August 25th 2011 9:54 pm
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August 8th, we added a new, temporary member to our family; Yoopie's littermate Shiloh. Shiloh's story is a rather simple - if long - one, but also sad. When he was 10 weeks old, my husband and I brought him, Yoopie and their sister Lola from Kansas to Texas. We kept Yoopie, Lola went to a coworker of mine and Shiloh went to some of my family members.
Shiloh was in a household of five children, the youngest of which in only a few years older than he is, and two adults. Even when we were transporting him I could tell that unlike Yoopie, Shiloh was a strong willed puppy and would need experienced handling and so I didn't really agree with giving him to my family, who were first time dog owners but there was nothing I could do; Yoopie was mine, and Lola was already promised to my coworker.
Apart from a brief playdate when the puppies were three months old, I didn't hear about Shiloh until June, 2011. My family messaged me about Shiloh becoming human-aggressive. They described classic reactive behavior when strangers, especially children, were around him and a tendency to become excited and get too rough with the kids. I gave some advice - mostly he needed more exercise - and they mentioned classes with a training facility. I didn't hear anything for two months.
Now, it is pertinent to mention that the excitability manifested in a way that made my family seek out professional training. Shiloh was boarded for a couple weeks and that was followed up with training sessions with the family and dog. To me from what I've heard, the training only seemed to intensify the excitability and the reactive nipping.
August 8th, after a few messages back and forth, I was called on to take Shiloh. He was nipping the children who lived with him and his owners wanted to find a home better suited for him.
And so began the journey. I started a routine immediately of group walks, release word training and assessed his obedience commands. I quickly noticed that with just two short walks a day, the anxious excitement started to go away. With the bike added to the mix, it has all but disappeared except in situations where his separation anxiety becomes a problem.
Both of my dogs were incredibly accepting of the new addition and I couldn't be more proud of them. Yoopie taught Shiloh what "off" meant and that the dog door was something to love, not fear. More than once it was Yoopie's steadiness that made things easier when introducing his brother to new situations. Dingo showed him how to play like a dog, that sometimes a little mischievousness was a good thing (even if it annoys the humans) and there was joy in running at top speed in front of the bike.
There were some bumps and times when I wasn't sure I could deal with three dogs, especially when one needed such intensive work but considering what could've happened it was pretty smooth and honestly I don't think it would have been without my bomb-proof Yoopie and happy-go-lucky Dingo. They showed Shiloh what being a dog was about and put up with my sometimes irrational irritability - born of too little sleep and the stress of a "problem" foster - with grace and a maturity I didn't expect of them.
Shiloh is slightly human reactive - mostly toward men, even those that live with him. This manifests in fearsome barking and growling, but with some treats and ignoring him, he'll at least learn to tolerate them. This is most likely the result of undersocialization and not true aggression. He is a resource guarder who does not mind using his teeth (I have the marks to prove it) but he does have pretty good pressure control. He does not use his teeth to damage, but to warn like any other dog would use a growl. He has mild, but vocal, separation anxiety which is common in his litter. He needs lots of exercise, a couple doggy siblings and someone who is willing to work with him and become his lifelong Person. He is decent with cats who have dog experience, but I'm reluctant to say he would do well in a house with them.
If you're interested in Shiloh or know someone who would like to meet him and is in the DFW area, please feel free to contact me. As much as I would love to keep him, I think that there is a forever home out there, waiting for him.
June 1st 2011 4:31 pm
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This Memorial Day we - that is, the two dogs and two humans - went to a local park to goof around, stretch our legs and have some fun. Armed with Dingo's backpack - weighted with two bottles of ice water - the port-a-bowl and both flexi and cloth leashes, we set out. It was hot, about 95 degrees, so we stuck to shade, only went at a walking pace (when Dingo wasn't so overjoyed at seeing people that he forgot our training and pulled), and in general relaxed and had a good time.
After a water break and a bit of a splash down for the dark-colored Yoopie, we decided one more circuit and we'd head home as both pups were looking happy but hot! Just as we'd come around the first turn, we passed a family that was leaving. The husband, carrying a cooler came first and we politely yielded the trail to him. Next, came the wife and she thought Yoopie was cute; he liked that! Dingo didn't. Then we saw their little girl coming toward us, trailing behind and carrying a plastic bag filled with more bags.
Hubby pulled Dingo back off the path seeing as he weighed twice as much as the little girl and sometimes got excited, but I knew Yoopie wouldn't do anything without a release from me so we waited for her to pass by. She stared at Yoopie the whole time she was coming toward us, no more than three years old. She was fascinated by Yoopie and when she came near him, he wagged his tail and stretched his neck to sniff. She squealed and took a step back, clearly wanting to pet him, but not wanting him to do anything.
He waited patiently while she stood there, arms full of plastic bags and staring at him all the while. I asked for a bow, which he gave and she laughed at that! Yoopie laid down and rolled on his belly, which I scratched and she wanted to do that! She set her bags down and came over. Her mom was calling her, thinking I didn't want to be bothered, but with Yoopie on his back and waiting to be scratched, who could resist that? She patted him and I showed her how he liked to be scratched so his legs kicked and she scratched and laughed at him and when Yoopie got to his feet she patted his back.
Her mom was still calling her, so we waited for her to pick up the bags again and walked her to her mom and when she waved goodbye, Yoopie gave her a bow.