Tate – a quandary

Our new LOW foster Tate is a great little dog but he’s a bit of a quandary right now. Admittedly we’ve had him for just over 24 hours so we’re still getting to know him. What we know so far: he’s a bit skiddish, he doesn’t eat much and he just wants to snuggle. Oh, and he has fleas.

Tate

The fleas shouldn’t be much of an issue. We’ve bathed him once and my dogs have all had their pills so hopefully it will get sorted out. Worst case he’ll go to the groomer for a professional going over. But I’ll try and second and third flea bath before that given his skiddishness.

The quandary is whether or not we have a scared dog or not. He’s not really started to play much and he cowered away from a squeaky toy when we offered it to him. On the other hand though I took him out to go potty and he took care of his business while my pack was running through the yard acting like the maniacs they are. No issues. Once they were back in I offered up treats and he had no trouble getting his right along side the big dogs. But as soon as the treats were put away he made a B line back to Mom for more snuggles.

One possibility is that he just isn’t comfortable being around a pack of big dogs. Tate is maybe 20lbs. Even though he has some fleas (I’ve only witnessed 2) he seems to have been well cared for. However, I don’t know if or how he was socialized. Has he been around a lot of people and dogs? Did he just stay in his home with the other dogs (I think some from the same litter)? No idea and no good way to find out.

The plan: SSDD. Patience. He sleeps in his kennel just fine and while he doesn’t seem to want to play with my pack yet he isn’t hiding under the bed from them. We’ll just do what we always do and see how it develops. Luckily between my trainer, LOW and all the other dog people we have a great support network to help make sure we send a great dog off to New York in February.

Training the Pack

I have a fairly simple goal for my dogs to achieve in 2015: Pass Canine Good Citizen. It’s a pretty simple goal and should be easy to achieve. The benefit though is that I’ll have an excellent baseline to build on for further training.

The real goal is that I want to feel confident taking all three dogs with me places. Walking the three of them at the moment is doable but can quickly get a bit overwhelming if they get excited about something (other dogs tend to be the greatest challenge).

I’ll be working with a trainer (Specialty Pet Training’s Anne ONeill) and we’ve already discussed this stuff. The first thing I’ll be doing is journaling so I can keep track of the various things I observe. We’ll also plan out some training opportunities once I have my work plan straightened out.

The biggest issue I have is that I have 3 German Shepherds. Working with just one is a huge pain and takes more effort because the other two want to participate. I need to learn how to give the other two something to do while I work with the third. Ideally I should be able to put all three in a down, call one over do some stuff and then have it return to the other to and down with them and then take another one to work with. We’ll figure it out.

Another thing I want is to

For fun I’m also getting a harness that will hold an action camera (I use a Drift Ghost). I can’t wait to see how it works. Hopefully I’ll have some great video to post.

After the Canine Good Citizen thing though I’m not sure exactly what we’ll do. A few things that come to mind are:

  1. Cats  – I need to get the entire pack to ignore my cats completely.  They’re not aggressive toward the cats, they are just really interested and want the cats to play.  The cats on the other hand want nothing to do with the cats.  My desire is for my cat Lorie to go back to sleeping with me at night.  When I only had Kaiser she slept with Kaiser on the bed with me.
  2. Perfect return – I want all three dogs to return to me on command regardless of the distraction.  On return I want them to sit in front of me facing me.  Whether alone or in a group I want them to perform this behavior perfectly every time.
  3. Barking – First: I actually like that my dogs bark at people who approach the house.  However, I want them to stop when I tell them to stop.  For instance: I’m good with them barking when the pizza guy shows up, they’ll start barking when he comes up the drive way and I like that, but once I know it’s the pizza guy I want them to stop barking.  In some ways this could be related to the perfect return.  The key is that I want them to stop barking when I tell them to stop barking no matter what is going on.
  4. Perfect stay – This obviously is related to the perfect return.  I want to be able to put the dogs in a down and have them stay there until I release them no matter what is going on.
  5. Search – Search is related to my interests in SAR.  I’m not sure what I want here and I need to do more research, but I’d love to be able to train my dogs to work in SAR.  This however might not be realistic.  On the other hand some of the skills should be teach able whether or not we actually get involved in SAR.

We need fosters!

Ffff@$%^@%^&*(&!!!!!!!!!!!!. Rescues need fosters and adopters NOW!

We are barely a week past Christmas and the puppies are already pouring in. DFW GSR has already picked up a few puppies. HSFM Love on Wheels is trucking in 7 (?) puppies and there are tons of others. We need fosters.

If you’d like to foster a puppy or younger dog now would be a great time to step up. All rescues are going to need help. Whatever breed is your preference: just speak up and they’ll find you a dog to foster.

What if you decide you want to keep the dog? This is what we call a “foster failure”. In some ways it’s not really a failure, it just means you have a match. You can look a foster as a type of pet dating if you don’t already have a dog. You bring in your foster, you spend some time together and if you decide this is your dog you finish the adoption process. If you decide it’s not quite a match then you help find the dog its forever home and help it on its way. However, I have yet to foster a dog that I would not have happily kept. There are two reasons I don’t keep my fosters: first, I already have 4 dogs in my house and in my town I can’t have keep a fifth dog. Second, Love on Wheels specifically forbids you from keeping the dog because it has to go to New York. If you’re really concerned about foster failing just tell the rescue organization to not allow you to keep any dogs.

The hardest part for my family is when the new adopters don’t stay in touch. It’s cool getting to see pictures of ‘our’ dogs with their new family and knowing that they’re well cared for and loved.

The down side of fostering is getting involved and knowing what goes on. Knowing how many dogs are killed every year because people insist on doing the things people do. DFW GSR’s intake coordinator has to deal with tons of emails from families wanting to surrender their aging German Shepherds because they are suddenly too expensive to keep. At this time of year we have to deal with all of the families that thought it would be cool to get little Jonnie or Suzzie a cute puppy and then they discover that raising a puppy is actually more work than raising a baby. Luckily for them getting rid of the puppy is easier than getting rid of a baby. Personally, I’d prefer to euthanize those people for helping create this problem in the first place.

Anyway, if you’re up for it: volunteer. It’s very rewarding and you don’t have to get as involved as I have. Actually, just foster the dog and stay the hell away from all of the rescue news would be the way but it’s too late for me.