Tag Archives: BARCS

Boston Bound Family/Pack

We are what?  I am afraid.  Hold me mom!

We are what? I am afraid. Hold me mom!

Cynthia received a nice offer for a new job in Boston, MA so we’ll be moving within the next couple of weeks.  Bella, our almost 4 year old pit mix, has never moved with us, therefore her reaction on the above picture is understandable, right?

We are moving?  Yeah!!

We are moving? Yeah!!

Alex, on the other hand, has moved with us several times when Cynthia was in the military so she is used to it.  I am hoping that Bella eventually feels the same way.

I may, or may not, be able to blog on a regular basis.  I will try though.  Why?  Misery loves company.  But seriously, it is a way to show, I hope, other pet parents how crazy a move to a new city can be specially if you have two furry kids: Alex the laid back pittie; and Bella the superenergetic one.

I am going to miss all the dogs that vacationed with us, and their amazing pet parents, therefore to all of you who trusted us with your furry kids I’d like to say on behalf of Cynthia, Alex, and Bella, thanks a million for everything and we wish you much love, health, prosperity and peace.

Dogs And Good Manners

gdmanners1When Bella came to live with us a little over 4 months ago, she had absolutely no doggie manners: she’d step over Alex; bump into her; and this was the worst, while Alex was sunbathing by the sliding doors Bella would try to put part of her body on top of Alex.  Manners is something dogs can learn from one another, and I’ve been lucky to have Alex, a very laid-back, balanced pit mix, help other dogs accomplish that.

Is manners something you can teach a dog overnight?  No.  There are many factors that need to be present and put into play in order to have a well-mannered dog and these are just a few: patience, structure, exercise, discipline, commitment, consistency, love, and a balanced dog like Alex.

gdmanners2A few pet parents I’ve talked to believed that if they took their dog to an obedience class, this would solve most, if not all, problems, but let me tell you that an obedience class is just the beginning of getting your dog to be a happy, balanced, and well-mannered dog.  I look at an obedience class as one more tool that you can use to start training and conditioning your dog to listen to you, her pet parent.

Also, please don’t expect your dog to learn manners from another dog in a couple of hours, days, weeks, etc.  Why?  Dogs are individuals, as I mentioned on a previous post, and they learn at their own pace.  Bella, our foster failure, has made amazing progress, but that took time and a ton of patience.  There is still a lot more I need to work on with Bella, but now she is able to live with other dogs in peace while respecting their space.

Foster Failure – Bella, Our Girl

home1A little over 3 months ago, Cynthia and I went to BARCS to pick up a foster dog, and I truly wanted to train her and work on her behavior so she could go to her forever home, but that was never meant to be.  As time went by, I realized that Bella was a smart, beautiful, active, affectionate, strong, challenging dog.  In other words, perfect for us.  Cynthia fell in love with Bella from the beginning, but to be quite honest, it did take me a while to really feel a bond with her.  When did this happen?  Once I started to train her.  Training a dog is work for both the dog and the handler, so for those that have never trained a dog, let me tell you that aside from walking, training a dog allows you to form a bond with a dog even when you don’t realize it, like in my case.

home2Since Cynthia wanted to adopt Bella for a while, I went ahead, without telling her anything, to BARCS to fill out the application form and as of last month Bella became a permanent member of our family.  When I finally told Cynthia about it, do you know what was her reaction?  She had a smile from ear to ear, and then she cried.  Bella is our foster failure, and that’s ok with us.  Welcome home Bella!

Basic Training Part II – BARCS ID# A21561474

certificateBella completed her Basic Training/Good Manners class on Saturday, 3/01/14 and to say that we are proud of her would be an understatement.  With Casey, my first dog, I took Obedience I, Obedience II, and Canine Good Citizen.  With Alex, my current furry kid, I took Obedience I.  Why do I do this?  What’s the point?  These are questions I’ve been asked by a few pet parents, and my answer to them is:

  • A trained dog is a better behaved dog which in return makes sharing your life with her a joy rather than a burden
  • Training allows you to manage your dog better in different settings, not just at home, but for that to happen you need to incorporate training into your every day life
  • You can take your dog to family reunions or gatherings, and/or she can be the “hostess” when you have people over

bellaThere are a lot of more reasons for your dog to have, at a minimum, basic training under her belt, but it’d be too long to list them all.  For those pet parents that have dogs classified as aggressive/strong breed or whatever other term they are using now, basic training is paramount, and, in my opinion, essential.  Living with dogs should make your life better and more enjoyable, but you, as the pet parent, need to do your part.  Congratulations to our foster dog, Bella, for working hard to get her Basic Obedience certificate.  This cutie is still available for adoption.  If interested, please contact BARCS.

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.

Basic Training Part I – BARCS ID# A21561474

basictraining1Years ago, I took Casey, our first dog, and Alex, our current dog for basic training, and I truly enjoyed the classes and the time I spent with my dogs doing our “homework.”  I think that living with a dog should be an enjoyable, enriching, learning experience, but we, humans, must do our part.  How?  I’d say start by enrolling your dog in a basic training class.

basictraining2Bella and I went for our first basic training class today, Saturday, and to be honest, all I was thinking as I was driving to that class was, “Please, don’t let her be the worst dog/student in that class.  I’m not asking for much, am I?”  Well, to my surprise she did great.  Although everything around her was new, dogs, people, location, etc., she was able to focus and did almost every exercise right.  She also met other people including children and got a couple of compliments from the trainer for doing such a good job.  To say that I was over the moon would be an understatement.

Anyway, Bella and I were given homework to do so we’ll be busy working on the following: recall, sit, down, push-ups, and one trick that I forgot what it was called, sorry about that.  Have a great weekend.

Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth – Part II BARCS ID# A21561474

part21We took Bella to the vet yesterday, Wednesday, and I could not believe what the vet told us.  Bella had a small thin stick running from one side of her mouth to the other one that measured about 3 to 4 inches long.  The only part we were able to see were the black holes on her gums, but once she was sedated they found that a stick was pushing her teeth out-of-place.  After we picked Bella up from the vet, we passed by BARCS to pick up her meds and then we headed back home.  You’d think she’d be a little mellow, but boy she was still full of energy, but for that evening she was fed and kept apart from Alex and Walter as recommended by the vet tech.

part22I can’t stress enough how important brushing and checking your dog’s teeth and gums happen to be so please pet parents be diligent about your furry kid’s oral health.  I am not a dental hygienist like Cynthia, but a stinky mouth in a dog is never a good thing.  If you have questions, please ask your vet for advice and take your canine companion for a check up to make sure everything is fine.