Archives for Adopt a Shelter Dog category

A Few More Days

Posted on Jul 10, 2016
Adopt a Shelter Dog, Yorkie
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As I look at sweet, tiny, Melody, I understand she may only be here for a few more days.  It brings up thoughts of a bucket list like others have shared with their pet.  We all know the bucket list is for us.  Realistically, at the end of life, who has the strength, will, or desire to fulfill a list of any kind.  Melody certainly doesn’t.  I believe her bucket list has been fulfilled over the past 8 years when she went from the shelter to my arms.

It’s heartbreaking to be at this point in time; yet, there’s no time for questions and/or thoughts of what I could have done or what I could do to give her more than just a few more days.  Melody may rally and surprise me with a few more weeks.  That would be wonderful.  I’m also realistic that at 15-17 years of age, she doesn’t deserve to be in pain or discomfort.  She deserves respect, love, and compassion.  I, on the other hand, have to be courageous enough to do what is right for her.

So, I ask for a few more (good) days.  Love to all reading this.

Teaching A Dog Boundaries

Posted on Aug 20, 2014
Adopt a Shelter Dog, Behavioral Modification, Boxer, Crate Training, Dog Humor, Dog Training, Doggie Rehab, Dogs and Instinct, Socialization, Uncategorized
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Teaching one dog a boundary (i.e., waiting at an open door) can be challenging and needs to be taught with minimal distraction as you work up to the major temptations.  Teaching it to three dogs….well, the pictures tell the story. “Oscar, Balboa, and Argus, good dogs.”  I even tossed out a toy and a ball and the most difficult challenge of all…having their dads walk past them as if greeting a guest at the gate.  So smart!

Of course, sit and down are easy in comparison.  Don’t tell the senior he isn’t lying down (he gets a free pass for putting up with the new, young adoptee).  Such a great family!

Rescue Sweet Rescue

Posted on Feb 12, 2014
Adopt a Shelter Dog, Behavioral Modification, Bully Happiness, Dalmation, Dog Humor, Dog Rescue, Dog Training, Doggie Rehab, Dogs and Instinct, Dogs and Sarcasm, Socialization, Teaching Your Dog to Stay, Timid Dog Behavior
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Meet Chloe and Coco.  Chloe is an adorable, smart, and amazingly mature 8 year old.  Her new best friend and rescued pup is Coco.  Chloe’s family already had two larger dogs who are very well trained and the addition of this little one was new territory, so I was called. I am more than delighted to have the pleasure of working with this family and their commitment to having a stable, well behaved small dog (not always an easy task with a nervous rescue).

As some of you know, my heart is with assisting timid dogs in gaining confidence and feeling secure in their new homes.  Initially, Coco was afraid of – well, as they say, her own shadow. Now?  I will let the images do the talking.  This is Chloe and Coco after we walked to school (with a lot of distractions) and are waiting for class to start.  I am truly amazed and impressed with how bonded these two are and how this little (a-lot-less-nervous-now) pup looks to Chloe for guidance.  A reminder that good things come in small packages – and, I’m not just talking about the dog.

Pit Bull Myth Busters!

Posted on Nov 11, 2011
Adopt a Shelter Dog, Bully Happiness, Pit Bull
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Thank you to Best Friends for writing another great post about Pit Bulls.  This one busts a few myths about the breed.

Pit Bull Myth Busters

Wordless Wednesday

Posted on Aug 25, 2011
Adopt a Shelter Dog, wordless wednesday, Yorkie
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Thankful For Six Pounds

Posted on Jul 28, 2011
Adopt a Shelter Dog, Thankful Thursday, Yorkie
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Most of us aren’t excited about putting on an extra six pounds.  Even though it’s a small amount, six pounds can seem like a lot and can really change your life and how things fit.

As a post for Thankful Thursday, I am so grateful for the six additional pounds that changed not only my perspective on “little” dogs but also added a love that can’t be weighed.  Here’s my six pounds (aka Melody) at the shelter where we first met and at home.  Putting on a little weight turned out to be the best thing I could have ever done.  Add a few pounds – you might love it!

Are Dogs Just Being Who They Are?

Posted on Jun 07, 2011
Adopt a Shelter Dog, Behavioral Modification
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Who else can they be?  I admit, along with most of my animal-friendly friends, it is easy to humanize our dogs.  The more science reveals about our canine companions, it’s obvious why that is so easy to do.  While I believe dogs do understand and communicate with us; unfortunately, for the dog, it isn’t fair to assume they think like we do.

I have walked by people with a dog they are less than happy with and can tell they have reached maximum frustration.  Really, the dog in that moment is good at being a dog.  It is up to us humans to learn what is triggering the undesired behavior.  That is not the time to expect them to understand and self-correct their behavior because of our obvious embarrassment.  They will do much better if we learn ways to work with them in a way they understand.  That’s why I’m here!

It reminds me of times I spent with my niece when she was around the age of three to four years old.  When I would start to feel impatient with her behavior, I would say, “you are acting like a four year old.”  She would look at my quizzically and respond, “I am four.”  I would just say, “I know, and you are good at it.”  It was my way of reminding myself that she was indeed four and to expect her to act like an 8 year old wasn’t going to happen.

It’s all about acceptance and it applies to how we work with our dogs.  Shelter dogs come to their new home with an unknown history.  Even if we start out with basic obedience, in every situation that is new to them, they will be showing us who they are and it is up to us to take that information and find positive tools to redirect and support them as though they are what they are – dogs.  That is in no way a less-than-us approach.  It’s only fair to them.

Next time you are walking your dog and it does it’s who-knows-why random bark at a person or dog, it might help you to relax when you remember they are being a good dog.  If you would like my assistance in better understanding your dog’s behavior, send me an email.  I am happy to help!

Wordless Wednesday

Posted on May 25, 2011
Adopt a Shelter Dog, Dog Humor, Dogs Express Emotion, Uncategorized
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Dog Fostering

Posted on May 12, 2011
Adopt a Shelter Dog, Fostering a Dog
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I’ve posted previously about my experience with fostering dogs.  I only have one at a time and with a senior dog of my own, the fostering program in my household has been put on hold.  There are a lot of opportunities to foster through the shelters and rescue groups.  I have done it on my own when the need (dog) presented itself.  Last weekend, I was invited to visit with Sam, a Goldendoodle I had fostered and who was adopted by an absolutely amazing and wonderful family.  Lucky dog…lucky humans.

How Much Time Do You Have To Train Your Dog?

Posted on Mar 18, 2011
Adopt a Shelter Dog, Behavioral Modification, Dog Psychology, Dog Rescue, Dog Training, Yorkie
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Have you ever heard it said we show people how to treat us?  It’s not much different with our dogs.  From moment one, when you bring a dog into your home, they are learning from you.  If you have other dogs, they are learning from them (and vice versa).  If you provide no structure or “rules,” they aren’t likely to either.  They will be looking to you for guidance on where they fit in and what’s considered good behavior.

I receive calls often from those who just brought a dog home and feel like it just isn’t going to work.  The dog isn’t what they thought it would be.  That’s normal.  Ever heard of buyer’s remorse?  It can happen during that first 24 hour perid when we wonder what in the heck we were thinking when we got another dog.  So, how long should it take to train this new being of your affection?  I wish there were a simple answer.

If you read my blog you know I feature Melody, my Yorkie.  She is a perfect example of a dog from a shelter that was sure to be someone’s little cuddle dog – not even close.  I knew her from the shelter so her history of biting those that reached for her would not get her into a home that was looking for that immediate cuddle gratification.  How long would it take if she ever warmed up to a human’s touch?  

My question to dog people is how long do you have to train your dog?  You don’t train a dog to be affectionate and trusting by dicipline, you train by example and a lot of patience.  After  three years, she is still learning trust.  She had some great teachers with the other dogs she’s been around.  They showed her I was trustworthy.

Here’s an image that I love because it took Melody a couple of years to allow herself to be this vulnerable.  Don’t expect to see “this Melody” if you come to our house, but someday you might, and when you do, you will see she was well worth the wait!   How much time do you have to train your dog?