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Current blog look inspired by and dedicated to Chance, Blaze, Fiona and Zappa who all kicked ass against cancer and liver disease.

Brut Quote

Brut Quote

Friday, December 28, 2018

It is so cool when we both "get it!"

Interesting thing about having independent thinking dogs is watching them make their own decisions.

For example:  Chance and getting used to the nail trimmer/grinder

First, I started with the grinder in my hand while it was off and started with "touch."  Chance has this command down pat.  He touched his nose to the tool.  Click and treat.  Then he starts touching the trimmer with his paw...jackpot of treats.  

Then I turn on the battery operated grinder and try again with "touch."  He does touch with his nose, but he's a bit more hesitant.  Still holding the machine in my hand I keep pushing it towards him and asking touch.  He starts backing up and is visibly getting more upset and scared.  

I stop.  Turn the tool off and put it out of sight.  

The other dogs caught on really quick and made way past this step in minutes flat.  I think I was expecting the same response with Chance to catch on. This was too much, too fast for him.  

Chance was still willing to play, I just needed to give him a chance.  

So I put the tool on the floor, told him "touch," and let him decided what he wanted to do.  

One treat for a nose touch and bunch more for touching with his paw.  

He caught on quickly now that I wasn't trying to make him do it.  

Nose, treat.  Nose, treat.  Paw, lots of treats.

Then when he was feeling confident, I turned the grinder on and set it back on the floor with the same guidelines.   Again, giving him the chance to decided what he wanted to do and how to do it.   

It was so fascinating to watch his confidence grow, his body relax, and he was smiling.  He was so proud of himself for conquering that humming little machine and I was so proud of myself for listening to him, so I could change my game plan.    

Very cool.  Don't you think?  Chance was able to face his fears and have control over how he wanted this training bit to go.

(Next time I will try to get video, or at least some photos!)

Friday, December 21, 2018

How does your dog do at the vet?

All the dogs are good at the vet except Chance.  Even though the other 3 are a little nervous, our vet is able to perform any exam or x-ray needed with good cooperation from the dogs.

And then there is Chance...

Siberians are known for being hyper, anxious dogs, but Chance takes it to a new height.  He screams when the vet just starts to come close.  Hubby, Mark and I always have to take him together to hold him down for blood work and shots.  Forget any kind of physical exam, it's fight or flight for this boy!  He has to wear a muzzle, because he'll nip.  He just doesn't like being touched or messed with in general, so a vet visit pushes his limits.

I avoid taking him to the vet until it is absolutely necessary.  This last visit had been one of those occasions.  He had been limping on what seemed to be his left front leg, holding it in the air even and I couldn't tell if there was also a problem with his back leg as well.  It had been going on for a while and seemed to be on and off thing.  So I broke down and made an appointment.

Well, we lost Chance's muzzle over the summer so Mark picked up one the day before the appointment.  It was called a "Comfort Fit" muzzle which meant the mouth opening was bigger than the narrow one I'd had before.  Chance needed a refresher course for the muzzle while I fitted it to him and for the most part he was fine with everything.

The whole appointment was our vet massaging up and down Chance's back and legs, searching for the point of pain.  Chance was doing fantastic.  He was so relaxed and actually enjoying this visit!

She located the source of pain, in his toe and his super long nails.  I knew they were bad.  I've never had to trim them before with walks and dog sledding, his nails stayed manicured.  The thought of me clipping his nails was intimidating to say the least, but for the vet to do it right then and there with no problem was another OMG moment for me and Chance!  bol

I was so blown away by how cooperative Chance was, how relaxed and easy he was, it was encouraging. Not to mention the fact that we didn't have to pin him down to do the exam was a HUGE bonus and made a big difference on Chance.

Now I don't know if this was a one time thing, or just the fact there were no needles being stuck in him, but it was the happiest I'd ever seen Chance at the vet's office in 11 years.

And that made for a very happy mommy and daddy!!

How was your dog's last exam??

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Freedom through Chance's spirit.

After x amount of time going where he thinks I want him to or at least taking a route that accompanies his speed, without even looking up, this fierce stallion of a dog gently takes the lead.  He guides me down the snow trodden path and into the trees.  His gait slows with his large pads plodding softly on the snow.   I feel my breath escape me and my shoulders fall. The tension evaporates from my body, leaving me with a light and airy feeling.

It is just me and him in this snowflake covered mini forest.

Surrounded by bark and snow, the world falls away.

I can feel each paw print he makes stamped onto my heart.

He checks on me by looking back to the left, keeping the communication strong between us.

"Come with me," his eyes beckoned.

We have not walk alone and free in a long time.  Walk times are crammed with schedules and constraints of the setting sun.

I've lost the essence of what a walk with my heart dog can really be.

As I follow him I feel like I'm riding an old horse walking familiar trails.

is the horse.

I have felt this horse analogy with Chance throughout our many years together, as if his true spirit is more equine than canine.

Running free.

The same freedom he wants me to find.

And I did.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

If it isn't one thing, it is another.

We found out a couple of months ago that Chance had crystals in his urine.  These crystals are the building blocks to kidney stones.  He has been on a special food since this finding and thank goodness he really likes it.

We've always given our dogs a bite of whatever we are eating, but Chance and Blaze (the Front Dogs of the two packs) are especially spoiled being that the kitchen is on their side of the house.  Chance will just about eat anything.   And while he never gets foods that is dangerous to him, we just found out that after being on this special food for 2 months, his diet is about to take a drastic turn.  

Last urine check showed there were no crystals, but his pH levels were too high, one of the causes of producing these crystals.  That and the ability to digest proteins.  This is where the special food comes in.  So Chance needs a highly digestible protein and low pH levels in order not to produce these urine crystals.

Our vet told us that he has to be on a strict diet eating this food to keep the crystals and his pH at bay.  No more nibbles from the table.  The only thing he can eat is veggies, low sugar fruits (mostly berries), his food and specialized treats that coincides with his food.  The biggest thing we are cutting out is dairy, meats, nighttime treats.  Chance has always loved veggies and fruits, but it's going to be sad getting out the cottage cheese and not giving him a bite.  I am little sad because sharing my food with the Front Dogs, especially Chance has helped me out of some tough times and was our thing.  It's probably what got him here in the first place or at least played a part. I'm going to miss that part of our bonding time.  But, I"m making the best of it for myself and Chance.  The most important thing is that he is getting better and altering his diet will help his health.  All that matters is getting him better so he can stay around longer.

We'd do anything for our boy!