Tag Archives: foster dogs

Freaking Winter Wonderland – 2/21/15

ww1I don’t know how to start this post, so here it goes.  I am going to make a list of the things I like and dislike about Winter so this way maybe someone out there will say, “Me too.”  Misery does love company.

Things I like about Winter:

  1. Shoveling snow, but only if I do it within 5 hours after it has stopped snowing.  I actually enjoy it.
  2. Clothing – I like to wear a coat, scarf, gloves, etc.

Things I dislike about Winter:

  1. I cannot go for a walk with Alex for too long specially when the roads/sidewalks are icy
  2. I have to wear layer after layer of clothing to keep myself warm.  Alex doesn’t like to wear sweaters except for one, so I think is safe to say that Alex shares this dislike with me
  3. My hands hurt the colder the weather gets and I hate it
  4. I cannot take a shower and then go out.  Why?  Every time I do that I get a cold.  No, really. I really do get a cold
  5. In cold weather, there are more accidents due to icy roads

ww2Do you know what is the best part about having a canine companion?  In my case, Alex makes me see things in a different way.  Look at her.  Asleep, close to the vent of course, with no care in the world.  Alex makes the best out of any situation and time of the year.  What a great teacher she is, don’t you think?  Well, I will stop my complaining and follow Alex’s lead and enjoy the day even though as I look out my window I see nothing but more snow.  I know, I know.  I was still able to complain one more time.  What can I say?  I am human after all.

How Do I handle Walking Dogs With Different Energy Level?

energy1When Cynthia is able to help me, I walk 2 dogs and she walks the other 2.  Those with higher energy level are walked longer by yours truly.  But, when Cynthia is unable to help me this is what I do:

  • I walk Alex, my slow walker, and Bella together for about 15 to 20 mins.  Our walking speed is slow because of Alex, but that’s fine
  • I, then, drop and wipe Alex’s paws at home while Bella holds a sit/stay as a way to incorporate training to our every day life
  • I grab Bella and Roxy, the cutie pom, and we go out for a walk for about 45 mins. or longer
  • Once home, I go to the deck and clean Bella and Roxy

energy2Because Bella is the most energetic of all 3, she gets to walk the longest.  What happens once we get home and she is cleaned and fed?  She is out like a light.  I enjoy walking with them, and I know they need those walks, but I also do it because once at home they are relaxed and tired, therefore living with them is enjoyable rather than a burden.

energy3I post a lot of pictures of dogs sleeping because that is the end result of our walks/runs.  Have a great weekend:-)

CEFNI by Sara Jane

I usually don’t collaborate with other bloggers when it comes to writing a post because what I write is based on my experiences, education, and point of view, but this time I made an exception because this has to do with rescuing dogs, so here it goes:

My names is Sara Jane, I volunteer for a wonderful German Shepherd rescue charity called Cefni and Alex has been kind enough to let me tell her followers a little bit about our charity. We aim to prevent dogs from being taken to pounds where they face being put to sleep within seven days of entry. We work with a range of animal shelters to allow us to help dogs throughout the whole of the UK and Northern Ireland, but we need you.

To enable us to help as many dogs as possible we need dog lovers everywhere to spread the word. This is why I have started to write a blog for Cefni.  The page is in its early stages but will include top tips about keeping your dog happy and healthy, interesting snippets of information for fact junkies and most importantly regular updates on dogs that are currently look for homes. All we need you to do is follow the blog and share it with as many people as you can; post it on facebook, email it to all your friends or like Alex, ping me a comment and give me a chance to reach your blog readers with posts like this.

If you are really passionate about joining our ranks there are many ways you can get involved from fostering a dog while we look for its forever home, to designing products and merchandise we can sell to raise charity funds.

For more information please visit my blog:

 http://cefnigermanshepherdrescue.wordpress.com/how-can-you-get-involved/

To finish I’d like to tell you a few of our success stories. Duke’s pet parent, contacted Cefni because she was having major issues with him and was looking for Duke to be rehomed. German Shepherds are amazing creatures but without the correct guidance they are very often misunderstood. Duke’s owner agreed to join Cefni training classes with Duke while we looked for a new home for him, after some months training she decided to keep Duke at her home forever. This story illustrates one of the many ways Cefni can help German Shepherds stay in happy family homes.

Max came to us at just three years old, he was very adorable and hug, a big baby, everyone who came into contact with him instantly fell in love. However months later he was still in our care, this can happen when a dog is very large. Sometimes, like Max, dogs stay with us for many months out of no fault of their own. For this reason we try to put dogs in foster homes while we look for their permanent home, even the best kennels can be very stressful, if prolonged this can physiologically damage even the calmest dog. In the end Max charmed his way into the heart of his forever owner who now believes bigger is always better even when you’re talking about a large breed like German Shepherds.

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.

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.

Teaching Bella To Get Along With Other Dogs – BARCS ID# A21561474

getalong117 days ago, Cynthia and I went to pick up Candie, now renamed Bella, from BARCS, and the progress she’s made so far is amazing.  At the beginning, Bella wanted nothing to do with Alex and we did not force her either, but rather took them both for walks, and runs around the neighborhood.  Bella’s body language was that of a dog in shock of being outside.  More details in another post.  Anyway, as time went by, Bella stopped staring and wanting to go for Alex.

getalong2But look at Bella now.  She is sunbathing on our deck with Alex and Dexter.  Does this take time?  Yes, it does.  And a ton of patience.  Today, Monday, was a nice day so we went out and stayed hanging out on the deck for a while.  What is the point of doing this?  I want Bella to get used to just relaxing around other dogs and I also wanted to observe her body language towards Alex and Dexter, and the squirrels around our backyard that always get her attention.

getalong3This is one of my regulars, Dexter, a boxer mix.  Dexter loves to sunbathe indoors or outdoors.  He is a bigger sun worshipper than my daughter, Alex.  Bella was not very good at dealing with other dogs once we were inside the house, but…

getalong4this is Bella now.  Bella was already on that spot.  Dexter came over and decided that that was the right spot for him and proceeded to fall asleep without a care in the world.  I was looking at their body language to see if there was any signs of aggression to come, but nothing.  I know this may sound ridiculous to some people, but I wanted to cry.  Why?  This is progress for Bella, being able to get along with other dogs indoors, and I was over the moon.

getalong5As you can see, Bella is about to fall asleep too.  Is there anything in particular we did to get her to this point?  No, it was a combination of many things such as:

  • Exercise – a mix of walks and runs twice a day
  • Feeding – once she is finished eating, she is to wait patiently until all the other dogs finish their meal and then all of them go to bed to relax and take a nap
  • Sleeping – she sleeps in her crate after we give her some loving
  • At home – she is not allowed to roam around the house on her own.  She is either with Cynthia or I so we can monitor her body language and interaction with other dogs
  • Outside – we are working on getting her to walk properly, and she is doing better.  Her body language during our walks went from afraid to more relaxed as time went by, although squirrels still drive her nuts
  • Structure – she gets all the love she can handle, but she must earn it.  She has to sit before she gets anything, she has to wait before going out the door, and so much more

getalong6Bella is even getting more comfortable with Alex sniffing her and being close to her.  For those pet parents and foster parents that just got a new dog to add to their pack, my advice would be to do the following: have patience, appreciate the progress your dogs are making regardless of how small they may seem, do not leave them unattended, provide structure for them, exercise them, and work on teaching them basic training and good manners.  Understand this though, your dog will not change overnight.  You will see progress and change in your dog as time goes by, so arm yourself with a lot of patience and do not feel discourage when there are setbacks, and there will be set backs.  Our foster furry kid, Bella, is an amazing girl and little by little we are starting to see a more relaxed and balanced doggie.  Enjoy your holiday with your furry children.

Introducing Bella To Alex – BARCS ID# A21561474

introbellalex1Well, it was time to introduce Bella to Alex today and this is how I introduce new dogs to my pack.

Cynthia, Alex, Bella, and I went for a walk together.  At the beginning of the walk, Alex was on my left side while Bella was on Cynthia’s right side.  We stopped for a couple of minutes so they can do their business, but they were not allowed to interact with each other yet.  Because Alex cannot walk a lot we had to stop after we walked for a little while to give them an opportunity to sniff each other.  Bella’s body language was relaxed and curious.  So far so good.

introbellalex2Once we got home, we went straight to the deck where Bella, still on leash and collar, was able to interact with Alex.  What did I realize?  Bella has no doggie manners.  She almost stepped on Alex a few times.  What did Alex do?  Nothing.  And that is why Alex is perfect for me and for what I do which is board, train, and work on behavioral issues many dogs have.  After a couple of minutes, we brushed their hair and wiped their paws and proceeded to go inside.

Bella’s body language indoors changed.  She became tensed and zeroed in on Alex.  I redirected that behavior by getting her attention and she was fine.

introbellalex3This is what I realized about Bella:

  • Bella’s interaction with Alex outside was great.  She did a play bow inviting Alex to play
  • Once inside, her body language became tense and on guard.  She lowered her head, body was tense, stared at Alex and looked ready to go for her
  • Even though I was not crazy about her body language indoors, Bella responded well or I should say amazingly well to voice corrections and commands
  • Although she did great while playing with other dogs at the shelter, now she has to learn to live in peace with other dogs in a home environment
  • She has to learn doggie manners.  She cannot step over other dogs
  • On the deck, Bella showed signs of stress, pacing back and forth, but she relaxed after a few minutes when she saw Alex sunbathing

This is just the beginning for Bella.  She has a long way to go and this is why a shelter dog, in my opinion, has a better chance to find her forever home when she has been fostered for a while.  Why?  Living in a home environment teaches her how to be a member of a pack and that is something that she cannot learn in a shelter.  I have great admiration for the people who work in shelters.  They do an amazing job, and they can always use our help whether this comes in the form of donations, volunteer time, fostering dogs, etc.  Have a great week.