Progress Notes: Oct 7, 2018

We’ve taken in two new pack members this week, and are planning another facilities upgrade.

Low Rider

Seriously? Don’t you have a harness that fits?

I picked up Low Rider on Tuesday.  She went straight into a crate in my workshop for several reasons.

  • She was infested with fleas.  We work hard to keep fleas out of our home, so that has to be dealt with before she can come anywhere near our other dogs.
  • She is fearful.  She’s obviously been abused and is frightened of new people, insects, falling leaves, and the outdoors in general.  But not dogs: she ran right up to Ugg and Lady and said howdy to each.  She’s only comfortable in a crate and prefers a quiet environment to herself.  The workshop is perfect now that it’s not so hot every day.  I can run my big turbo fan in front of a window and keep it tolerable in there.
  • She would not walk on a leash.  If used with a collar, she’d drop and gator-roll trying to get away from it.  A harness works better, but it has to be removed when she goes back into her crate or she’ll chew it up.  We lost a $30 Walk-Rite harness learning that lesson.  The next smallest harness I had was a poor fit, but it served the purpose while I ordered more harnesses.

LowRi got a Capstar to get rid of the fleas and was given a topical flea & tick prevention to keep them away.  She was spayed on Friday, and has, over the past few days, done exceptionally well.  She has lost her fear of me and Marie (NAC said she warmed up to their staff too once she was sure they weren’t bent on hurting her), has come to grips with the Great Outdoors, and has gotten to where she will allow me to lead her on a leash (using a harness), has learned to go down stairs, and just last night went up the steps for the first time.  Early on, I carried her from workshop to play yard and back, so these advances are a kindness to my back.

I’m pretty sure she was pad-trained and kept indoors all the time in her previous life.  Teaching her that it was okay to pee and poop in the yard was an odd new challenge.  When in the play yard I take the leash off and she follows along behind me.  She would pee a little here and there, but do it on the sly and scamper away from it quickly.  The first time she pooped, I had gotten a ways out front of her, noticed she wasn’t right behind me and turned around to see where she was.  LowRi was hunched up “going” about 30 feet away.  She saw me looking and immediately stepped away, dropped to the ground and went belly up in a classic, “please don’t kill me, I submit” move.  So I rubbed that belly and gave her a few enthusiastic “Good Girl”s.  That shocked her and it took a few moments to grasp that not only was she not about to die, but I was happy that she did that.

By the time Transport Day rolls around next Friday, she will be adoptable and house broken.  She may be timid around new people (that takes time and exposure) but will be worlds better than when she arrived here.

Highland

The other newbie is Highland.  He was pulled from Newport Animal Control on Friday, taken straight to Kathy’s Grooming Salon to get rid of the “shelter stink” and any fleas he might have had, and is now living in a crate in our den.  This is easier on me because I can walk him to the back door when he needs to go out.  At least that’s the theory.

In actuality Buddy Wingo, Callie, and Moonshine have taken exception to my bringing a new dog into THEIR house without their permission and go ballistic when I let Highland out of his crate.  So I have to first crate these three, then escort Highland to the door, wait for him to finish and return, get him back in his crate, then let the ruffians out.  These three then dash into the den to see that Highland is properly secured before they can go off to amuse themselves with their own affairs.

His first night here, Highland was quiet and we all got a good night’s sleep.  Since then he has gotten “clingy” and fusses loudly if Marie or I are not in the room with him, day or night.  We have dealt with this before, it’s just insecurity and trying to find his place in the home.  What it means is that one of us (mostly me, since Marie has a job to go to every weekday) will be camping on the floor of the den at night until he gets used to the idea that we are all here and he has not been abandoned even if he can’t see us.

Other than this insecurity and the fact that he is not even remotely housebroken, behaviorally he is a great dog!  His gentle nature and happy demeanor make him a pleasure to be around.  He is affectionate without being demanding.  He IS a lab mix, so he’s got that squirrely, high-energy aspect that is common to labs, but it’s not as overt as it is in Moonshine.

Highland is not going anywhere for a while, so I’ll have more on him later.

Moonshine

Moonshine had her first Immiticide treatment Sept. 20th and it bothered her very little.  She remained the energetic, lovable goof that she has always been — except now without a load of puppies.  She will be going back for her 2nd and 3rd treatments Oct 18th and 19th, then 30 days of enforced convalescence.  That will clear her of the heartworms and she will, once recovered, be ready to go back to C.A.R.E. for adoption and a full, happy life.

Ugg

Ugg says, “I want to eat, but I feel too yucky (video)

Our big boy was neutered last Friday.  He was pretty rough that evening, but was able to eat again the next morning.  Since then he has bounced back well.  His incision is looking pink and puffy, but I’ve not caught him licking at it once.  As long as he’s not licking I see no need to cone him.  Ugg continues to calm down and accept that proper interaction between people and Ugg does not involve clawing or chewing or jumping.  It has gotten to where I really enjoy my time working with him.  He is still affectionate and goofy.

He has lost the desire to play fetch, but has decided he likes “tug” better — as long as I let him win.  It is recommended that you always let your dog win at tug — but don’t make it too easy.  And don’t let it look like you let him win.  And DO congratulate him so he knows you’re not angry that he won.  Then he will come back to play that game over and over.  It’s a GREAT confidence builder.

Lady

Lady says something is in the woods

Lady was spayed on Friday.  It took a little longer for her to bounce back than it did Ugg, but that would be natural: spaying is a more invasive surgery than neutering.  She did, however eat dinner that night, but spent longer laying on her dog bed looking at me with eyes that said, “I feel awful.”

Lady too has made great strides in her play behavior with me.  In fact she’s decided I’m not much fun to play with at all, and wanders off to sniff and pee.  But when she’s done she will come back and want to be petted and told what a good girl she is.

Lady, too, is ready for transport as soon as someone claims her.

Facilities Upgrade

New Kennel will go around the play cabin until I get earth-moving done on final location

I plan to buy another 10′ x 10″ Stephens dog kennel from Tractor Supply tomorrow.  This will give me a more suitable place to keep LowRi so she can get some safe social interaction with the other dogs and get her out of the workshop.  She needs to learn to be a normal dog.

And, since we are bent on pulling as many dogs as we can from Animal Control, having more kennels is a good, and a needed, thing.

Moonshine says, “this is a good spot for a kennel, as long as I don’t have to stay in it.”

The end location for the new kennel may be here: in front of the existing kennels and along a fence.  But, the ground here is sloped and rolling.  I can’t do anything about the slope, but need to flatten out the rolling to reduce the temptation for a dog to dig out.

Pipe Dreams

I want to replace tarp roofs with a shed style roof from the garage to posts and a beam on the outside of kennels

My long term plan is for a serious upgrade of our kennels as well as adding more of them, but this is an expensive project that will have to wait until funds are available.  It will involve pouring a 12 foot by 24 foot concrete slab next to the garage for three 8′ x 10′ kennels to sit on, and installing a proper roof over them (attached to the garage roof at the “hip”) so nearly all rain will be excluded from the kennels.

Location of new door to the workshop (aka cold weather kennels)

I also want to install a door in the end of the mobile home that has been my workshop so I can convert two rooms of that into kennels for cold weather use and a dog bathing facility.  We no longer have air conditioning in there, but we do have heat.  That will be a great thing when the weather turns bitter cold.  Trying to bring 9 or 10 dogs into our home (most in crates) just will not work.  Our house is too small, there just isn’t room unless we stack crates on top of one another!

By putting in a door on the end of the trailer, I will have access to it from the play yard and not have to leash dogs to go outside the play yard to the shop’s side door.

Location of 5th or 6th kennel – depending on if I give Blondie’s play cabin back to her.

Once I sell this lumber pile I can place another kennel here, build a shed style roof from the trailer to cover it and make it well sheltered from summer sun and winter winds.  It will have no view of the yard, but for some dogs that may be an advantage.

God willing, I’ll work on getting these things done in 2019.

There have, in the past, been times when I would say something about waiting to do something until funds are available (because we prefer to stay out of debt) and one or more of our rescue friends stepped up and sent us money to take care of the need. That has always amazed and humbled me (not that we don’t help others too, it just amazes that people want to help US). And it generally leaves me scrambling around trying to facilitate an offer to help out. So if you are so inclined, I’m ready this time.

This Donate button is tagged for “improvements” and funds received any time, now or next year will be put toward the improving and enlarging of our facility so we can better serve our county’s canine population.  And we thank you for your generosity.



Progress Notes: Oct 1, 2018

When Blue left on transport, Ugg was so lonely!  The poor thing!

But we got him a new neighbor, Lady, and he’s much happier now.  Neither of them has been “fixed” yet so I am hesitant to let them play in the yard together.  But having a neighbor again makes him happy.

Ugg has come a long way on his behavior recently.  He has a strong desire to please me, so that makes it easy to train him.  I only have to be clear on what I expect of him and he complies.  He now understands that it is not okay to stand up, put his paws on my chest and butt me in the face with his nose.  He also understands that mouthing my hands or arms are not good things either.

Once in a while, when particularly excited to be let out of his kennel, he will forget and try to grab my arm, but a stern, “No” reminds him.  All my bruises have healed up now!

He no longer “attacks” me with affection when I let him out of his kennel.  The No Nip Trick worked well to focus his attention elsewhere, so now he knows that when first released he should run out into the yard to sniff, pee and poop as needed.  Then, when calmed down, he comes back and we do some calm, affection.

Ugg no longer sees his kennel as “confinement”, but as his “room”.  He has not bent anything trying to force the door in quite a while.  I still use the chain reinforcement at night and when I leave the property, but just the double latches during the day when I’m here.

When Ugg is in play time, he sometimes tells me that he’s done playing by going into his room, sitting on his bed, and looking at me to say, “I’m done playing now, bring me my cookie.”  If I hand him the cookie, he often envelops my whole hand with his big mouth, but he’s really gentle about it.  I think he’s kidding around.

If I tire before he does and give him the “In your room” command, most of the time he will comply right away.  Sometimes he stands and looks at me with a, “I’m not done yet” look.  Once in a while he has not moved his bowels yet and will ignore me until he does that, then gallops over to go in his room.  Other times, he is just being obstinate and will go back to sniffing or walking around.  if I say, “Ugg, you’re being a bad boy” he walks to his room, “Oh, okay.”  He’s not happy, but he complies.

One of his new tricks is to come over and sit on my feet with his back to me, them sit up tall and lean back against my legs.  I hold onto him and scratch his chest, he licks my arm.  This is our compromise to his jumping on me and mouthing my arms.  He wants affection and close contact, this is a more appropriate way of getting it.  And he worked this out on his own!

Ugg has become fastidious about not pooping in his kennel.  This has happened only once in the past couple of weeks, and that was my fault, not his.  It was raining hard and I didn’t let him out on time.  A fella can hold it only so long.  If I’m running late, he will fuss and bark to remind me that he has needs too.  He should be easy to house break, he’s already mostly there.

He still gets upset when I leave the property, but has not chewed up anything, nor damaged his kennel (lately).  I think he’s getting used to the idea that I DO come back if I go away.

An adoptive home for him will need a friend for him if he is to be left alone sometimes.  And I’d recommend a sturdy crate if he’s to be kept indoors, or a strong kennel if kept out doors while the family is away.  As he learns to trust, the separation anxiety will go away and he’ll be less likely to chew up things in frustration.  He’s really calm and docile when crated, as long as he is released often enough to see to his bodily needs.

He walks well on a leash using a front-clip harness.

 

Moonie’s Toy Migration

We keep a basket of dog toys on the hearth in the living room. All the house dogs are welcome to select from the assortment when they want something to play with. It is not uncommon for a new dog to systematically empty the basket by taking a toy, chewing on it for a while, then going back to select another. Usually they keep the toys in the living room.

Moonshine, however, likes to play with toys in the bedroom. So she will select a toy, sneak to the bedroom with it to play for a few minutes, then go visit the basket again. She leaves all the “used” toys scattered around the bedroom.

The funny part is that we have yet to catch her in the act of transporting the toys from one location to another. She’s a bit high-strung and has a habit of pacing the house, so traversing the hallway over and over is not unusual for her.

Somehow she manages to relocate most of the toys before we discover what she’s up to. And we’ve learned not to walk through the bedroom in the dark. Fortunately she has not done this once we all go to bed at night. That would be awkward. She’s a funny girl, our Moonie is!

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Progress Notes: Sept. 19, 2018

I got word last night that Blue will be leaving on Friday’s rescue run. He is going to a rescue that has experience with rowdy dogs, so he ought to do okay. Ugg will be staying for another round.

The ironic part is that Ugg is actually doing better than Blue at settling down, but I guess I haven’t made that clear. And Blue is a small dog, so even though he is more rowdy than Ugg, he is not terrifying like Ugg can be when he does decide to get my attention by jumping on me and mouthing.

So I’ll help Blue pack his bags for the trip, and Ugg will hang with us for another month.

We’re on our third Kuranda dog bed for Ugg. The first one I ordered was too small. The second was framed in all PVC and he chewed up a corner piece. Kuranda sent replacement parts (aluminum top caps for all four legs, but while we were waiting for those he chewed up more parts.

27″ x 44″ all aluminum frame Kuranda dog bed

Because of the generosity of a good-hearted woman, I ordered an all aluminum Kuranda bed for him. That one has held up well and he is laying on it. He didn’t seem interested in laying on the PVC bed, only in chewing it.

It has been rainy, and he likes being up off the wet gravel. Ugg is also using his dog house for the first time. Until the remnants of Florence came flouncing through, Ugg preferred to camp on the pea gravel, even in light rain (because his roof keeps most of his kennel dry in a light rain). But the heavier rain and breezes sent him scuttling for shelter.

Blue likes his Coolaroo and his doghouse and uses them all the time. He has done only minor damage to his Coolaroo dog bed.

These two are able to share the play yard again. They had a dust-up a while back over a yard bone one of them found. That got ugly, though it wasn’t Ugg who started it. Blue gets possessive of treats and toys. Neither got hurt in their dust-up, but Blue is still guarded around Ugg. I think he wants to try to prove to Ugg who is boss here, but has found that Uggs size needs to be respected. They do not play together any more, but when their paths cross as they wander, they are civil. There just can’t be any toys in the yard.

Ugg is easy-going and non-aggressive. His only issue is that he doesn’t realize how big and powerful he is, and he can scare the willies out of the smaller dogs when he tries to play with them. I’ll continue working with him on that as well as his self control when he gets excited. He’s going to be fine.

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Blue’s No Nip Tip

Blue is a terrier mix. As such he is naturally excitable and energetic. Blue was found as a starving stray, so he most likely was deprived of attention as well as food. As a result, he can be overly enthusiastic, even demanding, in his response to people who offer to interact with him. Telling him, “No” does no good. What can we do to redirect him from accosting his handler? Try this.

Blue is still young. As he matures he will settle down some. Once he get settled into a permanent home he will become more confident about his relationship with his People. He IS a terrier, so we cannot expect him to ever be as calm and laid back as a Basset, but he will learn better behavior.

My task with him is to help him learn to restrain the urge to jump on and nip at me as a way of expressing his pleasure at seeing me. Once we get him past that, he will be adoptable and will make someone a happy, fun-filled little companion.

For more about Blue, visit his page.

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Follow the Leader: Blue Steele Style

Blue and Ugg are our “outside boys”. When Ugg arrived, Blue had already been here a couple of days and got lonely when no one else was outside.

When I first brought Ugg home, Blue growled at him and backed away. Maybe because Ugg is twice Blue’s size, maybe because Ugg stunk, maybe because I was with Ugg not Blue. Blue likes to be the center of attention.

It did not take long for Blue to change his mind about Ugg and they started hanging out close to their shared wall, getting to know one another.

Blue’s jealous/possessive trait kept them from playing in the yard together for several days, but we eventually got that worked out and they now enjoy spending their play periods in the yard together. They have worked out their pecking order: little Blue is the leader and Ugg is his stooge who happily follows him around like Pinky and The Brain.

Okay, maybe not
*that* hard

Today was a hot one, and their mid-day play time was mostly spent laying in a patch of shady grass, because that’s what Blue said to do. In the afternoon we had a short, hard rain that came late enough to cool things off. Too early in the day and rain makes things tropical and sultry once the rain stops.

With the cooler temps and wet grass for the evening play session, Blue invented a new game: High Speed Follow the Leader.

The way it worked is that Ugg would be following Blue around as they sniffed. Without warning, Blue would bolt off at a run. Ugg rose to the challenge and tried to catch up. Blue is much more nimble than Ugg, and when Ugg caught him, Blue would execute a sharp turn — which he managed, but Ugg tended to slew around in a wide turn, if he didn’t lose traction all together and go down to slide on his side along the wet grass.

Blue clearly thought this was hilarious. Ugg continued to play along with the game, not appearing to be embarrassed or frustrated in the least. Indeed, he thought this was a fun game!

Blue would slow to a walk and they’d resume sniffing until Blue sprung another surprise departure on Ugg. Over and over they did this until both were winded and ready for their treats.

Blue indicated their readiness by going to the mailbox where I store outside treats, toys, and small equipment and nosed the door, “I’m ready for my snack, get us our cookies!”

Blue is a little bossy, but really cute. And smart!

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Blue Steel Meets Moonshine

Moonshine has been wanting to play with Blue. Today I let her try that out.

Blue came out of his kennel and bounced up to Moon Doggie, inviting her to come run with him. She grew wary and said something unfriendly. Little Boy Blue said, “Okay, okay…” and crept off by himself.

Blue found his favorite ropey toy. For a while he ran around flapping and tossing the toy, but it was getting warm out. He settled in to do some quiet gnawing.

He paid no mind to Moonshine at all.

Moonshine, on the other hand, spent this whole time watching Blue play, from a distance, but totally intrigued. I think she regretted rebuffing him earlier. She was finding that he could be a fun playmate after all.

In time, Blue decided to try saying “howdy” again. This time Moonie was cool: they sniffed each other and got acquainted. They didn’t actually play today, but they got along until Blue decided he was ready to go back to his room and get his treat.

Blue behaves much the same way when he’s out with Blondie Bear or Josephine. He wants to play, but won’t press the issue if his invitation is turned down. That is a good boy!

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Blue Takes Charge

Ugg and Blue got their baths and nail trimming this afternoon. I find that right after their bath is the best time to trim nails. Having been defeated by my making them all wet, even the toughest dog knuckles under and says, “Fine, do whatever you want to me.”

Afterwards I put a lead on each and took them out in the play yard together for the first time.

I kept hold of Ugg’s lead for a while because I figured if either was going to get out of control, it would be this big rowdy boy. But Ugg did fine and eventually I dropped his lead and let them play without my being an anchor, slowing Ugg down.

I’m the boss, come with me.

Blue immediately seized on the opportunity to mess with Ugg by grabbing up the lead that was dragging along behind him and attempted to force Ugg to go with him.

What a brazen little boy! Ugg weighs three times what he does.

Blue kept insisting on playing that little prank, so eventually I took the lead off Ugg. If Blue wanted to lead someone he’d have to lead himself … and he has done that (pick up his own lead and walk around with it in his mouth) quite a few times!

The two of them wandered off together. Neither showed any interest in playing, but they enjoyed one another’s company.

Eventually Blue found a ropey toy, showed it to Ugg and ran off. Ugg accepted the challenge, but when he got near Blue, Blue turned nasty and started snarling and snapping at Ugg. Ugg was shocked.

I snagged Blue and whisked him immediately and unceremoniously back to his kennel, where he stayed while Ugg and I finished up our play session. Dogs who can’t play together can’t play at all. He will get a solo play time later, but he’s done with group play for today. Tomorrow he may try again. When he learns to control that greediness he’ll be a happier, and better behaved, boy.

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Booker: No Longer the Bounding Basher

When Booker arrived here he was a 70 pound puppy with no training or discipline at all. He’s friendly and happy, and playful, but had no concept of how big he is. As a result, he’d jump up on me, inadvertently leaving claw marks, and knocking me off balance. Fortunately I am still able to stand up to that.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been working with him to instill some basic dog/people etiquette. That is coming along well. Continue reading

My Office Staff

Office snoozers

Office snoozers

On days when the weather is unpleasant, my assistants: Blondie and Cochise, come into the office with me and the foster dogs snooze in their crates. Normally. If one of the fosters is in the “House Training” phase, they are invited to join us in the office. If they snooze on a bed, all is well. If they’re exploring, I have to keep an eye on them to be sure they’re not misbehaving. That slows down the work I’m trying to get done.

Of course, we all go outside every couple of hours for some leg stretching, play time, and … ummm … relief time. Continue reading