Saying goodbye

Minpinerie  knew that I was leaving on a trip, and that Crystal needed to be cared for.  Louise told me that Lynn would take her — she had two old minpins, and a quiet lifestyle, so it looked like a good fit.

It was with heavy heart that I packed up Crystal’s things, and a  note:

Hi Lynn – Such a bittersweet note to write:  well here goes:

She usually gets two meals a day, about a handful of dry food wetted with water in morning, and canned food or homemade at night, about 3/4 to a cup.  She wolfs it down and would have more.  I have been enticing her to sit etc. with treats — I have brought you some that she likes.  She doesn’t like some treats or bones. I smear cheese on her bone – she loves that. Doesn’t like the Kong, even with cheese inside. Hasn’t shown interest in toys or balls.

At my place, her den was the blanket on a sofa. Also loved to be at the end of my bed, and it didn’t matter how much I moved around – she stayed asleep.  I had steps for her to go up and down from bed, but she never did in middle of night except when she had diarrhea once. So if she gets up in night, she might be having diarrhea.My words for her to do her business is “go pee” .  I think she knows it, but hasn’t asked at the door yet.  If I say go pee, she usually always goes outside willingly to do it.  Very few “accidents”, and then she did it on a mat.

Barking: For the first two weeks, she didn’t say a word. Barking is Biggest problem lately – I think as our bond grew, and she “bloomed”, she grew protective of me, the house and the yard.  She has been fear barking at every visitor, even if she has met them before several times.  I believe she can be trained out of this, as she used to bark at strangers on our walks, and now does not.  She is still fearful of other dogs, but excited at the same time. She had no fear of my cat. As I mentioned, my tenant downstairs did the “Cesar Millan submission” on her, and she did stop barking for him, but I have not come up with a strategy that works for me.  Try whatever you

Crate: this miracle happened only two days ago –I brought the crate back inside after not trying it for weeks, and she seemed to calm down  in the crate.  I guess it makes sense, as she was in a cage of some sort her whole life. But at first when I got her, she would not enter the crate in any way, even to get a treat, and I put it down to it being her transport crate from Misssouri, so she had bad association.  So I am bringing the crate, and hope it is not too big for your apartment. As I say, she has usually been on sofa, not in crate. I gave her treats when I first closed crate door.

She is relaxed with house noises, even the vacuum.

Coat: Showing her her coat and leash means walk time! I always put her coat on for walks, and at end of walk, I say “coat” and undo it and she pulls one paw up to get out of it. I didn’t put her coat on for a quick “go pee”.

Pouch: She loves to go in her pouch, and will let you take her back legs and place them in the pouch, and then she settles down into the pouch, with only her front paws and head showing.  It can take a bit of figuring out to use the pouch — I put strap around neck and thru one arm.  I first used it when it was really cold outside, as a way to get her started on a walk, without having to pull her on her leash.  then, once away from the house, I would bend down, slip my head out of the strap and place pouch on the ground  with her still in it, and she just walked out of it.

Leash: She is pretty good on the leash — if she balks, I see why, and if she is scared of a dog, I try to pat and reassure her. If she is sniffing, i give her a moment. If she is pulling to go another way, I usually turn the way I want to go, and tug her gently. She usually gets into line quite happily.

Blanket:  She has two Snugglis, one for where she was in daytime, another over my bed at night.

She knows how to sit. I take a treat and stand in front of her with treat at my chest. She goes into sit right away. She isn’t too good about staying sitting when the food is presented. She’s too excited.

She has had two baths in six weeks, and by second time, didn’t mind too much. I made it short.

She is a loving, curious, wonderful dog, but still  nervous.  I think she will do well to be around other dogs – her whole life she heard dogs, but never got to be with them.If you have any questions at any time, please feel free to call me.

____________________________________________________________________

On my trip, I got the first reports, and they weren’t good.

Day one: Crystal hid in her crate,wandered the apartment all night.

Day two: Refusing to go on walks outside.

Three days on: She wouldn’t come to Lynn. My heart ached for uprooting  her. She’s going poop and pee inside.

One week on: Crystal apparently now coming out of crate for food.

Two weeks on: Crystal decided to join the others on a walk!

Later: Crystal perking up day by day, taking over Ollie’s bed, dancing for food. Lynn says she thinks Crystal should go to more active person.

Later: Lynn’s dog Ollie died. Lynn quite upset.

Now back home, I wish I could just see Crystal and take her for a long walk. But I think that would be confusing for her. I told the Minpinerie that I might try taking Crystal on again, if I also have a relaxed dog in the house, as a possible role model for her.  I feel I didn’t give her the time she needed to become the dog she could be.

Others tell me that she is not the dog for me, that she needs quiet place with few visitors, and that she will always be high strung and damaged.

Last video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLOra_z-nwg

Last picture:  Lynn with her dogs in apt lobby. Crystal looking on.

Posted in dog foster, dog mills, fearful dogs, rescue rehab, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Update Overdue

Hi my faithful reader(s?).

So much has happened, one event setting off a painful chain reaction.  My last post talked about Crystal’s new distressing behaviour of baring her teeth and nipping- kinder word for biting – three times. All males. Next to be unleashed was a rising torrent of barking at visitors.  First uncontrolled incident was Larry, my occasional tenant, who uses my home as a layover during his extensive travels from his family in Labrador. She didn’t hear him arrive at 3 a.m., but when he stirred at 7, she went into crazy bark mode. Larry is an old hand at sled dogs, and he couldn’t quiet her. I didn’t know what to do. Her barking continued unabated until he exited the front door.

Next came Chris, an overnight guest in from the country because of an early flight for a ski holiday. She, too, is dog owner, and horse owner. Crystal took great exception to Chris, barking without end. We tried ignoring, enouraging, putting her in the bedroom, and finally I held her tight on the sofa across from Chris. Crystal stared her down, breaking out into barking with each movement Chris made. This went on for 2+ hours.

The next morning, as Chris and I got up, Chapter Two. Horrible unabated barking while Chris showered and packed up.  I tried calming Crystal in the other room, without success. Tenant came upstairs to complain. “I don’t know what to do”, was all I could offer.She owns a Great Dane x Akbash. Quiet Scoobie.

We exited the house, me barely dressed, unwashed etc, under a wave of frantic barking.

When I returned alone, Crystal was her sweet loving self. Until mid-morning, when Brad came up from downstairs.

“You have to stop that barking,” he said, and vowed he’d get herstopped in two minutes.

He proceeded to do the Cesar Millan “submission hold”, pinning Crystal’s legs and neck on her side until she “released”. Then he straightened out his arm, placed her legs-up along it, and she went limp.

“See, she’s perfectly relaxed.”

And, I had to admit, she WASN’T barking.  A couple hours later, Brad brought Scoobie and a dogwalker with a boxer and one laid back minpin to the house.  When Crystal tried to hide behind a chair, Brad yanked her out into the group, and said I have to “socialize the hell out of her, and show her who’s boss.”  Again, I had to admit she wasn’t barking, and the second she started to growl, Brad poked her and sounded a Cesar “zzzzzzzzzzt”.  Even tho many websites dismiss this method as incorrect, I couldn’t argue with the result – no barking.

The next day, Roch (whom Crystal has seen several  times) and Eric arrived to tile the bath. Those four days Crystal barked everytime they went in or out the front door, to wetcut the tiles. It wasn’t a “hello” bark, it was more of a snarl. I tried saying “no”, I tried positively re-inforcing the moments when she stopped.

Here is video of one of her mild bark at guys.

To be continued…

 

Posted in dog foster, fearful dogs, housetraining, rescue rehab, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Overdue update

Hi my faithful reader(s?).

So much has happened, one event setting off a painful chain reaction.  My last post talked about Crystal’s new distressing behaviour of baring her teeth and nipping- kinder word for biting – three times. All males. Next to be unleashed was a rising torrent of barking at visitors.  First uncontrolled incident was Larry, my occasional tenant, who uses my home as a layover during his extensive travels from his family in Labrador. She didn’t hear him arrive at 3 a.m., but when he stirred at 7, she went into crazy bark mode. Larry is an old hand at sled dogs, and he couldn’t quiet her. I didn’t know what to do. Her barking continued unabated until he exited the front door.

Next came Chris, an overnight guest in from the country because of an early flight for a ski holiday. She, too, is dog owner, and horse owner. Crystal took great exception to Chris, barking without end. We tried ignoring, enouraging, putting her in the bedroom, and finally I held her tight on the sofa across from Chris. Crystal stared her down, breaking out into barking with each movement Chris made. This went on for 2+ hours.

The next morning, as Chris and I got up, Chapter Two. Horrible unabated barking while Chris showered and packed up.  I tried calming Crystal in the other room, without success. Tenant came upstairs to complain. “I don’t know what to do”, was all I could offer.She owns a Great Dane x Akbash. Quiet Scoobie.

We exited the house, me barely dressed, unwashed etc, under a wave of frantic barking.

When I returned alone, Crystal was her sweet loving self. Until mid-morning, when Brad came up from downstairs.

“You have to stop that barking,” he said, and vowed he’d get herstopped in two minutes.

He proceeded to do the Cesar Millan “submission hold”, pinning Crystal’s legs and neck on her side until she “released”. Then he straightened out his arm, placed her legs-up along it, and she went limp.

“See, she’s perfectly relaxed.”

And, I had to admit, WASN’T barking.  A couple hours later, Brad brought Scoobie and a dogwalker with a boxer and one laid back minpin to the house.  When Crystal tried to hide behind a chair, Brad yanked her out into the group, and said I have to “socialize the hell out of her, and show her who’s boss.”  Again, I had to admit she wasn’t barking, and the second she started to growl, Brad poked her with a Cesar “zzzzzzzzzzt”.  Even tho many websites dismiss this method as incorrect, I couldn’t argue with the result – no barking.

The next day, Roch (whom Crystal has seen several  times) and Eric arrived to tile the bath. Those four days Crystal barked everytime they went in or out the front door, to wetcut the tiles. It wasn’t a “hello” bark, it was more of a snarl. I tried saying “no”, I tried positively re-inforcing the moments when she stopped. 

Here is video of one of her mild bark at guys.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

New behaviours – serious

The behaviourist warned me that the real Crystal would emerge, once she became more comfortable in her surroundings. Jessica said many rescued mill dogs go through the growing up stages they missed, living life in a cage… puppyhood, adolescence etc.  Yesterday she chewed my slipper!  Imagine…chewing a slipper -A mature lady with many many grandchildren!

But a new behaviour has surfaced in the past week – and it is not cute – it is serious. She has snapped three times – biting.

First was Oscar night. Four people came over to watch the Academy Awards, and she barked at their arrival, and retreated to her area.  Later, I went to her couch with Roch and we sat with Crystal. We thought she was OK and relaxed, but as he moved to get up, she bit his arm. Twice.

I reasoned that we were in her space, so it was our fault.  But last night it happened again with Brad, our neighbour from downstairs, whom she has seen several times without incident. He was petting her, and talking to her for more than 10 minutes, then as he went to get up, she tried to bite.

Earlier Michelle had come calling, and Crystal growled and barked at her, even though Michelle also has been with Crystal on several occasions, and an experienced dog owner.

I’ve been reading about aggression, and the American Assoc. Against Cruelty to Animals has excellent site that categorizes aggression.  I guess Crystal’s reaction was Fear  Aggression, or perhaps a combination of Social Aggression, Territorial Aggression mixed with Fear Aggression. See categories here.

Whatever the category, this is concerning, and serious. Yesterday was one month with Crystal.

UPDATE:  This morning, an altercation occurred between cat and Crystal — I didn’t see it, just heard the alarm sounds from both of them. I shouted “Hey!” and Crystal skulked to her nest, and Duxie’s hair was standing up.  This after a month of getting along.

 

 

Posted in dog foster, fearful dogs, rescue rehab, rescued dogs | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Perfect storm

Happy to be out in snowstorm — in her leopardskin coat and inside the pouch! She dances when she sees her coat coming out, and puts up her paw to get into the coat. She is NOT a snow fan, so after a week of warmer weather, and pavement, she has been reluctant to put paws to snow. But if we start out in the pouch, she happily gets down for a walk, once we are away from the house.

Let it snow!

Posted in dog foster, rescue rehab | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Forward-backward two-step

How does it happen? For days she poops outside, and then yesterday, poop on the bedroom rug, where she has NEVER pooped before.  Why there? Why not on the mat in the living room, which was the place she chose if she did it in the house?  Was it some kind of doggie message? Cesar teaches to get to the dog’s point of view, but I have no idea what that was about.

On the plus side, I landed on training video by Dr. Sophia Yin. She trains without speaking! I tried this with Crystal, to get her to sit. I hadn’t started on training yet, figuring I needed to get the  housebreaking and walk outside under our belts first.  But I decided to try yesterday.

It worked AMAZINGLY.  You can teach a fearful dog to sit in 5 minutes? AMAZING. Dr. Yin famously says “Throw out the food bowl”, and make dogs “work” for their food. She advocates making every interaction with your pet a training session. Could this lead to confidence, and help Crystal have more spirit?

Posted in dog foster, dog mills, rescued dogs | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The agony of decision

I am so new to this fostering… They warn that you have to be emotionally able to give love to the animal, all the while knowing you are preparing her for her forever home.

Confession – I fostered as a test. Like dipping my toes in the water to see how it felt.  Adoption was always in my mind, and I did let the rescue group know that. But but but…

Now do I  move to adopt her, or let the world come calling to inspect her?

My friends weigh in:

*yikes!  You weren’t thinking of giving her up were you??
*My opinion: if you really wanted this dog there would be no buts.
*Is it the process that you love?….seeing a personality develop from your loving care….but… would you want to do this again?* ….if not! … maybe keeping Crystal even with reservations may be the best choice.
*are you sure you want to let her go? because I have a family I can recommend her to…? but I want to make sure this is what you are ready for 
Think I will take the dog out and ponder in the snow.
Posted in dog foster, rescue rehab, rescued dogs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment