Buddy Beagle Gets Confused

The driveway in front of our house is T shaped. We come up the drive and swing to the left to park the car. To leave we back up into the other arm and turn left to go down the driveway to the road.

Normally, Marie’s Subaru is the only vehicle parked out there. I park my truck over by the dog kennels, which is accessed by a different driveway. But today a truck was coming in to drop a load of gravel by the kennels and my truck needed to be out of the way. So I brought it up to the house. As long as I park in the “backing up” arm, Marie can still get her car into it’s spot – she just can’t leave until I move.

Buddy had been sleeping when I moved my truck.

When it got to be about time for Marie to get home from work, Buddy got up and looked out a window. He saw my truck, which is similar in color to Mare’s car, sitting in the drive. Wrong vehicle, wrong position, but in the driveway.

He went nuts. He always goes nuts when Marie comes home. Buddy adores Marie. He started baying, he ran from window to window, he ran in circles, he tried to knock me over, all his usual stunts. But Marie wasn’t getting out of the “car” out there. So he got frantic. “What’s wrong, what’s wrong?”

It took a while but I got him calmed down.

No sooner had he calmed, but Marie’s Subaru came up the driveway, and we started all over again! But now she’s home. Once he see’s her get out of the car he will calm down so he can greet her when she comes in.

He’s a funny boy!

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Leggy Lennon Tries Tug-O-Rope

All of the dogs except Buddy Beagle — who was indoors doing a detailed inspection of his eyelids — were outside horsing around when Lennon discovered a ropey toy that had been spirited outside and tucked away.  Lennon didn’t want to stop playing with the girls, but he wanted to chew that ropey later, so he devised a plan.  But there was a snag in his plan … a snag named Josephine!

His plan didn’t work out as he had planned, but it did involve everyone playing together.

Lennon is young and playful and gets along well with everyone.  Buddy grumps at him sometimes, but that’s not about Lennon, that’s just Buddy being a grumpy old fella.

In the past, when I’ve tried to get Lennon to play tug with me or with Blondie, he would yield the ropey as soon as his opponent tugged on it.  But today, he figured out that playing tug can be fun.  We should have a new game we can play together now.

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Lennon Gets an Upgrade

Lennon has been spending the nights in a transport box in the Bunkhouse.  It’s warm in there and quiet, and has fewer distractions than sleeping in the people house.  It’s a good place for doggos to start sleeping indoors.

But when Lucy left, it meant that Lennon would be all alone.  So I brought his crate to the house.  I left him in his transport box to provide some continuity in the change.  The people house can be exciting, and confusing.  Having “his room” would help him transition. Besides, the transport boxes are sturdy: offering effective containment.  They are more closed in, offering a sense of security to their occupant.  And any “accidents” are better contained than with a wire crate where a male dog can lift a leg and pee right through the crate onto the floor outside.

Lennon has settled in well and been a good house guest, so today I traded his transport box in on a regular wire crate.  These offer better visibility, better air flow, more interaction with other dogs.  He seems to enjoy it.  But that’s not the only upgrade Lennon got this week.

I was going through communications between our vet and Dr. Crouch as they discussed Lennon’s hip injury and I saw that Dr. Crouch said, “If the dog is very lame, he would be a candidate for FHO (femoral reconstruction)”  And it occurred to me that I would NOT count Lennon as being lame, much less very lame:

There was a time when Lennon would run for a couple of minutes, then slow to a walk and limp just a little as he walked.  But no more.  And I have been giving him a daily Glucosamine Chondroitan / MSM / Turmeric supplement that is supposed to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and promote healing.  I wondered if it was necessary to put Lennon through surgery and rehabilitation.  I wondered if he even QUALIFIED for the surgery anymore.  So I asked Dr. Crouch for his opinion and showed him the video above.

His response was that Lennon was not a candidate for hip reconstruction at this time.  He’d be happy to help if Lennon needed it in the future, but now, he’s looking GREAT!

So it looks like Lennon has been upgraded in this area as well.  We (Steele Away Home) do want to get another x-ray done to see if some healing has occurred.  If so, keeping him on this supplement may be his long-term answer.  If so: he’s ready to seek a forever home.  As long as he’s here I’ll continue working at house breaking him, but other than that he’s good to go.

Yay Lennon!

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Is Peanut Butter Treat Day a Trap?

peanut butter treatsI made 274 of my Peanut Butter dog treats today.  That sounds like a lot, but we go through that many in a week or less with the pack I have here.

I use them as rewards (and bribes) for good behavior as well as “just because you’re a good dog” treats.  With 8 dogs normally in residence, that’s 34 treats per dog per week or not quite 5 treats per dog per day.  Since they get a treat for going into their crate or kennel – each time, you can see how we run through them quickly.

Cookie assistant SelmaToday Selma was my cookie baking assistant.  Selma is in training as a house dog.  She needs to learn to calm herself and act civilized while in the house.  She did well today.

When I empty a peanut butter jar, I make it a point to give it to one of the dogs to lick out.  That’s an extra special treat!  Sometimes one has just had surgery, or has just arrived and is feeling nervous.  Sometimes one has had a good break through and deserves a reward.  Today it occurred to me that little Josephine has NEVER had a peanut butter jar of her own to lick out.  It seems she is due!  But that didn’t go quite as I envisioned:

When Josie passed on the offer, Callie said she’d show Josie how it’s done.  But Josie wanted no part of this potential crime and quickly left the room.

She loves the peanut butter cookies, she’s just not so sure about that jar.

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Lennon’s First Play-date with the Girls

Is that a UPS truck coming?!

Lennon is not a particularly massive dog, nor is he mean, but with his high energy level and gangly legs, he can be a formidable playmate as he sprints around and gets bouncy when in close.  Blondie Bear can handle him and they have played together often.

Being a Mentor dog, Blondie tries to curb his enthusiasm or channel his energy into proper play like running.  He likes to run, but also like to wrestle.

Today was the first time I allowed Lennon to play with dogs other than Blondie.

Josephine has encountered him (accidentally) and found him terrifying.  So I left her inside.

I’ve always figured that Lucy and Lennon would make good playmates because she is equal in size and more massive.  She should be able to handle him.

Callie is playful and likes to wrestle.  Though she’s a little smaller, she is quite strong.  That should be an even match.

So let’s line them up and see how they do … one at a time to start, with Blondie as referee.

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Selma Is an Adventure Dog

It’s a chilly 22° this morning. Lucy and Lennon came out of the bunkhouse to eat breakfast and relieve themselves, then were ready to go back inside where it’s warm.

Even in 22° she prefers the outdoors – for a while.

Selma sleeps in the People house with us. She went out early with the other house dogs, came in to eat breakfast and wanted to go back out. Despite the cold, she says, “I’m an adventure dog. I like it outside.”

She stayed out until after Marie went to work, then came in to warm up and nap.

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Lennon’s First Civilized Truck Ride

dog transport, pick-up, truck, SonomaWe have a pick-up truck that I use for hauling dogs around.  I can strap down three hard-shell  transport crates in the back.  Most dogs start back there.  When I feel they will behave, they get to ride in the club cab behind the seats, or on the passenger seat up front.  I can put two large dogs behind the seats, if they get along well, one on the seat and three in the back for a total of six dogs at one time — should I ever need to do such a thing.  The max I’ve carried at one time so far was 5.

Lennon had his first ride inside the truck with me today – normally he rides in a transport box in back because he’s kind of … active.  We were headed to Kathy’s Grooming Parlor for a medicated bath and he has been doing better at being calm, so I decided to let him try.

I started with him behind the seats, but even before I got out of the driveway it was clear he was gnawing through the tether that keeps him from bounding around in the cab (and keeps him from flying forward in a sudden stop).  I need to replace that woven tether with a length of light chain.

I quickly reconfigured and brought him up to the passenger seat. If he was going to try to climb on top of my head while I was driving I’d just have to pull back in for a transport box. But he didn’t. He DID try to gnaw through his seat belt (safety strap). I scolded him. He decided to chew on the console. I scolded him. He chewed on some pens. I scolded him.

Finally he just sat up and pressed back against the seat and watched out the window. I praised him and scratched his head.

While he was being groomed I went to Tractor Supply for fostering supplies and I bought him a small pig ear to gnaw on during the ride home.

When we got in the truck I laid the pig ear at his feet. He glanced at it then stared out the window. I picked it up and showed it to him. He turned his head and looked the other way. “I’m not falling for that, you’ll scold me if I chew on it.”

So I put it up against his teeth. He opened them a little and I slid it into his mouth. “You may chew on THAT, that is what it’s for.  If he had eyebrows they would have raised a bit, “Really? I can chew this?”

So he laid down on the seat and got to work. He was still chewing on it when we got home, so he took it back to his room.  Lennon LIKES pig ears!  And he like civilized truck rides.

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Rebel and the Delicate Little Flower

Josephine is sometimes called our “Delicate Little Flower” because she is the smallest of our pack, kind of frail, and skittish of anything unfamiliar.  Yet, she tends to choose the biggest dogs as her playmates.  She and Julian were famous for their antics.  But this worked because Julian was exceptionally kind.  They would play in a rowdy manner, but he never hurt her.  He was very careful of that.  Callie often fills that roll now.  Rebel likes rowdy play and Josephine wants to join in, but she often yelped in pain as he got careless,  That resulted in an immediate cessation of play and a period of Time Out for Rebel in his crate.

He has figured that out and is learning self control.  This allows Josie Bean’s TRUE nature to show itself, as exhibited in her nick name: “Sharkey”.

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Blondie Bear and Rebel Reach An Agreement On Sleeping

Blondie Bear has been with us since March of 2013.  For most of that time, she has lived in the house with us as a family member and slept in the bedroom at night.  Blondie and Cochise had beds of their own to sleep in, so we never let these 85 to 100 pound dogs jump into our bed with us.  We continued that policy even when we started collecting Beagles.

When it would rain, and especially when it stormed, Blondie tended to curl up on the floor beside my side of the bed to draw comfort from being near me.  This became her normal nighttime sleeping location after a while.

When Rebel arrived, he was used to living outdoors full time and had insecurity issues.  He was also starving and I needed to feed him, often hand feed him, small amounts every couple of hours.  And it was winter.  So it made sense to bring him indoors where I could more easily work with him.

Sooo … what’s with this fuzzy floor?

He did not like being crated and made a huge fuss if I was not right there with him, so for anyone to get any sleep I started sleeping on the sofa next to his crate.  In time that morphed to him sleeping tethered to the sofa I slept on.  Rebel’s innards had settled down so he no longer had to go outside every hour or two because of diarrhea, and he was sleeping through the night without attempting a rampage on anyone nearby.  I decided we could move to the bedroom and he could sleep tethered to the bed.  But that displaced Blondie Bear.

Sometimes, Blondie would join Rebel and me in the living room.  As long as she was out of range of Rebels tether, she could sleep unmolested by a rowdy Rebel who decided to play at 2:00 am.  When we moved to the bedroom, Blondie slept at the foot of the bed: out of range, but as close to me as she could get.

“This is MY place”

After this went on for several weeks, Blondie got perturbed and stated that she wanted her sleeping space back.

Rebel agreed that they could share that side of the bed.  Actually, what Rebel said was that I could release him to sleep wherever he wanted, and Blondie could have his space.  But that didn’t sound like a good plan to me, so I moved his afghan down to the foot of the bed (which is closer to Selma’s crate anyway and the two of them like to be near each other) and Blondie resumed sleeping beside me.

That has been working quite well.  Even when I get up at night, they both lift their heads to look at me, but then decide to stay where they are and go back to sleep.  If I get up early — before either of them feels a need to go out, both stay right where they are and continue sleeping until that need arises.  Rebel does not bother Blondie, nor has he tried to sneak up on the bed (while we are in it).  The next step will be to see if we can dispense with the tether and he will allow the other sleeping dogs to lie.

The Gate Escape

The “Outside Dogs” were in their kennels this morning after breakfast. I was in my den working on some stuff. I heard Selma chittering and working on the chain link of her kennel. I was not too concerned: she does that, until I heard a suspicious “clink” and got up to look out the window to see what she was doing. I saw per push her gate open and stroll out into the play yard.

I ran out to collect her.  When I got there, she was hunched up, making a pile.  “But DAD, I had to GO!”

She IS housebroken and has kept her kennel clean when she’s outside.

When I set up a new kennel I always replace the light duty gate latch that comes with it with a heavy duty latch, and I add a second latch down low because some dogs are powerful enough to grab the gate and just yank it into the kennel, spinning the one standard latch enough to pop the gate open and get out.  A second gate latch helps prevent that.

These latches are special kennel latches with a tab and slot arrangement that is supposed to prevent a dog from flipping the latch open with nose or paw, like they can a standard gate latch.  Its a nice plan, but it still doesn’t always work.

So I add a clip that snaps into a hole just above the pivot tab and locks the tab in the down position.  I do this on the lower latch.  And for those real powerhouses (of which I have had several) I attach the clip to the kennel with a length of sturdy chain that can wrap around the door post and door frame, then clip to the latch as extra, added insurance.  With this arrangement, I’ve been able to contain even the most determined escape artists.  Unless I forget to use the clip, which apparently I did this morning.  Selma is a clever girl and was able to flip both latches and open her gate to go out to poop.

Or unless they go through the roof.  A couple of them have done that.  I found ways to beat that too, but that’s another discussion for another time.

Go to Selma’s Summary Page

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