Puttering Along

I didn’t mean to go so long without posts–and many thanks to those of you who sent me concerned e-mails. It warms my heart.

I haven’t been posting because life is very slow and boring here. Which is not complaining, by the way. Boring is one of my favorite things in the universe. It just doesn’t inspire a lot of exciting blog posts.

So, here are some musings of a not-earth-shattering variety.

1) I have decided that I’m going about Silas’s nail trimming all wrong. Silas is a dog who adores–and NEEDS–process and routine. I keep trying to do wait until he’s calm and happy, then whip out my nail clippers for a little counter conditioning. He is never going to be okay with that. Surprises are his least favorite thing in the universe. Instead, I’ve decided to make the whole process as he already knows it less scary for him. We trim his nails with him standing on the kitchen table, where I can see what I’m doing and he doesn’t squirm. Instead of conditioning the clippers, which is getting me no place meaningful, I’ve started working on the other part–picking him up and putting him on the table, then letting him get back down. Or, even just picking him up and putting him right back down, then giving him a big treat. I wish I could train him to put himself on the table, but I’ve never been able to manage it. I can’t even say how much better it made bath time when he learned to get in the tub on his own. Standing him on the table is hardly the most sensitive and humane way to do this, but it’s what he knows. That goes a long way with Silas. Basically, I think the best I’ll ever be able to do with him is to make him as happy as he is at the vet, where he loves everything except the actual exam.

2) I have realized with kind of a dull sense of dread that we’re due back at the behaviorist in January, and she’s going to ask lots of questions like “did you finish the relaxation protocol?” and “how many times a week is he getting out?” Gulp. I guess I need to start doing “real” training again.

3) I put a new thermometer on the end table on Wednesday. Silas sniffed of it and walked on by. This counts as progress.

4) Our winter weather is a fickle, fickle beast. It’s never colder than about 30 degrees here, which probably seems warm to a lot of you, but our house is exactly the opposite of everything warm and snug. Poor nearly-naked Silas was miserable last week when the temperature inside the house dropped from 75 (our summer air conditioning setting) to 65 in the span of one day. This week should be warm again; maybe Silas’s winter coat (to the extent that he gets one) will come on in. He has a sweater that he hates. If any of you have great ideas for keeping a short-haired dog warm, please let me know. He’s all warm and happy in this picture, which is how he stayed until he stood up and realized that his sweater was attached to his body OMG I HAVE TO SCRAPE IT OFF NOW BEFORE IT KILLS ME.

Warm and sleepy

9 thoughts on “Puttering Along

  1. Glad to hear life has been dull. Boring is a good thing. 🙂

    I’ve had some foster pups who were cold sensitive. I keep the house at 55 degrees during the day. But I’ll use a space heater in the room where I’m working. The foster puppy bed sat at a safe distance from the space heater and they were happy.

    Good ideas for nail trimming. The opposite approach works for me. When I make a big deal about putting Honey on the bed and bringing out the clippers, she starts getting anxious. But if I whip out the clippers while she’s relaxing and just do one nail every few minutes, things go fine.

    Unfortunately, I got her quick a couple of weeks ago. She’s fine. But I’m still traumatized.


  2. Poodles love wearing clothes, but my short haired dogs hate them like Silas does.They are bent on scraping them off in spite of my logical appeals to their comfort.


  3. I, too, am a fan of boring! It is my favorite.

    It definitely makes sense to me that Silas Pattern Seeker would do better with a predictable routine than otherwise. And while I have great faith in DS/CC, I’ve been kicking around the idea that for some dog personality types it might be difficult and frustrating, especially in initial phases–they want to know why you keep touching them, and what their job is in this process. As an example, Nala’s clicker-savviness has made a huge, inexplicable leap in the past month or so, and my plan to CC muzzle handling had to be put on hold because she keeps delightedly bopping different parts of her muzzle into my hand when I reach toward it. It’s cute, but wasn’t exactly in the training plan, so I have to figure out what I want, revise accordingly, and, uh, figure out how to train it. 🙂

    Pam’s space heater idea is smart, and much better than mine, which was to just have him wear his Thundershirt more often. Sleepy sweatered Silas sure is cute, though! It’s too bad he’s unlikely to be swayed by arguments that center on his adorableness.
    Putting a blanket on Nala causes her to look like she is being subjected to existential horror, so I won’t be recommending that to anyone.


  4. Honestly, my short haired dog is fine with coats and sweaters outside, but inside, she wants nothing more than to rub it off, so I don’t make her wear one indoors. I did get her a cave bed (http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=20938) which she loves, and the round fuzzy donut beds from costco (http://www.costco.com/Kirkland-Signature%E2%84%A2-24-%22-Snuggler-Pet-Bed–.product.100082989.html), which look way too small for my 40lb dog, are the other favorite bed during cold weather. I’ll sometimes toss a blanket over top of her if she is in that bed. The cave bed did take a while for her to learn to use- I just put cookies in the back of it and gradually helped her less and less, and now she noses into it all by herself when she is cold.


  5. Gad to hear all is…boring! How about something looser like a t-shirt? It won’t provide as much warmth but better than nothing. Kaya & Norman each have a hoodie. They’re super soft inside but they don’t need them too often. Kaya is an under the covers kind of gal.


  6. Hey, sniffing and ignoring the thermometer sounds like progress to me! And yeah, I’d be pretty happy if 30 was the lowest the temperature ever went in the summer. Ah well….


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