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  #1  
Old 07-18-2014, 06:44 PM
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Post Private lessons for Rango

Hi All!

Next week, Rango will have his first ever private training lesson. He'll have turned 10 months old the day before the lesson, so I'm really feeling the pressure to put my nose to the grindstone with him. I'd like to keep a sort of journal/log/notes regarding our training here, since I'm sure we will benefit from your comments, should you wish to register them. For now, I'm just going to go over where we are right now, and what I'd like to accomplish through the coming sessions with our trainer.

To give you an idea of our training background, I got Rango when he was 4 months old (he's born 9/22/13, and I got him 1/26/14), and I am very fortunate to have found a generally well-behaved dog. He's calm, doesn't get agitated or upset by other people, dogs, noises, etc., and he hardly ever barks. Car rides are a breeze, he walks beautifully on and off leash, and although housebreaking took a couple months of diligence, he's now 100% with it (he's trained to go on piddle pads when in the house, but also thoroughly enjoys going outside--ha). I don't worry about his recall, and when I take him for walks through the woods, to the beach, or places where dangers are minimal, he follows me off leash without a problem, and will return to me when I call for him. Somehow, I've also managed to teach him to sit, but this is about as far as my teachings have led us, which is why I've decided to enlist professional help.

Essentially, I've got the building blocks for a well-rounded good canine citizen. I just need the help to get him there. So, over the next weeks I hope to master all the basic commands (sit, stay, come, STOP, down, leave it/drop it), and perhaps work on a few simple tricks once we've got the basics down. He's a sharp dog, and very much concerned with making me happy, so I'm sure that once I learn how to properly communicate to him what I want him to do, he will catch on quickly.

My main goal, however, is to teach Rango agility. Of course we need to get the basics down first, which is why that's mission number one, but once that's done, my primary interest is agility. I'm not sure how popular Chihuahuas are in the sport, but I know that Rango would excel at it. Apart from being happiest when he's running around, he's actually quite athletic, fast, agile, and has an impressive jump (he can make it to the top of my rather high bed with hardly any running start). Something tells me that he would be so happy to learn the different obstacles and fly around the course like a nut.

Anyway, this has become woefully long-winded, so I'll cut myself off here. If any of you have any tips, suggestions, comments, questions, etc. I'd love to hear them. Thanks for reading!
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  #2  
Old 07-18-2014, 07:22 PM
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Lots of Chis have a great temperament for agility, it sounds like Rango will have a blast.
You don't need to go to a class to learn basic obedience, it is really easy to teach at home. However if agility is your goal, he needs to get used to a busy environment with lots of other dogs and distractions, so a class will be ideal. Have fun, and let us know how he gets on.
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  #3  
Old 07-26-2014, 02:38 PM
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Happy weekend, everyone. I just wanted to update this thread to let you all know that, unfortunately, I've had to postpone Rango's training classes.

Last Sunday, Rango had a bad accident in which he fell approximately 15 feet from a deck to the lawn below. This guy must have a guardian angel, because he only sustained 3 broken toes. I have never felt sheer panic like that in my life, and was certain that I woud either have a dead or permanently crippled dog.

It was a completely freak accident, and while there were three people (including myself) and another small dog on the deck with us, nobody actually saw the fall. We just heard the aftermath of him crying on the ground below. He has been on this particular deck (it's at my uncle's house) at least a dozen times, and when my uncle watches him for the weekend now and again, he is on it with him every day. We are not sure whether he jumped, perhaps to chase after a squirrel or other animal he saw running across the lawn, or if he simply lost his balance and fell, but I am thankful that my baby boy is alright.

Of course I rushed him to the emergency vet immediately after it happened and ($1300 later), my baby boy's bones are properly reset and he's got a fancy splint wrapped in a bandage. One tech at the hospital joked, "he's not even a year old, and you've already got your hands full." Hands full, indeed.

At any rate, once the vet clears him for some moderate activity, I will begin his training lessons. For now, he is on restricted movement, although he won't bear any weight on the bad paw (the front right) anyway.

If anybody's pup has had a similar accident/injury, I would appreciate all the advice and tips I can get. Especially on how to keep a very young, very playful Chihuahua still enough to not re-injure his broken foot. Right now, he is sleeping happily on my lap as I write this, but soon enough he will be bouncing around, wanting to run and play with his many toys.

Once again, this is woefully long-winded. My apologies, and have a great weekend, everyone.
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  #4  
Old 08-01-2014, 01:41 PM
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I'm so sorry to hear about Rangos fall. That must have just been awful. You all are so very blessed that he made it through alright!

Ponyo and I hit a training speed bump when she got attacked by another dog a few months back. She was very shy to begin with (one of the reasons the breeder couldn't find a home or show her) but when that happened she withdrew a lot.

Don't worry! That's the great thing about dogs... they are professionals at "living in the moment" and forgetting about things that happened in the past that aren't important anymore. I'm sure with your adamant desire for training, and Rangos recovery, you two will be back on track in no time. Chihuahuas especially are very adaptable and brave! I know Rango will pull through and you two will go on to MASTER training!

Please keep us updated. I like your training journal idea.
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Old 08-01-2014, 03:55 PM
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I had a deck out in the front of our cabin in N.H. and we put up wire so that the pups couldn't 'fall' or 'jump' out. Made my peace of mind much better. Also helped with little kids!

Alot of the catalogs/petsmart/co have 'mental' games for dogs that are supposed to be quiet. A great time to start with clicker training too. Click him for doing natural things, like sit,down, and such behaviors. If you charge the clicker (4-6 x click the clicker, and treat. No behaviors required. It makes your dog know that he gets a treat after the click. You have to be quick though) he will be eager to get that click!
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  #6  
Old 09-30-2014, 08:08 PM
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Hi all!

It's been a while since I've updated this post/thread, and that's largely because Rangoís foot recovery has not been so smooth. When he originally fell and injured himself, he suffered complete fractures in his third, fourth and fifth toes on the front right paw. The vet fully opposed toes three and four, and those have healed perfectly. Toe five, however, is a problem. After 7 weeks when the bandage finally came off, Rango was still in pain and would often not bear any weight on his foot at all. If/when he does bear weight on the foot, he walks with a distinct limp. He was re-radiographed, and the vet confirmed that his fifth toe was still fractured and would never heal without further intervention. He proposed three options, one of which I did not consider as an option at all (this was to do nothing except keep him on a cocktail of pain medications for the remainder of his life, which is easily another 15+ years). Option two: attempt to surgically repair the broken toe. Option three: amputate the toe.

That brings us to today. Iíve got an appointment scheduled with my regular vet for this Thursday to amputate Rangoís fifth toe. Before anyone gets upset with me for not attempting the surgery, please let me explain why Iíve decided to do this. My number one goal, all things aside, is for my baby boy to be pain-free and happy. Obviously keeping him doped up was not an option, as he HATES those drugs (he freaks out when he even sees the syringe filled with the liquid medicine) and is not at all himself when he is on them. He goes from a happy, bouncy (literally, I think heís part antelope) 1-year-old puppy, to a sullen, lethargic and depressed lump of a dog. Such medication is necessary to treat acute pain immediately following a severe injury or surgery, but, in my humble opinion, is a horrible way to live long-term. I wouldnít wish it on my worst enemy, let alone willingly impose it on my son.

As such, I was basically left to choose between surgery and amputation. My concern with the surgery was twofold: 1) the vet explained that the surgery is not a sure thing in any case, and in a situation like this, with such incredibly small, thin bones, itís even more difficult than usual and 2) if the surgery failed, Iíd need to amputate the toe anyway. My vet, also a sharp businessman, of course suggested the surgery. When I researched amputation, however, I found that dogs recover remarkably well, and the lost toe is not a burden at all. Everybodyís account that I read said just about the same thing. After the amputation wound healed (about 2 weeks), the dog was fully ambulatory and pain-free. Additionally, the fifth toe is not a weight-bearing toe, so it really wonít be missed at all. Basically, amputating the toe is the surest way to have Rango pain-free and back in action with as little complication, recovery time, and cost as possible.

Like any first-time mother, Iím a nervous wreck. But my vet is an extremely experienced surgeon, and a very compassionate person with wonderful bedside manor. I know my boy is in the right hands, and that everything will be fine in the end. As a side note, Rango is also having two teeth extracted simultaneously, as he has an extra canine and incisor on the right side. Iím taking Thursday off of work to be home to care for him. So basically, Iíll bring my vet a whole dog, and Iíll leave with a dog down two teeth and a toe. Iíll log on soon to report on how it goes. Please wish us luck!!

Best,
Jackie
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Old 10-01-2014, 12:57 AM
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Wow! I know how anxious you will be, but I'm willing to bet in a couple of weeks Rango will be bouncing around. Agility will be next!
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