Photobucket Photobucket Therapy dogs spread happiness, love, and cheer to people who otherwise might be lonely, sad or slow to heal. This is the journey of Cayman, a longhair miniature dachshund and his journey and experiences visiting becoming a therapy dog.

Did you know that pet visits often spark good memories of a person's own pets? Dogs often can reach people and children who have withdrawn from the world. It's been suggested by science that petting a dog can lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and stress, and promote healing.



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Monday, June 23, 2008

Its Me or the Dog- I Will Have the Perfect Pet!

I am so proud of my "wittleman"! All this weekend, Cayman has gone in and out of the puppy playpen we set up to put him in while we are away at work! He is actually comfortable with it and accepts it which is a huge relief for me as it means he will not freak out when left in it alone.

Yesterday Cayman showed a very nasty side of himself. What happened was he was in my mom's room, sniffing around as he normally does while my mom was cleaning when all of a sudden he started yelping as if in pain. My mom rushed over and scooped him up and then exclaimed that he peed on her. Well, we though it was pee at first but the telltale smell gave away what he really mom got sprayed with anal gland secretions!

The anal glands are small, paired sacs located on either side of the anus between the external and internal sphinter muscles. Sebaceous glands within the lining secrete a foul smelling liquid that is used for identification of members within a species. In dogs, these glands are occasionally referred to as "scent glands", because they enable the animals to mark their territory and identify other dogs. The glands can spontaneously empty, especially under times of stress, and create a very sudden unpleasant change in the odor of the dog.

We searched the floor for anything that he could have possibly hurt himself on like a sand spur in the carpet or something. All we found was a pine needle. We think while sniffing around he must have poked himself with the pine needle in the eye or nose or something so he started yelping, then when my mom came out of nowhere and scooped him up, he must have gotten startled and excreted on my mom. It was really funny but I also felt bad for him at the same time, getting scared and all. So I washed his little butt off and sprayed him with his new dog cologne and all was better.

Cayman woke this morning at 5 am to be let out which wasn't too bad. Nils let him out and he settled down so I could lay in bed for another half hour till my alarm clock went off. If he continues to have this scheduled then its not so bad. But the waking up closer to 4 am is a bit more of a problem but we are getting a routine going slowly but surely.

He is getting really good with the sitting on command. I have tried to squeeze in a couple short clicker training sessions each day with him and I am seeing results already. He is practically throwing sits at me for a click and then a treat.

Today I finally got my "Its Me or the Dog- How to Have the Perfect Pet" by Victoria Stilwell!!! Victoria Stilwell is this brilliant dog trainer on the show with the same title, "Its Me or the Dog" on Animal Planet. In the show series, Victoria visits the homes of troublesome and problematic dogs and their owners and shows them how to correct behavioral issues while maintaining a leadership role with the dogs. Its really good, one of my favorites. She is kinda like a British (?) Cesar Milan in the sense that she looks at dogs as dogs- not furry children, accessories, or humans. Her training method has a lot to do with "speaking dog" and getting them to do what we ask of them in a language they understand. I even like how she incorporates clicker training into some of what she does. Sure, the majority of the dogs on her show have behavioral issues, something Cayman does not (and hopefully never will) but I watch her to get ideas on how to prevent them before they even happen.Everything is very positive, much like the same approach in the last dog training book I have been reading "The Power of Positive Dog Training" by Pat Miller meaning there is no physical punishment and gets the dog to think for themselves instead of just reacting in fear.

 I have been trying to get this book for about three weeks but it has been sold out everywhere. I got lucky- the Borders about 28 minutes away from my work had one copy on the shelf so I had them hold it for me so I could pick it up on my lunch break. Unfortunately, I was about 15 minutes late back from my break, but hey, I got my book! I plan on kicking back with my "wittleman" and digging into it tonight after work, maybe even with a glass of wine!

Other good news- I have gotten in touch with a local low cost spay and neuter clinic. I had left a message with them on Friday but it was after hours asking what the criteria was to qualify for a low cost neuter. Many of those low cost vaccination or spay/neuter clinics mention "low income or government assisted" on their webpages, which I am neither. I am just looking to save money! They returned my call and said it was pretty much open to anyone (which it should be- overpopulation is a real problem!) and the cost was only...get this....$80! Now that is more like it! I doubt that includes any pain medications or antibiotics but its a much better start. The woman also started quoting the prices for the vaccinations and they were super low too (my current vet quoted my $119 for my next appointment on July 12th). I like the idea of having a family vet, one that knows my pet, rather than some clinic, so it is something I will have to weigh the pros and cons for.

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