Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Ah, Sunshine

Most people like sunshine but here in the Pacific Northwest after a long, dark, gray fall and winter, we obsess about it. And when the clouds start to break and we get a few days of sunshine we make the most of it, and that includes the dogs.

Salinas and Rigby

Chima, Salinas and Rigby
On Memorial Day we had beautiful weather and while I did some chores the dogs enjoyed time in the sun - first inside and then outside.

Chima and Rigby enjoying the sun warmed bark


Mochi thought sun sleeping was boring but she managed to enjoy herself and followed me around since I was apparently more interesting than the sleeping dogs. 

Frodo sniffing around and Salinas taking a snooze

While I was able to get a lot of outdoor chores completed I think the dogs enjoyed their sunny day more than I did.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Food Fun

While Mochi eats at a fairly normal pace, I still like to use puzzles and slo-bowls for my fosters to keep things interesting.

Rigby and Ellie's family gave us a puzzle that Rigby wasn't a fan of and Mochi was the first to try it out. She did great! And because she's not a picky eater I was able to just sprinkle the probiotic powder and dental powder that I give foster dogs right over the kibble.

We have a lot of puzzles so we will have to try more of them out on Mochi to keep things interesting.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Good Boy Rigby

It has finally happened. After weeks of attempting to get one of the other dogs to play with her, Mochi finally convinced Rigby to join her in a wrestling match.

Mochi tries to convince Chima to play with her
Because I wanted there to be future wrestling between them I stepped in after a bit because I could tell Mochi was getting more excited and I didn't want her to overwhelm Rigby. I distracted her with some squeaky toys and Rigby beelined it back to the couch for a snooze.

Honestly, I thought Rigby would be the last dog to want to play with her. He had spent most of the day growling at her if she even moved in his direction. He was not a fan. But for some reason when Mochi was playing by herself, flipping a toy around, he decided to join in and initiate play.

My hope is we will get more wrestling matches going before Rigby goes home in a week.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Mochi Learning to Listen

Mochi wants to play so badly that she doesn't really "listen" to what the older dogs are telling her with their body language (and growls and snaps if I don't step in.) At this point they are pretty much telling her 100% of the time that they want her to move away. But a  growl would cause her to move in closer hoping that maybe a lick on their face would change their mind. Of course that doesn't go over too well. So I've been working on reinforcing her when she chooses to play on her own.

Chima is the most patient with her and while she still won't play, she waits Mochi out and pointedly looks away until I step in and get Mochi interested in something else. Which is pretty easy to do. I just throw a toy and she immediately forgets Chima and wants to play with me.

Mochi is bored with her squeaky stick so she wants Chima to play

Chima tries to be as clear as possible with Mochi that there is no way she'sgoing to play
Each day she gets better at respecting the oldsters. Today I was happy to see her lying on the floor with an assortment of chew toys she was working on. I've been rewarding her for playing by herself like this with games of fetch and slowly but surely she's starting to choose to keep herself entertained rather than bugging the other dogs.

Playing with the squeaky stick

Good girl Mochi!  And good job to the rest of the dogs who are doing their best to be patient.

Chewing on the Nylabone dinosaur

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Mochi's Workouts

We've got a couple of older dogs staying with us so now Mochi really has a house full of curmudgeon's to deal with. Even Sal isn't willing to play with her because of Mochi's size. That means the job falls to me to wear her out.

Mochi is a teenage dog still working on learning impulse control and she's living with a house load of dogs in the 7-14 yr range. It can get pretty hairy at times trying to keep the peace with so many grumpy oldsters around. Mochi never fights or even growls but she also doesn't listen real well when the other dogs tell her she needs to leave them alone.

Mochi loves toys so much and the new dogs brought a bunch of new toys as presents for the canine crew. So her and I played fetch for awhile but that kind of backfired since all the other dogs became fun police.

So out in the backyard we went and this time I got out the tail teaser - a long stick with  a rope on the end and a squeaky toy at the end of the rope. She thought this was an amazing game and I was able to really get her working hard. I think prior to ending up at the shelter she was kept inside a lot and she is really out of shape. This tail teaser play will help condition her since it's a bit like doing wind sprints in circles and figure 8's. It will also help with her weight loss.

Checking out a kid in the park

Waiting for picture time to be over so she could check out the tennis game ahead

She was plenty tired after about 10 minutes of that but I decided it still wasn't enough so off we went for a walk. Walking can be really REALLY exciting for Mochi and on this walk it was like we hit distractor after distractor. It was more than she was ready to work on. This walk there was a bunny, followed by the smell of steak grilling in a yard that she really wanted to investigate. Next was a crow hopping along and taunting her. Then another walker with a dog she wanted to meet, and finally, two kids hitting a tennis ball back and forth across the street. She tried to let me know that she really REALLY needed to chase that ball and that she even might die of a heart attack if not allowed to go after the ball. She keep looking at me like I was crazy not to understand that here was a ball bouncing all over the street and needing to be chased. She was moaning and doing these little  terrier whine/screams at the frustration of not being allowed to go after it. Luckily at that point we were back by our house. Clearly our walks need to be not about exercise but about getting used to things so they aren't so exciting and distracting. Because right now everything is exciting and distracting to Mochi - sights, sounds and smells.
"Do you smell steak? Cuz I smell steak -  next house back yard - let's GO!" 
It was a lot of work but she is now lying on the couch, head resting on her favorite donut squeaky toy, sleeping. A worn out Mochi is well worth the effort!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Play Time in the Sunshine

After several days of rain and being stuck in the house because I've been under the weather, Mochi was mighty happy to spend a long stretch of time playing outside. She's not a big fan of the rain although not as horrified of it as Chima is and she was very happy to see the sun shining when I let them out this morning.

She had fun chasing the Kong toy - not a normal stuffing one but a bouncy lightweight one. The dogs love it because it bounces around in unexpected directions when you throw it, thanks to the shape. Mochi is still working on the return portion of fetch. She brings it back to about 3 feet from me but I know that if I had brought treats out to reinforce her for bringing it to me she would have had that down in no time.

We practiced recall a bit (which she is pretty spectacular at for a beginner) but mostly just played and enjoyed the sun and fresh air.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Mochi Settles In

I've been down with food poisoning for a few days so haven't been up to much beyond taking care of the dogs and sleeping. So here's a post catching you up on what we have learned about Mochi so far.

Mochi is a mix of Rat Terrier and Cattle Dog and she has the energy and smarts of both of those breeds. At the vet she weighed in at 39 pounds but at a healthy weight will be around 35 pounds. She has that cool Cattle Dog feature of mixed colored eyes - they are a pretty hazel but her right eye has a section of it where the iris is icy white-blue.

Here you can see the coloration in her right eye

She is one of those dogs who is always joyful and actually has that look like she is grinning sometimes. She loves to play with humans or dogs - whoever has time for her - and doesn't understand why the other dogs aren't as interested in wrestling as she is. Mochi is full of energy and tends to think if she just holds her head next to a dog long enough and licks them they will understand that they really want to play with her. Frodo is not amused by this.

Yesterday she tumbled around with a ball in front of Chima for about 10 seconds finally landing in  a play position in front of her. Chima watched all of this with studied indifference and after a second of taking in the final play pose turned and walked to the couch. It was so funny! But poor Mochi, she doesn't get why all the dogs are such fuddy-duddies.

At first Mochi didn't seem to ever slow down but we have been practicing "capturing calm" - basically giving her reinforcements for calm behavior. She's a quick study and now that she's relaxed a bit and also knows that kicking back on the couch pays big time, she has started to show signs that she does have an "off button".

Mochi has learned a side benefit to being calm is that the other dogs let her be near them

Mochi is such a loving and joyful girl but anyone adopting her is going to have to love a high energy dog, not just tolerate one. She would actually be a spectacular sporting dog since she is a quick learner and loves working with her humans. Combine that with her energy, speed, and love of toys and she could make a great sport partner for someone. Or even just a running or trail partner - anything that gets her moving and keeps her big brain engaged.

At 39# Mochi even dwarfs Chima - here she is with Frodo and Chima, getting ready to head out to the back yard.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Introducing Mochi!

Mochi is arriving later today and we can't wait to meet this big girl. She is a happy-go-lucky stray who is a giant Rat Terrier (likely mixed with a few other things) and she weighs about 35 pounds although she needs to lose several pounds. She is somewhere in the 1-3 year age range but I should have a better idea of age once I meet her and get a chance to look her over. 

Mochi in the shelter

I am sure that Chima and Sal will have her whipped into shape in no time with their squirrel hunting boot camp that all our new fosters participate in. 

On transport, waiting for the driver of the next transport leg

More to come as we get to know her better... BTW - In the photo above she's wearing a cone because she had her floppy rear dew claws removed when she was spayed and they are still not fully healed up apparently.