Thursday, March 03, 2011

Slowly Going Crazy!

My head is about to explode. I don't eve know where to start. This moving thing is just insane. I think I need a vacation. :) Don't get me wrong, I love the new house. There is a lot of closet and cupboard space and the lay out is really nice; with the two bedrooms upstairs and the living area downstairs. The neighbourhood is pretty quiet too, but there is so much to do and I find I get sleepier earlier each day.
The first issue is the Dachshunds thinking the entire place is their giant pee pad. Most of the house is carpeted, with the exception of the two bathrooms and kitchen, and so I think they just decided that carpet works as a good pee absorbent. So, with that in mind I have been hyper vigilant with them. I am constantly bringing them out to potty and when I can't watch them I put them in a doggie pen we bought that is attached to Kyo's old crate. They actually have a lot of room in there, but of course they are used to roaming free so they are not happy about it. When they are in there I don't have to worry about surprise poop or pee spots, but I am always reminding them to "quiet." They aren't barking exactly, but a more high pitched squawking, or chirping if you are Balloo. We live in a townhouse now and that kind of noise is not acceptable. I feel horrible penning them in, but I can't be cleaning up poop and pee every half an hour. Each day the messes have decreased, but they are still way too frequent.
Last night we did have some progress and today as well, when someone finally used the many puppy pads I have placed throughout the house. That made me feel so much better I almost cried with relief. LOL
The newest development that our resident monkey, AKA Aria, can climb out of the pen. I don't think she's the one pottying in the house, so I guess it's not a huge deal, but it drives the other two crazy when she is running free and they are in their little house. I put her in her own crate this afternoon while I unpacked to be fair to the other two, but she started squawking as well. I also feel bad that they are not able to run around as much as they are used to because I feel like they are not getting enough exercise. I thought of maybe buying a few hockey balls-incredibly durable-and playing fetch with them in our little back patio area for some entertainment. I am trying to have play and cuddle sessions with them to let them know they are still loved, but I still feel guilty. Practically speaking, the puppies pottying in the house is bad for several reasons, but the thing that concerns Mr. K and I is that the carpet will get stained and we won't get our deposit back. Not to mention, puppy potty in the house is stinky and unsanitary. Any of you Dachshund lovers out there have any suggestions?
We knew going into this that Dachshunds were particularly difficult to potty train. It's not that they aren't smart enough to learn. In fact, they are probably too smart for their own good. If I am in one room, they will sneak off to another to potty so I don't know it's happened. Being blind is compounding this problem as well. I know if I could catch them at least once or twice and take them out right away, they would learn that inside bathroom breaks are not okay. But I can't catch them until the deed is done and I think they know that.
What is frustrating is that Aria and Balloo were basically potty trained at the House From Hell. If it was raining, they would usually go outside but refuse to go and come in and use a puppy pad. Doc hasn't even been with us for three weeks yet and his "accidents" were getting fewer, but moving has brought us back to square one. Up until yesterday, they wouldn't even use the pads. It's like they forgot what the pads were. I know they're stressed and they probably can sense the stress coming off of me as well which isn't helping the situation. I would walk them to ensure that they went. I love walking, but I don't know the area and I'm afraid if I go out on my own I'll get lost-more on that later. They also can hide in a lot of places in the house because of all of the boxes.
Speaking of boxes, the unpacking is driving me nuts too. Just when I feel like I'm making progress, I find more stuff. I think this frustration stems from packing for two weeks straight, moving and then having to unpack it all again.
The getting lost thing is irritating too. I know all of this stuff will rectify itself with time, but sometimes I think, "if I could see this would be so much easier." That sounds bad and I'm not feeling sorry for myself. I have had a lot of opportunities in my life that I otherwise would never have had if I could see. I actually think my disability has been a blessing in disguise, but right now I wish I had a set of working eyeballs. :)
Glacier is worrying me a bit as well. Today we went out to drop our rent cheque off and his working wasn't very good. He jumped a few curbs and even jumped one when a car was coming. It scared me. I made him redo all of the curbs and he got them right the second time around. I knew he was going to be rusty and probably need a few reminders because we haven't worked properly in eight months. This was something I was concerned about living at the House From Hell right from the beginning. It's also hard because Roscoe is Mr. guiding Pro. He always has been. Glacier and I have had to work hard from day one. Not as much as Jetta and I had to: my goodness that little girl was a handful. It is difficult to watch Roscoe and Mr. K work so nicely knowing that they have had the same life experience in the last eight months and then watch Glacier jump a curb with a car coming. (For you non-guide dog people, "jumping a curb" means he didn't stop when he reached the curb. He just kept walking. Guide dogs are supposed to stop at the curbs to show their handlers that they have reached an intersecting street. At this point, the handler makes the decision whether to cross or not based on the flow of traffic). It doesn't help that almost everyone we interact with-our friends down here-talk about how horrible Glacier is in comparison to Roscoe. I am a good handler and I know that, but having Glacier making mistakes like that makes me feel like I am doing something wrong. I feel judged when people make comments about how good Roscoe is at "following" and how badly Glacier "follows." Glacier and I never did a lot of "following" up until we moved down here and most guide dogs don't "follow" as well as Roscoe does. (Following means that the guide dog follows the sighted person or the guide dog handler in front of them so that everyone can walk together). I know with some work he will improve, but I'm not sure how we'll get that work. I suppose I could just go out and wander around and hope I remember how to get back. It would be a great confidence booster if we make it back in one piece. The only problem with that is that if I don't know the route, I won't know if Glacier is making mistakes. This unknowing would not lend itself to me being able to correct him. Certain mistakes like jumping curbs or not taking direct orders I can fix, but if he crosses wrong I won't know if it was wrong or if it was because there was an obstacle or no curb on the other side of the street. I still may try to venture out on my own and see what happens. If you check in tomorrow and my post is titled something like "Where am I" you'll know I got lost. :)
Anyway, thanks to everyone who reads this post to the end. It's more of a *itch fest today than anything. I'm going to head inside because it's gotten cold out here and hopefully the puppies have pottied by now. LOL
See you tomorrow.


Jen said...

I completely understand your frustration, as our Bichon Dougal was a complete nightmare to train. Even now, at four years of age I couldn't completely trust him. Its really annoying that I don't realise he's gone until he has. I feel bad for confining him so much compared to O.J, but when I don't, there's a chance he could go anywhere in the house and I won't find it, sometimes a day later if he's gone upstairs.

Could you get mr. K or a sighted friend to teach you the routes alone without Rosco, so you can both work them independently. That way you might feel more confident. Maybe its just that he doesn't do enough stuff on his own without another dog being there, and it would give him a feeling of being the guiding dog if you know what I mean? O.J concentrates less when we're following someone, and I find myself justifying his distractions and explaining to people that he's not usually like this.
Its horrible when people compare dogs.

This post reminded me of something I often think about when I see other people working their dogs. Most of my friends who own dogs work in cities or busier towns than mine, so it sometimes seems that their dogs have to work harder than mine. I sometimes wonder if I'm getting the most out of O.J, and could he be working harder and doing more challenging work? When he has to work in a busier environment than he's used to he seems to love it, but that could just be because its all new. I think in general, he is a much more clever dog than I give him credit for.

What a long rambling post. I can't remember what my original point was, so bet your completely lost and bored by now haha.

Jess and Glacier said...

Jen: Thanks. :) It makes me feel better knowing someone else has to confine their dog for pottying issues. I've had labs all of m life and they potty train quite easily and never have accidents after they are completely trained.
Your suggestions are very good, but they won't work for varying reasons. I don't think our sighted friends here understand and they are the ones comparing the two dogs. I don't really want to ask them. Mr. K is a sweet man, but probably doesn't have the patience. I asked him today, but he got a bit cranky about it. LOL
It's good to know someone can relate. :)
I managed to pen the little ones in the living room with me right now and we've managed to stop pottying messes for now. :) At least this way, they are able to play and not pee.
I'm sure you get enough work for O.J. I think that is a worry a lot of handlers have. I know I have been worrying about that. I used to worry about that with Jetta and she worked at least six out seven days of the week.

3 doxies said...

Oh da doxies is notorious fur bein' hards to house train! Trust me on dis! Nows my brudder wasn't as hard but mum hads nuttin to do and took him out like every 20 min and him was broke in about 2 months. Nows I is a whole different story. Of course most little dogs has dis problem cuz our bladders are smaller. I don't gets crated fur peeing in da house cuz mum was told NOT to crate fur bad behaviors so you listen to Jen...we is hopeless heres.


Dog Foster Mom said...

Missed the picture guessing game once again - always a day too late! :) I'm sorry you've been having a rough time! Moving is stressful and it sounds like you're handling it well since you're only SLOWLY going crazy. Hang in there, it'll get better! Don't feel guilty about the dogs staying in crates - they will adjust, and it's the fastest way to get them house-trained in the new house. Dogs like absorbent surfaces to potty on, so they probably prefer the carpet over the less absorbent pee pads. If they're not crated, can you keep them leashed to you (tie a leash around your waist) when you're unpacking, to keep them from wandering off to potty? Maybe just one at a time. :)

I really liked learning more about how guide dogs work. Can they change places? I mean, would Roscoe guide you and Glacier guide Mr. K? Or would they just refuse to work, or be too confused? I was thinking if I moved somewhere new, and my husband's GPS was a bit more accurate than mine, I'd just trade him until I learned my way around. But I am not sure how much guide dogs are like GPSs. Speaking of - could you use a GPS along with Glacier to keep from getting lost?

Jess and Glacier said...

Puddles: Your Mom's a smart lady-no crating for bad behaviour. And you're right too-very small bladders. Aria weighs seven pounds I can't even imagine how small her bladder is. LOL Yay your Mom for being able to house train Max. :)Dog Foster Mom: There are GPS's available for blind people who walk, but they are incredibly expensive. Mr. K is actually supposed to get one from Leader Dogs for the Blind, but we are still waiting for it to arrive. Once I have that thing, I'll never be home. LOL
The dogs can't switch. Actually, it would be bad if they did. The dogs are supposed to work for only one person. They are supposed to be bonded so tightly with one person that if someone else tried to work them, they wouldn't. They would probably be confused too. Plus, if I even managed to get Roscoe to work for me, he would probably behave poorly because he wouldn't feel like he needed to keep me safe. He and love each other, but we are not bonded the way he and Mr. K are, or Glacier and I are.

Jen said...

Aw I see!
I'm sure the dogs will sort out their bladders soon when you've settled into the new house.

Amber DaWeenie said...

I know you feel so frustrated right now. In fact, anyone who has ever moved has been frustrated and wondering what they need to do next. In your case, multiply that by about a million. The dogs are confused, as are you. But things will get better as time passes and everyone gets more used to their surroudings. As for the potty issue, you probably will have to start back at square one and just send them outside every hour (or less if need be) until they figure it out on their own.

I'll say a few extra prayers for all of you today that the transition will be easy and quick.

Amber's Mom

L^2 said...

Awww. hang in there. *hugs* It sounds like you're working hard on the unpacking, which means the moving chaos will come to an end soon. Moving is always stressful for everyone, including the pets. Hopefully they'll re-learn that they should only potty outside soon.
If you can't get someone to go out with you to help you learn your new area, maybe you will just have to go out either with your cane or with Glacier (or both) and explore your new neighborhood a little bit at a time until you figure things out. Like at first, just go around the block you live on, then make it two blocks. Build up to longer routes with specific destinations as you get more comfortable with the layout of things. Then, when you know what to expect, you can confidently work on doing longer routes together to polish Glacier's guiding skills.
I was also going to suggest GPS. Leader Dog gave me a Trekker Breeze GPS unit when I went to their cane class to refresh my O & M skills right after Willow retired, and I love it! It's a fantastic tool for learning new areas. I think they've switched to the new Kapsys Kaptan GPS systems now, but I have to assume it's just as useful. Maybe you could sign up for one of Leader Dog's GPS training classes - they're only a week long, and I think the GPS units are still provided free of charge to each student.

Jess and Glacier said...

Jen: I hope so. :)
Amber's Mom: thank you. I may need them. Pottying has gone better today. And I think you're right: it will get better with time. Thanks again.
And to everyone who left a comment, I'm not sure you will read this, so I may post it again later...thank you for being supportive. It's kind of funny how a community of people who I have never met is more supportive and understanding than people I see on a regular basis and consider friends. Thanks so much.

Jess and Glacier said...

Those are excellent suggestions. I think the cane/Glacier/I will be out for a walk tomorrow. :)
I didn't know that LDB provided the GPS systems for free. Hmmmm, that will be something to look into. LDB sent Mr. K a free GPS and it arrived today. He is supposed to test it out for them. I am going to steal it! Mwahahahahahahaha! LOL
Thanks again for your ideas. I like them.