Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Keeping Dogs And Then Some................

Right now Jack is in crate time. I needed to clean puppy pads in which he takes great joy in attempting to tare apart while I pick them up. Not to mention, the infamous leg attacks while picking up turds, with a "grrrrrr" and the teeth on my pants leg. And me "patiently" repeating the word "NO'. They are fun and it can be daunting to properly care for and train a puppy. Unfortunately this is a hard time of year for a new puppy simply because of the weather. It has been much too cold to get him outdoors on a regular basis to do his business, but there will be time for that and it will be done and he too will join the ranks of the others we've successfully trained to potty outside. And to listen. Stephen and I and Zoe, when she was home from school have worked with simple things involving treats like "sit" and "come". "Come" being probably the most essential to any dog training. I want my dogs to come when called. It could save their life.


Mina came to us as a three year old rescue dog of which no one knew anything of her training. She was wandering the city streets of Milwaukee when she was picked up by the pound. There were challenges with her in the beginning as well, beside coming home to us with kennel cough and the great expense it was to prophylactically treat Fido and Spot to ensure that they did not get ill either, she had a few issues of her own. She was not potty trained and had many an accident in the house. We were initially worried that she might run as well, so she spent the first few weeks of her life here with us being taken out on a lead to ensure she learned her property line. And I wasn't sure how she might react to the bigger animals. It took some time and patience and now she is allowed outside with the others to play and do their potties, however none, none go unsupervised. Mina is getting better and better with the word "come" and no longer has accidents in the house. She has now learned to communicate to us her need to go out and potty. She is also very loyal. Another good dog who listens.

Spot, we got four years ago as a puppy from Jess, only this time it was in the spring, much easier to train in the spring. Although we made an attempt at puppy kindergarten with him and we flunked, he has turned out to be one of the best trained dogs I've seen. Another high energy dog as with Jack and Mina. His only bad habit..........he is a lover! Neither Stephen or I can fault that. We've allowed him to kiss. He is so full of love. An extremely intelligent Border Collie who listens and does his job, but while outside must be constantly redirected to go potty or he will herd blowing leaves, watch the horses as he knows his perimeter and is not allowed in with them. He also automatically brings the goats in on their escape attempts as does Mina now without injury to the goats. However, he listens and follows his commands. He will do as he is told, except kiss, if he likes you, be prepared for a "frenchie".

Fido, well, Fido is Fido. He is extremely loyal to Steve and quite set in his ways. He is now nearly 15 years old and in spite of the size of those satelite dishes he carries upon the top of his head, he is mostly deaf. At this point he is allowed to go out and do his business and can be trusted to stick to his acreage. He does go in with the horses but only to dine at the horse apple buffet. He too listens, when he can hear.

All and all, we have been blessed with some marvelous dogs, but it hasn't been easy. It takes time and patience and more time and more patience. They do reflect our training methods and it is constant. Especially with three out of four high energy dogs. I have no doubt that Jack too will come into his own. He is still just a baby, born on October 31st, he is still not quite 12 weeks old yet. Stephen and I often together or take turns at bringing these dogs outside for a potty and a run and ball play, many times throughout the day, at least every other hour. Time consuming?, YES, worth it? To us YES or we wouldn't have done it. Spoiled? Well there isn't an animal within this household outdoors or indoors that isn't. They have food before we do. They have clothing and meds and often health care before we do. That is the sacrifice to ownership of animals, but it comes with many rewards too. The nuzzles, the kisses, the looks in their eyes and knowing that they appreciate what we do for them to keep them all safe and loved.

9 comments:

Le Cheval Endiablé et Phyto said...

Yes it's not easy to teach a puppy with so much snow. As you say, time will come.
See you soon

Pony Girl said...

Dogs are a lot of work. My sister got lucky with her Bailey, who is nearly perfect, but Sadie, who she got at 8 wks. and is now a year and a half, has been a challenge. She has some aggression issues. It's unforunate because like with your kids, you think you are raising them all the same, but that doesn't always account for personality and genetics.
Jack is a cutie!

Midlife Mom said...

I can't imagine trying to teach a puppy to go outside to potty here in Maine right now. The snow is so deep it would be way over their heads. Guess you'd have to shovel out a place for them or use the indoor puppy pads. We haven't had a dog in a long time and I miss it. I love my cats but there is something about a dog and how they greet you with such love and affection whether you're gone for ten minutes or ten hours, all the same. Great post!

Grey Horse Matters said...

I can't remember a time when we didn't have a dog or two or three around. Some pups are easier to train than others. I remember we got Maggie (Australian shepherd) in the winter and she was hard to perimeter train too, because of the weather. I've never had much trouble with potty training except for one of my daughter's dogs, an Alaskan malamute. Beautiful dog with an I.Q. of a paper plate. We love him but...

Your little guy will get it, he's only a baby yet and they are all really cute. We also have a 15 yr. old, and she's little deaf too.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Awwww! This post was great. It's easy to see the love you have for your animals and how well behaved they are (and will be, in regards to puppy Jack). And you know I just love all the coloring of your cute pooches, too. I love me some Orca colored critters :)

But you totally had me at 'frenchies'! lol!

Give 'em all a scratch and cuddle from me,

~Lisa

kdwhorses said...

Great post, loved hearing about each of your dogs!
They sure are different, each and every one of them.
Shelby was a rescue dog as well, but the smartest little toot I've seen. Goes along with the Aussie and Border!
They are special little blessings in our lives!

deejbrown said...

I agree with Midlife Mom: I haven't had a dog in years either, which annoys the heck out of me, but we do have 6 rescued cats that are the light of our lives. But there is something about a dog...and darn it all, a horse too, that I am missing!

Victoria Cummings said...

You are people of my own heart, Callie & Steve. I love hearing about your animals. I know that people think it's pretty crazy what we're willing to put up with and do for them, but there's something so wonderful about a loving lick or a comforting snuggle with a good dog. Jack will settle down because you know the right combination of discipline and love. I think most puppies are a handful until they get past that two year old mark.

Sully said...

Fido is sooo cute!! I love an old dog's face.

I am trying to house train the foster puppy that we have and he does PERFECT on days that are 40F or above below that he thinks I am crazy for putting him out there.