January 24th 2008 3:07 pm
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A spaying we will go, a spaying we will go, hi ho the merry-o, a spaying we will go. Yes kiddies, Rhyval reached the ripe old age of six months a few weeks ago and to commemorate reaching this milestone she was spayed. Muhahahaha. That's evil! I know, isn't it? She of course did not know what was happening when I took her into the vet first thing in the morning the day before her six month anniversary, only that I was relieved. It's a fine line when a toy dog hits the six month mark as they will usually go into their first season around that time and that was one thing I did not want. Thankfully I was able to get Rhyval spayed before that happened. Yeah me. Now most breeders will recommend that a female has at least one heat before spaying so that the hormones can course through their body and help with their development. Unfortunately there is sound research to prove that having just one heat increases the chances of female specific cancers by 200% hence why I now spay my females before that first heat. I would rather have a slightly underdeveloped female, which I haven't had yet, than one who has a 200% chance of developing cancer at some point in their life. Cancer is bad, right? Very bad, sweetie. I knew Rhyval was close to her first heat as over the previous week or so she started mounting Gucci in a very dominant way. This behaviour was slightly different then when she stands on Gucci's shoulders to instigate play. Both the dogs and I picked up on the difference immediately so I made the appointment and they started treating her less like a pup and more like an adult. They're acting like grouches now. They aren't as accommodating now with her and are starting to show her where her place in the pack is.
So Rhyval was taken in and the deed was done. Turns out the vet and staff were very impressed with her as she never made a peep when waking from the anaesthetic and was a good girl during recovery. Due to her past history of temper tantrums I had warned them that she might bite if cranky - luckily she never did. I don't even remember what happened. First I was awake, then I wasn't. While she was under sedation I also had the vet x-ray her hips and legs to check her growth plates. I wanted to see how far along she was. When I went in to see the x-rays I was surprised to see that her plates were fully closed. To say I was shocked was an understatement. Due to the fact that her sex hormones never kicked in I was hoping for a delay in the growth plates and thus a greater chance of her growing a bit taller, like her big sisters did. That won't be happening now. So I'll always be the shortest one in the house? Not exactly. After my mother mentioned that Rhyval looked taller after her surgery I measured her and she topped off at 10" so she at least broke the 10" mark I was hoping for. Yeah! I finally grew! Anyway, I was able to view her hips, which are awesome, and was also able to get her last canine, which I had pulled while at the vets. I hadn't been able to save many of Rhyval's teeth as she tended to drop them outside more often than not and white teeth are impossible to find in the snow. Having her canine was a big deal to me as I had never had a dog whose canine curled like a fish hook before. As luck would have it, the one I had pulled was the one that always ripped my hands apart when she was younger. I'm innocent doggonit. Go figure.
So I brought Rhyval home where she slept for a few hours only to wake up and act like nothing had happened. My Dog, I got another Abbi! Unfortunately Rhyval didn't understand that racing around the house, jumping on/off furniture, and wrestling with Gucci was a bad thing just after surgery so Rhyval had to move into her new accommodations. No longer confined to her double crate set-up, she now has the luxurious space of the kitchen with lots of room to play with her toys, a separate potty area away from her stuff, and two baby gates to bounce against when she wants out. It's so huge I don't know what to do with it all. Maybe a new sofa would spruce things up. Funny girl. It's a biotch to climb over the gates all of the time but worth it for her sake. Plus, there's the added bonus of making her more responsible for herself when concerning potty time as she now has to actually go to the pee pads instead of them being right there.
Housebreaking has been a struggle compared to all of the other dogs in the past so of course Rhyval would have to surprise me by ringing the receptionist's bell for the first time by herself the night after her surgery It must have been from a latent anaesthetic high. Ha ha. I immediately ran to the kitchen's sliding door and let her out while making a huge celebration of her newfound skill. I assumed it was a one time fluke only to be shown how wrong I was. I'm happy to report that Rhyval now uses the bell whenever she wants to go outside. 8 times out of 10 she goes out to do her business, the other 2 times it's just because she just wants to be outside. Her need hinges on how fast I can move as she will repeatedly ring that bell like an obnoxious patron as a concierge's desk if I'm not moving fast enough to let her out. Too freakin' funny. Ringing the bell is fun. Even more fun to see Mummy running over even when I don't want to go out. Yeah, I am now running every time that damn bell goes off but I can't complain. Due to her newfound skill there have been less and less mistakes in the house and I am hoping that by the time she is a year old she will be considered fully housetrained. Only 6 more months to go!
Every week or so Rhyval has exhibited a new behaviour that thrills and delights me. I've loved watching her mature as she is a source of endless entertainment. The last few weeks have been ever so. With her coming of age Rhyval is truly taking on a more adult personality than a puppy personality. Now that she has found her voice she uses it quite frequently to warn me of some strange noise without having full backup from Abbi or Gucci anymore. They're too slow on the uptake. This has also transferred to our chase game as her growls are now peppered with yips while we are running up and down the hallway. In a more open space there is less growling and a lot more barking, Dog help me. That's what I've always wanted, a dog who barks constantly while running. I'm a Sheltie now! NOT!!! Another behaviour Rhyval has adopted is her sudden possessiveness of a small stuffed poodle holding a blanket. She now considers the toy HERS and HERS alone. Well it is. She will carry it around the house ad nauseam, whining when she can't find 'the right' spot to put it down or growling when the other dogs get 'too close' to the poodle. She'll even attack the dogs if she deems their proximity to the poodle too much of a risk. Abbi patiently lets the little one have her tantrum and usually ignores her pathetic nips. Gucci will just give it right back which simmers Rhyval's indignation considerably as Gucci's teeth are a bit bigger and she knows how to use them. Gucci just can't take a joke. Luckily Rhyval's love for her poodle hasn't expanded to the other toys or that would be a major issue. It's one thing to protect a favourite toy, another to protect every toy within a 20 km radius just on the off chance you might want it later on. Now a days the toys have grown to include the metal caps off of glass bottles, hair bands, and bird feathers - the latter being a bad toy in my books. There's always an endless supply of them all.
The only other development is Rhyval's need to lick everything in sight. What was once a cute fixation has now turned into a habit that encompasses everything from skin to cloth to frozen metal. The latter has been an issue as when it drops down to below -20 celsius the tongue will naturally stick. Rhyval has left at least half of her tongue on the outside window sill now and will sport a wonderful red mask around her nose when coming in as she tries to lick the blood away. It hurts too. I don't know if it shows a lack of intelligence or not but she does it time and time again. This last weekend she did it three times within a 3 hour period. I had to stand guard to stop her from destroying the top of her tongue completely. Some days I really wonder about her. LOL
January 10th 2008 4:35 pm
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Well it happened. Before my very eyes my little girl grew up. As of this Saturday Rhyval will officially be six months old. Do I get a party to celebrate? Sorry sweetie, no. As she is heading into her six months on this earth many facets to her personality are still developing will others are cementing into what a Rhyval is. The biggest changes aren't so much physical. She has been holding steady at 9.5" for the past 6 weeks and her weight gain has been fairly marginal. Tomorrow she will be going in to be spayed which will not only decrease her chance of developing common forms of cancer by 200% but she might grow a bit more. What's spaying? I'll tell you later, little one. I'm hoping the spaying helps her get over 10" for agility. Yes, if she is under 10" she would be competing in the 8" division in CKC and 10" in AAC but... if I want to take her to worlds she would have to jump 14". Now that's a huge difference. So I'm vying for her to be over 10" and let the cards fall where they may. Crazy eights or go fish?
The only other major physical change has been the onslaught of missing teeth. For a while all Rhyval had missing were the front teeth. All I want for Christmas is my twelve front teeth. All canines, incisors, molars, etc were still intact. That changed about a week and a bit ago when she started spitting out teeth left, right, and centre. Due to the lack of teeth Rhyval couldn't bite as hard as she usually did - she could only gum you. I can't even hold onto the tuggie anymore. I know, that sucks. This made me and the other dogs very happy. Hey!!! The only sad thing is I haven't been able to get many teeth to save for posterity. The few I have been able to save from the dreaded vacuum aren't much different in size than Abbi's puppy teeth, which sort of shocks me. Abbi was over 30lbs when she hit 6 months while Rhyval still hasn't broken over the 5lb mark yet. So either Rhyval has huge puppy teeth or Abbi's were a bunch of underachievers. It must be Abbi for I am perfect. You wish.
The biggest changes in Rhyval over the last few weeks have involved her personality. She is truly Miss Independent now which I am head over hells happy about. I can do what I want when I want how I want to. Can't you tell? See the smile on my face? Does it look forced? Having a very independent border collie has been a blessing and a curse all in one. Now that I have a papillon who might be the same I am ready to call in the Dog Whisperer. NOT!!! Actually, I'm just going to have to change how I train Rhyval as she matures. Having a dog with her own ideas on what is acceptable makes training more of a challenge and thus more rewarding. Gimme treats and I might do what you ask. That's reassuring. This has also changed how she relates to Abbi and Gucci. No longer the young puppy, Rhyval now stands up for herself regularly when concerning her treats or playthings. Instead of giving in to the older dogs she now fights for her right to eat her treat in peace or play with her toy without it being taken. Her tiny growls are still tiny but more forceful now and the other dogs respect her. Nobody takes my things! Except Mummy, of course. When worse comes to worse, she'll 'bury' her treasure around the house so the other dogs can't get at it. Unfortunately 'burying' a treat behind a pillow isn't a very affective place but at least the other dogs wait for her to leave the room before they abscond with it.
The greatest change in Rhyval has involved finding her voice. She rarely barked while a puppy as she was either too timid to join her voice with the rest of the pack or she didn't understand the reason for the sporadic bursts of barking. That is no longer true. One day, about 2 weeks ago, Rhyval decided that she heard something out of the ordinary, didn't like what she heard, and proceeded to bark until the rest of the dogs joined her. It was the first time she truly alert barked. I scared it away didn't I? Yes, you did, my saviour. It was a big day for her and for me to experience. Since then she regularly helps the other dogs in keeping strange sounds at bay. Sometimes she joins in, other times she starts the cacophony that rings throughout the house. She has truly found her voice thus I can no longer say there is a puppy living in the house. It was a sad day when I realised it. A young adolescent is now living in the house while the puppy is no more. And so it goes.
December 21st 2007 1:31 pm
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Now that Rhyval has officially turned five months I just had the biggest shock to my system when concerning her. Whenever I look down at this wee puppy I see a puppy still growing and developing into a hopefully well-mannered, well-rounded dog. The other day I looked down and didn't see a wee puppy but a wee dog. Who is we? You and me? The realisation that Rhyval was nearing the end of her growth cycle and that what she is now is what she'll always be, except furrier, really threw me for a loop. Gucci is a toy dog and is at the top of the standard being 10" and a little over 10lbs. Rhyval is holding at 9.25" and 4lbs so the contrast between the two is remarkable. Now throw in Abbi at 21" and 38lbs and little Rhyval is a piece of fluff when in comparison. I'm not fluff, I'm a Pap! I just shake my head at the absurdity of the mind and it's preconceived perceptions. Thank Dog Rhyval's personality is bigger than her actual size. I'm not that small, am I? Yes, you are little one.
Since the last time I wrote Rhyval has developed some new quirks to her repertoire. She has the need, the need to attack the broom whenever it is out of the closet. If it's stationary she'll go for it with gusto. If it's moving she is on a whole new plane - the intensity of which scares Gucci out of the kitchen. Must kill the broom. The real funny part is that she has no front teeth at the moment so her ability to grab the bristles has severely diminished - not that she cares. Due to the fact that she is teething Abbi has taken it upon herself to lick Rhyval's gums when they start to bleed thereby helping the healing process. At least that's my theory. And a good one too! I think. Not sure but Rhyval really enjoys the bonding time. The only thing she doesn't enjoy is when Abbi places her paw on Rhyval's head to hold her still. Poor Rhyval is no competition for Abbi's paw, which when combined with the leg probably weighs more than Rhyval altogether. It's not fair she's bigger than me. Sucks, huh?
Another quirk is probably associated with the teething process - Rhyval's incessant need to chew on snow. Mmmm. Snow. Now that she is used to the extreme cold weather her paws aren't freezing up as quickly as they used to so whenever she has the opportunity she is outside. She revels in the snow. She loves to shove her head underneath it, she loves to bounce through the really deep stuff, and mostly she loves to chew on it. If given half the chance she would spend most of her time eating snow but alas, it is cold out there and her puppy coat isn't thick enough to last more than 5-10 minutes. It doesn't stop me from trying though. That's very true!
Now that Rhyval is older her confidence in her jumping abilities has grown considerably. She regularly leaps onto and launches off of the couches, beds, chairs, laps, Abbi... anything that is higher then she is. I can fly!! My own bed is the highest out of everything she is allowed on and her little 'helper platform' has worked wonderfully. So wonderfully that Rhyval hasn't figured out yet that she can jump on and off the bed without it. What was that? Nothing, sweetie. The few times she has forgotten herself, when chasing Gucci or Abbi, she's had no issues so I know she can do it. For now though, I'll keep her in the dark to her abilities. As long as she stays wary of jumping off of my bed until she is fully house trained I'll be a happy camper. Why? Well, since you sleep with me at night your fear of jumping off the bed means you'll whine to be let down and thus wake me up so I can let you out. Ohhh. That makes sense. I think. Rhyval refuses to use the pee pads and has determined that the outdoors is where she goes. Now I'm not complaining about the fact she would rather go outside. The only issue is that if no one is in the kitchen to let her out then she'll go in the living room. She only whines when she is on the bed and no other time. Hence we've started shaping her to ring a receptionist's bell to tell us when she needs to go out. It will come with time.
Rhyval's confidence has also extended into other areas. She now routinely chases both dogs and doesn't have any fears of Abbi chasing her anymore. Being stepped on once was a lesson that stuck with Rhyval for a very long time. It really hurt. I know it did. Now the household is constantly filled with the sounds of tiny growls, from Rhyval, and scurrying of feet as the dogs race all over the place. Rhyval is a quick little sucker and can stay ahead of Gucci quite easily. Abbi has to hold back but not too much. If Rhyval's need for speed eventually crosses over to agility I'll be ecstatic. I've been encouraging her love of running by playing a chase game. She gets to chase me and I try to stay ahead of her - which is pretty hard to do in the house. As she chases me she growls constantly until I stop and then a teeny bark will come out when I try to chase her. That is the only time I get to hear her bark and only happens when she is really pumped up. If she ends up growling the whole time while on course I'll be spending a lot of my time trying to hold back from laughing - it's just too cute. Are you laughing at me again? Not yet.
As the weeks go by small idiosyncrasies start to become commonplace as new ones pop up. Case in point is Rhyval's sudden ability to cross her front paws or her need to 'bury' her bully clubs or her desire to steal everything off of my bedside end tables. New things to carry around and chew. Another is the ability to stand on her hind legs and balance like a gopher or meerkat. The latter one is especially funny to see as she uses it to spy out something of interest. She first showed this ability at a PetSmart where we bought her winter sweater. It was the first time she had been in a PetSmart so she was a bit overwhelmed by all of the treats and toys. When she wanted to see something that was out of her reach she hopped up on her hind legs, tucked her front paws against her chest, and stood perfectly still as she scanned the upper racks of toys or bones. I couldn't see it very well. I needed to get higher. I was impressed and figured it was a one time only type of deal. Turns out I was wrong. She does it at home all of the time now when we pull anything out of the cupboards and at Abbi's last agility fun match Rhyval did it to see the people and dogs coming towards her. It's cute as hell. And handy.
Training has ground to a bit of a halt as I came down with the flu and was out for the count for over two weeks. We started working on Rhyval's circle work for agility and continued with her focus along with crate games. Because her love of the crate games she has now transferred it over to any spot I place her in a sit or down. Be it on the couch or in a chair. I like Mummy's chair. It's comfy. At the fun match and the last trial of the year we were able to work on her stays, recalls, and sends with just my trial chair. Instead of a crate Rhyval held her sit on the chair, came when called, and then ran back onto the chair when told from over 15 feet away. And this was with a bunch of dogs around getting ready to run, coming off the course, etc. She was a great little girl and did awesome. Thank you. You're welcome.
She is still wary of all dogs she meets and I'm hoping that will fade as she gets older. If not then she might be like Abbi and be a bit anti-social as an adult. No big deal to me as she has Gucci and Abbi to play with. She met her half sister for the first time at Abbi's last trial - they share the same father - and didn't want to play with her which really surprised me. Considering that her half-sis was the first dog she has met who is smaller than her I assumed Rhyval would want a meet and greet. She was pushy. I was wrong and a bit of snapping happened. Rhyval is classic Pap colour where her half-sister was mostly colour with a bit of white. Even though Rhyval was quite a bit taller, despite being three months younger, her half-sister had a much longer back and considerably bigger ears. Seeing the two of them together made me glad I got Rhyval. Me too. I'd miss Abbi n' Gucci. The whole time we were at the trial Rhyval wanted to meet new dogs only to cringe and hide between my feet when they actually wanted to meet her. Those that ignored her seemed to be the ones she liked the most. Like Pearl and Trinity and Bryte. Go figure. Oh well. At least she is thriving, happy, and still a little wild child despite maturing. I hope she never loses that. Are you sure about that?