Monday, June 30, 2014


Hartley has the cutest little nub - so cute that I had to do a post all about it.

She has one of those especially short nubs and when she wags it her whole rear end wiggles. How cute is that?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fences are Awesome

I didn't realize how much peace and sanity that a fence brings to the life of a home with dogs. Logically I knew it was helpful, but it wasn't until our fence was failing and then for the last two days, torn out, that I realized how much easier it makes my life. I had lots of time to ponder the ways fences are awesome during the last two days that I've been taking five terriers out for potty breaks, one dog at a time since apparently they can't pee if I am holding two leashes. Heck, they could barely pee on leash at all.

The completed new fence

Old fence. This is actually a pretty good section of it. 

This all started because a neighbor behind us has a large, unsocialized male dog who likes to pound his shovel shaped head and 75 pound body against our fence. Since our fence was probably over 20 years old, this meant that he regularly popped boards off and broke rotting posts. Hoping it would buy us some time, we nailed up chicken wire. That didn't stop boards from popping off but it bought me time to get to the fence line as he threw his head into it. Every time I let the dogs out I was terrified that this would be the time that he would blow through it and attack my dogs.

New fence in progress...

And my dogs aren't blameless by any means. Chima and Sal will call off the fence when the dog is out but Frodo goes apoplectic. He actually starts things by freaking out and barking at the dog. The dog then starts to growl and throw himself at the fence. This gets Frodo even more worked up and being a terrier, he's pretty sure he can take that Pit Bull. He may just be 10 pounds but in his heart he's a Mastiff.
The dogs inspecting the completed project

So we had a new fence build and it is spectacular! The old fence was 4.5 feet and this one is 6 feet. There are some high spots that noses can poke under so we need to put some landscaping pavers along the base of one side but all in all, I'm impressed.

One of the high spots we'll be working on

Frodo spent a lot of time inspecting it but for the most part, the girls could care less. They were more interested in the piles of dirt from where the post holes were dug. Chima had to nose through all the piles to find any nice large rotting hunks of wood to chew on.

Frodo did the most detailed inspection of all

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Remember Ellsworth? Well his name is now Stephen and he is doing wonderful.

His new family makes sure he gets plenty of exercise and between that and having a great Rat Terrier brother, Sullivan, he has transitioned seamlessly into his new life. He gets daily walks or hikes, time to run and play in secure off leash areas, and then plenty of play time with his brother.

Stephen was labeled as unadoptable at the shelter because he was so highly stressed out that he couldn't stop pacing and was unable to engage with people. And when he initially came into foster care he was a complete mess - compulsive, panicked, pacing and needy...

With the help of a vet, some training, and a very special couple adopting him, Stevie has relaxed and become a very easy, goofy, lovable dog.

Happy life, Stevie!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Welcoming Hartley to the Pack

While there was the threat of rain today, so far it's been pretty dry so I took advantage of that and started working at introducing Hartley to the rest of the crew. She met Frodo last night and they were completely fine together but I know sometimes it can be a bit intimidating for new kids to meet "Thelma and Louise" aka Chima and Sal.

Hartley giving Sal a sniffdown

We started out meeting Salinas and that went pretty well. She's great with introductions as long as the dog doesn't try to hump her or spend too much time with their nose in her butt. Hartley did a bit of lip curling but we kept everyone moving and I weaved in and out between the two of them so there was never enough time for either to get offended at anything. Then it was back inside for a break.

Chima, Salinas and Frodo

About an hour later I let Hartley and Salinas out and then brought out Chima on a leash with a treat pouch at my waste to keep everyone's attention on me. Chima did really well and after a few minutes I let her off leash and then played a recall game with her to keep her calm and also to keep her from obsessing about Hartley. By playing this way she would get a short chance to sniff at Hartley but I would call her to me before there was time for Hartley to get worried and curl her lip. Chima would tear back to me, get reinforced for being such a good girl with a bit of jerky and then off she'd go back to her investigations.



We spent about 15-20 minutes this way and then everyone went back inside for some separated nap times so we could end things on a positive note before anyone had a chance to get overwhelmed and snippy.
Hartley is still a bit nervous but it's just her first day and she's had to meet 4 dogs AND have a bath so I can't blame her. 

I'm proud of them all. This was their first time meeting and we were able to get all the dogs out at the same time. Hartley stayed calm and was even able to relax enough to continue her tour of the back yard. In a few more days she should be all settled in and one of the pack.

Hartley's definitely a pretty girl

Friday, June 13, 2014

Introducing Hartley!

Ellsworth is heading to his new home this weekend so it's time to introduce our new foster dog. Please welcome Hartley to the New Rattitude Family!
Hartley was found running with another stray near Kings Canyon National Park on a very busy highway. Tourists called the sheriff who quickly drove over to the location but one of the dogs, a shepherd breed, had already been hit by a car and killed. Hartley was still there though and was rescued by the sheriff.  When the owner wasn't found, New Rattitude was contacted about her.

Hartley is about 2-3 years of age and the guess on her weight is 17 pounds. She is a sweet, good natured mothering little dog and loves cats. In fact she was caring for a young kitten in her temporary foster home - cleaning and snuggling him. She is great with other dogs and sounds like an all around gem. We can't wait to meet this long legged beauty!

Getting a sniff from house dog Gracie at her temporary foster home

Hartley was named for the American Modernist painter and poet, Marsden Hartley. The landscape was his favorite painting subject and he was inspired by Cezanne along with the writings of Blake and Emerson.
Marsden Hartley
Painting, Number 5, 1914-1915
Landscape New Mexico, 1916-1920
Fisherman's Last Supper, 1940-1941

Saturday, June 7, 2014

New Bed in the House

When something is new in the house, the dogs all have to check it out. I had brought home a pallet from work after I saw this cool project using pallet wood to make a dog bed. When I set to work, the dogs watched through the baby gate into the garage as I built it.

New bed, waiting for its wheels and cushion

At first they weren't sure what it was for. Everyone sniffed it trying to decide why the wooden box was in the rec room. Chima thought that maybe this was a "101 things to do with a box" kind of game and stepped into it, seeing if that would get the clicker going and the treats flowing. It got her a laugh at least.

Frodo giving it a good sniffdown

Chima playing "101 things to do with a box"

I finally got the casters added and stuffed a Molly Mutt cushion to make it nice and cozy. Then Chima used it as a hurdle for awhile as her and Ellsworth played a game of chase. After that she used it as a perch to supervise the other dogs from on high.

Queen Chima on her throne

Ellsworth, trying it out

Finally though, Ellsworth got the idea and he and his football had a nap.

Our new finished bed

It was a fun project so today I brought home another pallet. This time I think I might make a long narrow one that fits two Molly Mutt cushions and use it outside on the deck. As much as they love to sunbathe I think that one will be a hit this summer.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Ellsworth at Logan Ridge

Dog's learn the value of having humans in their life through experience. While some dogs are more drawn to people than others, they still learn from their experiences if a human is valuable or not. A dog who lives outside most of the time and doesn't spend much time with his people isn't going to know that working together with a human can be rewarding for them. 

There's no way to help a dog learn to connect to people faster than to start doing rewards based training with them. To start out with food rewards will get them to sit up and take notice that maybe, just maybe these humans are worth the time of day. The food doesn't have to always be part of the equation but if you want to see progress quickly, food rewards can make amazing things happen. 

Anyhow, Ellsworth and I have been taking clicker training classes with Timko Training in Gig Harbor at the beautiful Logan Ridge training location and he is just starting to make that connection that humans are worth paying attention to. His new family trains their current dog using positive reinforcement so they will continue working with him to build a great dog to human relationship. 

Before class each day we arrive about twenty minutes early so we have a chance to walk around the upper field area which gives Ells a chance to relax and settle so when it's time to work, he can focus better. The photos in this post are from our pre-training walk. 

I can't wait to hear how he does in his new home. Transitions are tough for Ells but once he makes it through the first couple weeks it should be smooth sailing. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Ellsworth's Adopted!

Yesterday Ellsworth took a trip with us to meet up with applicants who were interested in adopting him. They adopted another Rat Terrier from New Rattitude a couple years ago and when they saw sweet Ellsworth posted on Facebook they wanted to add to their family. 

At first Ells was pretty keyed up from the car ride and then when we got out of the car he saw a squirrel which revved him up even more. He was being too obnoxious to meet their dog Sullivan face to face so instead we just walked with them and Sully until both dogs could relax enough to forget about each other. Then after a couple of butt sniffs they calmed down and decided they could hang out together without stressing out. 

So we went into a fenced dog park area that was luckily empty and both dogs got a chance to play off leash. At first they both did their own thing but by the end of the visit Ells was rolling around in the grass and trying to initiate play with Sullivan. Good boy Ells! Here are some photos from their time in the park: 
Ellsworth is still pretty obsessed with his football

Sullivan is checking with the humans for treats - or maybe checking to see why this weird dog won't put his football down

Still with the football

Cute Sullivan

Ahhhh, sunshine

All loaded up for the drive back home

It didn't take long for him to conk out after his big adventure

So the paperwork is now being done to finalize the adoption. Ellsworth's new name will be Stephen or Stevie and he'll be moving to his home in Oregon in a couple weeks. 

We will miss this big, beautiful, sweet boy but are super happy that he found such a stellar home.