Oz Working Dogs - Assistance & Working Dog Equipment

For assistance/service dog equipment, as well as guide, therapy, detection, search & rescue, police and dogs in training equipment check out my website http://www.ozworkingdogs.com.au - I make and sell vests, capes, belly bands, harnesses, handles and more... and will post to the world!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dogsicles, hot weather, another pool swim and teenage tantrums

5 months 1 week old

So it has been pretty hot here the last several days, continuing around 35c (95f), which isn't all that pleasant. It means having to be careful with your dogs, as dogs deal with heat less well than us humans. I've been giving Knightley regular 'dogsicles' to keep up his liquid supply, and keep him a little cooler.

To make dogsicles all you need is some chicken stock (best is to just boil a chicken carcass, then you get heaps, cost was 70 cents AU), a few kibble, maybe 8-10 per dogsicle, then I added a frozen pumpkin cube to each dogsicle, which I use when Knightley's movements are a bit runny. I then filled the small cups I was using as my containers up with stock. I let it sit for a bit, then added a couple of small chunks of banana to each cup, then into the freezer. The kibble swells up hugely and floats to the top, the banana kind of sits in the middle, and the pumpkin makes a layer on the bottom. Knightley is loving them... I get him to go into his crate, then put him in a wait, put the dogsicle on the floor of the crate, then close the crate door, and only then is he allowed to eat his lovely dogsicle. It keeps him busy and well hydrated, and is a good healthy treat for a hot summers day.

What are you doing point that thing at me?? I'm trying to relax
here you know!
Because of my migraine I wasn't well enough for our normal family New Years Day BBQ, but did manage it the following day, and once again Knightley got to swim - although he was a bit more hesitant about jumping in this time! It was one of the hot days, and it was pretty amazing seeing how tired he was, reluctant to move from lying around on the cool tiles... until he got in the water and suddenly he was all ready to go. Just those couple of degrees cooler makes all the difference for dogs and us humans.

Still dry, looking at us in the pool, but really reluctant to
jump in this time... I wasn't sure why, may have to train
a cue to jump into something for next time. He really
wanted to swim, but didn't want to take the plunge.
Here in Aus, at least in the more southern parts (not the tropics, where you do tend to find it), air conditioning is not all that common -
Having a good game of tug with my brother. Finally now
his adult teeth are in (except for the teeth that come in when
 he is 1) he can play tug again without bleeding on all his
Happy at last, having a good old chew, nice and wet, keeping
a watch on us all.
people occasionally have one room in the house air conditioned, but very very rarely the whole house. Both dogs and humans have to cope... but generally we only have one week, maybe two up around the 35-39c (95-102f) range, and these are the weeks where both dogs and humans risk heat stress/stroke (I've had heat stroke twice). Most of the time however, it isn't all that bad. Nevertheless, it does make me think about what I would do for Knightley if we do become an Assistance dog team. Of course I just couldn't take him out on days *that* hot, but even for the low 30s it is quite dangerous for a dog that needs to walk around and can't just lie down and pant. Anyway, for the last two days when Knightley hasn't had access to a pool, I had had a tub for him to splash around in, and have also been spraying his belly and armpits (or 'forelegpits'??) with a little handspray of water to keep him cooler. Keeping him hydrated is also incredibly
important because a dog can't stay properly cool without a well lubricated mouth (ie lots of icky drool/saliva) coupled with the ability to pant.

Anyway, so he perked up nicely during his swim, and had several good long tours of the pool. He's a great swimmer, good long strokes, nice and calm... although he does tend to forget where the steps to get out are and get a little worried when he can't get out.

His in crate behaviour is going really well these days, absolutely no barking, occasionally a touch of whining... but nothing like it was before. But - he still barks quite a bit in other situations. I asked for advice about his barking and getting overexcited while I was trying to teach him retrieve as part of Sue Ailsby's Training Levels, and someone else labelled it as a tantrum. I think that is pretty much right. He just can't control his displeasure and whenever something happens that he doesn't like he resorts to barking:

  • food not coming fast enough = bark, 
  • he can't understand what I want him to do = bark,
  • I'm eating something and I tell him "leave it" which in that situation basically means 'back off, this is mine' = barkbarkbark, 
  • he sees another dog and I won't let him go over and say hi = bark..... 
and so on. He voices his protest. I hope further work on distance, stays, zen and watch will help him develop his patience, because that is what is needed. It is actually quite perfect that I am up to where I am in the Training Levels, because it is starting to focus on behaviours where the dog has to start doing things for longer in order to get their reward. In otherwords - cultivate patience.

I also like Karen Overall's Relaxation Protocol for cultivating patience, and Knightley and I are still working on Day 1 (of 15 days)- we're not rushing it. It involves basically just sitting for certainly periods of time, sometimes walking away from him, sometimes counting aloud, sometimes softly clapping aloud, sometimes just sitting for a good 20 seconds or so. That is day 1. Knightley is ok at it, he just tends to slide into a down when he gets bored. So once he has stopped doing that, we shall proceed. It definitely does relax him though, which is the object.

A very very happy dog.
Thankfully my migraine is receeding, so Knightley and I are slowly getting back to our normal training schedule. I'll see what damage a few days absence has done!

No comments:

Post a Comment