Mom read Karen Pryor's article about target training and decided to try it. She got a plastic bamboo stake from her garden supplies and put a rubber tip on it from a door stopper. I sniffed it and then tried to "take it". Mom practiced "tap" a few times with her hand and then put the tip in front of her hand. She clicked each time I tapped it, but I didn't really understand yet and still tried to grab it with my mouth when she held it out away from her hand.  Then she accidentally made a false click when I grabbed it. So she tapped it with her nose several times and then gently held my mouth shut and clicked as she touched the tip to my nose. Bingo! From then on I was right on target tapping the tip. She held it against the wall, chairs and a door with intermittent reinforcements. The only one I didn't get was when she put the tip on the floor. It just looks too much like a stick! 
 
 
Mom took me out in the yard with a 16 foot leash tied around her waist. She clicked and treated me when I walked right beside her and looked up at her. This worked great in the front yard. However, when she went into the back yard, I saw some squirrels and pretty much dragged her into the buckthorn thicket. Ooops. I forget how strong I am sometimes. Mom didn't yell at me, but she had a hard time getting me out of the back yard. She finished on a high note by walking around the driveway for a few more reinforcing clicks.  Whew. That was a work-out.  For mom!  :)
 
 
Mom took me to see trainer lady on Monday. They made sure I didn't jump on anyone due to my stitches but I had a great tail wagging time and learned some new skills.  Mom brought a ball I am learning to push with my nose and my piano. Trainer lady showed mom how to use a clicker for reinforcement. It really helps me know what they want me to do. Trainer lady suggested checking out Karen Pryor's website for more information on clicker training. Mom placed an order for Karen Pryors book "Reaching the Animal Mind" for $8.93 after looking for it at the library. She checked out the only book on the shelf about clicker training, called  "Click Your Way to Rally Obedience."  The book has some fun games and great tips. She is following the steps in the book, starting with eye contact and recall practice. Mom is excited about stepping up the learning!
 
 
The vet office called and told mom the tumor was a  Histocytoma, a benign tumor common in puppies. Everyone is relieved and I'm healing nicely. The stitches itch a bit but Mom is doing a good job of keeping me entertained with treats, belly rubs and lots of attention. I sooo want to go to the doggie park or play outside, but mom says one more week to go until the stitches are out.  She is taking me on a little longer walks now and I get to go to the bus stop again. I like it best when little girl comes home!
 
 
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Sigh. I'm bored.
I'm so bored, feeling ignored, nothing fun to look towards, 
I've got the post-surgery, recupery blues.

These darn old stitches, they cause me itches. 
I'm wearing a shirt to keep out the dirt.

Mom won't let me play, have to stay calm all day,
I've got the post-surgery, recupery blues.

I want to chase the squirrels, jump around and twirl.
Instead they give me kong-ball eats and a new toy that squeaks.

Please wish me well, I'm sure you can tell, 
I've got the post-surgery, recupery blues.

P.S.  I know recupery is not a word, but it rhymes better than recuperatory and I'm taking poetic licence. Woof.
 
 
Mom took me to the vet this morning at 7:30. I wasn't happy about not having breakfast, but wagged my tail with excitement when she loaded me into the car. The vet people are very nice so I wasn't upset to go there either. At 10:30 they called mom and told her to come and get me. The surgery went well with a clean removal of the tumor. I have seven stitches but no bandage and NO CONE! I just have to wear a tee shirt for a while. The vet said I shouldn't eat until later today and I am not supposed to run around for two weeks. The only walks are to take me out to do my biz. Mom isn't sure what to do with my puppy energy, but they are very happy I am well. The biopsy results will be back in a few days.
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A tee shirt to prevent me from biting the stitches.
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Tumor removed and stitches in place.
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I can't go to the park for two weeks!
 
 
Mom took me  back to the vet today because what they thought might be a cyst tripled in size over the last few days. The vet says it is either histiocytoma, a benign skin tumor, or Mast Cell  Tumor, a more serious condition. Either way, my vet wants it removed and biopsied.  I go in for surgery tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. Mom is hoping it is the first, as it is common in young dogs and labs.  The estimate  of $438.00 made mom show her teeth (grimace) but she and dad promise to always take good care of me. They keep making a joke from a movie about me wearing a "cone of shame", but I don't know what they mean. Anyway, wish me luck!

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sore two weeks ago
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histiocytoma or mast cell tumor?
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histiocytoma or mast cell tumor
 
 
Lets talk about cats. There are three cats who live here with me. Shadow, the torti, is old and slow. She is very grumpy and doesn't like me much. I am afraid of her because she whaps me with her declawed paws every chance she gets. Mom and dad shoo her away but she still sneaks up on me sometimes or sits growling in the hall and won't let me pass. The grey one is Mr. Waffles; he is very shy and stays away from me, although we have touched noses through the baby gate. Mr. Marbles is the black and white cat. He is very friendly and wants to hang out with me, but when I try to play he runs away. I guess he doesn't understand how dogs play. We agree chairs are his safe zone so I stop chasing him when he gets off the floor.  Hee hee, I love to "tree" the cat.
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Mr. Marbles, Mr. Waffles, and Shadow
Mr. Marbles likes to hang out with me when I take a nap. He sleeps upstairs while I sleep  in my kennel in the hall. Mom thinks one day we will cuddle up together, but I'm not so sure.
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cat - dog condo. Mr. Marbles sleeps upstairs.
 
 
Trainer lady wants me to learn to chill out under my people's feet. When I am a public access dog I may need to lay underfoot if little girl rides a bus or goes to a coffee shop. Here I am relaxing on my rug (which marks my spot) as mom watches TV.  I only get to go into the living room if mom or dad comes too, so they think I'm doing a very good job. 
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chilling on the floor beneith moms feet
 
 
On the way to the bus this morning little girl said "Look! Rocky loves me! He made me a heart shaped hole."
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Little girl's valentine