Saturday, December 17, 2011

Kaya update: flappy doors, startling noises, and a cone

Here are a few Kaya-based updates that will hopefully make it easier for you to sleep at night. (At least one of them should help us sleep in the morning.)

There has been a bit of progress in getting Kaya to use the dog door. She will now go out the door on her own. She still, however, will not come in on her own - we have to hold the flaps up. (There have two exceptions to this: She came charging in behind the grandkid's wonder dog Dove, who has no problems going in and out the dog door; and she came in once when The Boy dangled his cat in front of the door.)

Since using The Boy's cat as bait is likely unethical and cruel (not to mention dangerous to whoever is trying to hold the cat at the time), we will rely on Dove the Wonder Dog to teach her how to take advantage of the dog door. It turns out that she'll have a lot of opportunity to do the teaching since the grandkids (and their parents) are moving to an apartment that is not dog-friendly, and Dove will be hanging with us for a while.

So, what's the difference between going out the door vs. coming in it? As Old Dog Teddy became a bit more fragile, he wouldn't hesitate to go out the door, but wouldn't come in it unless desperate. The only real difference is that, when you come in, you are pushing two flaps (the main one plus a second one that goes around the outside of it). I can't believe that the dog can really tell the difference, or care, but apparently it's a big deal.

One alarming trend was that Kaya would wake up at about 5 AM and decide it was time for us to be up too. She would come in our bedroom and start pulling the covers off in an effort to get us up. So we started closing our door at night. Her answer was to sit outside the door and whimper pathetically and keep nudging the doorknob.

Our first thought was that she needed to urgently go outside, so I would get up and take her out, where she would start bounding around and try to get a perky game of fetch going. That might have fit her definition of "urgent," but it failed my test.

So a friend at work had a suggestion that he used to train his cats to leave him alone - set up the vacuum cleaner outside the door, and run its power cord to a power strip next to the bed. Now, when the dog starts nudging the doorknob, I can flip the switch and the dog will give us some peace. 

A fear though is that, once she masters the dog door, she will figure out that she can be just as annoying at our bedroom's deck door, and work out that the deck door is not guarded by a frightening appliance. Yet.

One Thursday, Mrs Notthat and I took Kaya to the Peninsula Humane Society to get spayed and micro chipped. Kaya eagerly showed off her private parts in the waiting room - she had no idea what was coming, thankfully, and was not nervous about being there. (Fat chance she will feel that way if we ever have to take her back though.)

This is her with The Boy after all was done. She was pretty drugged up, but still keen on being an exhibitionist. At first, they didn't think she would need one of those cone collars, but within seconds of walking out the door, she started licking at her stitches.

So she ended up with a collar after all. (This is her in the back seat of the car.) That first night was awful - she was miserable and we couldn't do anything to help. When I came home from work, instead of being decked liked normal...

(This is from a movie Mrs Notthat took. Amazingly, I get off easy - The Boy is the one that really gets it when he comes home.)

...Kaya didn't even move. Didn't lift her head. But wow did she whimper.

She would stand up, but act like she couldn't turn her head, and thus, her body. The cone, in addition to the drugs, was really messing her up.

The next morning, she was a bit better, but still a bit disoriented. She knew about the refrigerator though.

I took the cone off for a bit and she was thrilled. She ate breakfast, wandered around outside for a bit, and then started licking her stitches. So the collar went back on.

Today, the collar is still on, but she seems to have adapted to it, and has learned to use it to her advantage. In theory, tomorrow will be her last day with it on. We are going to try a few suggestions that others have made to get her a bit of time free from it before then, but there is a bit of a worry about that - in addition to the collar, she is on restriction from being active. We aren't supposed to even take her on a walk for two weeks. Even with the collar on, she is now as bouncy as ever. When it's off, she's like a tornado that's been held down and is aching to release all its pent-up energy.

I'm not sure the neighborhood will survive once she is really free and able to be herself once again. She's got a lot of time to make up for.

That's it - move along...


WHM said...

awwwww that last picture just melts my heart!! heal fast Kaya!

DAK said...

Right. So now you've got two dogs. I'm sure you saw this one coming. In the meantime, that vacuum cleaner trick is fantastic, but better would be to train Kaya to vacuum the carpets.

mary ann said...

She is a beautiful dog! What a GREAT idea about the vacuum cleaner, n-o-w you tell me. Are those your race ribbons hanging there? A very well written post, Notthat, despite absence of bandaged knees and out houses.

Beth said...

Nice post about the dog....although it was hard to concentrate due to the distraction of my horrible case of Medal Envy!!
Those cow bells really stand out!

notthatlucas said...

Oh. I hadn't noticed all the medals showed up in that picture. (Cowbell medals are VERY cool!)