Well!!! After some twitches, and then peeing closer and closer to trees until he was almost trying to be absorbed into them... Knightley has finally lifted his leg! It was very matter of fact, no wobbling around as I have heard other dogs do on their 'first time', and he wasn't even proud of himself! Well, I'll be proud of him for him. Some people de-sex their male dogs when they first lift their leg to pee, as it usually happens somewhere between 8-12 months and shows something I guess as relates to sexual maturity. I think it's a bit odd though. Much better to de-sex when the growth plates have fused at around 18 months, leaving the joints properly formed and reducing risks of hip dysplasia. It also reduces the risk of many cancers that Golden Retrievers are prone to.
Anyway, Knightley got *SO* mucky on our morning walk yesterday, rolling in wet muddy grass and splashing around in a rather full storm drain that I decided I couldn't wait to take him to the pet store's self service dog bath, and that he needed to be washed NOW! He wasn't thrilled with the prospect but he put up with it. I've trained him to like baths more than he may have by stuffing him with chicken whenever water and shampoo come out. He is definitely better than my previous dog Clipsy was in the bath!! I so love positive reinforcement. Knightley is even softer now, if that's possible. I love resting my face against his coat and feeling him breathe, and now he smells so nice too! Having said that though, he never gets that doggy smell anymore, not since I started feeding raw. Anyway, I was completely and absolutely exhausted from bathing a rather wilful 10 month old 32kg (71 lbs) bag of muscle and fur... but the results are worth it. Now I am reluctant to take him anywhere he is likely to get filthy! I'll try to get a nice photo of him in the sun tomorrow and add it to this post.
The good news is today arrived a very generous bunch of fabric samples from the place I shall be ordering my fabric from to make the assistance dog vests/capes/bands etc. The company has been great to deal with so far, and they are even giving me a 10% discount as I described my situation and asked if a discount was at all possible - not really expecting one. So that was nice of them! Anyway, I was just planning to make everything out of Cordura, which is the standard for the heavier vests etc, but they sent so many samples in a huge folder and it has raised more possibilities. So today I spent a good couple of hours going over my designs and have come up with some really good options - but there are still so many decisions to make!
So far I am planning:
- a fairly heavy duty mobility vest/harness with a Y chest and plastic handle, which is what I will work on first as I want to make one for Knightley
- another one similar to the mobility vest/harness with Y chest and plastic handle, but it will be with lighter fabric and with partial mesh - for summer
- a simple belly band, which will be extremely comfortable and can be made in really any size
- a more substantial style belly band with a handle on top (looking at sourcing plastic handles)
- a fairly heavy double layer cape with or without zippered pockets
- a lighter cape made of light waterproof materials, half mesh - for summer
- errrr and one more that I can't remember off the top of my head and I am not getting out of bed at this time of night to check my plans, so I'll edit this later to add it!
I'm also planning a basic guide dog harness, and I'd like to try to make a Y shape chest version if possible.
If anyone has any suggestions to make things other stores don't carry, please do let me know! I'm going to order in some other bits and pieces that I have found useful myself, like flashing lights to attach to collars, handy gear for on the go like water feeder bottles, snap open treat pouches, clip on saddle packs (which I would likely make) and more. I'll be starting slow and just seeing how things go at first. I made up some patterns today, just out of newspaper... but it's a start. I'll be ordering fabric to make my prototypes tomorrow. Also, after not being quite sure whether to or not, I have decided to go ahead and register myself as a sole trader business. It was going to be problematic using PayPal if I didn't, so it will be much easier this way. I was planning on starting very much as a hobby, but I guess I may as well treat it a bit more seriously from the get go. Who knows where this could lead. Probably selling the sewing machine on as second hand in six months time! grin.
We had a good training session this evening, with Knightley nicely enthusiastic. He really is a very good dog when he's 'in the game' and wants to train. We did lots of 'flat', cupboard closing, hand targeting, sit from flat etc. All great. Then we went outside before I went to bed but he was quite hyped up and he pulled like a steamtrain.... sigh. He has interesting equipment association - he is pretty good in his various harnesses, really good in his vest, but with a simple leash attached to his day to day collar it's like a signal from on high to pull mummy's arm out of it's socket. Of course I refuse to be pulled and walk backwards and all those good things, but he's just so full of energy these days he isn't really able to think! I wonder where the flirt pole has got to... that's what we need I think...... He actually did stop pulling once we reached the grass as it's rather cold here tonight, -5 C (23 F), and he stopped to work out why his feet were crunching and so cold! It's going to be a very heavy frost. I wish we'd have some snow, I'd love to see what Knightley would make of it but snow in Canberra is rarer than it used to be. I am going to actually have a trip up to the ski fields again this year in a couple of months time (only a couple of hours away) but Knightley is going to stay with my parents. He'd be allowed to come if he was qualified, even though it's in a protected National Park.... but he's still a long way from his permit.
Speaking of Canberra, I've added a few Qs to the FAQs page, specifically one talking about Canberra which is a rather interesting city - originally designed by an American! I've also updated some of the other pages too, so have a read especially if you haven't done so before. I'm so very tired at the moment I'm not able to do much other than fiddle on the computer - oh, and sleep which I am doing very well during the day at the moment but not so well at night! LOL! Bodies.... crazy things!
Take care of yourself internetland.