Friday, April 27, 2012

Week One & A Half

April 17th marked the addition to our family.  A small four pound, eight week old, Boston Terrier puppy had traveled from Tulsa to Denver to become part of our family.  We picked up our cuddly little girl that afternoon and have been so grateful for the amazing joy she has brought to our life.  We quickly settled on a name, Gia, and she would be quite the Diva like the supermodel she was named after.

Gia has been with us a whole week and a half nearly ten days to be exact.  In that time we have learned so much from the abundance of information the internet and the people online that we decided to compile everything going on in one place.

Gia developed some behavior issues on day three of being with us, she started to growl.  I felt like it wasn't an aggressive growl and started to search for information on young puppies growling when being in a person's lap and being adjusted with movement.  The information I found online has been plenty but nothing seemed consistent.  We we're in information overload and we we're starting to feel helpless.  So many people recommended a behaviorist but we simply couldn't afford the travel fees included on top of the price we we're given, living over an hour from any major big city with those services was such a great disadvantage for us.  We searched high and low for one in our area and decided if we wanted to get this resolved now, we would have to do it on our own.  So my research began at the vet.  Our vet ruled out medical issues and suggested that it was an alpha puppy behavior and not aggression.  We were given tips on how to curb her growling (but not prevent it!) and it's been working miracles for us.  Gia officially is minimally growling when being handled in only a few short days since trying these new methods given to us by our vet.

Over the last ten days Gia has been here we have weaned off the kibble she came on and onto a higher quality kibble and eventually onto The Honest Kitchen (THK) Preference diet.  THK is a dehydrated 100% human grade dog diet that you add water to.  THK Preference is a base diet that requires you to add your own meat as well as hydrate with water.  Gia wasn't enthusiastic about this food at all.  I was set on trying everything under the sun, more water, less water, more dry mix, less mix, soak longer, sprinkle with chicken on the top, I was exhausted at trying to get her to eat and quite frankly, I was worried.  She barely touched the stuff unless I sprinkled chicken on the top and even so, she wasn't eating enough for me to feel comfortable.  We went back to the high quality kibble and I e-mailed the company in hopes of finding something that worked for my little picky diva, Gia.  The representative, also a Boston Terrier mommy, suggested Parmesan cheese (I always called it stinky cheese!) or adding broth instead of water.  After I felt Gia had ate enough kibble (over the course of a few days) for me to be ready for her rejection of the THK again, I was ready to be as stubborn as her if she choose to reject it again.  Our first meal with Parmesan cheese was a total success!  I wasn't ready for her to eat so enthusiastically, I was quite shocked at the change in her behavior when eating the same stuff (minus the Parmesan cheese) as before, that she rejected time and time again.

This blog will be a compilation of our clicker training, positive re-enforcement training, holistic ways, and adventures.

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Gia (and her human Jessica)