Doug Bittinger

So … who is this guy?

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.

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.

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!

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?”

“Dunno.”

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!

WHAT A GOOD BOY!

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.

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!