Thursday, October 13, 2011

Woops and Misc. Updates 10/13/11

So the raw food plan hit a snag: turns out my food processor can't grind up chicken wings. I thought it could because it pasted a brace of quail no problem, but apparently chicken wings are just tougher or shaped wrong or something. Oh well.

I ordered a Northern Tool food grinder (the 16-pound model) after reading recommendations from Whole Dog Journal (although the article was from 2003, hopefully Northern Tool's quality hasn't gone down in the intervening years...), which should settle the wing grinding issue. But until it gets here, it's back to powdered eggshells and cooked bones for calcium.

Other updates:

-- Sat in on my first-ever Y2K9 training session yesterday: a canine freestyle and tricks class. It looked really fun and well taught; I am SUPER excited (and, yes, still a little intimidated!) about enrolling Pongu in a freestyle class next month. Thanks to his janky pigeon-toed back legs, formerly-broken front foot, and general floppiness, Pongu will never be a serious agility competitor (plus he's terrified of scary obstacle things, so there's that too). But freestyle he can do, so that is what we're gunning for.

It's pretty awesome (and intimidating!) to have a group of hardcore dog sports enthusiasts right on our doorstep. I saw some of the Advanced Agility class on my way to the freestyle class and omg those dogs are faaaast. Crazy fast. I don't see dogs that fast at the dog park, that's for sure.

I also met a jaunty little jumping bean of a JRT who made me reflect on what a great flyball dog Gremlin would have been. She did the exact same kind of improbably high jumping from a standing start -- she could hit shoulder height consistently without any training. And once she got healthy, she was crazy fast too. It's hard to believe we used to think Gremlin was a low-energy dog... although, to be fair, she was. At first. Until she got her strength back.

Anyway, it's really cool and inspiring to see all the dogs who are so damn good at their chosen sports, and to see what a wide variety of sports are taught and practiced at the club. HOORAY, can't wait to get started.

-- Took Pongu to the vet for booster shots, discussed whether to up his Prozac dosage. It's been about five weeks now and he's definitely showing improvement, but it's not quite where I would like, and I don't know whether this is because the medications aren't sufficient or he needs a different kind of medication or he's just always going to be like this, and this is as good as it'll get.

On his good days, Pongu is noticeably less reactive to startling noises, doesn't cower from people who reach out to pet him (although I still block them, because WHAT THE HELL PEOPLE, DON'T GRAB MY FEARFUL DOG), and seems calmer and more relaxed. He seems more able to have fun and just "be a dog." On his bad days, he's just like he was before Prozac. There are more good days than bad days, and I haven't noticed any detrimental side effects (big plus!!), but I still find myself hoping for more.

We might talk to a specialist at Penn next; our regular vet said that would be the best course if Pongu doesn't show much more improvement on his remaining course of Prozac, since as a general practitioner she doesn't feel super confident about prescribing other psych meds. But for now we'll keep on keepin' on, at least until the pills in his bottle run out.

-- Training goals for this week: back away, circle on hip cues (both directions), getting into/returning to heel position. First two are just modifying or improving things Pongu already knows, the latter is totally new and is something I don't even actually know how to teach yet. Research project!

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