Update on the patient

After yesterday’s positive dog park experience, I was really looking forward to our training session today – and it was a really good one.

Gail is almost as good as our great trainer back in Maine, Diana Logan of Pet Connection Maine.  I mean, who can beat someone who has not one, but two, extremely well-behaved Standard Poodles?  And to top it all off, loves Max to pieces?  OK, I’m biased… but that does not lessen the fact that Diana is an amazing trainer.

photo of Diana Logan with Astro and Dory

Diana Logan holding a young Astro; Dory beside them. (I “borrowed” this photo from Diana’s Facebook page.)

So, Gail reinforced some of the things Max and I learned early on with Diana – things like clicking/treating when he turns in my direction, getting him to touch an offered hand for a click and reward, playing hide-and-seek and rewarding him for coming.

He’s a willing worker, and a fast study so he was zipping between us in no time as we called him back and forth.  As a matter of fact, he was bounding to Gail any time she said his name and a command (partly because she had different treats from me and he liked them, but also because he recognizes someone who “speaks dog!”)

She gave us a homework assignment for the week to work on getting him to pay more attention to me by playing games, playing hide-and-seek, using toys as well as treats to reward him.  Basically, reconditioning him to focus on me, and reconditioning me to be consistent and to keep him engaged at all times.

She also gave me some insights into why recall can “fail.”  If your dog doesn’t consistently come when called it can be because he has perceived it as “punishment” and that could be as simple as taking him away from smelling something like a bush or a tree.  What to us seems like a reasonable request may appear to the dog as punishment or deprivation of a pleasant experience (sniffing new spots, for example).

I told her how sometimes at home when we are at Mariner’s Park, as we get a certain distance from the car, he will run off and refuse to come near me.  That’s because he doesn’t want our play to end.

She gave me some good tips on how to keep him coming, without spoiling his fun.  For example, when I leash him up to go to the car, keep playing games with him – a tug toy, ball, touch and reward, etc. – so that the playtime is extended and he doesn’t feel deprived.

All in all, a great session, and I look forward to working with him this week on our assignment, and returning next Monday for another class.

After that, we went to the vet…  Seems Max still has some healing to go.  The stitches are staying in longer – the vet says they are self dissolving and not to worry about them.  He still has a little swelling around the larger cut on his head.

The two big road rash scabs are another matter.  Seems the one on his shoulder is doing okay, and will more than likely continue to heal on its own.  The one on his back, according to the doc, is “dead” and may need to be debrided.  If so, he will need to be put out while they do it, and may need stitches.

We are returning in a week for a followup, and in the meantime, I have a spray antibiotic/cortisone to use on the scrapes every 12 hours to help them heal.  I’m hoping that the one on his back heals up on its own and my guy doesn’t need more procedures.

We took a walk around the neighborhood this afternoon, and there were two young boys, maybe 10 years old, in the park about a block away.  They came over to meet Max – “Is that a poodle? Is he or she friendly?”  Then “What happened to him?”  When I told them he was hit by a car, they gave him a LOT of sympathy.

We spent a fun 10 minutes talking while they patted Max, and asked me what tricks he could do.  Most of the time, (after greeting the boys enthusiastically) Max sat patiently by my side.

I showed them some of his tricks like “BIG UP!” where I say that and he springs straight up in the air off all four feet.  They liked that one a lot.

Max shook hands all around, and we headed off for home again.

And that is Monday in a nutshell…


About Maureen Farr

I am a graphic and web designer – and the publisher of the print version of Arts Guide, a free guide highlighting the arts, dining, events, and more on the coast of Maine. In addition, I am a visual artist working in mixed media and encaustic, as well as creating found object jewelry. I am currently at work revising a short novel that I wrote as a participant in the 32nd Annual 3-Day Novel Contest.
This entry was posted in New Mexico, playing with a poodle, Silver City, traveling in a Honda Element, Traveling with a dog, Traveling wth a poodle and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Update on the patient

  1. Diana Richardson says:

    Great post, Mozelle. Keeping the patient and the patient.. patient and upbeat. I send Max my hugs and Puszca’s kisses, too. I’m off to Kaua’i for 11 days, leaving in a week. It’ll be good to be WARM!

    • Maureen Farr says:

      thanks Diana! I hope you have a great time in Kaua’i! We need to talk before you go – are you thinking of not coming here???

  2. Gandalf says:

    Hey, Mo, superb news about Max’s progress. And, at least for me, the mystery of the non-appearing Momo posts seems solved, and it may explain some others in your ken. For some months, actually, I’d been made aware, as in your Two lanes posts, that e-mails properly sent to me had not arrived.

    1. I never knew until yesterday that my ISP had a spam filter which I had to directly access myself at my ISP site in order to examine its contents.

    2. Correspondingly, I also never knew that every thirty days they dumped whatever was in it.

    3. In the last few months, however, because of the uptick in spam, harmful and not, my ISP had become more aggressive — plus somewhat random — in catching spam through the filters they use.

    You (and several others of my regular e-mailers as I learned this morning when I poured through the nearly 400 messages in that cache) managed to have some — but not all — of your output unwittingly waylaid.

    I think it is now addressed, but I now have a monthly task to remember to perform lest new missives occasionally get singled out to be disappeared into the ether. . .

    As Bill the Cat would say “AAAAKHHH”!


    P.S.: Happy Valentine’s Day, Mo.

    • Maureen Farr says:

      Happy Valentine’s day to you too Hendrik! Thanks for the note. Oh the great spam filters! glad you figured that out!

  3. Iana CraneWing says:

    Great to hear about your training experiences Maureen. We are having similar issues with Polly and the tips you were given will help me feel more optimistic about moving out of this pattern. If we put in the time, that is 😉 I am also so relieved to hear that Max is recovering so well. I recommend a hydrogen peroxide solution to treat his healing areas, cheap and very effective with no side effects. I didn’t know you played cello. I am learning accordion and would love to get together for some pay when you return if you would like.
    Give yourself and Max a hug from me. I

    • Maureen Farr says:

      thanks Iana for this nice note. consistency and regular training sesions are what seem to work best. I like to “surprise” Max every now and then throughout the day by grabbing a handful of small treats and calling him, or asking him to do things for rewards. A clicker – if you time it right – is an amazing conditioning tool. I’d love to get together sometime when I get back. thanks for the hugs! good luck with Polly. Maureen

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