Thursday, July 7, 2011

Happy Half Birthday, Otto & Lulu!

Otto & Lulu at Six Months
Our Rottweiler puppies, Otto and Lulu, turned six months old on the 5th, so it seemed like a good time to do another Puppy Update post. 
We finished up our Puppy School one-on-one training sessions with Janine Gauthier of Paws and Order Dog Training a few weeks ago, and Bernie and I both passed our training test on the last day, including the challenge where we had to set a plate of people food in front of the dogs and instruct them to "leave it!"  Otto and Lulu come when called (actually, they come CHARGING AT FULL SPEED when called, since they know there are going to be treats when they get to us), they sit, wait for permission to go in and out the door.  They lay down, they "watch," and will touch our hand on command to get a treat.  Otto has also really taken to soccer, and he and Bernie have a ball (literally) chasing after the soccer ball in the yard almost every day.  The dogs are walking very well on their leash, although Bernie still has not found the elusive Perfect Leash and Perfect Treat/Water/Poop Bag fanny pack contraption.  His search continues.
Miss Lulu in a Rare Moment of Inactivity
Lulu had her spay operation last week, and has been absolutely miserable about having her activities restricted while everything is healing.  The vet said no running, jumping, or climbing stairs for at least seven days post op, but nothing gives Lulu more pleasure than somersaulting into the air.  After a few days of all-around misery, we had to get her some sedatives to prevent her from springing into the air as soon as we open the door to her crate and doing barrel rolls on her leash when we take her out to go potty.
Otto the Snuggle Pup

Otto has not been neutered yet.  He has a pretty mellow personality so far, and I've read a lot about significantly increased bone cancer risk for male Rotties neutered before 2 years.  With Lulu spayed, we have eliminated the possibility of an unintended litter of two-headed inbred pups, so it's not as urgent for Otto to be neutered right away.  I'm not going to permit him to go off roaming on his own in search of lady friends, and of course if his temperament takes a turn for the worse at puberty or if he starts marking all over my house, those would be strong reasons to neuter him sooner rather than later.  We'll see how it goes.  The longer I wait, the more opportunity he has for his bones and muscles to grow and develop under the influence of all those male hormones as nature intended.  
Otto Enjoying a Tasty Kongsicle in My Office

Meanwhile, I'm teaching Otto to help me sing in the shower.  To clarify: I'm in the shower, and the dogs are laying on the bathroom floor with tasty bones to chew on, where I can keep an eye on them.  Otto likes to howl along with the chorus of the Whitney Houston song, "I Will Always Love You."  Apparently when I sing this, I sound like a howling wolf and this awakens Otto's pack instincts.  This may not say much about my pop singing abilities, but it sure is fun.  So far, Otto only joins in with that particular song, and only in the bathroom.  Must be the accoustics or something.  Lulu-belle hasn't joined in with us yet, but I will try to encourage her to sing along as well.

We have a week at the beach planned for next month, and the house we're renting does not allow pets.  I'm currently in the process of vetting potential boarding kennels and/or pet sitters.  The problem with hiring a pet sitter, for us, is that our dogs do not run free in the house when we aren't home, and they are definitely not ready for that much independence.  Even if I hired a pet sitter to take them on two hour-long walks every day, they would still have to be crated up for the other 22 hours, and that's way too long.  If I had a large, tiled utility room or something where the dogs could be confined together without the potential for destructive mischief, I'd consider a pet sitter (and I actually sketched out a fabulous imaginary laundry/dog room addition to the house that would be perfect for this scenario, but my husband looked at me like I was crazy when I suggested building an addition for the dogs).  Most likely, then, we're going to have to board the dogs while we're away.  If you're local to Charlotte and you can recommend a dog boarding facility, please let me know in the comments section.


Joann Mannix said...

They are such beautiful babies. And congratulations on the training!

I have two things to say, one hilarious, one sad, so I'll get the sad one out of the way first.

My baby girl pups who aren't really babies anymore, but big one year olds just went for their checkup. My Sophie had been limping for about a week, but didn't seem to be in any pain, so I waited, knowing her checkup was coming. Like your pups, my girls are at full speed constantly. Luckily, we are fortunate to live on 12 acres, so they have a huge yard to run and play, which they do. I figured in one of their race around moments, they had barreled into each other and Sophie had strained her back leg.

She did injure it, but it's much worse than a strain. She has some torn ligaments which after googling, I have learned this is a common injury in big dogs. The doctor suggested surgery with pins and a recovery time of 12 weeks. 12 weeks of no running, playing, jumping, anything. I can't even imagine.

But after talking to him and then doing my own Googling and talking to a friend of mine who is a vet, I've decided on rest therapy. A number of vets believe that surgery can be avoided, that scar tissue can help bind ligaments in place if enough rest is allowed. This means 8 weeks of no playing, jumping, running. She is now on a leash when she's outside, something she's never done. She's adapted well, luckily she is my calmer puppy and has already stopped limping for the most part. It's only been 2 weeks. I really hope it works and we can avoid surgery.

Now, the hilarious. we are lucky enough to have a house and dog sitter. My friend, who owns one of my pups from this litter and another dog of her own, just put her dogs up in this ultra plush kennel. She told me not to tell her husband bc it's costing them a fortune. They get a suite with a daily massage, extra dog bones, their own attendant and get this, a bedtime story and a tuck in every night. I cannot stop laughing. At least, I know my puppy went to a loving home.

Beadboard UpCountry said...

I am freaking out..... I thought I had added you to my blog list ages ago!!!!!!! I will do asap! your babies are adorable!!!!!! I have a lot of experience with the petsitter thing...... No good experiences there....... I am sure there are many good ones.... But I think a good kennel where they can have playtimes......Gives you piece of mind........Hope we can hook up again sometime..... I will have to go back and do some reading you cheeky girl!!! Robes says hi! Maryanne xo