Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Declaw Remorse and Training Breakthroughs!

I got Kobie about six years ago, and as a matter of course, I got him declawed the same time I had him neutered. I was young and dumb and thought that 1)declawing wasn't causing any real long term harm to the cat and 2)that it would be impossible to teach a n adult cat how to use his claws indoors, and 3) that because my other cats were declawed, I had to declaw Kobie.

I have since discovered how wrong I was, on all three counts. I have since trained several cats to properly use their claws indoors. I have since learned of, and seen first hand, the deep psychological and physical damage that declawing causes. I have declaw remorse, in a bad way. And to make it all worse, six years after the fact, Kobie has developed a painful declaw complication. His toenail was not entirely removed in the first go, and has for the past several months, been slowing regrowing through the bone and under the skin of his toe. This has caused pain, swelling, infection, and drainage. He had to have surgery today to remove the bone spur and sharp little kitty claw. I almost cried when I saw it, I can only imagine how painful that must have been. And now he will need to recover from a (second) amputation of the last digit of that toe. My poor baby.

There are 101 reasons not to declaw your cat, and this is reason number 101.
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He deserves better than this. :(

On a happier note, Moxie and I had a wonderful night training with our club, GTDOG. We spent the first hour helping people from the community train their dogs to be well mannered pets. This is very rewarding in and of itself. You should have seen the look of sheer joy and amazement on this dear womans face when her 6 month old lab puppy finally "got" sit. The light finally came on, and she starting picking things up faster and faster as the night went on. I love teaching, its quite satisfying.

The second hour Moxie and I did some formal obedience practice. We started with heelwork and I must say Moxie was looking fantastic. She was flashy, she was correct, she was "On" and it showed. Her turns, her pivots, her halts, her finishes, she never put a paw wrong the whole night. I was so pleased with her. If we can perform like that in a trial we'll be coming home with a HIT and titles coming out our ears! *Dreams of a High in Trial Win* As icing on the cake tonight, Moxie and I finally clicked on two skills we've been working on for a long time now.

Get Out: Go away from me and around a stationary object as directed. This is something I have been trying to teach her for use in both agility and obedience. She needs to work away from me more in agility and Get out would make that easier. My dream would be to be able to stand in the middle of the ring and call out commands and let Moxie run the course (hey, we can all dream can't we?) This is also an essential skill for Utility level obedience and several skills in Advanced and Excellent Rally. Moxie, I could tell, was quite pleased with herself and happily "Got out" around an alley-oop, cones, bowls, toys, whatever I told her. She was having a great time. She knew she had "gotten it" and was quite pleased with herself.

Back up (Back straight) : Heeling backwards, both in a straight line and in a figure 8. We were getting this right 90% of the time by the end of the night. Right now she mostly just scoots or shuffles backward with very little control in her direction. But she did have a couple of good attempts were she moved her feet independently and deliberately. I think we are getting there. I think, as with Get Out, once she gets this, there will be no stopping her.

So overall, I am quite pleased. Now to find some trials to enter, both agility and obedience. I want to enter the TWANG ASCA Agility trial in December, and would love to find an obedience trial in October or November. Anyone has any leads, let me know!


JJ said...

You should enter some of the NADAC trials in Calera, OK starting Thanksgiving weekend, they're fantastic and the footing is awesome. Derby and I are doing CPE next weekend, AKC 10/13-14, USDAA 10/27-28, USDAA 11/11 and AKC 11/17 - after that we'll probably concentrate on NADAC for a while!

Are you still going to CS?

Charlotte said...

Well done!

I wish Buddie liked obedience but he absolutely detests it...

Debra Kay said...

I sooo want to figure out how I can work my dogs without walking myself. There have got to be ways people have worked around handicaps to train their own dogs.