Puppy walking

An adventure in looking after a puppy until it is old enough to be properly trained as a guide dog for the blind.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The midnight run is mysteriously back. Last night, Rockwell asked to go out at 9pm. He went and sat by the patio door and gave us the look. When I let him out, he had a giant but regular poop and a pee. He usually has his final eliminations at about 10pm, when I take him for what is now our accustomed walk. I figured we were done for the night as far as he was concerned. When we went upstairs at 10pm (without walking him) he seemed reluctant to come up with us, staying on the landing. I thought maybe it was confusion over the change in routine. Boy am I naive. Anyway, we coaxed him up and started settling in for the night. He was restless and ended up sitting by the shut door of our room. Finally Peter thought he’d better take him down and see what happened.

Some time later, only Peter returned. Peter said Rockwell had gone out in the back yard again and had a giant mushy poop with the usual diarrhea “run on” at the end. He had put Rockwell in his crate because we have no idea what happens with a case of diarrhea and this dog if he’s NOT in his crate. We lay there and listened to grumblings and groanings coming from downstairs (it sort of sounded like snoring). Finally Rockwell barked so I got up and let him out again where there was more diarrhea. This time I figured he was tapped out so I brought him back upstairs.
Is that crate looking a little small?

At about 3am, I was awakened by a restless Rockwell. He was walking around the room, stopping to scratch repeatedly. As a refresher to the reader, he scratches whether he has a rash or not, every time he wakes up from any kind of sleep. He continued roaming around the room and sitting by the shut door so I got up and out we went again. Same results - who knew a little dog could hold so much poo? At the same time, I was relieved that he didn’t poop right there but “asked” to go out instead (by sitting at the shut door).

This time he slept until Peter got up at about 6:30. After Peter left, I let Rockwell out and he had yet MORE poo and a short (i.e. dehydrated) pee. No breakfast - that’s the protocol for diarrhea. They also suggest PeptoBismol. I poured a little in a bowl which he sniffed and turned up his nose at. I transferred it into his regular food bowl but he wasn’t having any. Finally I put about 10cc in a syringe left over from Uma’s Metacam and caught him by surprise and forced it down his throat. I am pretty sure I won’t be able to use that surprise route again. For all that puppies won’t learn “stay” and “come”, they sure learn quickly about things they don’t like.

As for what caused it, I have no idea. We didn’t do anything unusual yesterday. We went for a loose leash walk in the park and it is possible he got into something - he is quite the scavenger as befits his breed or even his species for that matter. But given how fast a dog’s intestines work, I would say if he got into something, it would have had to be on the short walk we took to get the mail at about 5pm. So we’re off to the vet at 2 today for the rash and we’ll see what she says about the poo. I’m going to ask for advice on administering the Pepto too. Meanwhile, Rockwell is “starving” - poor little guy. Actually I know he is relatively okay because he chased me around earlier, demanding play time. He probably thought he was demanding breakfast but he got play instead.


At 10:17 a.m., December 06, 2005, Blogger M-Fax said...

sounds like an unpleasant night. It sure is odd when they break their routine and Im sure all it is is that Rockwell ate something he should not of. I know when the ground freezes Bosco seems to find more things that smell tasty. Sometimes its just a matter of eating wood or something. maybe too its just a chill getting used to the weather change. The lab usually fights off most things in a day or two. Good luck.

At 1:11 p.m., December 06, 2005, Blogger L^2 said...

Being sick is no fun. I hope Rockwell feels better soon!

I do have to ask about one thing though, that doesn't have to do with him being sick: His way to let you know he wants out is to sit and wait by the door? Does he sit quietly, or does he make noise, because you do realize that a blind person is not going to be able to look over at the door to see that Guide Dog Rockwell is sitting over there needing to go out, right?

I have heard that many schools (including Leader Dogs), encourage puppy raisers NOT to allow the dog to just sit by the door for it's cue to go out, for this very reason. If Willow needs to go out at an unscheduled time, she prances and paces (so I can hear her - it sounds like she is stomping her feet).

Stella prances and paces too, but also for Stella I have hung bells on the front and back doorknobs. When she was younger (and noisier) and needed more trips outside than Willow's schedule provided, I taught her to ring the little bell when she needed to go out. That way I could hear her pretty much anywhere in the house, since I couldn't see her unless I was right there beside her. The downside for the bells has been that Stella went through a phase where she rang them all the time just for the fun of it, and she has chewed up at least one of them.

I don't mean to be critical of your methods - it sounds like you are doing great with Rockwell. And maybe, for your school, it's okay that he does it this way. It's just a little thing I noticed that I thought you might want to consider, from a blind person's perspective.

Good luck at the Vet this afternoon!

At 9:19 a.m., December 07, 2005, Blogger JuliaR said...

Laura, I sort of answered this in the next posting but now that I’ve read it again, I have a bit more to add. CGDB doesn’t give you any training in training the dog to ask to go out. I did mention a bell at the door once to our PW supervisor but she said they don’t do that and don’t encourage us to either (maybe the downside you mentioned with Stella is why!). And not to worry about asking about “my methods” because it’s their dog and it’s their methods! Apparently, by the time the dog is fully trained as a guide dog, it knows enough to make it clear to its new owner that there is an unscheduled break needed. As you said, Willow prances when it’s unscheduled so she learned too let you know that way. But mostly they rely on the scheduling. Not very satisfying but it’s the best answer I can give at the moment!

M-Fax, now that I think about it, there was tasty goose poop in the park and now it is covered in snow so I bet that’s what he got. As you say, Labs fight these things off quickly and he already seems unperturbed by it.


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