Likes: Going anywhere, sleeping on the bed, walking on walls!
Pet-Peeves: Having to stay home alone in the crate, although he is quiet. He'll lie down on his back to try to get out of 'lockup'. Not great about having his nails clipped (yet) either. Doesn't like 'loud surprize' kind of people - leave me alone!
Favorite Toy: Green Lamby *RIP*...ooops! Have to watch the stuffed toys, he 'worries' at them a little too intensely.
Favorite Food: Meat.
Favorite Walk: The one through the fields and the golf course and by the beach.
Best Tricks: "Stretchy Dog" - he bows...then streches back...then lays down flat and stretches his hind legs out behind him and commando-crawls.
Arrival Story: I've had dogs all of my life, raised Labs for awhile in the 80s, helped found LRR in New England, then had always owned nice English-type Labradors. This past August my wonderful old boy, Stormy, passed away. Of course I was despondant - he was not only lovable and sweet, but one of the most handsome Labs you'd ever meet. I knew there was no way I could ever come close to 'replacing' him - but I also knew that there was no way I could NOT have another dog. So I decided to adopt (by the way, Stormy was also adopted) via Almost Home Rescue out of Maine.
As you know, the toughest dogs to place seem to be the larger,young males - and the solid black ones are at the bottom of that list. Why? I don't know, but maybe because it's more difficult for some people to 'imagine personality' without distinctive markings or quirks? Whatever. I made a pact to ONLY look at those dogs - and he had to be part Lab, simply because I genuinely love the breed.
Whoever wrote his "pickmepickmepickme!" story was a genius! It began with a cute photo of him wearing a blue bandana and the headline was: "Please, look at ME!" and went on to say; "Billy here...I am getting so sad...." And he was so handsome and winsome - I was hooked.
Unfortunately someone else was lined up for a home study. I agreed to keep looking, but made it clear that if, for some reason that home didn't suit, I would love to be notified. As luck would have it, that fell through. The people really wanted a smaller dog and only asked about "Billy" because he was on an 'urgent' list (still in Arkansas). Within a day I was contacted by the group's local home study person, she came out, and the wheels began to turn. I did have to wait 3-4 weeks for his quarentine/health clearance, and then he was lined up for transport to New England.
The transport company was wonderful, all on the up-and-up, the animals arrived clean, un-smelly, and properly fed and watered, the people traveling up with them were very nice. At the drop point there were about 20 families, as well as reps from the rescue organization checking papers and stuff. I was there with my youngest son (who's in his 20s)...we were the only family adopting a dog that day - all the rest were going to foster care.
He looked smaller than I'd imagined, but Stormy had been a 90 lb. chunk - ChiliBob was about 50, probably a Lab/Border/Shepherd mix, very scared and shaking as he came off the big converted horse trailer to a sea of faces he didn't know. He was so frightened that his teeth were chattering. I've only seen that once before in all my life.
We got him away from the crowd - I mean he didn't even really have a chance to connect that we were on the other end of the leash that was attached to him. After a few minutes he settled, ate a little bit of food, had some water, and suddenly BURST into this 'Screaming Cheetah Wheelie' happy dog-dance, all wiggly and doing everything he could think of to impress us. There was NO problem getting him to jump into the backseat of the truck and into the crate for the 90 minute ride home. All the way he was pressed to the crate so my son could pat him.
This was a young dog that had spent half his life in a small dirt pen in Arkansas...and that was his shelter home! All that was known of him was some guy dumped him at the shelter and said, "He sure does like riding in the back of the truck," and drove away. He'd never been in a house, never housebroken, never-nothin'.
It's been about 6 weeks now and I'm still amazed at how quickly he acclimated to status of 'house dog'. NO accidents since Day One. He's incredibly quick and smart, has a nice confidence about him without being arrogant or 'inappropriate', listens, is very affectionate - but also happy to have his own space. I bring him to work with me and he gets along well with most all of the other dogs (some better than others, but those 'others' have their own issues, too!), doesn't bark, reacts appropriately to their signals. I couldn't be happier with him.
This winter I'm hoping to be able to do not only some basic obedience classes - but maybe even some fun agility work with him.
His named morphed from "Billy Bob" to "Billy" at the shelter...I was going to keep it, but he seems to like the "ch" sound - so it's morphed again into "ChiliBob"... or "ChBob" for short.
This snow stuff is confusing - but I kinda like it! Every since it started last week I've thought it was interesting...but this weekend took the cake. I know how to Dog-boggan: you get out there and roll onto your shoulder, start pushing off with your hindlegs, then lie down and roll onto your back and SLIDE across the snowy stuff!
I also know that if I stick my head really deep into the snow, that someday I'll find something interesting, I will, I will.
This morning, though, my Mom was a little fed up with me. It was 5:25 and I thought I had to pee. She put on sweatpants over her jammies, her robe, and her biggest coat, and her shoes with the "teeth" on them - my leash was snapped onto my collar and out we went into the icey darkness. Yippeee! I dog-bogganed, I couldn't stuff my face into the snow too much 'cause most of it was froze, I listen intently to the sounds....I walked ontop of the crusty snow and didn't fall in.... But you know what? After 25 minutes, it was just still too cold to pee. We had to go in 'cause my Mom was freezing.
I graduated my Basic Manners Class yesterday and got a diploma with my name on it - OMG I am so excited! I peeked at Stormy's diary and saw that he wrote about the tricks, so I won't write it all again...except that I think Teacher is smart about us knowing how to "cuten up" when we are around people who are nervous of us.
Another interesting thing I've noticed in my dog class is that most of the dogs have floppy ears and are light-colored and even the other dogs aren't as intimidated by them. Two of us were black, Molly is just a pup and she kind of looks like me, but she was still surrounded by that 'puppy aura'. We both have 'half-pricked-ears', and there is an Aussie puppy - only about 4 months old - with the same ears and a really INTENSE look. He was herding the noisy Wheaton all over the place during playtime - he was the only one who could DO something constructive with him! Smartypants!
The only dog with totally pricked-up-ears is my friend (thankfully!) Reikka, who is a GSD and older (4). Everyone respects her and she is more a 'quiet leader' - not a bully at all. We all 'get it'.
Anyway, yeah, I guess it is kinda true that some people are automatically wary of darker-colored dogs with more 'alert' facial features - or even different colored eyes. Isn't that funny? So I guess it's good that I like to learn stuff and do tricks to show how smart I can be.
Oh-oh-oh-oh! I did something REALLY FUN the other day at a playground and I just have to tell you about it! First we went there so I could run around on the tennis court because it's the only place that's fenced in. Not that I don't want to come back to my Mom - I do - but if there was a squirrel? I'd GO FOR IT! And we don't want me to get hit by a car doing THAT. So, then we went to the playground and there was this funky slide thing....I climbed up the platform stairs and chose one of 3 slides to go down. I did this about 5 times and it was twisty and fun. My Mom needs to take some pictures of that. Then I jumped through the big tractor tires there, then I went back by the tennis courts and went in to play for a few minutes with a 7 mos. old Tibetan Terrier puppy named Callie. She was wicked fast...but I knew to cut the corners to catch up to her. But man-oh-man was she ever fast! I am too, but I couldn't keep up.
I thought I'd write a bit in here about my issues with guarding my Mom...inappropriately and appropriately. I responded to Dogster's Nile's question under "?Answers", but I ran out of room! Oh, and I don't really HAVE an answer, per sey - just sympathy for the situation!
At my Manners Class I'm learning how to play with the other dogs - and I don't really LIKE all of them, some are obnoxious, but I'm learning how to deal with it. The key is that we are on NEUTRAL ground and the Teacher is the only human who repremands us (with a spray bottle of water if needed...not often!). First, it's okay if we growl to back off another dog. 99% of the time they listen and back off, and we go hang out with someone else. It's doggy socialization sans human interferance (which can make stuff lots worse). We're not restrained or restricted by leashes and people yanking on them because they think there is an issue. We know better, we deal with it, and there has not been one fight. I did get sprayed a couple of times when I tried the 'dominant dance' - ooops! guess that's not kosher!! I don't do it anymore. I mostly choose to play with dogs my own size, and I am really nice to the puppies. When I get anxious I go back and sit next to my Mom, or even lie down (all on my own). Then I go play again.
We have our manners class - that's when I get those awesome treats like cheese and liverwurst, so I REALLY pay attention to my Mom. REALLY.
After that part is over we are set free to play for the last 5 minutes or so, and that's when I have the hardest time adjusting. I mean I DON'T WANT TO GO AWAY FROM MY MOM. I want to keep working and doing stuff and getting the treats. I won't go out and play and if another dog comes near me I get upset and give them the 'whale eye'. Last week my Mom had to go sit in the Time Out Box (like hockey) so I couldn't even see her or get to her. I sat outside the box and stared and tried to get in the whole time. Guess I have some 'issues'. But, being recently adopted, I am just so worried I'll be abandoned again.....but I don't think she'd do that to me...
Now, the other evening I actually guarded in a good way. My Mom shares part of a house with someone I don't see much of, and it's really hard for me to understand that he can come and go through "Our" living room and kitchen, but I am learning. Well, we thought he had left, and it was cold so my Mom had left the door open to get the woodstove heat in our 3 little rooms that ARE ours. Then she went into the bathroom and closed the door and ran a bath because we'd been outside all day, cleaned the whole horsebarn, and Mom was tired and just wanted to relax. Which is fine. Anyhow, then the housemate came back in! I growled and sat on the threshold of OUR doorway and wouldn't let him even come near me to pat me. I mean my Mom was in OUR part of the house and relaxing and it was my responsibility to keep everyone else OUT, right? I didn't bite, I never want to do that ever, but I did bark and sit in the doorway - I think the guy should've understood and not tried to pat me in my section. I wasn't in the common section at all - it's (unsettling) okay if he walks through there, but NOT in my section if my Mom isn't there to say it's okay. Right? That's how I was thinking anyway.
Later on my Mom told me I was a tiny bit 'wrong' because we can trust this guy, but she did appreciate my point of view and actually did agree with me. I mean the last thing I want to happen is for anyone to walk in and surprize my Mom about anything. That's my job, to tell her what's going on if she's not right there - right? I was only protecting our den, and I didn't bite or hurt anyone.
So, Niles, if you read this maybe it will help you figure a few things out. I know I am still having a difficult time, but my Mom tries not to put me in too many situations that I can't handle and I'm learning to look to her for my cues at times. Sometimes, though, it's just 'a dog thing' and I have to figure it out myself with the other dogs. None of us ever really WANT to fight, so it's easier than the humans think it is.