Thursday, March 29, 2007

Abby and Max first play

This is when Abby and Max (Will) first 'played' on my bed. Abby wasn't sure that she wanted to wrestle with him!

Some progress

Today we took the dogs to the beach and I let Will run while dragging a long line (I learned my lesson on Sunday!). He had so much fun with the girls! I had fun just watching him, until a stupid out of control Lab came running down the beach and tried to leave with my finger. Ouch!

Then this afternoon, Will played with a toy! He's been gnawing on the rope toy ever since he discovered it. He is full of beans today, and has been trying to get the girls to play nonstop. He even came out of my room willingly and walked down the (very scary) hall to the back door. He also discovered the joys of a stuffed kong, and took a few treats even while at the beach. Yay Will!

Will has arrived!

Wilson (called Max on the website) arrived Saturday afternoon. I think this blog is going to be primarily dedicated to him for awhile (sorry Abby!) because I'm hoping that he'll make a lot of progress in the next while.

When he first got here, he was a terrified mess. All he wanted to do was find a corner to hide in as fast as possible. When I showed him his crate, he was in there in a flash and he had no intention of coming back out. He had a little drink while I was watching, but I could hear him drinking a lot more as soon as I left the room. He didn't want to take any food from me, so I decided to wait until the next day to let him try taking food from my hand again. He ignored all the other dogs (a puppy was here overnight until her permanent foster home could pick her up, so things were a bit hectic) and pretty much went right to sleep in his crate. I had to drag him out for a pee by the leash that I'd left attached to his harness.

We went for a hike on Sunday, and I made one of the worst decisions ever and let him off the leash. He'd cheered up as soon as we got to the woods and actually had some bounce in his step. His tail was still tucked, but he was a bit more responsive. So...I let him off. He was fine all the way up - he stayed with the group (6 people, 7 dogs). He was having so much fun. He was chasing the other dogs, initiating play, wagging his tail and smiling. When we turned around, I decided to put him back on the leash. Hah! He was having none of that. Whenever any of us so much as looked at him he turned around and ran off into the woods in the other direction. He continued to stay with us, but he kept his distance. I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to catch him. As we got closer to the cars, I stayed back from the group and hid behind a rock at the side of the trail, hoping to spot him following the group (at this point we hadn't seen him for 10-15 minutes). Eventually I gave up and went to stand in the middle of the trail, just in time to see him making his way up from the wrong path. He'd come running down after us, and turned the wrong way, and then realized his mistake, I guess. We were *so* close to losing him completely! He followed me down the path, but whenever I looked at him, he either stopped or turned around and went the other way. Finally he was walking just a few feet behind me, so I stopped and crouched/lay on the path, looking down and away from him, and told him to "come". He snuck up to my side and I was able to get him by the collar and put his leash back on. Phew! 2.5 hours or extreme stress, for him too I imagine! Poor terrified Will.

Yesterday evening he perked up a bit. He decided that he likes Mia, and he actually played with her! He bounced in the yard a few times with her, and played a long game of bitey-face. He played with Mia again today, and with Abby a few times. He's very cute when he plays, especially because he looks so happy!

Last night he slept on my bed, all cuddled up next to me. Then this afternoon, when I got home from class, he came out of his crate himself to lie on the bed next to me. He won't come to me if I'm looking at him and calling him, but there is definitely progress being made. He is so scared of every movement and sound in the house. I'm hoping he'll get used to my room, and we'll progress from there. He also started taking canned food from my hand last night and today.

When we went to the field today, I had him on a long line. Abby and Mia played fetch, and he kind of ran around them and back and forth, very low to the ground. Every so often he'd stop and lie down when they stopped, then he'd get up and keep running back and forth. It was kind of neat to see. I wonder if he lived on a farm before, since he seems so out of place in the city.

I'm going to try and get some better pictures of him tomorrow. He's a very good looking boy!

Some more tricks

Before I forget about them and we stop practicing them (I swear I forget them before Abby does!):

Abby's new tricks (from a few weeks ago) are rolling over (without luring, finally! I'd forgotten to teach it!) and sitting up to 'beg', only Abby hasn't caught on to the part where her paws are supposed to kinda stay at chest level to help with balance. She sticks them straight up in the air instead, and tries to balance on her bony little butt. So anyway, the trick is called "have you washed your hands?". Horribly cutesy, I know, but Abby is awfully cute while doing the trick so it works. I can't remember if I wrote that I taught her "launch" (jump into my arms).

It turns out my new foster will be a tricolour smooth coat male. It's a long story involving 3 possible fosters before him, all of which couldn't make the transport here for various reasons. I know I say this about all of the possible fosters, but this guy is cute! He's got really neat markings - almost a split face, but the eye on the white side of his face has a black circle around it. He was apparently surrendered by a family with kids, and is a nice dog, but is overwhelmed by the shelter noises and activity. As always, I'm excited and can't wait for him to arrive this weekend!

A Happy Ending

The Bazman got adopted! He is living with 2 sisters (again) - a huuge Shepherd x Chow and another Border Collie. He seemed like a perfect fit in the family since his energy level (and size) is somewhere right in between the girls. His new family drove 11 hrs total to come get him! Apparently he stayed awake the whole drive back - he was probably pretty nervous - but is settling in well and giving his new mom his signature full body wags. I miss my cuddly Bazman a lot. My bed feels so empty without him! At least I get to see pictures of him posted on the BC boards regularly. And I know that he got a really great home!

Once the boy's away the girls will play...
...and resume their favourite contest of Ugliest Face.

I'm probably getting my next foster next week. I wanted a new guy right away so that I wouldn't miss Baz too much. I have a feeling this next one will be much more of a challenge. He is a 9 month old red and white male, and from the sounds of it he's never really been inside the house, or cared for much at all. I'm thinking he won't know any basics, and will need to be crate trained. He does like people, so that's a definite plus! There are also other dogs on the property, so hopefully he is dog friendly. I'm trying not to let myself be too spoiled by how easy Baz was - he just fit right in here with no issues at all! I do like a challenge, though (hopefully not too much of one since finals are coming up pretty soon), and I'm excited about meeting "Chevy", as he's called right now.

A Sunny Day

Exciting news: A family is coming to meet Baz this weekend and if all goes well he might be going home with them! I've grown pretty attached to him, so I'll be very sad to see him go. He's such a sweet boy, and so responsive. If it weren't for the slightly more hard headed girls, I'd be whispering commands all day; he's that responsive to tone and body language! So it might be back to two dogs on Saturday, which will suddenly seem like very few! Basil's been with me a month now, and I got so used to having two myself, plus Mia in the room next door. I hope I get my next foster soon after Basil leaves.
There haven't been too many exciting things happening around here lately since school is getting busier. The three dogs are still playing very nicely together, taking turns in pairs. There haven't been any fights at all in the last 3 weeks (Abby and Baz had a small tussle over a food dish and then a ball when Baz first came).
I brought Abby in to work to have a urine sample taken, since she has leaked a little bit of urine a couple of times. I was hoping it wasn't hormonal, but it's looking like it is. She also has a few crystals in her urine. I still have to call the clinic to get the complete results, but it's looking like Abby will be on those little pink Stilbestrol pills for awhile :(

Monday, March 05, 2007

Snarl and kiss

Abby is undecided as to how she feels about Mia (or else she notices that I'm watching and decides she'd better play nice...)

Lucky Dogs

They had quite an exciting weekend! Friday we went to the beach again, with a camera this time. It was pretty cloudy and rainy, but that was good for us as it meant the beach was completely deserted. The dogs didn't seem to realize that without the sun, swimming would make them awfully they plunged in anyway, and we had to leave after not too long because all three were shivering like crazy.

Saturday was a pretty normal weekend day. We discovered a new field, though, that was HUGE and empty.
Sunday we went for a hike with 25 dogs!! I think there were about 10 people. We were such a big group that we just kept picking up people along the way. Most of the dogs were Border Collies (with 5 fosters, Mia and Baz included). There was also a greyhound, a terrier, an couple of Aussies, a poodle, a lab x and, of course, the NuttyMutt herself. Basil behaved perfectly, which was nice since I had to have my eye on Abby constantly. She was good with all the other dogs, but when we stopped to play fetch...she just went into overdrive. There were a LOT of dogs to try and chase, but that didn't stop her. She'd choose her target and make that particular dog's life a living hell (by bouncing around it and barking in its ear) for about 5 minutes, then she'd move on. Eventually I put her on a leash (she wasn't letting me catch her, and I was getting very frustrated with her) and I could see her visibly relax once she was restrained. It was like all the pressure of 'having' to chase the other dogs was taken off of her. She also took off away from the group twice to bark at and chase a lab that was excited about a ball - my resolve to work with her on a long line close to other dogs playing fetch has been renewed. I have a few friends with fetch crazy dogs that I can practice with, so that should help.
All in all, the hike was lots of fun, but also very stressful. I had a sore throat afterwards from the constant recalls to make sure that Baz and Abby were still around (not that Abby would leave...but she sure can find a lot of trouble even when she sticks close by).