Monday, September 19, 2011

Misc. Updates 9/19/11

Pepper's health:

- The tapeworms are gone (hallelujah!!). No sign of them since I gave her the deworming pills, and that was five days ago, so I think it's safe to say they've been vanquished. She's stopped eating grass, incidentally. I still can't say for sure that the grass-eating was driven by a desire to scrape out tapeworms, but based on my observations it is a tempting theory.

- On Saturday we took the mutt monsters out to Delaware so they could meet some new people (and so Pongu could run around in the grass). Pepper was supposed to be on exercise restriction, but I took my eye off her for a little too long and next thing I knew she was running around all over-excited with a giant crusty scab on her tummy and reddish blister juice seeping out of her spay incision. Oi.

I spent a good couple of hours feeling like the worst foster in the world and debating whether I should take her to the emergency clinic before her guts fell out (by this point it was about 11:00 pm and there was exactly one sober driver in the house), but it turned out that all the crusty blood made it look a lot grislier than it was. Once that was washed off, the damage wasn't too bad. Two of her stitches popped and one looked strained, but the remainder held up okay and Pepper didn't appear to be in any pain whatsoever (in fact she just wanted to keep playing the whole time, which did not help my sense of impending doom). Not good, but not as disastrous as I'd feared.

The incision continued to seep blister fluid until the next morning and then it was fine. I cleaned it and put some antiseptic ointment on it and made really truly COMPLETELY sure that Pepper was on exercise restrictions for the rest of the weekend, and... it looks like no permanent damage was done (fingers crossed!!). So that was terrifying and I will never ever give a post-surgery mutt any chance to jump around again, but I think we're gonna be okay.

Pepper's training at the one-week mark:

- I'm ready to consider Pepper officially "housebroken." She holds it inside and goes reliably outside. I haven't asked her to signal when she needs to go, but as long as her adopters maintain a regular schedule of walks, I think she'll be fine.

- Likewise, I'm ready to call her "leash trained." Pepper's not about to win any obedience awards for gorgeous heelwork, but she doesn't pull, she mostly paces herself to keep plenty of slack on the leash, and she is easily redirected away from greeting other dogs or investigating smelly trash. That's good enough for most people. If her adopters are willing to carry around a few treats and reward her for keeping pace at their side while walking, she can easily improve beyond that.

- She is 90% good on Sit (will do it with a verbal command and no hand gesture, sometimes lags a few seconds before responding, can focus through a low-to-medium level of distractions). I'll continue to work on speed and reliability but she pretty much has this one down.

- Goals for this week: Down, Stay, maybe a trick or basic targeting depending on how much progress we make with other stuff.

Pongu's health and training:

- Swollen, reddish toe on left front foot. I don't think a vet visit is warranted yet but I'll keep an eye on it to make sure the swelling goes down and doesn't get worse. He isn't limping at all.

- Prozac still having no discernible effect, good or bad.

- Goals for this week: backwards heel (walk backwards at my side), target touching an object at a distance. (I should have taught that one a while ago but Pongu is so neophobic and leery of new objects that I gave up on all the object-related training exercises for many months. We're getting to the point where he needs to be able to target objects to do more advanced moves, though, so it's time to take another shot.)

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