Friday, May 20, 2011

Blast from the past

I was just bored looking around on youtube, and watched this relic...

It's amazing how far he's come. Funny how his bark used to be so high pitched...
He's got an echocardiogram coming up in July. We'll see exactly how his heart and lungs are recovering from those nasty parasites!

I expect that the news will be good! The other day, I took the boy for a walk and he insisted that we run instead! He's doing fantastically!

Another bit of good news.. he's officially (and hopefully permanently) off of the enalapril. I believe that was his blood pressure medication. The cardiologist suggested that he discontinue taking it 2 months after his treatment.

He's nearly completely weened off the prednisone as well. So far, he's still taking the vetmedin, and would be taking viagra if we had any.

Hopefully one day soon, all he will require is food, water, and love!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

We're going to sign our lease today!

I'm pleased to announce that we've found a home to rent!

A nice lady is going to rent us her 3/2 house. The location is good. The price is reasonable!
She is ok with the fact that we have a Staffordshire Terrier ;)

We're going to sign the lease today at 6! Thanks to everybody for your helpful suggestions and unwavering support.

Skeletor is one lucky pup to have so many great peeps looking out for him!

In related news, I took the boy out on the leash today. He did very well with his training exercises. It was a bit hot out, so we stayed under the shade in the front yard.

Right now, we're focusing on "heel" and some other basic commands that he already knows. We're having to teach him slightly different words for them, and we're doing away with the hand gestures.

He did a really great job on the leash. Such a sharp lad, and a fast learner!

Keep up the good work, Skelly!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Bath time!

Dog training is messy business. Especially when skeletor decides to roll around in the dirt!

We're pleased to announce that the boy is all fresh and clean again! He's rockin some super soft fur to boot!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Skeletor officially begins obedience training

Well, this is it folks!
This is the month where it all goes down. We're going to find our new home, move into it, settle in and enjoy a huge sigh of relief when all is said and done!

In an effort to hone Skeletor's social skills, I invited my friend, Jared and his female pit bull, Shay over for a BBQ on Friday. Shay likes to play, but she isn't into too much drama. She's 8 years old, and enjoys a more chilled atmosphere.

I imagined that Skeletor would be thrilled (which he was) to meet Shay. I hoped that they would hit it off, and run around in the backyard while we enjoyed a relaxing BBQ (which is not exactly how it went down!)

As we all know, Skelly loves to yell at people, dogs, cats, and just about anything else he encounters in public. He does so in a playful fashion, with his tail-a-waggin! Despite his good intentions, his craziness is not always welcome.

So Shay comes in and Skeletor is thrilled! They give each other some initial smell tests, and everything seems ok. Skeletor is just so darn excited, he starts giving shay the flea-nibbles. Shay, understandably confused, tries to get away from him. Skeletor, ridiculously excited, persists to try and nibble on her face.

Shay eventually got fed up and gave a menacing growl. I had to take Skeletor out to the back yard in hopes that he would settle down.

Throughout the course of the night, we let the dogs interact. Eventually Shay would just try and get out of Skeletor's reach and Skelly would yell and pitch a fit because he wanted to play.

Now Skeletor... you are just acting too creepy! Women are NOT into that. You need to play it cool my boy! 

Despite my disappointment in his behavior, neither pup was injured, and I think Skeletor did show a little bit of improvement by the end of the night.

We have got work to do, that's for sure! Skeletor needs to be cool and collected in a social environment if he is to overcome the pit bull stigma!! We're going to need Skelly's help in appealing to potential new land lords and ladies... it's time he really learns some manners!

I wake up bright and early the next morning (Saturday) and load Skelly into the car. We're off to a local dog training club for a free evaluation / training session.

I pull up to the closed gate. Skeletor sees a dog. He starts barking at the top of his lungs. I can literally feel the barks vibrating my ear drums due to the confines of my car... Keep it down doggie!!

I meet Michael, the co-owner of the club. I tell him about Skeletor's history and why it's important for him to gain social skills. I explain to Michael that pulling on the leash is one of Skeletor's biggest problems.

A few other dog owners show up. Most of them have German Shephards. There's also what appeared to be a Belgian Malinois, and a Boxer.

The exercises began as the more experienced dogs performed two at a time. One dog's owner would take him into the shade and tell him to lie down. That well trained pup would lie there unrestrained the entire time while the second dog would perform his training exercises. Then they would switch.

These talented pups would walk on a lead without any pulling whatsoever. They would look to their owner upon command. They would sit automatically when the owner stopped walking. They would pivot when their owner turned. It was exciting to imagine Skeletor learning to behave so well!

I sat in a plastic chair with Skeletor on a leash. He would yell and pull when a person or dog came close to us. After a while, he finally started to get the hint. He started barking and pulling a little less.

Michael took some time to work directly with Skeletor. He said that he believed that Skeletor could be trained, and that the question was whether or not I could be trained! He said that what they do is teach owners how to train dogs. I told him that I was up to the challenge!

Michael also explained that his training philosophy uses positive reinforcement. He said that corrections are only made when needed. I have made a lot of progress with Skeletor, and I can assure you that based on my experience, positive reinforcement is the way to go!

I'm planning on returning next Saturday morning for another session. After that, Skeletor will go to 6 group training sessions every Thursday.

I think we're going to see a total transformation here, folks! Skeletor is going to be one well-behaved, and socially adjusted pup!