02/14/2017: Off-leash work with Abe

So much progress going on with Abey. He’s totally off-leash trained now, and he’s loving his freedom. I would really like to start some agility training with him once we’ve put the nail-clipping issue to bed (more on that later).

Here’s a video of Abe working off-leash in a few different environments. As seen in the video, he loves to go on bike rides (on my private lane for safety), he’s really mastered off-leash walking at heel over the past few days, and he will sprint to me when I call him (no e-collar needed) when he’s out exploring the pastures while I feed the horses. And in the video is a cute doggo bonus… Abe doesn’t really enjoy baths, but he tolerates them and is quite gentlemanly about the whole experience; he even hops into the tub and stands still without a collar and/or leash! Good doggo.

Another big area of progress is nail clipping. He’s comfortable letting me hold his paw while I take full clips on the front, and we’re getting there on the back feet. He’s really sensitive with his back feet. He came to me with one back nail completely clipped off. Not just short… clipped OFF at the nail bed. I’m guessing that he was getting his nails clipped  and the clipper accidentally snipped his nail off short when he jerked or pulled (I can’t imagine how hard he would have been to restrain, given how much time I’ve spent getting him comfortable with nail clipping). It happens, and I definitely don’t blame the shelter for it; they have tons of dogs that need cared for, and they definitely don’t have the manpower or time to gently desensitize every dog to the nail clipping process. But because of this incident, he’s super sensitive when I clip more than a tiny bit. He sometimes still jerks and quietly yelps, even when I only clip a tiny sliver. I didn’t help the situation, I must admit… I accidentally quicked him a tiny bit on a back nail 😦 Again, it happens, but I still feel bad. So we’re working through that. But he’s doing so well! He’s got two more nails to go before all of them are short enough to be passable.

Front feetsies:

20170211_212950

Back foot that still needs clipped:20170211_213727

Clipped back foot:20170211_215939

Now that he’s totally good with me handling his feet, I’ve started applying Bag Balm to his paw pads every few days. As you can see, his paw pads are a bit cracked, and that can be painful. I have to be careful not to apply it too often because it can over-soften the pads, and that’s painful too! I’d just like to make his feetsies a little more comfortable. He has a habit of licking his paws, but since I’ve started trying to soften his pads, the licking has decreased. I’m wondering if the cracks make his pads sting.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Want to tell me to go fly a kite? Let me know.

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