Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Trip To The Vet

Luke, Leia and I took a trip to the vet last week. I'll admit that I was a bit concerned. The person who surrendered them said they were not good around other dogs and while I haven't once seen any behavior in them that would make me believe this, there's nothing like a vet office full of stressed out pets to make  a dog fall apart.

Waiting for the vet and paying close attention to the wild and crazy Labradoodle puppy across the room

I bought some rotisserie chicken to bring along as a high value treat as well as a distraction and off to the vet we went, armed with my treat pouch and my Baskerville muzzle for Luke.

Happily it was a cool day and I was able to leave them in the car rather than spend a lot of time in the waiting area since there always seem to be plenty of puppies in vet waiting areas along with their clueless people thinking all dogs want to meet their obnoxious, pushy dog.

When we did finally go in both dogs were a dream. They sat on the scale and patiently (well, Luke was patient and Leia was like a spring that was set and waiting be sprung) waited for their reinforcement of chicken. Then they sat in the clinic room and Luke let me put on his muzzle. Honestly, I don't really think he needed it but best to be safe since there was a male vet tech working.

Luke wearing his muzzle. Notice him licking his lips? Muzzle=lots of great treats in Luke's mind thanks to our training

Both dogs needed blood drawn for their annual heartworm tests, Luke needed a nail trim and Leia has a lump aspirated. All good news - negative heartworm tests and the lump is just a sebaceous cyst.

They went back in the car during the long wait to pay the bill and then we were on our way. Easy peasy with two dogs happy and with bellies full  of chicken. A very happy ending, thanks to prepping them to be ready for exams, pokes and prods.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Muzzling Up

While 99.9% of the time Luke is a very easy laid back dog, he is pretty fearful in new situations, especially with unknown people handling him. Because in a couple very terrifying situations in the past Luke has bit so he could get away I decided to teach him how to tolerate a muzzle and actually not just tolerate it but instead see a muzzle as a positive thing. All dogs should be exposed to muzzling because if there is an emergency and they need to be muzzled because of pain it won't be one more scary thing being thrown at them. But for a fearful dog a muzzle will keep others safe and in turn that keeps them safe as well. An added bonus to a muzzle is it makes people keep their distance which is exactly what I want them to do since the last thing I want strangers doing is grabbing at Luke. They may mean well but my job is to keep Luke feeling safe and comfortable so I make sure we keep to ourselves when out in public.

I want to stress that Luke is not a scary, aggressive, nasty dog. He is a dog who gets frightened in some very specific situations and my job as his current "person" is to make him and everyone else feel safe and protected in those situations.

Luke desperately needs his nails trimmed and he finds nail trims very frightening. In fact one of the times in the past when he bit was when a man was cutting his nails. I am also working with him to help nail trimming be less scary but we don't have time to fully work through that. His nails need to be trimmed now. So we will be going to the vet later in the week and I want to be at the point where he won't associate the muzzle with a scary trip to the vet or a blood draw or a nail trim. Instead it will be something that he is very used to that will just happen to come with us on our  trip.

For the past few weeks I've been working with him by just feeding him yummy treats from his muzzle. He sticks in his snout and chows down. This week we moved to the next step: actually strapping on the muzzle.

So when I strapped on that muzzle for the first time I used a super high value treat for Luke: hot dogs. As soon as it was buckled I started rapidly pushing bits of hot dog through the opening in the front of the cage muzzle and Luke gladly chowed down. After a short bit of this I took the muzzle off and then offered him a jackpot of a handful of hot dog bits.

Well he thought that was so amazing that he followed me around and sniffed the muzzle a bunch after our practice session hoping for more hot dog to appear. We've been doing this two to three times a day so by the time our vet appointment rolls around on Thursday he will be able to wear the muzzle without any fear or discomfort. Wish us luck!

If you are interested in learning more about muzzle training be sure to check out this blog post: Muzzle Training for Everyone! There are at least 4 other posts about muzzle training that follow this one and it will walk you through the steps of teaching a dog to enjoy muzzling with how to videos included to show the process.

Monday, September 5, 2016


With so many dogs around right now there's no time for blog posts. But I wanted to get a chance to chat about sweet Leia. 

Leia is as active as her brother Luke is laid back. She loves to hunt and will chase any critter that happens to wander into her back yard. In fact, she tries to chase them when they leave the yard as well and we've had to up the security of our fencing. Because of her love of hunting and some experiences by her former family we know she is going to need a cat-free home since chasing cats tops her list of fun activities. 

While she is active when she's outside, like most Rat Terriers when she's inside she's all about finding a nice soft spot to nap and she loves to snuggle up next to anyone on the couch - dog or human. 

We were told that she has food allergies and she was itchy when she first arrived but since arriving she's eaten grain free kibble with several different proteins and the itching has gone away. I think with a good quality food and avoiding corn, wheat and soy in any food or treats will keep her itch free. 

Both her and Luke need to lose a few pounds and she does seem to have taken off some of the extra weight. We have a trip to the vet office planned later in the week so we'll see then if she's lost any weight.

Monday, August 15, 2016


I introduced Luke and Leia in the last post but there wasn't a lot of details about the personalities of each dog so let's get to know Luke today. 

Luke is a handsome dog who loves to snuggle and hang out with people but who needs the time and space to get to know people at his own speed. He lacks confidence but makes up for that in snuggle skills.

Many of the dogs that come through our foster homes have not gotten the life experiences that they needed as puppies and end up very worried about anything new to them for the rest of their lives. They lunge and snarl when on leash because they are afraid of unknown dogs and know the leash takes away their ability to safely avoid a confrontation. They may even snap when they feel cornered and when humans don't pay attention to their body language. 

They can move past a lot of that fear but it takes time and also help from their humans. Luke is this kind of dog. At home in situations and an environment he is comfortable with he seeks out attention and enjoys hanging out with his people and the dogs he lives with. But if you throw new people or situations at him - house guests, rearranged furniture, home repair people, etc. he need his person to give him a safe place to hide out so he can avoid the scary stuff until he feels ready to approach things at his own pace. If his fear is ignored and he is forced to stay in the situation that frightens him behaviors may occur like snapping or biting that could have easily been avoided. 99% of the time he is an easy, happy boy. He just needs his people to set him up so that percentage can move closer to 100%.

Sweet Luke is looking for a home with low key, relaxed parents who are willing to let him take things at his pace. When he is allowed to have a choice in how he approaches a new situation he quickly relaxes. He was fine with Troy and I on the first day. By the 2nd day he felt like he could come downstairs and hang out in the same room with all the dogs and Troy and I. At first he thought that was way too many people and dogs in one room so I just let him stay where he wanted to be - upstairs on a dog bed in a crate - and the next day he decided to venture downstairs to see what he was missing out on. Now he loves the couch down there so much it's tough to get him to come back upstairs!

Luke needs a kid-free, cat-free home. Kids just add too much movement and noise for his liking. He loves to chase cats so kitties would be very unhappy when he is around. 

In the right home Luke is an easy, quiet, undemanding family member with great house manners. But in a home that's not a great fit, he is a different dog and is pretty miserable. So this time round we are hoping to find a home where he will be loved and cherished for the great dog he is.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Introducing Luke and Leia

Luke and Leia were first rescued by New Rattitude back in 2012. About 3 weeks ago their adopter had contacted New Rattitude about returning them and was going to use New Rattitude's ReHome program. In ReHome instead of the dog coming into foster care and filling up a foster space the owner continues to care for the dog in their home but we list them for adoption and do our adoption screening when applications come in. It's a win for both the dogs and us in that the dog doesn't have an extra transition they have to deal with and we can use our foster spots for dogs currently at risk in the shelter.

Four days after we were told they were going to be enrolled in the program we were surprisingly contacted by a shelter to let us know that they had two of our former foster dogs in their care. Luke and Leia had been taken to a shelter. Much scrambling took place to find foster spots and then Seuss was adopted, leaving an opening here for a new dog. So on the 13th I drove to Bremerton and met a volunteer who brought them from Port Angeles to transfer them to New Rattitude.

Chima meeting Luke
So far things are going really well. Introductions with my crew were super easy and there has been no snarking from Luke and Leia and just a bit of the expected corrections from my dogs. They have learned to let new foster dogs know from the beginning what they will and won't tolerate and Luke and Leia have been very good natured about things like Chima's rule that butt sniffs cannot last longer than 3 seconds and Sal's rule that under no circumstances will any dog be allowed to hump her without hell's fury being unleashed upon them.

Chima meeting Leia - both girls had really great body language and loose, waggly tails.

Of course we are in the honeymoon period so it is likely as they learn that they are safe here and start to relax we might have a few behavior things to work through but for now it's going well.


Coming up I'll tell you a little more about each of them but for now the basics are that both dogs are now about 9 years old. Luke weighs 26# and should be about 23# and Leia weighs 24# and should weigh closer to 20#. Neither of them should live with cats. While we don't have their paperwork they appear to be purebred Rat Terriers and have docked tails and upright ears. Stay tuned...

Leia and Luke making themselves at home

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Seuss is Adopted!

Handsome Mister Seuss is adopted and will be heading to his new home tomorrow. We are definitely going to miss this well mannered gentleman. I wish all foster dogs were as easy as he has been.

Seuss' new home will be with a young couple north of Seattle who have been waiting until they had bought a home to bring home a new furry family member. He will have a fenced yard for playtime, a dog walker for midday walks when mom and dad are at work and might even have some Nose Work classes in his future. Seuss is an A+ sniffer so we think he'd be a superstar at Nose Work.

Sniffing an interesting smell at the Rattiefest meetup

We can't wait to hear how he is doing after settling into his new life. Congratulations Seuss! We are going to miss you.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Shopping With Seuss

Seuss loves a car ride and gets so excited when he gets to ride around. Getting out of the car and going new places can make him nervous though so we take things slow and keep visits to new places short.

Snuggled into the doggy car seat and ready for the ride

Over the weekend I needed to pick up a small paintbrush at Home Depot and since dogs can be in the store I decided to bring Seuss along.

Waiting with Troy

Checking out a pallet loader driving up the center aisle
While he was a little nervous about all the activity going on around us and the strange sounds and smells, he did great during our short visit and earned himself a fish skin stick after we left the store.

Waiting patiently at checkout

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Brave and Dirty Hunter

Like Chima and Sal Seuss is a bit maniacal about his hunting. Get the three of them together and watch out! Because it's not good for dogs to stay amped up in intense prey drive mode for long periods of time I try to limit how long Seuss hunts, however when he's outside with the girls it's guaranteed they are going to go crazy.

Seuss, wondering why I keep calling him to me when there are rodents to be hunted.

We have an unfortunate situation with 2 of our 3 neighbors having lots of brush and crap in their back yard providing rats a place to nest. And when the rats venture into our yard via their passageway under our shed it brings great delight to the large pack of terriers waiting for them in our yard.

The shred, AKA rat passage where the dogs love to dig

I regularly have to do perimeter checks of the fence because all of them will dig to get under the fence if they see a rat scoot under. And their favorite place to dig is under the shed that I worry might completely topple over at some point if the foundation is undermined much more.

The manure bags that Seuss opened to check for rats

Apparently Seuss sniffed the rodents around several bags of steer manure I had stacked near the shed. The result was a very stinky and dirty nosed dog who had the sneezes.

Dirty nosed dog
He's all cleaned up now and I've learned my lesson. I no longer get to run into the house for coffee when the dogs are out hunting.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

2016 Northwest Rattiefest Meetup

It was the 6th annual Rattiefest on July 24th and this year Seuss attended as my terrier date for the event.
Seuss (photo by Isabel Herbruger)

Rattiefest happens each year on a Sunday in July and give adopters and foster parents a chance to chat and more importantly - to see dogs that we fostered after they've blossomed into beloved family members.

our former foster girl Hartley (photo by Isabel Herbruger)

Some that attended are quite elderly and some are newly adopted but all of them are clearly the pride and joy of their families.

our former foster boy Rigby (photo by Isabel Herbruger)
This year Seuss, now nearly 30 pounds, was the largest Rat Terrier attending. He probably was at least 10 pounds bigger than the next largest. At times it was comical to see him hanging out with a pack of 10 pound dogs begging for treats, towering above them and looking more hound than terrier.

Seuss hoping for a treat with a crowd of little Ratties

Many of the little dogs were nervous around him and he did get snapped at a lot but he was always a gentleman about it and just wandered off to see if someone else wanted to hang out with him and play.

Seuss smooches New Rattitude volunteer Diane who was visiting from California

Seuss and me - he was leashed for bit when he was getting a little excited about the two Labs in the fenced area next to our area

Because we get there early to hang up signs and are the last to leave Seuss was there nearly 4 hours and by the drive home he was exhausted and ready for a nap.

Snoozing on the drive home

If you  are interested in attending a future Rattiefest be sure to follow our New Rattitude - Washington State Facebook page since we announce the event there.

To see more photo of the event go to the 2016 Rattiefest Album. This year Isabel Herbruger was our photographer and she got some great shots! All but the last photo in this post are by Isabel.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Catching Up

It's been a busy summer so far full of vacations and super busy work schedules so blog posts have fallen down to a low priority spot on the to-do list.  Hopefully I can get things going again now that most of our time consuming summer activities are out of the way.

First off - Danzi's adopted! She found a great family in SW Washington where she has 2 furry brothers to play with and a nice fenced back yard. Her mom and dad just love her to pieces and we are sure she is going to be very happy in her new home.

Other than that, Seuss stayed at another New Rattitude volunteer's home that is just about a mile from our house. He was a charming guest (although I am guessing he was hard on her garden since he is an obsessed hunter) and got along great with her two tiny terrier/chi mixes.

Bored Seuss, waiting to be let out back to hunt

We have a new dog bed in our living room that I made out of reclaimed items and Seuss loves it since he can lie there and look out the window to watch for squirrels and crows to bark at. In fact all the dogs have taken turns trying it out and using it to give them a better view of the back yard.

Seuss on patrol

Sal squirrel watching

Frodo telling off crows

Chima takes her turn patrolling for squirrels while Sal rests

Monday, July 4, 2016

Cone Free

After nearly a month wearing a cone I am happy to report that Seuss has officially had his cone removed permanently.

He had to wear it so long because anytime it was removed he would chew off his scabs and we'd have to start waiting for them to heal all over again. Today he was officially scab-free and so off came the cone.

To celebrate he and Danzi had an impromptu wrestling session, initiated by Danzi. Everyone is happy that Seuss has lost his cone since he tended to deal with it getting in the way by just barrelling ahead and knocking things (and dogs and humans) out of his way. Chima and Sal were especially irritated by his coned butt-sniffing attempts.

He's still licking his front legs a bit but my hope is that once he gets used to having access to his front legs again that will stop.

The only time his leg seems to bother him now is after he's been lying down for quite awhile. Then it is stiff and he limps along for a minute or so. After that things are loosened up enough that he is free to terrorize the backyard squirrels with Chima and Sal.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Introducing Danzi!

Because we had already committed to rescuing a dog when we learned that Seuss was being returned we have ended up with full house. Mr. Seuss had a week to settle in and then yesterday our new foster girl Danzi arrived.

Soon after arriving and still pretty worried

Danzi is kind of a supermodel of sorts - long legs, and quite the pedigree. However she is a good example of what happens when a dog is purchased as an acquisition and not a companion. All the good breeding in the world won't make up for the attention, socialization and exercise that is needed by a young dog. Danzi spent her two year life in a back yard full time and was tethered near the back door of the house at night. The result was a bored dog who ended up doing a lot of digging - a choice activity for terriers with nothing else fun to do.

Checking out the back yard but sticking close to the humans

She didn't get the exposure to everyday things that puppies need to get and the result is that she is somewhat skittish. Not horribly but it is pretty stressful for a dog to have to experience so many new things at once.

Not too shy that she can't go check out a possible snack

She's only been with us for less than a day and we've discovered several things we are working on. She doesn't seem to have experienced stairs but after some worried attempts last night seems to be getting the hang of them. The TV also was pretty worrisome to her but she soon learned it wasn't able to harm her. And thirdly, she was a bit nervous crossing thresholds to enter the house from outside and we will continue to work on that. I am guessing things like the vacuum, dishwasher and washer/dryer will take her some time to get used to as well.

Regardless of her undersocialized start she has been great with the other dogs in the house (and there are a lot right now!). She loves people too and they don't seem like they worry her at all. And last night she did great in her crate for the night.

Overall she seems to have the kind of temperament where she is a bit nervous but is able to quickly work through things after having a bit of time to assess them at her own speed. I never force new things on dogs but instead like to let them make the choice to approach and explore something that worries them. The results are that using this technique they are able to work through things much more quickly. If I had dragged her on leash down the stairs I can guarantee you that she wouldn't be able to tear up and down them the next day like she is doing now.

She was tethered in the car on the drive home but still managed to get as close to the people in the front seat as possible. 

She is crazy fast and can jump in place a good 4-5 feet straight up in the air. The girl is quite the athlete. I look forward to seeing her relax enough to tear around with the other dogs in the coming week.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Seuss Settles In

When Seuss first arrived he was pretty stressed out and probably in pain from the swelling in his leg. He was grumpy and growly that day but I know better than to judge a dog from how they are behaving when injured and just getting out of a stressful situation.

I didn't know what to expect but now we are a couple days in and the leg is starting to heal and he is doing great. He's happier, his tail is up most of the time, and he's actually hanging out with the other dogs.

He and Chima like to watch for squirrels at the slider and sound the alarm should any evil rodents attempt to infiltrate their territory. And when outside he loves to tear around with the girls and joining in the hunt.

Chima and Seuss on squirrel patrol

Since all of my dogs tend to be pretty independent, he hasn't felt the need to be growly when they get in his space. Even during mealtimes when Chima loses her mind a bit, he has just chosen to move to the other entrance to the kitchen and avoid her.

He's still growly when he is sleeping and dogs or humans approach but we all give him space and I call to him from a distance so that he has the chance to wake up and approach me and doesn't feel threatened by me hovering over him.

Happily he is just about as easy a foster as I can get. Other than working on some reinforcement for him when other dogs are in his space we are also physically working on getting some weight on him. He was such an obsessed hunter on the farm he lived on that his metabolism sped way up. He's 27.5 pounds and I'd like to get him up to 31 which should be a healthy weight for him.

Making himself and his cone fit in a tiny bed when there is a large bed right next to it
I had forgotten about his silly extra long legs that look as if they are all tangled up when he sleeps.  Like Chima he seems to believe that the smaller the dog bed, the better the fit and he often chooses beds that are more sized for 7 pound Tilly than they are for a big boy like him.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Happy and Sad News

The great news is that sweet Mochi girl went home yesterday and as with everything else in life  she was very happy and excited about it. She got a pretty new purple flowered martingale collar and leash and said thank you with plenty of licks and jumping.

Mochi and her new dad and mom

The sad news is that we got a message from Seuss' adopters that he and another dog in the home have not been getting along and there had been a big fight that morning. Since things were escalating so badly and both dogs were injured it was time for Seuss to come back into foster care. Sometimes dogs just don't like each other and some dogs prefer a calm, quiet environment and Seuss wasn't doing well with young kids and 3 dogs around. It happens. So now we get him fixed up, assess things and then find him a home where he can be happy as an only dog.

He wasn't walking on his leg yesterday and there was a lot of swelling. I gave him a dose of anti-inflammatory and put a cone on him and then we headed to the vet first thing this morning. The vet was worried that the puncture wounds were starting to abscess. Poor guy had the very uncomfortable experience of having wounds scrubbed out. He was given an antibiotic injection as well as a prescription for antibiotics and hopefully that will do the trick. If not he will need surgery to clean things out and insert a drain tube so crossing fingers we see big improvements today. He has started to put weight on the leg so that is great news.

Otherwise he seems to be doing well. Still super great about his house training, still an amazing hunter. I had to have him on leash last night since he wanted to run around and hunt with the girls so badly. And he still loves all people and even had kisses for the vet and tech and butt wiggles after they had restrained him and scrubbed out his wounds. It's just other dogs he isn't a fan of and he is very grumbly and growly when he's around them now.

He is able to hang out with my crew but I make sure he is never alone with them for now and that he always has the option to leave the room if he wants some space. He's still calming down after a fairly traumatic experience so for now complete supervision is important.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Mochi's Adopted!

We are so excited to announce that Mochi has found a great home. She'll join a family with a Jack Russell, Rat Terrier and Border Collie and the Rat Terrier and Border Collie love to play! Mochi will be in heaven and I think she'll do her best to keep her furry siblings Savannah and Lou busy playing chase and wrestling.

More great news is that her family is very active in the dog sport of Flyball and are members of local team the Cascade Comets. She'll be training to compete and we think she'll do very well once she gets some more physical conditioning and training. There's not much in the world that she loves to do more than jumping over things and playing with balls. Frodo, Chima and Sal will be very happy to not have to stand in as her "jumps" any longer.

So congratulations to Mochi and her new family the Comphers! We can't wait to follow her training and see how she settles in with her new furry siblings.

Friday, June 10, 2016

More Mochi Playtime

While Mochi is great with the larger dog beds that we have and doesn't destroy them, she sees the little cat sized ones as wonderful plush toys and loves to throw them and give them death shakes.

She really wants to play with the bed and is hoping I'll stop paying attention so she can take it

Now I have her attention with the ball

Since this little bed is a favorite of Chima and Frodo I do my best to distract her with other toys and for the most part it works.
Chima, squeezing her 24 pounds into the XXS bed

It's nice that she's not very destructive with the plush toys since that gives her lots of fun options for playtime. The worst damage she's done is she shook a plush turtle so hard that it ripped his neck open at the seam.