Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hard Day at Work

I went with AP to the school today and got to hang out with Ryan, Charlie and Robert. I also met Tiffany and I really liked her becuase she told me that I was handsome. We stopped at Cruchies and I got some great salmon treats and then we went to the park. When we got home I was really tired so I went to sleep on the porch for a few hours.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Giant Eye

I went to see Dr. Gift today and I got some good news and some bad news. The good news is the pressure in my good eye is down to 6 which is the lowest it has ever been. The bad news is the pressure in my bad eye is at 25 which is really high. I got some new eye drops to use and I have to go back in 2 weeks. The blood has all disappered from the eye and it has gotten really big - not bulging - just BIG. So I am not a bloody eye guy anymore I am a giant eye guy. AP has to think about my options. I will have to have my eye removed at some point due to pressure and Glaucoma that will eventually occur. Some dogs have the eye completely removed and the lid sewn shut that is called enuculation. Others have it replaced -sort of - with a prosthetic eye that is called evisceration with implant. AP is looking for people that have had either done to talk to about it so she can make an informed decision. Hopefully the drops will help and we will have some time to research.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

To The Lucky Person That Liam Adopts..

AP here:

Tonight is Liam’s last night with us and I wanted to put some things out there for the lucky person that Liam adopts. He is going back to his foster home after spending a week snowed in with Tonka. They have done a great job with him and I know he will be happy to "see" them again.

When you read this keep in mind he is still very much a puppy at 8 months old so anything written that seems like a negative is not, he is very smart and will only get better with maturity. Liam learns really quickly and if you watch any of his videos at
you will see what he is capable of.

What Liam knows:
Wait - say command and touch his nose
How to slide/walk down a dog ramp from the back of an SUV

Things that he needs to have someone stay consistent with till it gets to be second nature:
Big Step
Shake - say the word and snap your fingers
Leave It

Things he really likes:
Long Walks - these are a must. They expose him to different sounds, smells and experiences not to mention meeting lots of people and this will help keep him a confident well mannered boy. The house is the same sensory experience pretty much every day so I make a point to take Tonka out for 2 miles in the morning and 2 in the evening so he gets to have different smells and sounds. I am not saying Liam needs to walk that far (he is still a little guy) but he does need to get out and learn his neighborhood. The walking also creates a bond between the 2 of you as you navigate him through things and will build trust in you as the leader.

Playing with Other Dogs
His favorite stuffed toy
His Wiggle Giggle Ball
Frozen Peanut Butter Kong
Kong Bone with treat stuffed into ends
Bill Jacs
Tuffie Toys
Chicken Strips
Belly Rubs

Things he will grumble about or try to be a bit mouthy (bear in mind that blind dogs tend to be mouthier than sighted dogs) - just tell him "no mouth" or "knock it off" and he will:
Nail Trim - easier to do after long walk
Ear Cleaning - also easier to do after long walk

Walking on lead:
Liam prefers to be out in front which is good from a confidence standpoint but needs to learn to heel and take commands and cues from his handler.
I use a bungee cord type leash with Tonka called the roamer for long walks. It allows him freedom to walk around and at the same time forces him to listen to my commands to navigate. It has a handle built in that I can use to bring him in next to me to work on heel or keep him close when crossing the street, meeting people etc. I use a 6 foot leash for training sessions or short walks.

Liam is a very social dog and although he is sometimes a little skittish in a new situation just give him a minute with someone new or let him explore a new place he will quickly adapt.

He uses his nose constantly and when walking or mapping out a new area he will sweep his head side to side to figure out where things are. In the house I use vanilla food extract (you can use lemon or peppermint as well) to mark all the doorframes, corners of things (tables, fish tank, chest of drawers etc.). It only takes a little dab and does not have to be done very often; once a room is mapped out it is mapped out unless you change something. For any steps in the house I put a strip of the sticky backed plastic they use to cover carpets when doing construction or painting on the top step. When Tonka would feel that he knew he was at the first step. Liam is very good with steps once he has done them a few times. When out walking and we encounter steps I use the "wait" command to bring him to a stop and then use my foot to tap the first step and then use the "step" command for every step until we are either at the top or the bottom. We have over 3 feet of snow at the moment so on long walks we sometimes have to step up and over snow banks and that’s when the command "big step" comes in handy. I also use the "big step" combined with the "over" command for stepping over downed trees with Tonka when we walk through the woods.

Like any dog he is interested in the smell of people food (especially with that nose) and will come to explore but will leave when you tell him no. He likes to steal rugs and toilet paper but is easily swayed back to his toys. He likes to sleep on a dog bed near people and will sleep through the night. He has mastered the doggie door and is 100% house trained, if the doggie door is closed he will sit at the door to let you know he has to go out.
He does not like to wear his goggles or his sunglasss but neither does Tonka and the trick is to get him occupied with something so he forgets he has them on. Walks where there are lots of people to meet and fuss over him works well as a distraction to get him used to keeping them on. They are a must in large crowds of people, walks in the woods and windy days where debris can fly into his eyes.

Having a blind dog is really no different than a sighted dog and if they have been blind since birth. Liam and Tonka have no clue they are blind and don’t know they are any different from any other dog. I don’t baby Tonka (I do spoil him though) nor do I pity him. I treat him as I would any sighted dog, he has rules and I am his pack leader so he has to listen. In return I make sure that he can trust that my decisions and commands will keep him safe.
Liam will only be limited in what he can do by you (the pack leader) always stay upbeat, make everything fun, and keep him safe and he will amaze you.

P.S. We are all very attached to Little Liam so when he does adopt you we will need to schedule some playdates...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hi Looking For a Good Home

Hi my name is Liam and I am a very smart, very lovable 8 month old (Marrema possible Pyr mix) puppy looking for his forever home. I have been staying with my friend Tonka and his 2 humans AP and CM for a few days. Like my friend Tonka I was born blind with my retinas detached but I do sense light and dark (so I sleep all through the night). I love to sleep on my bed in the bedroom with people and I don’t even care if you snore. I will also sleep in my crate if I have to. I will go to the door and wait to go out when I need to potty and am learning to use the doggie door but Tonka is much bigger than me and his door is a little heavy for me right now. I will not get as big as Tonka, he is huge like a truck and I am his Italian equivalent so I will be more like an aerodynamic racecar.

My routine right now is out to potty first thing in the morning and if it is really early then Tonka and I will come back in and go back to bed for awhile. Once the household is awake we have an early morning play session with Tonka and the humans or a long walk (we have 2 feet of snow right now so walking is a little tough). Then it’s time for breakfast, AP says that since I am a working breed we should always walk before breakfast. She says I should have a job to do and in a pack we would go find breakfast first so that’s why we walk first. She has all kinds of crazy ideas like that, but I like to walk so it’s OK. I don't think I am horrible on a leash but I am learning that there are rules to walking with people and I am catching on quick. After breakfast we all go out to go potty and Tonka and I usually sneak in a little wrestle session and then I lay around and play with my toys until it is time to either go in my house or if the humans are home I find a quiet spot to nap. I am crate trained and I love my crate (house) it is my safe place and when I am in it AP says I should be left alone since that is my safe place.

I am learning commands like sit and wait along with straight, turn around, left and right. I already know the important commands like No, and Off. AP says I am more aware of my surrounding than Tonka so I don’t bump in to lots of things and therefore don’t need constant commands like he does. I tend to use my nose like a sweeper moving left and right to map out what’s around me where Tonka keeps his head up high. AP also says Tonka is "special" and not as quick to adapt to a new area as me.

I love Chicken Strips and Bill Jacs so that is what we use for training and since I am a skinny little boy and trying to gain some weight it works well. I like to play with toys and like Tonka my goal is to remove all stuffing and squealers so heavy duty toys work best and last longest. The Tuffies Toys are rated for chewers and all the 7 and above will last for a while I also like to play with the Kong toys like the Wubba and the treat bone. I don’t play fetch but I love to play with my wiggle giggle ball and if you roll it around near me I will chase the sound and pounce on it. I am a puppy so when I get very wound up in play mode I sometimes try to get a little mouthy but I never bite down and am learning that my mouth is only for toys.

I love a good belly rub and will roll over a bit whenever a human walks in the room to let them know they should stop and give me a scratch and some attention. Since I spent the first part of my life in a barn on a farm I am just learning the world outside the barn and am a bit shy in new situations but warm up quickly. I have a healthy curiosity of things and with patience will explore and figure things out on my own.

In the afternoon it's outside to play and another walk. I have been hanging out with Tonka and his friends at the dog park and am learning to come on recall from a distance which I am really good at if there is clapping or a squeaky involved. AP says I am a smart boy and I just need consistency which my forever human could provide for me. She says people don't understand that having a blind dog is the same as a sighted dog you just have to lay a slightly different foundation with them as a puppy. She also says that everything that happens during the day is an opportunity for a puppy to learn so training is really an all the time event.

In the evening we have dinner and Tonka and I eat in separate places so there is no misunderstanding about food. I need to gain some weight so I need to concentrate on just my bowl and feel secure that no one is going to take it away. Then we go out for potty time and wrestle a little and we are supposed to come back in when AP calls us which I am getting the hang of especially when there is a chicken strip waiting if I come right in and sit. Tonka is no longer a little puppy so he likes to just chill and chew on his Nylabones or lay around in the evening but I like to get out all my toys and play a little. AP and I play a game called left/right with my toys and new games called down and wait. Once I have settled down a bit Tonka and I get a frozen Kong that has a little peanut butter in it and he and I work on those. Sometimes we swap and I think I get the best end of the deal since I am little and can reach in the hole further and get what he has missed.

When it’s time for bed Tonka and I go out to go potty one last time for the night and then come in and get a chicken strip. We get one last belly rub and Tonka goes to sleep by the door and I trot off to CM’s bedroom to curl up on my dogbed.
AP says whoever adopts me will be getting a very special friend.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Liams First Day

AP took Liam out today for a day on the town. He went to the gas station, the coffee shop, the hair salon and to Petsmart. I stayed home so he could hang out with AP and meet new people on his own. He had a good time with people fussing over him and got a new collar for training. We are supposed to get lots more snow so we had an earlier play date than normal with my girl Nala at the park. It was so much fun and Liam got to meet Sweet Pea and Shana the 2 little Jack Russell’s that sometimes play with us. When we got home Liam got a warm bath - I stayed far away from that....

We had a good dinner and then a frozen Kong for a treat. We wrestled a little and then Liam went to sleep. He is a little guy and still very young so he was tired I am letting him sleep on my "Orvis indestructible bed" that I already chewed the end off of. He seems to like it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My Buddy Liam

I have a playmate for the next few days and his name is Liam. We were hanging out at Wylie Wagg a couple of Saturdays ago for the adoption day. Liam is a Maremma which is the Italian version of me. He is just a baby at about 6 months and is a very good boy. He is also blind with the same problem I have, "retinal detachment" but his eyes also did not develop quite all the way so they are sort of tiny. He was born on a farm and spent the first part of his life in a barn with his siblings and then went to AGPR. He has been in foster homes for the last month or so while he is waiting for his forever person to find him. It is supposed to snow A LOT in the next 2 days so we will be playing in the snow.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tonka's "Chair"

CM here, now that Tonka has decided that he does like being in the snow it can be very interesting to see what he does in it.

This past Sunday on Tonka's routine "play date" with his girlfriend Nala he bounced around and ate snow; all the things that a normal Pyr or any dog would do. After watching him romp and play, the sun was beating down on me. Now I don't have FUR, unless I haven't shaved by legs in a while and then I plead the 5th.

So I had bundled myself up like Randy from "A Christmas Story" and hoped that I didn't have to pee! At least I could put my arms down, but I still walked liked my legs had no knees.

So as the "children" played; I got tired and hot just standing there. So I decided to sit down in the snow to cool off; but also knowing that it could be difficult getting back up! :)

After a while I decided to get up, and that is when the BLIND boy decided to come RUNNING to me! I still don't understand how he knows how to ALWAYS find me! Then Tonka decided that he was tired also; and he sat down on me just as pretty as you please.**

When he was "rested" he got up and kept playing. Like I've said in other postings....I AM COMING BACK AS A BIG WHITE BLIND DOG!! They can do ANYTHING and get away with it.

**See Tonka Videos - Tonka Takes a Seat