Monday, January 31, 2011

roxy has bragging rights

This was so awesome it needed it's own post.

At the kennel today, when Roxy saw Tammy, she didn't blink at first because she was focused on meeting Sonny.  After that was over, and she looked up and saw Tammy, she was seriously just in love with her; she was all wiggles and bouncing at her, butt bumps and just plain loving every minute of it.  Tammy said she was a totally different dog.

Then she met Marie (who she's never met before), jumped on her, wiggling her little wiggle butt, then got down and butt-bumped her and just laid into her legs for scratches.

All of this from a dog who, only a few months ago, would barely even approach strangers without heavily considering an exit route.  All of this, without looking at me or coming back to me for treats.  I was so proud of her today. This dog is my soul mate dog, and she has seriously become such an amazing dog that I am happy to brag about.

sonny came home.

We brought Sonny home to foster yesterday.

I brought Roxy and Buster to meet him at the kennel. We did one-on-one intro walks and short play dates in the yard after that went well, and then brought all 3 in together just to make sure there were no immediate issues.  It's important to me that there are no issues up front because of Roxy.  We've tried the crate and rotate thing with her and she just plain doesn't tolerate it; and she's come so far in her training, I can't jeopardize what we've accomplished.

Anyway, so Buster, Roxy, and Sonny hit it off.  Roxy was play bowing and inviting him to play left and right.  Buster tried to hump him a hundred times (he has this thing for other male dogs) and we did some Time Outs and that fixed Buster's humping issue.  But whenever he tried, Sonny didn't mind. Sonny was licking both of their faces, in between trying to jump over the 7+ foot fence to get away, poor baby.

When we got home, I took Sonny for a walk. Then I took Sonny and Buster for a walk together. Then I took Sonny and Roxy for a walk together. Everything went great.  Sonny even peed while I was there, for the first time since I've met him.

When we got home, Sonny went in his crate and slept with one eye open for about an hour... then we went outside and he did pretty good out there, aside from trying to jump the fence. At this rate, he'll never be allowed outside without being on leash.  Once we came back inside, though, he went and hid under the fake Christmas tree we have yet to take down.  He crawled underneath the front of it and hid in the back and underneath it.

I went to the back room to prepare their dinners, Roxy and Buster followed me, and Sonny followed behind them. While I was there scooping food out into bowls to bring to the kitchen and stuff into toys, Buster snapped at Sonny.  I never feed them there, ever. But the food comes from there.  And when I first got Buster, he had some major guarding issues.  He's amazing now, he's never guarded toys, and doesn't guard food/chews/high value items from people.  He's great with toys and other dogs.  And I haven't had a problem with him and the food-prepping station with Roxy, but Sonny is new and Buster is just showing that he's a little nervous because there are big changes going on, with a third dog in the house.  Okay, mental note -- dogs go into crates prior to me preparing their food. Done. I do high-value items in their crates already, so this isn't a big difference. Sonny doesn't seem to be holding it against Buster, in fact, he seems to love Buster and is taking cues from him as to what to do.

So, I fed them dinner in their crates, and while he was eating in his crate, I took the silly Christmas tree down before he came out of his crate.  Once everyone was done eating, I opened his crate and he followed Buster around the house.  Then he walked back towards his crate, and instead, he chose to literally crawl into the bottom shelf of my bookcase, on top of some picture frames.  The poor guy just laid in there for a while cowering.

I tried dropping high-value treats somewhat near him, but he didn't budge.  So I went and grabbed a dark colored sheet and covered his crate with it, to see if that helped him any.  I walked into the other room and my guys followed, with Sonny in tow.  When we went back into the living room, Sonny went right for his crate.  Poor guy just wanted his crate covered. Done.
And now he's using his crate as his hideout, runs back to it when something scares him, so at least he has somewhere to go where he feels safe. And he's not trying to break out of it (knock on wood) so I'm thankful for that.

He only eats if I leave the food with him and walk away after a few minutes, and he refused to pee last night so this morning he peed for a good minute and a half or more. And he's totally terrified of Rob right now, so Rob's completely ignoring him, except for occasionally dropping high-value items in his general direction.  He scrambles into the corner when you walk around, if you accidentally look at him, he flattens out on the ground.  If you talk while he's exploring, even if you're not talking to him or looking at him, he stops what he's doing and just stares, curiously.

But Sonny just loves Buster and Roxy. His tail wags for them and he wants so badly to play with them. We saw a couple of play bows (Sonny has the cutest play bow ever) but he's still not sure of himself. But any dog-friendly Pit Bull is uber-special to me.

We have some work to do, but he's already perfect to me.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

a tribute to bandit

Bandit was our first foster. She was adopted just about a year ago, and I've been thinking about her a lot lately.  I keep looking back, thinking we should have kept her.  I still feel like I made the right decision, but I can't help but miss her. She was such an amazing dog.

A HW+ dog who went through HW treatment while in our care.  She was an amazing dog and her and Roxy were great together... they were both brindle, and just plain adorable together. I joke they were in "doggie love."

Bandit was found as a stray, and had at least one litter of puppies before that.  She had a love-hate relationship with squeaky toys. She loved every person that walked into the house.  Bandit taught Roxy to be a less afraid. We talked of keeping Bandit, but I was nervous because she hadn't yet been spayed (due to being HW+) and I knew that spaying a dog can sometimes change their behavior/temperament due to the change in hormones. I didn't want to have two dogs that didn't get along in the house, and there was no way of knowing how she'd be 6 months down the line.  The other problem was, if we kept her, we wouldn't be fostering anymore.  We had limited ourselves to 2 dogs in the house at one time, except for occasionally watching our friend's dog for a week or so at a time.

She wound up getting adopted by family members of someone who volunteers with the rescue, so I at least knew she was going to a good home. I met the family, a mom, dad, and teenage boy who totally loved her.  He was a good kid, too. You know, one of those kids that had respect for people and actually knew how to hold a conversation.  And he was so sweet with Bandit.  And Bandit loved him.  We knew we would miss her, and being our first foster, it was probably the hardest thing we had to do.  We still miss her.  Rob is still a little upset with me. I don't blame him, but after Bandit... we had the luxury to foster several other dogs, one of which we did wind up keeping.  He needed us.  If we had kept Bandit, Buster we would not have found us... err, we would not have found Buster.

Bandit, here's to you. We will always love you, and I'm sure by now, you've forgotten us because I know you're so loved where you are.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

roxy, my super dog

Roxy had a ridiculously awesome day at agility class last night.  We started agility a few months ago, and she's been progressively getting better, in general, and it's been such a great outlet for her winter energy and a great place for us to train as well.

She tends to get pretty excited and anxious when a new dog is in class, but it calms down after the first couple of minutes typically.  But, she has a harder time with that when the new dog is vocal, easily excited, etc.

Last night there was a 4-5 month old German Shepherd Puppy, who was very, very excited.  She's a regular at the doggie daycare, and plays very well with other dogs (so I'm told), but she was non-stop barking, lunging, whining, and all sorts of talking, and she just got more and more excited when a dog started moving through the equipment...

So, Roxy was watching the shepherd when she barked, but she stayed sooooo calm, except for just the tiniest little whine she let out when the shepherd saw the first dog running and got really really excited.

Then, even better... Roxy was in a sit, the shepherd is barking like a loon on our left side, there's a little white fluffy dog on the right side of us that started talking back to the shepherd, and there was a Golden Retriever running through the course at top speed, right behind Roxy.  A few months back, this would have been KRYPTONITE for her. She would have gone into panic mode standing up, her eyes shifting back and forth, she'd be trying to get away, trying to hide behind me, whining, leading to high-pitched barking, etc.

So, when she heard the golden about 3-4 feet away she turned her head and looked at the golden, but she stayed in her sit. I called her name and BAM she turned towards me and held her sit and watched me, amidst all that distraction and scary stuff.

This is a HUGE milestone for her. HUGE. On a million levels.  Looking back, I wish I had a video of her prior behavior so I could post a new video to show the difference in her.  I'm totally, 100% impressed with her and couldn't be more proud of her.

Plus, she ran the equipment really well last night, even with the shepherd barking the whole time.  She was so focused and she didn't skip a beat

I am so amazed and impressed with her transition from the dog she was before vs. the dog she has become.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

bobby, adopted!

Dear Bobby,

Your new family is awesome, I can tell already.  I truly hope you are a GOOD BOY for them.  They already love you, so there's no need for you to show off to get attention.  I will miss you, Bobby. You taught me the most about pit bulls, and taught me to love them so much more than I already did.  Be safe and happy in your new home, Bobby Boy <3


P.S.  Your new mom and dad saw how much you loved me, so they're looking forward to getting that much love from you, as well!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Meet Sonny.  Well, don't meet him. Don't try to talk to him, pet him, feed him, or cuddle him. Sonny is a fearful dog, and people are his kryptonite.

Since Bobby has a good looking meet and greet tomorrow, I'm exploring to find my next pet project dog.

Sonny is a very dog-friendly Pit Bull, but he is terrified of people.  He army crawls on the floor when people walk him places, unless he is with another dog.  Then his whole body perks up.

This picture was taken of him at the kennel, where I'll be working with him.  I have yet to take any pictures of him myself, seeing as he's terrified of people.  I don't think he needs a scary person with a flashing box pointing at him, so I'll wait on that.  It may be a while before I can get a better picture.

And I've only "met" this dog once, but I love him already.