Maybe Dog Training is Brain Training for Owners
As we work in our weekly dog training sessions, I'm starting to see how much of what we need to teach our dog is primarily about teaching our brains to memorize short little sequences....and also to listen intently to verbal coaching for an hour as we execute the actions. Talk about humbling!! Today, my perpetually cross-wired brain tried to do the "reverse" after our trainer demostrated it with our dog, but when I tried it, I got tangled up using the wrong hand to bring the dog around me. I ran out of arm half way around! I was laughing at how ridiculous I looked, but after she drilled the steps again, I realized what I had done was an exact mirror-image of the steps she had been demonstrating, as though my head was facing backwards! Like my brain told the wrong limb to go the right way, or something.
Likewise, my H always says he is really tired after we load the dog back in the truck to leave...this morning, he said "my head actually hurts!" He'd done really well with some new obedience steps like the "about turn," and "come to front." It hit me that perhaps listening for a solid hour to a woman's instructions and following them explicitly was completely new territory for him; and that maybe could be therapeutic for all kinds of reasons we don't discuss on this forum!
Cheaper than therapy and very revealing about our blind spots....what do you think? Pay $150 an hour to a counselor to talk about your partner's inability to listen, or spend $60 an hour to listen and move accordingly OBEYING SPOKEN COMMANDS, hehehe. Just like the dog, I'm thinking this work might have some spillover benefits at home! 😉
0 comment posted: Friday, February 23rd, 2024
Was SI 'hacked' yesterday for a while? Got imposter site warning all day
I just wondered if anyone else got a warning message after typing in the web address, saying "this website is not secure, it may be someone impersonating the site...Go Back." So I didn't dare click on it, but I really missed y'all!
14 comments posted: Wednesday, February 7th, 2024
Dog training "treats" made from daily kibble
Dog frens, our GSD is 10 months old and almost full grown physically, but he is still a bundle of energy and as it is snowy outside, we are working his training routine indoors. I've been trying to do training using his mid-day ration...He is still on 3 meals a day. I'm not having much luck with advice to "train with kibble" instead of using overly-rich and pricey dog treats.
Pup loves to work for treats BUT if he is HONGRY - and he usually always IS - his teeth will always scape my hand as I'm giving him his little rewards. I've followed the trainer's instructions about how to hold treats with an open palm, like one does with a horse, but it's just not working for him to gently nibble the tiny pieces of kibble I'm giving him. I always feel his teeth scraping my palm or my fingers, even though he doesn't bite them; he's just overly eager. My H says he doesn't have this issue, and our trainer thinks I'm making it up. Sigh. I'm just reactive to getting potentially injured. (We both survived the landshark months with this pup, but after all that, I'm a bit leery of the Gorilla teeth!)
We have enjoyed giving him a Costco treat: 2 inch long, round, skinny jerky-type treat. But I am just wondering: why don't I try to make some small, chunky treat out of his kibble? Have any of you successfully done this?
Another reason I want to try a baked treat is: I drop the kibbles I give him to avoid that feeling of teeth scraping my hand and they almost always end up bouncing somewhere he has to "Go Find." Another command, defeating the purpose of his understanding why he was being rewarded! (Clearly I suck at dog training. I also ain't much good at cooking!)
Just wondering, if I crushed up some of his kibble with egg and baked a bunch of mini treats, could I reward him better while not overdoing his daily intake?
0 comment posted: Friday, January 19th, 2024
Winter Weather Check In?
How are y'all getting along up in the truly arctic areas of our continent?
Dragn, I'm especially thinking of you, your family and all your livestock.
I'm also wondering about a lot of SI'rs in Northern states/Provinces and the mid-west. If you have time to check in, let us know how you're dealing with this weather.
20 comments posted: Tuesday, January 16th, 2024
Another doggie grieving short story
Those of you who have read about our late, great Mr. K will perhaps recall that he died last Thanksgiving morning, laying just next to our old girl dog's wire crate. She was right there beside us watching him breathe his last breath as I held his head and my H stroked his fur coat for the last time.
Since then, if she is around when I speak of him to my H, using ANY of the nicknames we had for him, she'll do something that lets us know she is strongly affected just by hearing about him, In Memoriam.
This morning, we had brought her in the house while the 9 month old "bomber boy" GSD pup Mink was in his play yard romping around chasing ball toys to burn off a bit of his insane energy. She took the rare opportunity to get some Mommy love without Boy Dog #1 being offended. (He barks furiously any time we touch the poor girl!) She just happened to be laying on the rug right next to her crate, and I was fixing the throw rug inside her crate. She rolled up and put her paws over her eyes, acting all cute, for some attention.
So I gave her a belly rub and told her I was sorry that the pup we tried long and hard to find for her new companion, is being just TOO much dog sometimes, and we are sorry that she can't romp and play together with him as much as she might have wanted to do.
In saying that, I added to my H "he sure isn't like our old K-Dog, is he?" and just then, she let out a big long howl!
Me: "...I said the K word, didn't I?"
9 comments posted: Friday, December 8th, 2023
Subliminal ads with political figures
If I recall my Psychology class notes correctly, in studying how people are influenced by familiarity of a person's face, research showed that the more often most people have seen a face, the more most people will tend to "like" the person...because our brains tend to like the familiar, and pictures embedded in our memory serve that purpose. Couldn't this concept be applied to the general public through repetitive pop-up advertising? I think it could. So I am starting to wonder why I am being presented with so many photos of a former politician and his family as I click on every page here. It almost feels like a subliminal political "image management" campaign and I wonder if this is happening just to me.
Maybe I really need a new computer?
8 comments posted: Wednesday, December 6th, 2023
Anybody else living in a gilded cage?
Long ago I heard the expression "living inside a gilded cage." Can't recall who first coined the term (pun intended!)
Who else here has come to the conclusion that their life is being spent in a Gilded Cage? Share your stories please. Maybe we can see the fallacy of our decision process, or maybe we might find a bit of consolation that we made the right decision to stick with our wrecked marriage after infidelity.
Thanks in advance.
6 comments posted: Monday, November 27th, 2023
Time Change Hard on Everybody?
So our 2 German Shepherd always get out of whack when the time changes. Daylight Savings Time just ended and my morning peace is being trampled on by a starving 75 pound pup whose breakfast is an hour late he says. In the evening they notice it's getting dark so they assume it's dinner time but it's not for another hour, baby dogs...they get vocal about that, too! Play time outside is also hard in the dark. Poor doggos.
Have you found your pets struggle with the time change?
10 comments posted: Monday, November 6th, 2023
Questions on Guardianship of Adult
SI has been such a great help in times of trouble for me and others, and thus I thought some of you may have heard of this kind of FOO situation. It has to do with my long-established boundaries around a certain sibling; I made the decision years ago to stay OUT of all further drama surrounding that branch of my FOO and that has worked for us until recently.
Today, I got a surprise phone call from a local lawyer's office telling me I had been named as a living relative of a married person whose out-of-state daughter is asking for Guardianship due to medical issues (which we became aware of a few months ago because of other family calls from distant relatives who wanted to get us "involved" initially. I had to put my foot down hard about NC. It hurt, but NC meant no new hurts, as the saying goes.)
Supposedly, this call is "just a courtesy phone interview to let everybody know what is going on." I agreed I could talk with the attorney right then and there, yet then the lawyer seemed like we might not be able to cover everything real quick (after I said I was at the library). I said I can come in face-to-face if they would like, and we agreed to do that later this week.
So...what do you make of that kind of call? I speculate either the spouse isn't able to manage care and the daughter has been asked to get involved, OR one daughter isn't sure about the spouse's capabilities, either (we're in our late 60's early 70's).
Either way, I want to know as little about their decisions as possible but I have a feeling I'm going to be asked for "input." (Even though we have been estranged for over a decade). So do you think this call was just a normal procedure?
37 comments posted: Tuesday, September 26th, 2023
Old Birthday Trigger
How to deal with an old Birthday Trauma trigger? I wouldn't say my M to my SAWH is in R, but hope your hard-earned perspectives could help me with this.
[We are IHS for going on 21 years now with multiple D-Days (prostitutes), the last being in 2014 - on my birthday!
He had surprised me with a sweet card and gifts as always that morning; but that year, I felt it was a genuine gesture of love through all the adversity we had just survived after he lost his job and started a home-based business. I felt like "he is finally coming out of his shell. Maybe we might make it!" And I kissed him. Yet by 5 pm, I got a call from him in jail: he needed a ride home, as the sheriff had impounded his muscle car he drove to a hotel to meet a hooker who was undercover. It made the local nightly TV news in our rural community. Happy Birthday to me, right? Part of me thinks that was supposed to be The End of this M.
Yet, after getting to the brink of filing, I asked my lawyer to change the PSA to a strong Post-Nup with property transfers; no children nor other joint assets, so little difference between what we signed and the PSA the lawyer drew up for D. The main difference in my life after that date is he continued living in my house, always saying he wanted to "keep trying to work on the M." I did believe him and hated to terminate the M at such a vulnerable time in his and my life. But it has been 20 years of hearing him claim he wants to "try." I keep watching and waiting, yet my heart really isn't in waiting and watching, any longer. Life is too short - in 2 days I turn 72! I would like to re-frame this birthday, especially coming just months after my younger brother died.]
So I'd love to know how you honored the truth of your relationships while not allowing an old Birthday Trauma to sour your attitude towards your WS on your birthday, as they make what they consider a thoughtful gesture. My SAWH likes to shop for things I tell him I don't really need nor expect, but the gifts I do repeatedly ask for - and cannot get despite asking - wouldn't cost one dime! I always find that beyond ironic! I guess he thinks he has to buy something. But why not try things like:
* showing respect for the home environment I let him share with me, in a house I now own outright?
* thinking a second about what he hears, before smart-mouthing off with irrelevant or oppositional responses to ANYthing I ever say, about any subject?
* taking our relationship 100% for granted just because I didn't drop the hammer on the Marriage?
One gift he could really wow me with, but it would cost money, would be getting professional help with his language/cognitive deficits instead of talking in stub sentences and expecting me to read his mind for the rest of it! He is almost 65 years old, and this isn't new, but it isn't improving. Quite often he seems to just ping off 1 word and respond to his own thoughts on that word, rather than getting the meaning of any sentence I spoke. I know he heard the words with his ears, but my words do not get processed by his mind very well. Lately I find I' losing my patience having to compensate for this by having to steer him back to the message. Lots of extra work for one of us.
I read your stories and I think maybe it's just me; that deep down, I don't really want this to be my life, and events like a birthday really remind me of that? Very possible. But then I think "Not 100% true, because if I ever noticed him making concrete efforts on his admitted issues (beyond stopping his acting out, which I think he did), it would soften me up a lot. But to just suck it up and accept this existence is as good as it's going to get? That is the thorn in my side that brings up the old triggers. Nobody around here has a pair of tweezers to pull out that old thorn.
Thanks for reading this treatise.
1 comment posted: Saturday, March 25th, 2023
New Puppy Search Seems Like Dating
Wasn't sure if this belongs in NB or OT, but just wanted folks in this forum to hear that if you are looking for a particular kind of puppy, especially using the internet, you shouldn't be surprised if it starts to feel like an endless exercise of having to "kiss a lot of frogs" as the old saying goes!
I've been looking hard locally and online for almost 2 months, 3 months after we lost our dear old boy at age 14, as his 9 year old girl dog is still grieving and so are we. But I keep finding so many dog folks who all are bragging about their fur babies but act reluctant to volunteer verifiable information about their puppies' parents' health-tested background.
It's like they think their puppy pictures will just melt your heart so you'll throw all caution to the wind and just commit! (We had several breed problems with our late great dog - including a hemangiosarcoma that we didn't know about - that killed him. Not wanting those issues if we can avoid them, but we still love the type of dog he was.)
But it seems the small-time breeders expect me not to be cautious about their pups, or I find the major breeders that come on all intimidating with rules and often limit who can even buy a pup from them. Too available on one extreme, and too snooty and hard-to-get on the other....like dating?!
Who else can appreciate the common struggle in "The art of choosing The One?" 😃
Hey wow, that's a book title, guys!
8 comments posted: Monday, January 23rd, 2023
Doctor effectiveness: which works better, tell patient to make lifestyle changes or just treat increasing symptoms with more pil
Seems the (male) doctors my H sees don't come down too hard on his lifetime dietary problems: morbid obesity, hyperlipidemia with age-related rising hypertension and glucose intolerance levels, GERD, sleep apnea and now a possible gout issue. It's always been vividly clear to me where all this is leading: early incapacitation or a shortened life span.
We attended a year-long weekly hospital support group with a diabetes educator and each have a large binder of reading materials to help us learn how to manage weight, get enough exercise and make right food choices, so it isn't like my H hasn't been warned by a professional of the risks of his uncontrolled weight; he just never has been warned BY HIS DOCTORS. So to him, his health must not be that bad, or the doctor would have said....whereas I see what I see, and I have a longer-range viewpoint; like I know I will not be able to lift a 330 lb. man if his feet break down.
I'm wondering if this is a real thing: doctors not wanting to confront a heavy middle-aged guy with his growing health issues? My medical peeps are often quite frank about anything I need to change, but H says he never hears any warnings (perhaps due to 'selective hearing'). I know his doctors, we see some of the same ones, and when I've been with him, they've never said anything to him about what will happen as his chronic illnesses progress. Even his paper records never note a need for him to make any lifestyle changes - like my docs have done! He always just walks out satisfied with yet another prescription. Now they want to try Prednisone and he's all for starting on it, so long as his big toe stops aching OMG.
So is this maybe some guy thing with the doctors? It's just so easy for them to write another 'scrip, and for him to think that's the end of it.
12 comments posted: Friday, December 30th, 2022
Thanksgiving expectations versus realities
A survey, if you like: How many families do you know who seem able to plan and carry out their Thanksgiving Day celebrations successfully most years, versus how many families do you know who, more often than not, during the weeks before Thanksgiving have drama or crises which effectively quash that year's celebration?
I'm asking about repeat occurrences you may have noticed among your circle of friends: Do they generally say it went ok? Do they generally report it got screwed up!?
In my experience of 70 years, I keep planning this annual feast despite almost always having some negative circumstance crop up suddenly just beforehand to scuttle my plans, and I'm talking 'for decades and decades' this has happened. Makes me wonder if it's just getting harder to do this for the majority of people, or just harder for people like myself: older, with no kids?
For me, it started when I was 12 years old with the assassination of JFK in 1963 a couple days before Thanksgiving. Everyone felt horrible, but we figured it was just tragic coincidence. Now, though, this seems the norm in my FOO, as well as for most of my 2nd marriage (for the reason we do not discuss on this forum). Then of course we had the pandemic, when nobody much was feeling thankful or could get together freely.
We tried volunteering at a Salvation Army homeless center on the first Thanksgiving Day after my October D-Day 1, but there were more of us trying to be volunteers than they had homeless to feed! One year, right after my father died, we just went out to eat at a buffet but it was not the same as having the wonderful atmosphere of home cooking. And no leftovers.
A few years later, after more sibling drama, I decided to 'rise above it all' and host a Thanksgiving dinner in our home for people in the community we knew had no money or place to have their own meal. With the pilgrim spirit that started this tradition, I invited families, cooked a really big meal, set tables up...only to have the invited families pull no shows - this happened with different families a couple Thanksgivings in a row! (I believe they thought their presence wouldn't be missed....they weren't from this country, so to them it was 'just a meal.') But yet, it was frustratingly familiar...
This year, it's a sudden crisis with an alcoholic brother in ICU. (His son just got married 8 weeks ago and we had a rare, happy family get-together. Inspired to continue making good memories, I was attempting to organize a holiday get-together at an agreed location for this single brother and his children. One week ago, he checked himself into the hospital for alcohol poisoning and ended up on a ventilator for a week! He just was successfully weaned off of it, so we have reason to BE thankful, yes - but scratch trying to plan a get-together!) My father was also a heavy drinker who hit bottom at 48. He was healthy as a horse for 40 years after he gave up the booze - except every year, around Thanksgiving, he'd complain he didn't feel good. Wasn't up to celebrating with anyone. Still feeling sorry for his lifeI think, until he died at age 88. Now, I see the same pattern with one of his sons. But I don't know if it's just my family legacy of alcoholism and the 'other word' that brought me here...I find myself wishing I could just fast-forward to March already and not have to go through all the build up and disappointment.
Tell me what you all know about this, and thanks in advance!
31 comments posted: Friday, November 18th, 2022
Old Dog with Tummy Torments
Have any of you had an old dog (especially a Lab or Shepherd type) with both pancreatitis and hypothyroidism? I know they can be difficult and variable problems, but I am wearing out our vet with questions we don't seem to have answers for, and this dear dog is wearing us out, as well!
Last year, he got diagnosed at age 13+ with low thyroid T4 (probably had been getting worse for years), so we started on the thyroxin pill regimen the vet prescribed. Immediately that caused his metabolism to rev up (of course) and we noticed he was panting more, drinking a ton more water, and acting like somebody stole half his food! But also, tummy problems became way more frequent. He always did have a sensitive stomach.
We decided to cut his thyroxin dose to half but supplement his feed with a retail thyroid-stimulating herb mix, and it seemed he was settling into his new regimen with months of good T4 blood levels on the half dose + herbal therapy.
But then, a few months later, he started having attacks of diarrhea every four or five days, so the vet ran another blood test, and found low pancreatic enzymes. We added prescription pancreatic enzyme pills before every meal and we have had to sharply limit fat and keep his protein content under 20%. Very few affordable feeds work for this kind of diet, and he isn't happy about all this, either!
But here's the weird thing: after a year of expensive tests and prescription pills, his lab work just showed he's healthy and within normal ranges, and the vet thinks he's doing well enough. Yet he is getting more and more difficult for us to figure out (especially, when he needs to go out!)
Just last week, we found a true low fat kibble (5%) and started transitioning him to it for a quarter to half his regular senior dog food ration. At 70 lbs., he gets 1 scant cup of the mixture of 2 low-fat, low-protein feeds at each feeding, whereas their charts say to feed 3-4 cups a day. We switched to the 2nd dry kibble because my little home-cooked rice and ground beef "brownies," added to 1 cup of senior kibble, seemed too much bulk for his gut. We blamed them for causing loose stools.
But soon after we started with this new mix of feeds, he has double the volume of #2, and now wants to go OUT urgently 3 times or more a day...lately, he is even dumping a load in the house in the middle of the night! (At least it's "formed" and not too bad to deal with.) And with not a shred of guilt...in a dog who never did this in his long life? Either dementia, tummy distress, or both...
The fine print of the new feed might explain part of this: 10% fiber versus the existing senior kibble's 4.5% max. But surely, a relatively small increase in fiber would not by itself double the bulk of his #2 business?? Plus, due to the restricted diet, he had been losing enough weight we can feel his ribs. So after consulting with the vet, we figured 3 meals a day might help his tummy deal with this new blend of food while keeping his calories up.
But nothing seems to work well for long. Today, we skipped his midday feed but still only gave him his 1 cup tonight of the 2 dry feeds, along with his pancreatic enzyme pills and Fortiflora probiotic powder. Soon as he finishes eating and drinking, he begs to go out for a massive #2 but then, 2 hours later, we get another desperate request to go out, only this time, it's diarrhea. I am stumped.
My husband wonders if he is "forcing himself to go" sometimes, because the smart old dog understands the People are going to bed soon, and the night is getting long; 8 hours now is too long for the old guy, I think.
I guess I'm at the end of what we know to try, and wondering if anybody else has figured out how to anticipate their old dog's needs - without becoming caught up in a game of "What? You wanna go out AGAIN?" :) I wonder if he's having a bit of memory loss, that he forgets he just ate or forgets he just went. Yikes. I'm committed to this dog until death do us part, but it's just about all my husband and I talk about, any more! We have heard similar tales of woe from a couple other dog owners who have had a pancreatitis and/or hypothyroid to cope with. I'm trying to cope....help!?
If you read this far, thank you, even if you have no suggestion!
10 comments posted: Friday, September 23rd, 2022
Latex allergy when its hot?
Hi all, does anybody else have a rash-type reaction to latex in undergarments but ONLY when it's really hot outside? It's a"heat rash" but I notice I get this only in places where something with spandex or latex in a garment stays in contact with my skin while I'm outside sweating and gardening or whatever. I always tell doctors I have a latex allergy but really, it's just 'hot weather dependent.' I don't break out if somebody wears latex gloves during a dental or medical procedure (I hate the odor near my mouth, however!) I just threw away another garment I didn't realize was "bad."
Tell me I'm not alone?
0 comment posted: Saturday, May 21st, 2022
Help, what to do about dog pancreatitis?
Any over-the-counter supplements that help your dogs with this issue? With our 14-year-old Lab-Shepherd, we had good luck adding a powdered enzyme-probiotic to his 2 daily meals. It was available without prescription, but now the company seems unable to restock it. A friend suggested using a fresh dog food product that is sold already packaged and chilled, with only 4% fat, so for the last month we've tried feeding that half and half with his senior kibble, and it really seemed to help.
Last week, we finally ran out of the digestive powder and had to find another product, which we got at another major pet store. It's in chewy form, so it has a little canola oil (not sure how much) in each chew. The same night as we started him on that, he had a loose stool. Now it has been 3 days, we also started a new package of his fresh dog food (beef products with veggies) and he is all torn up, messing in his kennel. The vet says time for another round of tests and a stool sample.
Could it be the canola oil in the new digestive supplement? Or possibly the new package of the beef dog food? Seems we need to withhold his food until we can see the vet tomorrow. This would really be easier on the old guy if anybody in our vets' offices knew what to feed the dog!
Thanks for any suggestions!! This dog is our baby....
8 comments posted: Tuesday, May 10th, 2022
Would you sign a waiver of notice in a No Fault D?
Hi all! A friend of mine who does charitable work for our church is helping someone get through his divorce, and just asked me to look at legal papers his STBX cheating wife, mother of their 4 children, sent for him to "sign off" on to finalize their No Fault Divorce (based on over one year apart, no reconciliation, and no mention of her infidelity).
The document - "Acceptance/Waiver of Service Process..." - lists a number of legal notifications the Defendant will be waiving his right to, if he signs it, one being "notice of entry of any order, judgment or decree, including the final decree of divorce."
To me, not being a legal person, that looks like the STBX is trying to save herself legal document and filing fees. Maybe this kind of sign-off document isn't a problem in this case, other than it reads like my friend will have to keep checking with the Virginia court, for example, to find out when his divorce decree gets filed. I'm just not sure that signing this waiver is a red flag in this situation (couple had no property and child custody was already verbally agreed to). Still, my friend says she doesn't trust the STBX and why this was sent, so she asked my opinion....and I'd like a more informed opinion than I can give her! Sound familiar, anyone? Unforeseen consequences, etc.? TIA
[This message edited by Superesse at 10:20 AM, April 8th (Thursday)]
6 comments posted: Thursday, April 8th, 2021