The Ducky Diary

My long-term readers might remember that I’ve been keeping track of Ducky’s snarkiness toward Shadow for quite some time. First in my head  – for several months – and more recently in a journal.

This journal has been a life saver! Well, maybe not a life saver, but it has certainly been a HUGE memory booster.

The last two weeks had been “heavenly.” Ducky had been calm and happy and fine with Shadow. She gave me a wonderful – the best ever – Mother’s Day gift of getting along and playing with Shadow.  (Along with these beautiful roses from her daddy, her sister, and her.)

Last night – thanks to my notes in The Ducky Diary – I knew she wasn’t feeling quite right. Even hubby – who’s usually as observant as a fence post – noticed “his little girl” wasn’t feeling well.

This morning she was still giving off some negative energy, so I called the vet. They were able to work us into his schedule. And I was able to tell him exactly what has been going on. He “fixed her up”, gave me some meds for her, and sent us on our way. She’s already feeling better than she was this morning. 

So. The moral of the story? If you’re having an issue with your pet(s), start keeping a journal of it. Even if you think you’ll remember later, just jot it down quick and date it. Life has a way of distracting us and making us forget little details. And it’s usually those little things that matter most.

Dog Mom Shames Self

You would think that after watching and writing about Ducky’s interactions – good, bad, or neutral – with Shadow since Callie got her angel wings that I would realize when something is amiss.

But noooooo. DUHHH! After nearly 16 months it finally sunk in on Wednesday morning. 

I made an appointment with the vet on Monday thinking Ducky had somehow ended up with another UTI, despite the surgery in late February. She had been licking back there – almost constantly – all day Sunday. 

Ducky had been increasingly bratty toward Shadow (again!) since the previous Thursday night. She was snarky almost every waking moment; and hubby was getting snarky with her and me. Talk about stress overload! But we all survived.

Wednesday morning while Ducky and I waited in the exam room, it hit me like a smack upside the head. 🙄

Since Callie 😇 went to Heaven/the Rainbow Bridge/ in late August 2015, Ducky had been acting sweeter, more considerate/respectful of Shadow. EXCEPT when she wasn’t feeling well. 

Every. Single. Time. Ducky isn’t feeling well, she takes it out on poor Shadow. Because Shadow won’t “tell her off” like Callie used to, or like hubby and I do. Shadow just isn’t built that way.  

Anyway, Ducky’s medical issue this time was a slightly impacted, somewhat inflamed right anal gland. How she ended up with that is beyond me. But the vet cleaned her out, gave her some loving, and sent some Carprofen and antibiotics home with us. She started feeling better almost immediately afterward. And having a spa treatment at daycare a few hours later? Well, she was just in doggie heaven that night! ☺️

During the exam, I mentioned to the vet how hubby and I were seriously considering consulting a veterinary behaviorist about Ducky’s bratitude. 

And how it had finally dawned on me that it’s only really problematic when she isn’t feeling well. So, since we really can’t afford a behaviorist anyway, the vet suggested I start keeping track of Ducky’s worst days/nights and obsessive behaviors.  He feels I’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head, but the only way to be sure is to keep a written record of it. So, that’s what I’m going to do from this point forward. 

Anyway, things are pretty much back to normal. We spent most of the day Thursday in the yard without a peep out of Ducky. Even when Shadow sniffed at “her” toy for a moment. (I was so stunned by Ducky’s lack of reaction that I couldn’t even say “good girl!” in time for her to know why I’d said it.)

Sunny Saturday

After several days of overcast skies and thunderstorm-filled late nights, we finally have a most-welcome visitor: Mr. Sun! And he’s supposed to stick around for the whole weekend.

Anyway, not one to miss an opportunity to spend time outdoors, I brought the girls back out in the yard – along with their yard toys – so the three of us can enjoy the sunshine. 

The girls are watching our neighbor mow his back lawn. They were barking at the lawn mower for a little while but have both settled down.

I’m just sitting here soaking up the sun and fresh air while I can. Once mid May rolls around it’ll probably be too hot and muggy to stay out here all day.
 

Oh Ducky, Part 5 -You’re Growing Up!

So, here it is three weeks after Ducky’s back-end surgery and the great news is that she is completely healed physically.

And the physical healing seems to be having a healing effect on her emotions/anxieties/attitude. 

Since the vet removed the sutures and the “cone of shame”, Ducky has been showing her sweeter side more often.

I can’t really call her “Demonbrat” any more. This realization makes me sad and glad at the same time.

Sad because, despite her snarky behavior toward Shadow, I have always loved this little girl and used the nickname affectionately.

Glad because the snarkiness has been much less intense these last couple of weeks. And much easier to catch and manage. 

My little girl is growing up. And her “bratitude” is morphing into a “big” girl’s attitude. Her Corgi heritage, her herding instincts, will always be a part of her.  And her Lab heritage, her retrieving instincts, added in make for an interesting, lovable mix of personality “quirks”.

Playtime Challenges

It’s not easy playing with your favorite outdoor toy when you have the cone around your neck. And a leash clipped to your collar.

Will Ducky figure it out? Watch the video all the way to the end and you’ll find out.

No cheating. I know the answer. Did you guess correctly?

Bless Her Heart

Ducky had some surgery on Thursday (2/23/17) that we hope will help reduce the incidents of UTIs and irritations of her vulva.
The vet says it will. So I have to believe he’s right. 


Meanwhile, she was miserable Thursday from the time I picked her up from the vet. All the way through Friday afternoon. The carprofen was helping keep the inflammation at bay. But it wasn’t doing anything for the pain. So, I asked the vet if I could give her some Tramadol. He said okay…25 mg. up to 3 times a day.

The Tramadol started working quickly. She was able to get some much-needed rest overnight. And after her morning dose and a nap before breakfast today, she is feeling much better. Not 100%, but still much better.

But she HATES the Buster collar. It gets in the way. Of her food bowl, of her toys, and of her sniffing out the critters who visit HER yard.

Whether she will acquire any patience is yet to be seen. It hasn’t impeded her snarky attitude toward Shadow. But having to wear the collar ALL the time is giving her a mental workout while she tries to play with her toys.

The sutures come out and the collar comes off in less than two weeks. By then I’m sure she’ll have figured out how to play again. 

Meanwhile, I came up with a new nickname for her: Ducky Smarty Paws. Or Smarty Paws. Maybe SHE doesn’t know the difference between “Smarty Paws” and “Demonbrat”, but I do. Positive association vs. negative association, regardless of the amount of affection in our tone. And it might just help with her attitude adjustment training.

Oh, Ducky! Part 4 – The Progress Continues

And the progress continues…..

Since I “published” Part 3 (found here), Ducky has come a LONG way.

And hubby has been less grumpy with her (and even with me).

And my patience level – at least with Ducky and her daddy – has stabilized somewhat. In other areas not so much but I’m working on it.

But back to Ducky….


Since I started using the H-style harness, my little “demonbrat” has become easier to settle down. And my – and hubby’s – tone of voice has grown less harsh. And the tension has eased somewhat.

After re-reading the last paragraph of Part 3 -and really observing Ducky’s behavior patterns – I decided that the Trazodone wasn’t helping Ducky at all. So off to the vet we went. Again.

The vet suggested – and I agreed – to try Xanax instead of the Trazodone. The Xanax – I’m happy to report – started helping right away. Between it and the single daily dose of Fluoxetine, Ducky has been calming down much more easily. She hasn’t been as snarky with Shadow, which is good, but still needs improvement. These things take time, perseverance, and loads of patience. 

Plus, the UTI had come back – or never really went away – so, since we were already at the vet’s anyway, I brought up that fact. He said that the UTI is probably as much to blame for her tail tucks as our impatience. She was just plain hurting back there. And she’s much more forgiving of our failings than we are ourselves. He changed her antibiotic, and for the most part it helped. The wet leaves, dirt, and grass from all the rain we were having seemed to aggravate it a bit though. So I took to cleaning her after potty breaks, and that seems to have helped. We’ve had some pretty days again lately so the grass and leaves have dried out. That has helped, too.

As for the online course I was doing?  I had to put it aside for a little while. I haven’t stopped doing it altogether. I just had to slow down with it. After decades of “multitasking” at work, it’s hard to reset and focus on just one thing at a time. I have to make myself slow down and relax sometimes.  I can’t expect Ducky to relax if I’m hyped-up. 

Oh, Ducky! Part 3 – Making Progress

Before I get started on this post, let me say HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone!

So, for those of you who are interested but missed Parts 1 and 2 of this “Oh, Ducky!” saga, you can find them here and here.

And for those of you who have been following along and waiting (or not) for the next “installment”, here goes…

Back at the beginning of November the Whole Dog Journal published a blog post entitled “Listen to Your Gut When It Comes to Your Dog – and Act on It!”  by Nancy Kerns. I skimmed over it, put it aside, and promptly forgot about it.

Until a few days before Christmas that is.

I was working with Ducky out in the back yard. About ten minutes earlier she had gotten a bit snarky with Shadow – again – over who knows what at this point.  This has been going on almost daily for more than two months. I’m tired of it.

And I’m tired of her barking her fool head off at hubby and acting like a cujo dog every time he gets up out of his chair to do whatever.

And I’m really tired of hubby yelling at her to stop barking at him. I love him to the moon and back; but sometimes he drives me up the wall, across the ceiling, and down the opposite wall. Yelling at a dog to stop barking is like laughing at a little kid while telling  said kid to stop laughing. Ya know?

Admittedly, my frustration with the situation tends to surface in my tone of voice and transfers to my patience level. Or lack thereof.

Anyway, I’ve been working with Ducky on her place command pretty intensely and will continue to do so. (Especially in the morning so I can study or just read.) She settles down into a little nap pretty quickly once she’s had a chance to relieve herself out in the yard.

But, while Ducky continues to do what I ask of her most of the time – providing there aren’t any tree rats or other critters to distract her – I’ve noticed some momentary tail tucks. And that breaks my heart.

So, I’ve started an online course to help me get a handle on Ducky’s reactivity by getting a handle on my own reactions to her behaviors. I just started the course last week, but I’m starting to see some progress….

Normally Ducky starts getting snarky when I’m giving her (Ducky) attention and Shadow starts approaching us. That’s been my impatience trigger. This past week I’ve been forcing myself to stay calm when Ducky starts getting snarky. I’ve just held her in place, told her to relax, and kept her there until she calmed down. The shuddering and shivering as she calmed herself Thursday morning only lasted less than a minute.

So, we’re making some progress. Whether or not the combination of the Fluoxetine and Trazodone is any more effective than just the Fluoxetine by itself I may never know. But as long as the two together – along with the change in my approach to the problem – works, I’m not going to look a gift dog in the mouth.

Oh Ducky, Part 2

If you read my Oh Ducky post, you know that Ducky went after Shadow for apparently no good reason about ten nights ago. If you haven’t read part one yet, you can find it here

Well, the following Wednesday  I brought Ducky to see the vet. We decided to do a complete blood work-up – a CBC, a chemistry panel, and a T4 thyroid test – and a urinalysis, just to be sure there was nothing medical causing Ducky’s behavior toward Shadow.  I’m happy to say that all results came back “normal”, so we can rule that out. 

The vet suggested trying an antidepressant called Trazodone, in addition to a reduced amount of the Prozac. He told me what to watch for, and to call him tomorrow with any questions. So, I went up to the vet’s office and picked up the prescription. When I got home, I gave Ducky her first dose.

While the Trazodone is getting into her system, the reduced dosage of fluoxetine (generic Prozac) seems to be leaving Ducky a bit hyper-sensitive to our moods. 

Now, we have to find a way to help Ducky deal with her anxiety and the stressors here at home. Stressors like the hubby’s total lack of patience when he first gets up in the morning. And, admittedly, when she starts getting the least bit snarky with Shadow, my voice tone tends to get sharper than I intend. So, hubby needs to stretch the limits of his patience; and I need to soften the tone of my voice. 

Meanwhile, I googled “Trazodone for dogs” and found a slew of links to read. I saved the page to my iPad bookmarks so I can start reading them as soon as possible. No, I don’t depend on Google for all my answers. It’s  just a starting point.

The good thing is that Ducky is not snarky toward Shadow all the time, just when she’s feeling – oh, what’s the word? overwhelmed maybe? I guess – below par.