Thursday, August 12, 2010


We finally did it.  We adopted our foster boy, Buster.  He's some sort of lab mix, we're guessing.  But him and Roxy are such a pair, and Buster is truly an amazing dog.  We just couldn't let him go.

You see, Buster has 4 legs. But his front left leg was injured some time ago.  He was found as a stray and the injury was already there, so we really don't know what happened to him.  He's seen multiple veterinarians, including an orthopedic vet who previously fixed a dog with a similarly broken leg, but they said there was nothing they could do to fix his leg because there was too much nerve damage.  But, they said he's in no pain, and we began fostering him a few months ago to help determine if amputation might be necessary.  After a few days, we could see there was no way they could take Buster's leg.  He uses it so much, for balance, to play, to climb into your lap, to bring his ball closer to him, to hold toys, and, when he runs, he still balances on that elbow. Taking his leg would probably be more detrimental... 

So anyway, we initially had no intention of keeping a second dog.  And we had gotten a few applications on him, and only one was worthy of such a great dog, but things changed on the potential adopter's end so they were going to have to wait on getting a second dog.   We actually had one family say they wanted him because he only walks on 3 legs and they figured it was okay to not exercise him and he could be left alone, outside, in an unfenced yard because he can't run away.

Buster is such a great addition to our family.... him and Roxy are great little buddies, he's so cognizant of her moodiness, and because he loves everyone, he takes a lot of pressure off of her when we have people come over.  Everyone is busy loving on him while Roxy gets to sneak in her sniffs while they're not paying attention.  He gives her confidence, and the chance to explore for herself, which is a pretty big deal.  Plus, Buster is the only dog that Roxy has ever let cuddle with her. It was meant to be.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

training: progress!

Roxy seems to be getting better at "look," "touch," and "leave it."  She's also starting to see people and check in with me, which is really awesome.  She doesn't do it all the time without me asking, but she's done it SOME of the time without me asking, which is huge.

We're struggling with leash walking still, but I think I'm seeing a little bit of difference.  The biggest thing I've noticed with the leash walking so far is that when she's walking well on leash, and something makes her nervous or anxious, she immediately starts pulling again. So at least I can start to anticipate those things and work on keeping her focus before that.

Overall her reactivity seems to be slowing down a bit also.  She's getting less nervous with cars passing by, she's less nervous when she sees people approaching, and seems to be doing better with other dogs.  If the other dog is ignoring her, quiet, or around 10 feet away, she seems to do fine.  She still perks up and wants to check them out, but overall seems more relaxed with their presence.  She does seem to do the best, so far, if we stop and do some obedience drills or focus work, as opposed to us trying to keep walking.

There are a few dogs on our street that do seem to cause problems though.... Although, it's more the owners that are problematic.  One is the black lab who is super dog-aggressive.... he's often off-leash in his front yard with the family's children, who aren't quite large enough or mature enough to understand what could happen if he gets close to Roxy barking like that... Or, the psycho little puggle who, Roxy met and played with months ago, but now all of a sudden is chasing and lunging at us on a retractable leash. And the puggle's human? Oh, she doesn't seem to see the importance of stopping the dog from lunging at us... Those are the worst incidents.... they typically happen in the middle of a great training walk, and they totally screw up Roxy's focus and raise her anxiety levels.

I think I need to start looking for other places to train. Our street is becoming repetitive and we don't have enough new people to expose her to. I think we'll start with the strip mall by the Rockaway Mall in the next couple of weeks.