Thursday, June 30, 2011


Following my meltdown as a result of the negative behavior Eli began exhibiting, I was provided with information which really helped ease my mind.
I like one point: "There is no such thing as the 'MAGIC' dog. You have to train the dog."
Another piece of reassurance I received from the trainer, Lisa, at My Dog Training Center, is that no one should be reaching for a service dog. Eli has a job to do and for him to do his job he needs to acknowledge that there will be people around me, but he needs to expect that others will not be grabbing at him. She emphasized what I stated previously: If I give him the okay to welcome a friendly stranger, Eli should recognize that I am telling him something I want him to do. Also, Eli does pick up on my body's cues and will react accordingly. If I have stress due to a symptom or situation, Eli is doing his job by protecting me.
Eli is three-quarters Chihuahua. Chihuahuas have a natural tendency to bond to one person and be protective of that person. Therefore, Eli is the perfect little guy to do the job I need him to do.
He is my 4-pound, 15-ounce wonder and I refuse to give up on him. I do have concerns about the aggression when he receives his "jackpot" Dream Bone treat. I feel, though, that it's not so much Eli who needs correction, but Mei-li, our Lhasa Apso. She steals Eli's treats from him. Additionally, I am able to pet him while he is enjoying his treat UNTIL Mei-li gets too close. At that point, Eli becomes nervous and guarded.
The next step for Eli and me is the Canine Good Citizen course, beginning July 22nd at My Dog Training Center. Lisa will be able to observe Eli's behavior and will be able to coach us through any issues. I am really looking forward to it! 8)
No more vaccinations for Eli for a while, but he is scheduled for surgery on August 2nd to be neutered. (((Sorry, little buddy. ♥)))

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Well, it seems as though Eli's developing some negative habits that I am having a hard time correcting.
A service dog can not be nippy. I believed Eli was exhibiting positive behavior by keeping people from reaching for him while I am holding him. Especially when I was not feeling well. However, he nipped at a lady the other day who was very familiar with service dogs. She told me he will not qualify as a service dog with that behavior. I thought to myself, "If you're so familiar with service dogs, why are you trying to pet him!"
Eli also demonstrated some food aggression yesterday. It made me very sad. I know it's because our Lhasa Apso always steals things from him, but when I pet him while he was chewing on a bone, he was growling at me. 8( He never did that before. My husband also tried petting him and Eli got even more aggressive toward him.
Eli and I have really bonded. It breaks my heart to come to begin thinking this won't work out. I do not think I would pursue another service dog. I am hopeful that there will be a way to readjust this negative behavior.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Write It Down!

The twenty-fourth day of June, two thousand eleven. I was finally able to use a "doggy bag" as this marks the day that Eli pooped outside for the very first time. So far it was the only time, but it is forward progress and I am a proud pooch- momma.

Eli spent some time playing with Aunt Delmi this morning. He submits to her and it is very cute to watch them play together.
When another person attempts to give Eli a command he looks to me for direction. It is such a positive behavior and makes me quite happy that he is showing that he wants to get information from me.
Because Eli has been demonstrating good behavior he has not been in his carrier when we are out in public. He has had no issues as my co-patron. Eli is very accustomed to car rides and seems open to new experiences. He was very good during the trip to drop my son off at camp and behaved brilliantly while walking with me there, even with all the strangers around. Eli also accompanied me to the Social Security office this week, followed by a quick stop at Taco Bell. In both places, Eli made me very proud.
Tomorrow, Eli will be making the lengthy trip with me and my husband to pick our son up from camp, then will be meeting more new people when we view a home our family is looking to rent. Hopefully Eli makes a good impression when we meet our potential new landlords.
Eli gets to attend his second horse show on Sunday. I will not be upset with him if he gets crabby, as horse shows tend to be very long days with a lot of commotion. The first show he went to was smaller and did not last as long as this weekend's show will. He is comfortable around the horses, though. And, I found out that Eli loves hoof trimmings.
As far as tricks, we have been reinforcing what Eli already knows while adding different elements. We are still working on "roll over." I know he can do it! I have to nudge him to begin leaning, but he rolls himself over even when obstacles interfere with the smooth execution of the trick. So, he is rolling himself over and not just being pushed over. With practice he will get the entire trick done on his own. Just like finally pooping outside!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


At four months, one week, and one day old, Eli weighs 4 lb., 12 oz., using my food scale. He returns to the veterinarian on the 30th of this month for his Lyme booster, then he should be done with the vet until he goes to be neutered in August.
With the hotter weather and my heat intolerance, I do not have the physical ability to work with Eli as aggressively. I certainly haven't stopped. I simply shorten our formal training and practice sessions.
Eli's name recall is solid no matter where he is or what he is involved with.
"Bring it" is executed beautifully. I feel as though it may be time to begin adding non-toy objects for Eli to bring to me. He can definitely carry things. He has impressed me with some of the things he has picked up and carried. Obviously I will not be requesting Eli to bring me anything unreasonable. I will not let him fail! 8)
Even though Eli's big sister, Mei-li, eagerly waits for someone to share some of their meal with her, Eli does not expect a helping. He has only been to one restaurant with me and was kept inside his carry bag. He was pretty unhappy, but I did not expect his first restaurant experience to go over perfectly. One thing we do not do often is go out to a sit-down restaurant. Because it is such an infrequent thing, I am sure Eli will take a while to get used to that idea. I am happy with the fact that he is not expecting food when I am eating, though.
The exacerbation of my symptoms has given me the opportunity to see Eli demonstrate his intuition that something 'wrong' is occurring. Eli uses his mouth to get my attention. He gets worked up and playfully bites my hands when my body temperature rises. Even when I take a shower, Eli comes around the curtain to check on me, which is really cute. When he does, it reminds me that it's about that time to turn the water temperature down a little more toward the cooler side.
When my head hurts, Eli tends to lick behind my ears.
Eli acts grumpy toward other people when I am not feeling well. Particularly, people who come near me or try to interact with him. It is like he is telling them, "My mom does not feel well and I have a job to do. Please leave us alone." Interestingly, Eli does not display negativity toward my husband or son. Could it be that Eli observed that they assist and recognizes they are 'good' to have around when I am not well?
This whole thing absolutely amazes me. The intuition and interaction between tiny-but-mighty little Eli and me is really becoming incredible.
¤•You can't keep people from having bad opinions about you, but you can keep them from being true.•¤

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Eli's a Puppy Kindergarten Graduate!

My boy completed Puppy Kindergarten!
I will quote from the trainer, Lisa, at My Dog Training Center. "He did wonderful today. I was pretty proud of him. Being that there were distractions and he eventually stepped up shows that he is ready and willing. Don't look at the challenges, rather look at the successes!"
I was not sure what was catching his attention through the window in the training room this morning. It turned out to be a lady with a dog. Then, the test "course" was marked with numbered cones. Oh my word! Eli has never seen a cone before and wanted to know all about these new things. He is such a character!
Just as I suspected, Eli was full of himself this morning. Half the puppies did not come today for the last class. My nine-year-old son was disappointed because he wanted to meet the pups. My son really liked the German Shepherd puppy, Sin Jin. (Not sure how that is spelled.) He wanted to tell his owner that he likes his Shepherd, but he did not get the chance to.
Eli eventually paid attention to me and did what he was supposed to, earning his Puppy Kindergarten diploma.
If there are inquiring minds out there ~ Eli's trick for graduation was giving me his paw, then giving me a high-five. 8) He performed that brilliantly. ;)
His next adventure, as far as professional training goes, will be the AKC Canine Good Citizen course through My Dog Training Center.
I do have some disadvantages to working with Eli. Multiple Sclerosis hinders me in so many ways. What I loved the most about training at My Dog is the wonderful advice and tips the trainer, Lisa, gave. I need to get myself a stick! ;) Not to beat anyone with...but to extend my "arm" to Eli's level.
This afternoon, Eli visited at my aunt and uncle's place for the first time. He behaved excellently! They have a kitty, which Eli was curious about, but he was in his vest the whole time and did not try to get away from me to engage in play. Eli remained very calm and quiet throughout the whole visit. I was quite pleased with his behavior.
Afterward, our family went to my dad's house to work on the vegetable garden and Eli got to play with his brother, Wrinkles. The two of them always have fun playing together!
It is interesting to observe the differences in their manners. Wrinkles thought nothing of running right through the freshly rototilled garden, while Eli would stop short right at the edge of it. Eli always makes sure to check in with me while he is busy at play, too. At one point I went inside to fill a bowl of water for the pups and Eli was immediately aware that I was not outside anymore. He stopped playing and waited at the door for me to come back outside. I even notice that Eli tries to bring playtime close to where I am. He is doing such a beautiful job watching out for me. ♥

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Countdown to Graduation

Puppy Kindergarten graduation is two days away. Hard to believe it's already here! I also thought that Eli and I would have his trick for the test all set by today...but we do not. I have no idea what we are going to do.
Eli gives paw like a pro. That is sort of a lame trick, though. I feel like I have been working with him enough that he should be able to do something terrific for his graduation trick.
I have been trying to teach him to roll over. This is the first trick Eli has not caught onto immediately. I did read somewhere that Chihuahuas have a difficult time with rolling over. Eli will do it if I coax him into it, but he will not do it by himself. Since I have to coax him, we probably have to forego that idea for Saturday morning. Unless I can get him to roll over solidly on his own, I guess I have to choose between giving me his paw and possibly adding his high-five, or having Eli show everyone that he can "leave it." (Leave his treat in front of him without eating it until I give him the okay to do so.)
Eli does a marvelous job inside on his recall. He is also doing beautifully when he has his working vest on. He is really showing that he recognizes the behavior that is expected of him when he is wearing his vest.
Another thing that Eli is doing, which I found out is NOT a negative behavior, is that he gets nippy when someone reaches out to pet him while I am holding him. I had been very concerned about that. However, Eli is actually telling the person reaching for him that he has a job to do and he is not supposed to be touched unless I have indicated to both Eli and the person that it is okay. To do that, I am not supposed to be holding him. I am to put him down and get him into a sit. Then, Eli will know that the all clear has been given and it is acceptable for him to welcome the 'friendly stranger'. Amazing, huh? So, we will be working on that aspect going forward.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Punkin' Seed

I had to make the little punkin' seed a new sweater because he's chilly today and he outgrew his other sweaters already.
Eli had his first "accident" this afternoon. I felt horrible.
Yesterday when I got home from the barn, after Puppy Kindergarten, I was pretty desperate to get upstairs. Normally I would bring Eli with me, but I figured he needed a drink or something. He did run into the kitchen so I made my way upstairs. I was really hurting after class yesterday. Anyway, my husband said Eli went nuts looking for me. That's a very positive thing! There he was, too, sitting at the bottom of the stairs, looking up at me.
Eli has learned to get up the stairs to the second floor of our apartment. This is a recent development for him. So recent, in fact, that he has not attempted getting back down yet.
We were doing some work together for a while this afternoon and I gave him one of his "jackpot" Dream Bone treats. He was pretty occupied by his bone so I thought I could just go upstairs quickly and he wouldn't even miss me. I was wrong.
I could hear him coming up the stairs looking for me. It made me laugh and I was very proud of him for coming to look for me. Then, I heard him tumble all the way back down the stairs. 8(
I am such a horrible mommy!
If I expect Eli to do his job, I have to give him the opportunity to do his job. It is his job to be with me at all times. The poor little punkin' seed was trying to do his job and ended up falling down the stairs. He seems to be fine, by the way. I am pretty shaken up by it and learned my lesson, though. He got another Dream Bone...and a few other treats...because I felt so bad for letting him down like that.
My reason for posting my mishap is to show Eli's desire to serve. Not only does he look for me, but if I get busy and he lays down on his own in his little bed, Eli always has his eyes on me. I do not even have to make a sound. If I look in his direction, he looks up at me. It's wonderful, and amazing to me, that this little guy has such an awesome ability to be here for me.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Four Pounds, Six Ounces and a Trick

Eli had a tough time getting his Lyme vaccine Thursday afternoon. I think because we have been to the veterinarian so often over the last couple of months, he has come to know what to expect when we go there. Since it was so traumatic for him, I did not request a weigh-in this time. Instead, I put Eli in the bowl on my food scale and weighed him today. He is really getting to be a pork chop! His growth rate now is becoming a little depressing, as his weight today is 4 lb, 6 oz. Just a few days ago his weight was an even 4 lb. I was hopeful that Eli would stay on the small side, but it's looking like he will end up being a 7 to 9 pound Chihuahua. Well, that means he will still be smaller than his feline sister, Scribbles. I think he has just surpassed the size of his guinea pig brother, Big Papi.
Puppy Kindergarten went well today. I knew that Eli would play with the other puppies by the last class. He was engaging play this morning, but only from behind. Once the other puppy turned around Eli ran away. Next week is graduation day with testing to include engaging the pup, the execution of a sit, a down, having the pup stay in both a sit and a down position, the "come and touch" command, and the pup has to do a trick. If Eli gets too playful in class he will never listen to me. I am sure that will happen next week, since he really came out of his shell today. Looking forward to it!
Hopefully Eli will behave for the test. Now I just have to figure out what trick to have him do. He does wonderfully with "leave it" and even did it for me in class this morning. I was pretty surprised, as I thought for sure he would not do it with the other puppies around. He gives me his paw and he even high-fives me, but we are also working on learning "roll-over." I guess the biggest factor will be which one I think can be recreated in front of everyone. Of course, that depends on Eli's mood next Saturday morning, too. ;P

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Leave It

Eli is working on a new trick this week and he is catching on quickly, too. I put a treat in front of him and ask him to "leave it." He is not allowed to get the treat until I tell him "okay." Even then, he waits for me to push it toward him and actually give it to him, which I think is pretty cute.
Eli has a new car seat. It does not make my fifteen-year-old daughter happy that Eli has been designated shot-gun. It is definitely safer for him to travel in a secured car seat and also allows him to stay checked-in with me, which is his job.
We are continuing to work on recall this week. Eli is doing a great job with it. "Now" is our emergency recall word, which means he is to come to me post-haste. He also knows to make an appearance when I call his name out. We use "come" when walking on leash. That means I want him to be walking with me or that he needs to stop pulling in the opposite direction.
Eli is learning the heel position nicely. The trainer suggested getting a thin dowel to stick a treat on the end of. This would extend my arm to keep him in a sit or down position while I walk around to his right side and have him in a heel. I have not been able to get a dowel yet, but Eli is still doing well with this. For the most part, he does quite nicely holding his sit and his down until I release him. Even then, just as with leaving the treat, Eli continues to hold until I physically touch him to 'nudge' him out of his position. This is a good thing, as it shows his willingness to work.
Mei-li has been getting pretty aggressive with Eli and that is really showing in Eli's behavior toward her. I am very displeased by it. He plays with Aunt Delmi well and has been playing with his big sister Scribbles just fine. Eli also loves to get together with his brother, Mr. Wrinkles. Sometimes he and Mei-li even play together. I was pretty disturbed by his reaction to the other puppies in class last Saturday, though. Since then, I am noticing an increase in aggression between Eli and Mei-li. Mei-li does like to come over and try to steal his treats when we are working together. Eli may be thinking that the other puppies in class are trying to get his treats, too. I do not really know. I certainly hope this negative reaction can be corrected. Eli has not shown any food aggression toward people. I have worked with him very consistently on making sure he would not be food aggressive because Mei-li is. When he eats, I pet him, stick my hand in his bowl, put my hand on his treats when he is eating them, and I have even taken them away from him. He has never had a problem.
Eli goes to the vet again Thursday. He will be receiving the first of his Lyme vaccinations. I was anxious to find out how much weight he gained, so I put him on my food scale over the weekend. He weighed an even four pounds. Eli must have gone through a growth spurt a couple of weeks ago when he gained 15 ounces. My daughter said she thinks his growth spurt answers why he was so crabby. Eli does tend to get crabby when he needs a nap or when he needs to poop...which still has not happened out of doors.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Perfectly Puppy

Eli had a fantastic morning in Puppy Kindergarten class. I did not even have to use the table today, which was wonderful. He was executing his commands brilliantly. Eli made me a very happy handler, indeed.
One area of concern was that he was showing his teeth to the other puppies. Today was the first time Eli has done that and the trainer told me to redirect him. I was surprised that he behaved that way, but I think he is getting that from his big sister. Mei-li shows her teeth at Eli quite often and does lunge at him. I really do not want negative behavior rubbing off on Eli. Hopefully it will be nipped in the bud. I know he gets grumpy when he is tired and we did have an early morning. Still, Eli can not behave that way. It is unacceptable.
We had an early day today because my daughter did the Ag Days Open Horse Show at the Brooklyn Fairgrounds. Eli went to his first horse show! And ~ he witnessed his big sister, Mindy, and nephew, Sir Cyclone O Fire, take Champion in both the Junior Division and the Open Division. Eli was excellent at the horse show. Whether he was at my side on leash or in my arms, he was a very well-behaved pup around all the people and horses. He did not bark, he was not nervous, and he did not even relieve himself in public. Eli was awesome!
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Eli's Big Weekend

I say "weekend," but it was Monday and Tuesday of this week and Monday was the last day of a long holiday weekend.
Eli got to experience new places, new things, and new people. We went down to visit my cousins at their cottage on the lake about an hour from home. One thing about Eli is that he has never been car sick, thankfully.
Eli seems to know that he is expected to be on his best behavior when he has his training vest on. Of course, he is still just a puppy and it would not be practical of me to think he will behave impeccably all the time. I am trying to get him to realize that it is okay to play, but he needs to wait for me to release him. Eli continues to demonstrate that he wants to stick around wherever I am and does come close, making eye contact with me to "check in" while he is playing. I have been rewarding that action because it is a very important thing for him to do.
Eli had no problems with the "friendly strangers" he met. What was even more awesome was the interaction he was able to have with his big sister, Mei-li. It may have been because we were on neutral ground, but the two of them had fun running around, chasing each other. They even got to go swimming in the lake! Mei-li hated it and jumped right out. She is such a diva! Eli really did not know what to think of it at first, but he swam around a little. I was not in the water. However, he swam toward my direction, knowing I am the one to take care of the 'situation' he was in. I think Eli might have enjoyed more swimming time if I had been in the water with him. Of course, when he got out he ran around the yard at the cottage like a tiny little lunatic. He was having fun, though.
Eli's adventures did not stop there. The cousins have a boat! Eli didn't know what to think about riding in the boat at first. He did a little whimpering for a few minutes. After he realized I had him securely and we were all having fun on the boat, he settled right in and literally enjoyed the ride.
Another first for Eli and me happened Tuesday evening when the cousins treated our family out to a sit-down restaurant! Eli's first time in a restaurant. I was slightly nervous because I had not really prepared for going to a restaurant. I kept Eli in his carrier and gave him a chewy bone, but he still whined a bit. I was probably not supposed to give him the chewy. I was overly concerned with trying to keep him quiet during our time in the restaurant. Plus, I had not yet prepared myself for the restaurant experience so I was not completely sure of protocol. Eli did eventually quiet down and we did enjoy our meal. It was really nice. I have to say that I was pretty proud with my three-and-a-half month old puppy. There aren't many 15-week-old puppies that would tolerate being in a carrier on the floor of a restaurant for over an hour as well as he did. And, the only way he will be perfectly behaved in a restaurant is by taking him and practicing how he is expected to behave.
On the downside of the weekend, it is now Wednesday and Eli and I have not been able to do much practicing with our homework for Puppy Kindergarten. I did try a few times. I will really have to focus on our recall exercises over the next few days. He is such a good boy. I don't think he will have any trouble getting it. Although, Eli spent three entire days outside over the long weekend and NOT ONCE did he poop outside still! I can not believe that he insists on holding it in until he gets inside to his puppy pad. I thought for sure he would have to go enough that he would ultimately need to just go outside. I was proven wrong and am left baffled.
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