Tag Archives: Anxiety

Canine Behavior and Pit Bulls

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By the way, the reason why I picked pit bulls as part of my title is because of the bad, perhaps terrible, reputation they have.  In the above picture, there are two pit bulls: the grey one is Kingston; and my girl, Alex a pit mix, is behind Kingston.  Any dog, regardless of his breed can be a balanced dog or a horrible dog.  Many times the choice is up to the pet parent.

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Yes, for the most part, a dog’s behavior is greatly determined and affected by the pet parent.  Also, remember that there is always that exception.  Whether you have a pit bull or a lab, make sure that you find the right person to help you have a balanced dog.  Dogs are amazing teachers, and I can tell you from personal experience that they will teach you many things, patience being at the very top of my list.

Kitchen: Most Popular Room In Our House

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Champagne, “Could I help?”

One thing I’ve realized, and many of you probably would agree with me, is that the kitchen is the most popular and used room in a house.  All of Abby’s friends love to hang out in the kitchen specially when Cynthia is cooking.

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Champagne, “I am so tired.”

After Champagne helped Cynthia prepare a delicious meal, she was very tired so she took a nap.  She is probably dreaming about food.

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Champagne, “What? Time to eat? Yay!”

How interesting, and funny, that once it was time to eat the above beautiful girl woke up right away.  I think that both, dogs and humans, enjoy hanging out in the kitchen.  What room is the most popular/used in your house?

One Month With Bella – BARCS ID# A21561474

1monthToday, Monday, is exactly one month since we picked up Bella from BARCS, and to say that she has changed a lot would be an understatement so I’d like to share her progress with you and hope to get some feedback.

Walking – She did not know how to walk.  She pulled every which way, and she was so bad at it that while attempting to walk her a day when we had a lot of snow on the ground, I ended up flat on my back while holding on for dear life to her leash and at that moment I said, “That’s it, I give up on this dog.”  Yes, I actually said that.  I never had a dog be that bad at walking.  That day while talking to my girlfriend, Cynthia, she mentioned me flat on the white snow while dressed in dark clothes and you know what we did?  We laughed like crazy.  Nowadays, Bella, for the most part, walks next to us.  That is progress:-)

Feeding – While I put their food together, at the beginning, Cynthia had to put a leash and collar to restrain her from going to the other dog’s area while they were still eating.  Bella also used to make this grunting/piggy noises that would start as soon as she saw me take our their dishes.  What about now?  She still makes those funny noises, but not until she hears the kibble going in her little dish, and we restrain her by using voice commands.

Pacing – Even after we took her out for a walk, she would pace in a frantic way.  She had a lot of anxiety and pent-up energy in her.  Now she seems to be much more relaxed and comfortable, and the amount and intensity of her pacing has greatly decreased. I love to see her walk around the house relaxed and content.

Training – Bella is attending a Basic Training class that will last 5 weeks, and to be really honest, I thought she was going to be the worst student ever.  Sorry, but that is how I really felt, but you know what?  On our first class, last Saturday, she did great.  She got almost all the commands correct, received compliments from one of the trainers, interacted well with people and one child.  I was so proud of her.

1month2Doggie manners – She almost stepped over Alex when they were sunbathing on the deck.  Right now she is more aware of her surroundings, but she still needs some fine tuning in this area.  She also, once, took a Nylabone from Alex’s mouth.  Alex just looked at me like, “What was that?”  I don’t allow Bella to do that because that can cause a fight.

I will probably start taking her to BARCS adoption events in the near future.  With that in mind, let me share this with you.  A student from Animal Behavior College told me that she volunteered for an adoption event for, I forgot the name of the organization, sorry, and the dog she was handling after a couple of hours made her hands red and raw from pulling.  That is something I want to avoid with Bella.  When she is ready to go to an adoption event, I want people to see the amazing girl she really is and not walk away because all they see is a hyperactive, crazy, out of control dog.  I will not set her up to fail.  It is up to Cynthia, Alex, and I to do the best that we can to get her ready to go to her forever home, but not until she is ready.

If I were asked, how’s it living with a foster dog?  I’d reply, “You will never have a dull moment, and you’ll have plenty of laughter, lessons learned, tears shed, frustration, and moments when you question your own sanity for embarking in such a difficult, arduous, sometimes, heartbreaking journey, but this was something I have wanted to do for a long time, and I am fortunate enough to be able to do it now.”  So, the succinct answer to your question would be, “Challenging, heartbreaking, and rewarding.”  I know, I know.  I could have started with that.  Have a great week.

Roxy, Treats, And Her Bed

Roxy comes very often to stay with us and for some reason she used to shake uncontrollably when it was time to go to bed.  She loves treats so I decided to use that and see how she responded.

IMG_5474We started by doing the following:

  • Lured her to bed by showing her a treat
  • Once in bed, she got a treat
  • While Cynthia put a leash and collar I continued to give her treats.  We had to do that otherwise she’d walk our bedroom the entire night and this only adds to more anxiety
  • I then said to her, “good night,” and gave her one last treat

IMG_4436We did this every time she stayed with us and you know what?  It worked.  About 2 days ago, I went to brush my teeth and as I was exiting the bathroom I saw something small and dark curled up in her bed, the bedroom is right next to the bathroom, and to my surprise it was Roxy.  Wow!  She went to bed all by herself.

If your dog has “issues” like cute Roxy, remember the following:

  1. First, figure out what she loves/likes best and use that to train her
  2.  Do not train her when you are angry or anxious, and make the experience pleasant and short.
  3. She was tethered to a 6 ft leash allowing her to move comfortably.  Do not leave a dog unattended.  We do this because she is in the same room with us just a few feet away from our bed

My next goal is to teach her to use a crate.  Just like with the bed, if Roxy is put in a crate she shakes like crazy.  I wanted to teach her to use a bed before using a crate.  Train your dog little by little.  There is no point nor need to stress your dog out.  Every dog is different, therefore please remember that when training or teaching your dog a new trick or behavior.  Go slowly, and take my word for it, it’ll pay off.  Have fun training your canine companion.