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Teddy update


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Just a quick Teddy update. Unfortunately I've been working under some deadline pressure and havent' been able to take new pictures. Well, he looks the same anyway, so that is probably not a big deal.

Teddy has broken through the 10 pound barrier and is inching toward a solid 10.25. I'm confident enough about his weight now that I don't let him graze all day long, and have moved him to proper meals. He dawdles a bit over breakfast, which I don't entirely understand, but polishes off dinner pretty promptly. I can now slip treats into his food bowl, and provide quite a variety of tastes (since he will eat almost any small-bite kibble now), but he is still pretty serious about the rule that everything in the bowl must be the size and texture of kibble. Anything gooey, squishy, goopy gets left in the bowl. He can eat very precisely around any contraband of that sort, very neat job. Please don't tell him I am attempting to gradually increase the size of the treats I crumble up into the bowl, hoping that eventually I can get him to eat something that is more treat size and less kibble size. So far he is outsmarting me at this, easily detecting pieces that have not been broken down to regulation size. But I am hoping this program will eventually show results. By the way he hasn't given up his ritual of taking an initial bite and shooting backward, sometimes exclaiming "oh! oh!" But he only does it on the first two bites, and there is no real panic in it, it is just his way of settling down to a good meal.

The object is to get Teddy to accept treats for purposes of finding something to pay him off with during training. I not only need him to accept treats as something edible, but also to be willing to eat from my hand. This is, at present, also conflicting with a Teddy rule --do not eat anything that is not actually in the bowl. He shows interest in kibble (or kibble-size treats) held in the hand, sniffs them politely and will even lick them, but not eat them. I think the key is to find something he is very keen on and will eat from the hand. Still working on that. Each time I try to get him to eat out of my hand he looks a little more interested. I think one of these days he will break down and give it a try.

Though it can be frustrating, I am always pleased when Teddy asserts himself, no matter how strange his rules are. I want him to feel that he has some control over his environment, and that he can communicate to us what he wants and what he likes. He is proving to be a true cairn. He loves playing outside and throws a conventional cairn fit when I pick him up to bring him in. He started out sleeping in a crate but has already made it extremely clear that he is not going to tolerate that any more, so he has an ex-pen area now where he can keep his two beds, four blankets, and many, many soft toys. It is a pleasure to have a cairn who does not immediately eviscerate a soft toy. Teddy bosses them, of course, and he has a woodchuck that he has killed quite a few times by biting and holding its neck, killer cairn style. I put sweaters on him so that he doesn't have to expend energy keeping himself warm; he wore them politely for a week or so, but now he always takes them off. He has also started to bark a bit when he gets stuck in a corner somewhere in the house and wants to be collected. I want Teddy to get confident about everything in the house, but he is a cairn, and he shows the same inclination as any other cairn to take control if he can. We are gradually alerting Teddy that not all his orders will be obeyed. But in truth Teddy is sweet-natured, affectionate, without greed. It is rarely necessary to turn down any of his "requests," because he really doesn't make many.

I'm not pushing Teddy on housetraining until my schedule changes in December and I will have time to be home continuously for a few weeks to do crate training (yes), but he is actually training himself. He keeps his ex-pen dry and in the morning takes care of his business very expeditiously. In the afternoons and evening he has been all around the house and is not always as fastidious with my floors as he is with his own, but when we go out to play he always makes an honest effort to get everything done outside.

Teddy is still improving at walking on a leash. We do it just for practice in my yard. He doesn't really need to walk on a leash there but it is important when we are visiting my mother in Pennsylvania, so he is still working at it.

Whether Teddy can see at all is still a mystery. I liked the suggestion made in a previous thread about black and white fields being stimulating to the visual cortex, so I found some black and white tiles stored up in my garage and set them out in grids in the two bathrooms where Teddy takes his meals and where he has his afternoon naps. I put his water bowl on one of them so that he always has to traverse when he wants a drink. Frequently, I am convinced that he is studying these grids, but I can't be sure. I also think that in his strolls around the house he prefers lighted areas to dark ones; the laundry room has a motion-sensitive light that is sometimes on and then goes off, and he seems to change his pattern of movement depending on whether the light is on or off. I also sometimes think he is deliberately studying his shadow when there is a strong light overhead. Once or twice I've seen him walk over and pick up or nuzzle objects that I don't see how he could have been aware of if he hadn't seen them. But none of this is conclusive. If he does see, it is only in extremely strong light, and only within a few inches of his face. He could be smelling the objects he picks up or remembering that he had brushed them when walking by them; he could be listening when it seems like he is looking. Whatever he is doing, it is clear that his mind is very active studying his environment and learning how to get what he wants. That's what is important.

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what a sweet and wonderful dog Teddy is, he has come a long way. Dogs are so adaptable to whatever comes to them and he sounds no different. You take such wonderful care of him. Thank you for giving him the loving home he needs so much to grow to be a health, well ajusted cairn.

cairn terriers leave pawprints on our lives
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I really look forward to these updates...always puts a big smile on my face for at least a week or so. Thank you for keeping us updated. Teddy sound like such a wonder..keeps you guessing and remembering all in the same moment. Time is really on his side and he is taking full advantage of it. Give Teddy and Redmon a big hug/treat :-) :hug: That hug is especially for you...such a Great Cairn Mom!

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I do look forward to these updates. Teddy's story -- and your ongoing part in it -- give me faith again in the good nature of people and dogs as well. Thanks.

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By the way he hasn't given up his ritual of taking an initial bite and shooting backward, sometimes exclaiming "oh! oh!" But he only does it on the first two bites, and there is no real panic in it, it is just his way of settling down to a good meal.

My cairn, whose vision is very poor/practically blind, does the same thing. When he bites into something that's very crunchy, like a biscuit, he gets startled. My vet explained to me that the crunchy sound inside their heads is loud. When the dog has no sight, this kind of loud sound can frequently startle it. Now that his hearing is starting to go, he doesn't startle at loud sounds any more.


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I agree with everyone else! I get soooo excited when you post updates! If you don't mind my asking, how is Redmond doing with his brother? Does he seem 'upset' if Teddy has an accident in the house? I love your avatar of Redmond, he has such pretty coloring....er handsome coloring.

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