Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Going To The Dogs

As you might remember, not too long ago I adopted this pretty boy as a companion for Whitey and I after our beloved Little Bear passed.
Whitey was so depressed that he wouldn't go outside. He gained weight. He didn't even bother to bury his bones any more.
Little Bear wasn't there to dig them back up.
It was a favorite game.
His sad eyes told me that I needed to find him a companion.
I, too missed Little Bear's fearless and devoted presence. She calmly stood guard wherever I went, always alert.
One big 'Woof' from her and even bears went running.
I didn't know if I was ready to love another dog.
But we have always been a two dog family. It takes two dogs to keep each other company, patrol the property and provide a presence. Not only that, but they are true companions to Hubby and I.
We knew that we had to adopt a rescue dog.
No question.
So, after applying to two organizations, the Border Collie and the American Eskimo Rescue Organizations, we were sent information on Champ.

So far his reputation for being a 'challenge' has been very accurate.

He is afraid of loud noises. He becomes destructive if he is left out by himself. But it is the strangest kind of destruction. He tears out plants.

He reacts this way to all of his frustrations. He also starts drooling. And has the strangest habit of licking the floor when he is stressed.

So we have been doing some observations.To see what works. Redirecting his attention helps. Repetition. Talking calmly. Showing him that he can lie down and chew a bone and that he doesn't have to react to loud noises. That he can come over and get scratched behind the ears.

We filter any noise with fans.

 We are working on teaching him self-soothing methods of coping.

That everything doesn't have to have his attention.

That he doesn't have to worry.

He was teased. With everything. Flashlights, aluminum foil, plastic bags, sticks, water from the hose, the broom. He goes after all of those things like a hound to a fox.

Then after being teased, he was confined because of his destruction. Necessarily.

Teasing>Aggression> Destruction>Confinement>Agression>Destruction

A vicious circle.

But already he is learning. I can now water my plants without him lunging at the hose. I just simply redirect his attention. 'Go get the ball, Champ'. Over and over, 'Go get the ball.' I bought a toy that looks like a soccer ball. I can kick it. Which leaves my hands free. He is so smart. He knows what I am saying. He loves to fetch the ball. He is quite good at it. Right in mid-air.

I don't allow him to bite at the broom. I stop. I say, 'No'. Then I start sweeping and when he lunges at the broom, I tell him to 'Go get the ball'.

Over and over he is learning.

How to be a normal dog.

Today we have had thunder and Hubby has been hammering.

This has been going on for 3 days.

The first two days were very trying for me.

I spent the day trying to figure out how to calm him down. He ripped out large swarthes of grass. He ripped out my ferns in front of the house.

He drooled so much when I brought him inside that I had to confine him to the kitchen and stay with him, following him around with a mop and wet towel.

And handing him his ball.

Over and over. Two days. 12 hour days.

And today?

A breakthrough! The once frantic, drooling, plant ripping hound has turned into a happy, fairly normal dog! Despite the thunder. Despite the hammering in the next room.

It just took a whole lot of patience, a lot of reassurance, observation, and love.

And I'm sure there will be plenty of set backs.

And the example of his little pal, Whitey, who showed him that it is far more fun to calmly chew a bone than run around wasting all of that energy on chasing shadows and sounds.

And yes, you can teach an older dog new tricks.

One day at a time.


  1. I just want to squeeze him/ her right now!

  2. Dearest Karen,

    You are so right, they need a companion too. I have learned that too, they long to have a playmate. My first pet, a female miniature Dachshund, loved a guinea pig and also a cat. They did sleep together. Even a pet squirrel got adopted by her, here in Georgia where she lived for two more years. So I will never again have just one pet...
    Enjoy your new fur-baby.
    Love to you,

    You were right on the far distance, there were exactly 12 hours of time change, that means halfway around the world.

  3. "All you need is love" no matter whether you are a person or a dog. He is adorable.

  4. What a lucky dog Champ is to have a home like yours where he can find love and patience! I can't wait to get home so that I can get another dog - they really do complete a home.

    I like your new "You Might Like This" feature, too. <3

  5. What an encouraging post! It does go to show what unconditional love - and some quick thinking and analysis - can do. Champ is so lucky he came to you! I'm sure he will repay all your hard work in years to come with his faithful service and companionship.

  6. Thank you so much for taking the time to find the wonderful dog waiting inside.

  7. I was the one who came to your house to do the home visit. I knew he found a perfect home with you! This just brought tears to my eyes.

  8. What a sweet family he got... and the patience of Job! I don't understand abusing kids or animals...

  9. Love dogs..I have 2...
    You may see them on my blog...some entries ago....
    Thanks for your visit!

  10. Thank you, all for your very nice and encouraging comments. I know you are all animal lover's - my favorite kind of people! xx

  11. wow, what patience you have and so thankful that you are giving the new dog a chance. We have a friend that had a dog that was afraid of men but soon he'd quit barking and even let my husband pet him. Sigh! The things people do to other people and animals that makes life miserable...so sad but thankful for caring people. Jumped over from Window on the Prairie blog when I saw your comment that you live in WA. I live in Ore so we are close, state wise. Take care!

  12. How blessed Champ was to have found you and your home! Love the photos...


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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