Coming Along

Although I wouldn't call them best friends, Cabana and Angie are learning to get along. If it were only up to Cabana, I might find the two of them cuddled up on her dog bed together, like in cute photos you see in calendars or on coffee mugs. But Angie is the one who'd have none of that. She's 14 years old and quite set in her ways. She tolerates Cabana, but she won't put up with Cabana's eagerness to sniff her posterior orifice.

Still, the fact that Angie is staying put on this lounge chair while Cabana sits beside her on the ground is tremendous progress in my book. And I didn't even put Cabana in a sit--she sat there completely on her own. We've come a long way since this photo, where Angie would beat a hasty retreat whenever Cabana was in the same room.

It seems like Cabana has learned to pay less attention to cats on our walks. In the past week, she either hasn't seen them or hasn't cared enough to see them. I hope it's the latter. If she can be less distracted by cats, MAYBE there's hope for her being less distracted by dogs.

I was pretty discouraged by a recent post on the Guide Dogs blog about career changed dogs. Sharon Davis of Aurora, CO, describes her feelings after her puppy Argos got career changed. She is a puppy group LEADER (i.e., she has much more of a clue about what she's doing than I do), and she was not able to help Argos overcome his dog distraction. She says, "...he just wanted to play with those other dogs." I know there's nothing more that Cabana would love than to play with the other dogs we see on our walks.

Still, I know it doesn't help to dwell on what may or may not be. I need to focus on doing the best with the puppy I've got, and I do feel encouraged when I see the teeny tiny baby steps of progress that Cabana is making.

Speaking of which, I've noticed my garden is progressing very nicely. I planted the veggies in this planter box on June 22. Click here to see how they looked just over a month ago. Last night, we had homemade pizza and salad. I used tomatoes, basil, lettuce and arugula, all harvested from my little garden. My zucchini plants are the huge leaves in the back. I think we're going to have zucchini coming out of our ears in about a week!

Ellie's mom  – (July 25, 2009 at 10:43 AM)  

Our house has two cats, one of them used to be okay with Barrett but when he got older she reached a point to where she was scared of him. I don't know how this happened, he was just as scared of her! But when we had him full time she settled down and was less scared. She's terrified of Ellie, though Ellie shows little interest in her.
Our other cat is not scared of dogs, but certainly not friendly. She really made sure that Barrett knew she was boss (he did!!) by swatting him when he came up close. She used to stalk him for fun which we discouraged.....
She's the same way with Ellie but a little more lax. So far no stalking, and Ellie really just ignores her. Though when it's kitty feeding time, Ellie hangs around the dish but knows not to get close, or ouch!
I would just love to have a friendly relationship between dog and cats though......

Anna and Avani  – (July 25, 2009 at 10:53 AM)  

Ohh, don't get too down over that post. Avani has really bad dog distraction, but she's also very food motivated - due to this combination we've been able to use the new marker food protocol that is a form of clicker training. Avani ignores every dog in sight now, not knowing when she'll get a piece of kibble, but knowing that if she's good she will get one sometime!

Cabana's Puppy Raiser  – (July 25, 2009 at 11:39 AM)  

Anna, I need to find out how to get in on that food protocol/clicker training! Cabana is also EXTREMELY food motivated. I'm going to ask my group leader.

Ellie's Mom - Our cat also shows Cabana who's boss with the claw swatting technique. Cabana has had a few beads of blood on her nose from Angie's claw--only once, but it was enough!

gdbpuppymom  – (July 25, 2009 at 1:47 PM)  

I have been following your blog after getting an email about the t-shirts you will be selling at guide dogs funday. Its great to see all the help that you are able to get. I wish we had this when i raised my first baby about fifteen years ago. I wish you and Cabana all the best on your journey and hope that this is not the one and only!! Jaymie and Ultra in monterey Ca

Anonymous –   – (July 25, 2009 at 3:49 PM)  

I remember Loyola being VERY dog distracted while in training and wouldn't you know, she is in Phase 10 now! :)

Lisa and Ellie  – (July 26, 2009 at 6:38 AM)  

Dog distraction is a hard one. Especially when other people walking, with their dogs in yards don't adhere by the same rules. It is nice to see even the smallest of successes though. Somehow - they feel much bigger than they really are (at least that's the case with me and Ellie)! Keep up the good work, Cabana's lucky to have such a caring puppy raiser.

Penelope  – (July 26, 2009 at 3:40 PM)  

Don't get too down over the dog distraction, it's a hard one but there's a lot you can do to work with it. Penelope had *VERY BAD* dog distraction and made it all the way through her first session of Team Training before release--and even then it wasn't dog distraction she was released for! Keep it up! =)

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