Training My Own Guide Dog

Training Sagan: Training my own guide dog, Week 6

Sagan Training Blog: 13 Weeks old

I am losing track of how long he has lived with me so I am now going to say his age. Any links I mention here are for information only. I am not affiliated.

Life happened, thus two posts together.

The highlight of the last week was finding a fantastic vet. I have been searching for a vet who thinks more like I do about health care for our animals and ourselves. He is curious and thinks outside the box of conventional veterinary medicine. The appointment lasted one hour and we really talked about our lifestyle and how that will predict how we choose to treat Sagan to keep him as healthy as possible without giving him unnecessary treatments. I was thrilled to have a good conversation about diet and its role in longevity. Some might say that I am rather obsessed with diet and its relationship to most of our common diseases so that naturally transfers to my animals. My decisions may be controversial for some. I believe we all do what makes sense to us as dog people.

The picture above shows Sagan at the Vet, laying on the scale.

For now, I am feeding Sagan a mixture of raw food and dry food. The brand of raw food is OC RAW and the brand of dry food is Annamaet, which seems like a good choice. My plan is to rotate brands at random so he builds a strong gut biome and is less likely to become sensitive. So far, this is working well for him. He gets a few eggs every week and random fruits and veggies from my refrigerator. I used to enjoy cooking for my human family but now the dogs eat better than I do. Once I get through this intense puppy period, I plan to get myself back on track.

We also discussed at length treating heartworm and fleas and ticks. I have struggled with this for some time now. I feel like we have a plan that makes sense to me given where we live and where we are going now. I have never been comfortable giving my dogs pills for heartworm or fleas and ticks. If I lived in the south, I would certainly think differently. Ticks are a real problem here so I have chosen to give him the Lime vaccine and to use natural sprays when we go out where ticks are especially a problem. I will be diligent about checking for ticks and fleas every couple of days. He will be tested for heartworm every year so that should there be a problem, it will be caught early. Heartworms are rarely seen here except in rescue dogs coming up from the south. The vet suggested a product called Wondercide which will need to be applied regularly as a repellant. I will also keep him close-shaven for the summer so finding ticks will be easier. Of course, these choices may change as I learn more or lifestyle changes.

This last week was mostly reinforcing basic commands and incorporating hand signals. He is performing sit, down, up sit, stand, name recognition, touch, go to your mat, and stay on your mat. He also waits for permission to eat his food. I have not introduced distractions to the mix yet. He is slowly but surely getting used to the Gentle Leader. It is going to be a game-changer when walking together. I feel he is doing very well for 14 weeks old. Next week will be much the same with the addition of longer stays on his mat and the introduction to the grooming table.

It was a good week. For a nonmeat eater, my house and clothes smell a lot like sardines and chicken. It grosses me out but meat is what he needs so that is what he will get with love and care.

OC Raw Dog food

Annamaet Dry Dog food

Wondercide Flea and tick repellant



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