Tuesday, October 6, 2009

One Month Later

(clicking on pics will enlarge)

Two days from now will mark Month One since we adopted Kaleb. I'll return to blogging more about our plants and plans, but just wanted to get a few more shots (twist my arm!) to chart our constant canine companion's entry into our household.

We hoped for a companion dog that would be bonded to us. I can say, gladly, that one month later our fellow seems to have settled in well.

Because he is a dog formerly owned by others, he came to us understanding simple commands (sit, stay, down, outside, go home) and is not destructive to furniture and furnishings inside when we leave. It is also obvious that he has never been struck/hit, so he is not afraid of hands petting him or signaling him, and we only use positive training ourselves...treats and praise and "uh-oh" instead of a lot of "no" responses. Very happily, he also came to us fully potty trained. The only accidents he's had were unavoidable...parents away too long from home. (Can I just sing the praises of tile floors? :)) He also is very used to being brushed and lying on his side for grooming. Wow, are we thankful!

I think he had a big shedding just prior to our knowing him. Add to that a homemade haircut of most of his fringes and skirt, and we haven't been too sure how they'll grow out. It's looking a little less choppy now. He's had a couple of baths since first arriving, but doesn't seem to need them since. His smell is more "doggy" rather than sour and dirty-smelling...boy did he smell at first.

His "puffs" (rear leg skirts) are fluffing out...maybe they're growing out...let's see how long they get.

Some unpleasant discoveries at the first vet visit (besides the bill, ha) were some broken teeth and too high a parasite load of worms. The good news was that he was heartworm negative and the bloodwork they ran was clear in all other areas. He has the MDR1 genetic mutation that makes him vulnerable to certain common heartworm and worming meds, not to mention other things taken internally, and had had a near-death reaction to one prior to our ever knowing him. One third of all Australian Shepherds and certain other breeds carry the MDR1, and the kindest thing to do is to have yours tested if there's a chance he/she is one of the at-risk breeds. A reaction can kill or permanently damage the dog (it affects the brain), and isn't worth the gamble of taking chances with.

The left side of Kaleb's muzzle/eye area is the "scar side"...he came with a healing bite mark and soon after scratched a gouge under that eye that took a couple weeks to heal. The gouge is now fully healed and returning to its normal hair color and pattern, but the bite can still be seen somewhat.

I'm not sure about coat quality, but the noticeable thing so far is that it's seeming softer.

His feed is now 1 cup AvoDerm kibble + 1 cup cooked mash (my own ingredients) + either 1 cup raw or cooked veg...or a good drizzle of active culture plain yogurt. Twice a day.

Of course there are toys in the equation. I've been educated to the fact that there are few, if any, guarantees when it comes to rawhide chews due to the chemical nature of their processing. A bone-shaped Kong chew with hollow ends is fun for Kaleb when the cavities are filled with a dab of peanut butter and a couple of training treats. I'd forgotten just how inflated pet store prices are on just about everything, and when we needed a leash, we just found a 20' training lead at a discount store, and initially used a choke chain for walking him. But I prefer a regular collar, and after a nasty spill involving my own carelessness and the longer lead wrapped around my ankle (last memory...throwing the tennis ball...then staring at concrete up close and personal, ouch!), we needed a short lead. I found a matching collar and lead online on a military supply site (who knew?) for less than what the pet store prices were, and liked the aesthetics a lot better...here's the lead...

So far, Kaleb will bark when someone enters the house, but won't bark at anyone outside...we're actually hoping he'll bark more. So Jack wants us to give him treats whenever he barks. I'm of the "hmmmm" opinion on that, but it's quite entertaining watching Jack tryinig to talk "dog" and encouraging him by going "woof WOOF" anytime he sees something he wants Kaleb to bark at. I told Jack I think the dog is training him...ha.

Ok, am I just weird or what, but I've always been attracted to beautiful natural fibers. There are so many variations of color and texture on my dog, he's a four-legged Fiber Art.

I don't intend for the blog to become an unending series of doggy portraits while I drone on and on about My Baby. I'm just SO excited that this part of our homestead happened...finally, after so long a wait! Paired with the relief of having paid down a considerable chunk of our debt, it may be boring to others but it's huge for us.

Upcoming posts will be updates, with pics, of some of the plants we planted earlier in the year. We're pleasantly surprised at how they've survived periods of extreme heat, drought, monsoon, and....um....benign neglect :)

If you have updates of your furry (or other animal) homestead residents, feel free to post links in comments...I'd love to see them!


Michelle said...

Doggy posts are NEVER boring to me. :-)

Sue said...

All your photos are nice, but the last one is just plain cute-love it!

small farm girl said...

Don't ever feel bad about post about your dog. Dogs are part of the homesteading process too. Plus, I love the pictures. When we first got our Aussie, it took them a while before they would bark at people outside the house. They know the inside is their domain. They're still figuring out about the outside. It will come.No human barking needed. Although, it is funny.

Robbyn said...

Michelle...well me, neither...or chickens or milk cows or mustangs... :)

Sue, I like it, too! it was cropped from a picture where pretty much just his nose was in focus...love the pink tongue :)

smallfarmgirl...I just love all the dog post enablers...yeah, you're right, I'll post with wild abandon because I'm so enjoying him! Ah, good, thanks for the insight about the barking. That's what I thought, but maybe I won't tell Jack yet, and get some audio of his "bark training" to post here for fun...ha!

jack-of-all-thumbs said...

Great photos and an interesting tip about the genetic susceptibility to the heartworm meds. Is that a breed specific trait?

Chicken Herder from Westville said...

I love dog stories so keep them coming! :>) He is a beauty!!

Robbyn said...

Jack, there are several breeds susceptible...here's a link http://www.sheltie4me.com/info/display?PageID=5258

Chicken Herder...thanks! I might also regale you with stories about how my husband ends up in the doghouse WITH the dog at time..heh heh

reddhedd said...

Your dog is simply beautiful. I can see his intelligence and good nature in the photos, and he seems to be posing for some of them. Please continue to post...I, for one, am a big fan of Aussies, although I have a PB white shepherd right now. (plus 5 cats, but that's another story!)

Anyway, I've enjoyed reading your blog; the politics, the pennypinching, the gardening, and the arrival of Kaleb all make for good entertainment and food for thought.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

So glad Kaleb has found such a loving home :o)

Country Girl said...

Absolutely LOVE him. He is gougeous!!!! Especially love the last photo. Lovely way to end a sweet post about your loved one. Happy for you!!!

Robbyn said...

reddhead, thanks for the kind words and sharing in our happiness with our new pup :)

Ken, thanks! I'm happy if he seems to be happy :)

Kim, thanks, we loooooooove him!! he's a total velcro dog and shadows me wherever I am. I feel totally spoiled :)

Killi said...

More beautiful doggy pics.
My Piri wears britches & Skoryy has skirts ~ something wrong there: Pireni is an *entire female & Skoryy an entire male! This is Skoryy's first Winter with an adultish coat (he's a growing pup until he hits 2 & he was a January baby) so it'll be interesting to see how long his skirts grow & his tail fringing. His ruff has got so long & dense that the human double-rowed nit comb I use on him doesn't get near his neck any more & his harness is lost in it. His harness is not tight ~ if anything it's a bit too loose so when Nackers try to steal him he has a chance to wriggle free. Yes ~ it happened a while back when he had his old harness on & I eventually found the harness in the middle of my yard with puppy being a wolf, howling to the moon behind the house with a severely wrenched front leg. Found fence posts into the Forestry broken as well where someone tried to climb the sheep fencing I have in order to escape when the other dogs & I went to his rescue.

Skoryy doesn't bark, well he gives the odd timid woof, but screams if hurt or thinks he might be. He hates collars & the harness is a godsend if I need him on a lead. The collar pulls his neck & that panics him, leading to abused puppy screaming, or him sitting down, refusing to move. He's no longer a dog you can carry!

* Piri has been innoculated against puppies, but has a sucky kitten!