Monday, January 14, 2013

What went wrong?

It was an early and dreary Sunday morning. We were still tired from the early part of the weekend's errands (a lot of driving up down 95 North &South) so, we didn’t feel like getting up. When we got up & opened the blinds to see fog, wet deck & damped grass we definitely weren't motivated. With that attitude we should’ve stayed home and let Sasha & Krush go in the backyard with our foster MD & Bentley (who was returned to us) tp play & do their business. Instead we prepared ourselves, Sasha & Krush to go for our usual hour long walk. The walk started out normal, took a different route, the pups did their business quicker than usual (YAY) so we kept chugging along. Once off the alternative path we were on our usual path, Krush’s body posture turned from relaxed to head & ears up and he began to pull, Sasha picked her pace up as well with her head to the ground (we saw this however, being in a fog and feeling dreary like the weather they were not corrected). As we rounded the corner Sasha & Krush became more intense (again not paying attention, not normal for us) finally we saw (not before Sasha & Krush) what peaked their interest. It was another beautiful pit bull who was much stronger than her/his guardian and appeared as intrigued by Sasha & Krush as they were with her/him. The worst thing anyone can do is pull a dog away when they’re excited, of course we knew this but the guardian of the other pit bull did not and it was almost a collision course of epic proportions. We remained calm and continued to walk and noticed a jogger with her black Lab a little ways off. Again Krush was on high alert whereas Sasha was unfazed. This time we were in control of the situation so we provided enough room for the jogger to run by and not become nervous about Sasha & Krush. Sasha & Krush were put in a sit with a focus on us. A quick turn of our head to look at Sasha, before we could turn back to Krush there was a tug and Krush was off to the races towards the lab. One can only imagine how we felt more importantly how the lab and the lab’s guardian felt. The lab’s guardian attempted to thwart Krush all the time we’re holding Sasha & trying to step on Krush’s leash. The lab went into the street and thankfully the cars & trucks saw what was going on and stopped & watch as if it were a drive in movie. Finally, we got a hold of Krush and made sure the guardian and lab were ok. No one or canine was injured. The moral of the story watch your attitude & mood when you’re around your pack. Your pack looks to you for guidance in every situation & if you’re not being the pack leader EVERY TIME, EVERY SITUATION your pack will let your know!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Winter Walking (tips)

It's brrrrrrrrr outside and your four legged companion still needs her/his daily walks. Walking is an important part of having a dog. It has many health benefits for your pup and you as well. The walk is not just so your pup can do her/his business, it's about socializing and desensitizing your pup to the world surrounding her/him (various noises, cars, horns, other dogs etc.). Depending on the breed of choice this may be your furever family members favorite time of year. Examples of pups that love the brrrrrr weather are Akitas, Newfoundland's, Siberian Huskies, Chow Chows to name a few, these breeds have a double coat that keeps them warm during those chilly winter days and colder nights. A family member has an Akita and he loves, loves it when it snows. Max would play for hours with the kids in the snow, he didn't want the kids to come in and he definitely didn't want to come in the house. If you're fortunate to have a pup that loves cold weather make sure you're bundled up because you're going to be out on the walk a little longer as they explore their world. If you have a pup that's not fond of these chilly temperatures such as Pit Bulls, Greyhounds, Maltese, Pointers or Boxers to name a few; a sweater will be needed for the walk. These breeds do not have undercoat to trap heat which means they lose body heat quickly. So if you needed a reason to dress your pup in those adorable comfy sweaters at PetSmart, a breed with short hair is your reason. No matter the breed ALL of them need proper exercise whether they like cold or warm temperatures. A 30 minute walk accompanied with 10-15 minutes vigorous indoor play should be adequate exercise for those that aren't fond of the frigid temperatures. Indoor activities that would suffice are:

        1) Playing "Touch" what's needed stairs, treat or dogs favorite toy, and two people. How to play: one person is at the top of the stairs and one person at the bottom of stairs. The object is to say the dogs name to get her/his attention once you have the dogs attention, hold your hand out, back of the hand facing the dog, once the dog touches the back of your hand with their nose give them the toy or treat. The person at the bottom of the stairs will call the dog's name once you have the dogs attention, hold your hand out, back of the hand facing the dog, once the dog touches the back of your hand with their nose give them the toy or treat. You may repeat this as many times as desired. Usually 10 minutes should suffice. Be sure to have water close by and allow the dog to take breaks. Although the dog may not appear to be tired to periodic breaks to ensure overexertion doesn't occur.

        2) Hide N' Seek what's needed 1 person, favorite toy or treat. Object is get the dog to find his favorite toy or treat. This is a cognizant game testing your dogs ability to use her/his nose to find their favorite toy or treat. Hide the toy or treat anywhere in the house and ask your dog to find it. You can use stairs or a bed. Make sure not to hide the object near sharp objects or chemicals. This will keep your dog occupied for a little while. Never leave the dog unattended when playing this game.

        3) Doggie Daycares are a good source for your pup to release excess energy please contact your local trainer, ask friends or relatives where they take their pup or visit your local doggie daycare. Make sure you do your homework, ask plenty of questions and don't be afraid to drop by to see what goes on prior to you signing your pup up.

 As we mentioned earlier walking is vital the health of your companion, it's more than a walk, it's a time to social and become desensitized to her/his surroundings and it's a great way for you to get know your neighbors, show off your pup and it curtails mischief! Get out and walk today!

New Year, New Rescue

   Before the ball even dropped signaling a new year we were on the phone with a concerned member of a rescue group setting up a time to visit a shelter on New Year's day. We were asked to conduct a temperament test for one dog and potentially rescue a puppy. The drive is a little over a hour for us so planning and timing is everything. What's awesome about this individual was that we conducted her home visit for a foster a little over a year ago. My have we done a lot in a years time. The conversation was nice as we shared our values, views and love for pit bulls. After swapping foster stories, philosophies and training solutions the time was set to meet less than 24 hours later.

Upon reaching the shelter we met the pup that we were to temperament test. It was a beautiful chocolate pit bull no more than 2 years old. The pup was very mild mannered and happy to be out of his run. The facility is small and full of pit bulls and other exotic pups (Basenji & Anatolian Shepherd/Pyrenees) these aren't usually found in shelters in our neck of the woods. The shelter operator is wonderful and doing all she can for the pups that come in her care however, with little exposure and very little funds this shelter is nowhere near the radar. That's going to change since it's been brought to our attention (that's another blog coming soon); let's get back to the topic at hand. We met the dogs that were outside in their runs and they all were very sweet dogs. We put "Chocolate" back in his run to meet the pup we came to potentially rescue. This brindle pug mix was adorable, he was in the run with two other itty bitty black puppies (don't know their breeds). Rolo (pug mix) was a true bully in every since of the word, he even bullied this huge cat that was safely behind her cage. Rolo didn't care he wanted to exert his dominance. We weren't pleased with what we saw out of Rolo and wasn't sure he would fit in our pack (Sasha & Krush) because we have enough alphas in the house. The person we met at the shelter wanted us to see another puppy that needed out. This boy was beautiful all white with spots silhouetting his body and a huge brown spot on his back. He was friendly and excited about getting out of the cage. He was so gentle with the small black puppies. We named him Milk Dud (MD) because of white body & the brown spot on his back. He played nice with Rolo as well. Rolo was a little more submissive when MD came into the picture. We considered taking Rolo after seeing him with MD who was bigger but gentle playing and enjoying the free time out of the cage.

We put all of the pups back and proceeded with the temperament test with Chocolate & Vegas (the volunteers dog). Chocolate was too hyper and Vegas was not having any of it. We ran a little bit with Chocolate to dispense some of that energy but he was too focused on Vegas. We walked by them and it was too intense. At the end of the day Chocolate was too excited and intense for Vegas. We provided our input and went back to the puppies. Prior to making a decision as to which pup would come home with us we put Vegas and MD to the test. MD passed with flying colors with Vegas. Vegas fell head over hills with MD immediately. After observing MD and Vegas it was decided MD would be a better fit for our pack. The shelter operator was thrilled that we were talking MD. MD appeared to be thrilled as well. MD jumped in our vehicle immediately went to the backseat and fell asleep for the short 5 minute ride to PetSmart. Entering PetSmart MD was happy to see Vegas and vice versa. MD greeted each person and canine with a jump and play bow. MD even loves felines!! After saying our see you later to Vegas and thanking the volunteer for the opportunity to work with her and rescuing/fostering MD we headed home to our pack.

 The moment of truth had arrived, it was a long ride home and MD nestled up in the seat and slept the entire hour plus ride home. We reached our house and Sasha & Krush knew immediately something was different. It amazes me how they know that another pup is around and it's funnier to watch them "sniff us down" when we've been around other canines. We take MD to the backyard and introduce MD and Krush first, all is well so we bring Sasha out next and again all is well. Sasha will have nothing to do with MD for a couple of days whereas Krush attempts to dominate but he knows that's a no go and plays with MD. This is the life we've grown accustomed to. We predicted many positive things happening in 2013. We were going to extend ourselves more, be more active and proactive, help the canine community more, be more of an advocate and train as many dogs and their guardians as possible, make our name known throughout the canine community. It appears God heard us and thought what better way to ring in the new year with a new rescue!