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!

Monday, May 21, 2012

A wonderful day, a horrible migraine and a very good dog!

9 months 3 weeks 2 days old

Yesterday was my 1st wedding anniversary. It was a beautiful stunning day and my husband and I had an absolutely wonderful day from the beginning of the day to the end. We started out with wicked but gorgeous pancakes at a restaurant in the inner city for brunch, then took the pup to the dogpark, then off to a fancy dinner and finally ended the day with a movie snuggled on the couch (with Knightley bizarrely watching the movie too!). I hope all our anniversaries are as lovely as yesterday was! Of course today I am completely and absolutely exhausted beyond measure, but it was completely worth it.

Anyway, I am still trying to get rid of a migraine I got on Saturday - as well as a autoimmune/autoinflammatory rash I've had on my face for five or six days now (when biopsied they came up with 10 possibilities, most likely was something rare called lupus tumidus.... but who knows really, sigh). Hubby and I had some shopping to do and I have been sticking to the once a week public outing rule with Knightley until he is a little older and ready for more intensive training, so we took Knightley with us as his weekly trip. The migraine reared its ugly head virtually as soon as we got to the shopping mall (maybe the lighting?) as hubby and I split up to do our separate shopping. By the time we met back up I could barely open my eyes and I was using some of Knightley's natural guiding instincts (going around things or people, or stopping when there was an obstruction) because I was in such a bad shape. Thankfully after hubby rejoined us, Knightley followed hubby and I was virtually able to close my eyes and let the pup lead me through the mall.

The migraines that hit suddenly virtually blind me with photosensitivity, and sometimes, like in the case of this one, give me auras too.... which makes my vision even worse. I really hoped that Knightley was going to be a natural alerter, and tell me when I was going to get one of my sudden migraines, but so far, he isn't giving me any signs I can see. I am thinking that it may be worth training Knightley to do some basic guiding techniques so if I do get a very severe migraine while out I can rely on him to help me to safety. I don't know much about guiding though, in comparison to the research I have done about mobility assistance dog training... so I guess I have a lot of research to do. Mainly the biggest concern is that I don't want him to guide all the time - only when I am such a bad way. Ideally he would just know when to do it, but if not, I would just give him a cue. I just don't know if you can turn guiding on and off like that?? Anyway, he was a very very good boy, and I really don't know if I could have got through the mall alone without him. Even when I was with my hubby, it meant Knightley could lead me and not hubby, who went off to bring the car closer. I was proud of my boy, who is nearly 10 months old, wow!

Where Knightley and I walked this morning. It's a fantastic area
to walk your dog... lots of paths, lots of open grass areas, and
the storm water drain which runs with clear water after rain
(which we haven't had for weeks...) that Knightley gets to splash
around in and run up and down the sides of the drain. We
meet heaps of dogs on our walks too. The weather has been just
stunning over the last couple of weeks as we get to the end of
autumn. The bluest skies you could ever imagine, but some
cold nights well below zero already - and it isn't winter yet!
So, I took a lot of breakthrough medication and much more on Sunday to be able to enjoy my anniversary, but without the breakthrough the migraine is still quite fiercely hanging around. No where near as painful as when it first hit, so perhaps my migraine abortive partially worked, but I am pretty immobile for the moment. Although I did manage to take Knightley for a little walk this morning before it just got too painful to move much, and yesterday's running around doing things caught up with me. I think a doctor appointment may be in order. I refuse to go to the hospital, because I am just too complicated for them.... and I then always end up getting admitted which I **HATE**!! Then comes then scans just in case it's my immune system attacking my brain and so on and so on.... arrggh... I more or less swore to myself after spending my 29th birthday in ICU that I would not be admitted to a hospital unless I was almost literally dying. Thankfully I have been less sick since then anyway, so it hasn't been all that hard to stick to.

Oh, and I've found my perfect training treat! Easy to rip up and free! Knightley tends to eat a fairly lean diet - lots of beef heart, some pork which sometimes is fatty, turkey and occasionally chicken which sometimes has skin, sometimes doesn't... and ox tongue which is very lean. Consequently I supplement with fat from the butcher which he gives to me free as unwanted trimmings. Good fat just pulls apart in your hands easily, so instead of just adding it to his meals, I feed his fat as treats now. He loves it, and it is higher value than his regular meals - which I have a hard time topping these days. His 'flat' is going well now, but I don't use it yet as every day usage - I want to make sure it is absolutely great in every single situation I can think of using shaping and basic operant conditioning, and then slowly fade the treats when it is learnt so I end up with a 100% reliable down. Unlike our last one which slowly grew less reliable and slower over time because I lured too much and faded too fast.

Speaking of raw food, Knightley now only eats one meal a day, and that is working a lot better for us than morning and night. While I was planning on keeping him on two meals a day until 1 year old, he just became uninterested in his morning meal, whilst he will happy eat the whole day's worth at night. Today it was an entire turkey leg which he efficiently cracked and chewed and basically completely devoured. Flesh and skin are natures way of flossing an animals teeth! You should see Knightley's beautiful glowing teeth - he often gets comments at the dog park.

Anyway time to sleep and hope this silly head settles down. *waves*


  1. Hi Alyssa , congrats &so glad you enjoyed your 1st wedding anniversary.
    I hope the migraine has gone & doesn`t return in the near future.
    Knightley sounds adorable & very intelligent.
    Gwen x

    1. Thanks Gwen, it was a lovely day. Unfortunately the migraine is sticking around so I have a doctors appointment for today, and they will give me some strong medication which may help. Knightley is definitely adorable but sooooo full of energy these days!