Saturday, October 31, 2015

Lizzy's Adopted!

Lizzy found a great family! While I will miss her rat hunting skills I'm so happy she'll be heading to a home where she'll be a true part of the family.

Little Miss came to us in July this summer and I was a little surprised that it took so long to find a good fit. I think the issue is that so many people applied for her based solely on her looks and without an understanding that there is more to a terrier than cuteness. While Lizzy isn't a difficult girl, she's a true hunter, energetic, and very smart. She isn't a dog who can sit around in the house all day and then sit with her human on the couch all night.

At her new home she'll get to go to work with dog regularly, has a 6 year old to help wear her out, a fully fenced large back yard, and a nearby grandma who is interested in spending time with her as well. They carefully weighed the decision of bringing Lizzy into their home and all members of the family were equal partners in the decision making process.

So I'm very happy that on Sunday sweet girl will be heading to her new home. We'll miss her joyful little prance but know that she'll be moving on to a home where she'll be loved and cherished. The one who won't be happy to see her go is Harrison, who will miss his wrestling/bitey face partner.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Deadly Miss L

Lizzy has done it again and this time I saw the whole thing go down. The dogs were all standing at the sliding door waiting to go out when I noticed a good sized rat at the base of a tree halfway across the yard. I opened the door, hoping that one of the 5 dogs shooting into the yard would actually catch it instead of the normal 3 Stooges type of routine that often happens. Four of the dogs headed for the tree but Lizzy was smart and shot across the lawn to cut off the rat before it could get to the fence.

The ill fated prey. 

She shook it against the fence and then took her victory lap around the yard with the other dogs all on her heels, hoping for a piece of the prize. Her and Harrison played tug for a bit but once they realized it was dead all the fun went out of it and they stood around nonchalantly, not super interested but also not ready to let Sal and Chima move in for the steal.

Lizzy, Queen of the kill

Lizzy is a very good ratter. She is fast, quiet and calculating when she hunts and happily unlike Chima and Salinas she isn't interested in eating her catches once she kills them.

Inspecting the rat with Harrison. Both seemed a bit disappointed that it was dead. 

So good work, Lizzy. Because we have 2 neighbors with tons of crap in their back yard, long grass and big brush piles we are in need of a dog who actually catches the rats instead of trying to yell them them to death.

It does look like she got a small nip on her snout - not sure if it was from the rat or from one of the other dogs during the frenzy - but we cleaned and disinfected the cut and will keep an eye on it.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Ins and Outs of Being a House Dog

People often assume that dogs somehow know what they can chew, where they can stand, where they can pee, what is considered "dog food"...  And while we know in our heads that dogs aren't born knowing there is a distinction between  a Nylabone chew toy and a TV remote control, when the remote control gets chewed to bits we get mad at the dog thinking they should know better.

Eventually, they will know your rules but when a dog is new to you and your house they need to be taught those house rules, even if they lived in a house before. Just because they knew not to chew the remote control in their former house does not mean they will be able to generalize and assume your remote control is also off limits.

Harrison working on a Nylabone

I think the most common cause for initial problems when people bring a new dog into their home is there isn't enough supervision and then when the dog does something they don't like they are frustrated with the dog. The high level of supervision (consider it like watching a toddler) doesn't have to last very long if it's consistent up front and you spend time teaching the dog (in a positive manner) what your expectations are.  And remember - you need to provide an alternative. If you don't want the dog to pee in the house that means more trips outside and big reinforcements when they go outside. If you don't want them chewing on the couch you have to have a bunch of fun alternatives available for them so you can redirect unwanted chewing onto a toy that is much more fun. Just wanting the dog not to chew at all isn't an option.

Kicking back with a favorite toy of his that he was redirected to when he tried to chew on a couch cushion

So when I have a new foster dog in the house, the first few weeks are a bit exhausting. Especially with a dog like Harrison who has never lived in a house before. Lessons he's learning this week? Dogs don't get to stand on dining room tables. No lifting of the leg in the house, only outside. Couch cushions are not for chewing but all these great toys in the corner basket are fair game. Blankets and shoes also need to stay out of the mouth. And when Lizzy has a toy that you really want, peeing on the pile of toys you two have been picking things out from is not an okay method of laying claim.

Harrison is a silly, goofy, smart, and very bouncy boy and I'm sure he'll learn quickly. He's already learned not to mark in the house and no longer has to wear the uncomfortable belly bands as long as I'm right there with him. Good boy, Harrison!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bath Time

One of the first things that happens after a dog arrives is they get a bath. This gets rid of any ticks and dirt that hitched a ride from California with the dog.

Checking himself out in the mirror before the bath - he thinks he looks plenty clean and we can skip the bath

Harrison is not a fan of baths. He is also 3 times bigger than most of the foster dogs I bath. Add to that the fact that he can leap amazing heights from a standing position and lets just say I got a little wet. Not just a little wet - wring out your pants and shirt wet. Wipe down the walls wet.

He's not a fan

Let's just hope we don't have to repeat that experience anytime soon.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Loving Lizzy

I mentioned that Harrison is a big Lizzy fan. Like Lizzy, Harrison loves to run and play - makes sense since they are very close to the same age and both active kiddos. Yesterday and today it was Wrestlemania non-stop. Plenty of bitey face, wrestling on the couch and then chasing each other around the room.

After Lizzy got over Harrison's size (he weighs almost 3 times as much as she does) she realized that this was what she had been missing so much. Rough and tumble play, play, PLAY!

It's nice that they are able to wear each other out which makes for nice snuggly dogs in the evening who are happy to crash on the couch.

Of course, the rest of the dogs aren't real happy about all this rambunctious play. Especially Frodo and Chima who are both the fun police. In the video below Chima let's Harrison know what she thinks of him.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Meeting Harry

Harrison arrived Sunday afternoon and we started out his foster care adventure with introductions to the other dogs in the house.

We started with Lizzy because she is the most active and my guess was that they would be great pals. Lizzy can be fear reactive with unknown dogs who are larger than her so initially Harrison's size and intensity freaked her out and she was very growly and snappy with him. To help her relax we put Harry on a short leash so that he could be kept in one spot with limited leaping in the air. Lizzy, who was off leash was then free to move as far away from him as she needed to be to feel comfortable and could sneak in for butt sniffs to get to know him. I brought out a high value treat with me to so that they both had to divide their focus between each other and the yummy stuff in my treat bag. It also started an association for Lizzy that she gets paid well for being brave and meeting a new big dog. 

Lizzy cautiously approaches for a sniff, standing beneath me for some extra security

It took about 5 minutes of us standing in the rain and Lizzy carefully assessing Harrison and then she started throwing him play invitations. I don't think they've stopped playing since then.


With some dogs just meeting 1 new dog is exhausting and as much as they can handle but Harrison was doing well so one by one the other dogs came out and met him. Lizzy provided a good distraction because she kept trying to get him to play while the other dogs checked him out.

Frodo is less than impressed

Typically I would put the dog who just met the new dog inside before bring out out the next dog but Harrison clearly wasn't bothered by the intros so I let the other dogs stay outside.

Harrison gives Chima a sniff and she's decided to tolerate it

Chima sniffed him a couple times and then ignored him. Sal snapped when he got too rambunctious and let him know right away that she wasn't going to take any punk puppy bullshit from him. Frodo and him did the circuit of marking every shrub and blade of grass in the yard to show who was the man of the yard.

Sal feels much better having some distance between her and Harrison

It was really yucky weather for an intro but unless I planned on crating the poor guy 24/7, it had to be done so everyone could get along in the house. Meeting oustide is so much easier for the dogs because they feel like they have room to move away if their feeling stressed. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015


While I've had a lot of posts about Lizzy's busy side, I haven't posted as much about what a snuggler she is. If I am ever on the couch she makes sure to be right beside me for some snuggle time. She even snores sometimes which is ridiculously cute.

These photos are from last night when she was snoozing next to Salinas. Salinas is usually pretty grumpy about other dogs getting in her space when she's sleeping so this was a rare occurrence.


Salinas and Lizzy

Monday, October 19, 2015

Introducing Harrison!

Our newest foster boy will be arriving this weekend and we can't wait to meet him. He's what many call a "giant" Rat Terrier or a Decker Terrier. Right now he weighs about 30 pounds but he is underweight so probably will be 33-35 at a healthy weight.


Skinny guy

He's definitely a good looking guy and we hear his personality is as great as his looks.

Lizzy will be so excited to finally have a pal who likes to play. He's 11 months old so very close in age to Liz.

Hanging out with some Cattle Dogs

From what we can make out of the story, he was one of a large number of Decker Terriers who was seized from a property in central CA when his owner passed away. When  family didn't take the dogs rescues were contacted and all the dogs were taken by a variety of rescue groups.

And of course, following our Beatles naming theme for the year, Harrison is named for George Harrison.

Stay tuned for more Harrison posts as we introduce him to the pack next week.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Lizzy the Cat

When it comes to snuggling comfort doesn't seem to be the first priority for Lizzy. Unlike the other dogs who are looking for the softest, warmest spot, Lizzy's main goal is to be closer to her person than any of the other dogs.

In the past she has attempted to steal the spot closest to me by laying down on top of the dog currently there. Needless to say that didn't go over well.

So now she tries to curl up on your shoulder or chest or even on top of your computer keyboard, much like a cat. And since Chima often grabs the spot next to me that means Lizzy spends much of her down time on my shoulder.

Silly girl can definitely claim that she has created the spot closest to me. I guess that I should be happy that 23 pound Chima doesn't try this approach when another dog grabs the spot by my side first.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Don't Rain on my Parade

Chima and Salinas hate when it rains. In fact Chima gets quite dramatic about it which is out of character. Typically the biggest reaction you see out of her (unless she sees a rodent) is a head tilt. But Lizzy is another story. While I can't say that rain is her favorite kind of weather she doesn't let it slow her down one bit.

She still tears around the yard full speed doing zoomies, skidding in the mud as she takes a tight corner. She still throws herself into shrubs that she sees a bird go into, and she still digs around in the dirt under the bird feeder looking for stray sunflower seeds the birds have missed. 

Extra spots on that belly

The result is a mud splattered girl who ends up getting rinsed off in the tub multiple times a day when it rains. And when it comes to tub time Lizzy will agree with Chima that there isn't much worse than a bath.  

Monday, October 5, 2015

Drying Off

With the autumn rains starting to fall, it has been pretty muddy in our back yard where we have several areas of freshly turned soil.

Of course these are some of the dogs' favorite spots to run through and no one manages to get muddier than Miss Lizzy.

Last week she came in after a potty break and had mud up to her elbows so she had to get cleaned off in the tub before she could run loose in the house again. She was not amused but what was amusing was how she finished "drying" herself off on the couch. As with all that Lizzy does, there was much goofiness involved.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Lizzy and Frodo

For the most part Lizzy is respectful of my older dogs and listens when they tell her to take it down a notch. If that happens she just bounces off to see if anyone else is interested in playing with her - or even just tolerating her while she "plays at" them.

Lizzy and Frodo

However our 10 year old dog Frodo is quite the curmudgeon. Age really has nothing to do with it as he has been uptight since he emerged from puppyhood - he knows how he likes things and he doesn't like other dogs messing with him. He will tolerate Chima and Sal who like to come up and lick his face occasionally but with fosters he lets them know they need to stay outside of his very large bubble of personal space.

Lizzy however is a curious little girl and while she mostly listens to him, when he does something interesting she can't help herself and has to inspect.

I thought it was so cute when Frodo had burrowed under a pile of 3 freshly washed blankets that he had pulled out of the laundry basket and arranged on top of a dog bed. Lizzy came over to inspect his handiwork and Frodo was not amused.