Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Harley's Handsome Coat

     Harley loves to go outside and play. Usually it's hard to get him and Faith to come inside. But one morning it was cold. He ran for the door, put his face and front legs through (which left plenty of him still on the house) and put on the brakes. Nope!

     So I began catching and leashing the long dog to force him out into the cold where he would shiver and whine as he peed and ran for the house. He is not a winter dog.

      So where on earth do you buy a coat for a cold little long dog? 22" long to be exact!

     From DoxandDane on Etsy!

     Look at that handsome boy! I found this wonderful woman on etsy named Janae who makes awesome custom coats, they have a chest covering and can be made to fit any odd-shaped dog. You customize the whole thing to your dog's size and shape.

     I sent her Harley's measurement and the colors he likes, and I got a custom made long dog coat!

     It has a tendancy to billow out behind him when he runs, so I call it his cape. This is purely because he is sooooo long, I think I will probably put some elastic leg bands on it for him. He is, stretched from nose to tail, well over 3 ft. long! The current guess is Dauschund/Golden Retriever, one day I may buy one of those DNA kits just to find out. Check out those HUGE thick legs. I can't wrap my fingers around his legs they are so thick, he has thicker legs them most of the mini horses I work on!
     Plus those giant, knobby, crooked knees! Watching him run is like watching an inchworm inch, lots of back and no legs involved.
     But he has one of the funnest personalities you will ever find on a dog, and I don't think I'll ever meet a more stable, happy minded soul. He is AWESOME for rehabbing other dogs. He is just that solid, stable, calm soul that they need to work with. I find him becoming my go-to dog with anyone with issues of any kind, or even just normal training work.
     So now my long dog love is cozy warm for the coming winter; if he gets out from under the blankets to see it.
     Thank you Janea! http://www.etsy.com/shop/DoxandDane Visit her store to see all kind cool designs she has. Mom MUST have one of her Bronco's coats for the crazed Peyton :)


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pottery Madness

     My boyfriend David got into pottery last winter, and had a blast making all kinds of cool things to fill the cabinets of friends and relatives. I was slowly lured in; helping him fire, helping him glaze, babysitting the kiln. Then it comes to the point of, "Hells bells I do everything but throw!" and you give in to the new craft you weren't going to start because you have too many craft projects to begin with. Plus I had a 'want'.

     Custom dog bowls for my dogs!

      So I'm making heavy duty customized dog bowls for my crew. And then I started telling people, and now I've got a list of dog bowl Christmas presents for all my friends dogs. Now I have gads and gads of dog bowls, and Faith is the only one with her own so far!

     So it's a fun new hobby and with both of us playing we needed more room, so my mud room is now a pottery studio, or more appropaitely, it's still a mud room! Extra bonus of concrete floors means very easy cleanup.

     Pottery is a very messy business as you can see. And I invest in the most pricey of chairs for my mud work.  

     Of course I couldn't do these things without assistance, and my main assistant is Misty Moo, my disabled bun.
     Those who follow the blog know of Miss Misty. Her best bunny buddy Sapphire passed away recently of old age, and now Misty has been diagnosed with a degenerative spinal condition. The condition is a result of raising rabbits in cages too small, they can't play and their spines don't develop properly. As they age the spine calcifies until they become paralysed. Misty isn't paralysed yet, but she can't stand up on her own or clean herself, so she has to stay in a small, heavily bedded cage to keep her clean and so she always has access to her food and water. She's on medicine that may help her be able to walk, I am hoping it works so she can have more freedom, but until then she has to stay in her cage. But she is quite pleased with herself and all the attention she gets now, she bangs her water bowl around or kicks the back wall when she wants something, and watches pottery making like TV.

     Then of course Elliot helps. Or more Elliot complains because I won't let him on my shoulders or lap while I throw, or he'd end up in the clay. He doesn't believe this is a good reason though, and gives me a lot of "The Face of Cat Displeasure".

     And I wouldn't be doing anything without Zak! What madness.

     Of course, whether I want it or not, I always get Daisy's opinion.

      And it's just never positive. :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Tail of the Mad Wee- Pt. 2

     Zak was the first huge influence on Manning. The little Yorkie lived in a constant state of near panic, and this was overwhelmed by... pretty much anything. There was no blip of calmness to reward, no mind to work with, just pure panic in the face of any situation.


  So Zak introduced Wee to the idea of relaxing. To the idea of being safe with a pack. I used Zak to introduce Wee to other people; leaving Wee on a leash and letting Zak greet the newcomer first, then slowly feeding Wee line as he wished to approach. This became a safe way to introduce him to strangers without hysteria or biting.

     I took some time but Wee slowly settled in, relaxed in his environment a bit, and the developed an unhealthy attachment to me. He became hysterical whenever I left. He would find an area about 1-2 ft. wide and pace it back and forth at top speed, screaming at the top of his lungs while urinating/defecating himself the whole time and continuing to run back and forth through it. He'd occasionally pause a minute to run through the whole house, spreading his nasty paste everywhere, before resuming his pacing. He didn't do this for a few minutes, he did it for hours. He did this until his eyes were bloodshot and he was hoarse from screaming. He'd work such filth into his coat and environment it'd take hours to get everything cleaned. He'd do it the whole time I was gone from home.

     A cage did not help, he did it in a cage. Tied up he would trow himself at the end of the line and flip himself over, and he'd do that for hours. He dug a 1" deep hole in a solid wooden door, and he was only in the room a couple hours. No miles of walking or even bike riding his little legs off would get him tired enough to keep him calm.

     I spent days and days and weeks walking to the door, walking back, walking outside, walking back, going to the mailbox, coming back. In the mean time walking the little legs off him, and putting him in a cage small enough he couldn't pace with the ferocity to exhaust himself while I was gone. Progress was painfully slow, but it was there. Soon I came home from a quick trip to the hardware store and found a clean Wee in his clean cage. There is rarely such excitement over something like that! 

     It continued to take time but we got to the place where if I walked out the door, went straight to the car and drove away; then pulled in, got straight out the car, went into the house and let him outside, I could leave home without an accident in the house. If I dallied about or checked the mail, he would hear me, become hysterical, and begin pacing and peeing. 

     Another problem was when he was in this frantic state, nobody but me could touch him (and I made a loud noise to snap him out of it a bit first). He would go into fight mode and attack, no matter how well he knew the person. Upon being dropped he would immediately resume his pacing. Nothing and nobody could snap him out of this. The other dogs knew to leave him alone with plenty of space, he would slip from panic to terror and attack blindly.

     Enter Harley Longdog.

     I had, it is sad to say, mostly given up on 'fixing' Wee. He was pretty much good. I didn't let strangers around him without him being on leash, or let strangers pick him up, but basically he was a pretty good dog. While I fed or worked outside I put him out in the yard in the chain link and he paced the fence and did his peeing hysterics outside. He walks perfectly on or off leash (2" behind my left foot). We worked a long time to get him ok with walks off the property, he would get upset and pace back and forth behind my legs while we walked. But other then some little 'isms' and anxieties, he had come a remarkably long way.
     Then Harley chose to give him a very new uber-calm energy to deal with. Baby Harley, with his total lack of any kind of aggression or malice, watched Wee begin his mad fence pacing. And he said to himself, "Fun madness! We will play!" and toddled over and pounced Wee. The look on the little Yorkies face was beyond priceless. He paused, used some foul language, and immediately started to pace again. Pounce, pace, pounce, pace, pounce, pace until finally Wee turned to him and screamed, "I'm trying to be hysterical over here damnmit! Leave me alone!"
     You could almost see the switch. He hadn't been able to complete whatever stereotypical behavior he believed necessary to keeping the sun in the sky. His ritual was rudely interrupted without finish, yet nothing bad happened. He looked around like he'd woken up out of a long dream, waiting for the explosion, earthquake, and whatever his fearfullness thought would happen, and it didn't. The gears in his little head produced smoke with this new thought.
     What if pacing isn't necessary? What if it is really ok? Do I really need to do this?
     And with that I watched the little Mad Wee, who had spent likely years with his hysterical pacing, slowly walk to the corner of the fence where he could see me work, lay down, and fall asleep. For the first time ever. Harley watched this as well, then tromped off to go play with Zak.
     I was dumbfounded. A human could not show him this, he was too fearful and went into fight mode. I don't believe just any other dog could have showed him either. Because Harley is such a unique absolutely harmless, low, soft energy to him, Wee is not in the slightest way threatened by him. Wee is to a degree scared of all other dogs, he doesn't "speak dog" nearly as well as he should, and is very socially awkward and timid with others. But Harley is harmless, so harmless even Wee, who is scared of everything including himself and the kitchen sink, is not scared of Harley. And that is how Little Harley Longdog started the impossible rehabbing of The Mad Wee.