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Monthly Archives: August 2016

Feeling MUCH better!

Voodoo is definitely feeling better, he’s been driving me crazy! LOL I took him out in the yard to let him run around and run off some energy and then he got hot, so I figured it would be a good chance to get his water retrieve on video. I only let him do this twice today since he’s supposed to get tired easily (But I’m not seeing that!)


Rat poison!

Voodoo and I have had quite the ordeal over the past 18 hours.  I had been away Judging a trial with Dazzle for the weekend and Voodoo stayed with Mike.  They didn’t leave the house/yard all weekend. Mike said Voodoo was lethargic, but eating/drinking normally and stools were normal so we figured he might be a bit depressed about being left behind.

When I got home, he was still sedate and seemed to be hurting a bit when he was moving around.  He didn’t want to jump on anything (me, the couch, his brother, Mike’s lap) so I was concerned, but not super worried at that point.  I suspected it might be “Pano” a joint issues some puppies get that makes them sore, but that they grow out of. He had eaten his dinner as usual and stool was normal.  I stopped by my vet’s office and asked about it and he said I could give him a baby asprin for the pain and I got some joint support powder to add to his food.

The bigger issue of the evening, that happened shortly after the regular vet office closed (of course), was what I thought was a lost baby tooth that wouldn’t stop bleeding. He was dripping blood from his mouth and it wasn’t stopping after an hour, so I drove 40 min. to the care center in the late evening. I was thinking it might need to be cauterized to get the bleeding to stop or that maybe he was having a reaction to the one aspirin I gave him. By the time I got to the lobby, his mouth was clean and the bleeding stopped, so I opted to go back home rather than have them charge me a small fortune to look him over and tell me he was fine.

We got back home and about the time I finished my late dinner around 10pm, he started bleeding again, but this time it was a nose bleed. I knew that wasn’t at all right, so I rushed him to Medvet. He was still bleeding when we arrived at 11pm and the crate had a lot of blood in it. He was lethargic and clearly not feeling well at all, but still greeted the techs with a subdued wagging tail and wiggling body.  They took him back for vitals and then brought him to the waiting room I was in to wait for the Dr. (I was covering his eyes in the photo because of the bright lights and so he could sleep).

8-22-16 waiting for vet sm

The Dr. recommended a full blood work panel and that’s what they did. I was completely shocked when she came back and said the most likely culprit was that Voodoo got into rat poison!  We have never bought rat poison and I know it has never been put out by us on our property. We are on a single lane dead end road (that looks like a driveway from the street) with only 3 houses on it, so anyone but us and the neighbor on the street is very rare. the rest of the property surrounding us (for many acres) is farm fields that are currently tall with corn.  One of the houses on our street belongs to a relative that I know has no rat poison out. Our other neighbor is an acre away and has small dogs that he lets run loose so I didn’t think he would put any out (which I confirmed today) and he said his relatives at the end of the street have cats and wouldn’t use it. When I let the vet know this, a few other possibilities were considered but quickly ruled out due to the blood work (clotting factors being way off being the biggest reason, but also his symptoms and age were considered to rule out other possibilities). So they took him back and started him on plasma and vitamin K.

I am very thankful it was a quiet night for them and other than a couple pets waiting for morning surgeries, he was their only active patient so he got excellent care and attention. And he won them all over immediately with his sweetness and adorableness 🙂 I was able to go back and sit with him a few times.  The first couple times, he was clearly quite sick and mostly slept after wagging his tail a bit when he first saw me.

About 4am, I was told he was finished with the plasma and initial Vitamin K dose and he was feeling better. When I went back, he was sitting in the crate and got excited to see me. He was telling me all about his ordeal in moans and groans and other “I’m ready to get out of here” noises as he got as close as he could to laying in my lap without getting out of the crate. They said they had taken him outside but he wouldn’t potty, so I asked if I could try.  He trotted down the hall with a wagging tail and wiggling body and I was SO happy to see that!!  He went potty for me and when he got back to his crate I said he had missed his late meal so the tech gave me a little tray/dish with a blob of bland canned food in it. He ate it in one quick gulp!  So he got a bit more and ate that with gusto too. While he felt he was ready to leave at that point, he was willing to settle back in the crate when I had to go back to the lobby so they could start his next IV drip. SO thankful for all the crate training we did so that being alone in the crate wasn’t stressful for him!

8-23-16 feeling better sm

After I got back to the lobby, I was hungry so I went to IHOP to get breakfast at 5am then went right back to wait in the lobby awhile longer.  I got to go back again before the morning shift change to take him out to potty, let him eat more (off a spoon this time so he wouldn’t gulp it) and love on him awhile. He was still getting lots of fluids to help flush the poison. Given his fast turn around and all the other factors considered, rat poison was the only thing that really fit.  But I still have no idea how he could have gotten into any!

Around 9am, I saw a critical care specialist vet and she reiterated that rat poison was the most likely cause and said she wanted to do one more blood draw and send it to the lab to check his clotting factors and red blood cell counts. If that was all good, we could go home.  So as soon as he was finished with the blood draw they brought him to a waiting room where we took a short nap together while we waited for the results. Thankfully they came back good and his catheters were removed and then we just had to wait for the discharge papers and meds.

8-23-16 ready to go sm

Almost exactly 12 hours after arriving at medvet, we were on our way home and once there, we both slept for several hours.  The vet said he shouldn’t have any lasting effects from the poisoning. Still need to figure out what has him so sore though.  Considering Pano, but also tick borne illnesses. We have a vet appointment tomorrow for follow up and will determine the best course of action then.

I’m very grateful to the staff at Medvet who took such excellent and loving care of him and to all my friends and family who were sending prayers and well wishes through the night as I posted the ongoing saga to facebook.

Teething pain

Voodoo is very sedate tonight, acting like he doesn’t feel well. I think his new adult teeth are hurting him (canines coming in). 😦 I’m freezing a washcloth for him to chew on a bit (supervised) if he wants to. All his adult front teeth are in, but his canines are pushing through now.

He stayed home with his “dad” this weekend while I took Dazzle to a barn hunt I was Judging. Dazzle had a good weekend and earned his RATCHX5 (Rat Champion Excellent #5, meaning he has had 75 qualifying Master level runs so far). Voodoo did well with his first nights without me since I got him and Dazzle enjoyed getting mom all to himself for awhile. 🙂

1st Show n’ Go, powerboat races and more!

Voodoo attended his first obedience Show n’ Go today and did a fantastic job!  He mostly ignored the other dogs (except when his nylon leash slipped out of my hand right after we came in the building) and his performance in the ring was more than I could have hoped for! He was attentive and able to perform just like he does at home.

  • For the heeling on leash, I rewarded a few times during the pattern and helped him with the left turn and the halt/sit.
  • Fig 8 was great! I was able to raise my left hand into almost standard position for a bit of it.
  • Sit for exam- I fed when I saw his attention waiver, but I think he would have recovered and held the sit. Better safe than sorry 🙂 We did a few of these during his first run and worked up to getting the “exam” without me feeding him. Without many “strangers” to help with the stuff that takes 2 people to train, I have to get our practice in when I can.
  • Stay/walk around- I didn’t walk around the ring, he’s not ready for that just yet.  But he did great with what I did.
  • Recall- He did great! I had to help him a bit to get his front straight, but I know that will work itself out.

Here is the video:

After we dropped off Dazzle at home and I ate lunch, Voodoo and I went to Rising Sun to see the finals of the power boat races. There were a few weather delays and occasional showers (& it was hot and humid in the sun), but it wasn’t too bad sitting under a big tree in the shade when the sun was out and out of the rain when the showers passed through.

As expected, he was totally nphased by the event, loud boats, announcer’s speakers, etc.


A few photos:

8-13-16 Chillin Sm8-13-16 Power boat races sm

Always ready to schmooze with the ladies 🙂 8-13-16 Schmoozing sm8-13-16 Trophies sm

On the way home, we stopped at the Lawrenceburg casino and I could tell that was a little bit overwhelming at first, but he quickly settled in and did great. It might have been the strong cig smoke odor, which we haven’t encountered anywhere else, or just the rest of the environment (flashing lights, bells, buzzers, low light levels, etc.). It’s overwhelming for humans when you first walk in, so I can understand his concern at the start. We went to a relatively quiet place by the card games for a few minutes and then he was ready to go explore. We made a few circuits of both levels and then headed home.

Lots of clueless people about service dog etiquette at the casino though (not staff, who were great). More than anywhere else I have visited, so many people were trying to distract him and pet him, even while I was feeding him treats for ignoring them. Also, the floor must be really disgusting because Voodoo was very distracted by lots of odors and that’s unusual for him. It wasn’t stress related sniffing, he kept stopping suddenly or doing a whiplash turn trying to lick various places on the floor – ewww! I didn’t get any photos/video because I wasn’t sure if it was allowed and because I wanted my full concentration on him and the adoring public.

You would THINK he should be tired after a day like that!  I was HOPING 🙂 But he’s currently tugging on and playing with the rope toy I’m holding (that he brought me and shoved in my lap). If I stop playing, he makes his “I’m bored” moans. Might have to go outside and throw the glow in the dark ball. LOL

This photo is from a few days ago when he was laying by me on the couch. I like the lighting in it. He was watching Dazzle who was looking out the front window.

8-12-16 Resting Sm



Just a head’s up that I’ll be going back through Voodoo’s blog and making some of the socialization posts public. I think it’s going to send out email notices (each time I change the settings) to the folks that are subscribed to his blog. So sorry for the new emails about old posts. But hopefully they will be interesting to some of you. I’ll spread them out and only do a couple at a time, as I remember, so you don’t get a bunch of emails at once.

Holding a real bird!

Once again Voodoo is amazing me! I did his first training session with a real bird today and he did fantastic! All the previous work we have done with take/hold/retrieve of other objects has paid off. And we progressed all the way to him holding the frozen bird by himself (and he also did an unplanned retrieve). He was introduced to wings as a baby when he was with the breeder and he sniffed and chewed on the beak of a real bird at the fun day hunt test, but this was his first hold of a real bird and I’m so proud of how he did!
We will progress with this training using the frozen bird (which thaws a bit as we work with it) and as the sessions get longer, the bird will thaw a bit more and more. And as he gets bigger, and this smaller bird gets a bit rank smelling, I’ll switch to the duck I have waiting in the freezer. I’m hoping that will last for enough training sessions to get him to his first hunt test for the intro level.



The Cookie Jar Concept

This is an uncut training session of the early stages of teaching Voodoo the “Cookie Jar concept”. Please excuse my training errors, this is something I’m just learning as well but I make some basic errors too. The main components of the concept are 1) The dog can go check out the cookie jar any time he wants. You want the dog to CHOOSE to work with you because 2) YOU are the dog’s “key” to the cookie jar.

We want the dog to learn that the way to open the jar is to work with the human. This is slightly but importantly different from the idea of a “delayed reward” (work X amount and then get “paid”). We want the dog to work the human to convince him/her to open the jar for the dog. This is more powerful for the dog because they have more control. This difference is taught to the dog in the details of the training steps and creates a dog that pushes you to work with them, even though you don’t have any rewards on you.

In the early stages, the dog only has to do easy behaviors to get the human to open the jar. So one of the biggest mistakes I made in this video is expecting too much from Voodoo. So hopefully others can learn from my mistakes in this clip. 🙂

I’m using a different “marker” for this to let Voodoo know the reward will come from the jar (still learning to do this myself, so I still click a few times and I forget to say the new word at least once in this clip). This will later allow me to click behaviors I want to reward from my hand without him running off to the jar. And it will let him know right away when he can run to the jar where I will open it for him.

Graduated puppy class


Voodoo graduated puppy class tonight and got his first certificate of achievement!  He chose the hedgehog from the pile of toys from which the graduates got to pick 🙂

8-10-16 Graduated puppy class Sm

We also went next door and played for a few minutes on the agility equipment

Harness vs. Collar

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collar vs harness

Just some food for thought:  The above photo shows how many sensitive things are found in a dog’s neck and how pressure on those things can cause or worsen certain conditions. Clipping a leash to a dog’s collar is one of those “we’ve always done it” sort of things and mostly it works out fine for the dog as far as I can tell. They might need some chiropractic adjustments or might cough when they pull, but that’s normal, right? But is it okay for a growing puppy to be stressing the nerves, joints and tendons in their neck each time the handler or the pup pulls on the collar?  I honestly don’t know.

It seems like most dogs turn out fine and only some end up with collapsed trachea or nerve damage or other such issues that might be caused or aggravated by years of constriction on their necks.

Obviously dogs have to wear collars if they are going to compete since most venues don’t allow harnesses. So dogs have to get used to working with a leash attached to a collar.  But personally, I will be keeping my puppy on a harness as long as possible while he learns leash manners because it can’t hurt, and might help prevent issues down the line.

Harnesses move the pressure to the dog’s body and away from the sensitive neck.

Daz 26 cropped

But there are vast differences in harness types and how they affect the dog’s body. The type that constrict on the dog’s shoulders may be linked to shoulder issues later in life when used on growing puppies. And harnesses that have a chest strap across the front of the dog’s shoulders can also restrict full motion of the dog’s front legs. So a non-constricting, “V- front” harness with a strap between the dog’s front legs to prevent the neck pieces from moving into the neck seems to be the best choice. Or the wide strap or padded/cloth type that help spread the pressure. And a chest ring, like the one on this Chai’s Choice Front Range Harness lets you clip the leash to the chest, making it easier to control where the dog’s body is going and makes it harder for the dog to pull.

I’m currently using the Premier “Sure-fit” harness on Voodoo because it’s what I had in the size he needs and it has a non-constricting, full motion V front with a chest ring and every strap is adjustable on it.

Another option is the Perfect Fit harness by Dog Games, Ltd.

Perfect Fit harness

Obviously training is the most key component to getting a dog that walks nicely on a leash, but the equipment on the dog can aid the training if it’s the right equipment being used correctly, including harnesses.

As for collars, the wider the better to help distribute the pressure over a wider area and reduce the digging in caused by narrow collars. Compare the photo below with a wide collar to the ones at the top of this article.

dog pulling

You can find wide collars by searching the internet for “Greyhound collar”, “Greyhound martingale”, or “extra wide dog collar”. Another nice thing about the wider collar is that the design is more visible and it doesn’t damage or discolor the dog’s hair like some collars, especially if you get a fleece lined one.  🙂 The martingale design is really nice because it will tighten enough that the dog can’t slip out of the collar, but can’t tighten enough to choke or put too much pressure when it’s properly fitted. Great for dogs with thick necks or with heads that are smaller than their neck.

Greyhound collars

As I said at the start, this is just food for thought.  If you’re happy with what you are using, stick with it! If not, there ARE options to consider.

Catching toys!

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This morning I tossed a ball toward him and he caught it!  Then proceeded to catch it again and again! But I didn’t have the camera set up (of course) and I knew it would be too hard to hold the phone and toss the ball.  So I waited till the evening and got the camera set up. Started with a soft fleece tug toy and he caught it 4 out of 4 tries!  Including a bad throw. But when I tried to get him to catch the ball again, he wasn’t getting it. But that’s okay!  He’s SO proud of himself when he makes a catch and I get excited. He gets all wiggly 🙂  Darn good for 18 weeks old!

Short Video: