Life has a way of finding time for personal blogging difficult. Which would I rather do–sleep or blog? Play with the dog or write about playing with the dog? 🙂
Jasmine is wonderful. She is healthy, bouncy and happy. In fact, she has been increasingly…um…insistent about her routines.
Her evening routine is centered around food. I come home. I feed her. She scarfs up dinner. I sit and eat with Hubby. She stares at me. And stares. Not for my food. Nope. She stares because it’s “Have you been a good girl?” time…complete with treat. If I ignore her, a small ‘wooft’ is in order. If I ignore her long enough, a ‘wooft + sit-hop’ ensues. And if that doesn’t work, an all-out bark is in order.
Aside: Have you ever seen a sit-hop? It’s so darn cute. Jasmine hops with her butt still solid on the ground. She uses her front legs to lift her front-side off the ground, complete with cute floppy ears. It seems to make the ‘wooft’ go further. It’s not sitting up. She pops up and down. Oh, it’s hard to ignore, but I try.
If we get down to bark mode, I continue to ignore her until she’s calm and quiet. Then I ask her to lie down. THEN she gets her “Have you been a good girl?” treat. I DO have SOME discipline. Ahem. (Yeah, and if you believe that one…)
Then there’s PB time. After dinner, it’s Jasmine’s time to sit on Hubby’s lap and get a small bit of peanut butter. She gets up on my lap and starts wagging madly at Hubby. She’s a total flirt until she gets what she wants! She stares longingly at him, wags her tail, looks her cutest and entices him to invite her onto his lap. She then waits patiently for her prize, licking her lips. If she’s not on my lap, she sits on the floor with the Vulcan Mind Meld look on her face…”He will understand what I want…” and sometimes goes into wooft-bark mode.
It’s great that she’s communicating, but I think I’ve created a bark monster. 🙂
Simon & Hueys, the makers of Soft Training Treats (Jasmine’s favorite treats), have sold their company. I was going to replenish my supply–I was dangerously low. The local doggie boutique was sold out, so I went to the company’s website to make a bulk purchase. The website was gone.
I tried calling their phone, and their voice mail was full. Uh oh.
I did a Google search for the little morsels, and I found a couple of online stores selling them. But better yet, I found an ad on Craigslist selling “overstock” of these treats. I contacted the seller, and it just happens to be one of the owners. She said that they sold the business to Paws Gourmet, Inc. Paws Gourmet was in the process of learning and perfecting the manufacturing process. They were clearing out their excess inventory.
I ordered a bunch to stock up. Unfortunately, they got my order wrong (not surprising since they’re probably in shut-down mode), but I got MOST of what I ordered. So Jasmine is assured that her favorite training treat is on hand for some time. I did find some substitutes (I particularly like Cloudstar’s Soft & Chewy Buddy Biscuits, but they are a bit pricey) but I still love the Simon and Huey’s product. They are tiny, made with only a few ingredients and Jasmine loves them. That’s good enough for me.
When Jasmine first arrived, she was not food motivated at all. In fact, getting her to eat was difficult, and the only treats she liked were the Simon & Huey’s treats.
Today, Jasmine is a real “foodie.” She sits at attention when we’re eating certain foods–especially apples and popcorn. I accidentally found out her propensity for these foods–my bad. I left an apple core on the coffee table. I dropped a piece of popcorn when I was transferring the contents of the bag into a bowl. I really didn’t want to let Jasmine eat human food, but these days when I eat either popcorn or apples, Jasmine goes nuts. She jumps up and down, wags her tail, gives me the “happy” face…aren’t dogs great at manipulation? And I’m a total sucker. TOTAL sucker. One look at those shining eyes and perky ears…I’m mush.
Jasmine’s food obsessions are quirky. Her apple-lust stops at the peel. She won’t eat the peel. But doesn’t she know that the peel is good for you? All that fiber! When she eats popcorn, she gingerly picks it up and carries it to the far side of the coffee table. THEN she eats it. It’s pretty darn cute to see that little piece of popcorn sticking out of her mouth as she runs on by.
The good news is that her favorite treat is a good old dog bone. When I ask her whether she wants a bone, she goes ballistic. She jumps for joy and runs into the kitchen and faces the bone jar. She does a little doggie dance until I give her the bone. I have a feeling that giving her treats is more fun for me than for her. Well, maybe just a LITTLE more fun…she seems to be truly happy when I do.
Jasmine has been picking up new tricks so easily. She almost seems bored with the old ones! I’ve been trying to mark behaviors I’ve seen from her and assigning commands to them–it works so much better than trying to shape her behavior (i.e. pushing her rear down in a sit).
So far, Jasmine has learned how to crawl and how to sit up. Both behaviors were taught in less than a day. For the crawl, she started crawling across the rug to get a bone. I got down on my hands and knees, made a few scratching motions on the carpet and said “crawl!” She crawled, and I marked the behavior with “YES!” and praised her and gave her a treat. After just a few repetitions, she learned the behavior and could repeat it on command.
Today, she was trying to jump up to get a treat from my hand, and I marked the behavior with an “up” command. A couple of treats and praises later, and Jasmine was hooked.
“Training” is one of her favorite games. When I ask her whether she wants to do some training, she jumps for joy. Okay, so maybe she’s excited about treats. But I like to think the tricks are fun too… 😀
Jasmine is getting more into treats these days. When we first got her, she wouldn’t eat anything but soft treats. These days, she enjoys biscuits, freeze-dried liver, rawhide chewies, etc. However, Jasmine has taken to Simon & Huey’s Soft Training Treats as well as poached chicken as her favorite staple training treats. I like the Simon & Huey’s treats due to their size, their “tossability”–they bounce when tossed on the carpet–and their simple ingredients (Oat flour, honey, canola oil, garlic, plus whatever ingredient is used for the flavor, including chicken stock, cheddar cheese, etc.). It doesn’t hurt that Jasmine loves them (one of the very first treats she really loved) they are easy to carry and use and easy to store (freezer). We have tried both the White Cheddar and the Chicken flavors. However, real meat is always a high-value treat, and we use the poached chicken in obedience class.
We originally found the soft training treats at our local doggie boutique–Gussied Up Dog Boutique. Yes, it’s a shameless store full of foo-foo doggie items (clothing, cute leashes and collars, treats, bowls, toys and, these days, Halloween costumes). However, it’s also one of the few stores around here that Jasmine is more then welcome to enter. She was terrified the last time we went, though. I think the sensory overload from too many scary costumes had her reeling. Even chicken jerky didn’t calm her fears, so we had to leave the store.
Jasmine still loves “training time.” She gets all bouncy, her ears perk up, and her eyes shine with the glow of treats to come. 🙂 Now, don’t you wish all your kids would be so eager to do their homework?
So, after another expensive trip to the vet ($162), Jasmine is now on a month’s course of antibiotics. Instead of the liquid, the vet recommended we try pills (Jasmine was, um, unreliable with the liquid due to the “spit” factor). I tried the “put it in the back of the tongue and rub the throat” trick that used to work with some of the dogs I had in the past. Nope. Cough. Cough. Spit. Out came the pill. *sigh*
Next up was cheese. Since Jasmine’s favorite cheese (no, she is not a gourmet dog and likes plain old Kraft American cheese) only comes in sheets, I decided to try some string cheese. Bingo! I cut a small hunk off the end, opened a hole in it with my knife, placed the pill in the pocket and mushed up the cheese to completely encase the pill. Gobble. All gone. It worked again this morning.
This is much better than having to wedge her mouth open and squirt vile-tasting liquid into her mouth.
The problem is that TWO vets went probing into her paw again yesterday (she was sedated), and again, they weren’t able to find the foreign body that’s in her paw. It’s frustrating. There must be something in there to make her paw swollen and puss-filled. For now, I’ll keep the compresses going and hope for the best.
The good news is that Jasmie is finally putting on a little weight. She’s now a little over 10 pounds, and her coat is getting softer every day.