Puppy and Kitten Update

Apparently dog spit is magical. Marvin’s inflamed eyeball was just horrible looking that night, with discharge caking up half his face. We had our appointment for the next morning and were settling in to go to bed – and Navarre just holds the kitten down and cleans the heck out of his face. And I let him, I had been washing kitten’s face as well. However, my washcloth was not magical, but Navarre’s tongue was – the next morning Marvin’s eye was TOTALLY NORMAL. Well, okay, he still had the mild URI symtoms, but no redness, no discharge, just an adorable cute eyeball. So explain that one. I cancelled the appointment, as there really wasn’t a need at that point.

In the ongoing saga of cat sickness, Marvin continues to have some mild URI symptoms, mostly mild sneezing and a little nasal discharge. He’s feeling good, eating well, running around, super sweet.  Fizzy is still a little quiet, but he’s not retching at all, eating well, no weird breathing – definitely feeling better. Meanwhile, Dragon was full fledged retching, not eating, not feeling well and just a total repeat performance of what Fizban went through. I was much more chill about it this time, and he’s finally starting to get back into eating again, though his voice is still non-existent and he’s still retching off and on.

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Fingers crossed we’re on the upswing here, certainly even with all the sickness going on Marvin has fit in wonderfully. Dragon and Fizban have all played with him, they sleep together, they groom together – cats are just amazingly social and accepting. It helps that Marvin is just the most cutest and charming kitten ever – love him! I feel a little cheated by everything that has been going on, but no regrets, he’s just perfect. I have my sweet cuddly lap kitty that gets along with everyone, which is exactly what I was hoping for.

Aja is back! She did really well at David’s place, but does continue to have a lot of Drama out in public with people. The good news is she doesn’t seem sound sensitive or anything like that, it’s specifically people that freak her out. So we’ll see how that progresses, I really just assume she’ll continue to improve, though I imagine it will be an issue as she matures, hopefully she will grow out of it. She’s so much better than Bright was, as she does actually work through it.

She got to go to league this week, which I thought would be a good place, lots of dog people and, of course, other dogs – which always makes her feel more comfortable. She started out with lots of Drama when we went into the arena (she was, of course, totally comfortable running with the dogs in the field). I let her just walk around with me as I walked the course and she gave everyone the hairy eyeball. And then she would very tentatively take treats from SOME people, but not from others. She would, however, play and chase a toy.

Gave a break and came back while walking the course again, she was a little more comfortable, but still very suspicious of some, especially the man. Once again, playing and retrieving a ball bigger than her and very happy to work with me and offer behavior, but when I would try to walk her near other people she wanted to make sure I was between them and her.

Finally we came back at the end of the session, just a few dogs to run and I let her watch and eventually brought her into the arena while another dog was running – she thought that was pretty fun. At this point most of the people were gone and she was more comfortable, barking, playing, etc. And when we left the arena there was someone out there that had CHICKEN and it was like the switch flipped, suddenly she was just fine, that person was her buddy and she was throwing behaviors everywhere.

Which is an interesting part of the Aja puzzle, if someone just tries to be sweet and nice and gentle and just give her a treat, she often won’t go near them, even if they leave the treat on the ground – very suspicious. But often if that same person asks Aja for a behavior, then Aja is much more comfortable and doesn’t display the same anxiety, is happy to work for the food and take the food after. It’s surprisingly hard to get people to ask her to do something for them though.

Very similar to Bright, Aja really wishes people she doesn’t know would stop STARING at her. Bright was particularly sensitive to anyone looking at her when she was younger, and the more ‘friendly’ the person tried to be with her the more she wouldn’t come near them. But if they just ignored her Bright would usually be fine and then would approach the person in her own time and then they were friends. But people that tried to MAKE friends, she was having none of that. And people that tried to PET HER without permission – unforgivable.

Anyway, so after that Aja got to play with Jordan’s rambunctious 9 month old BC pup Riskee. Jordan thought Riskee would be too rough, but she obviously didn’t know how hardcore Aja is – that girl can hold her own, she’s a tank that is not at all body sensitive. Her and Riskee got along great and had such fun romping together.

Also took Aja to obedience this week, she had been when she was much younger, and her response to arriving was similar. She was perfectly happy to be there until we walked into the building and there were PEOPLE. I thought she might be a little more comfortable as she had been there before and everyone had dogs. But, no, SO MUCH DRAMA. So we went and sat in the corner and was shaking and hiding behind me – and no one was even near us or looking at her! So we watched for maybe 5 minutes, then Ellie came over and asked her for some behaviors – and Aja perked up and obliged. It’s a good class, there is a lady with a walker, a lady with some movement impairment, an asian lady – so some diversity.

We went around and she took some treats, some she was more comfortable than others. But she improved, and then everyone gathered up to have a discussion and no one was looking at Aja at all … and no one was feeding her. And she was like, “Hey, excuse me, isn’t this supposed to be all about Aja?” And she started mugging the other people, jumping up on them, offering behaviors – and they fed her, and so she got MORE pushy and demanding and all of the sudden there was the lightbulb switch and she was just comfortable. Took about 15 minutes, which seems to be the norm. Which isn’t quick, but to go from shaking and hiding behind me to pummeling strangers, barking and demanding treats – it’s quite the transformation.

So, yeah, lots to work on there – but the good news is that the plan is to split raising Aja with David and his wife, and they live in the city and actually go around people. So that makes exposing her to the public easier, as I just don’t in my every day life, so I have to really be thoughtful about making sure she gets out there. I will still do my best, but it’s much more relaxing to just work on things I want to work on, which does not involve going out into public!

Aja continues to be a really fun dog to train, she’s such a smart dog and really enjoys it. We worked on introducing leg weaving, platform sit training, wobble boards and rear feet targeting. She’s done great with all of it, though we do need to work on some cue discrimination. David did a great job working on verbal down cue, she has that one now … assuming it’s not too wet! Not quite an Oregonian yet, she’ll get there. Also been working on coming into me, I didn’t recognize it when she was younger, but she does have a big pressure bubble. London was very similar, so it’s good to work on now.

She’s getting so much more coordinated, when she’s out running with the dogs or through the forest it makes me very happy to see how comfortable she’s getting with her body. She’s starting to get past the lumbering hulk puppy stage, she can now trot smoothly, she’s started to really move out when she runs and when she jumps things in the forest her form looks beautiful. Such a nice athletic girl! She’s still such a brick though, I think she weighs the same amount that Navarre did at this age, which is crazy. I do think that she’s just getting it all out of the way now, and once her legs and neck finally sprout she’ll slow down and be a normal sized girl.

She continues to be an easy addition to the household, mostly housebroken assuming Heather remembers to let her out after, say, she just ate a huge dinner (whoops). She’s very good at self entertaining, which all my border collies are. I just have a crate in the living room, but she’s out most of the time. The big news is she’s learned to settle, when she does get tired she’ll just crash near wherever I am – and that’s pretty new, I used to have to put her away to get her to nap.

I did finally introduce Marvin and Aja, but I’m still very cautious with it. Aja doesn’t know quite what to do with any of the cats, much less this new one. She has gotten in trouble for being snarky with cats while she’s training because they are like vultures circling, but she got in big trouble for that – and for chasing cats. So she’s not quite sure what to do with cats, and it shows. Marvin, of course, is completely oblivious and thinks everyone is his friend.

Our January has continued to be lovely, we have gotten in lots of great hikes. This weekend we have more herding, which has already ruined Haku’s ‘stand’ in obedience … and I don’t really care. International league this week with Navarre and Bright was not super productive. I went in ready to be consistent with Bright’s criteria, so we just did a lot of fixing things, which is not very much fun. Hopefully we won’t have to do that for long. Navarre continues to not remember how to threadle, like, at all. So we are going to have to go back to fix that. Lots of good stuff other than that though, he continues to do really well.

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One Reply to “Puppy and Kitten Update”

  1. As a child, if I cut myself mum would tell me to get the dog to lick it clean. Something to do with certain enzymes they have in their mouth, if I remember rightly 🙂

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