Vito's 12wk video


He's Leaking

We have been having problems with Vito's pee schedule. He is great about going to the door most of the time, however he usually asks to go outside about x2/hr, sometimes up to x4/hr. Now that he is 13 weeks old this can't be happening. He also drinks excessively. Vito often breaks when he is working for his dinner to get some water and then runs back to me. If we are gone for a while and he doesn't get any water, his stomach expands after we get home and he drinks drinks drinks.

When he was 11wks and went in for his shots we thought he had a bladder infection, but the vet didnt think so because he wasn't licking himself and because he was drinking a lot of water. So we waited a week and monitored his water intake more closely. This past Monday we went in and had a urinalysis done because he was still drinking,peeing, repeat 20 billion times. Unfortunately the results showed that he did not have a bladder infection. However, his specific gravity was very low. So, we go some other tests done to see if it was a kidney problem- it was not. That left as an explanation diabetes insipidus, a really rare disorder. But since it is so rare I decided to heavily monitor his water intake and record every single time he drank and peed. I took 3 days worth of data into the vet this morning. He peeed an average of 19 times/day and was limited to 12-14oz of water/day (what should be normal h20 for his weight). The deprivation did cause his pee rate to go down to 1 trip/hr, but Vito was constantly wanting water and was even resorting to eating snow.

The vet said that he really thinks this is not a behavioral problem, but that Vito does indeed have diabetes insipidus. Lucky us. The only way to tell for sure is to do a really costly and dangerous water deprivation test, but starting him on the medication can be a cheaper way of telling. So hopefully the meds will be in next Monday and we can see... Basically diabetes insipidus (not the same as the more common type of "sugar" diabetes) is when ADH is not being produced, or very little, so his body can't concentrate his urine= peeing lots, and drinking lots to keep up with his pee rate.

I'm still hoping he doesn't have it, but there's no way else left to turn since his bloodwork ruled everything else out. So we will see if the meds help. On the plus side, I decided to get health insurance for Vito a couple of weeks ago after a lot of debating. So while this is becoming very expensive, we have some relief even if he has to be on insurance with this company for his whole life.

And in an ironic turn of events, Luke was rushed to the emergency vet clinic at 10pm Monday night. I came home from work to find blood all over the ferret's newspapers (who had been sleeping in their cage). Luke is pissing blood. Since a bladder infection in male cats can quickly lead to a blockage which can kill them in 24hrs I went to the vet right away. Luckily they didn't find any blockage, but they couldn't do a urinalyis since his bladder was empty. They sent me home with meds, but I had to take him back to the vet today since they weren't sure if the meds would help without seeing the results of the urinalysis. So today we spent more money on Luke and came home with some more meds as well (anti inflamatory). And Luke is one grumpy kitty. He's yelling at any ferret or dog that dares to even look at him. And he is not using his litter box since he associates it with evil. Thankfully he is at least going on the ferret's newspapers instead of somewhere else. The one thing that Luke is happy about though is eating presciption canned food for the next 2 weeks (more money).

Oh, and Vito is leaking again. Since we decided to get the meds this afternoon we put Vito back on unrestricted water (he's happy), but that means he ocassionally leaks pee. It looks like he's writing a message to us on our carpet.


A perfect score

Lance has his very first rally-0 trial today. I was a little worried since we have never done rally before, have not taken a class, and basically just looked online to learn what the signs mean. We have done one rally run through a couple weeks ago when a course was set up at my club. At that run through, Lance was all "look mom, there's signs! Can I knock them down?" So I wasn't sure what to expect today.

But I get there, check in, warm up Lance a bit, and wait. We brought Vito along too since he can't be left home alone yet. When the judge saw Vito he told Adam to say he was really 6 months old and is a miniature toller! Apparently they are supposed to be at least 6 months before allowed on the grounds. Luckily she was a really nice judge and didn't care. Then, when my group was called in to do the walk through, the judge mentioned that we can't have treats or toys on us and looked at my pouch. I had forgotten to take out my bag of treats from my sweatshirt for the walkthrough! I knew of course that I couldn't have them when it was actually my turn to go, but didn't even think about not being allowed to have them on me for the walkthrough. She could have excused me, but thankfully again the judge was very nice!

When it was Lance's turn to go I was very nervous. I think I was even more nervous today then I had been for the obedience trials (maybe since I had actually done run throughs of that before?). But we made it through the course and Lance did amazing! He didn't seem bothered by the signs at all and had great attention on me. I could tell in a few places that his attention was starting to wander, but just saying his name brought him back to me without him actually wandering off. Of course being on leash helped, but still!

We ended up with a perfect score of 100 and placed 1st! Not bad for our first rally-o show!


Vito's 11 week video


Taken over already

On a happier note, Lance absolutely loves the footstools his grandma got us for Christmas!
And so does the kitty
And the ferrets...
Although Lance gets jealous sometimes when his spot is taken
But the kitty just takes over
And ocasionally we get to use it to!
Did you see Adam's feet in the picture?!
Poor Vito can't jump that high yet :( But if he's good we let him on the "kitty's" bed


Crate Woes

Just when we think Vito is making good progress with his kennel issues he has a day like today. I decided to go to Lance's obedience class this morning since I hadn't been able to go in awhile because of Vito and canceled classes. I figured I could put Vito in the crate room and that he would cry a little bit, but would give up and fall to sleep shortly. I was wrong.

I arrived 10 minutes early so I could get Vito set up and used to his new kennel. I brought his mat, some toys, a pigs ear, a a bully stick that I shoved in with him and then left him while I trained Lance. Since Lance's ring is basically right from the crate room, I could hear the voice of Vito through the entire class. For 75 minutes I don't think Vito even took a breath. I went in occasionally during class hoping to reward Vito with some treats, but he wouldn't even shut up for a second. I compromised and waited for 1/4 sec before giving him a treat, but the amazing Vito managed to even whine while he was chewing his treat. Luckily, most of Vito's crying were whimpers and not full out howler monkey, but still quite annoying. I stayed an additional 2omin after class to try and work with Vito on the crate but he wouldn't calm down at all.

Then at home after feeding him lunch and watching him play with Lance Vito finally started to get tired and tried to curl up next to me on the couch. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to shut him in the kennel for a nap! But again Vito decided he was no longer tired after lying down for 10 minutes and wanted out. At home he was a least better and just did quiet whimpering, so I waited until he was quiet and opened the door. He proceded to immediately chew on his pigs ear, so I shut the dooor- he cried. I opened when quiet, he grabs pigs ear. On and on we go. Basically Vito decided he really wanted his pigs ear which he would happily eat in the kennel with one rule: the door must be opened or mom needs to be within 3ft.

And on a happier note, Lance really loves the footstools that his grandma gave us for Christmas. He loves hopping up on them to curl up on or just teasing Vito cause he's up high!


Vito's 10 week video


Scent Training

Lance's utility articles came in the mail recently and yesterday I was able to take them to PetSmart with me to get them handled by my students and employees. So today was the first day I decided to do some training! I've never done any scenting work before so I don't really know what I'm doing, but I'm following Sue Ailsby's method from her website and the seminar I went to over Thanksgiving. It's supposed to be very easy for the dog, just put something delicious on your dumbell and nothing on the the wrong article so the dog learns that mommy's article tastes amazing!

Well Lance thought that this was too good to be true, so the first 2 trials he completely ignored the peanut butter dummbell and promptly picked up the wrong one. Clearly he thought that I was trying to trick him! But with some encouragement he was soon racing over, licking the peanut butter off and bringing the correct one back to me! I was very quickly able to stop putting fresh pb on and just reward for the brining back the correct article. Of course it still smelled like pb, but I could see Lance really thinking and using his nose. I have no delusions that he's just smelling for pb and not my smell, but hopefully Lance will soon start associating my scent on the dumbell with really good things!

There were only two trials where Lance picked up the wrong one (besides the beginning). The first time he picked up the wrong one he quickly realized that it didn't taste like pb so he went to grab the correct one before he realized that he still had the wrong one in his mouth. Unfortunatley when Lance spit out the wrong one it landed right on top of the good dumbell and Lance had no clue what to do! He tried to grab the right one but alas it was stuck!

I'm also really happy that Lance is retrieving the metal dumbells really nicely! I decided to try the metal ones since I thought it would be much easier to wipe clean of pb than the leather ones. But previously, Lance has only been tentatively retrieving metal so I think the pb is having a good effect on this as well!!! When I eventually start this with Vito I'm not worried at all. Vito loves to chew on anything, metal included. He especially loves chewing on Lance's dog tags during thier play sessions!


Vito's 9 week Video

But don't be fooled into thinking Vito is such a brilliant easy puppy! Right now I am getting very irritated with Vito as we are in a battle of the wills. I have a rule that states any bullsticks must be eaten in his kennel. (I am trying to build up a good association with his kennel). However, Vito has a mind that states bully sticks should be eaten wherever I want. So for the past 15 minutes Vito has been going into his kennel, grabbing the said bully stick and running with it into the living room to chew. I have been telling him no, grabbing the bully stick and putting it back into his kennel. Back and forth we go until he added a twist. This last time, he ran into his kennel, grabbed his bully stick, ran to the edge of the bedroom, dropped it, ran forward a couple steps and stopped to look at me as if to say "ha, what now!"

Vito just turned 11 weeks today and weighs 10.4lbs


Agility Night

Lance had agility class last night! This was the first time he's ever been really distracted in class. Adam was working with Vito in the kennel and Lance really wanted to run over there for some easy treats. I think this also spilled over into his intense desire for the obstacles. He would pull like crazy towards them when we were waiting around, but luckily would still listen really well to the "wait" when it was our turn. But despite being so distracted he was still the most focused dog in class by far!

We've started to do some more sequencing in class which really shows me that I need a lot of help. Lance is great, but I screw him up so much! We were supposed to be doing some front crosses which of course means that I have to actually be in front of my dog. Let's just say that I don't think I'll be able to do a whole lot of front crosses in Lance's agility career unless I get some distance! I also had issues with the rear cross as Lance is really sensitive to my change in posture. I have so much to learn, but hopefully can get things figured out with Lance so Vito isn't screwed up as much :)

I think the teeter is Lance's favorite obstacle so far. It's not at full height, but he's running across it with great gusto! He is also loving the mini dog walk and has great contacts so far. I think I have to be careful since I want to do running contacts but haven't had a lot of opportunity to train them. I don't want to get lazy and just rely on him naturally doing it without Lance knowing what he is supposed to do.


Pinecone incident revisited?

Vito is not one to hide his feelings. If he is upset, Vito will let you know with loud protests as he demands to be put down or let out. Yesterday he had to come with me to Petsmart for my entire shift so he got to play a little bit before my intermediate class started. But all too soon it was time to be put away. He of course let me know by flailing about, grumbling, and shrieking as I picked him up and carried him away from his new friend.

Vito's actions reminded me of when Lance was a little puppy and a day I will never forget. Lance had to be under 4 months when we took him across the street to a baseball game. Little Lance was content to explore and get petted by adoring fans. By the end he found the joys of a pinecone was happily munching away when it was time for us to go. I of course did the unthinkable and took away his pinecone as I swooped him into my arms. Well Lance was pissed and screamed bloody murder at the top of lungs. Every face turned in our direction to see the puppy abusers as Lance was still shreiking his head off. This wasn't just loud whining, but actual screaming as though he thought he was dying. Embarrased, Adam and I quickly ran off with Lance in our arms while he screamed the whole way.


Vito's Youtube premier

I have finally made a video of Vito's first week home. He's a star :)

As for his training, he is continuing to make progress in the crate and is a shaping maniac. I started to teach the "place" command as he worked for his dinner today and I got Vito to run to the mat and lie down without any cue within one handful of kibble. I was able to work up to me being 3ft away for him to run to it before I got bored and moved on to something else. He is also doing rollovers now which is a huge deal for him. We were stuck on the lay down and turn head to side step for quite a while!

He now weighs 9.4 lbs.

And Luke recently has learned a new trick as well. We have always had to battle to outsmart him and his obsession with eating as much as possible, including the ferret food. Since Luke also likes sleeping in the ferrets hammocks we had at one point tried keeping the cage open and just moving the food bowl up a very high shelf. But it wasn't long before Luke discovered how to balance precariously and reach the food. So we then said too bad and simply kept the ferret cage closed even when the ferrets are out. However, Luke then discovered that he could still reach in with his paw and scoop out the food if it was kept on the bottom shelf. We of course battled that by simply moving the food dish to the top shelf of the cage and pushing it to the back wall. Well yesterday, I looked over and saw a little kitty hanging on to the outside of the ferrets cage like one of the Garfield window toys. He then proceeded to reach into with his paw to the back of the cage, slide the bowl of food over, and scoop out some kibble onto the floor before hopping back down! *sigh*
No, I wasn't able to catch a picture of the moment, but this is another one of Luke's attempts at food.



So things are going pretty well here. It's a blast working with Vito. I've been just having fun with teaching him to think so I'll put a box on the floor and think of something for him to do with it. Within 20 clicks I can have him standing in it, or have a good 2 on 2 off... I can see his little brain turning, and when he gets frustrated he likes throwing spins to see if that'll work!

On the other hand, Vito ate an eggshell today so he can't really be a puppy genius. Most likely he has the cat and Adam to thank for the crunchy surprise. He is also big enough to climb onto the couch now. Now nothing in the house is safe!

Lance had agility class today for the first time in 3 weeks. All the dogs were extremely excited and had the zoomies. There were a lot of loose dogs today! This was really the first time we've been able to play on all of the equipment and do some sequences. Lance still loves stomping on everything so especially loves the contact obstacles. We weren't quite working on them actually hitting the contacts on the aframe and mini dog walk, just getting them used to climbing on them, but Lance did amazing! He even had a perfect drive to the end of the teeter. Right now he has the perfect combination of handler focus and obstacle focus :)

We took Vito with to Lance's class and I had Adam do some crate games with him. He's doing a lot better in the crate, although still cries when he can't see us anymore. But he is entering the crate voluntarily and even staying in it when the door is open! And at least his cries are more whimpers now instead of being a howler monkey.


Vito the cat

I have more evidence that Vito is learning from the cat. He has recently started using Luke's scratching scratch. He'll lay out on it and just tear it to pieces with his little claws.

We also are apparently starving him. I have caught him several times eating his tail. Not just chasing it, but actually eating it. He'll even hop around with it in his mouth and inevitably fall down.

Vito and Lance are really playing now. He has caught on to Lance's favorite game, "chase me", (yeah I know, some great herding dog Lance is!), and they run round n' round a little bush in the yard.

And why are 90% of my camera shots butt shots?! I'll have the perfect picture set up then the next thing I know I have a billion shots of their asses.


Immitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

Lance is rebelling. Today he said "bye mom" and tried to run up to the cash registers for treats whenever he thought he could get away from it. He succeeded the first time which didn't help. He hasn't pulled that stunt in months, but clearly he thought he needed some attention today at work. Poor little puppy, ha!

Also, I think Vito has some border collie in him...or cat. Yeah he could have learned it from the cat. He loves to give Lance the eye and stalk him during play. It is so cute to watch his little body freeze as he eyes his "prey" and then spring on Lance's head!

Vito has also picked up a few tricks from Lance as well. When Lance was a puppy he would fake limp occasionally. Ok he did fall down the stairs, 3 times, but that is no excuse! Anyway, Vito shrieked like a little girl yesterday when he was playing in a snowy bush and started limping. I checked him all over and couldn't see anything, but he still continued to limp. However, when I put him on my lap he put all of his weight on his paws so I knew he was a little faker! He of course is fine now, no trace of limping at all. And as for Lance, well he hasn't limped since puppyhood, but still isn't good with stairs :)

And Vito now weighs 8.5lbs. He has gained 1.5bls in the week since we've had him!


Happy New Year!

Like everyone, I feel that 2008 just flew by. So here is my review of the year, in crappy Christmas letter style!

We got a new ferret, Oppie, after we had to put Bartleby down at Christmas last year. We moved from a tiny duplex in south Minneapolis to a somewhat bigger, but still tiny duplex in Saint Paul. I was also able to use this move as a push to finally quit Auntie Ruth's (yay!!!!) and start working at the much better Dog Days.

Lance started obedience classes at TCOTC, and was the first dog to start straight into their advanced classes, and one of the youngest! He got his CGC and at the test we made a connection that enabled us to sneak into a foundation agility class while bypassing the year long waiting list! He absolutely loves agility, especially being able to stomp on everything in sight. He also entered his first 3 obedience trials and got 3 q's to get his CD!

Adam got a job coaching young swimmers at my old swim club. He loves it and it got him thinking more about working with kids. He also quit Petsmart for a better job with Omni installing furniture. And got into Hamline University and will start classes in 2009 towards becoming a teacher!

And of course we added Vito to our family :) So our household count is 10- 5 ferrets, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and 2 people. There is no way we are ever going to be able to move with this gang!

I'm not really good at setting goals, but here I go. I would like to work with Lance so he has at least 1 q towards his CDX. I think starting Rally-O would be fun as well! I also want Lance to be ready to compete in agility in 2010. With Vito, I just want to have a ton of fun training him and experimenting with hunt test skills and frisbee. I would like him to have his CGC as well. For myself, I want to continue having the highest percentage of students continuing to intermediate class, get some more privates, and by the end of the year start seriously thinking about moving on to a different training company who does more behavioral work.

Oh, and Luke says hi!

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Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.- Roger Caras

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