Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Four Month Birthday!

So....this week began my Spring Break, and we had lots of time to work with Sagan.  I am happy to report that his stranger danger seems to be lessening somewhat.  He has had lots of people experience this week.

1) Isaac Evans park in Auburn (very quiet day...did great with people, really pegged on dogs)
2) Petsmart in Puyallup (ROCK STAR....and I owe Cody and Tracy huge thanks for their help here...  they facilitated Sagan being in Banfield exam rooms to get experience at another vet, asked people to come up and pet him.  I did not see a single instance of people fear here at all.  YAY...and we stayed for almost an eternity in Sagan's little brain)
3)  Four sets of people coming over to meet him.  Cody and Jade (this one involved submissive peeing, but ended well), Donnelle and Jason (rock star), Patti and Jon,  Kim and Kwami (rock star).  We did the game "Look at That" each time.  Sagan did a bit of sentry barking at the doorbell, but took less than a minute or two to want attention, getting closer with Look at That.  All of these folks stayed for quite some time, playing ball with Sagan and generally getting ear kisses.  At least he learned those folks were lovers. :-)  I owe everyone BIG thanks for the help here.
4) The vet 2 times.  This one is gonna take some work.  He had a bad experience his 2nd set of boosters and absolutely HATES the vet tech, Heidi.  We took him into the lobby just to give him lots of hot dogs.  He is very alert and pegged, and the lobby isn't quite big enough that we can get him far enough away for effective look at that.  I opted for classical conditioning here instead.  Lots of hot dogs, me running and jumping like a goon so Sagan was more interested in jumping on me and chasing me than worrying about Heidi.  Ironically, he is far better in the actual exam room (our vet is wonderful and let us traipse him around through the building).  He was fine being put on the table (tail wagging)...and this is where he tried to chomp Heidi last week.  The best outcome of all of this, though, was that our vet allowed us to take his 3rd set of boosters home and do the shots at home (we've done this lots before, including IV fluids for the ferrets, so we weren't worried about this).  Shots went great.  Now we have about 2 months to get him used to Heidi before his neuter.
5) Puppy class. He was still pretty tentative during puppy play, but did come out to investigate, and did play bow once at the Shih Tzu puppy, Sugar, in class.  He did great on all the obedience stuff, but we're working that lots, successfully, at home.  He seems to be generalizing in new environments *really* well on this front.  We exchanged numbers with Debbie, who is Walter's mom (pit bull brindle pup...Adorable) to enjoy the quiet off leash park at Reber Ranch sometime.

So, we are off to Woodinville for 2 nights, and will be leaving Sagan with Cody.  I am so happy we have a great housesitter who also does dog training and understands what Sagan needs.  He is going to introduce him slowly to some well-behaved trainers' dogs while we are gone to continue the work socializing him with other dogs.

This week has also alerted me to something important concerning puppies that I think I knew, but got reminded about.  There are lots of people who have advice about raising your puppy, and there are lots of people who will judge everything you do.  While it is always important to keep an open mind and hear what people are saying, you don't have to put up with anyone criticizing your every move. Those of you that know me, know we've been through quite a ride with this guy and are working our asses off to ensure he is socialized appropriately and often.  You also know that this has been very emotional and we don't need negativity right now.  So imagine my absolutely seething ANGER when someone I thought was an ally criticized how we were playing fetch with Sagan, and told us to worry about him kissing us....that it can turn into obsessive behavior.  Then this total BAD WORD had the gaul to tell me I was being selfish by not allowing Sagan to go live with her for a month while I cooled off.  That somehow, my being emotional about the problems my dog is experiencing will prevent me from doing the right thing by him. Seriously, people, life is too short to accept this kind of BS from anyone, credentials or no.  So please, if you have anything nitpickingly negative to say right now, keep it to yourself for awhile.  I'd rather enjoy Sagan's ears:
New digital SLR camera;  Nikon D3100

Or watching Sagan and Doppler play with cardboard:

Or watching Sagan sleep in his favorite spot in the house:

Or watching him look handsome in the few moments of sunshine we have outside:
How handsome is that!!!

Or marveling at the fact that he has already lost FIVE baby teeth!!!!

Sagan is sooooo loving us right now!

Or generally catching adorable shots of him, like this one:

This is what Sagan thinks of the scariness level of the world.

Or capturing funny shots that need no explanation, like this one:


So really, follow the adage your Mother told you....if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.  Sagan and I would really appreciate it.