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, August 13, 2012

An upsetting setback, canine first aid, therapy dog requirements and bonding time with Knightley

1 year 2 weeks 3 days old

So, there's been a bit of a setback in getting the new pup. As I've been struggling with a migraine on and off for a week or so now, I sent her an email instead of phoning the breeder again. Email did seem to be her preferred contact method on her website anyway. I didn't anticipate a problem, I had offered to put a deposit on the pup, so she knew I really wanted one of them. In my experience many breeders are rather poor about returning emails, so I rather assumed she had got the email but hadn't returned it. Anyway, I finally get a response from her today saying she has already let people pick puppies from the litter and there aren't many males left! So much for first choice. She said she'd been away at a show over the weekend, hence not getting the email. But that doesn't wash because I sent it well before the weekend. I'd also told her I couldn't choose until I temperament tested at 7 weeks when we were on the phone, and yet she went ahead and let people choose at 5-6 weeks of age. Very shortly after we talked actually. GRRRRR. I tried not to respond with an angry email but I was very upset. I don't think I was too rude at least!

Knightley snapping at the water from the hose. We've changed
our routine a bit since his diagnosis and since his symptoms are
becoming still more obvious. We spend a lot more time playing in
the backyard, and our walks are shorter so that if he looks like he's
tiring we can come home quickly. He loves the bite the water game.
Is this a dog that should be put down?!?!
Maybe it's for the best. I didn't get a 100% good vibe from her, especially when I told her about how bad Knightley's hips were.... she said "you know what you should do with that dog?" and I said.... "what??", and she replied, "you should put him down now." Pretty final huh. She thought that he would never really be happy as he'd always be in pain to an extent. Talking to my hubby later he made a good point which I should have thought of at the time and pointed out to her, that I'm always in pain but should I be put down?? Knightley may be showing a lot more symptoms, but he still has a LOT of fun, and is a very very happy dog. I wouldn't even think of putting him down until that completely changes.

So, now it's back to the drawing board. I gave a golden breeder/golden showing steward a ring earlier this evening who lives here in Canberra and we had a really good chat. There's a possibility of a litter way up to the north (Taree - for those Aussies), even slightly further north than we went for Knightley, although it may be slightly quicker on faster roads. But instead of having the pup in 2.5 weeks time, it'd be more like 3 months as the litter isn't even born yet. It may not even have enough males to get a good choice. I had a really good talk to the Canberra woman though, and she is going to ask around the golden networks for me and see what litters are coming up. I am acutely aware that every month more I have to wait is another month without that increased independence I was beginning to glimpse. It's just so very annoying.

On the other hand, it means that we won't be going away this coming weekend, and there is a pet first aid and CPR training session that I would like to attend. There is really only one organisation that does this training, it only happens once every six months or so, and I've watched this date come closer and closer. I was quite annoyed when I realised that the testing of the puppies was going to stop me from going. No longer I guess. I'll see if I can register for it tomorrow. I think that people who own working dogs who have a higher chance of being hurt because they are out in public more often should know a bit more about dog health care, especially first aid/CPR. Also, because I feed raw - and the new pup will be on raw from day 1 - I'd like to know how to clear obstructions etc, just in case. I am careful to feed big chunks of food, rather than little things like chicken necks which are quite dangerous for all but the most tiny of dogs, as they can rather easily get stuck and be choked on. But very very occasionally a dog can choke on a bigger bit. Or even a toy. So that's another reason why I want to go.

Several days ago I looked up a bunch of info about training Knightley as a therapy dog and getting certified through the Delta Society Australia. He looks like he'd do great on all the temperament testing part, and pretty well on the skills section. However, he needs to be able to heel perfectly in just a fixed collar and lead, and also come on first call with other dogs around in a new place.... and I think those two things are his biggest challenge at the moment. Just because he so wants to be with other dogs/people he pulls too much, and won't come to me in case I take him away from the exciting place lol. Other than that we would be fine. So I know what we have to work on in the next 6 odd months before he is old enough to take the test. I never did do enough recall (come) training with him from day 1. I really needed hubby's help with that one, to play what Sue Ailsby calls the "Come Game". It helps fix come in the dog's mind as the greatest most fun thing ever throughout every level of training. Knightley is good about coming to me if there are relatively few distractions, but we continue practicing with distractions. He's too friendly for his own good!! All the sociability training I've done with him will stand him in very good stead for those parts of the tests.... like being patted by 4 people at once, being patted by someone very clumsily, being bumped into, walking through a crowd, having someone throw their arms around and yell in a very loud and upset voice right in front of him and so on. All that early public training will pay off. I have been doing loose leash work with his fixed collar on and he is pretty good outside .... until a dog turns up, or a bird, or the postman....... *melodramatic sigh*

My beautiful furry boy only a couple of days ago. He's been lying
down outside chewing eucalyptus sticks a lot recently. I think it's
because his 1yr wisdom teeth have been coming in, and sticks are
quite soothing. I also have a sneaking suspicion that he quite likes
the taste of eucalyptus, and at least it makes his breath smell
quite nice!
Knightley and I are spending some good time together bonding at the moment. I am quite aware that sooner or later we will be getting that new puppy, so am making the most of my lovely loving Knightley. Also, because I've been pretty unwell with migraine, fever, and lots of joint pain, I like to have him on my lap for the comfort. Not that much of him fits on my lap anymore!! It really doesn't seem like that long ago we brought him home... and yet one just has to look at that great big furry beast to know time has indeed raced on! He is becoming an extremely furry golden, and still has a couple of years until his coat is fully grown to its maximum length. It remains beautifully soft from his raw diet and regular brushing (the brushing in attempt to slow down the rain of fur that goes EVERYWHERE... especially on any black clothes we are tempted to wear!).

He's a good boy, my Knightley, and continues to pick up things for me in the home. I just miss him terribly when I go to the shops and he never comes along for a training run anymore. His hips are making more and more clicking noises, proof of his hip dysplasia if I needed it... and while he doesn't seem all that uncomfortable I know I am doing the right thing by having him take it easy. It's just very difficult to lose the independence I just began to glimpse.....

Must find that new puppy!!!


  1. Hi Lyssa, I'm sure you have a very good reason for not wanting a female but maybe you should explore further the idea of getting a Bitch this time? I know this would raise potential problems in the future with Knightly and an unspayed Bitch, but is it something that you could consider? It would greatly increase your chances of finding a suitable pup sooner rather than later? Probably not a great idea but I thought it was worth mentioning as I know how desperate you are to get training and to reestablish that independence you got with Knightly when out and about. Hope you're ok xx

    1. The reason I went for a male originally and continue to want another one is for the extra height and heft. Some females can be pretty dainty, and I am pretty tall! If I'm going to be using the dog as a mobility dog I need all the height I can get from a golden. While it makes sense to include females, it means possibly getting a petite girl. I'd rather wait. And it could indeed cause a little trouble with the big Knightley boy. You are so right about me being desperate though. :/ It has been a very rough last month. :(

  2. Lyssa, are you totally 'fixed' on a Golden? I know an excellent breeder of raw fed PWDs in Aus. And she recently posted about having older dogs to rehome. ; )
    I know that you know that Sue Aislby uses PWDs as her service dogs.

    1. Well, I have wondered about a PWD, even before I got Knightley. The main reason I've gone for a golden, and would like to continue to, is because Aus has so few assistance dogs still. Having a breed that is more familiar to the public will mean a lot less hassles and access challenges. I've also always had a *thing* for goldens. I'll keep that in mind though... Certainly Sue's dogs speak well for the breed!

    2. Lyssa,
      Have you considered a rescue dog?? My girl is a rescue dog turned assistance dog. I do some volunteer work at Labrador Rescue and we have just had a litter of puppies.
      I think the biggest pup will be a big boy as he is such a big boy already. He is a labrador though.
      The pups aren't able to go to their new homes though till September. You can take a look at the website though.

  3. Just throwing ideas out to you. Sometimes, we can get so focused on what we've set as priorities, that we forget that we can sit back and re evaluate and reorder them.
    After all, they are our 'rules' and we can change them, according to need and the situations we find ourselves in. ; )