Monday, November 25, 2013

Walking, learning & seeking professional help - Part 3

 I've been seeing Lori Stevens for well over a year and a half.  I started seeing her with D'light and later with Catty as well.  Lori has been a valuable asset & amazing resource to me.  While she's helped me with our personal dogs, she's also helped with the foster dogs that pass through our house.  We tend to work on a variety of issues that mostly revolve around how I can work with the dogs using force free training and of course touch and movement techniques. It's been a wonderful experience, I've learned more than I ever thought possible and my thinking of dogs has really shifted thanks to Lori.  I truly can't  thank her enough for all that she has helped me with.  She's improved more rattie lives than she realizes.
So off I went (of course bringing Tulpen) for our consult on loose leash walking!  I want to be clear that one of the ways I've changed over the recent years is in my thinking. What I've come to understand is that often times the difficulty with training isn't due to the dog.  More often than not, it's the human that's struggling, not being clear and confusing the dog.  The dog just gets the blame for why the training isn't working.  We forget that they are trying to live in our world and understand our expectations.  If we are not clear, not consistent and stop working with them, that's where the problems occur.  It's imperative that the human do their own work around training so that they can help the dog live in our world.  Once I made that mental shift, lots of amazing things began to happen and my connection with our dogs and the fosters deepened as a result of my mind shift.
Off we go!

When looking for a trainer, you need to find someone who you can be honest with and trust.  You have to be open to suggestions and constructive criticism.  And you have to find someone who's training methods support/nurture you and your dog. I personally have found force free training as the way to go and as you've seen via my blog it works wonders.  It offers so much and the bonds you build with your dog truly are amazing.  Training becomes interesting and lots of fun!  I've become much more curious since traveling down this path.  With force free training you build a relationship with your dog - it is not about dominance/control, it's about teamwork and understanding.
For me, working with a trainer is a humbling, at times embarrassing and often times, an exciting experience.  I like to figure things out quickly and when I don't I get frustrated.  I've found over the last year, I've had to chill out a realize that for me, this work takes time and while I think I'm a pretty quick learner, I still have a lot to learn.  And you know what, that's great!  The more I learn, the more I grow and the more I can help the dogs in my care. 

I knew I was struggling with Tulpen and as you will see in this next video I was right!  This was taken by Lori and it was humbling and I had my head hanging a bit low when I watched it.  And here's the great thing about a 1:1 session - Lori was right there (not video taping) going over how I needed to adjust what I was doing with the leash.  I would have loved to have video of all that but, we had work to do and there's only so much taping that can be done.  And in my opinion, that too is a sign of a good trainer - video taping and then going over so you can watch yourself.  This is a amazing teaching/training tool for the human.

And then Lori took Tulpen.  These two videos are within 15 minutes of each other. See what I mean when I say "The training problem is often the human not the dog". 

 I posted these videos to highlight how having a trainer you trust can help so much and save you and your dog a lot of frustration. Yes you still have to do the work as the trainer won't magically fix what's going on but, they will get you on the right path for you to succeed.
Below you can see I'm getting better.  I'm still putting too much tension on the leash. 
Lori had a great idea for helping me to reduce the tension on the leash.  A slider leash that is a 2 point of contact leash but, the handle slides allowing more movement and less tension from me and from Tulpen. When we tried out this leash with Tulpen and we did see a difference in how he moved and it felt much better on my end.
So you may be wondering how long is this going to take for a solid loose leash walk?  If Tulpen was still in my care, roughly 20-25 sessions (I'd say a sessions would be about 30 minutes) of the two of us working on loose leash walking.  Training takes time and remember we are teaching a whole new skill and that doesn't happen over night.  We would never expect a human to learn a new language overnight! Again it takes practice, consistency, clear communication and commitment.  Lori gave me the tools I needed to be successful, it would be up to me to do the work. 
However, Tulpen went home 2 days after this session.  The great news is that I was able to spend about 45 minutes with Tulpen and his mom going over the work that Lori taught me.  In that 45 minutes, Tulpen and his mom were doing really well and it's just going to take time, consistency and commitment.  All of which Tulpen's mom has for him.  I gave her the slider leash and she has a couple force free trainer referrals in her area that she's going to be contacting.  It was great to set Tulpen and his mom up for success and again many thanks to Lori for helping all of us!
If anyone is interested in learning from Lori, she's presenting a 2 day seminar in March on  
Lori also has a great DVD Walking in balance with your dog


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Walking, learning & seeking professional help - Part 2

After a few walks with Tulpen, it was clear that I needed to set some goals for my work with Tulpen and then work at clearly communicating what I was asking of Tulpen.  From my own personal experience, if I don't do this then it's not fair for the dog when he becomes confused.  How can we expect the dog to know what we want if we are not clear and consistent in our communication with them? 
So, I sat down and came up with a plan to work on leash walking.  The first step started in the hallway of our house.  Catty and D'light were given things to do in other rooms and Tulpen and I started walking up and down the hallway.  We were doing this a couple times a day for 10-15 minute increments.  He did great and I felt comfortable with moving us outside.

I'd already been walking Tulpen solo so that was going to continue.  What I decided was that we needed to walk on a quieter street with less sensory input from the environment.  This would give us the opportunity for Tulpen to realize that I'm walking with him.  When Tulpen did realize I was walking with him he was rewarded with high value treat.  remember - reward the behavior you want!

We saw changes with this plan and Tulpen was figuring out what I was asking of him.  But, the plan  needed refinement as Tulpen was still nose to the ground and pulling more that I wanted.
So, I changed up parts of my plan and came up with walking down the middle of a quiet street!  I saw big improvement with this plan which was pretty exciting. 
We kept at this for a number of days but,  I was getting stymied on how to progress to loose leash walking with Tulpen.  I decided that it was time for help from a professional so that I could help myself and in turn help Tulpen.  Stay tuned to read about our consolation!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Walking, learning & seeking professional help - Part 1

While Tulpen has gone home, I still want to post about our work together and the lessons this great fella taught me!
Tulpen loves to get outside and experience the world around him. The struggle is that I don't think this sweet boy has ever walked on a leash or worn a harness.
Wearing a harness is important for all dogs but very important for Tuplen since he likely has a partially collapsed trachea. New Rattitude has had several dogs in foster care who have this and it's an example of why it's so important to always walk a dog in a harness vs. a collar.  Most often the trachea issue is a combination of small breed dogs having genetically weak trachea with the fact that terriers will pull until they choke themselves to death and not stop if a squirrel is involved.  Combine that with people who use leash popping or any kind of choke chain and partial collapse becomes inevitable.   Again more examples of why a harness is important.
Here's a great video talking About harnesses - by Turid Rugaas  Even if you already walk your dog in harness, watch this video as it has some great information.  There are tons of harnesses out there and it's important to find a harness that fits the dog.  So, step one was complete with finding Tulpen a harness.  We decided on the Coastal Control Ease Training Dog Harness and as you can see below it fits great.
Fits nice in the front and there are lots of ways to loosen and tighten the harness
Fits nicely on his back and what you can't see is that it doesn't dig into his arm pits.

and the harness has two points of contact for the leash!

  When walking, Tulpen pulls, zig zags and either has his nose to the ground sniffing or is on alert taking everything in around him.  I would describe him as a very busy boy on leash who has no awareness of the handler or the space in which we are walking.  Both are very common for a terrier new to walking on a leash.
In an early post you saw Tulpen wearing a single point of contact leash.  That was a training error on my part.  If we want to change behaviors we need to set the dog up for success and to do that Tulpen needed to be walking on a 2 point of contact least.  Here's a past post going into a lot of detail  on why to use a 2 point of contact leash 

All geared up

Stay tuned to read the learning process for both myself and Tulpen!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Look who's visiting

Our very first dog that we fostered through New Rattitude!  This is Lacey and lucky for us, my mom adopted this sweet girl so, we do get to see her pretty often.  However, my mom is going on a overseas vacation so, Lacey is hanging with us until early December.

Lacey was was rescued from a shelter in Texas and she was heart worm positive.  Lacey was underweight and very sick little gal.  We knew very little about heart worm or the treatment process.  In a short amount of time we were up to speed with the treatment and reminded how awful heart worm are for a dog.  Lacey was in foster care for about 3.5 months due to the heart worm treatment which was tough on her.  Basically once they start the treatment the dog can't do anything for a number of weeks.  So, Lacey was on a good amount of confinement.  As the treatments progressed, Lacey started feeling better and we soon saw what a funny and loving dog she was.   As you can imagine we were pretty excited when my mom wanted to adopter her as the first dog is often the hardest to let go.  
Sweet Lacey girl
Hanging out with D'light

She loves a cozy bed and warm blanket

And she's super happy when she can get a belly rub
Lacey and Catty do really well together
Here's some play time with D'light!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Aurora Update

Look who is doing fantastic!  Aurora now Rorie has quickly settled into her new home and her mom's LOVE her.  Lets face it, how could you not love this sweet gal.  Rorie has been enjoying her big back yard, going for walks as well as snuggling with her moms and new sister (Lilly). 

As her mom's said in an email "Rorie really is a little piece of heaven".  We are so happy for Rorie and her new family!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Guess what...

Tulpen has been adopted and man oh man are we excited for him and his new mom!  Tulpen's mom has been patiently been waiting for Tulpen's arrival and I think she would agree that he was worth the wait.  While Tulpen was in foster care with us, his soon to be mom and I were emailing a lot talking about Tulpen and she was reading Terrier Centric which is a book I encourage all to read!

We had the home visit and it was wonderful!  Tulpen's mom has 2 cats and she needed a cat friendly dog.  Not only was Tulpen great with the cat, they had this amazing exchange of greeting each other in a way I didn't know was possible with a cat and dog.  I am so bumed that I didn't have my camera.  By the time we were ready to go, Tulpen was curled up in his mom's lap and we all knew this was going to be a great fit.
So Tulpen has headed to his forever home and we are very excited that he will no longer be shuffled around.  We fully expect to see Tulpen and his mom at the Rat Terrier meet ups and of course hear about all the great updates! Happy life Tulpen - you are a wonderful boy who found a rat-tastic forever home.

Because Tulpen's mom looked to rescue, she not only opened her life to Tulpen, she also directly helped another rattie in need.  That little rattle girl you saw yesterday on my blog. She was a rescued because with Tulpen being adopted we had a foster opening.  So many thanks to Tulpen's mom for giving a new life to two great dogs!
Below is Tulpen's first night with his mom. He's enjoying his plush new bed and very cozy blanket.  As you can see he's made himself right at home!

Monday, November 18, 2013

The explanation to questions I get asked a lot

Lots of folks ask why we bring up so many dogs from California. New Rattitude's fall newsletter has a wonderful story written by our Northwest Coordinator not only explaining why but, how it's all done. There's a also a spotlight story of Lynn Bonham, who has assists just about every dog coming up to the Northwest.  To read these great stories here you go:
It's actually amazing when you think about all that gets done, remember New Ratittude is a 100% volunteer based group.  And as you read, Lynn Bonham is very special and integral volunteer for New Rattitude and of course our Northwest ratties.  We wouldn't be able to save so many lives with out Lynn.  She gets out to the shelters, temps the dogs, then getting them vetted and physically onto the transport heading north.  I personally can never thank Lynn enough for all that she does.
California has a very large animal overpopulation problem and lucky for the animals Washington and Oregon try very hard to help the many that need help.  A lot of rescues in our region bring up animals including both the Seattle and Portland Humane Societies.  Hopefully as time goes, there will be a movement in California to spay and neuter animals. That alone would reduce the overflow of animals in the shelters which would allow more shelter space and give more hope to those in need.
 Most people think dogs end up in shelters because something is wrong with them and that truly is not the case for so many of them in the area we rescue from.  For those of you who follow my blog, you've seen that we've fostered many puppies and very young dogs.  These pups were passed over in the shelter system.  This is due to there being just too many dogs to choose from for folks coming into the shelters to adopt.  And then the older dogs, they don't have much of a chance competing for adoption given most people don't want a mature dog.

Below is a very typical story - a dog is picked up as a stray, no microchip, no collar and not spayed.  This little gal is super sweet, does well with dogs and people.  This little girls bad luck is that no one came to find her lost self and of course that she's not spayed.  Lucky for her, Lynn found her and we have an open foster spot in our home for her.  She's one of the lucky ones and we are thrilled to have saved her.  We can't save them all given the clog is around not having enough foster spots for so many ratties.  But, for those we do save, we know those dogs and their adopted families are forever thankful to New Rattitude!  And of course, our adopters also get a big thank you!  Because they chose rescue, they not only adopted a great dog, they helped bring up another dog into their adopted rattie's foster spot. 
Our next foster girl who will arrive on December 5th

Sunday, November 17, 2013

It's sweater time

Yesterday was a cold day so, time to try out a sweater (or two) on Tulpen.
Modeling the Chilly Dog sweater

What a handsome boy!

D'light LOVES wearing sweaters and here he is showing of his good looks! 
Sweet Tulpen looking good as usual.

D'light shares his feelings of me not using treats for this photo shoot. 
He knows this drill and usually there are treats involved! Tulpen is a bit over this shoot as well.

Oh but wait -  look at these cute rattie boys!

My number one boy!
Then it was time for Tulpen's wardrobe change...

"Where'd you guys go?  Can you bring back some treats!"

Tulpen now sporting the gold paw sweater.  D'light still wondering about those treats...
I rattled the treat bag and guess who heard!

"I'm here, where's my treat?!"

A decent group shot and everyone got a treat for their hard work!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tulpen, the wishbone and D'light suprises me

Time for Tulpen to try out another interative toy and this time it's the Kong Wishbone!
Not 100% what this thing is

He realizes there dried fishskins in it!

"Time to get busy!"

This is a great interactive toy for Tulpen

He was very focused on geting the skins out of both sides!

This kept him busy for about 30 minutes and when he was done, it was time for a nap! 

I really like this toy stuffed with Honest Kitchen Beams I can cut two skins and fit one in each side and like I said that took him 30 minutes to work out. So, not a lot of calories coming in but a whole lot of brain power being used on something fun and tasty!

And I have to say I was giddy when D'light decided to work the pickle as this was a first for him.  He always gets offered a interactive toy and usually he just walks away - which is perfectly fine.  But, by offering things here over time, there may be times when your dog surprises you!  That's what happened with Mr. D.  As time goes on he continues to build confidence and try new things out - way to go D'light!

He was so proud of himself when he was able to get the fish skin out!


Friday, November 15, 2013

Look has discovered toys....

D'light and I were playing with his "talking" toys and Tulpen decided they might be fun!  
"I kinda like this talking fish!"

Then he moved on to finding the snake...


And then he found the first pink pig but, quickly decided he liked this rope pig better!
"I have you now"

I love all three of these toys!
  Tulpen decided the pig looked better with one ear....
So, party pooper foster mom had to put the pig up!

"But I really want it!"

Tulpen was a good boy - no demand barking at what he wanted.  He came over for a treat and then decided it was time to take a nap!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Places to go, people to see - Part 2

Tulpen's appointment was with the vet to look at his right eye.  For anyone that follows my blog, you know from Gramercy that New Rattitude does an amazing job of medically caring for our foster dogs.  I'm happy to report that the vet visit went well! I'm always grateful that should medical treatment be necessary, New Rattitude will do everything we can to help our beloved rattie's.

The eye in question

Tulpen waiting for the vet tech to come in and say hi. Did I tell you he loves people?

Tulpen did great with the vet tech.  He had is temperature taken, a feel up of his body and then he got a treat for being such a good boy.
After the vet tech left Tulpen thought he should get another treat!  The treats are in that 2nd drawer...

Here we are waiting for the vet and I was amazed at how relaxed he was!

Waiting for the vet

He decided laying down is a more comfortable

and then he falls asleep!

Turns out Tulpen has a prolapse of the third eye gland.  It's commonly called "cherry eye".  The vet met with us for about 30 minutes and in her opinion treatment currently is not necessary.  During about 20 minutes of the consultation, Tulpen sat on the vets lap - she sure did enjoy him!  Tulpen's eye is not inflamed or irritated and it doesn't seem to be bothering him.  The gland just isn't anatomically where it's supose to be and it's likely he's had this all his life.  If surgery were to be done, at this point it would be only for aesthetic reasons. 
Tulpen also had a much needed nail trim and he did fantastic. All the vet staff thought he was pretty amazing, which I 100% agree with!
I'm so happy I've found Urban Animal! They are close to my home, open 7 days a week, supportive of rescue and they two vets are simply amazing.  I've now switched over Catty and D'light to this vet because I think they are so amazing.  
 And another thing that makes them amazing is that the vet said she would be more than happy to talk to Tulpen's applicant about her thoughts, recommendations and/or to answer any question. 

Places to go, people to see - Part 1

Tulpen and I had an appointment so off we went! 
Lucky boy, he rode in Catty's car seat. 
Tulpen also rides quietly when crated.

He settled into the doggie car seat by the end of the block

"This is cozy!"
We left early enough to stop for a quick walk through the campus at Seattle University.  I made the mistake of brining a single point of contact leash.  I will talk about why that was a mistake in a coming blog post.

Tulpen is a sniffer and this was a wonderful sniffing spot!
On the move - Tulpen loves going for walks!
Tulen has no concerns with textures of things he's walking on. 

He decided walking on this wall was great fun!
Time for a quick pose of a very handsome fella.

Lots to see!  Tulpen loves people and he was hoping someone would stop by to say hi!