I have been intending to update this thing for ages. I can’t believe months have gone by without, but they have, and lots has happened. The trouble is, the further behind I get, the more daunting becomes the task of updating, and so the cycle continues.
When last we left our tale of adventure, Hilda was brilliant. Oh, she still is, certainly, but there were things along the way.
There was the month at seven months where I swear her brains were falling out of her head. Seems she forgot just about everything she knew about being out and about. Who is this, and what have you done with Hilda? This passed eventually, though not without lots of curbs to run, people to greet, and distractions to be had.
Unfortunately, at eight months, she got this epic bout of diarrhea. It seriously lasted a couple weeks on and off. Just as I thought it was clearing up, back it came. There was no parasites though. Although I did run into an Uber driver who was a bit nervous about Hilda going in his car, which was OK, so she stayed home and me and her stool sample went by ourselves.
Time marches on. We started doing a bit more work in harness. She does pretty well at going around obstacles, and when she’s on, she does a nice job of staying on the sidewalk. Still, she’s quite easily distracted. Still, amazing progress. For instance, we took our first trip to a grocery store, where we met people in the cafe. She did very well, didn’t jump on anyone, and lay quietly by my chair. The couple other times we’ve been inside stores, she’s also done pretty well. One trip to our local grocery, she really wanted to pull and visit and wasn’t paying attention at all to much she was supposed to and everything she wasn’t. To be fair though, we’d made one other stop, she’d done some guiding on the way, and was probably tired of all that nonsense.
Speaking of guiding, here’s an interesting thing. She will generally stop for the wheelchair ramps and blended curbs, but she’ll run the real, very defined ones. When we encounter those, we have several reworks to do. Even so, she’s pretty good at targeting not only the opposite curb, but also the sidewalk on the other side of the street.
At the beginning of November, Hilda somehow managed to get a puncture wound on her back leg. This is when she was introduced to the Cone Of Shame. She hated it. I hated it. But at least her wound healed up nicely.
She’s also had some time away. Twice, she’s had a sleepover with friends and relations. Hilda has been able to visit with her littermate Ares, and a sister from another litter. We appreciate Ares’ and Madde’s family Hildasitting. It was good for her to hang out with new dogs, in new situations, and to do new and fun things. The first time also pointed up a problem I didn’t know about: Hilda was nervous about stairs. It never occurred to me, since she had no trouble with the ones from our first floor to our second. This decided me on a course of action. I wanted to expose her to open riser stairs, but the closest set of those available to me was the one to our basement, where the litterboxes live. Naturally, I was somewhat reluctant to employ those. Still, she needed the exposure, the stairs were handy, and I could always work with her on not going down that specific set later if I needed to. Initially, she would run away from me. She wouldn’t put her front feet down the stairs, not for love nor money. This might be a problem. Now, while they’re not her favorite thing ever, which is all right, she’ll walk down them with me without complaint. It only took some muscle (to carry her down most of them so she could stand on the last couple to start), a half hour, and a whole string cheese. Tell the truth, I was pretty pleased that I was able to pull that off so quickly. Beginner’s luck? Yeah, I’ll take it.
Hilda just got spayed on the 1st of the month. A few more days with the Cone, and she’s doing great. We had a walk yesterday to the convenience store to buy milk. Said milk ended up leaking, but that’s another story. Here’s the email I posted yesterday about the trip.
So. Oh boy. Happy fun times.
Now, we’re starting more harness training with Hilda. It’s a familiar route, one we’ve walked several times, to the Circle K store to get milk. It’s about a half mile one way, give or take, I suppose. No worries. I take the cane in case of problems, which there will undoubtedly be since we’re training. She’s already comfortable around traffic, and no, I don’t expect any traffic work, but she isn’t bothered by it.
All in all, once we actually got going, she did pretty well. We have to work at not running curbs. She stops at most of them, though she still runs some. She’s also learned a new trick, that of crossing a street and, instead of finding the up curb, walking along the edge of the curb so she can keep going. DIdn’t catch that one until the second time she did it. Also, stopping to sniff the ground in the middle of the street is probably not a thing to encourage. She only did that once though. She really is very easy to redirect, just a verbal reminder usually does the trick.
The trouble today, however, was getting her going. I think the “don’t pull on the leash” directive may have gone a little too well, because it took me about five blocks of cajoling, encouraging, cheerleading, correcting (which didn’t help), cussing, and all manner of things before she’d go anywhere. What I finally ended up doing was taking the pinch collar off, then walking with her on leash with the cane, then with the harness handle, and eventually got her pumped up enough to walk at a reasonable pace and get ahead of me. Then, when she started getting more sniffy and excitable, the pinch went back on and things were pretty good, requiring only some small encouragement when she got hesitant to move out. She’s also getting the idea of what too much pull is, as I’ve been stopping and dropping the harness when she goes too crazy, then she comes right back. She self-corrected at least once, started pulling and then I could literally feel her kind of step back. That was pretty cool, actually.
One thing I forgot to mention in the email was this one street crossing. There’s a parking lot or something at this corner, and it got a little confusing. I was able to walk Hilda through getting to the corner instead of this parking lot. We went across, but somehow still ended up pretty far up the street instead of at the correct sidewalk at the corner. Hilda just took a little prompting to go left, back to the street, and find the right sidewalk, and off we went again. I should note that I did most of this trip without using the cane much at all. It’s a familiar route though, so it’s OK.
I expect travel to be somewhat sporadic when the snow hits, but we’re definitely well on our way now.