Angie's Adventures

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new foster home

May 1st 2012 1:23 pm
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Angie is a very sweet dog I am fostering. She is like a puppy in some regards, because everything seems to be new. She is a little timid but coming out of her shell more every day. Angie bonded almost instantly with my female dog, Claire (I call her the nanny dog) but remained timid around big Yuki boy for several days. She is more relaxed around him, to the point that this morning she dared to get onto the couch with him, but she is still a little wary of him.

I got Angie just one week ago and she has already had some important firsts. She went jogging with me and did great. She's a small dog (about 30 lbs) but leggy so she had no trouble keeping up. She's still a little confused about the leash so she does tend to circle me, but we are working on it. She also went hiking with me and seems more relaxed in the woods than on the street.

Today she met children on bikes and on scooters, wearing bike helmets. That was a little much for her, but thankfully my neighborhood children are very dog savvy. Angie did let them pet her after they bribed her with treats but it is going to take a little while before she is comfortable around them. I suspect she has not met many children before, especially not ones on wheels.

My goal is to slowly introduce Angie to the neighborhood, to the people and dogs who live here and get her comfortable with more and more new experiences.

 

progress

May 3rd 2012 11:10 am
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Angie is clearly starting to feel more comfortable in her foster home. Yesterday she started barking back at the yappy dogs that live behind me. I was pleased that she responded well to my attempts to divert her attention, so I was able to get my foster dog, whom I have had for just one week, to stop barking before the neighbor got her 4 dogs whom she has owned for several years to stop.

She is also showing how silly she is, now that she is becoming comfortable. She's giving play bows to all three of us, but she gets a little scared when any of us respond by trying to play. She is running around the yard, bounding really, and has a silly habitat of launching herself up the stairs.

She is also finally letting me sleep through the night. I think she has realized that she will be in her crate for a set amount of time and that is it, so she has quit the desolate abandoned puppy howl that so upsets Claire. She is a little hard on the bedding but I am trying out different toys to see what will keep her occupied. All the Kongs I have in the house are for much bigger dogs so I need to invest in a little one for her. She seems a little interested in the Nylabone but Yuki, who has not paid any attention to that toy in 2 years, despite it being in the toy box, is suddenly remembering that he loves it. I put it in her crate today when I left and will be interested to see what happens.

I have also switched her to a harness for our daily walks, not because she needs it but because I just don't cope well with the leash/collar combo. The leash always ends up under the one front leg and it drives me crazy. The harness is working well. She is starting to get the idea of not passing behind me (with three leashes, they have to help) and how to untangle herself when she goes on the opposite side of a tree or mailbox from me.

She comes reliably when I call but only because she is following my boy, who comes no matter whose name I call. I am working on name recognition and eye contact but have not yet even thought about sit, stay, down, etc.

She has also gotten comfortable enough with me to give and ask for affection. Last night as I was watching TV she climbed into my lab and just cuddled with me, much like Yuki-dog did before he grew to be 65 lbs. She's sweet and feisty, which is a good combination, in my mind.

 

suprise

May 7th 2012 4:35 am
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For a dog that is skittish around new people, Angie was remarkably unfazed by me donning a full beekeeping outfit with hat and veil. Gloves do not bother her either. It took my boy dog several times before he stopped finding me scary in the bee suit so I am surprised by Angie's instant acceptance.

Angie also had her first bath, which was a big and unpleasant surprise for her. She fought me but did not offer any aggression; she just wanted to get away. I did manage to stay nominally drier than her. Nice to finally have a clean little girl.

Still working on name recognition and housetraining. She is doing so great on the leash but now barks back at the aggressive (fenced) neighbors' dogs. She also barks at my one neighbors' dogs. I am working with her to train her to bark only to alert and then be quiet.

So we've had Angie for almost two weeks now. Yuki and I are rather enjoying having a silly little girl here.

 

bath and neighbors

May 7th 2012 7:16 pm
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Today Angie got her second bath, courtesy of having a bad night and getting poop on her flank. She fought me less than on the first bath, which is good, because I was in my work clothes.

Her other excitement for the day was that she got to meet lots of people. She barked quite a bit at the special needs students from the job program who came to mow the lawn, though once I picked her up, she was content to let the one student pet her. This afternoon a bunch of the neighbors ganged up on my neighbor across the street and helped her clean up her yard. I left Angie tied out in the front yard, in view of all of us, sheltered under a bush so she would feel secure. When we finished raking and bagging, I brought her over and she was not only quiet but let two of the neighbors pet her. She definitely is braver with another dog modeling appropriate behavior. It seems her favorite way to be petted is with her head mushed up against Yuki's. The neighbors all agree that Angie has a very sweet little face. They also expressed their admiration for how well she is walking on leash these days.

Angie is now reliably using the dog door. She likes the freedom to come and go from the living room. I was a little worried she might not choose to spend any time in the house, but she is currently snuggling on the couch with me and Claire-dog.

 

not dumb at all

May 8th 2012 6:03 pm
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Today while I was at the store, Angie opened the crate, climbed up the ramp to the elevated dog bed (designed so my pups can look out the basement window), and pushed out the window screen. She did not actually damage anything but boy was she happy to be loose in the house with the big dogs. From this, I conclude that a) I need to reinforce the crate and b) Angie is actually quite smart.

 

first dinner party and first swim

May 25th 2012 1:05 pm
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Tuesday Angie attended her first dinner party, on the deck at my house. While she barked at the first several guests to arrive, she quickly quit that behavior. Whether it was because my dogs were so happy to see each person or simply because she got tired of barking that much, I do not know, but I was pleased to see her quickly adjust to having people moving around the house and deck. I instructed every one to just ignore her and that probably helped her to feel more comfortable. I was pleased by her behavior overall, though she did momentarily freak out at one friend and even darted in to nip at her (no harm, no foul, just a lot of barking). By the end of the evening, she was simply laying in the midst of a group of people, relaxed but not quite asleep. She had plenty of space to go where people would not go (my room or under the deck, which is her favorite place to escape me when she thinks I am trying to crate her).

Thursday, after Claire-dog's vet appointment, I took the dogs to a local pond for a swim, to give Claire's knee a low impact workout. Yuki and Angie were playing in the open field near the pond while Claire enjoyed herself in the water. Angie saw a preoccupied Claire and leaped in for a play attack, only to find herself in water over her head. Clearly, Angie does not know how to swim, as she spent a bit floundering around and finally splashed her way to the shore. She refused to go near the pond again. We'll see what happens with more frequent visits to the pond, but I doubt she'll be a swimmer.

Claire's knee is healed enough that we have resumed walking around the neighborhood and despite the two week vacation from walking, Angie continues to walk well on leash. Interestingly, she also presented herself to me for a harness this morning, just like Claire and Yuki do.

She still does not quite understand to come when called, though she will look at me when I say her name. She also comes any time Yuki does, so I do have a reliable way to get her back to me when I want her near.

 

training progress

June 4th 2012 7:01 pm
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I am happy to report that Angie definitely knows her name and is coming when called. Today while hiking she came every time I called her, regardless of what was going on around her. In the past, she's followed Yuki to me, but I made certain to call her when they were not close together and not to call him. I am very pleased with this progress. In the house, she does not always come when called but she is still worried at times that I am going to put her in the crate, so I am not pushing that issue too much.

She is learning what is and is not a dog toy. She is exhibiting a new behavior of trying to pick up various things and chew on them. She seems to like decks of cards and plastic lids from bottles. She clearly has figured out that anything in the dog toy basket is fair game, but the items not in the basket are still unknown for her. More than once this week I have caught her with an item, waiting for my attention before starting to chew on it, almost like she's testing the waters and trying to figure out the rules.

The other nice bit of progress I can report is that Angie now knows which food bowl is hers. This is making dinner time much more pleasant, as she no longer tries to steal food from Claire or Yuki.

On a related note, that I have not mentioned before, she has an extremely soft mouth, particularly when taking treats.

 

holy cow, easy!

June 6th 2012 5:27 pm
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Today I dubbed nail trim day. I hadn't tried to trim Angie's nails yet since she came and a month of nail growth is a bit much in my house (yes, I'm obsessive about nail trimming). I started by trimming Claire and Yuki's nails, as they are reasonably good about getting their nails trimmed and I thought this might reinforce the idea that getting your nails trimmed is not a horribly painful way to die. I worked long and hard with Claire to convince her of this idea, though Yuki was always rather strangely fond of getting his pedicure (he also likes baths and being groomed, so he's just weird).

For Angie's first nail trim, I prepped by gathering together her favorite toys, some treats, the leash and the martingale collar. I got all this together before trimming the other dogs' nails and was reasonably pleased that she watched the proceedings by flopping down on the ground right next to me. When I turned to start her nails, I prepped myself for her to fight, to jump, to react negatively in a variety of ways. What I was not prepared for was the behavior Angie actually gave me: she simply laid there while I trimmed a nail. I treated immediately and she rolled the treat around in her mouth while I trimmed 3 more nails. I treated her again and got absolutely no resistance while I trimmed another 4 nails.

I have never exerted myself so little to trim a dog's nails! On the plus side, too, all but one of her nails is clear, and they cut like butter. I hope her forever family appreciates how wonderful she is for nail trims!

 

vacation

June 26th 2012 6:52 pm
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While I was away on vacation, Angie stayed for several days with another family. According to the mother, Angie did great with the children and their other dogs, after taking the better part of the day to warm up to them. She faired less well at the humane society, where they reported that she shied away from the workers and constantly paced. I am not surprised about that as she does not deal well with confinement.

When I picked her up from the humane society, Angie literally threw herself into my arms. She has been a little more clingy than usual and not just to me but also to my dogs. Yuki loves her and has enjoyed having his playmate back but Claire had to lay down the law yesterday to regain her personal space. Angie took the disciplining well. I found it funny that immediately after the confrontation, both girls climbed into my lap for cuddles and somehow, both were fine with their proximity to one another.

Angie still struggles in the bath. It is not her favorite thing, though she quickly forgave me for subjecting her to the water.

In other Angie-related news, we picked up a friend before heading out hiking this evening. Angie did great having a stranger in the car and on the hike with us. She even gave my friend a few puppy kisses when we got out of the car. It was a long hike for her, since she is not in as good condition as my pups, but she did great. She stuck with us, checked in regularly, and came to my whistle or call every time. She clearly loves being out hiking, especially off-leash.

Based on how well she is doing, the rescue is planning to start advertising her more and hopefully we will find this great little girl a forever home.

 

Happy 4th of July

July 4th 2012 8:02 pm
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As it turns out, fireworks do not faze Angie. Even better, when my dinner party got to be too much for her, she voluntarily removed herself to my bedroom and hung out there until she was ready to face the people again. On the whole she did very well.

 
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