Happy National Dog Day. Isn't every day national dog day? Around here it is.
Last week when I heard Morgan's diagnosis, I made a decision to make some easy changes in her routines. One of the most difficult challenges I have now is getting her to eat enough. The only thing she consistently likes is her 'milkshake', so now she's getting one in the morning as well as her evening treat. I've also tried to find things with a strong smell or taste that will cut thru her fog and tempt her. Bacon is always popular but I don't want to cook bacon daily. We've done sardines and they were very popular. Strong cheese and other fishy treats mixed into her kibble have helped keep her interested in her dinner.
Last night another old trick worked. I was preparing Mackey's dinner and taking some dog food out of a little bag for her. I noticed that Morgan was watching me very closely. I offered her a couple pieces of the kibble from the little bag and she ate them right up. Then I remembered that dogs equate food in little bags with special treats. I fed her some more and she remained interested. I was doing a couple other things so I asked Rob to continue feeding her the 'special treats' and she finished the bag.
So tonight I'll refill the treat bag with kibble and see if she'll fall for it again. I've used this trick before and it almost always works.
Another problem we've had is sleep issues. She's been sleeping hard during the day, then wakes at 2AM and paces for hours. I've decided to put a gate across the steps so she won't fall while pacing. I also wanted to see if we could reverse her sleep pattern. I've been trying to stimulate her during the day to keep her awake and more interested in her surroundings. She no longer is interested in toys, but does like to go onto the deck and watch the other dogs play in the back yard. We've also started taking her on short walks during the day and at least once in the evening. When I say short, I really mean short. We go from the street light at the corner of our property to the garage door and back. These walks take some time because she walks very slowly, but I think the exercise is important for her.
I'm happy to report that this all seems to be paying off. Saturday night she woke up at 2. I took her outside, then allowed her to pace for about ten minutes. Then I took her back to her bed and she went back to sleep. Sunday ,Monday and Tuesday nights she slept thru and didn't do any pacing. I don't know how all this will play out, but we'll do our best.
My Grandfather always told me that to train a dog, first you had to be smarter than the dog. Lately I've wondered if I am, but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve and so far , so good.