Our Problem Is That Ducky Is Normal

Ducky and I paid a visit to the vet on Thursday to talk about her IBS/IBD treatment and management.  Although she has had a couple of vomiting episodes in the three months since her diet change, she has actually been feeling better in general.  But, while I’ve seen some limited improvement since adding the Prozac to her treatment regimen, I’ve also felt at times that the Prozac was making her more “antsy”.   

Looking back on those times now, however, I believe it was boredom and lack of sufficient exercise, not the Prozac, that was making her hyper.

Back to the visit to the vet:  I started by saying that Ducky wants 24/7 playtime and/or attention.  And she barks at us — sometimes seemingly incessantly — to get it.  Which triggers hubby’s impatient shouting at her to “shut up!” and my own impatience with him for shouting while sitting less than a foot away from my head.   And, at times, finding my own impatience boiling over into angry words before I can put a lid on them.

And I said I know that shouting at her doesn’t do a bit of good because she sees it as us barking back at her.  But that doesn’t always stop me and it always goes in hubby’s one ear and out the other.  Dr. Steve smiled and said “men can be so thick at times!”  

“Your — and Sam’s — problem with Ducky isn’t Ducky.  It’s that her sisters are senior, chilled-out, Golden Retrievers.  Ducky is a normal, curious, active, young dog.  And with the Corgi part of her heritage, she’s part herding dog. Herding dogs tend to be talkative, some more than others; and Ducky is one of the more talkative ones.”  

My Mom would call her a “chatterbox”, like she did me when I was a little kid.  

So what do I do now?  Lately I’ve just been taking Ducky and her sisters out to the yard to play and work off some of her energy.  But that’s not enough.

It does work off some of her excess energy.  And it does keep me from getting a headache because the TV is too loud.  But sometimes that’s not enough either.

So, I’m going to start “nose work” and tracking with Ducky.  It’s something we can do inside when the weather’s too whatever, and outside when it’s pleasant.  

Since the improvement hasn’t been that noticeable, Doc said “let’s increase the Prozac to twice a day and re-visit this in three weeks. The additional amount is not going to turn her into a vegetable. And, with the tracking and nose work added to her routine, you’ll probably see a big improvement.”

I’m in the middle of a book that gives step-by-step instructions on how to start.  Once I finish reading that and feel comfortable with knowing where and how to start, we will start.  This book has some games to play to make it more fun, but I want to get the fundamentals down first. 

Meanwhile, I played some mind games with Ducky yesterday.  It was really just an added reinforcement of her obedience training, but for her it was part of the fun.  Instead of just throwing the Bounzer around the yard for her, I simply asked for a sit-stay and focus for a few seconds.  When she accomplished that to my satisfaction, I threw the toy and let her play keep away for a little bit.  And then repeated it to make it a little game.  We played by ourselves for about an hour and she was wiped-out the rest of the afternoon.

So, after hubby and I get the grass cut, I’m going to bring her back out here to play our little game — and maybe mix it up a little bit.

Have a great weekend!!


7 thoughts on “Our Problem Is That Ducky Is Normal

  1. somethingwagging says:

    Sounds like Dr. Steve is a smart vet. And I’m glad to hear you have a plan for working off some of Ducky’s energy.

    Just curious–do you use a food toy to feed her? We’ve done that with Honey since she was a puppy and I found that it tires her out after breakfast.

    We fed her kibble in a Busy Buddy Toy (you have to work a rope on a bottle to release the food) and a Kong Wobbler (you have to tip it over to get the food to spill). And we feed her soft Fresh Pet stuffed in an enormous Kong.

    The downside is that it gets quite noisy as Honey tosses her Kong around or kicks a toy against the wall. The good side is that it takes her longer to eat and I don’t have to supervise her activity.

    Hope the nose work and tracking activities are a good fit for both of you. I suspect you’ll both enjoy it.

    • My Golden Life says:

      Steve is wonderful! I adore that man! He’s one of those vets who TRULY cares about his patients.

      As for the food toys — before I had to switch Ducky to the (canned) Prescription i/d, I used the Kong Wobbler A LOT. I’d close the kitchen doors so Callie & Shadow wouldn’t bother her, and I’d let her have a blast with it. But the canned prescription food is a pâté that does not lend itself well to food toys. Especially with Ducky’s attention span…she gets bored easily if she has to work too hard at something. I tried using the Kyjen Slo Bowls — you know those plastic ones with the different maze designs in the bold colors? — but they’re a pain to get the canned food into, never mind out of.

      Hopefully, one of these days, I’ll be able to switch her to the ideal Balance canned food. Then I’ll be able to start using the Kyjen bowls again. But kibble is out for her — too many empty calories due to the over-processing. It would be like us eating nothing but Weight Watchers frozen meals. Or any other frozen meals, for that matter…the fillers will make you full for an hour or two but then you’re hungry again. — And when Ducky gets hungry, she eats yard trash and dirt. YUCK.

      I’m hoping that the nose work and tracking will help. I just wish we had a bigger piece of property, with some woods and high grass, where we could really get into it big time. But, we’ll make do somehow. At least just being out in the fresh air and sunshine helps, too. I’ve been spoiled these last few days — the weather has been perfect for spending HOURS outside. But it’s supposed to get rainy again for the next several days and our yard turns into a giant mud puddle when it rains.

  2. Jodi says:

    Nose work will be so good for her. You could also play hide n seek with her in the house or hide little bits of stuff she can eat (I use carrots). I make them wait while I ‘HIDE” them and then release them to “GO FIND.” Finding something that makes her think can be just as/if not more tiring then physically working for something.

  3. 2 Brown Dawgs says:

    I bet you can find some helpful videos on youtube for your nose work too. You can teach a dog the quiet command. You teach it in the same way as anything else you want in that you do not reward or react to the barking. Then you reward the quiet. Freighter and Storm are both very vocal dogs, but they need to be quiet when hunting or testing so in every aspect of their lives if they vocalize, we stop and they are ignored then when they quiet we say “good”, reward and continue. Ducky is still young so I bet you can teach her. Encourage her not to be vocal when she plays which can be hard but will pay off in the long run. I do occasionally raise my voice to the barking but I use it sparingly so the dogs know that I am serious and they already understand what “quiet” means.

    • My Golden Life says:

      Good Morning! Thank you for the tips, Linda!

      I know this is going to sound crazy given what I wrote in the post itself; but most times I get a charge out of Ducky’s vocalizations. They are a part of her personality. And I’d rather hear them than the news on TV. But, yes, she does need to quiet/chill/settle when we tell her to. I’m already working on that. The hard part is the lack of cooperation from the other half. He is set in his ways — and how many of us aren’t to some degree? — and refuses to acknowledge that he doesn’t have to shout just to be heard. The fact that his hearing is bad (which he also denies) doesn’t help either. I try to bite my tongue but well I just don’t succeed at times.

      As for Ducky herself — once she is actually playing, she IS quiet. It’s kinda hard to make much noise when you have a toy in your mouth. 🙂

      Anyway, I’ve rewarding her with lovies and play when she quiets down, and it is working. She’s chilling out a little more quickly each time. With her IBS/IBD, I have to be careful of the food treats I give her.

      • 2 Brown Dawgs says:

        It sounds like you are on the right track. You want to teach her when the vocalizations are OK and when enough is enough. Freighter’s roo’ing makes me laugh so I know what you mean. We never had a dog that roo’ed before so I am sometimes slow about cutting it off. 🙂

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