December 26th 2008 8:52 pm
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Cesar is... an excitable dog. He is, most of the time, a sweet, cuddly, affectionate puppy, but every once in a while, he lets him excitement take over. This past week started off badly for Cesar.
Cesar's excitement isn't a bad one, he just has an animal mind, (seeing how he IS an animal), and he gets singularly focused on something, be it another dog, a taste, or some new people he wants to meet. Cesar becomes totally obsessed every now and then.
For example, a week ago, my wife was feeling sick. Cesar, being a loving, caring dog, started to gently lick her hand, then her face, trying to comfort her in her illness. Unfortunately, Cesar went to the next level, licking wildly, twisting and jumping on the bed; this resulted in him twisting around the wrong way, and pulling his ankle out of whack.
It wasn't a big deal, until we went out for our evening walk, and a stranger, coming out of an apartment, startled him. Cesar jumped up, (as he often does when startled) and immediately fell to the ground, crying loudly-- his little paw twitching helplessly.
Let me tell you, aside from seeing children suffer, there is little else in this world that rivals the emotion of seeing a dog in pain.
The next few days were quite stressful. As well as my contracting the illness that formerly plagued my wife, I was dealing with two dogs cooped up in the house from the freezing rain; Cesar with a sprained ankle, and Cujo, with a sick belly.
So I spent a week obsessing over Cesar's leg, trying to make sure this excitable dog didn't exacerbate his sprain by jumping up. This isn't easy when you have a dog that jumps at every noise outside, every dog that passes by, etc.
So Christmas Eve rolls around, and Cesar's leg seems to be doing better. Jamie's friend from work, Deb, stopped by to deliver some presents, and at the same time Cesar's old daddy dropped by as well to give us a card.
Cesar was loving the commotion, and was absolutely happy to see his old boss. I didn't see it happen, but apparently my wife said that when Cesar jumped up on (his old daddy) Darren, his Dew claw (his little thumbnail) snagged his collar, and yanked out, right at the quick.
Darren noticed it immediately. The claw was hanging off the vessel, bleeding slightly. Cesar, forever the trooper, didn't cry, but wanted to stay in the fun.
After everyone left, the pain started to set in. We tried to tend to it, to snip off the excess, but Cesar was having NONE of that. We couldn't get the clippers within an inch of him. So we kept washing it with anti-bacterial soap and making sure he stayed off of it.
Well, that was yesterday. We did some research on the internet, and all the advice said to simply leave it alone, let him lick it, and it should come off in a day.
Turns out the internet was right. The dew claw fell off today, and Cesar is currently snuggled under the covers next to my wife, as she kills zombies on the Xbox. We went for several walks today, without any problems, but we are still carefully washing the nail every few hours, just to be safe. If it swells up, we will put some anti-biotic cream on it--no prob.
So Cesar has gotten a little banged up this week, but God bless him, he's a tough little guy. I think that he's realizing that being excited and having fun is okay, but he needs to be more careful with his surroundings and pay attention. I feel bad, I hate to see my puppies suffer, but dogs will be dogs, and accidents happen. Fortunately, Cesar is a smart dog, and he is learning.
Although don' t think the idea of covering him in bubble wrap hasn't crossed my mind once or twice. I love him, but he is a crazy little guy.
December 10th 2008 3:48 pm
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Hi. It's been just over a week that Cesar joined our family, and I am pleased to report he's doing well. He has his good days and bad...sometimes the energy in his little doggie body comes pouring out from all sides. The real issue with Cesar is his seemingly random attacks at people walking by. Ten people can walk right by him with no more response than a friendly wag of the tail, but every now and then, he snaps and lunges at people, quite frankly scaring the beejebus out of them. Often I can sense it coming, with the way he tilts his head and twitches his lips, but, like the other night, he went from zero to RED ZONE in a second at this mother and son walking down the street.
Fortunately, I always have a good grip on Cesar, and really, I honestly don't think he would do anything but sniff or run off behind my legs if the person approached. He is genuinely a sweetheart; he just gets over protective, and will throw himself at any man or beast he deems a threat to his new family, barking and snarling with all his might.
Any tips? If it was a matter of him jumping at everyone, I could see a way to control that, but its just certain people. I've been watching, it's not a matter of a specific type of person, gender, or size. His barking at other dogs seems completely random as well. We strolled past a pack of Bikers with engines idling, and he wagged his tail and said hello, but a woman passing with a baby carriage freaked him out totally.
Could it be a smell or a sound that sets him off?
My approach at this moment is addressing each attack with calm, stern attention. He's a smart guy; he knows when he's being bad, he just can't seem to help it at times. I tend to rely heavily on positive re-enforcement, and I don't like to yell. I've come to learn that dogs are like politicians; you have to bribe them before they will listen to you. Still, I can't have him out traumatizing children, or letting my other dog, Cujo, think that lunging at innocent folks walking down the street is a good thing.
Perhaps a little spray bottle...any advice would be great, and thanks for listening!
December 3rd 2008 10:52 pm
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So we recently brought a new doggie into our home-a Jack Russel/Chihuahua mix we've named "Cesar". Unfortunately, his owner found himself in a position where he couldn't keep the dog, and it was looking like the dog was going to end up in a shelter. The dog's name WAS "Legend", but he wasn't responding to it, so we just started trying out new and different names. We are big fans of the show "the Dog Whisperer", and we just kept finding ourselves calling the new dog "Cesar". The next day, we found out how apt that name actually was.
To understand Cesar's transition to our home, you have to know our other dog, Cujo. Cujo is a Chihuahua/Min. Pincher mix that, two weeks ago, we rescued from the LA County Animal Shelter. The Shelter made us sign a waver stating that we understand that Cujo (that's a new name we gave him-the shelter named him "Valentino") was a "chronically timid animal, with no former training and little hope of socialization". The first week, Cujo lived up to his paperwork; this guy was scared of everything, emaciated, shivered constantly, and jumped at any move we made.
With patience and calm loving consistency, Cujo's tail started coming out from between his legs. He started chewing and playing with toys, and began to get the fact that in this house, we don't hold our bladder so much that we pee in our sleep.
But still, for as much as Cujo was becoming more dog-like, we knew that there were certain things we couldn't help Cujo get over. He, quite simply, had become too traumatized to know how to play.
Enter Cesar. The first night, Cujo was NOT happy about this bouncy, happy, energetic dog running around HIS house. My wife and I spent the entire night balancing Cujo's fear of the new dog, and Cesar's confusion of where the heck he was and when he was going home. There was a whole lot of comforting that night, and we all ended up falling asleep, curled in a heap on the bed.
The next morning, we still weren't sure how this relationship was going to go. Cujo still seemed icy, and Cesar still wanted to go home. I grumbled out of bed and went into the kitchen to make coffee.
The sound of the coffee filter went off, and Cesar went ballistic, jumping behind a chair and cowering.
Cujo, seeing the sheer terror in Cesar's eyes, climbed out of my wife's arms, slowly approached Cesar, and put his paw on his shoulder, twisting his head as to say, "it's alright. It's just a noise."
The next thing I knew, Cesar started to jump, and to our surprise, Cujo's tail popped up, wagged (the first time since we've had him), and the two of them started rolling around, playing all over the house. I actually got choked up at seeing these two scared and confused animals forget their problems for that moment, and just BE DOGS.
Cujo still has some fear and hesitation in him, and I know Cesar still misses his daddy, but every day is full of forward steps and growing confidence. That's why I feel that Cesar is the perfect name for this dog--he showed up and fixed all my dog's problems in one day, just like Cesar Millan does on his show.
And it's not just with Cujo; Cesar is an awesome dog, full of love, excitement, and fun energy. He snuggles as much as he plays. and although he needs a bit of extended training, he is a very well behaved dog. His need for exercise is definitely a plus for my aging butt, and my growing knowledge of dog psychology is really helping Cesar understand what humans want from him, and how he can have fun without getting hurt or into any trouble. Cujo's uptightness is being channeled into a mentoring spirit; it balances play and safety perfectly between them when they are rolling around or strolling along the street. Cujo, who could hardly manage to walk with a leash the first day, is now Cesar's teacher on avoiding traffic, staying with 'the pack', and not getting riled up at bikes, skateboards and cars.
So far, this is a perfect balance for our entire family. As my wife and I learn more, and Cujo and Cesar get more acclimated to our home, we will hopefully grow more and more into the family that I know we can become.