Saturday, August 22, 2009

New homes and training

Silverwalk is a small, private, licensed dog sanctuary in Cape Girardeau County, MO. It specializes in Beagles, other hounds and senior dogs. There are always dogs needing adoption and sponsorship. Please see our website for more information about Silverwalk and our dogs needing homes.

I am a bit discombobulated this morning. Morley Woods went to her new home yesterday morning with an RN from work who I admire, enjoy and who is a dog person. Yeah, Morley! And Shiloh is on an overnight to be sure he gets along w/potential doggie roommates :) - he is not yet back today though, for me, it is still early. YESH. So, feeding this morning was weird as I had to very much adjust who was here and who was one point, I walked around w/a bowl of food not sure for whom it was, then remembered it was for Penney, who is out off leash in the driveway and may or may not want breakfast.

Penney is my own dog of at least 7 years. My neighbors call her a "good 'ol dog" as she wanders around, avoids trouble, clears yards of moles, is savvy and comes home. She is really waiting for me to take someone on a walk. Penney then walks w/us but makes wide circles, always keeping me in her eye - she is such a cool dog who is going grey and hopefully will be around for many more years.

Today Scout is going as the Silverwalk dog to Safe Harbor's adoption event at Bucheit's in Jackson. They gave us time every Saturday in August for our cats from Safe Harbor and SH then invites Silverwalk to bring a dog. I now coordinate the adoption events. Today we have another volunteer as well who will pick up the kittens from SH and be w/me at Bucheit's. So, if you read this in time, we will be there from 1 PM to at least 3 PM today and next Saturday. Scout is in a CGC class with Melanie Coy every Wednesday night - he is making small steps as he is a nervous dog but boy, when he hears her car pull up, he is ready to go; this past Wednesday, Melanie stepped in the house and Scout went straight to her, smacking his butt on the floor in a sit without even being asked.

I am pleased to report Lady Bird is making baby step progress in her work to overcome her fear aggression. I have seen nice progress as we walked the bike trail this week: I walked her on the left side as I wanted to be able to move her off the trail and avoid confrontations as walkers, runners and cyclists came to us - she did very well. Then I read in Randy Grim's new book, Don't Dump the Dog, to be sure a fear based dog not only sits but sits and relaxes. Was not sure how that would work but walked her out yesterday w/Shiloh, Spanky and Sugar Bear (those three were not invited, they just invite themselves *sigh*). She started looking for treats, watching my face, then I let her walk, smell in a field while Shi went off - I circled her, treated, had her sit, massaged - by the time we were on our way back, her tail was up and swinging. I called that "relaxed." She reminded me of a horse who is in the right frame, relaxed w/a tail and butt gently swinging. This walk did not take that long but it took mental work on both our parts to make it more than a physical walk. I kept my shoulders relaxed and did NOT respond to any barks or tension on her part, even when she started to bark when we got close to home and she anticpated her fear up the hill - I circled her with a leading treat filled hand so she followed my hand and again, focused on me, not her fear. My initial goal is to let her know she is safe with me - no matter what. This will take time but she is worth it.

The humidity is low this weekend which allowed me to take Lady Bird and Spanky, quite spontaneously, to Panera's - me for breakfast, them for a car ride and some training work. In trying to get Lady Bird to "down," Spanky kept downing and wanting the treat I was trying to use for her! They were hilarious and are now resting after breakfast at home. Have a great weekend and remember, love your dogs more than they love you - which, I assure you, is impossible :).

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