Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bud Meets Dexter

Boston Terriers originated in the United States. They are lively and active. They are very adaptable to being in the city life. Bostons are known for their intelligence. As you see, Dexter is a lover boy! He would not stop kissing me. I have never met a Boston that I didn't like.

Many dogs I run into are rescue dogs including Jewel's dad's dog, Dexter and Michelle's dog Gin.  I've been reading a great book, How To Be Your Dog's Best Friend by The Monks of New Skete.  It's a fantastic read.

From this book, I found so much great information on rescue dogs.  It talks about how novice dog breeders do not know how to properly care for their dogs and their litters, and thus the litters and parents many end up being taken to shelters.  The book says, "Since there is usually no way animal shelter personnel can socialize the great number of youngsters they receive, the puppies are usually neglected at a critical time."  It goes on to say, "...this makes for a very risky situation if you opt for selecting a pet from a shelter."

In the case that one decides to follow through with a shelter adoption, the book advises, "First, inquire with the shelter personnel about the background of the animal.  Did it live in a family?  Has it been exposed to children, noise, stairs, city life?  When you view the dogs themselves, try to 'read' each dog individually.  Remember that many dogs react aggressively if confronted with any barrier, such as a cage.  If you are interested in a particular animal, ask to take it for a walk on a leash, in a controlled area.  Remember that even though you may not get an accurate reading on the dog, since it is in a strange environment, with a strange person.  If the dog is overly aggressive, or shy, reconsider taking the dog.  Try to remain coldly objective."

The book also suggested ways to spot potentially positive signs when looking to take on a rescue with an unknown background, "If you are looking for a female and find an appealing one who has been spayed, chances are good that she came from a situation where the owners felt enough responsibility and concern for the animal to get her spayed.  This applies to the neutered male also."

I personally believe that all dog owners should read books to further educate themselves about dogs.  I also think those looking to get a dog should research breeds to find which would be most compatible with their lifestyle.  This includes things like knowing what type of job each breed is genetically and whether this instinct would be satisfied by what you can provide them.  Dogs that need lots of running are not good breeds for city dwellers that cannot get them the extensive exercise they need.  Ranch dogs need space to roam.  All dogs need different levels of mental stimulation, and providing this to them is vital! 

**Quotes all pulled from the book How To Be Your Dogs Best Friend, by The Monks of New Skete; Published by Little, Brown & Company; pp. 19-20

Monday, January 21, 2013

Best Friends: Bud's Weight Contol & Batman's Thievery!

Bud and Batman are best friends. Batman is a 10 pound trouble maker. When my one of my assistants Jewel is over around dinner time, Batman waits until we leave the room and then jumps into action to steal food from Bud's bowl.

This is what dogs do. It's called an "Opportunistic Feeder". Bud has been worked with from a pup about not being food aggressive. I worked with Jetta and Bud together. They let me move and take their food bowl from them and as a result they both grew up without aggression surrounding food guarding.

If you have a dog who is food aggressive, you need to keep children and other dogs away when feeding time comes. The dog should be moved to a different room. Bud could kill his little thief friend with one bite. Bud is such a good dog- he even shares his toys!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bud's Rehab Progress

Bud has a metal plate is his right rear knee. He is stronger than ever. His knee surgery was one year ago this month. The Vets are so pleased that he is doing so well. I know that his diet of good kibble plus 6000 mg of fatty acid from cold water fish, glucosamine chondroitin supplements, and steamed vegetables including broccoli ,carrots, brussel sprouts and yams are a big part of his excellent recovery.  He also gets one raw beef rib bone after his swim and bath each day to keep his teeth white. Oh how we love our dogs! 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Pack Of Two

I have been reading For The Love Of A Dog by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D;  I highly recommend that all dog lovers read it. The book is about understanding fear and anger issues with your dog and how we can  help them overcome their problems.

My Bud acted out being a bully to young, old, unbalanced dogs by taking the offensive. Anyonebwho knows Bud can see what a gentle sentive dog he is. Bud's puppy problem started after Jetta's leaving us.

My good girl Jetta died last May.  After reading this book I now understand that Bud sensed my heart mourned for her.  It makes total sense to me that Bud reads my heart and now feels that he is the top dog in my heart. Dogs sense more than we think.

I am happy to report that now Bud wants to play with others dogs, puppies, old dogs, un-balanced dogs. We are still working on it because sometimes he slips back into old insecure behaviors that manifest in aggressive posturing.  As a result, Bud is going to be attending bootcamp soon with a fabulous dog trainer, Ericka Dugan of Elite K9 Solutions (  She is phenomenal!

Another thing I have learned is that my tension on the leash played a role in Bud's behavior and anxieties.  Bud's dog stress is rooted in his job of taking care of me.  My demeanor had to change from fear to love for the other dog and *my* job is to make Bud feel safe. Now I say, "what a good dog" when he meets other dogs.

Bud doesn't get to play off leash.  I am in charge on the beach and I keep him busy when we are not walking. Bud dig holes in the sand when he is not swimming.  Sometimes I let him carry a ball in his mouth. I don't work him much each day. Pooooor working Bud- his work mostly consists of sitting by the pool at Cal Poly and visiting my AA friends at meetings (but only when I give him the release command for his break!)

Bud and I are a dedicated pack of two.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dogs Learn From Other Dogs

In this picture you see Bud digging.  He often gathers an audience for his swimming and digging, but usually it's people walking along the Bay. The other Lab seen in this picture is TJ, an English Lab.  He often swims at the same time of day as Bud. Bud has his tennis balls, and TJ has his orange toy that he prances around with proudly.

As you can see in this picture, TJ is watching Bud with interest.  TJ loves running around teasing his person, George, in the game of Keep-Away.  TJ would rather be chased than swim. Bud would rather dig between swims to drain his limitless energy. Soon we may see TJ dig!

In the past, Bud has taught a friend's Lab to swim by chasing him in the water. For Labs and most all retrievers, swimming is second nature.

My sweet Jetta also taught other dogs.  Much to my friend's chagrin, Jetta taught my friend's dog Abbey the art of rolling on stinky carcasses. The method was to wait and wait then sniff and sniff.  After a bit of time, when she found the perfect rotten part, she'd roll baby roll. Abbey never did this until she witnessed Jetta in action.  Nobody every said that all lessons taught are good ones!