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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

more a little bit of this and a little bit of that

I forgot to mention the other day that Schwartz's hair loss condition was finally diagnosed. He has bilateral flank alopecia. It tends to be a seasonal allergy, usually from September (which is when we first saw signs of hair loss) to March. A good part of the time the dog regrows its fur but sometimes, the dog doesn't regrow it at all which would really be ashame but nothing we can do about it if that's the case with Schwartz. You can read more about it at your leisure, but basically it is caused by a lack of sunlight which completely throws me because with all the walks I take him on and all the sunny days we have here, he should not be suffering from this. And when I say "suffering", I use that word because I know of no other word to use. He's not suffering per se because he's not affected by it other than having exposed skin that can be sensitive to colder weather conditions but he's not itchy nor has he ever been. In any case, he is on the recommended medication for this medical condition and we'll see where it takes him.

I regret to inform y'all, but adopting Jasper is turning out to be a huge regret as he's become a very selfish dog. Aside from showing a jealous side when it comes to Schwartz, he has decided that we're going to conform to his bathroom habits instead of him conforming to the schedule that works well for us. Allow me to further explain...

About ten feet from my front door is a pinestraw flower bed. I've trained Schwartz to go to the bathroom there so he doesn't burn my grass into oblivion. Schwartz wakes up, goes to the bathroom where he should and all is wonderful. For the first few days we had Jasper, he followed Schwartz's lead and at least peed in this flower bed, but once I started taking him on long walks, he started refusing to go in the flower bed. He'll stand there, watch Schwartz and then look at me as if to say "Take me on my fucking walk, bitch!".

I have been taking Jasper on daily walks, sometimes up to three times/day depending on his food intake. He and I have both enjoyed the walks but he has now grown too accustomed to them, that he wants them at all times of day including first thing in the morning. His stubbornness is truly irritating. I'm a stubborn woman with two stubborn children, I will not deal with a stubborn dog, too! We have this walking/jogging path throughout our community and he has decided that the path is his one and only pit stop. In the first few days we had him, he would mark every leaf, branch and blade of grass and even poop a few times as we walked up and down my street. Now, I can walk him up and down my street for 20 minutes and he absolutely refuses to do his business on anyone's lawn.

This morning was the first and last time that I will leave my kids alone in the house at 5am to walk him, I simply refuse to do it. It's bad enough that they came home last night with their dad and had to let themselves in because I was on a late night walk with Jasper and then, upon returning home, found them waiting by the front door because they were afraid to be in the house by themselves. With my luck, I would be out at 5am and my kids would wake up looking for me. As much as I love my pets, I'm not doing that for any animal.

A few days ago, and this is only what I believe to have happened, Jasper got into Schwartz's food bowl which is where I put his medication. Schwartz is used to being on medication for one thing or another so it doesn't affect his digestive system. Unfortunately, it is greatly affecting Jasper's and for the past few days he has done little eating and has had many bouts of diarrhea. He is not in any physical danger and this will eventually pass, but he has crapped out mounds at least four times on my bathroom tile floor and has nearly ruined the carpet in my family room. The other night, I woke up to a heap of shit in my bathroom, cleaned it up, went back to bed and woke up in the morning to rinse, lather, repeat all over the bathroom floor again. As much as I hate the crate, I've decided that it's time to train him. I gave him too much freedom in too short a time by allowing him to roam free while we're away from the house whereas Schwartz had to earn that trust, so now Jasper will have to earn it as well because my house is not a toilet nor will I allow Jasper to think it is.

All I can say, is thank God for this little guy! It's greatest feature is that it has a self-cleaning option in which you can set it on a spot, leave it for the six minute-cycle, come back and the stain iand smell are gone. Life fucking Houdini, man! It definitely was worth the price and has probably already paid for itself in just one day of use! My family room carpet is far from looking perfect but it certainly looks better than having smeared shit stains all over the place. I would have taken a picture for y'all's viewing pleasure but you probably wouldn't have eaten for the next month. Blech!

So Tough Love has been activated! If Jasper does his business in the house, accident or not, in the crate he goes. And before any of you animal-lovers and/or activists out there dare scream at me that the crate should not be used for punishment, I am not punishing him, I am training him as I mentioned above. I am not doing anything different than what I did with Schwartz and Schwartz learned with no emotional scarring that requires weekly dog therapy!

As for peeing outside, that is going to change with super lightning speed as well and it's a good thing that Jasper's a quick learner! As a single mother with twice the load of tasks to do than a married couple can share, I do not have the time to take him on 30-minute walks numerous times throughout the course of one day. I'm certain that he will learn rather quickly that early-mornings are reserved for the flowerbed and walks are for later on or he will have no choice but to learn how to hold "it" for longer periods of time.

The one good thing about the walks is that they have helped Jasper shed some weight. I know this not from weighing him but because I had to cut short a walk yesterday when he decided that chasing after a squirrel was a fabulous idea and he was able to wriggle out of his collar with ease. I've also enjoyed the walks but it's difficult at the same time because I cannot take both dogs out together. Schwartz prefers a leisurely stroll to Jasper's marathon run.

Another good thing is that Jasper and Schwartz are becoming more familiar with their play habits and Jasper's attacks on Schwartz have lessened.

I'll leave you with that positive thought and all I ask for is your prayers that my carpet will survive The Dog Shit Extravaganza of 2009!

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Blogger Charlie said...

Luckily, we have been lucky in the areas where you've been unlucky. Yes, I'm a critter lover, and you've gone out of your way to train him, but you can't have him running, and ruining, your life.

If that means an eventual return to the shelter, then so be it. There are thousands of other beasts who need a good home and learn their manners . . .

January 28, 2009 at 12:05 PM  
Anonymous Giggle Pixie said...

I think that crating idea is perfect. Jasper will definitely appreciate and make use of his time outdoors much, much more!!
:-) I'm glad to hear they're playing better together too. Soon they'll be inseperable.

January 28, 2009 at 1:13 PM  
Blogger Leave It To Cleavage said...

I'm all for crate training. I did it with Smokey and I think that's what helped make him such a good dog. Rocky refused to stay in the crate without making an obscene amount of noise that would have gotten me kicked out of my apt. He was easy to housebreak once he understood that he was to do his business outside. I'm very lucky, we go out, he does his thing then he pulls me back to the building, he hates being outside. That's when he's a good dog. The rest of the time he's the devil incarnate.

January 28, 2009 at 7:12 PM  

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