Friday, February 28, 2014

New foster boy is on his way

Look at this good looking fella!  We've named this sweet boy Royal and we've heard he's pretty amazing.  We believe he's potty trained and does well with small and big dog. We think Royal is around 3 yrs old, we'll have a better idea of his age once he's arrived.  He's about 15lbs and has a full tail.  Royal arrives late tonight so, stay tuned to hear more about this great guy.

And he's named after a great wine Royal City Syrah. This is a wine made by Charles Smith, who has a varitety of wine projects under different lables.  Charles Smith is best know for K Vintners which are fantastic wines!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What' Catty been up to?

Catty & D'light have been busy rocking nose work -  Catty loves the game and she's very good at it. 
Relaxed dogs after a fun nose work class

Catty also gets to go to another fun place and she too get to work with Lori Stevens!  We do lots of great stuff like learning some great tricks, impulse control and movement exercises.
Recently I've decided that we need to work on "go to mat" with the goal of having Catty relax on her mat while I work with the other dogs in our home.  Catty is a busy girl and wants to be in the mix of  any traning sessions that are going on at home.  So, working on impulse control and relaxing is an important skill set for Catty.
While I can teach Catty to "go to mat", I wanted a sessions with Lori so that I could watch her working with Catty and video tape the work.   I get a lot out of doing training this way since Lori's skill set is light years ahead of mine.  Catty is truly one of the smartest dogs I've met.  She picks up on things very fast and she's not forgiving in training. So, if you can't keep up with her smart self there's a lot of other things for the human to work through.
And off we go... keeping in mind this is Catty's first interaction with the mat.  This series of video is one training session, probably about 20 minutes.  Catty is a dog that will train as long as you want to train.  You can watch her mind working and deciding what the next step is going to be.  She wants that reward and she's happy to work for it. 
 Lori uses the marker "yip" since a clicker is too overstimulating for Catty. Catty gets a "yip" when ever she touches the mat.  The reward is tossed away from the mat which moves Catty off the mat allowing her to decide what to do next.   As you can see she picks up the game really quickly.

Smart girl - Catty has figured out that with just touching her back feet on the mat, that equals a reward. She says "duh, I'm touching the mat". Catty is always looking for the quickest way to reach her goal of being rewarded.

We decide we want a sit and Catty quickly figures out that's what we are looking for!  Towards the end watch Catty - the treat bag has fallen onto the floor behind Lori and Catty is deciding if she wants to go for it or give Lori the sit. Knowing the sit will give her food reward - oh the decisions!!


A new twist is added - Lori standing up and the mat is moved around.  This change in the environment can throw a dog off but, Catty doesn't miss a beat!


Now we are working at duration. Wanting Catty to sit on the mat for a little bit longer.  In the first couple of seconds she was having a little trouble with the dried cod skin getting stuck.  But, no worry, she maintains duration and is ready for more! And you can see we are introducing a new word of "free".  Which is Catty's word to release her from the mat.

Catty starts of with her default trick of "sit pretty" to see if that will get her a quick reward.  This isn't what we are looking for so, no reward. Lori works very quickly with Catty to get a sit.  Again the "yips" are marking Catty sitting on the mat and for duration on the mat.  Catty throws in a "stand" to see if that will work for a reward.  Lori is quick to assess this and help Catty get back to the sit. 

And the last video. We just about have what we are looking for in this training session - going to mat, duration and Catty remaining calm.  She's still throwing in her default "sit pretty" but we can work that out.  Notice Lori's delivery of the reward as this is important in helping shape Catty into a sit not a sit pretty.  Watch Catty's tail... she loves to work!

This was a great session and I'm going to be watching these video's over and over to help with my technique.  Catty and I will continue our work on going to mat and I have no doubt we will reach our goal! 

As many of you know - you can have a great trainer who can help you a ton but, it's up to the human to do the homework to reach the goals.  I have no doubt that Catty is very excited about "our" homework and she's going to do amazing!  It will just take practice, practice and more practice.

Love my Catty girl for all she teaches me - I often laugh because when we adopted Catty, I was just looking for a walking partner that needed a loving home.  Who knew how much Catty would give me an how much she would expand my word in positive/force free training while also building deep connections with so many dogs.  A big thank you to this goofy, uber smart rattie girl!

We have a new foster arriving shortly so stay tuned!

What's D'light been up to?

With our house being foster free for just a couple more days, I figured now would be a good time to update what our rattie's have been up to.

D'light frequently sees Lori Stevens for ongoing TTouch which includes body, wrap and movement work.  We continue to practice exercises that increase the bending of his back legs.  There are likely a number of reasons his back legs maintain their straight appearance however, the changes in how they look and bend over the last year and a half has really changed.  When he first came to us is legs rarely bent when he was moving and he had no muscle definition.  Here's a recent video of some of our work with him. 

Tired boy!

We've also been doing a lot of "vet prep" over the last 6 months.  D'light does not like going to the vet.  His anxiety rapidly increases once we walk into the vets office and he's very fearful of being touched by the vet staff.  In the past D'light, would loose his bladder and bowels out of fear and anxiety and that's what we are working to avoid.  So, because there are times he needs to go to the vet - we've been practicing pairing a good experience with the vet office and vet staff.

My first step was finding a vet that was open to doing what I was asking in terms of helping D'light to feel less stressed.  We are clients of Urban Animal and they have been beyond amazing. They are collaborative, thoughtful and appreciate how strongly I advocate for D'light.  Not all vets are like this.  We've been visiting the vet office a lot - I make sure when we visit we see the same vet tech, the same vet and we make every effort to use the same exam room.  Yes, this requires me calling the vet to find out schedules and the vet staff is really great with this. We will come into the vet lobby and then leave, other times we will hang out in an exam room, other times we will be in the exam room and have the vet and vet tech come in and say hi and then leave. 

Needing to be close to mom in the exam room

Curious about who is outside the door

"Remind me why are we here?"
Sweet boy doing great!

And here we are on another visit - we went during off hours and we brought his bed along.  We hang out in the waiting room, we make sure to go when the vet is very slow and there isn't anyone around.  Then we left!

Hanging out in the waiting room

Visiting with vet tech Jamie!

On another visit to the vet office...

Hanging out in the exam room on his bed and with his baby

"What's up!"

Getting some TTouch body work
This work will be ongoing and it's already started to pay off as D'light was having some ongoing ear issues that needed to be addressed by our vet.  Because we have done  a lot of prep work, we were able to visit with the vet, have his ears checked and get his ears feeling better. D'light, myself, the vet tech and vet have a very good working relationship.  We are creative in how we work with D'light and I cannot say enough good things about Urban Animal Vet and many thanks to Dr.  Cherri Trusheim, Jamie Symbol and the rest of the vet staff!

During all of this D'light and I also have also seen and continue to see holistic Donna Kelleher to get her take on what was going on with D'light.  And because we have been doing so much "vet prep" the visits to and with Donna have gone very well!  We've found out that D'light has a number of allergies and we are working with Donna to manage his allergies.   We are already seeing some great results and I'm happy to report that during all of these vet visits D'light has never lost his bladder or bowels and we are seeing a decrease in his anxiety around going to the vet. 

This has been and will continue to be a lot of work with D'light but, when we adopt a dog (especially a special needs dog) we are making a commitment to do all we can to advocate, help manage and work through the tough spots that cause them distress. 

All of this work continues to build trust and strengthens our relationship.  We're making great progress and I love D'light for all that he teaches me day in and day out!

Stay tuned to see what' Catty's been up to!


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Guess what day today is...

It's World Spay Day!

Every year, millions of companion animals suffer and die in the United States and around the world.  In the United States, an estimated 6-8 million homeless kittens, puppies, cats, and dogs enter animal shelters every year. About half of these animals are adopted.
Tragically, 2.7 million adoptable pets are put down. The majority of animals euthanized are healthy, sweet pets who would have made great companions.  The number of homeless animals varies by state. These are not the offspring of homeless street animals; these are the puppies and kittens of pets who were accidentally or intentionally allowed to breed.
The message of World Spay Day is around spreading the word of the importance of spaying/neutering pets. By doing so, you/we become an important part of the solution!

It's tragic that millions of animals suffer and die when such a simple solution is available.
The good news is that it doesn't have to be this way. We can all be a of the solution by promoting the spaying/neutering of pets!

For those in Washington here's a link to Pasado Safe Haven, who is celebrating all month long
Did you know that during last year alone, the coalition of shelters and partners in the greater Puget Sound area spayed and neutered over 1,023 animals on World Spay Day!

Here's a link to the Low-cost spay/neuter in King, Snohomish, Pierce, Island and Skagit Counties in Washington.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Open foster spot...

As you may have noticed we have an empty foster spot!  This has not been on purpose and in fact we've tried to fill it with three different local shelter dogs.
We were contacted by PAWS to see if we could take an 11 yr rat/jack that wasn't doing well at the shelter.  She'd also been adopted and returned to the shelter twice.  This was because the folks who adopted her didn't understand the terrier breed and she was too much terrier for them.  So, after a long talk with the shelter manager we headed up to PAWS to evaluate this little gal.
 She is a poster pup for when we tell people an 11 yr old terrier is not a dud of a dog!
Here's some video during our interactions with her and as you will see she's a very spry 11 year old:

 Yes she can jump!

We were all set to take this little gal into foster care and the day before we were going to get her, she was adopted out of the shelter.  This was great news as she found a terrier savvy home and we still had an open foster spot. 
PAWS also had another 11 yr old female rat terrier who was also adopted out the same day so, she also didn't need our help.

The next gal to appear was a 12 yr old female at Seattle Humane Society. 

As you will see in the video, there's a big difference in these two gals presentation during our evaluation.  This sweet gal was struggling at the shelter and had caught a cold.

We were in the midst of filling out all the paperwork allowing her to come into foster care when someone came into the shelter and adopted her!  Great news and we still had an open foster spot.

So, the take away from this experience is something we already knew.  The Seattle metro area has some great shelters who actively network and reach out to market and place their dogs.  Who would have guessed that 3 older terriers would get adopted out of the shelter so quickly!  And this is another reason for why we bring dogs up from the overcrowded shelters in the Central California area.  For those dogs, there are just too many of them and not enough adopters. And many never make it out of the shelters because of the overcrowding.  While we can't save them all, the ones we do save, we do help place into great homes with people who adore them!

And in case you're wondering... we have a new foster rescued from Central California for our open foster spot!  He's scheduled to arrive to us on Friday February 28th and we are thrilled to have given him a 2nd chance at a new, amazing life.


Monday, February 17, 2014

New Rattitude 2013 Annual Report

There are lots of reasons why I volunteer for New Rattitude.  A big reason is due to the transparency with our volunteers, adopters, donors and the general public.  Not all rescues are so transparent.  I feel very fortunate to work with a variety of amazing people who work very hard to rescue and place so many great rat terriers into wonderful loving homes!
I've attached our 2013 annual report but, if it's hard to read on my blog you can click here to get to the New Rattitude website, scroll down and look on the left hand side for the link to the 2013 Annual Report
And here's a big THANK YOU to all the New Rattitude supporters!  Without our volunteers, adopters and donors we couldn't save so many rattie's.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Tremolo has been adopted!

We knew Tremolo wouldn't be with us long and we are thrilled that he has found his wonderful forever home!  Tremolo is a psychologically sturdy boy who is a busy terrier puppy.  He loves people, he loves to be in the mix of everything that's going on and he's great with kids.  We have very few dogs that pass through our home that can go to kid homes so, when we get a dog would do well with kids we kept our finger crossed that we can place them in a kid home. 
We are super excited for Tremolo because not only are the adults in his home amazing, he will also have 4 human siblings.  When we did the home visit Tremolo was in heaven and we knew pretty quickly that this was going to be a wonderful home for Tremolo.  So, Tremolo is going to have lots of human attention, a big fenced back yard to run around in and he and his family are heading to an awesome positive training school for some great classes.  We really couldn't of hand picked a better home for Tremolo and we are thrilled for him and his new family!
One of my favorite pictures of Tremolo
A couple pictures on our landing!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Nothing like a good chew!

What's Tremolo's favorite thing to chew on?  Antlers and boy does he love his antlers!

Tremolo is an active chewer and the antler keeps him busy!
He likes moose and deer antlers.

back to chewing...

Friday, February 7, 2014

Using the enviroment - Part 2

And we found some more fun things to work his brain and body! 
This is a 2 ft concrete stand - we did a number of up and off's!
 Then we found this small wall.  I wanted to see if I could get him to walk and turn around.  Without jumping off.  You can see there were groves and other objects on the wall.  And as we were getting started on this game there was a dog very close by barking.  Tremolo did great with staying focused on what I was asking of him.  Good boy!
He's figuring out that sitting calmly gets him lots of treats and touch from me

Our last game for this walk was using some misshaped steps with a big gate at the top of the stairs.   He gets to jump off the stairs on the way down.  And dang it!  I did it again with giving him a treat from my hand.  If I'm going to do that with him I have to be super fast - faster than him jumping.  Thank goodness dogs are forgiving when we humans make mistakes!
"love me some treats!"
all that works makes for a relaxed Tremolo