Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cash's first day on the job, do you think he was nervous?

So here we are with my new dog Cash, the Aussie Shepherd, and two of the shelter dogs. I wanted to see how he was going to do, walking and helping to train the shelter dogs and so far he is fine with it. He got along with the dogs and despite his lack of leash training, although he is good off leash, he was able to walk comfortably and help set the pace and relaxed tone. I think he will do just fine in his new role of helping to train and make comfortable the shelter dogs. Both these dogs seemed quite relaxed with Cash although it took some doing to get decent photos of them as they kept turning in different directions, so I kept taking shots as we walked hence the photos of the dogs relaxed in the street as I was not so relaxed but watchful and hoping to get a good photo while shepherding two dogs and my camera hand to safety. The big black dog, Honey was an unusual sort of case. Most shelter dogs can't wait to go for walks, and stay out of the noisy shelter. Honey got about 3/4 of a mile away from the shelter and then made an abrupt turn and kept pulling me back in the opposite direction that we were trying to walk in. At first I thought that perhaps she was spooked by the two male joggers behind us on the bike path so I pulled the dogs aside and told them to wait, but the joggers just passed by and the dog wasn't bothered by them but kept turning back and pulling me. I then thought that maybe she was trying to tell me that she recognized some landmarks and perhaps wants to try and go "home" to wherever she has lived before. I just decided that trying to wrestle a big lab mix who was determined to go in the opposite direction, wasn't going to be fruitful so we turned around and walked back to the shelter. As soon as we headed back she relaxed so I'm guessing that she liked the shelter, felt comfortable there and familiar with the staff and regular feeding. I was thinking," strange, she looks well fed and happy otherwise, why was she so scared to be away from the safety of the shelter?" We took Honey the big black lab out again, a week later, and she was really worked up and pulling while I tried to get her out of the shelter gates and I was using my stern training voice when one of the shelter employees said " you do know that Honey is deaf don't you?" " Actually no, this was the first I'd had heard of it" so that bit of info threw me for a loop. The last time I took her out she seemed fine, listened to my commands and or body language as well as that of my dog Cash's body movements, and we had a nice walk before she tugged and wanted to turn back. Maybe being hearing impaired made her more insecure when she got too far away from the shelter, often times it is the dogs who are super frightened or have been abused that are more comfortable in the shelter than outside of it but for most dogs they prefer to be out walking around.

The yellow Heinz 57 variety dog is Jake
Jake seemed pretty relaxed around Cash as well

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pascual in need of reform school?

I have to admit, that even our dog children from time to time, get into trouble no matter how well they are raised. My friend and I often take our rescue dogs out for long walks around a reservoir where there are little camping areas that are available for public use. The campground
areas are often filled up on the weekends in the summer time. This summer we were walking and basically at the end of our walk. My friend and I were in the parking lot with her dog and my new dog and she says to me" where's Pascual?" I looked around and called his name, which usually causes him to show up immediately but, no Pascual. I walked over to the bridge because sometimes the dogs stand in the water underneath the bridge to cool off. He wasn't under the bridge. This was really unusual behavior for him as he never strays far off the hiking path and he's usually never far from me or out of reach of my voice. I called once again"Pascual" and all of a sudden, he comes sneaking out of the bushes with a big piece of baked chicken in his mouth! I quick figured out what had happened, and as I was bursting out laughing and trying to tell my friend what had happened while taking the fully baked piece of chicken out of his mouth and Pascual is looking at me like" do you know the trouble I went through to sneak that piece of chicken, and you're taking it from me? why it was masterful" and I'm trying to rush everyone into the car before the drunken, angry, camper I'm imagining comes running after us and I don't even have any money on me to pay for the chicken, and I'm laughing so hard that this little old dog was so sneaky in his escape through the bushes, as I've often seen him skulking around the furniture in the house trying to outwit other dogs so he could steal food out of there bowls, but I never expected him to do it in public! So we quickly made our getaway, my friend and I laughing so hard. As my guilt started to rise, I said" I really don't know if he stole it or someone gave it to him" as despite my fears, no one actually came out of the woods and yelled at us, and I was reminded of the time in Portland Oregon when I was dog sitting for my friend's yellow lab mix and walking up in the Hawthorne Blvd. shopping district, and my friend had the strange, bungee style leash which I never understood the purpose of; a leash with spring coils in it, and someone was walking past us eating a slice of pizza and the dog jumped up and I pulled back on the leash and got no resistance, and the dog was able to snatch the pizza right out of the guys hand as he was lifting it to his mouth, and I was terribly embarrassed, and apologetic, and explained that I was only dog sitting and not familiar with that type of leash, and again I had no money on me to even pay the guy for the pizza but he was very easy going and told me not to worry about it. So hopefully my karma was washed clean this last winter when I found a $100 dollar bill on the floor at Walmart at Christmas time and kept thinking that it must have been someone's special gift money so I turned it in to the store manager who said someone came around all upset and desperate because they had lost their money so I apologize for my dogs behavior and hope that somehow things get evened out in the world, but needless to say I watch the dogs more closely now, and Pascual, like any good hunter, keeps going back to that campsite, his happy hunting ground!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Dogs,those mysterious creatures-what motivates them ?

When we got our new dog Cash from Inland Northwest Rescuehttp://www.aussierescuenw.org/INWR.htm he came with all kinds of toys; stuffed animals,a Frisbee, a teddy bear. I bought a brand new dog bed from Costco which has some of the best prices for large dog beds if you live near one. Do you think that the dogs would appreciate the efforts all these humans have gone to, no. No one, not the old or new dog has deigned to set foot on the brand new dog bed,"moi? dog bed? oh no,no no, Madame it is not for me, I much prefer furniture, of the human kind" "Toys? what would I want with toys, do I look simple to you? you throw it and want me to bring it back? why do you throw it in the first place? strange kind of human compulsion for frivolity? Why, bring me some sheep and we'll talk, what do you take me for?" so the toys sit in the corner. My friend has a large rescued Pyrenees mix dog, that plays with my new Aussie Shepherd, Cash. Last year the Pyrenees mix snuck over to the neighboring farm and stole the stuffed animal toys belonging to the neighbors German Shepherd. My friend kept finding new toys in her house every day for about a week. This year my friend heard a noise at her front door. She knew that her dog was already in the house, as it sometimes wiggles the door open with it's snout. She thought "hmmm, maybe it's one of the cats coming in" No, it was the neighbor's German Shepherd come to reclaim it's toys!Funny creatures these dogs, what interests them, what bores them, what they are motivated by. If only they could talk!This is the second time this year the above German Shepherd mix has come to my friend's farm for "toy exchange" I just happened to be there to witness all the fun and snag this photo. How did the dog know that my friend had just purchased this new toy? These dogs often have an uncanny sense of timing, and are always good for a few laughs!