I lasted exactly one month without having a dog in my family. All of mine had crossed over the rainbow bridge and I was hurting. I searched the rescue groups and found an older model mixed female miniature Dachshund called a Chiweenie! Part Chihuahua and part Dachshund. Never heard of that? Neither had I. But I did fall in love instantaneously. The adoption went smoothly and I was the proud Mom of a 10+ year old little lady. Grieving as I was I needed a dog that would cuddle and not expected to do anything else. She fit the bill beautifully. Until it was time for me to trim the darling little vixen's nails. I had been diligently playing with all four of her paws in preparation for weeks ahead of time. To my amazement she turned into a 500 pound Sumo wrestler. After one muzzle application and various rounds of quick action wrestling I finally won. It was unbelievable that an 8 pound "precious" miniature older dog could almost beat me. So if you find yourself in the same fix, and both you and your dog are stressing out trimming nails, I would advise that you seek professional help in the form of your veterinarian or groomer. What you don't want to do is injure your dog or worse yet, give the animal a mental problem. Just say "Uncle" and pay to have them done.
P.S. Above is a photo of my "otherwise loving opponent"
I've been receiving some good questions regarding Alzheimer's dog and asking me where you can go for answers. There are two places for information. One is the site that you are now on: my blog...an interactive place that you and I can carry on conversations so that the information you want can also be shared by others. So don't hesitate to ask me your questions. Remember that the only silly question is the one you don't ask.
The second place for Alzheimer's dog information is my book CAREGIVER FOLLOW ME. I wrote the book for just that reason: caregivers like yourself were contacting me for help and the best way to reach out to everyone was to write down the information. In my book I answer questions in a lay persons language. I teach you how to find the correct dog for your family (or factors to consider if you want to use your present dog) and how to teach your dog what it needs to know (in its own home by its special person...yourself) to become an Alzheimer's dog. It may seem crazy to have the caregiver train their own dogs but it is not. There is no doubt that caregivers will be able to complete the task, benefiting from the experience and probability do a better job than a professional trainer. Who knows your home, your patient, and what your caregiver needs are better than yourself? Believe me it is an exciting, rewarding road for you and your dog to travel together.
To purchase the book CAREGIVER FOLLOW ME go to www.authorhouse.com or www.amazon.com. You will need to enter my name, Patti Putnam or the title of the book, CAREGIVER FOLLOW ME. Let me know how you do.
I watched a TV special about the grand Lipizzaner Stallions and was amazed to learn that for all of these horses lives they are spoken to "softly" as in "horse whispering", as opposed to being yelled at, and forced with a heavy hand. Their trainers walk gently and speak softly... and just look at the results! Click went the light bulb in my head. The same is true for canines...dog whispering. If you want your dog to really hear you then speak softly and display gentle body language. Isn't it also true for us humans too? We hear a whisper much better than a threatening yell, we tend to trust a whisper not an over-bearing, aggressive shout. How exciting for me to find endorsement for my "dog whispering" tendencies, by none other than the world renowned Lipizzaner trainers. It came naturally for me, it made sense, and it works. I endorse this method for all of you to employ. You will get better results that will remain with both your dog and you. Use and pass along.
Book Expo America, the number one event in North American publishing to discover new books/titles. Caregiver Follow Me will be in the New Title Showcase. The event will be held at the Javita Center in New York City, May 29--June 1, 2013. There will be over 1,300+ authors displaying their books. For more information go to: www.bookexpoamerica.com. This is a very exciting event for Caregiver Follow Me to be a part of. You are cordially invited to attend. I'm estatic.
I'm so frustrated I could spit wooden nickels! Another article regarding stressed out caregivers and what they can do to help themselves. And nowhere in that article was it mentioned, or even hinted at, that the "best-est" stress reliever a caregiver can have, is AN ALZHEIMER'S DOG. Not only can a dog relieve the caregiver but also other family members and the patient. Dog's don't talk back, they're cheaper than drugs and have no harmful side effects, you can never forget to take them or overdose, and unlike medication, they relieve a myriad of human ailments simultaneously. Further, one does not have to refill a prescription, nor get another written script. The only known side affects that I'm (personally) aware of are my smiles, a sense of well being, camaraderie, and relief. Several folks advocate that chief caregivers need to avail themselves of someone else to help when needed. What about a dog? They are companions and Allys content to be with their patient and caregiver 24/7. I, too, burn out and how wonderful it is to have a warm, furry body voluntarily come quietly up beside me to make a gentle sympathic contact. I am the first person to advocate for necessary relief caregivers and prescriptions but ... you can not bottle this stuff called unconditional canine love.
I read an article stating one way that horses learn is by watching other horses. Immediately I registered that canines do the same thing. I had seen this a lot as I worked training assistance dogs. During my training sessions I would place new canine students into see-through crates where they could watch other dogs in training complete the necessary steps to the Alzheimer's working dog's pattern. It never ceased to amaze me how much of a head start these dogs had over the ones that hadn't visually seen what a working Alzheimer's dog did. Even dogs that had not been adopted to be trained for Alzheimer's work learned by observing their fellow students go through the repeated sequence of steps. One day, an older, abused collie I had rescued to become my own forever dog, began to boisterously announce that he wanted out of his cage. It took me a minute to understand, as he gently kept bumping my leg, that he wanted to play this game with me too. And he did. I had tears in my eyes as he successfully put together all of the steps to complete the Alzheimer's dog's pattern. I had no idea that he was learning as he patiently watched the others. To this day my mind can see him proudly demonstrating that he too knew this game. We played it often after that.
January's thaw has hit. Thank heavens for my "canine necessary room". Any dog owner knows about this room. Dogs are in and out of bad weather... they have the fun, the human partners clean up the mess. Having a "necessary room" saves the day, my nerves, my back, and the relationship with my dog. I expect the necessary room to be a mess, that's why I have it. The rest of the house is clean and I definitely won't clean it several times a day.
Those of us who have assistance dogs know that our dogs will be physically alerting us; the dogs will be making physical contact with us when they preform their work tasks. An unclean canine translates into dirty clothing, houses and possessions. We learn early to keep our dogs clean. The necessary rooms make it possible for the dogs to dry off and then gives us acceptable places to clean them up prior to giving them free access to the rest of our abodes. It's great to have our dogs understand that they must wait to be cleaned up and to realize that they will be asked to "sit-stay" in order to be dried off and cleaned up. Both our necessary rooms and our dogs' basic obedience commands make for happy dogs and happy people.
Now, aren't you glad that you put basic obedience training on your dog and have a designated area to keep them clean?
It is a new year and what better way to celebrate than giving everyone the chance to see and purchase the self-help book, Caregiver Follow Me? I am available to answer any questions that you might have. I can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am looking forward to meeting you. I want this to be the best year ever for caregivers, their dogs, patients, and families.
From all of us here to all of you there..... May the warmth of the Christmas Season be with you now and all through the New Year.
In all the hustle of Christmas remember to make sure the inside and outside of your home is critter safe. It is your responsibility to keep your animal(s) safe, just like you do for small children. Curiosity will get the better of young animals, dogs are no exception. They are going to investigate. Place all unsafe, off-limit items far from nosey muzzles. Be sure that cords inside and out are not within your dog's chewing vicinity. Electricity and dogs don't mix. Dogs have been known to tear down the newly decorated tree---be sure to anchor it. If packages are decorated with ornaments keep them away from the dog's reach. And if any chocolate is in the home put it away. Chocolate can be lethal to animals. Watch out for packaging material, specially those styrofoam ballls or "S" shaped pieces that are used to ship those wonderful gifts. It is not so wonderful when the dog ingests it and has to be rushed to the vet clinic. That styrofoam packing material, once in the dog, will swell up. That is not something you want to deal with. And monitor what your dog is eating during this time of excess. Humans pack on weight, so do dogs. Not good for either species. Be sure to play it safe and if in doubt don't allow it near your dog. Keep your common sense on all-alert status. Enjoy the season more by taking breaks with your dog. You both will benefit.