Tag Archives: dog socialization

A Little Extra Help

I really thought that I would only be stepping outside of my comfort zone last week, but JD asked me to help with pics for dogs, and kittens, that needed to find a foster or rescue to take them in. A couple of hording cases had filled up the back rooms.

Luna (ID: 118986)

An elderbull, this sweet girl is a nine-year-old owner surrender. She has some masses on her body and needs socialization. The kennel atmosphere is not good for her as she spends her days shaking from all the crazy barking around her.

Chase (ID: 118989)

Chase is a four-year-old Terrier mix who needs to find rescue because he is very nervous and protective of his space.

Update: Chase’s freedom ride to foster care!

Thanks PRB for fostering!
Thanks PRB for fostering!

Moseyin Posey (ID: 119119) & Zero (ID: 119121)

These two adorable little Beagles are looking for foster or rescue to have someplace to heal from their skin issues. Posey is a six-year-old female, while Zero is a four-year-old male.

Update: Zero has gone in to foster care. Woot!

Zero's freedom ride to PRB's.
Zero’s freedom ride to PRB’s.

Ninja Nancy (ID: 119019)

Nancy is a 10-year-old Lhasa Apso mix who needs a rescue because of dental disease. She was quite the cutie begging treats and looking for attention.

Samari Steve (ID: 119020)

Nancy’s friend Steve is an eight-year-old Shih Tzu mix. He has dental disease and could use a spa day as well. He also needs someone who can work with him on being handled and put on a leash – time, treats, and patience.

Ryder (ID: 119148)

He just wanted to cuddle up in JD’s arms. He’s a two-year-old Yorkshire Terrier mix who needs some time to heal from some skin issues. Okay, and maybe a spa day or two.

Santana (ID: 118968)

He has some beautiful markings and just needs someplace to land to let some of his skin issues heal. Oh, right, he’s a four-year-old Boxer mix.

Veronica (ID: 119122)

OMG, what an adorable pup! She’s a six-month-old AmStaff mix who got a booboo on her face during the ride to the shelter. She just needs a place to recover and lots of snuggle time. And a little training would be good for her too.

Tracy (ID: 119128)

The night I met her was her first night at the shelter. She was so frightened and stressed out. She has gone in to foster. You can tell from just this one pic how much happier this one-year-old Border Collie mix is.

Update: Tracy looking happy in her new foster home.

Thanks LD for fostering this girl!
Thanks LD for fostering this girl!

Take Action

Now let’s talk serious.

The Wake County Animal Center’s strong foster program, but more fosters are always needed. If you’d like to become a part of this family, and it is a family, please click on the following link – WCAC Foster Program – and fill out the foster application in its entirety. Once she’s had a chance to review your app, JD will be in touch to set up an orientation.



As always, you can learn more about all the sweeties needing homes by going to the WCAC Adoption Gallery web page and browsing all those adorable mugs. You’ll find out particulars and some insights in their bios.

The WCAC is open seven days a week from noon to 6:00 PM. Stop by and see who needs you and who you need.

In Defense of His Pack

Working with the likes of Christie and Robin at Teamworks Dog Training, LLC has really piqued my interest in dog behaviors, especially how they interact and communicate with each other. I admit to not knowing as much about cat behavior.

Mooseta (WCAC ID: 105003)
Mooseta (WCAC ID: 105003)

When we brought Moo Shoo home, our cat, Tic Tac, was interested but kept his distance. After just a couple of days I was able to let Moo Shoo have the run of the house. He and Tic Tac would cross each other’s paths, but not really interact with each other. A few days after that, Tic Tac started grooming Moo Shoo. First it was just a couple of licks on the head here and there and then a little more extended licking. At times, I swear Moo Shoo would look at me and roll her eyes as if to say “Really? He has to do that?” It also got to the point where the two of them would sleep next to each other.

Mooseta (105003), Tic Tac, & Ruby
Mooseta (105003), Tic Tac, & Ruby

Last night that all changed. I think I know the incident when it turned, but since then Tic Tac has been very rough with the kitten and I’ve seen him bite her a couple of different times.

I was on the phone and getting dinner ready. The dogs had been fed and Ruby was doing her normal behavior of “chasing off” Tic Tac from her eating area. Moo Shoo had stepped away from the water bowl (I think I might have been close to stepping on her) and Ruby came bouncing in to clear the kitchen. Moo Shoo does not react well to being startled by dogs and this time she went off, like really went off. I shooed Ruby off and Moo Shoo walked away. Tic Tac came to see what all the fuss was about and that seems to be the moment it changed.

If Tic Tac were a dog I’d say he took offense to the way Moo Shoo went off on Ruby, and that he was defending his pack, but I don’t know that it works with cats that way. After all, as Christie says, they are aliens, evil aliens.

Time to start learning some new behavior stuff. Years ago I happened on a hysterical book in the bookstore and had to buy it: “Hiss and Tell” by Pam Johnson-Bennett. Looking at her website and list of other books, I think I see some good reading in my future.


Charo in the Spotlight

Charo is a lovely brindle brown and white Pittie mix who has been at the shelter since early July of this year. She’s about a year and a half old – a rambunctious pre-teen in dog years.

Charo (WCAC ID: 90561)
Charo (WCAC ID: 90561)

She is a spunky and outgoing pup who wants to be the center of everything and the life of the party. She would do great in a home that had a yard for her to romp in – note, she’s not going to be a candidate for dog parks as we’ve found her to be rather picky about her playmates in the Dogs Playing for Life play groups. But when she finds those guys she plays well with she is all in and has such a glorious time playing that you won’t be able to keep yourself from scheduling more play dates for her.

Charo will need some training – her previous life and time in the shelter has left her with some bad habits. She just needs a little etiquette training. May I suggest Teamworks Dog Training LLC – I’d love to see her in class.

Charo also had the opportunity to be one of Shannon Johnstone’s Landfill Dogs. Here are some of the great photos from Miss Charo’s private photo shoot.

Photos by Shannon Johnstone
Photos by Shannon Johnstone

Shannon tells me that Charo loves to play with toys and has a special affinity for tennis balls.

So, if you’re not afraid of a little work for the most terrific lifelong companion – stop by the Wake County Animal Center (WCAC) any day of the week between noon and 6 p.m. to meet this terrific girl. You can also check out all of the available pets on the Adoption Gallery (click here).

Do you have what it takes?

There are always pets in need – you see them everywhere you turn. Within the WCAC one of the ways you can help is to become a foster family. Granted, being a foster family is a tough gig (for obvious reasons) and not for everyone, but the rewards will make your heart grow three sizes every day.

But we need to talk about a few things, like …

  • You will most likely not be fostering cute fluffy small dogs or puppies. The reason is obvious once you hear it – they are the quickest to be adopted or rescued. It’s the big dogs and pit bull types that have spent months and months of their life in the shelter that need some time in a real home.
  • Itty bitty bottle-feeder kittens are not easy to foster. They’ve usually been turned in without their momma, which may mean that she abandoned them. This happens in nature for a reason. You will lose many of them and you won’t know why. They will seem happy and healthy when you go to bed and the next morning they will pass over to the RainbowBridge in your arms.
  • Special needs animals need you. There are always sick dogs and cats at the shelter, more than there is room for, and they need someplace “bug free” to get healthy and strengthen their immune systems. They have to be taken out of the general population to minimize the impact of illness on all the other animals. Let’s face it, if you’ve ever been in a shelter you know the noise and chaos quickly wears on your nerves – but you get to leave and go home. The same is true for many of the animals that come through the WCAC – it’s too much for them and they start to shut down or act crazy in the kennel. They need the love, comfort, and stability of a home and family to make them adoptable.

These are the shelter pets who need you. Next week I’ll talk a little bit about the process of becoming a foster for the WCAC and why it’s not an instant approval type process.

If you’d like to get started on becoming a foster click here and fill out the Foster Application.

It’s a tough job, but they need you!

Shelter Dog Play Groups?!?!

What a concept – bringing together groups of pups with different backgrounds and the baggage that comes from being strays or simply thrown away. It’s called “Dogs Playing for Life” and it’s a program developed by Aimee Sadler of the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation. This program is being taught around the country to shelter and rescue groups who want to take the next step in exercising and socializing the dogs that will one day – hopefully – be a part of the larger community.

So, why am I talking about this program? Because the Wake County Animal Center (WCAC) is taking this step and as a volunteer I was able to join in the training this past week.

The classroom training was full of useful information about the benefits of play groups and the different play styles, so I just have to share some of these insights here.

  • 30 minutes of play group offers the same mental and physical stimulation as a two hour walk.
  • Dogs teach each other much more effectively than we as humans can teach them.
  • Healthy contact can help reduce Barrier Reactivity and On Leash Reactivity.

And the stuff about play styles gave me insight into how my own dogs play.

There are no “gentle and dainties” in my house… or is there? As I reread the description about this play style being relatively quiet with frequent stops and starts I noticed it describes Ruby when Khayla is trying to play with her in the living room.

Now “rough and rowdy” definitely describes my Khayla and the pure joy she gets out of grabbing, holding, chasing and tumbling, and if they’re out in the yard Ruby will join in the fun. I think Khayla actually likes being thrown to the ground by Ruby.

I guess the reason we don’t have any “push and pull” players in our house is the lack of herding breeds in our mutts, although Ruby does love to chase squirrels (what dog doesn’t?) and cars driving through the neighborhood. Or maybe that might be better described as “seek and destroy,” which is a prey drive style. To some it may not look mutual and will tend to require a little human intervention to keep it even.

As play yard monitor I thought one of the best lessons they taught us was to make this the dogs’ play group. We need to hang back and let them teach each other and work things out. This requires many of us to retrain ourselves – even in my own home I find I need to refrain from sticking my nose in all their business.

We also spent time learning when and how we need to step in – funny, a lot of this stuff seems like it should apply to the school yard as well. The human needs to step in when the play is no longer mutual or one dog is having fun at another’s expense. Also if a dog’s response is disproportionate to feedback from the other dog. And definitely when a fight breaks out – we’ll talk more about this in a future post.

Besides being a neutral yard monitor, you can start your group off right by keeping the yard free of toys and treats, making sure collars are properly fitted, and ensuring all Halti’s, slip collars and scarves are removed. Later, once you’re comfortable with their group interaction, you can also remove their dragging leashes.

Here are a few pictures of the fun we had …

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Remember, stop by the WCAC any day of the week between noon and 6:00 p.m. to meet some wonderful animals and potentially your newest family member.


Playtime – a Cultural Exchange in a Dog’s World

I’m told Ruby came from a home with three other dogs. She’s quite submissive but can be playful. We saw this when she and a previous foster (who was healing from losing a leg) romped through the house on more than one occasion.

We knew going into it that Kay-Kay had a playful side that could annoy a Jack Russell Terrier, but I’m told that Jack Russells have very specific ideas about play and are not too tolerant of other play varieties.

Beyond just being fun to watch it has been interesting to see Kay-Kay and Ruby play with each other – it’s like some strange doggy cultural exchange. Kay-Kay is all for wrestling and getting underneath Ruby to bite on her legs and haunches. Ruby’s not sure about that game and has put Kay-Kay in her place a couple of times when she got a little too nippy.

Kay-Kay Chewing_20130115_8981
Khayla (WCAC ID: 79856)

Ruby has introduced Kay-Kay to her favorite game, which seems to be a version of “Keep-Away/Chase.” Kay-Kay will be on the couch with a stuffed toy when Ruby will come up and grab the end of it. A very brief interlude of tug ends with Ruby prancing off with the stuffy in her mouth and Kay-Kay chasing after. Shortly you’ll hear them scampering towards you from the other room. Now it’s Kay-Kay with the stuffy in her mouth heading for the couch with Ruby trailing.

Bed wrestling has given way to family naps – not a bad thing – and we’re still waiting to see what kind of outdoor play these two will share.

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Email me at afureverfamily@yahoo.com and you too can share your play style with this sweetie.

Along came Sookie

The phone conversation went something like this …

Suze: “So there’s this pocket Pittie with mange and a little Shepherd mix that is good with cats. What do you think?”


Charlie: “I thought you were going to the shelter to take pictures.”

Suze: “I was. I am. But the Center is over flowing and someone needs to come home with me tonight.”

Sookie’s bio said she was housetrained and good with cats – pretty much a no-brainer for Charlie. She was sitting at the front of the kennel with a pitiful look on her hangdog face. I stepped inside to greet her and was captivated by the timid little girl as she flicked my hand with her soft tongue.

Sookie (ID: 74447)

Yep, she needed to come home with me so we could work on building up her confidence, and I have the best mentor for this: Ivy Ohana at BorderCollieBlonde.com.

I had J make a copy of Sookie’s surrender form (the sheet where the former owner answers questions to give staff and potential adopters an idea of personality and any special needs) to take with me so that I could expand on her extensive WCAC Web bio …

My name is Sookie and I am a 2 year old spayed female shepherd mix. My previous family could not longer care for me but left lots of good information so I could find a great new home. According to my previous family I am mostly HOUSETRAINED, good with KIDS, good with other DOGS, and even good with CATS. My previous family also said I have been clicker trained (please ask staff if you’re not sure what that means). I Know “SIT” and I take treats very nicely. My previous family said that I can be a little shy in new situations so a calm low key household would probably be best for me. I seem like a very sweet girl with a gentle soul. Sine I’m already spayed my adoption fee is only $45 and I can go home with you today!

Highlighting the word “housetrained” worked on me ‘cause I completely missed the word “almost”, which is why I cocked my head like a dog hearing an unfamiliar sound when I read her sheet and it said that Sookie had spent most of her time outside. Apparently she spent her days outside and came in when the family got home at night. I’m thinking she had a fenced in yard to run in, as I was having absolutely no luck getting her to go the bathroom on walks or while on the lead off the front porch.  Unfortunately she waited until we left the house (her previous family said she was afraid of crates so we let her have the run of most of the house) and relieved herself in the dining room. Fortunately we had just recently gotten rid of the last of the carpeting in the house, replacing it with hardwood flooring.

Check boxes indicated she was “very active” and a “couch potato” – more head cocking by foster mamma. The “likes to chase small animals” box was also checked – apparently she lived with lions and tigers in her previous life.

I was excited to see that she had been “clicker trained” because I’ve started assisting a fabulous new trainer, Robin Barrows, at Teamworks Dog Training. I decided to go ahead and “charge the clicker” since that was everyone’s homework for class on Saturday. I got her food and the clicker. She sat politely in front of me. I clicked – she about jumped out of her skin. I fed her a piece of food. I clicked – she jumped again. We did this for a dozen or so bites of food. She did eventually not jump as much.

She does know “sit” and is very good about doing it for treats and the like. She is extremely skittish and jumps at strange noises. After three days with us she is getting less so – she just needed to gain trust in her new surroundings.

Tic Tac and she are working out their relationship – working on it might be a better way to put it, but they’re getting there. Tic Tac keeps “attacking” Sookie and has even started biting her ears. Sookie finally had enough this afternoon and snapped at him. I think Tic Tac has gained just a touch of respect for Sookie’s personal space.

Or not …

If this sweet girl sounds like she would fit in your family, click here and send me an email (afureverfamily@yahoo.com). We’ll arrange a meet and greet date.

Pride & Joy

As much as we have those normal puppy pack leader issues there are times when I just about bust I’m so proud of Bubba Rex – like when Diadra commented on a past blog about how well behaved Rex was during a recent “soothing bath” appointment – all kinds of people around and he very politely stood in the tub while they let the medicated shampoo soak those itchies away.

He’s been getting better and better on our walks ignoring people and a toned down craziness when we come across other dogs. He’s even learned to ignore squirrels and birds with just a well placed “leave it”.

Bubba Rex (a.k.a. Dexter 66007)

It always brings a smile to my face to see him so politely wait for his breakfast and dinner. And although he’s still quite a pest while we’re eating he no longer barks at me demanding some of what I’m eating – and the last few evenings he’s settled in on his dog bed part way through our meal – yea!

So, yes, I’m proud of our little foster dog he’s learning manners and looks oh so beautiful when he gets it right.

You’ll have to come back soon and hear about my big night at Sadlack’s! Foster dad’s music, lots of interesting people and a crazily cute puppy.

A Whirling Dervish

Look at this cuddly face.

Bubba Rex (a.k.a. Dexter (ID: 66007)

Do you believe that this past Sunday afternoon he did a jig and a twirl and popped the plastic clasp on his harness?

How I felt during the incident ...

Luckily he did not get loose and the clasp wasn’t broken so I was able to get it back on him. But we did cut our walk short as there were just too many dogs out and about.

A little closer to how it was ...

I did come away with several observations …

Getting and keeping his attention on a walk is tough.

String cheese works pretty well, but meaty dried chicken treats are not high enough value. (Going to try dried hot dogs next.)

Carrying a poo bag while trying to hold this leash, train him to walk nicely and treat his good behavior does not work.

Birds and squirrels are much more interesting than me or the treats I dispense.

People get him barking.

People walking calm dogs gets him pulling on the leash.

And jacked-up dogs who bark at him get him crazy with barking, whining, lunging, twisting and twirling around on his hind legs.

Bubba Rex at play.
Bubba Rex (a.k.a. Dexter 66007) is available for adoption through the Wake County Animal Center. For more information, or to arrange a meet and greet, email Foster Momma Suze at afureverfamily@yahoo.com.

Bark, Bark, Bark

Snips was a real barker – he had a reputation as the neighborhood alarm dog. He liked to sit on the front sidewalk, watch the world go by and bark any time there was (or he suspected) man or beast within a 12 block radius of our house. D, our neighborhood watch block captain, said he really appreciated Snips for that.

A blast from the past ... Snips ... a rescue from the SPCA

When we brought Tippi home, she didn’t bark for the first two weeks we had her. She had other noises to let you know she wanted back in the house but the deep sound of her bark was a real surprise the first time we heard it – and she only barked at strangers that came on our yard.

Rex started being more vocal once he got to feeling better. It was just a single bark to emphasize his impatience with me and how quickly I was preparing his meals – or if he felt I had chatted long enough with my neighbor and it was time to get our walk on.

Bubba Rex (a.k.a. Dexter 66007)

Now that his URI is gone and we’ve done a little work on basic commands, I feel that I need to really step up his socialization – and I guess this is where we start the next phase of my education.

We’ve had a few neighbors and friends over to the house. Rex barks at them – it’s not what I would call aggressive, but it is loud, he’s staring right at them and he’s big. Do I have him wait in another room while people arrive or do I attach him to my waist with a leash and use high value treats to redirect his behavior? Additionally, he will start barking at them if they move or make a strange noise later in the visit. And what do I do when we’re in the living room and the hardwood floors make it hard for him to sit or stay?

I also realize that I really need to get him some dog socialization. My friend R and her dog who we’d normally go walking with one Saturday a month is out of commission ‘cause her pooch is recovering from knee surgery. I’d like to walk with my neighbor and his little dog, but Rex was a complete spaz the other morning when we happened to meet them on their walk. I guess I need to consult R and read up on the rules of the walk for the Chicago SociaBulls  – and collect loose change to pay for a training class.

pennies for afureverfamily