Dog trains man

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Lost In Translation

Tilde isn't spayed. I prefer not to interfere with her hormonal balance, and although it does have some disadvantages health-wise there are equal advantages as well, which makes the choice not as clear cut as it maybe once was.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Nature Calling Runaway Viva

Viva ran away from home. Don't worry, she is already back. We found her just around the corner of the street that leads to our house. On the picture to the left you'll see how it is possible she could escape.

The small fence into the back garden, absolutely not high enough to stop a Hovawart. As you see, I am guilty of something that would suit any irresponsible owner very well.

Yes, I trained them not to pass that fence. Yes, they did listen ... for a while at least in Viva's case. Yes, I did keep an eye out ... at least other than the moment she actually escaped. Yes, she got ample walks ... in which I didn't let her meet ... male dogs - I'll come back to that male dog dimension.

So let's face it, I was just being a fool here: the fence is just not high enough and I have to fix it.

The "Love is in the Air" days
Wondering why Viva would escape I kept an extra eye out while working on the fence and it soon became clear, why she would ignore all she learned about that fence.

Viva is in season again. She teases Kenzo for a while, but after his neutering, the romantic days from before are over. He does make a harmless attempt, but quickly gives up. Viva then rushes to the fence, as if she thinks: "well, let's see who's out there then?".

Where before Kenzo was the big magnet - Viva would do anything to come closer to Kenzo - their magnetic poles now seem to have switched to the opposite effect during the time Viva is in season.
Flowers and Bees.... yes, I DO remember ... something
Kenzo's attempts of luvin' are cute. Viva is still his girl. He just doesn't go bezerk anymore like before his neutering. He seems to remember the flowers and the bees, but forgot what all the fuzz exactly was about.

Viva clearly is not pleased. When nature is calling, what can you do?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Kenzo Neutered: Did it Help?

When I noticed Kenzo’s additional sniff of Viva’s private parts, I knew it. Viva was soon to come in season again. The first time after Kenzo’s neutering, now almost four months ago.

Would it work out? Or would Kenzo still stop eating and sleeping? Would he whine and cry during the weeks that lay ahead? The vet gave no guarantees, a lot of dogs display no change in behavior after being neutered and it could solve Kenzo’s anxiety. Or it could not.

With Kenzo’s extra sniff four months of worrying and feeling guilt also ended. Almost daily I wondered if we did the right thing. At the end of our wits and desperate because of the ill effect on Kenzo’s health we decided it was the only thing left we could do – with the emphasis on in our case, as spaying Viva is not an option due to her general health condition and neutering is not a decision taken lightly. And with Viva in season again, we would get the long awaited answer.

We anxiously watched how their interactions unfolded and in particular how it affected Kenzo. It went even better than we could have hoped for. It was such a relief. He never whined or cried. He slept fine, and most important, he kept eating the meals as he is used to. True, he was excited. He had not forgotten how to parade like a peacock and did his best to court Viva with every opportunity.

We are in the last week of Viva’s season period now and we drove to Holland yesterday with both dogs in the car. Something that before Kenzo’s neutering would have been virtually impossible. Kenzo would have started to hyperventilate and eat his way through the crate to reach Viva. With only one more week to go I am ready to exhale my biggest sigh of relief ever. And I am so happy for Kenzo.

His behavior towards other dogs hasn’t changed in any way – which was one of my main objections now proofed to be unfounded. He has taken on some more pounds, probably also because he finally is eating well. We can manage that so far with more exercise, as there is no sign he is slowing down.

I wonder why it took Viva four months to come in season. So far she managed to repeat it every two months. Maybe the vet was right that it was a response from her body. As she said Viva’s improving health made her blossom and with that handsome guy around, nature called out “it is now or never”. If that would be the case, Kenzo’s neutering will help Viva as well, as she will move to a more natural cycle, and she stops wearing her fragile body down.

I hate the expression, but have to admit that I truly am in the middle of a “win-win” situation. There, I said it.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Plastic Surgery For A Hovawart

B-day. The day of Kenzo's neutering. My subconscious made it's final move: surely the appointed time with the vet was a mistake? But the vet - she is starting to get to know me - called after us with a reminder of the appointment.

And so Kenzo went on the operating table, well on his way of becoming 100% gorgeous to famous movie stars like Katherine Heigl. Have you not seen it? According to Katherine dogs are already 98% gorgeous, and removing two tiny little not-so gorgeous obstacles - according to Katherine - is the only thing needed to reach a one-hundred-percent of absolute gorgeousness.

As you can see on the photo, he didn't feel gorgeous right after the procedure. But despite small red eyes and wobbly feet he made sure to cover Viva with ear-nibbles on return. After all, he is 100% gorgeous now, and he knew Viva must have been looking forward to his return.

Everything went well. After all it is a simple procedure. And as soon as the anesthesia started to wear off, we got a smile too - although still with small eyes. It feels good to be gorgeous. Or doped? Alright, maybe both.

To all you commenter's on last week's blog, FB and Twitter: thank you for your thoughtful support and for cheering us up. You guys rock!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

There Will Be No Small Kenzo's

But she is still my girl
Kenzo is getting neutered. Yes, we did embark on a project to show him, get his mental- and health state tested. And maybe it would lead to small Kenzo's, eventually. But we are going to leave that path.

I hoped it would take a year, and in that time Viva would only come in season twice. Not that we want to breed Kenzo with Viva, her health doesn't allow to be bred and neither does it allow a risky surgery getting her spayed. But the issue is that Kenzo with his manhood intact just goes through the roof when Viva is in season.

During Viva's season period he is howling and whining and only stops from pure exhaustion. He hardly eats, drops a lot of pounds and doesn't find joy in many other activities. Not even tracking which he loves so much otherwise. For us it is heart breaking to see him that way and we worry for his health.

Normally a female dog would come in season once every half a year. If the project would take a year, it would have meant we had to go through two more episodes. I thought we could handle that. But Viva changed the plan. Since we started, Viva has been in season three times, meaning she is in season every other month.

Every other month. Thats just too much, and not something I want to put both Kenzo & Viva through on such a regular basis. So Kenzo is getting neutered. There is a risk it will not change his anxiety when Viva comes in season. We tried chemical castration, and it had no effect on his behavior otherwise than that he was shooting blanks. But since we cannot spay Viva without risking she wouldn't survive the operation, I can't see any other options.

Their will be no small Kenzo's. In many, many years from now when he would have passed away, it would have made us happy knowing his unique spirit was living on inside some small Kenzo's enjoying their own life. A nice thought. As long at it doesn't hold us back from enjoying the life we have now. I guess giving birth offers a touch of immortality and therefore can blur our judgment sometimes.

Kenzo can have a more fulfilling life with joy and fun, doing the things he wants to do, than being bothered by what he needs to do. I am here. Kenzo and Viva are here, lets make the best out of it, right now.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

What a nose boot camp, dog shows, and neutering have in common

I am excited too!
During last week's tracking class, Kenzo did his worst track ever. You couldn't even call it a track. I picked up Kenzo and our tracking backpack right after work. I noticed the sight of the backpack didn't arouse him like it used to. When we started tracking, he showed no interest. He put his nose down because I asked him, but the nose was quickly up in the air again. Sniffing frantically for something I could only guess what was.

What to do?

I was worried. Did I train him too hard or too much, trying to achieve more focus on the track? What did I do wrong? And more important, did I spoil Kenzo's fun in tracking, and should we give up tracking and look for another sport he would like to do? The trainer observing Kenzo's failed track was stunned and didn't know what to say. She was as sad as I was. I remembered our trainer went to a training school every summer to brush up her nose work knowledge and asked her if they would accept mere mortals like Kenzo and me at this school. She was worrying too much about Kenzo to note my clumsy and rude attempt for a second opinion. She scribbled the name of the school on a piece of paper and said I should try to contact them, although she didn't give us much chance.

Boot camp!

That's what I did when I came home. I wrote a long mail to the school why I thought Kenzo would qualify to join their ranks and the waiting for an answer started. We maybe didn't had much to show for in achievements but hopefully the passion for tracking touched the person on the other end. After a couple of days I got the answer. We were accepted! Kenzo was shocked with my impression of a happy dance. I also received the 3-day program with a lot of tracking and scent discrimination trained by - among others - the Danish Champion in Search & Rescue. I am thrilled to take part in this.

It is not just the nose

But lets return to the evening after the track went sour. The next morning on our walk Kenzo continued to act differently and I started to realize what actually was wrong. It wasn't Kenzo that was walking, but it was the nose. Or should I say hormones. When we came home and I gave him his breakfast, he didn't eat it. That was the final clue. Someone was in heat and Kenzo knew who it was. Later in the afternoon the black German Shepherd dog - one of Kenzo's sweethearts - and her owner passed by our house and they confirmed what I suspected. Kenzo's bark was high-pitched and frantic when he noticed them. Kenzo is in love, once again.

One more project

Kenzo's neutering has been postponed for too long. Some Hovawart experts were impressed with Kenzo's mental state - ok, he looks good too - and urged me to consider breeding with him. To do that correctly, it involves a lot of health- and mental tests, and also earning prizes on dog shows. A project that will easily take 6 months up to a whole year and I have been postponing it ever since. So we will set this in motion too. It will either work out or not, but we will close it off with Kenzo enjoying his retirement from the dating scene having him neutered.

Maybe I am in denial, my wife says it is my lame male subconscious that makes me postpone. She is probably right. What else can a nose boot camp, dog shows and neutering have in common? I therefore officially and publicly pledge that this is my last and final postponement attempt.

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