Foster Success

We did it! All the foster babies left our home. We didn’t keep a one. That was a close thing, I adored little Rogue and her brindle coloring, and Chris loved little Storm. They were sweet little babies but we don’t need another dog.

Domino became “Negasonic Teenage Warhead” and went to one of our chiropractors.

Storm was slated to go to the shelter with the rest of the puppies that Kassey and Dani had been fostering. But that day came and Chris was devastated. While getting set up for Denver Comic Con with our good friends, he talked Jenna into adopting her. I’d not so secretly been hoping she would take a puppy but she wasn’t so sure she was ready after the loss of her wonderful boy Dillinger. So I got a call with less than a hour before little Storm was supposed to get picked up for the big trip that “she has a home don’t send her to the shelter!” Storm became “Ripley” and is living it up with Jenna and Rob. She got to go to Rob’s firehouse (her second trip to a fire station for socialization, the pups got to visit with firefighters on their way up to us for fostering) for a 4th of July picnic.

 

Rogue, my little sweet potato, was adopted by one of Chris’s friends Dan. She went off to Oklahoma on July 4th to meet her new family. We drove half way to Hays, KS where we met up with Dan and handed her off.  I was a train wreck and sobbed for a while as we headed back to Colorado. She became “Mudpie” because the small children in her new family thought that her brindling looked like mud spots.

 

Chris and I are unlikely to foster again in the near future. We adored the babies and it ripped both our hearts out for them to leave. And its nice to have space again now that the xpen is gone and a clean house without 3 puppies running hither and yon and peeing every 3 second with their tiny puppy bladders. So adorable, so dirty!

Plus I am working on building my business in the hopes of dropping down to 2 jobs, my business and teaching aerial dance/fitness classes. I’m hoping I’ll be hiking dogs full time as well as a little bit of pet sitting in the near future. Once I am there we will probably revisit fostering, because who wouldn’t want a well socialized dog who comes trained with trail and leash manners as well as normal in the home behaviors.

 

 

Fenzi camp 2017

Strider and I got to go to camp this year… I could talk about how excited I was and how it was a long ass drive. I could also go into detail about how I spent weeks and months vacillating between pulling him and deciding to keep our working spot but really I’m going to talk about the experience.

I went in with extremely unrealistic expectations. Not for Strider but for the other people there. I expected people with working spots especially to be polite and respectful of the rest of us with working spots. It was… only true of many but not all and one person can literally ruin it for you.

Strider has issues with people getting in his space especially when they haven’t been introduced. So there I admitted on the internet that the dog I adore and think is perfect is not behaviorally perfect. (FYI this admission is not permission for you to contact me with unsolicited advice, I’m not interested in any of it, if I want your advice on my dog’s behavior I will contact you outright.) Frankly I prefer him to our overly friendly rescue rottie, he is a more pleasant dog to live with and work with, he is fun and a hard worker and he adores me.  I talked to several people with experience with IPO (schutzhund/bite sport whatever you want to call it) bred dogs and his behavior is typical of these type of dogs so I feel better about that knowing it does have a strong genetic component to it. That information alone made the weekend worth both ends of 18 hours of driving.

I signed us up to work in labs that I felt would be the most helpful for Strider’s struggles as well as the trainers I felt would understand him the most. That meant we were signed up to work with Amy Cook and Shade Whitesel all weekend. Amy has several classes that help with reactive dogs and Shade has lots of really good toy and marker classes targeted more towards IPO. Its excellent information no matter your sport.

Our first day we were signed up for Reactive dog management (Amy) and Toy play (Shade). We made it through reactive dog management with no issues in spite of the lady who obviously did not have a reactive dog and was not interested in learning how to manage him in any way.  I felt really good about it, we were fine and he is a rockstar.

Well reactive dog management was just before lunch and toy play was just after lunch. So Strider got no break because I hurried him into his crate, grabbed lunch ate, and ran him out to give him a chance to pee and go for a walk. I think that was probably not a good choice for him. I should have let him pee and left him up. We went in and tried to pick a spot were there wouldn’t be tons of activity or near other dogs before our turn… yeah so “reactive not actually reactive or managed dog” and his human came in and literally walked up to where we were sitting. Did I mention this dog is the kind of dog, Strider particularly has a problem with? Well surprise, he is! So we fled to another part of the room to avoid her and another lovely lady moves us chair and our stuff over to us so we could sit, which I greatly appreciated. We worked our first round and started fixing my mechanics which is really what needed to be done for us to progress.

The real trouble happened when someone walked up behind us and got into our space before I knew she was there. Strider reacted and barked and lunged (no he didn’t try to bite her because if he had she would have been bit) and scared the crap out of her and really me. I put him up and found her to apologize later. Too little too late apparently. I got a phone call during the last session of the day that I needed to come find someone to talk to them about my dog. My first thought was actually that someone had bothered him and he was barking in his crate. When I realized he was fine in his crate still I knew we were in trouble.  So, we were actually being told we could no longer work for the rest of the weekend. I was upset by this point and I was even more upset at the end of the conversation. I am not going to call anyone out or name names but I still am pretty pissed days later that I was told that I “should get a lab next time”. I didn’t realize I was such a piss poor trainer that someone who has literally never seen us work could tell that my skills are such that I am not allowed to have the breed I adore and instead have to get one I have no desire to live with.  Generally this person is very nice and maybe didn’t realize she came across like she did with that comment which is really why I am not call her out by name.

Honestly I contemplated packing up and leaving that day to come home. I didn’t and I am glad I didn’t. With the help of Sam (our camp neighbor and new Canadian friend) Amy Cook came, found me and talked me down, or actually just talked me into staying a night and sleeping on it. So I stayed and I stewed and I made sure to put Strider in a muzzle to walk him through anywhere both as a statement because I was pissed and because then everyone who was worried about him had literally nothing to worry about. Sarah Stremming and I have been friends since our days in the dog daycare trenches togetehr and she got there at the end of the second day in time to be a shoulder for me to cry on again (sorry! and thank you seriously). And by the time I was going to bed at the end of day 2 I was able to establish that I was more pissed by the lab remark than being asked to give up out working shot though frustrated because of that as well.

On day 2 I attended Judging pressure with Amy, part of Denise’s heeling session (I left early to let Strider go pee before lunch time). Play without Toys with Amy(which was not the lab I’d signed up to work that session but I felt like it might give me more important ideas for helping Stri than Shade’s Location Specific Markers) and Shade’s Reducing reinforcement lecture. I got a lot of good information even if I really wanted to work Strider in a Judging Pressure because that is literally exactly what we needed.

I also found 2 special stones on Strider’s crate on day 2 which I am grateful for today but that day I was mostly still angry. (Hell be happy I am mostly fine now, I have a short fuse and long memory for stuff that pisses me off). I know at least once volunteer found me crying in front of his crate at the end of day 1 and brought me water and another attendee gave me a banana so obviously my distress overall was… noticeable. But that is beside the point, we got 2 so we might be extra special.

 

(encourage mint)

 

Day 3 I attended both of Sarah’s lectures (Is my dog ok? and Behavioral wellness) as well as Lori Steven’s conditioning lab. The other lab time I spent talking to Amy Cook (I really like her, she is a great person) and formulating a plan for Strider to work on his reactivity and sensitivity to humans in his space. Its completely different than anything else we’ve done with our other trainers/friends/veterinary behaviorist. We did a bit of work in Amy’s online class Dealing with the Bogyman but this is still different from that too. We’ll be revisiting some of that stuff too, frankly I got lazy when we started moving last year and Strider matured quite a bit so he didn’t “need” it in the same way so I let it slide.   I’m actually really excited to give it a go and will be dragging local friends into being my assistants over the next little while.

Since we couldn’t participate we loaded up on day 4 and hit the road (after I spent a ton of money on toys and pictures of us from our one day of working).

Overall once I adjusted my expectations it was a good experience. I really prefer working spots because I learn better from hands on doing of stuff but I will manage just fine from my notes and conversations. Because I love training and that is what is most important for me to retain information.  I’m not sure I’ll attend again, not because it was a bad experience but because frankly traveling 18 hours one way again next year isn’t high up on my financial priorities list. If it ends up closer or in a state I’m dying for an excuse to visit I might go in the future but for now its up in the air. I will still do the online classes with FDSA so that hasn’t changed.

 

We’ve lost our minds

We have foster puppies. They are cute and sweet and soon to be 5 weeks old. I’m watching and re-watching Puppy Culture and trying desperately to raise these little girls into amazing pets.

It’s a rather long story how these babies ended up with us but I’ll make it brief. Someone in rural Colorado, with not a lot of money ended up with two pregnant bitches that welped within days of each other. They were accidental litters and the owners reached out to a mutual friend for help and here we are, the X bitches. Chris and I have 3 and each of my two other friends have 3 puppies so 9 total in the care of us, the helpers. All the puppies are names after female X-men characters, we are raising strong and empowered females here.

Our girls are set up in an Ex-pen in the living room. Looks like this: I rotate and add new toys every day. Obviously they also have water in their while they are in the pen too.(their bowl is outside with them in another ex-pen in this picture) They are eating solid kibble well, but I also have been offering softened kibble a couple times a day. If these were my puppies I would be weaning to raw but since they are going to be available to the general public, kibble it is.

The little girls are doing fabulously! All 3 of them are pooping in the litterbox ( the ‘litter’ is alfalfa pellets) 100% of the time they are in their pen, pee is a bit more iffy. Domino is getting in there the majority of the time, Storm and Rogue are hit or miss there.

 

Domino

Storm

Rogue

Strider is doing fabulously with them. He is gentle but also willing to let them know they are being rude. Trixie is being tolerant of them but she just leaves rather than interacting. Arwen… well she is trying but she is young too and wants to play, she is clumsy and not careful so all interaction with her is under extreme levels of supervision. Not that we don’t watch the other dogs but they are a little more careful so if I look away I don’t think they’ll have accidentally crushed the puppies.

 Arwen trying to be polite.

 

We are lucky and puppies are benefiting from joining puppy parties that were already planned with friend’s litter.

Chris wants to do more fostering so we will see once these girls are gone but we have several weeks. In the mean time if people want to help me socialize the puppies just let me know and I will work with you. And if you are looking for a puppy, boy do I have a deal for you! 😉

Strider’s goals

Aka These are all the things I want to do with him. Maybe writing them down here on the internet for other people to see will force me to follow through some more.

Herding lessons – I’d like to enter some AKC trials in the future, I have limited knowledge for this so I don’t have specific title goals

Rally (currently doing a drop in class with our friend Dani) – I’d like to get up to RAE

Agility- I want to put a MACH (Master Agility Champion) on Strider but since we haven’t been training any agility this may be a very lofty goal. Our local trainer Amy is starting classes soon so I need to figure out if she’ll have any evening classes.

CGC (starting class 3/8/17)

AKC's Canine Good Citizen logo.

Obedience (Preferred track, no out of sight group stays involved) This is pretty lofty too, I really don’t fully understand Obedience so yay making stuff up.

NACSW Nosework (entering an ORT [odor recognition test] in May in Pueblo) We take classes from our friend Jessica.

Trick dog titles( through the new AKC program starting in May) This is an extension of the DMWYD program that already exists online but makes it more recognizable

AKC scentwork (another new program that starts in the fall)

BH (a beginning level IPO/Schutzhund title that requires no bitework, see heeling pattern below) Really outside of my comfort zone but would be so cool.

 

Heeling pattern for BH

Conformation- I’m going to have my friend Kassey help us with this. I suck at it and feel overwhelmed and stressed and Strider feeds off of that. If Kassey finishes him I’ll die of shock (that tail thing again) but it would be lovely to get a few points at least.

Parkour- This is a cool program where I train and video him and submit the videos for titling. We are going to start by taking the FDSA (Fenzi Dog Sports Academy) online class next month.

We may do some Fenzi TEAM titling as well since it is online video submission with really awesome break down of obedience skills since that will help us title in other venues as well.

Non-title related goals:

Hiking- I try to make it out at least once a week.

FDSA 2017 camp- We are signed up and have a trailer spot reserved. Strider and I are going to road trip out to Oregon this June.

Daily walks to the park- currently our walks are on hold, there is some construction closing down our route right now. The rest of the neighborhood is full of fence fighting dogs make our walks perilous.

Getting his reactivity back under control- He got into it with a friend’s husky in October 2016 and we are still working through those issues. Its bled over to all nordic looking dogs and sometimes other dogs. He also has some intermittent man reactivity that is typically directed at older men or bearded men (makes little sense as Chris has a beard but whatever).

Working on his arousal levels- I suspect this is part of our reactivity stuff, fast movement pushes him over the edge sometime. He jumps and punches his human friends, its lovely.

 

 

 

A new house, a new dog, a new year oh my!

I sort of fell off the face of the earth, or at least this blog last year.

I decided to sell my condo last May and that turned into a hectic mess for a bit. First we got it all ready to go and then discovered we had some legal stuff to deal with because my dad was on the title and he had passed away and the title was held stupidly so basically that ended up taking months to get sorted. And in the mean time we had to keep the house clean and start packing to move to some unknown location. Once everything was taken care of the house sold in 3 days on the market so we were scrambling to find a place to live. Pro tip: Find a place to live early. Also probably not owning a boatload of animals would help. We ended up buying a friends house but that was also a long and drawn out process because of various financing issues. It all worked out in the end but Chris, Trixie, Strider and I ended up camping  out for about a week in various wilderness and not so wilderness areas near Fort Collins. Then we were saved by some friends and we camped out in their back yard/their office for a month in a half before we were able to move into our house, a real house with a back yard!

We are crazy and ended up adopting a sweet female rottie puppy 2 weeks after we moved into our new house. We weren’t even done with the renovations yet! I questioned my sanity for a while but Arwen is a very sweet girl and she is perfect for Chris to learn more about dog training. She is really bright and really easy to train, its nice to not have a real challenging dog.

Arwen is finishing up Smart Dog 1 with our friend Dani at Come-Play-Stay and starting a Recalls and Stays class at Summit Dog Training this week.

Trixie is starting a reactive dog class at Summit Dog Training this week.

Strider went on a hike this weekend and is currently not enrolled in any classes but that will change soon I’m sure. I may sign him up for the reactive dog class once Trixie is done. I fear her influence has left him feeling like he needs to yell at other dogs occasionally. Moving into the new house with a private back yard has helped immensely but the months in the condo with a shared open space and random strange dogs never on leash definitely didn’t help him out any.

Anyways we are getting settled in still but I’ll be better about updates on all the pups this year.

 

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Herding Instinct Test

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I wasn’t sure I was actually going to try herding with Strider. There is a lot of dog stuff to try! In some ways losing Moose young is making me branch out. I had grand plans with him but really didn’t do anything beyond agility. So when a friend shared the local herding club’s instinct test on Facebook I was interested. Luckily I’ve got Dani (with Fleet) to be my accountability buddy so we went out this morning!
Strider was really good for a puppy who had never seen stock. He has been around horses a couple times but I worked hard on him ignoring them. He barked at then in excitement and frustration at first and did a little bit of chasing and biting vs herding but once he got his brain back he did a decent job of droving. We’ll have to take some lessons! He passed with no problem.

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Dani and another nice lady videoed our run for us! Fleet is being very mad the Strider was playing with her goats in the beginning.
https://youtu.be/SSHvJv-gEL0

Strider is staying intact

I’ve been asked about this a few times recently so I thought I would explain why I am not having him neutered. I’m not a guy, and I don’t have the weird over attachment to testicles that some men-folk seem to have. I even know that testosterone is not helpful in social situations. I actually have very good reasons for my decision.

  1. Rottweilers neutered before 1 year of ages have an increased risk of developing osteosarcoma, that is bone cancer.  This link goes straight to the paper: http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/11/11/1434.full
    I’ve already lost a dog very young to cancer and ostersarcoma has a much worse prognosis than lymphoma (the cancer Moose had). If I can do anything at all to reduce the risk I am going to do it.
  2. Another study in rottwielers found that female’s that kept their ovaries longer than 4 years had increased longevity. They lived longer than both males and females spayed in the first 4 years of their lives. Again here is the paper:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1111/j.1474-9726.2009.00513.x
    Yes Strider is a male and so this may not benefit him but again I’m hedging my bets.
  3. Then there is this study done in golden retrievers, that discusses increased risk of multiple cancers (including lymphoma) and joint/ligament issues which often require surgery to get the dog back in action.
  4. Its in the contract between my breeder and myself that I will not nueter Strider before he is 2 and I will discuss it with her first.
  5. By far the least important thing to me is Strider is showing in conformation. He cannot be neutered and show.

I am not opposed to spaying/nuetering and I do understand why it is heavily pushed. I’m just not the typical pet owner and I did a lot of research in the time I was losing a 5 year old dog to cancer. I feel comfortable with my decision as the risk of cancer is greater than the risk of Strider accidentally having access to an intact bitch at the exact right time to breed her.