Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Tests

I work in a veterinary clinic. Working in that environment I see everything I don't want in a dog. It's so sad how many people get puppies and don't expect them to do much, then they wonder when the dog is 100lbs and trying to eat us why we can't get a nail trim done without sedation or why we have to muzzle their dog for a simple ear clean. I feel lucky to be in this kind of an environment because I am able to put my dogs through a lot of different things and they learn to accept it as a normal. Just coming to work everyday makes things super easy because it already makes the veterinary environment less scary.

When Seppel first arrived his nails were kind of long. Not terrible, but I am the nail trimming queen and I dremel Seth and LiLo's nails regularly. I tried trimming Seppel's nails at home. I kind of have some post traumatic stress from a friend's pit bull who was HORRIBLE for nail trims and had to be sedated. When I first tried trimming Seppel's nails I made him lay down on the floor in the kitchen. He jumped for every single nail, every single click of the trimmer he jumped. He wasn't trying to eat me - but he did not like the noise of the nail trimmers. I ended up having my friend Danielle trim his nails with me holding and he still did the same thing every time. That kind of behavior just won't work for me. I decided to try the dremel at home. The dremel my mom has isn't cordless, blows air out the side, and is a little loud. I had Seppel lay down in the kitchen and as soon as I turned it on he took off. I ended up having to leash him, hold him in the kitchen and touch the dremel to him. He quickly realized that he wasn't dying so I proceeded to try it on his nails. I would dremel a nail and then give him a treat, he did fairly well but wasn't overly excited about it. These days I dremel his nails every other day. His nails are much shorter than when I first got him, but I can only take off a small amount at a time because his quicks are grown out to the end of the nail. My other two dogs, Seth and LiLo, immediately lay down when I take the dremel out. Seppel isn't to that point yet, but he knows what the dremel is and will lay down when I ask him to.

Most who know me know I bath my dogs frequently. I've noticed Seth, my dog with shorter hair, gets stinkier more quickly than LiLo. Seppel is no different and gets smelly really quickly - especially since he and Seth play pretty hard in the yard and get gross. At work we have a tub with a ramp, I was really surprised that it didn't take much coaxing and Seppel happily climbed the ramp and got into the tub. Baths are not his favorite thing, but he willingly gets in the tub and stands in there to be bathed.  

Face to Face
Around the time I got Seppel this incident occured:
Colorado news anchor bit in face.
It kind of shocks me the amount of crap the reporter, who is a VICTIM got because she couldn't read the dog. Unless you're really keyed into dog body language, the dog didn't really give much warning. As a dog person I know not to get into the face of a dog I don't know, but the average person doesn't. In the video the owner is holding onto the dog very tightly, it makes me wonder if the dog in every day life is not that friendly to begin with. I'm not saying the reporter should not have been more careful, but more often than not I've seen people lean over dogs - they have no clue that it is not a good position to be in. All of this being said, I figured this would be my good dog test. The few times I've gone to kiss his forehead he hasn't offered to bite my face off ;)

Blood Draws
With Seth and LiLo I can draw a blood sample from a rear leg no problem. Seth and LiLo are also fine if I do have someone hold off a leg for me, they don't mind being restrained. After Seppel had been here for a few months he started getting skin infections and sneezing a lot. I decided to send out bloodwork to test for allergies - you have to draw at least 12mls of blood. I remember holding him for Danielle to draw it. I remember saying "Do you want a muzzle?" and she replied "Is he going to bite me?!" and I said "I don't know." and we proceeded with the blood draw. He didn't move an inch and didn't make a peep.

Allergy Shots
When the allergy serum came I started giving him the shots. The first few injections he was great, but one day he cried and whipped around - which freaked me out. I had coworkers do a few of the injections for me because I was spooked, but eventually I grew a pair and started giving them to him again. I give him his injections myself, by myself, and he takes them like a champ.

All in all I feel like I have tested this dog a lot. He has never once tried to bite me, he doesn't overreact to unpleasant things. He's completely adjusted to living in a veterinary clinic and he LOVES coming to work. He's definitely grown this past year in terms of accepting new things, when he first arrived he was afraid of the garage door opening and closing - now he brushes under the door as its raising in the morning to run outside. For the most part I'd say he's a pretty stable and willing dog. He can be cautious at times but I think it's better to have a dog who questions things on occasion vs. a dog who does things without thinking and pays for the consequences later.

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