Doug Bittinger

So … who is this guy?

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.

Progress Notes: 09/04/2018

Both Ugg and Blue have been here for just over a week: Ugg for 8 days today, Blue for 10 days.  Both came in with behavior issues.  Ugg is a 70 pound Great Dane who still thinks he’s a 10 pound puppy.  Blue is excitable too, but his major issue is jealousy and possessiveness.

Blue has been exhibiting this when I had the both of them in the yard at the same time.  If Blue has a toy and Ugg comes to see what he has – not even trying to take it, just curious, Blue gets snarly and snappy with him.  Same if I’m petting Blue and Ugg comes over.  If I’m petting Ugg, Blue will come in and try to push Ugg – who is twice his size – out of the way and take over the affection fest.

It’s interesting that when they’re in their kennels, food and toys don’t seem to cause any issues.  In fact I often find Blue’s toys in Ugg’s room, and the only way they could get there is if Blue is placing or holding them within Ugg’s reach.

When Blue acts out, it earns him an immediate and swift trip back to his kennel, where he stays for the rest of the play period, watching me play with Ugg.  Lately I’ve been making sure the toys are put up before every joint play time.  I’ve been working on getting Blue to take turns for my affection.  He’s made strides in the past two days, and nearly every play session is now a joint session.  That’s good because they both get doubled time in the yard this way.

Today they got hot from playing in the yard and decided to rest in the shade of my barn and watch me work in the garden.

Blue had found a yard bone and brought it with him.  He wasn’t chewing on it, just sort of sitting on it.

I took a picture of them being good with my phone.  My Handycam is out of commission right now.  The phone makes a simulated shutter noise when it snaps a picture, and Blue hopped up to come over and see what that noise was.  He left his bone behind.

Ugg reached over and snatched the bone.

When Blue went back to his place, the bone was missing and he started sniffing all around, looking for it, “My bone, my bone – where did my bone go?”

Then he saw Ugg chewing.

“Hey!  Is that MY bone you’re chewing on.”

“Nah, I found this just laying around.”

“So, where’s MY bone?”


When Blue pushed in to check on that bone, I grabbed the hose and got ready for an altercation.

“That IS my bone.  You stole my bone!”

“Nuh-uh.  I found it.  You didn’t have it, it was just laying there.”

Then Blue did something that really surprised me …

He said, “Meh — I don’t care.  You can have it.” and went back to his spot and laid down!


I’m so proud of Little Boy Blue!  That is a major step for him.

He got extra treats when it was time to go back to his room.

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.