Friday, February 25, 2011

The List and/or There is Superstition and/or Is Beck our co-pilot?

Recently I spent a mindless few hours watching a way stoopid Lifetime movie on Hulu, and it got me thinking in all sorts of directions that had nothing what so ever to do with the story line. Thank you ADHD. The gist of the story was that a woman was looking for a man, and she had a list of 10 things that she wanted to find in a mate. I think to a degree, we all have lists in our heads, or maybe even on paper, of things we want and things we don't want. There are  things we can  accept and things we cannot.  There are things we will settle for and things that we won't.  I think this applies not only to partners, but to animals also.
When it comes to dogs, I am very  conscious of my  mental list of wants  and cannot haves.

I remember when we adopted Charlee , I got an earful from the rescue about what I had listed on the application of  what I wanted in a dog. "She is a rescue" I was told, "pick a few things, don't be unrealistic."
Charlee met the two most important things on my then must have list. She was good with and approved by my older dog who was succumbing slowly to a brain tumor, and she was good with my kids. 

When we got Finney, at the top of my list was a dog who could work with me to help reactive dogs. Finn has helped hundreds and hundreds of dogs, both in private sessions and in group classes and I thank him for that.

Which leads up to the now. I am not actively looking for a dog. My long range plan is to get a puppy out of one of my favorite dogs when she comes into her next heat. Time line is  late summer early fall. These pups hit all the things on my new extensive and really almost border line insane updated list. The wonderful line of Spaniels are  super sweet and ubber versatile.

At the top of the next dog list, they need to be able to work and carry their weight around here as Charlee and Finney have. This many sound harsh, but I don't have room in my house for a freeloader dog. I need a dog who can come to work with me as demo dog, and I want a dog to train and compete in multiple venues.

Next dog needs to be able to tolerate and hopefully enjoy the revolving door of kids and dogs. Next dog needs to get along with Charlee and Finney, and next dog preferably will be quite a bit smaller than current dogs.  There is more but it is pickey-unie and I will spare you.

So who turns up?


Is Beck supposed to be our co-pilot?

Beck came to us not even close to fitting in. He resource guarded everything. people,  food,  toys and space in my house. My dogs didn't like him and he started out a wild jumping bean. Beck is the  first dog ever to come in my house and  openly challenge Charlee.  Not to worry, he has had a mega attitude adjustment.  Beck  was leash reactive and even got a bit scary with Buck, another male foster dog we had. Then there is that thing about jumping over my outside gate, which he has done half a dozen times. Said gate is over 5 and a half feet tall. The last time he tried it, I had run out to the car to get something and the dog  wanted to come  with.  Beck got his paw wedged in a top picket and he was dangling and screaming, hanging off of  the ground.  I broke my fence to release him.  Fell back, flat back on my ass.

Dog was fine.

My doggie must have list is exhaustive and Beck has stepped up to meet them all. He has a nice food and toy drive, he is smart and athletic , he is fabulous with my kids , great in the car and my dogs do like him. He has turned into a tremendous puppy uncle and baby sitter of other young foster dog in need of a good time.

He has a nice biddable temperament. His learning style is smack dab in the middle between my two dogs, not to fast and not too slow, but just right. His leash reactivity seems minor and very trainable and he has improved about a million percent.

He loves all of us equal -unusual for any dog!

Beck loves people, I mean he loves people. He will wag his tail at anyone he sees at any distance.

Beck was so wired when he first got here, he didn't nap for close to 2 weeks. He just stood up and watched. The dog  is an ace napper and cuddlier now, and sleeping right now curled up next to my middle daughter, Finney and me.

My son has asked for us to keep him for his 18th birthday presnt. Many (and I mean many) of our foster dogs take an instant dislike to my son. I think in part it is because he is male and tall and the other part is that his room is down stairs and he startles the fosters a lot when he comes upstairs for mid night snacks. Beck adores him. My son at times has anger issues and Beck goes over to him and puts his head in his lap, which is a behavior that I have trained autism assist dogs  to do., It is very grounding for people, and dogs need a certain temperament to stand the heat so to speak.

This is the one thing that really kills me and makes me re-evaluate and rethink placing him.

Around here, I have pushed the Charlee's gonna die panic button close to a dozen times. All for good reason. Dog has more lives than a cat.  This is what she looked like in August.

Aside from having the tumor on her toe that the vet and I thought was cancer, she had lost a ton of weight and a good portion of her fur. The vet thinks cancer would have killed her already. Turns out the loss of fur was from too much soloxine , the meds she has taken for 10 yeas to regulate her thyroid. Charlee is  wonderful and fat and fluffy and most of the fur is back now.  Wow huh?

Charlee AKA Old Ironsides, doesn't' appear to be going anywhere any time soon -and that is  GREAT!

Beck has had several inquiries and none have been a good fit. The last email I read did sound fine and after I read it, I cried for about 10 solid minutes. Everyone one who meets him or reads about him tells me that this is my dog. Us animal people have that thing where we think our dogs we are supposed to  find us.  My friend Jo tells me "what else does this dog have to do, he has told you a million times over he is your dog. "

Here is where I get totally weird. I feel if I place Beck,  Charlee will  die and if I keep him she will live.

I know that is totally whack, but it is the brain circle fart that keeps poluting  my head and I keep  coming around to it.
Oh what to do, what to do.
Do you have Lists?
How likely are you to follow them?
How likely  are you to follow your heart?

Charlee has done helped hundreds of kids
learn how to be safe around dogs.
Love her.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day after Wordless Wednesday, we haz pups please forgive

1:55 AM
Last week I placed three wonderful puppies in less than a week. When the blurr leaves my brain, I will post pictures of them.  Tonight I sat down before bed to post pictures of Lady and Lego, but I fell asleep. 
Hold on, they are outside shivering waiting to come back in from a potty break. By the way, I was too late and just used up the last of my  paper towels.  Just a few days ago, I had  a case of paper towels.

2:00 AM
Where was I?  Oh yea....Check out Lady above with my daughter. Isn't she too adorable?  Adopt her please, tell all your friends. Please help get them out  of my house before my kid comes back from visiting her father. My youngest daughter has adopted Lady as hers. The last puppy she cared for,  Birdey (oh wait, I did already post that litter. Guess I have a bad bad case of "new Mommy brain") was a trauma and a half to give up.  She was so sad when she passed the pup to the new owners, that the woman started to mist up and nearly gave her back. I was like Hellz "NO!!! we have  had her less than a week, I do this to my kids on a regular  much too regular basis. 

2:06 AM
The little angels are fast asleep again.  Most likely I will see them again by 5:30, which is fine because I have to take my oldest son to visit a school in Massachusetts and we need to be on the road by 7:00 the latest. And guess what, Lady and Lego have to come. Even though there will be people home, no one else can care for them. Young teenagers do not understand "THE PUPPIES JUST WOKE UP, OMG THEY NEED TO GO OUT. RIGHT. NOW " and not at the end of that cool  song on You Tube you were singing. 

Crap, I am out of paper towels. 
 *contemplates getting a fast food  breakfast and a TON of napkins before we hit the road*

Lego = CUTE!

And this my friends is little Lego. Be still my heart.  The day I brought these pups home to foster, my camera decided it could not take one more photo of cute and died a quiet death.  All this extreme cute has been captured by my Blackberry. It is hard to see his adorable speckles, but they are there, and they call to me.
They say "please adopt me and look at me every day, you won't regret it."

I like to think of this shot as Lego, side cute.

2:16 AM
Think of me today, traveling with 2 pups in the car for 3 hours each way. With potty breaks, that will take who knows how long.  It is supposed to be warm and I will be sure to leave the tour a  few times to warm up my car and take them out.  If any one reads this and thinks they can handle them for a day, you will get a lot of karma coins. I have been saying all along that having fosters in my house gives me a fresh perspective on what my training clients go through. Aside from being tied down ( DOI!) ,  here is a view that I hadn't thought about , or read about. 
Puppies eat snow and then puppies have to pee. A lot. like all the freaking time, and there is nothing you can do about it. Maybe if I only had 1, but with two of them, water scedules are at  a 100 percent  fail and forgetaboutit.  There is no spacing out  and controling water for these two.  Especially not at 2:11 AM 

By the way, I had a third litter mate for 2 nights, but I realized quickly that even I wasn't that crazy.  He slept even less than his brother and sister and ZOMG is he adorable.
 Meet Larz.

Larz-his cute hurtz

He pushed my mental health-o- meter  near over the top. When I really got thinking about things, I came to the conclusion that there was no way I could socialize, and train 3 pups and that really at 10 active weeks, 2 pups was pushing it. In case you didn't already know, puppies need to be seperated and they need to develop their own personalites and brave.  When litter mates are together, one will be the go-er and the other will be the go -to. One pup takes the lead and the other will follow. It is a MAJOR amount of work to have two littermates and do it right.  At ten weeks they can still be together, but if they are do not adopted soon, I will have to seperate for a good portion of 24 hours.   Each pup currently  gets alone time while I take the other one out and about every day.  We are doing our  best to do the best by these two pups.  They have been on many different surfaces and met lots of people, working  hard on the house training thang and learning basic cues and manners.   Little Lady came to  Portland Stage this AM were my daughters are rehearsing for Holes . We  meet a lot of freaky people on  Forrst ave,  and  cleared meet freaky people clear  off her socializtion  check list this morning. 

So for those of you  counting. We have 2 puppies and two foster dogs Beck and Stella Luna from   
Me and the kids may need therapy if when we place Beck, and StellaLuna leaves a week from Friday for a trial wekeend. Wish her luck. 

Please share. I need some peace and sleep back.
Tell everyone you know.
Do it!

spell check  2:33 AM
(if you find mistakes, please forgive-I am blurry)

send 2:49 AM

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Westminster: White Working Men in Suits group

SO FUNNY!  If I had to pick a favorite line, I think it would be the busdriver jab .
What's your favorite line?

Friday, February 18, 2011

1, 2, 3, 4, crazy

Last night Camp Bow Wow hosted a very successful first ever adoption event for Canine Commitment  appropriately called Canines and Cupids. It was supposed to be closer to Valentine's Day, but the event was snowed out. The owners of Camp Bow had an impressive spread of food that included beer and wine. The 2 small glasses of wine that I had may account for me bringing home


She is the sweetest, softest dog you could ever meet. I met Stella and her kennel mate Skye  last Saturday when I drove to Portsmouth to meet a transport that ran late. Two of the dogs came from a shelter in Alabama and were sprung on their last possible day on earth just before they were to be euthanized. The third had a similar story and was headed to a new home. Since all three were girls and I am not totally with out love and sympathy for my own female dog Charlee, and really I do have some sense in my head, I dropped all three off at the kennel the next day as planned. Little Stella pulled at our heart strings last weekend, but after all, we were taking home two puppies and I had no idea what that was going to entail.

Which brings us to how I got 6 dogs in my house. All the attendees at last night's event were already approved applicants. A few of those people came specifically to meet my pups who uhmmm....uuhhmmm...didn't show well. They played much rougher than the others, and were much bigger than the other cute little snugglers who did get a home. We are all ok with that. My ginormous pups have nice out going temperaments, and won't be in rescue long. I watched Stella for a few hours interact so gently and sweetly with all the people and pups . The kicker was when I first got there and she recognized me straight off before I even realized who she was. She greeted me like a long lost friend. Insert melty heart. Just didn't have the heart to send her back to the kennel again until we had an open foster spot for her.

If you have been reading my rantings for long, you will remember we had a little foster (Evon) that we loved so much we adopted her to my cousin who named her Stella. These dogs look a lot alike and again, if you have been reading long, you know I am a weirdo for "signs". I even have my kids doing it, and my middle daughter rallied to foster Stella last weekend. She threw the whole signs thing right back in my face, and she wasn't at all surprised when I came home with her last night.

Beck waited patiently in the car after his training class last night. He wasn't invited to the event because no one there was approved for him. He is all that and a slice of pie, but I am holding out for just the right placement. Two of my three kids are rallying pretty hard to keep him. My son , who doesn't' usually get that involved with the dogs has his own personal snuggle buddy. Beck ADORES him. Honestly, if my kid wasn't turning 18  (OMD 18!) and we weren't making plans for him to go to Job Corp and leave the nest soon, I would consider it.

By the way, Camp Bow Wow houses an area pet food pantry and they have dog and cat pet food available free on Mondays. They ask that you call ahead first just to be sure they are stocked. They also accept donations for the pet food pantry.

A big huge thank you to Camp Bow Wow for hosting our event. Watching some of the dogs make their forever connections last night was quite rewarding, and I even woke up this morning with the warm fuzzies.

And by the way, I am not that crazy, Birdey has a meet and greet today and Stella met a wonderful couple last night who even brought their sweet cat to the adoption event. We introduced them successfully, and they may take her home for a trial this weekend. Who ever gets her will be very lucky.

Update- we are back to 1, 2, 3 crazy.  Birdey has been adopted! 2/19

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Not Wordless Wednesday -We haz puppies!

We're fostering  BIG puppies!
We took these two -- I placed the darker pup this morning.  My youngest has taken on the light pup as hers. She told me today that she wants to save dogs and "be a better person."  awwwww! Birdey walks her to school every day.

Bruce and Birdey share the humunga tongue.


When Bruce went home,  we took their  brother Bryce.

There are big pups and will be big dogs. I guess 80 plus pounds. 
They weigh about 28 pounds at 12 weeks old.

Beck is an EXCELLENT puppy uncle.  Beck is WICKED smart and athletic and a perfect cuddle buddy/side kick.  He loves the car and my kids and my dogs don't even dislike him, but we are not in a good place to add another dog right now . Finn has a bump on his front leg that needs to come off before I take on more expenses.  BUT, he is REALLY tempting. 

Pups were 12 weeks old this past Saturday. They were bonkers, happy!, enthusiastic (ya, that's it enthusiastic), when we went to Tender Touch to pick out just 2 to foster.

All three, Beck, Birdey, and Bryce are available for adoption from Canine Commitment

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chunks! More reasons to be cheerful

Don't know how I left out Golden Retriever puppy Chunks in my last reasons to be cheerful even though February is a dark, dreary, depressing, cold month post. Chunks is being trained by his owner to hopefully be an Autism Assist service dog for her young son. His owner Chris contacted me a ways back and we discussed various organizations that place service dogs in homes with kids. After much thought, and for various reasons, they decided they wanted a puppy.

For many families looking to add a service dog, the deal breaker is the time that is needed to stay over at the facility at the end stages of training. Some organizations require a 1 week stay and others several weeks. For other families, it is the long wait. While I have helped many people train their own service dogs, training your own puppy for special needs kids is high on the level of difficulty. The main reason I have found is that parents are busy with the kids which often gives pups time to practice unwanted behaviors, or parents just don't have enough hours in a day to train.

It takes a lot of time to train a service dog, usually much more than people realize going in.

Time will tell if Chunks will be a full fledged service dog and gain public access, but I do know that he is cute, and smart and adorable and on the right track. As a huge believer and supporter in human-canine bonds, I have given the family a deep "frequent flyer discount."

Whether Chunks makes it to a full fledged service dog or not, he is still a loved family member and either way, Chunks can help to contribute to his kid's therapies and over all well being.

I heart Chunks!

Friday, February 11, 2011

February sucks reasons to be cheerful

We loved these dog's ears so much we will foster her soon along with a few PUPPIES!
Gotta love that!

We LOVED  Roosie's first night of school and
  LOVE that he is going to do Rally!

We loved fostering and placing this wonderful dog now named "Lucky",
 even it if was in an ice storm.

We love visiting Strive. 

We love off leash romps.

We love poop picker uppers. Good dog Milo!

We love Charlee and hot pink winter coats.

We love Beck and think he is a phenom.  More on him soon!

We loved seeing Gooddogz/owner trained  service dog Barley at a Nose work class.

We love our Dog Powered service dog friends!

If you  want to feel more more love, you can click the images to embigger them.
February is a dark, dreary, depressing, month.  I just found out that the whole state of Maine should be taking vitaimin D. Off to the store.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snowzilla and the wag more hump less fest

With the French Toast Alert at high, it was time for some storm prepping.

First I hit the supermarket market last night, and bought the mega gianormous toilet paper. Rest assured that the good junk food is hiding underneath.

This morning I awoke with images of my two new male foster dogs frozen shut in my house, ala blizzard on Little House on the Prairie. If you follow me on twitter (@gooddogz), you may have been following the hump fest 2011. Each night before bed time was the worst. Let's just say that my living room saw a life time worth of action dominant male canine play. I was inches away from trying a squirt bottle, but because both dogs were shelter dogs and I want to earn, not loose their trust, I thought ok, lets see what happens if I wear the heck out of them. The humping starts after the dogs get '"excited." (not that kind) and I wanted to see what would happen if I kept arousal (not that kind) on the down low.

With a  massive leap of faith in not only the dogs, but my ability as well, I let both fosters off leash in the woods this morning for the first time today.  It was a picture perfect walk with my two dogs along with  Beck and Kingsley dragging light leashes -in case I needed help catching them. I have to say I was really proud of the dogs and myself. Over the last year I have developed a system of integrating shelter dogs into the household and it is all about relationship. The next group of fosters, I will try to videotape. Basically I use Dawn Jenks choose to heel/come method combined with a work to earn program. While I walk in my yard, the dogs are rewarded for choosing to hang around with me. I make recalls fun. I often tell my students to practice recalls like fishing. Catch and release! My yard is big enough that I can tell if they are blowing me off and if they do, they don't get off leash in the woods or beach. We did meet up with a few people and dogs on our walk this morning, and both foster dogs were awesome and came right back when I called them. In some ways, I think teaching recalls to once abandoned dogs is easier than dogs that were raised as puppies and have gotten real life self rewards again and again for mis behavior.

Check them out!

Beck and Kingsley are the nicest  dogs, and if anyone wants to sponsor either of them to stay here for life,we will gladly accept. . Both dogs have updated bios found here for Kingsley, formally Buck

 and here for Beck.

Beck jumped my 5 and a half foot gate in a single bound to get to me, and he is going to take a little longer to find just the right placement for him. Dog sports anyone? He is a blast to work with. Beck didn't even know sit when he came and in a few days he learned sit, auto sit, walking decent on a leash, down, target, leave it and my favorite, no humping. All this is a huge improvement from the jump and hump that he arrived with just over a week ago. Interesting to note that the fosters have pretty much done a reversal from the dogs that we met in the shelter. It turns out that Kingsley loves to jump on people he knows!  Both dogs love to be lap dogs.

Part of the fun of fostering  dogs for me, aside from saving them from life behind bars, is figuring out the puzzle of what they already know, and how they can learn what they need to know to be adoptable FAST. It brings out the behavior geek in me. Each dog who has passed through my doors have given me an insight on what my clients live with. I have said this before and I will say it again, I think all trainers should foster at least one dog a year if at all possible. Of course for a multitude of reasons, this is not always possible.
By the way, tiring the dogs out did the trick and it has been a happy evening of wag more hump less.