go potty. Then hopefully I can eventually redirect the voice/nudge communications into an alert.
Baby is totally communicating with me. It's just hard sometimes to figure out what she's trying to tell me.
A little while ago she came and made a throaty noise at me and nudged me with her nose. When I said "What is it? Show me" she led me to the stairs and showed me that Kelly was coming upstairs, and made that throaty noise again while she tried to block Kelly with her body. With Kelly's 14-year-old bones and dysplasia, she opts to stay downstairs most of the time. It was the first time Baby had seen Kelly come upstairs, and I guess she didn't think Kelly was supposed to come up here. LOL. When I told her it was okay, she settled down and let Kelly come upstairs. Both dogs laid down near me.
Then Baby started getting agitated again, and this time led me to the front door where DH had gone out a few minutes before. She woofed at the door and whined. I said, "You want DH? He's not here. He's gone. He'll be back soon." She whined again, then settled down and followed me back upstairs, where she is now lying happily at my feet.
Oh, I also started saying "nudge" when she nudges me with her nose, just to start getting her to associate the word with the action. She is certainly doing it as a way to communicate with me and get my attention.
Now we just have to figure out what her new name will be before we get her microchipped and tagged on Tuesday. I'm afraid to let her of the leash even in our backyard until she has her ID tags and microchip, just in case she decides to jump the fence. I wouldn't put it past her to be able to do that--she is scary smart and nimble, and can reach quite high standing on her hind legs or jumping. Her previous owner had the bell she rang to go outside hanging at the TOP of the front door (DH is guessing it was close to 6 feet high), and she could easily ring it.
Baby is a great dog, but she does need some teaching, which is definitely going to be an energy-consuming challenge. It's also a challenge trying to figure out what she is trying to teach me.
I'm so glad we didn't end up bringing home the extra dog. One dog is plenty for us at this point. It's been fun having two for a few days, but I am so glad we didn't bring home an extra one and will be going down to one soon. Things will be a bit easier when Kelly goes home and I don't have to worry about juggling two dogs' needs and keeping them from eating each others' food.
It's been an exhausting day, and DH has to work a long day tomorrow. I'm really hoping Baby will let us get some sleep tonight. I'm not sure whether to try to make her sleep in the crate downstairs, or let her sleep on her bed in the master bathroom. Last night she got me up twice to look out the window at some noise she thought was worrisome and once to go to the bathroom, in addition to the multiple times I got up to put her back into her own bed because she was trying to sleep somewhere I didn't want her to sleep.
Her paws are oozing a bit of blood and pus and her mammaries are still dripping milk, so I really didn't want her lying on my bed or on the carpet all night. (We tried to keep her on the linoleum or in her crate a lot today.) But, especially since she still has a bit of diarrhea, I'm not sure I want to lock her in somewhere I'll have trouble hearing her if she needs to go out in the night. Right now I'm upstairs and she is lying on the kitchen floor downstairs, so I'm thinking about just letting her stay there. It's a good sign in the separation anxiety front, I think--she's finally relaxing and letting us out of her sight.
Ebee is falling asleep in my arms now. I'm going to get DH to take her to bed (the other two are already in bed) and then see what I can do for Baby's paws. The lady from the rescue suggested that I soak her paws in water with epsom salt and then iodine to help the foxtail sores in her feet. (Apparently cheatgrass is the same thing as foxtails. It's not as common on this side of the state, and I really hope Baby didn't drop any seeds in the yard to grow here.)