Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fifth day: crate backsliding, fleas AGAIN (10/16/12)

As part of teaching Chimera that it's okay to be left alone, I gate him into rooms with me, and briefly leave and return. He's not doing as well with this as he does with the crate. It's probably because I only crate him when he's tired, so he settles down quickly, and hopefully associates the crate with sleeping. He's worst when I'm showering in the morning. He's full of energy, locked into a tiny room, and I'm separated from him by two barriers (the tub wall and the shower curtain). He yaps and screams almost the entire time I'm showering.

Used his breakfast for another formal clicker training session. He was more interested in getting the food than he had been in previous sessions, and for the first time seemed to intentionally orient toward the mat. "There's something going on here that's just out of my grasp..." We started working on a nose target to an extendable rod. We also did a lot of work on reaching for, touching, and massaging his ears in exchange for food. You KNOW that people will be doing that all the time, for his entire life.

He's taken a liking to the electrical cord from my speakers, so I sprayed it with NaturVet's Bitter Yuck. I had the horrible idea of touching my finger to my tongue after spraying, and the taste nearly made me vomit. Chimera's reaction is not nearly as strong, but it does deter the monster.

For socialization we headed to the parking lot to Walgreens and Farmer Joe's (a local grocery store). We walked through there to a busy street, and walked up and down half a block. Again he saw lots of people, cars, and buses. He watches some people longer than others, but generally is happy to walk among them with me. Then he quietly waited in the car while I did my grocery shopping.

At work he wasn't able to get as much special puppy playtime as before, and he ended up bored and full of energy in his crate at the end of the workday. I took him out to potty and used my last break to give him playtime, but I had to no choice but to let him bark for the last hour of my shift. I talked to my boss and we will try to make sure that he gets enough playtime to be fully tired out. (Fortunately it really doesn't take much puppy wrestling to tire him at this point.)

Because of that we had some backsliding with his ability to rest in his crate. I stopped by another store on my way home from work, and he was barking when I got back to the car. Right now he's only half-settled in his crate despite being sleepy -- he keeps whining and shifting positions. I hope we'll be back on track soon.

Before we left work, I checked him for fleas, and found and killed three. At bedtime I did not see any. I'm pretty sure that he's picking them up at the daycare. Crossing my fingers that we don't have an infestation building in our home...

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