New forever home for Sadie

305079_4068888913883_1217534971_nSadie was the first dog I ever had. She was easy. She didn’t require a ton of attention and was happy anywhere she was. I wanted her to have someone to play with so I adopted a puppy, Kona. This was about two years ago. It’s so much fun watching them play and run around the backyard. The spring of 2014, things changed forever.

I had three trees removed from my backyard. I worked from home that day and witnessed the loud, horrible wood chipper. We were in a room next to the driveway where the wood chipper was being used. The dogs shook and were anxious but I never in a million years thought over a year later, Sadie would still be anxious.

Over the last year I’ve tried many things. Positive reinforcements, more attention, more play time. Some days were great. Some weeks were great. But others were not. She was showing behaviors when there were no sounds or noises. Since the wood chipper, she developed a fear of thunderstorms. In the last couple of months, after everyone has left the house, she would show minor destructive behavior. She never did that before. Everyday I’d come home to “something” wrong in the house.

It got to the point where I just wasn’t happy and realized she wasn’t happy. A couple incidents where she was playing outside for a while, and I brought her back inside, she would start panting, shaking, and whining. I kept watching her and she did this a few times. It made me wonder if she was afraid of the room we all were in during the wood chipper day. One day I made the decision in my mind that she might need to be rehomed.

I love my dear Sadie. She’s the sweetest dog. But if she isn’t happy in my home, I don’t see how I can change that. Ultimately I want her happy, even if it’s not with me. I thought, “oh no, what about Kona?” But I can’t keep Sadie just for Kona. I want Sadie to have a good life.

I contacted the rescue where I adopted her from and talking to someone there. She gave me some tips I could try but I told her most of them I’ve tried. Plus I’m due to have my first baby in October and I’m honestly not sure how I will manage consistent training with Sadie while taking care of a baby by myself. She understood. One of my mom’s friends heard my mom talking about this and offered to take her for a few weeks as a test. I mentioned this idea to the rescue and they thought it was a great idea. If she shows no behaviors like before then we’ll know it’s something with my house. If she does, then we’ll know it’s general behavioral problems.

I took Sadie to the temporary home on Memorial Day. She has been there since. The temporary owner says she is an angel and hasn’t whined, shook, or panted since she’s been there, and there have even been some thunderstorms. He asked the other day if he could keep or a bit longer. I agreed to that.

My mom’s friend had two dogs, not long ago. They both passed away about six months apart, so he has been sad and lonely without a dog. He’s been thinking about getting another dog but just wasn’t sure. This was a test run for him too.

Friday my mom said that he said he would like to keep her forever, if I decide to rehome her. I thought about it this weekend and decided it’s the best thing. The good thing is I’ll know she is in good hands and that I can see her whenever.

It makes me sad though. She was my first dog. Now Kona’s alone. I know she misses her and so do I. I just have to keep remembering that not only is Sadie happy, but so is her new owner.

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My youngest dog

Is now 16 months old and from the first day I adopted her, she’s been crated when there is no one home. As a puppy she did the usual puppy things, like chew things that weren’t hers, but she only chews her bones and toys now.

When she was under a year old, I was in my room doing my hair one morning and she was out in the living room with my slightly older dog Sadie. I put my hair up in a messy bun and thought I better go check on her. Now, literally she was out there for maybe three minutes. I walk out to the living room to find the floor filled with white fluffy stuff. Then I realized what she had done. She ripped a hole the size of her mouth in my sofa cushion, the one you lean on, and pulled just about every bit of stuffing out.

Up until a about two months ago, she had shredded the rug inside the front door….twice. She hasn’t done it since.

My hesitation on leaving her out the crate while at work is about a month and a half ago, I bought new living room sofas – a loveseat and a sleeper sofa. It wouldn’t take her long to rip into that one too.

How will I know when it’s okay to trust her?

I was told to start out small but again, it wouldn’t take her long to rip something. So how can I do this?

Yesterday I had to go and fill up the gas can for the lawn mower. I thought that will only take 15 minutes or so. I have a netcam setup in the living room and had it on while I left the house, with her not in her crate. She sat on the sofa with Sadie and watched me pull out of the driveway. I saw both of them start to bark and were looking out the window at something. Maybe someone was walking by. Once they passed, she settled down and laid down on the sofa. I kept watching, very stressed out. But she did fine. Of course that was only 15 minutes.

The thought of leaving her uncrated for an hour or more terrifies me.

Any suggestions?

It’s Time to Say Goodbye to a Furry Family Member

Seventeen years ago, I had to put my cat down due to some medical complications. Three days later I went and bought a kitten and named him Sebastian. He was six weeks old. He was mostly white with bright blue eyes. As he grew, some color started to develop. The vet later told me he was an American Siamese – flame tip. His ears and tail started turning a bit red/orange.

Today he is 17, as of March 2014. For the last few years he’s been sick. He was diagnosed with kidney disease and hyperthyroidism. We, the vet and I, tried many different things. Everything made him feel worse. I eventually stopped all treatment and wanted to let him live out the rest of his life with a better quality than when he was on medications that made him sick and his fur fall out or have him eat foods that he would constantly throw right back up.

The last few days I’ve noticed he isn’t eating much anymore. He eats a little but not much. Last time I weighed him, he was just under 10lbs. Back in the healthy days he was around 22-24lbs. He’s restless, he twitches, he talks a lot, pees a ton, drinks even more, and his eyes are sunken in. I look at him now and can’t believe how he looks. When you go to pet him it’s like petting a skeleton, as he has no muscle or meat on him anymore.

So we cuddled last night and he was purring away. I thought wouldn’t it be so much nicer if I can be with him, getting him to purr, while they put him to sleep? Wouldn’t it be nice for him to be somewhat happy as his last thought? My fear is that I will come home from work one day to find out he died alone. He deserves more, right?

But just the thought of doing this makes me cry…like while I’m writing this, tears are running down my face. How do I bring myself to do this?

She was listening

bellA couple of blogs ago, I posted about training my new pup to ring a bell when she wanted to go outside. I simply gave up on the training and forgot about the bell hanging by the door.

In the last month, we’ve had a lot of periodical snow storms, leaving us with a few inches of snow each time. As that snow melts, it makes my backyard into a mushy, swampy, muddy play area. I don’t let the pups out when the yard is like that for obvious reasons – I don’t like mud tracked inside my house!

Kona has graduated to young adult and has learned to entertain herself inside. She now doesn’t rely on expending energy ONLY outdoors. Thank God!

No joke! The other day I’m sitting on the couch watching TV and I hear the bell ringing. My head jerks to the left and there she is standing by the bell, looking right at me. She comes trotting over as I excitedly say “do you want to go outside?” and she jumps for joy and turns in circles. We head over and I let them both out.

After all these months I’ve discovered that she was actually paying attention during her lessons, but since we were going out every couple of hours anyway, she never had the need to ring the bell, until now.

Now she doesn’t stop.

Now I must figure out how to teach her to only ring the bell when she NEEDS to go out, not every single time her little heart wants to go out. I try to ignore her but hate to send any wrong signals when she has done so well with ringing the bell. I wonder if she’ll figure this out.

Proud furmomma. 🙂

Training Your Dog to Ring a Bell to Go Outside

61mjP-cHfZL._SL1500_My newest furry member, Kona, is a few days from being five months old. She has gotten much better about not peeing in the house BUT she still isn’t giving any signals that she needs or wants to go outside. I’m trying to give her more free reign of her accessible areas but when she is out of my sight for too long I start calling her name or I go and look for her. She usually is found sniffing around, I think looking for food. But I can’t be sure yet.

I bought a bell off of Amazon called PoochieBells The Trusted Name in Dog Training Doorbells in Classic Sahara Stripe
and made the mistake of hanging it on the door thinking she would know exactly what it meant. So I researched how to use it and began my training.

STEP 1 – Introductions

Hold the bells in your hand but keep them behind your back. Have treats in your other hand. Bring the bells out and put in front of your dog, about a foot away. Naturally your dog should go and sniff them. I shake my hand a bit to ring the bells so she can get used to the sound. I say “Yes” has soon as her nose touches the bell and I reward her with a treat. Repeat this step putting the bells further away, above her head, near the ground, etc. Keep doing this until there is no doubt she knows what to do. I would recommend doing this for 5-7 days, every day. Put the bell away when you are not doing introductions.

STEP 2 – Let Them Be

Place/hang the bells close to where you sit in the evenings. For me it is on my sofa since I have my TV shows that I must watch. I keep the treats there too. Because she should now know that if she rings the bells, she will get a treat, whenever she randomly comes over and rings the bells, say “Yes! Good girl/boy” and reward her with a treat. My dog is very food motivated so I have found that when she is hungry for a treat, she goes and rings the bell. Put the bell away when you are not in your spot. You want to be there when they ring the bell. Do this step for at least another week.

STEP 3 – New Message

Now that the dog has a really good understanding that ringing the bell = a treat, we need to change it’s meaning to Outside. To do this, hang the bell near the door you normally take your dog out from. Only hang it there when you are home and in a range to hear the bell. Anytime the dog goes and rings the bell, go over the the door, say “Outside” (or any other command), open the door and let the dog out. You might have a dog like mine who likes to just stand there and won’t go out. Either grab his/her collar and escort them out OR pick them up and put them outside. Do this each and every time they go and ring the bell. Soon they will understand that each time they ring the bell they go outside. No treats. The dog may or may not want to ring the bell a lot because they want treats. Take them outside each time. You have to be consistent during this step or they won’t fully understand that ringing the bell = going outside.

How has this method worked for you? Share your stories. Did you do something different?

House Training is Fun!

Kona is 15 weeks (almost 4 months old) and she is doing very well with house training. She does still not understand that inside is not an okay place to pee but she doesn’t know any better yet. I take her out every 1/2 hour-ish and she pees and poops outside. But sometimes…and I mean sometimes…after she comes back in, she could just be standing there and she’ll pee.

She hasn’t had an accident in her crate since day 2. That was the first day I was out of the home. As I watched her on the netcam I could see how unhappy she was. First time away from me, on day 2, and alone for the first time in her crate. Well of course she isn’t going to do well. But she has been great in the crate ever since. She doesn’t even whine or bark after I leave anymore. She stays calm and goes right to sleep.

I’m one who will try anything. I ordered one of those bells you hang on the door so this weekend I’ll be working with her to see if she can use that to let me know when she needs to go out. It may or may not work. But for $10 it can’t hurt to try.

I looked into Tecla’s K-9 Academy where I took Sadie for two training classes because I love her methods. People from all over want to be trained by her. They have a puppy class starting next month that I might take. From what they say there is very little about house training and more about sit, down, and come when called. Well I learned those methods with Sadie. So yesterday I decided to try “sit” with Kona. I said the command and got her into position. Gave her the treat. The very next time I said “sit”, she actually sat. OMG!

Don’t tell Sadie I said this but Kona picks up things quicker. Maybe it’s because she’s a puppy and Sadie was older when we went to training, but it makes me so happy to know she can sit when asked. Now we just need to master this bell and house training.

We’ve had so much rain lately that I did buy some training pads and I put them down. She would go any place but on the pads. In fact, I believe the cat peed on one of them. But thankfully I have hardwood floors so clean-up isn’t terrible. Kona sleeps through the night and gets me up between 5 and 6am. I pick the water bowl up around 8pm but might try 7:30ish and see if that helps. I got home each day for lunch so she is in her crate for about 4-5 hours at a time, so overall she is doing great.

She is developing such a wonderful personality. My neighbors think she will be a fairly big dog since she has German Shepherd in her but I’m not sure yet. We have our first real walk this weekend so that will be interesting to see how she does with that. I’m so glad I adopted her though, even if house training is frustrating….in the end, it’s all worth it when I get to cuddle up with her.

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They kept wanting each others bone and finally they decided to get in the bed together and chew. So cute!

 

First Week of First Puppy

I realize this blog might be a bit long, and I meant to blog each day but it just didn’t happen, so here is the first week of my first puppy.

Sadie (my dog) has been wanting a friend. She told me so. Actually, that’s not true, however I have noticed that she really enjoys playing. She first learned by her first best friend, Jasmine. Jasmine showed her the right way to play and it has given her the tools to be able to play with others that same way. Then I fostered a much larger dog and she played perfectly with him. So I decided that Sadie could use a friend. I’ve been browsing K-9 Lifesavers Rescue website for a few months but knowing I was taking a trip to Houston with my mom, it just wasn’t right to get a new dog and then leave.

When I returned from Houston I went to K-9 Lifesavers website and took a look around. Nothing grabbed me. The next week I did the same thing. To my surprise, they had a bunch of puppies in. Hmmm, did I want a puppy? They are tons of work and can I do that? Months ago I did talk about getting a puppy and thought it would be great since a friend of mine was in the pet business. Since my original plans didn’t work out, I wondered if I could manage myself or if I would need to get another pet sitter. Either way I was going for it.

I contacted the adoption coordinator to ask her some questions about Pup Hannah and Pup Josie. She put me in contact with their foster mom Dianne. We emailed back and forth for a couple of days and she was wonderful in answering all my questions. She suggested I attend their next adoption event so I could meet both of them, and to bring Sadie.

Sunday

June 2nd K-9 Lifesavers was having an adoption event in Rockville so we took a little road trip to Rockville. We got there early to beat the crowds and Dianne was there unloading the pups. We went into Petco and used their break room so Josie, Hannah, and Sadie could be off leash and get to know each other. I wanted Sadie to pick. Instead, Josie picked Sadie. She was all over Sadie in the cutest way possible. I filled out the paperwork and took our new little girl home. She slept in my mom’s arms the entire ride home. She was pooped.

She was so good the rest of Sunday. She became Sadie’s shadow instantly. Sadie looked annoyed and I was hoping she would warm up to her eventually. I couldn’t leave the room without her following me.

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Monday

She woke me up at 1am so I took her out and she peed. She then woke me up around 5am (my alarm was set for 5:30) and we went out again and she peed. I went to lay back in bed with the lights on and she curled up in Sadie’s bedroom bed. I couldn’t see her and she couldn’t see me. Literally, every minute she would walk over to the side of my bed and look at me, then returned to the dog bed. She did this for about 15 minutes, every minute. It was like she had to keep checking to make sure I was there. I laid there smiling. Woke up around 6:30 and took her back out and she peed again. I took my shower and then shut her in the room with me while I got dressed and did hair/make-up. She stayed curled up in Sadie’s dog bed. We left the bedroom and went out to give her food and she ate. Then I went to prepare Sadie’s food bowl for when I put the pup in her crate and turn around to three good size pee puddles and a nice soft mud mound of diarrhea. I didn’t even see her do it! And where did all that pee come from? They say pups have small bladders but after that I’m not convinced. So I picked her up and placed her outside so I could clean it up. Thank goodness for hardwood floors.

Get the pup crated, Sadie fed and I’m off to work. Oh and I forgot to mention earlier that I bought a Belkin Netcam so I could watch her while I’m not home. I got to work and brought up the netcam to watch. She whined and howled and cried from the time I left until 11:30ish. Poor thing. I watched her scoot the crate across the floor…lol. I went home at lunch and worked at home the rest of the day.

When I got home I could hear her crying and I went to let her out and noticed diarrhea ALL OVER the inside of the crate. All over the wire crate, all over the white bedding, all over each and every soft toy she had in there, and all over her – like she rolled around in it. I let her out and carry her outside. We go down to the yard and she does her business.

I gathered the bedding and all her toys and put them all in the washer. Then I grabbed the pup and gave her a bath. She was scared when I turned on the water because of the loud noises but she did great. It’s much easier bathing a 15lb pup versus a 46lb dog. Much easier.

The rest of the day was rough. We would go out frequently and spend a good chunk of time outside, but she would still come in and do her potty business. This is why they make puppies so cute, so you don’t kill them…LOL. She could poop all over the place and I can’t be mad at her; she’s only 13 weeks old.

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Tuesday

I decided I needed to work from home. Which I did. She woke me up this time around 5:30am. I spent most of the day taking her out and having her spend time outside. I wanted her to know that the grass is where she does her potty business, not inside. Sadie spent most of the day outside but brought the pup in many times for water and air. I can’t leave her outside in the heat for long periods of time yet. She did much better. She peed and pooped all outside. No indoor messes.

I also placed her in her crate for 15 minute intervals to disassociate the crate with me leaving.

Outside she would run laps in the backyard and then she suddenly stopped, and pooped. Ha!

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Wednesday

She let me sleep in a bit and woke me up around 6:30am. I continued the crate game. I would also put her in the crate and leave the house for a few minutes at a time or go downstairs or into another room. She did great!

She was inside playing and Sadie was outside. She was running from the living room to the dining room, down the hallway, and back, a couple of times. She suddenly stopped by the back door, on the rug, she pooped. Ah ha! Now I know when she runs around like that to take her outside. Washed the rug. I will say that my floors and rugs have never been cleaner. 🙂

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Thursday

She woke me up around 5:30am and I had to go to work today. I figured if it got ugly I would work from home in the afternoon. I took her out and she peed. We went back inside and I crated her so I could shower. Once dressed, I let her outside with Sadie so I could get dressed and ready for work. She played and ran around. I went outside to see if I could tell if she pooped and yes, she pooped twice. Seriously, is this normal? lol We head back in and do the rest of our morning routine. I get to work and check the cam. She was crying off and on but not too bad. Mom left for work and texted me that the pup was crying and Sadie was growling/humming and finally the pup settled down. Sadie was probably saying something like “I am NOT going to listen to this all day so shut it up!” lol

I went home at noon to check on her, praying she didn’t make a mess in her crate. She heard my car and started barking (could hear her from outside) and she was so excited to see me. Without me saying a word, I let her out and we went out back. I sat on the bottom step while she played with Sadie. She eventually peed. I went back inside to get a drink and watched her from the window. I saw her go into her poop stance and I rushed outside so I would be ready to praise her. Once I did she came galloping up to me and I gave her tons of love. We went inside so she could be fed. We went back outside shortly after to make sure she did what she needed to do. I put her back in the crate and returned to work. I checked the cam again and she was sound asleep.

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Friday

She let me sleep in and woke me up around 6:30am. We did our routine and nothing new really happened. I went home a little later as a test and she passed. I had to run to Home Depot to pick up garage sale signs and get the warming rack of the grill I bought because it didn’t come with it like it should have. That took a little time after work so I didn’t get home until 5:30pm and she didn’t make any mess in her crate. She did great! I gave her tons of kisses and praises.

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Saturday

Mom and I woke up at the crack of dawn to put the signs out and haul the yard sale items out to the driveway. It was supposed to rain due to Andrea moving up the coast but I stalked the weather and it looked clear for the morning. We were all set up by 8am and ended around 11:30am due to rain. Not knowing if it would get worse we decided to pack up the cars and take what didn’t sell to Goodwill. Plus it gave us an excuse to end early. We did okay for a $1 everything yard sale but it’s always a tad disappointing as you hoped to have made more.

Sadie and the pup were out back most of the morning as the temperatures were mild. Took them in once we cleaned up for their nap time.

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—-

Originally I was told that the pup was 11 weeks old but looking at the paperwork, she was born Feb 27, 2013 which made her 13 weeks old when I adopted her. Then I had to pleasure of picking a name for her. She came with Josie but my friend’s daughters nickname is Josie so I didn’t want to keep her name. I spent a few days observing and pondering and she is now Kona. She is doing very well and look forward to watching her grow into a wonderful dog. Her and Sadie have been playing more and more with each other as the week went on. One night Kona crawled into Sadie’s bed in the bedroom and Sadie walked in wondering where she was going to sleep. Sadie crawled in with her and I took a picture of it. Awww, how cute!

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Kona – German Shepherd / Catahoula Leopard

Sadie – Catahouls Leopard / Boxer