Tag Archives: training

Yes, My Dogs Were Bored

Here I am again … looks like I’m going to need to post a quick update as it’s been almost three years since my last post. In the meantime, let’s talk about what is going on with my dogs being “bad” the other day.

I came home Tuesday night to shreds of cardboard and paper throughout the house. I should have taken a picture, but like most people my immediate response was to clean it up. I didn’t get all of it, so I had Ruby sit next to a few remnants for a photo op. She looks guilty. She’s not feeling guilty, she’s just uncertain about why she was asked to sit in that particular spot. I’m usually more relaxed about the exact spot of the sit and she’s never comfortable when the phone is pointed at her.


I didn’t scold Ruby or KK. I thought about scolding Charlie as he’s at home with them most of the day, but it wasn’t his fault either. What we can tell from the randomness of the mess is that our dogs were bored. And with that I decided it was time to come up with real plans, that include toys and activities, that tire these pups out.

We immediately switched from food bowls to snuffle mats. Snuffle mats are these wonderful fleece craft projects that you sprinkle treats and kibble on. The food settles into the folds of the mat and your pup has to root around for them. It feeds into their want of sniffing things out, and working for their food works their brains. That work is a good thing as working their brains will tire them out as much as a romp in the yard.


Side bar: Although I had great plans to make my own snuffle mat, my friend Monica was making bunches of them. You can order one from her by emailing her at mustloverotts27520@gmail.com.

Tonight I will embark on the next step: cleaning up all chewable stuff that isn’t for them to chew on. You can’t blame your dog for chewing up your fancy new shoes if you leave them out. Listen to your mom – “put your stuff away!”

I’ll be back to post more as we build on the no-boredom plan. What are your favorite games, toys, activities for burning off that “puppy” energy?


WCAC ID: 91772

Dominic (WCAC ID: 91772)
Dominic (WCAC ID: 91772)

Dominic is a big (85 lbs.) beautiful black Lab/Am Staff mix who is a little over three years old. He came to the shelter as a stray, so his past is a mystery.

“They tell me I look like a Labrador mixed with an American Pit Bull Terrier. I really don’t know, so I’ll say SURE!”

Dominic is a very shy guy who seems to like other dogs that let him shadow their confidence. He is a little uncertain of people (I know how you feel buddy), most likely because he was never socialized with them when he was little. In his foster home, Dominic is learning to trust, gaining confidence, learning about walking on a leash, and hanging out with the girl dog in the house.

“I would like to come to live with you if you have another dog that would be my best friend.”

If you would like more information about Dominic or want to set up a meet and greet with his foster family, please email me at afureverfamily@yahoo.com.

What ya’ doin’ this weekend?

A new series where I showcase the pups I photographed during the week and highlight local shelter events.

Bitsy (WCAC ID: 96248)

Bitsy is a 10 month old Chi mix with an incredibly adorable under-bite. She is full of puppy energy and high squeaky barks, but she calms right down if you pick her up. A little training and she’s gonna be a real show stopper.

Sergeant Pickles (WCAC ID: 108372)

Another puppy who needs some training and you will have people stopping you in the streets to pet him. He’s just seven months old, but did well during his photo shoot. And look at that nub tail – OMG. And his coat is so luxurious you just can’t resist a snuggle.

Voile (WCAC ID: 109016)

They don’t get any sweeter than this new mom, Voile. At just three year’s old she is the perfect age to be past some of the crazy puppy stuff and still young enough to run and play for hours.

Stormy (WCAC ID: 109116)

Stormy is just 10 months old and ALL puppy. He is so sweet and needs a family who is going to take him on long walks (and even runs), do training (he’d be a good agility pup) and just play with him.

Romeo (WCAC ID: 109119)

Romeo oh Romeo where are ya babe? He’s just two years old and has a wonderfully big blocky head. He as lots of energy, but wasn’t rude about it during our photo shoot. He really just wants to lean up against your legs and get some affection.

Maya (WCAC ID: 109145)

I love Maya. Who could resist that face? She’s just your average Carolina Shelter Dog breed and so very very sweet.

Lady (WCAC ID: 109155)

This one year old is breaking my heart with these pics. She was surrendered just a couple of days ago and is super stressed at the shelter. She needs to find her foster family or a furever home where someone will take their time and show her what love is.

Martin (WCAC ID: 109186)

Martin also needs someone who will understand his skittishness (mostly to noises) and help him gain confidence. A two year old Shepherd mix who was surrendered last wee, he’s still getting use to life in a noisy shelter.

Harley (WCAC ID: 109401)

And finally, Harley. I can’t tell you much about this 10 year old sweetie as he was surrendered just minutes before I started my pawparazzi shift and they didn’t leave an info sheet on him. He seemed very sweet and accepting of me climbing in the kennel with him. And he absolutely LOVED the butt scratch I gave him – got that tongue flicking like nobody’s business.

So there you go, what are you waiting for? Put that coffee in a to-go cup, run those errands this morning and stop by the Wake County Animal Center anytime after noon today to meet these pups and so many many more.

You can check out my Flickr Pawparazzi gallery and the WCAC adoption gallery to see all the available animals. I hear there is even a red tailed boa going in to foster today.

Event Round-up:

Tomorrow is World Rabies Day and the Rottweiler Hearts Rescue is having a low cost clinic at the new Phydeux’ in Cary today.



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.


Puparazzi Wordless Wednesday

Bryn (WCAC ID: 97551)

Franklin (WCAC ID: 99138)

Reggie (WCAC ID: 99151)

Barnum (WCAC ID: 99694)

Comet (WCAC ID: 99713)

Adonis (WCAC ID: 99778)

These sweeties are available for adoption through the Wake County Animal Center. Click here to check them and all the other wonderful animals out.

Passed Over

The Wake County Animal Center (WCAC) takes in 75-100 dogs a week, on average. Between owner reclaims and adoptions, 55-60% of these animals find themselves with family but this also means that some sweet dogs find themselves spending more than just a few days waiting for their new life. As I revamp the afureverfamily website I plan on highlighting some of these “long timers.”


Bumpy is a reddish-brown and white American Pit Bull. This little guy is a little over two years old and weighs around 45 lbs. – a nice size. His WCAC ID number is 90645.

He’s been living at the shelter since early July – that’s 122 days and counting! Time enough for him to become a volunteer and staff favorite. The Fido Fitness Crew tell me that he walks very nicely on a leash. He’s treat motivated, which will make training much easier. He already knows “sit” and would love to learn to work his brain doing tricks. Also, Bumpy asked that I be sure and tell you that he knows how to take those treats very gently.


Bumpy has been able to take advantage of the Dogs Playing for Life program at the WCAC. This has given us some more insight into the kind of lifestyle he would do best in. He’s quite the “teenage boy” and plays best with the girl dogs. Letting him loose in a dog park is not for him because he’s a dog who needs his canine playmates selected for him by his human and slow introductions is another key to his success.

Bumpy is one of those great “split personality” dogs – he loves to cuddle and hang out with people – a suspected couch potato. But he also really, really loves the outdoors whether he’s romping in the fall leaves or going on hikes around the lake.


If you’re looking for a hiking partner who wants to hang on the couch with you after a fun day enjoying nature, stop by the WCAC any day of the week between noon and 6 p.m. to meet this sweetheart.

Bumpy (WCAC ID: 90645)
Bumpy (WCAC ID: 90645)

Feelin’ Fine

Foster momma says if I’m feeling so good as to be jumping up on the bed and running around the house with my foster sister, Ruby, then I’m well enough to be telling the world about myself.

I don’t know – I think foster momma kind of covered a lot of it in her previous posts …

Milton (a.k.a. Flint #80000)

I’ve had many names, some of them not very nice, but the good ones were Rusty, Flint, and now Milton – at least I think my name is Milton. I’m not sure ’cause they keep calling me Knucklehead.

I’m a Black and Tan (hey, maybe my name should be Guinness) Rottie mix. I’m a little over a year old and I weigh about 60 +/- pounds. Oh, I only have three legs.

Milton 80000_20121105_7868No need for pity. I’ve been feeling better and better every day. I like to run in the yard when they let me out to do my business – yes, I’m what you would call “housetrained.” I throw myself onto the couch for naps and jump into bed with momma and papa for good snuggly sleep.

Foster momma is working with me on something she calls “clicker training” – she had this thing in her hand and it made a REALLY scary noise. The first night momma had to reach behind the chair to give me the bits of hot dogs every time she made that noise, but tonight – our third night of training – she made the noise right at my nose and I just waited for my little piece of cheese. She says it’s all about getting me walking on a leash. I’m not sure what that’s all about and right now I don’t think I’m too interested; life is good as it is.

Milton 80000_20121105_7860

Well, life is almost as good as it gets. I love being here and I know they love me, but I’m starting to think it would be cool to have a furever family of my very own – a nice yard to run and play in, someone who cuddles with me all the time, and someone who understands that life here in the South is about taking things slow.

I know I just introduced myself and it’s probably a little early to ask, but are you that person? Email foster momma at afureverfamily@yahoo.com today and she’ll set up a play date for us.

For your consideration

Milton is an amazing dog who has made great strides in recovery after his right front leg was removed just three weeks ago.

Milton (WCAC ID: 80000)

He’s a total sweetheart who likes nothing more than to hang out with you on the couch soaking up all your love and attention. He has a cheerful attitude and even when he’s wrestling or nudging you for more affection he’s very gentle.

But that doesn’t mean he’s baggage-free from his time on the street. We’re starting to work on these things but it’s going to take time, training, and patience.

This week we’re going to start his leash training. We have gotten him to accept the lead in the front yard, which is a good thing as we don’t have a fenced in yard. Still, Milton runs from you if you try to go to him with the “hook” – you have to sit down on the front porch couch and call him over to you for affection – then when he’s close enough you hook his collar. At that point he’s good to go and scampers out the door into the yard where he does his business and makes sure to mark wherever Ruby has gone.

And putting a leash on him is even worse. To begin with he doesn’t want to come near you if he sees it in your hand – and once you hook his collar he “pancakes” (lays completely belly flat on the floor with legs spread and head down) with the most pitiful of looks. Once in a while you can get him to move a few steps with some coaxing, but most times even treats won’t work and you just have to pick him up and carry him to where you need him to be.

My plan is to take an old leash that Bubba Rex chewed through and just let Milton walk around the house with it on while getting lots of high value treats like cooked chicken. We’ll slowly work our way to me touching the leash, to holding it, to giving it a little tug in the direction I want him to go. Wish us luck!

As much as he wants human affection, he still has a distrust of us as “bringers of pain.” If he hurts himself in the proximity of a person, he associates that pain with that person and runs away. He gets over it quickly but it tugs at your heart to see this beautiful boy hide from a sharp word or the like.

So, if you want to give this beautiful guy the furever family he so richly deserves and you have the patience to work on these little confidence things, then email me now at afureverfamily@yahoo.com.