Still going

So this blog has been dead for a bit. I’ve been busy. So what happened?

Rosie ended up being returned by the family that adopted her. They took her in on Friday and I picked her up on Monday. They basically rented her for the weekend. The head smacker was that she did everything I said she would. I told them she wasn’t really crate trained, she tore up the bedding in the crate the put her in. I told them she didn’t really know how to walk on a leash, I compared it to walking Taz, Dad tried walking her and said she was all over the place. On and on. Truth is: I was delighted to pick her up. We took her to another adoption event and brought her home along with another German Shepherd Lola. We ended up adopting both! So now I have 3 German Shepherds in the house.

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Unfortunately over the summer one of our Boxers died, his name was Hawk. He had a heart attack and died. Carrying his body to the car to take him to the vet broke my heart. We loved him a lot and he is missed everyday. Hawk was a great dog, always happy and eager to be with us.

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We have started fostering again. However: no more foster failures. We won’t be adopting any more dogs. One of the groups we foster for is called Love On Wheels. They take dogs from Shelters around North Texas and send them to New York where they get adopted. It’s actually amazing how fast the dogs get adopted. So far we have sent 3 dogs to New York and all of them were adopted within a week of arrival. In two cases they were adopted the day after arrival! Two of the families have stayed in touch with us through FaceBook. It’s cool seeing our fosters in their new lives.

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Currently we are on our 4th foster. He name is Shiloh. I have no idea what breed she is but I think there is some Border Collie in her. She’s a sweet tiny girl but she’s able to hold her own again my miscreant German Shepherds. Her favorite thing to do though is snuggle people.

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We’ve also agreed to take in another German Shepherd from DFW German Shepherd Rescue. I don’t know which dog we’ll get and I’m sure we’re in for a lot of fun. Like most things I get involved in: I have no idea what I was thinking when I decided to do this.

Dog Training Resources

During adoption events I’ve told people I would put together a list of dog training resources on YouTube that I regularly refer to. So here it is:

Dog training resources:

Zak George https://www.youtube.com/user/zakgeorge21

Zak’s channel is my favorite and I’ll generally watch his videos the minute they show up. He’s definitely part of the positive training movement and he does an excellent job representing it and showing others how it is done.

Training Positive https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRyHBkIJ90SZNRyq1iVda5g (been inactive for a while)

This channel hasn’t been active for a while which is disappointing. The material already there is excellent and I wish he’d produce more.

Kikopuphttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-qnqaajTk6bfs3UZuue6IQ

More positive training stuff. For whatever reason it’s not my favorite resource.

Michael Ellis (Leerburg Enterprises) https://www.youtube.com/user/leerburg

I have a few of Michael’s videos and I really like them and recommend them (The Power of Playing Tug is the best video I’ve seen). What I particularly like about Michael’s approach is that he’ll use everything and explain how to do it right. Unlike the positive training mafia he’ll explain how to use a prong collar correctly and how it is going to affect the training of your companion. Even though I have no plans to make use of prong collars or remote collars I do like knowing how to properly use them.

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Gone to the snow dogs https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKTaE3ie9ZyTSQnBrAUzDYg

This is just a fun channel and huskies are beautiful.

Getting control of meal time

Two of my dogs eat pretty fast. One of them, he will remain nameless, after he finishes his food will go around checking the other dogs to see if they want to share. That of course causes problems. So what to do?

First solution is pretty easy: put a tennis ball in your dog’s bowl and then pour the food in. This will work for a while but both of my dogs eventually figured out that they could just take the ball out of their bowl. So much for dumb dogs.

You could get fancy and drill a hole in the center of the bowl and use a piece of cord to only allow the ball to move around inside the bowl.

Another solution is to get a slow feeder. I’m testing a Slo-Bowl Slow Feeder right now and it works really well. My dog is the fastest eater in the pack and with this thing his finishes well after all of the other dogs are done.

I’ll probably be adding at least one more.

Adopted!

On Friday Rosie was taken to her new Furever family.

Rosie at this point was our more difficult foster. Not because she was a bad dog but because we got very attached to her. My dog Kaiser didn’t leave her side the whole time she was here. The two of them cause more trouble and mischief than 2 dogs should be capable of. They were an absolute riot together.

Here is an example of the fun they had:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmZNBwiUuCg

My youngest was really upset when she was adopted and while I didn’t show it I wasn’t all that happy either. I would have been quite happy for her to stay here forever.

On the Brightside: we’ll foster again in a few months so we can help another dog have a 2nd chance.

Bringing in a new foster

Last Friday we brought Rosie in to our house. Rosie comes from DFW German Shepherd Rescue and is our first foster with this organization.

One of the first things I worry about when bringing a new dog in to the house is how the other dogs are going to react. The next concern is whether or not the new dog will get along with the cats in the house. To deal with the first issue when we arrive home one of us stays outside with the new dog while the rest go in and get the dogs ready for a walk. Then we take the dogs outside one at a time to meet the new dog. We let them greet each other for about 30 seconds or so and then move our dog off a little ways to make room for the next dog. Each dog gets to meet the new dog before we bring the whole pack together. If everything looks good we take a quick walk around the block and then in to the house.

The upstairs is blocked off so the cats have it all to themselves. We also keep the foster dog on a training leash (a twenty foot training line) so it can explore a little but is also under some control. At this point we’re primarily interested to know if the new dog is really house broken or not. We’ll take them out back almost immediately because the car ride can be long.

We also have a crate setup for the foster dog. It’s actually pretty nice and has plenty of room so they can stretch out. There is also a dog bed in it so they’ll be warm.

Once we’re in the house and business has been taken care of outback we are in to foster mode: get to know the dog so we can help find it a new home. We want to know what type of personality it has, does it get along with the cats, how does it handle strangers, does it have any obedience training? All of this will help us find it a home.

In Rosie’s case she has no obedience training at this point so I’ll get her started right away. She gets along with the cats ok so I don’t need to worry about that. Best of all though is that she is extremely affectionate to people and the other dogs. She has spent most of the day playing with Kaiser and Sparkles. She also spent most of her first night sleeping on top of my wife. So I think she is good with people.

The fun part this time around is that I’m 99% positive we’re going to be foster failures this go around. My wife seems to really like her. We’ll take our time getting to know her and start getting her trained so she’ll have slightly better manners (not that I mind a 45lbs German Shepherd who thinks counter surfing is an Olympic sport or anything like that).

 

Just out of the kennel

Last year I decided that I wanted to get a German Shepherd but because of work and other things going on I wasn’t sure if we were ready. So we, my family and I, had the brilliant idea to start fostering dogs for the Humane Society. The thinking was that we could put off adopting a dog until we had a better idea of what was going on.

During the course of the year we fostered 5 dogs. The first was a Dutch Shepherd mix who was adopted by a friend of mine. The next was a Labrador who we very nearly adopted ourselves, but another family wanted her so we sent her to them. Next came a pair of Chewenie puppies who were adopted by my daughter’s soccer coach and his mother in law. Our last foster was another Chewenie from the same litter. She had been returned twice for the usual reasons. We searched around for her but she was adopted during an adoption weekend. We brought her to the Pet Smart where the events are held but she didn’t even make it in her kennel. Just as we were putting her in another family asked if they could meet her.

As is normal with planning, fate had other ideas. What I wanted was a black and tan male German Shepherd between six months and a year old. While we were fostering I had also put in applications to adopt at the various German Shepherd rescues local to us. Sure enough Kaiser came up at the DFW German Shepherd Rescue. He was a 7 month old black and tan. He’s high energy with a great personality. He’s been very puppy like since I’ve had him. We also have two boxers, one male and one female. They all get along very well.

With the New Year we have decided to start fostering again. Currently we are keeping Rosie who we are very likely to adopt. She is a very sweet dog. Probably the smallest German Shepherd I’ve seen, she weighs in at 45lbs! She is very affectionate and has already made friends with everybody in the house. We’ve only had her here for two days so we’re still getting to know her. Also, if we do adopt her we will continue to foster but will not ‘foster failure’ again.

The reason I’ve started this blog is share what I’ve learned through our experience both as fosters and owners. I’ve been learning a lot about dog training and have made a lot of observations about it. Also as an owner interacting with other owners and their dogs I have more comments to make. Finally, as a foster and a person involved with rescues I have one or two thoughts to share.

I hope you subscribe and follow along, maybe even ask a question or make a comment.