Monday, August 6, 2012

#SAGApupVolt Is Forty Weeks Old

Our gawjiss Volt weighed in at 32kg this morning on the vet's scale! And I measured his height to see if he's grown some more and he is 57.5cm tall at the shoulder, which means he's gotten 2cm taller since I measured his height at twenty nine weeks! I knew he hadn't stopped growing yet!
This week past we had a home visit from our SAGA PDS. SAGA keeps a close eye on their pups-in-training to make sure they are getting the training and attention they are supposed to get. They also give pointers and training tips and help out if you're battling with any particular aspect of your pup's progress. I needed help from SAGA to focus on Volt's "positive dog distraction" and his pulling on the lead. We had made great strides since the last time I got assistance from them but we weren't quite there yet. Our PDS pointed out what I was still doing wrong and within a day we had progressed a hundred fold! Positive dog distraction- where the pup wants to run to and play with and talk to all other dogs he sees- is far easier to fix than negative dog distraction- where the pup is afraid of other dogs.
It is vitally important to talk to your SAGA PDS if you're battling with something in your pups progress! If you don't say anything, when your pup starts formal training SAGA may pick up a problem that can't be fixed, or something that will delay the training in order to fix it.
Things got interesting when our PDS was leaving our house. Volt gently took the little cooler box she had with her (it had had Riddick's inoculations in it) and carried it into the kitchen! He put it down when I told him to leave it but our PDS was intrigued. We chatted then about the things Volt likes to do and discussed adding some training to his puppy raising and perhaps assessing him later for service dog training. Service dogs are the ones who work with people in wheelchairs and usually only retrievers are trained for this job, but SAGA is a little short on puppies at the moment so Volt may be a candidate. Volt's walking speed may be a hiccup in service dog training as wheelchairs don't usually move that fast, but he can be taught to walk at the speed of his handler.
What we now may do is teach Volt to "speak". If I say "speak" he must bark. After months of teaching Volt not to bark I thought this would be difficult, but in three short sessions totalling less than an hour, Volt had learned to "speak" on command"! I know my boy is smart but occasionally I underestimate him. Since Volt was a pup I have taught Volt that if he wants something from my hand he has to take it gently without biting me, and we can continue this training now with a "take it" and "give it" instruction.
And it seems my puppy is determined to run the gamut of puppy afflictions! On Thursday morning I took him back to his vet at BVH and she diagnosed a bump on Volt's head as a histiocytoma. I had been keeping an eye on the bump for a week before I called SAGA about it as it didn't seem to be getting better. The bump is benign and I was told to keep it clean and continue rubbing Bactroban on it. If it isn't gone in two weeks we have to go back and the vet will remove it, but she is confident that it will disappear on its own.

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Gill said...

Just wanted to let you know that we are still so enjoying reading all about Volt and his progress and now Riddick too. Thanks for sharing :-)