Thursday, February 27, 2014

Rescue Railroad: Two New Foster Dogs Arriving in Washington NR Foster Homes

It's that time again, folks! We have two new dogs arriving in Western Washington foster homes.  Let's introduce these kiddos:

First we have Xena. Miss Xena is about 16 pounds and eighteen months old. In December she was adopted from a shelter as part of their discount holiday adoption program. She was given as a gift to a 76 year old woman with mobility issues. While Xena is by no means what we could consider a high energy terrier, she is a puppy terrier nonetheless. Puppies are never a good gift choice, however, they are especially not a good choice for a senior citizen who struggles to get around. So Xena was returned to the shelter. Not her fault at all - she's a great dog! We hear she's house trained, even-tempered and laid back. She's also quite a beauty as well. Xena will be fostered in Gig Harbor, Washington. To follow her continuing story, check out her foster family's Website at

Our second dog is Royal. We have gotten conflicting reports from his records on his age. Some say he is one year and others say he is five. Our vet says he is more in the 3 year old range from what she can guess. Royal is another great dog. He's about 15 pounds and is house trained and great with other dogs. Welcome to Washington, Royal! He'll be fostered in Seattle, Washington. To follow his adventures in foster care check out his foster mom's blog at

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Case of the Crappy Crate: Klee Works on Housetraining

When Klee first was dropped off at the emergency vet she was unable to stand, star-gazing, with a very serious head injury. They didn't think she would make it but she was given pain meds and then it was watch and wait.

She was a little better the next day so she was moved to the shelter hospital where she could continue to be observed. This meant she was in a crate sized area. In fact, in the first photo I saw of Klee, she was in this space and this was where she spent all her time in the shelter since she was just there in the medical annex about 10 days.
Klee in the corner of her hospital enclosure

It's great that she didn't get stuck in a dog run while recovering from a head injury, but this also meant that she was pooping and peeing in a fairly small area. Not good. I mean, it's obvious that it's not good to hang out next to one's toilet, but the other problem is that the dog learns to get over that natural instinct to not live where they poop. It makes house training more difficult. Not impossible but definitely more difficult.

Unfortunately I didn't help things when Klee arrived, because I put her in a crate that was pretty roomy for a 9 pound dog. Add to that rainy weather that is not ideal for house training and you end up with a crate full of poo. And did I learn after the first crate poo? Nope, she went on to poop several times, overnight, during the day while I was at work - basically practicing the behavior before I got off my lazy butt and made some changes to her crate.

Finally, earlier this week I dug out the never used metal crate divider from the nether regions of my garage. This handy square of metal mesh with hooks on two sides can be put into a wire crate to make the depth of the crate smaller. I wanted to give her enough room to turn around and lie down comfortably, but not enough room for her to move to one side of the crate to poop and the other side to sleep. That meant the 24" deep crate was cut in half to make it Klee sized.

"What the heck happened to the rest of my crate?!" 

"Hmm... Not sure I like what you've done with the place."

Getting a feel for her half sized crate. She's not impressed.

And in case you are feeling sorry for poor Klee, squished into 1/2 a crate, Salinas is demonstrating that even she, the size of 2 Klees, can fit inside. She can't lie down but she can squeeze in.

Of course, that was the easy part. The not so fun part is I also needed to more than double the amount of trips that I'm taking outside with her - rain or shine - and then ALWAYS have a handful of high value treats in my pocket for when she actually does go outside. The goal is to not let her have the chance to have any accidents inside. This really sucks for me because it means I get to stand out in the wind and rain along with Klee and watch to make sure she has done her business.

So what are the results of these changes we've made? Her crate has been poop and pee free for the two days/nights since the change was made and she's caught on to the treats after she pees or poos so she is going outside much quicker now.

I think the most important lesson I've learned in dog training is that about 99% of the time if there's a training problem, it's the human who needs to be doing more work - not the dog. This was definitely the case with Klee's house training so I guess I should smack myself with a newspaper for messing up, put on my rain coat and take poor Klee outside for another potty break.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Onward and Upward: Klee Conquers the Stairs

When a pup hasn't experienced something, or hasn't had a positive experience with something, they need their human to slowly teach them that maybe that thing isn't so scary after all - maybe it's actually FUN!

And that is the lesson Klee learned yesterday about stairs. After a little hesitation she had figured out the two steps up each of our 3 levels of decks outside - easy peasy. However the 1/2 flights of stairs to the upper and lower levels of our house were too scary for her to even think about. We would all go downstairs to watch TV and Klee would sit at the top, whimpering. The thing is, she doesn't like to be carried either so she was really stuck.

We started out with treats and a clicker and started out with a combination of shaping and a tiny bit of luring. First I put a treat on the bottom step and when she put her paws up on the bottom step I would click and hand her the treat. When that proved to be super easy for her we upped the difficulty and I put treats on both the first and second step. She stretched her long little body trying to get to that second step and then finally hopped onto the bottom step to get the treats on step two. Click and Jackpot!! She munched her treats and then tore back down to the bottom. We did this one more time and she again got a jackpot on the 2nd stair. After that it was the end of that session. It took about 3 minutes. I wanted to keep it short because all I wanted from this session was for her to get the feel for hopping up a step and then hopping back down. That would build confidence but also start some muscle memory of the action of hopping up a stair. We followed the training session with a play session with me on the ground wrestling with her - something that she absolutely loves and that would burn off any nervous energy.

Standing on step one and front paws up on step two

A couple hours later we had another "stair session". This time she was hopping up and down off the bottom step, excited for the game but a little nervous too. I moved higher up the stairs but still just put treats on the 2nd stair. Well that was super easy. Frodo joined us this session for moral support - well Klee found it comforting to have another dog around but Frodo was just there because I had a treat dish in my lap. Frodo thinks puppies are both horrific and wonderful: horrific because they are unpredictable spazzy messes but wonderful because they get so many treat filled training sessions.

Closer to the top

Well now she had the hang of it. Up and down she went, each couple tries one step higher until before she knew it, she peeked over that top step and realized she had made it to the top floor! This was a reinforcer in itself. She had never been on that level of the house - just the lower 2 levels - and she tore around, investigating the bedrooms and bathrooms. Exciting stuff for a seven month old pup!  And then without even thinking about it, down she ran, to the bottom of the steps - and then up again - and then down.

Just two to go!

What a great thing to witness! A fear that had been keeping her separate from places she wanted to explore and people she wanted to see had been turned into a super fun game! I am SO proud of this little pup. My hope for her is a new home that will ease her into life like this, turning the scary unknown into happy experiences.

This video shows the result of her two training sessions. When I called all the dogs downstairs, down Klee came, just one of the pack. And when Troy got home from work he was treated to the sight of little Klee, right in the middle of a thundering pack of four terriers, tearing up the stairs to greet him.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Patience Pays Off with Fearful Dogs

One thing I can't stress enough when working with fearful dogs is to let them make choices whenever possible.

I've fostered a lot of fearful dogs and the more I've been using force-free methods, the faster the dogs' progress happens. When a dog starts to learn that you are going to let them make some decisions as to where and when they move their trust in you grows quickly and their willingness to try new things, like walking on a surface that is new or exiting a crate, speeds up.

Klee has been a great example of how well this works. When she first arrived Klee was afraid to move through open space and darted from hiding spot to hiding spot. She was terrified to leave her crate or to leave the house.

I noticed that she was much braver around the other dogs so I would open the door to her crate, move to the far side of the room and sit on the floor, pointedly avoiding eye contact. Our first attempt took 5 minutes before she left her crate in the entryway of our house and moved cautiously into the living room. This is tough for us control freaks who want things to happen at the speed we set. It pays off though, I promise. My the second day of doing this after I opened her crate and started to walk away, she was out within 30 seconds and tearing across the room to jump in my lap.

It has been super exciting to watch this little pup blossom. Because her brain is still healing from her head trauma, she needs lots of sleep and it makes sense that she doesn't have the same puppy energy that one is used to seeing in a 7 month old dog. However, in the last couple days I've actually seen some romping and when I got home last night after several hours away she actually went into that full on puppy "OHMYGOD! You were gone forever!!!!" dance when I opened her crate up.

Other break throughs: after initially being too stressed to even look at a treat left next to her in a crate, she now has decided that treats are da BOMB and we have started some training work. She learned her name and now we are working on recall, focus, and sit. Initially I had wondered if she would have some learning deficits from the brain injury. No worries there - this girl can learn and she can learn quickly.

I don't have video or photo of her showing off her brave work on crossing crate and door thresholds so apologies for that. But what I do have is this precious shot of what happens when you take the time to really work your dogs' brains - exhausted dogs who are ready for some snooze time.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Dog Communication: Klee has a big volcabulary

Most dogs have a full library of body gestures that they use to let other dogs and humans know that they are feeling a bit unsure about a situation. Unfortunately most humans don't know much beyond if a tail is up or down.

When a dog is using this type of body language around you they are communicating. Respect that! Listen to what they are telling you and give them some space and time to feel more comfortable. If there is a dog, person, or environment that is stressful to them, give them a break for awhile.

Looking away purposefully, and shifting body weight away from what is making her nervous, in this case, a sniff from Salinas in a rather boxed in location

Lip and nose licking, tail tucked, and hips tucked a bit

Here are some great examples of some of Klee's body language when she first arrived. Everything was new and a little nerve-wracking for her so she got lots of breaks in a crate that the other dogs didn't have access to either physically or visually. As she felt more confident she didn't need as many breaks from regular house life with our motley crew.
Paw raised: an appeasement gesture

Ears flat against head, weight shifted back and tail tightly tucked

Furrowed brow - worry lines

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

More Introductions: Meeting Buddha

Most new foster dogs are pretty unsure about the Buddha statue that sits on one corner of our lower deck.

Hmm... not too sure about this guy.

While Klee was fine with meeting the other dogs in the house, meeting Buddha threw her a bit. 

Sneaking up from behind to give Buddha a sniff

She's still a bit leery of him but we're sure after a few more days of watching him, she'll see he's not so scary.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Klee Meets the Pack

It can be overwhelming for a new foster dog who lands at our house and needs to get to know all the dogs. It can take awhile to meet everyone when I keep the pace slow so as not to overwhelm the new dog or take chances of a bad introduction happening with another dog from pushing things too fast.

As usual Klee met Tilly first. Tilly is great with other dogs, has very clear body language, and is very clear with other dogs as to what her expectations of their behavior is. At thirteen and just 7.5 pounds, she manages to keep everyone in line without stooping to any tyrannical behavior. Klee really likes Tilly and likes to rest on a cushy pad next to Tilly's favorite dog bed - a cat house. Since Klee is respectful Tilly doesn't mind this in the least. 

Next intro is usually with Frodo. After making sure the new dog doesn't have any ill intentions towards my sweet but awkward Frodo-boy, I usually do outdoor intros with him. He's super fast and if he doesn't want the other dog near him all he has to do is take off. Klee thought he was an okay guy and after the initial sniffs the two of them wandered around the back yard together. 

Intros to Chima and Salinas can be a little more complicated. But Klee is not a pushy dog so there wasn't much for the girls to take offense to and her introduction to them was past and pretty easy. Everyone did their circling and butt sniffing for awhile and then Chima and Salinas were back to looking for fresh fir cones to chew on. 

Getting to know Salinas

Getting to know Chima - tail up and feeling a bit more confident!

So everyone has been happily introduced and they are doing well together. Now I look forward to watching how their interactions develop as Klee builds confidence and the other dogs get used to having her around. 

Just hanging out with the big girls

Monday, February 17, 2014

New Toy: The Mighty Ball

I decided to try out the Mighty Ball, which is a fleece covered squeakie ball that is supposed to be super tough. It was a hit with all the dogs, and so far is still fleece covered so that is a good thing.

Salinas took her turn first - she loves balls - and initially was perplexed since she couldn't quite fit it in her mouth. She figured out how to get the fleece in the side of her mouth which makes me question how long the it will last. If you buy one be sure to pick one that doesn't have any lumpy seams since dogs will spot that week point right away.

In this video you see Salinas playing with the ball and Chima trying to patiently wait for her turn.

Eventually Chima got a hold of the ball and unlike the other dogs her mouth IS big enough to get around the ball. Seeing as Chima delights in squeaking toys, it got a little loud for awhile.

Time will tell if this ball is as tough as it claims to be. It is popular though so for about $8 for the medium size, it's not a bad deal. I might even try the large one eventually.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Chima and the Harness Part Two: Creating a Conditioned Emotional Response

In my last post I told you the story leading up to Chima and the harness - why it initially wasn't a good choice for her and the options we used instead. In this post I'm going to tell you about our training work to get to the point where when I put on the harness it is a happy exciting thing. We've got a lot of work to do because Chima takes awhile to trust new things, especially if they are going to be touching her.

The reason why Chima and I  are working so diligently on getting used to wearing a harness is that she is starting a training class with me and the instructor asks us to make sure all our dogs are wearing harnesses in class, preferably one with two points to connect a leash to: in front of the chest and in the typical place, over the shoulders. I really should have started working on this a few weeks ago because we only have a week until class starts so I'm going to have to get a lot of tiny little sessions in with her every day and I'm sure we still will need to use the ThunderLeash in the first couple classes.

My goal with Chima and the harness is to create a conditoned emotional response (CER) when she sees and wears the harness. The first step is I have been sitting with her, lying the harness across my lap and marking and reinforcing with a treats when she looks at it. After a couple sessions (and a session usually doesn't last more than 3 minutes or so) she was getting excited when she saw me reach for the harness because she knows it means that treats are coming. So I have conditioned an emotional response of happy excitement when she sees the harness. When we started out: harness = nothing. She could care less about it. Now harness = tasty rewards and just seeing the harness causes that CER to happen. Are you still with me?

Our tools: yummy treats, a clicker, and Chima's harness

So now that I have a predictable response to the harness every single time - prancing and tail wags and happy wiggly body language - it's time to move to the next step. Now I hold the harness up with the head loop open should she choose to stick her head through. She's not going to yet but the point is to get her curious about what I'm doing. She noses the harness and I mark the touch of the harness and reward her. Yay Chima! We'll continue this until it's obvious she loves the game and at some point when she touches the harness I'm going to hold the treat with my arm through the middle of the harness head loop and she'll eat from it there. Slowly as I notice she is completely relaxed and still loving our game, we'll move to holding a treat in one hand and the harness loop open with the other. She'll start to move her head partly through the loop towards my hand and I'll mark that movement of  the head into the harness and let go of the treat.

Do you get the point? The key to this is letting Chima tell me when she's ready for the next step. Not until she seems not only comfortable but consistently enjoying the game will I move to the next step.

Eventually we work up to her putting her head through the loop and me setting the harness in place around her chest and then rewarding while I remove it. That way she isn't paying attention to it coming off and we are all reset for the next repetition. And then the next step after that is getting her used to clicking the loop under her chest and then immediately unclicking it and removing the harness. Once she is enjoying the clicking it on and then taking it off we start to lengthen the duration of her wearing it before it comes off. And pretty soon we are walking around with her wearing the harness.

In the video below you see where Chima and I have worked up to. She is now putting her head through the harness on her own. That behavior is marked with a click and then rewarded as I take her harness off. Our next step will be to work on some duration where she will be marked and rewarded after the harness has been on her for awhile. If any of my trainer friends are reading this and have a better idea of what a next step should be, be sure to email me and let me know!

For your average dog the steps don't have to be as tiny as they do for a fearful dog. For Chima I am going to take it super slow because at no point do I want her to associate the harness with feelings of stress. Then I end up moving backwards so it pays to slow things down. This can be a pretty quick process with a confident, smart dog and can be done in a couple days of regular work. For Chima I'm guessing it will take us a few weeks but I really don't know because she is the one who will be setting the pace.

This is a long post but I just wanted to lay out how a thing that has the potential to be uncomfortable and frightening can be turned into something that instead triggers a response of joy and excitement. And isn't that what we want a harness to do? It should signal great things like walks or trips in the car or to the off leash park to chase a ball and have one on one time being the center of our attention.  The more you use this method of conditioning an emotional response as part of your training plan, the faster your dog will move through the process since they will trust you even more and know that time spent with you means great things are going to happen.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Chima and the Harness Part One: Working Towards a Harness

So I know that I have told Chima's story a thousand times but for those of you who are new to my blog, Chima arrived at my home back in late May of 2013 and when she first got here she was semi-feral and was very uncomfortable being closer than 10 feet to a person unless she was able to sneak up from behind them.

At first we just ignored her and let her get used to us and our home. She had a couple weeks of getting in her "stealth" sniffs where she would sneak cautiously up behind us and give us a thorough sniff-down while we tried not to move as her cold wet nose took everything in.

Chima, on a long lead - a little stressed out when Troy looks at her when she is trying to sniff him

Soon she was okay approaching from the front if we didn't reach out for her. But we discovered she was quite sensitive to any touch, flinching and moving away from the slightest contact. I'll skip over all the work we did in between to desensitize and counter condition her to touch but I wanted to explain how things were in the beginning so I could make the point of what an obstacle this was to getting her to wear a harness. Not only did she dislike the feel of anything against her body, she also hated all the touch that would be involved in getting the harness on her.

The problem was, I do not believe in walking a small breed dog with a leash attached to a flat collar - especially a dog who is as prey motivated as Chima. What to do? I bought a ThunderLeash.

Diagram of how a ThunderLeash wrap works

Dog being walked with a ThunderLeash

While I still believe that the harness is the best option for your average dog, for skittish, touch sensitive dogs the ThunderLeash is an option that uses a leash wrap to create a makeshift harness without much manhandling. If you link to their website you will see how it works but I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS AS A NO PULL LEASH OPTION like they do. I believe there are much better options that do not put any pressure on the neck. I recommend it as a low touch, low handling harness option for skittish dogs.

So here we are almost 9 months later and Chima has never been presented with a harness or worn one. To her it is just a weird pile of webbing (that probably would be fun to chew on.) That is a great thing! She has never learned to dislike it because of negative experiences involving it. Come back for my next post on how I am working on teaching her that this pile of webbing is the most FABULOUS piece of dog equipment ever.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Rescue Railroad: 3 New Rat Terriers Headed to New Rattitude's Pacific Northwest Foster Homes

You've met our newest foster dog, Klee. Here are the other two dogs arriving in Northwest foster homes this weekend.

Toogie is a sweet 6 month old puppy who is full of energy and ready for a home of his own. He's a good sized guy who weighs about 13 pounds and will weigh about 15-16 pounds full grown. He'll be fostered in the Hood River, Oregon area.

Sylvia is a 6 month old little girl who is a bit shy and came to the shelter as a stray. She's looking for a quiet family who will give her time come out of her shell and be all the puppy she was meant to be. Sylvia will be fostered in Yakima, Washington.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My Mind Was Blown

Sue with one of her dogs

Over last weekend I attended a two day seminar featuring Sue Sternberg speaking on "Sociability vs. Aggression in Pet Dogs". The first day covered dog/human interactions and the 2nd day we talked about dog/dog interactions.

I know that it's been a good seminar when I walk away full of ideas I want to try. But I know it is a GREAT seminar when I walk away and my mind is blown. That was the case with this weekend. My mind was blown - she ripped apart some of my former concepts of things like dog play, puppy interactions, dog/human interaction, shelter dog behaviors... I walked into it feeling like I had a pretty good grasp on dog body language and communication and left understanding what a novice I was and reviewing in my mind every foster dog placement that I've been a part of. 

I had planned to write a series of posts on the dog to dog interaction side of things with tips for dog parks, etc. But now I'm still flummoxed as to where to begin. In fact, I feel like I need to go see the seminar again because this first time round I need to steep in the information for awhile and then the second time I can really focus more on details.

Anyhow for anyone working with shelter/rescue dogs watch for Sue Sternberg to be in your area lecturing. The dog/human portion of the seminar is so helpful with determining the adoptive placements of dogs as well as assessing which dogs to put in which foster homes. And then the dog/dog portion of the seminar is something I wish everyone who has a dog would attend, especially if they take their dogs to dog parks.

But until then, if you have an iphone, for just 99 cents you can download her Dog Park Assistant app which helps you understand your dog's play style and gives you tips while at the park for things to watch for in your dog's behavior and other dog's behavior towards your dog. Pretty great idea!

And then if you are interested in her seminars she has a lot of great videos like "Train to Adopt", "Dog/Dog Engagements Between Unfamiliar Dogs", "Understanding Sociability" and more. She's an engaging speaker so you will enjoy watching these. Find her videos at

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Introducing Klee!

Typically we have a new naming theme each year. This year I had gotten lazy and hadn't thought up a new theme so Abo ended up having a New Mexico name, even though he was a 2014 dog. Well, now we've figured out our theme and it will be artists!

With that in mind, we are happy to introduce our newest foster, Klee.

Klee is a sweet little Rat Terrier mix puppy who's about 6-7 months old. She has a bit of a sad story though for a dog so young. Someone brought her into a vet's office saying they had found a dog on the side of the road. She wasn't walking and seemed woozy. Upon examination the vet determined there was some cerebral swelling but she didn't seem to have any fractures that you would expect to see if a dog was hit by a car or something.

So she was taken to the shelter and placed in their hospital unit to be watched. Over the course of the next few days she was up and moving around, the swelling was gone, and by a week after being found she was moving around normally with no apparent stiffness in her hips and now limps that might be seen if there was bone or joint damage. Whatever caused the swelling will likely remain a mystery. The vets do think it was the result of some type of head trauma but whether that was from being dropped or from a vehicle impact or something else, we will never know.

New Rattitude has pulled her and she was spayed and vetted last week so she'd be all ready for her trip to Washington at the end of the week.

Klee is named for Paul Klee, who was a German-Swiss artist who painted in the early 20th Century and was an instructor in the famed Bauhaus school of art, design and architecture. His lectures on color theory were incredibly influential on modern art and he was considered a top design theorist in Germany until pushed out by the Nazis in the 1930's. His art was labeled as "degenerate" and 102 of his paintings in public collections were seized.

Ad Parnassum 1932

Senecio, 1922

Klee's art can't be classified as one style and has been associated with Expressionism, Cubism, Surrealism, and Futurism. He and his good friend, Russian painter and color theorist Wassily Kandinsky, are two of my favorite painters.

Insula Dulcamara, 1938

Monday, February 10, 2014

Pupdate: Petunia aka Neah

Back at the end of 2012 we fostered sweet Neah who had the greatest demeanor with other dogs. Even wild and crazy foster dogs who typically had bad dog manners with other dogs seemed to calm down in her presence and act more polite to her. She was one of those true lead dogs who could keep everyone in line, happy, and playing without ever having to curl her lip.

She would wrestle full tilt with Langley and then sit just outside Frodo's rather large bubble to chew bones with him. Everyone loved her including us so we are so happy that she ended up in a great home with another dog to spend time with. I've done pupdates on her before (her name is now Petunia) but always like to share photos of past fosters here.

Rescuers can often spend so much time looking forward at the next needy, neglected homeless dog that we forget all the happy loved ones out there. Focusing on the successes is what fuels me to keep on rescuing.

I love to share these updates to show how much of a difference taking the time to foster can make in a dog's life. Petunia started out as a skinny stray picked up by animal control. By fostering and choosing to take on the challenge of bringing an extra dog into your home for awhile, you too can revel in the joy of seeing the transformation of a throw away shelter dog who has blossomed into a beloved family member, or in this case a Petunia.

Photos by Corky Miller

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Abo's Adopted!

In a quick two week turn around this sweet boy is now heading to his forever home. Abo needed a home where his family was home most the time and he got just that. His mom is retired, lives on acreage on the Key Peninsula, and after Abo gets used to her Friesian horses he'll get to come along with her making her rounds to care for the animals each day. He'll also have a 13 year old Australian Shepherd sister who decided he wasn't half bad when she met him.

Abo was a skinny, stressed out, stray dog when he came to the shelter and I am so happy that New Rattitude and I got to be a part of his new start on life.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Abo and the Furballz

I have discovered that Abo LOVES plush toys and unlike the other 4 terriers residing in this house he does not destroy them. At least he hasn't yet.

Like all good terriers he likes to give them a little death shake every once in awhile but he mostly likes to kind of gum at them and hold them in his mouth.

There's a big fluffy snowman toy in the kitchen right now that for some reason Tilly is above destroying and Abo likes to take that into the dog bed for company so I thought I'd see his reaction to the Go Dog Furballz toy that I bought a few weeks ago. Chima and Salinas love it but tend to pluck and eat its fur so they only get it on occasion when well supervised.

Abo, checking out this new and wonderful fuzzy thing

Clamping down and enjoying a good fluffy chew

It was definitely a big hit with Abo! After shaking it a bit he laid down to chew on it and was a bit disturbed that Chima was sitting so closely and making it obvious that she really wanted the toy.

This is how Chima lets other dogs know that she would like a turn

Abo clamped down his mouth on the Furball and laid there, daring her to make her move. Chima's smart though so she just waited.  And waited.  And waited some more. I could have taken video of this but the video would have looked exactly like the photos. No one was moving and no one was backing down. (disclaimer: if I hadn't known Chima as well as I do I would never have let this happen because it could have ended in a fight. Because I know she just waits and does not bully and that Abo was not growling or throwing stressy body language I let them hold their stand off.)

When Abo moved to the couch, she followed and continued to attempt to out wait his insterest in the Furballz

It was a long wait and Abo ended up winning this round of peaceful (barely) protest

Ends up that Abo fell asleep with it clamped in his jaw. I was sitting on the couch making sure that Chima and him didn't start fighting and heard this weird snuffle sound. Ends up it was the fur blocking his nose a bit and making him snore.

Abo, snoozing with his prize

When I finally did get the Furball away from him there  was a permanent, crusty mohawk where Abo had held onto it for so long. Looks like I'm going to have to pick one up for him so he can take one home when he is adopted.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Abo and the Dreaded Belly Bands

While none of the male dogs appreciate belly bands as much as I'd like them to, most tolerate them for the few days I require them to wear a band until they settle in. Marking is a pretty normal behavior for dogs new to a home and a bit anxious about their place in the whole scheme of things.

Abo, enjoying some belly-band free time.

So each time there is a new male foster dog  they wear belly bands for a few days. Typically that is all it takes. After introductions have been done and all the newness has worn off most of the danger of marking passes and in all of my foster dogs I've only had a couple chronic markers (and they were females!)

Chima watches Abo's belly band removal technique

Abo is no exception and he immediately was assigned a belly band when he arrived. I can't imagine these things are super comfortable and Abo made it very clear that wants his band OFF! See the video below to view his method of removing bands.

Good thing for Abo he has picked up on the house rules regarding bathroom breaks and is well on his way to being house trained. And now that he's been here a few days he gets to go without belly bands most of the time.