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The Terriers Had A One Night Stand

9 May

I went to the dog park with the two terriers and a cup of coffee and returned with the terriers and a fluffy! Meet Nameless:

Nameless

Nameless

This boy was going to be abandoned by his dad AT the dog run. A family member told him he couldn’t just do that,  at least give him to a person.

Nameless

Nameless

The poor boy! I asked the guy if he would give the dog to me, and he handed him over. Never asked my name, or for my phone number. Just: “You’ll give him a good home?”

Nameless

Nameless

Well, the little boy came home with me. All I knew about this guy was that he only liked human food, marked a bit and had previously lived with kids. I saw he was fine with other dogs while at the dog run and hoped he would make friends with my cat.

Nameless

Nameless

While at home, he was still in “owner search mode,” understandably. It was so, so sad. Not overtly anxious, but definitely confused and seriously looking for the man who had been caring for him. But he wasn’t too interested in “human food” and couldn’t really settle.

Nameless at the vet

Nameless at the vet

More adventures through fostering equals more information about my own happy family! So what I learned:

Goose the little terrier, will protest the dog no matter what the size!

Nameless in the car

Nameless in the car

Bird, the larger terrier,  likes having boy dogs in the house (and on the bed)! They decided to be friends and play at 1:00am on my bed.

Bird & Nameless

Bird & Nameless

Sal, the hairless, one-eyed kitty doesn’t care too much about new dogs. As long a he has covers to sleep under and lots of yummy human food, he is happy camper! Nameless determined that Sal was his playmate and initiated play with no response.

Nameless

Nameless

Nameless, as I called him, was so tempting to keep all to my own! Great dog skills, awesome with handling and a good boy all around! Too bad I don’t want another small/medium dog! Thanks to Tristan‘s finder and caretaker, Rachel, I quickly found a foster-to-adopt couple! In less than 24 hours, he has a place to call home where he will be showered with lots of attention. Nameless is currently getting a needed grooming and I can’t wait to see what he will look like!

Treats, Treats and More Treats…

31 Jan
Often, dry biscuits or even the yummiest of treats won’t cut it with some dogs. Recently, a fellow rescuer giggled as she told me, “don’t judge, I use McNuggets when working on reactivity.” My response? “I’ve used McDonald’s burgers when I was at the shelter!” Yep, treats come in all shapes and sizes. And often, human food is MUCH cheaper than “dog treats.” Don’t get me wrong, I often buy Buddy Biscuits, Merrick Lamb Lung and Real Meatz treats at my favorite pet store, but you can also find me at my supermarket’s deli counter buying their “antipasta,” which is really handy cubes of the ends of meats and cheeses. One of my go-to, doggy crack “treats” are Shadybrook Turkey meatballs. I learned this when I took Bird on her first outdoor agility lesson. It worked wonders to get her to over the A-Frame outside. It’s a stand-by at Bully Project classes, along with the cubes of meats and cheese:
Recently, one of our foster-to adopt families showed us how they use Cheerios – a great treat for a dog willing to work for anything and needs to keep an eye on his waist!
Meanwhile sometimes getting creative can get very messy: a good friend’s dog, Alice, recently learned that if she jumped the fence at the dog run, she could indeed continue chasing the park trucks. Although she was so elegant jumping the 4-foot fence, it was super scary! Luckily Alice likes to man the “table” and be with her peeps so keeping her on leash while her younger brother plays is fine with her. But, if the truck comes by, she loses her cool so we enlisted Squeeze Cheese (AKA Easy Cheese). Works wonders unless, my thief of a terrier, Goose, thinks that spray cheese in a pocket is a self serve yogurt machine. Take a look at what happens:
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What’s your special treat?

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What Fred Taught Me…Part 2

17 Jan

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Fred was trying to fit in with everyone – the terriers, the skinny old minpin, the hairless one-eyed kitty and all the folks at the park! He was really a saint!

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But after 10 wonderful (and tiring) days of trying to integrate Fred into my family, it was my little terrier, Goose, who made the decision for us. See, although Fred was polite and was a great walking and dog run buddy,  Goose camped out in the foyer for 10 days straight unless Fred was behind a closed door. And, since Fred wasn’t thrilled with being crated, integration was challenging. Bird, on the other hand, was sleeping ON him within days. Yes, Bird had a boyfriend.
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Fred was my perfect pittie! I had such plans for us…he was going to be a therapy dog. Fred was going to change minds being part of my family. But, I had to think of my entire four-legged family. The day I realized Fred was not going to be mine was devastating but I did learn some lessons:

1. Bird can live with a large big male and LIKE it!

2.  Goose really needs to be part of the decision making process.

3. Crate-able will be an important factor in the next dog I foster-to-adopt.

4. I will most likely foster -to-adopt a “helper” dog. Fred had the best dog greeting skills.

5. I will try this again.

Of course Fred had a great ending, but that’s for the next post!

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Sister Wives? Bacherlotte?

6 Dec

I found my McDreamy! He is a beautiful lug of a mush named Fred. Green eyes, rich brown coat and sweet as can be! If it were up to me he would be my mine and we would be signing the papers today! But, I have a canine that thinks differently. They don’t make decisions quickly, so I feel like I am on a reality show.

Fred, the name of my temporary charge, goes on dates with all the ladies separately. Sometimes just a potty break, sometimes a fun trip to the run or local pet store. Each one is warming up. Bird, the bigger terrier, will sleep on the bed with him. And, even lets him get real close on occasion.

With the little one, Goose, the jury isn’t out. She was fine with him until she ran to her chair. He thought that was an invitation to play and tried to engage, but she thought much differently. So while I do duo walks and expeditions, I feel like I am some show in between Sister Wives and the Bachelorette. Here are some pics to see what we have been up to the last few days….

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Get Out And Vote!

6 Nov

Stop reading this blog and go vote!

If you don’t vote, Lucy, Rosie, Goose, Bird and Sal will be very upset with you. Have you ever angered a sphynx cat? If you haven’t, don’t let this be your first time. Go vote!

Tales From A Terrier (The Scruffy Kind)

19 Jun

A couple of weeks ago I got to pretend to be a big old pittie. That’s right! Mom took me as a demo dog pittie for the first session of Bully Project‘s Nosework class. Mom told me I was going to practice smelling. I told her I already know how smell and find stuff — fresh turkey in the fridge, treat crumbs in a stranger’s bag at the dog run. I find LOTS of stuff with my nose!

She has been telling lots of folks that Nosework is great “sport” for dogs of all ages, sizes, breeds and shape. Apparently, you don’t have to worry about blowing an ACL or spending lots of money on equipment. Mom says you can practice at home. I told Mom I was up for anything that involved some treats.

Bully Project is lucky enough to know a great neighbor and friend who teaches dogs to “find” things with their noses. Her name is Jessica Schulte and she is a Certified Nose Work Instructor and trainer. And, our local pet store, Furry Fiends, has offered the space they have. It’s not huge but mom says it will do! She has been kind enough to offer a mini-session with some of the regular class goers at Bully Project. Sounds cool. I was excited. I was a demo dog and and my mom and I showed the participants (who didn’t bring their own dogs so they can watch) how to start. Jessica showed me a treat and put in a box. Easy, right? Nope! She played Three Card Monty with me…I had to work to find the treat. But I did. And, after I tried it, Lucy tried it, too. So much fun.

Smell, then eat! Easy! Mom tells me there is more to the plan like finding something called birch or anise. And, the pitties taking the class – Cofi, Hailie, Lucy and Sonja will get to try it. I am sure that Lucy will keep us all posted. Until then, I will keep breaking into the fridge for cold cuts and fresh mozzarella until Mom wises up and gets another lock!

Tales From A Terrier (The Scruffy Kind)

1 May

I love to get out of the city. Makes sense since I am from Texas originally. This past weekend, Mom, my brand-new friend, Jake, and his mom hopped on Metro North (they allow well-behaved dogs, how cool is THAT?) and went to a beautiful little town called Beacon.

Bird and her new friend Jake (new brother to Alice)

Why is it so beautiful? Not just because it’s by the river and quaint, but because they LOVE dogs. They love dogs so much that they host a great day called Beacon Barks. That’s right, for a whole day, the town goes DOG. Since we were traveling from the city, we missed the big parade but we did manage to see some of the left-over contestants. Check out this most-patient Lab (don’t you love that his head halter matches his dots?!):

Even though we were SO far away from home, we saw our friend Dot! We love her because she has a little dogs AND a pitbull named Harley. Apparently, Mom played a part as matchmaker when Dot and her husband adopted the pittie puppy. Dot can handle the little ones and the big guys, since she is one of our local dog trainers. Check out her dog Chloe, who is sporting a Thundershirt:

Chloe showing off her thundershirt

 Then, I thought I was looking at a circus mirror! Looks just like me but shorter and wider! Check out this dog!

Bird's Look-alike

Mom was super excited to see the peeps from Animal Farm Foundation. We got to meet two super dogs for adoption, Gia and Mugsy. Gia was working the crowd so Mom didn’t snap a pic but here is Mugsy doing a good job mugging for the camera:

Mugsy

And I sorta got nervous when I thought I saw a pig. I said, “It can’t be a pig – this Beacon Barks not Beacon Oinks!” As we got closer and my mom asked some questions, we realized we were meeting a star. Cuda is pittie that has some congenital problems including fused vertebrae. Although she looks like she isn’t, her mom told us that Cuda is totally healthy and happy. She just looks more like a piggie than a pittie. There was also a cool Kissing Booth to help raise money for the Beacon Dog Park. Check out this sweet sweet girl:

Cuda

From pomeranians to pitbulls, there were tons of lovely dogs. Check it out for yourself!

Gentle Leaders ‘R Us! (and Easy Walks, too!)

10 Apr

Goose and Bird
Proud to wear their Gentle Leaders

As someone who adopted the use of gentle leaders early in my dog parenthood, I was always so shocked when dog owners shut down the idea immediately. Throughout the years, I have used Gentle Leaders* for many reasons – for pulling, working with reactive dogs, etc. From my miniature pinschers to larger shelter dogs, I have always used them…and LOVED them! And, yes, when I see  a dog wearing one, I immediately like the owner (yikes! profiling!)

I am often sharing this great little video from Jean Donaldson’s of her desensitizing her dog, Buffy, to one.

I share the moleskin tip. I talk about the “deluxe” versions. I can talk for hours about the  Gentle Leader!

This year, a few people have told me that they are hesitant to have their pitties wear them. They don’t want people thinking their dog is not friendly.  They said people scream, “MUZZLE!” in their head when they see them. In my more than 10 years of using the Gentle Leader, a few people did think they were muzzles and I quickly said, “Nope, they can bite if they want to! It  just helps with pulling.”  And the stranger would say, “Oh!”  And, to me, that was it. No biggie. Because no one had thought my miniature pinschers or terriers were “dangerous dogs.”

A few months ago, I was walking two shelter dogs at separate times and both times people indicated that the big short-haired, muscle-y dogs were dangerous because of a head halter. I was not only shocked, but hurt. The poor pittie mix I was walking was doing no harm, just going about his business in SoHo, trying to get adopted. I knew how it felt.

So, at Bully Project classes this past weekend, when a fabulous, dedicated couple said they were not willing to try the Gentle Leader because of the stigma, I knew where they were coming from. We decided to try out an Easy Walk harness first for their tank of a dog who was a huge puller. And now, his momma is so happy…her shoulder is definitely hurting less this week!

Bully Project was lucky enough to have some nice people make donations right before our first Spring class! This allowed us to splurge on some incentives and goodies for the teams – and this included the Gentle Leaders and Easy Walk harnesses. I think we all are pushing these harnesses a lot…and it is working. Gone are the prongs and chokes! Here are some of our pretty pitties and their Gentle Leaders and Easy Walk harnesses:

Gertie is an old-timer when it comes to the Gentle Leader!

Bleu just got fitted with one! Her mom also used a Thundershirt to help reduce her stress while being in class. Bleu is doing great now!

Cofi loves her new Genlte Leader

Deebo is now wearing a brand new reflective Easy Walk harness.

Midnight sporting her Easy Walk!

Kiara waits patiently.

*although I am referring to the  Gentle Leader brand of head halter here in the blog, you can replace it with any other  dog head halter.

A Very Busy Weekend

30 Mar

We have a very busy weekend! If the weather holds up tomorrow, we will be walking with our friends at Big Apple Pittie Pack Walk. Lucy and Bird sure hope it doesn’t rain! We are also busy prepping Sunday’s spring Bully Project Classes in Ft. Tryon Park – prepping treats, organizing handouts and goodies! Here is a little video to recap what Bully Project has done over the past couple of years…

Kids! It’s Time for School!

27 Mar

I’ve been a bad doggy mom! As I was spreading the word locally about the upcoming Bully Project classes, I realized that I have not attended a class with Bird in over three years. Some might say, “Well, we took puppy class, lots of workshops and even a stint in agility. Isn’t that enough?” Well, not for my Bird. She loves to learn and participate in classes. I have always felt guilty that I never continued agility training and trialing. Bird started out as a terrified young dog when approaching the agility equipment. It took lots of patience, guidance and lots of yummy treats but she quickly learned that the pieces of equipment were not scary at all – they were actually fun. Agility was a pure confidence builder! Now, years later, she gets amped up when she sees an A Frame.

Feeling guilty, I rallied a few of my “dog friends” and we signed up for an all-day workshop, “Fit To Be Tricked,” being offered by Frankie Joiris and Chris Ott at Westchester’s Port Chester Obedience Club. Both instructors are super impressive – Frankie and her dogs are superstars in the dog acting world (her dog Stamp was a star in Angelina Jolie’s Salt) and Chris is an agility legend! Although I was excited, I was concerned I was being too ambitious.

The class, designed by Frankie, Chris and Physical Therapist, Ria Acciani, MPT, focuses on trick training that will improve a dog’s abilities in performance (agility, obedience, freestyle, etc). Although none of our dogs “perform,” it was open to dogs of all training experience.  After watching a video of their class, I was excited!

And what an experience! Not only because of the cool tricks and behaviors we were beginning to learn, but because Bird and I were a team again! I hope to continue working with Bird on these tricks (jumping through smaller and smaller hoops, Bird walking on my feet, Bird catching hoops around her head and much more). Check out our dogs two thirds of the way through the class:

What I learned is that all dog/owner teams need some class time – whether it’s a brand new sport like agility, a refresher manners class or fun tricks seminar. This surely helps building our relationships with our wigglybutts! And, if you live in a multi-dog household, it is important to have some one-on-one time. And classes are the perfect opportunity for that.

I think our next class will be a Noseworks class! My question is: do I take Bird or Goose?

Classes can be especially great for pitties and their owners to help strengthen the bonds between them and the dog’s confidence. Pit bulls, just like my Bird, can do agility and other sports, too. Just check out these videos:



So take your pittie to class!

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