Since Tory’s surgery to correct his elongated soft palate, his breathing has improved by leaps and bounds. These days, I can hardly tell he was ever impaired at all! He snorks and wheezes like a normal Pug, but nothing out of the ordinary. Tory still has some behavioral issues to work through, but I think he’s ready to start looking for a forever home.
Overall, Tory is in good health at this point. His trachea is still partially collapsing, but unless he exerts himself quite a lot, it’s not noticeable. Halving the amount of food fed to Tory in his old home, from two cups daily to one cup, has helped him begin to lose weight. Tory still needs to lose almost five pounds to be at an ideal weight, but even the small amount of weight he’s lost already has taken some pressure off his already compromised respiratory system and allowed him to be more energetic.
Tory resists the application of his eye drops, but he will continue to need them daily for the rest of his life. He still may need further treatment for his eyes as the condition progresses.
Since his surgery, Tory has made an interesting discovery: He can bark without becoming exhausted now! Previously, Tory’s soft palate was so elongated that barking more than a few times made him gasp for air. Unfortunately, since an elongated soft palate is a birth defect, it seems likely that Tory always had difficulty vocalizing, and never learned when being quiet is appropriate. He’s gotten into the new and unpleasant habit of barking at my other dog, my rats, my cats, and to entertain himself when bored.
By using 30 to 90 second time-outs in a quiet room away from people, I’ve begun to teach Tory that barking for attention results in the exact opposite. When Tory barks at the rats or cats, my dog Gus corrects him by herding him away and using dominant vocalization and body language to convey that he, as the dominant dog, is displeased with Tory’s behavior. When Tory barks at Gus, however, Gus tends to ignore him, and timeouts don’t help as much as they do with attenti0n-seeking barking. I think eventually Tico will either realize that this barking does him no good, or Gus will get tired of it and start correcting him for that, also. Most owners’ first impulse when dogs snap at one another is to separate them immediately, but in certain situations, it’s best to allow dogs to correct and shape other dogs’ behavior. In many situations, a fellow dog can convey a message that simply isn’t the same coming from a human.