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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The Rebel Run

After feeding the outside dogs their dinner I let them out of their kennels for a few minutes each to attend to “business”. When it was his turn Rebel was standing up dancing against the gate (he’s pretty tall when he stands up like that!) howling and yowling. I thought he must need to go really badly. As soon as the gate opened he was off like a greyhound, galloped two hot laps around the big yard then dashed back into his kennel and stood on his bed looking at me expectantly, “I’m done now. I’m ready for my treat. I just needed a good run.” Silly boy!

Go to Rebel’s Summary Page

A Beagley New Year

Marie and I don’t go out to whoop it up on New Years Eve.  We’re not into parties and crows and drunk drivers, so we stay home with our dogs and have a more personal celebration.

Normally we do a meal that we can stretch out through the evening and have a themed movie marathon.  It’s a different theme each year.  This year we decided to watch episodes of the 1962 season of The Twilight Zone and eat Mexican food.

Marie made a pot of chili, we had chimichangas, and burritos, and for desert, pies cooked in the fireplace with a pie iron.

Rod Serling seems to have been obsessed with death in 1962.

I put Sable and Hudson to bed, and brought Rebel in the house, around 9:30.  Rebel watched the TV for a bit, then got bored and laid down.

Around 11:00 we all burned out and decided to go to bed.  All except Blondie: she said, “You folks have gone crazy.” and went to bed around 9:00.  The next morning …

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The Beagle Box

Buddy Beagle has an odd habit of going bonkers any time I leave the house.  That’s a technical dog training term: bonkers.  It means to bark vehemently, run through the house looking out windows and, if he hasn’t emptied his bladder recently, leaving a trail as he goes.  He claws at shades and curtains.  His hyper-excited state often sucks Callie into his fit.  She can get destructive when in that state.  So it is better to not let Buddy get all lathered up.

I can crate him when I have to go outside.  He will still bark like a hunting dog on scent, but any leakage or destruction is limited to his own environ.  Callie does not get sucked into the excitement this way.  But the loud, frantic barking is annoying, at the least, and disruptive if there is anyone trying to convalesce in the house.

I can take him outside with me as long as no beagle-unfriendly dog will be loose in the yard with us.  This keeps him quiet for about two minutes, then he’s up on the back door baying and howling and clawing the screen wanting back inside.  If Marie lets him in, he’s good for a minute then goes bonkers because I’m outside.

So I bought a Beagle Box.  My thinking is that this will provide protection from unfriendly beasts and keep him away from the house door.  And, if he gets tired of being summarily removed to the Beagle Box any time he goes bonkers as I’m leaving he may come to a point where behaving will be preferable to being beagle boxed for the duration of my outdoor chore — especially in bad weather.  Buddy does like his comforts.

And when this training exercise is over, the cost of the Beagle Box will not have been wasted because this is actually a portable kennel.  It folds up into a package compact enough to be carried in its own case.

This could be used if we take a dog (or two) to an event or show.  This would be way better than crating them when we’re not actively working them.

It’s not sturdy enough to be used as containment for small foster dogs.  This is for well behaved guests, not those who will be trying everything they can to escape and run off.  But I’m sure we will get good use out of it.

Go to Buddy’s Summary Page

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Husky Demands New Sleeping Arrangements

Rebel has been coming inside at night for two reasons:

  1. He is severely underweight and it’s been getting cold at night: down in the 20’s.  He is a pure Husky and has the thick fur of a Husky, and loves being outside in the cold, but with absolutely no fat in his skin I fear it would be bad for his health.
  2. He gets lonely when he’s out in a kennel by himself, and his two kennel-mates (who are NOT Huskies) INSIST on going to their inside crates at night because of the cold.  I can’t crate Rebel inside with them because we’re feeding him a TON of food and he needs to go outside during the night to defecate.  When he gets lonely, he howls and yaps in what I call his Rebel Yell.

Husky says “NO CRATE! I want to sleep free like the others!”

I’ve been crating him indoors.  Most of the time he does okay in a crate, as long as I am in view.  If I leave the room, he fusses loudly.  I tried crating him in the bedroom with the rest of us at night, but the crate that fits in there is too small and he kicked and thrashed against it all night long.  So we moved to the living room where he can sleep in a large crate (we borrowed Callie’s crate and swapped out the bedding) while I sleep on the sofa.  That was better but he tended to get too hot and would paw the crate wanting out.  Often.

Last night we compromised. I fastened a long leash to the leg of the sofa where I was going to sleep. This kept him close enough I could monitor (and away from other dogs so they could sleep in other rooms — Rebel tends to want to trot through the house constantly) and he was near me so he could get skritchies and be told what a good boy he is as needed. He could choose from his open-door crate (rejected), two dog beds (tried each, rejected) or a blanket (liked this much of the time), or the bare floor (when he needed cooling off). We only had to get up three times last night (it was twice that the night before) to let him out for a breather. One time Blondie and Josephine went out with him and they all investigated something up in the woods. The yard is fenced so they cannot GO into the woods, but can see up there.  It got them excited, but they didn’t bark much. Bless their hearts: it was 2:30 AM, and the neighbors appreciated their self control, I’m sure! They all got along fine. Time for breakfast now as we launch into a new day.

Go to Rebel’s Summary Page

Rebel’s Food Rebellion

Rebel is a Husky.  Huskies are opinionated about things.  Apparently they are highly opinionated about their food too.  Unlike most dogs, Huskies won’t wolf down anything you set in front of them.  Oh, no … Huskies like things the way they like them.  Linda Daniels is no stranger to picky eaters, she has a couple as live-ins as well as some in her former foster dogs.  She’s been helping me solve Rebel’s aversion to eating.  A few of the things she’s turned up about Husky dining habits are:

  • Huskies don’t like combined foods.  They’re kind of like those people who have to use segmented plates to keep their foods from touching or they can’t eat it,  We found that Rebel likes shredded, boiled chicken breast.  So I tried to ease him into eating the gastroenteric dog food his vet wanted him to be eating by mixing it into his chicken — a little of it each time.  That didn’t fly: he insisted that there be NO “pollutants” in his chicken.
  • Huskies prefer a varied diet.  Most dogs are perfectly happy eating the same food day after day.  Not Huskies.  And Rebel falls in line with this.  I got my hopes up a couple of times when he accepted a little of some food or other.  But the next time I offered him that food, he said, “I had that before.  Want something new.”  Except for the chicken, he has eaten several meals of that, but not consecutively.
  • Huskies can, however, be persuaded through peer pressure…

Rebel’s former mom said that he was eating normally until about three weeks ago.  Since then he eats very little and has lost a lot of weight.  He currently weighs 45.5 pounds and should weigh in around 70 pounds.  Under his thick fur, he’s just bones.

His reaction to almost everything I’ve tried to feed him. (video)

When I was unsuccessful in his first few days here to tempt him to eat  — and I tried a wide variety of kibble, canned dog food, and people foods — I took him to Cedarwood Veterinary Hospital to see if there was a physical reason for is starvation diet.  They ran a G.I.Series with barium.  This eliminated suspicions such as megaesophagus, and bowel blockage.  They sent me home with some special dog food to soothe his gut.  He ate a little, then refused any more..

Yesterday was a good day: Marie got him to eat a some Critical Nutrition dog food, and Josie helped me get him to eat about two cups of Salmon and Potato kibble over the course of the afternoon.

Today, he’s back to refusing most everything.  He ate about 1/2 cup of chicken breast this morning, left the rest of it in his dish, and has refused everything else I’ve offered him.  So the struggle continues …



Sable and Night Barking

Last night Sable started in on a monotone, metered barking that went on, and on, and on. Around 9:30 we decided she was not going to settle down and I went over to the shop and set up the BIG crate for her.

When I let her out of her kennel, she raced out the door before I could put a leash on her. But she went only so far as the nearest good patch of grass, squatted, and peed about a gallon. When done she came back to me, started bouncing playfully and rubbed on my legs, obviously appreciative of my concession to her needs. She is housebroken and did NOT want to pee in her “house”.

I felt so bad for leaving her so long!

Since I already had a crate set up I decided to go ahead and take her inside.
She was a bit confused as we went out the gate (toward the truck), up the steps, and along the porch. When we got to the door she perked up. She peeked inside, ‘’Oh, it’s a house! It has weird furniture, but it’s a house!”

I took her to her crate and she scooted right inside. I gave her a cookie and bade her good night.

This morning, when I went to bring her back outside, she was still in her crate, the bedding was intact and dry, and she calmly let me clip on a leash and walked back to the play yard to relieve herself again.

She’s not giving me any trouble at all! I just don’t see the aggression she displayed at N.A.C. I suspect she will settle down quickly now that she’s here at Piney Mountain. That is often the case.

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