The Dog Stays.

LEFT: Casey & I enjoying some cuddle time this weekend. He's not a lap dog.

We had a good week with Casey. The behavior didn't change too much, but understanding it helps us deal with it. We imagine that getting him to obedience training will also help us deal with it. We're now planning on keeping him. We took him to the vet Friday to get checked out & updated on shots. Here's what we found:
  • He weighs 56 lbs, not 70 lbs like we were told. Still, he's overweight, and we're going to change him to healthier food.
  • Healthier food is twice as expensive as the stuff he's eating now. Not that we bought the stuff he's eating now- we didn't, he came with it from his old home- but I understand why they bought it.
  • He has whipworms. We'll be medicating that starting today.
  • His coat is so thick because the people who owned him about 3 months ago left him outside all the time, and he grew such a thick coat in. So. Much. Hair. Now that he'll be an indoor dog, hopefully he will shed this in the spring or summer & it won't grow back as thick. But, boy, are we going to need vacuums & air cleaners when this coat sheds! We already have hair everywhere in balls like tumbleweed on our floors.
  • He loved the trip to the park after the vet visit. So did we.
The next dog adventure: we're going on a long-weekend road trip this weekend, and we'll board Casey with a friend who owns a kennel. I hope he behaves for her & hope he has a blast.


Kacie said...

Aw! So cute!

Glad to hear things are getting better with Casey. I hope he'll continue to improve.

I don't know if this is a good idea or not, since I don't have a dog...but I'll suggest it anyway:

What about buying the healthy dog food and then some of the cheapo-stuff as well, and mixing it together? Maybe a 70/30 or 80/20 blend or something.

The cheaper stuff could help stretch it out longer, and it probably won't adversely affect his health. Maybe.

Beth @ The Natural Mommy said...

Yay! Glad to hear everything's going so well. Should I be sending dog food coupons your way? Cuz I get A LOT.

Joanna said...

Beth - YES, send the coupons! We were told to try to get him on Iams or Eukanuba food rather than the Alpo he came with. Another suggested brand that I'm leaning towards, though haven't seen coupons for, is Eagle Pack, because I've heard good things & they're an Indiana company (local food for the dog too!) So, if you have coupons to send, go for it! I'd be delighted :-P

Kacie- if we get him on better food, we can feed him less of it (because it will have less "filler"), so, although it's twice as expensive per pound, a pound should last longer. It's like eating an energy bar instead of a bag of chips- the energy bar is a lot smaller, but will fill me up faster (and is probably better for me!) than the bag of chips.

Anonymous said...

It's a great picture of you and Casey. Love the smiles!!! Dianne

ashley @ twentysixcats said...

What a cute picture! I can't wait to meet him! I understand about the food. We recently switched our cats to Eukanuba. I know you know this, but a better food will keep him healthier and that will be less in vet bills you'll have to worry about. So it might be more expensive up front, but I think all around it's a better value for your money.

I'm glad it's working for him to stay. When are you starting obedience training?

ashley @ twentysixcats said...

Oh and just FYI... we fed our dogs Nutro Natural Choice Puppy Lamb Meal & Rice Formula. After studying the labels and asking the obedience trainer, we decided that was best.

Beckie said...

We own a Corgi, similar coat troubles. They are so thick because they have an undercoat. When they "blow" their undercoat it can be weeks of hair everywhere. My wonderful SIL told us to use an undercoat rake for general grooming and a coat stripper once a week untill the shed stops. She is a groomer. She also says paying for a good grooming during this time is worth it because it means less mess to deal with, and I have to agree.

My Aunt and Uncle own 2 Aussie's and they are wonderful dogs. They have such strong hearding insticts that being non-working is hard. They HAVE to spend time on the dog run eveyday just to get some excersize and reduce the pent up energy. They also always use lamb and rice dog food due to dry skin problems. They were told to stay away from corn and wheat.

He is beautiful. Love those blue eyes. Good luck.

Joanna said...

Beckie- Thanks for the encouragement! We're seriously considering a dog run for him, or invisible fence or something to let him outside to run without us. The lamb & rice tip is useful- we'll look for that. He's a great, smart dog and its good to know others have great Aussies too. And, yeah, and when he "blows" his coat, we're going to have a mess.

Beckie said...

Also, just a maybe, but do you suppose his behavior with Josh was because Casey sensed Josh's stress? These herding type dogs tend to be hyper-sensitive to your emotions. If he calmed down after Josh de-stressed it could be a factor.

My Corgi was a rescue at 10 months and came with similar type issues. He picked me as his leader an basically ignored my husband's commands. I found that using strong Alpha type corrections helped the most. Never let them make eye contact with you when you correct them. This keeps them in their role as second and you as alpha. Hold their snout (over the top, not under the jaw) and turn their head when giving verbal corrections. A head harness like Gentle Leader or Halti, used correctly, will work beautifully and corrects without hurting. Don't let them sleep with you or put themselves between you and Josh on the couch, this helps him learn you accept Josh and he should too.

These are what a behaviorist told me to try and they did work. It is a slow process and they will try to take advantage, just be firm.

Don't expect a completely changed dog. If you get them 95% of where you want them, you have done great. I would say my corgi got to about 85% of the way and I had to accept him at that point.

Like people you just have to love them and encourage the change but accept them for who they are.

Joanna said...

Yes- I think you've hit the nail on the head. This week has been much better, even moreso than last week, and a lot of it could be due to the fact that Josh is now more used to the dog and way less stressed. I have noticed Casey will calm down when we're calm & get worked up if we're excited or busy. He also reacts to guests differently based on how they greet him- excited or calm. It's funny how they sense our emotions, isn't it?

I have been grabbing his snout when giving corrections- especially if the correction is because he's "herding" us with his mouth. I want to emphasize "Mouth closed!". A Gentle Leader collar is on a wish list- I want to see what the obedience trainer recommends first.

Again, thanks for the encouragement. I know we need to give it time, and he'll be a great dog, as you said!


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