Club Pit

I am lucky enough to volunteer with an amazing pit bull organization.  If you are remotely near PA, you should volunteer with us too.  We have a program called Club Pit.  From the website:

“Looking for a way to meet other pit bull owners or socialize your dog responsibly? New adopter from a shelter or rescue looking for support? Have a pit bull and want in on the fun? Check out LCPO’s Club Pit! It is our mission to have responsible pit bull owners in our communities. Club Pit is a way for us to lend pit bull owners the support they often need through information, socialization and a low cost spay & neuter program.”

Wow.  Is that awesome, or what?  Well I am a pit bull owner and I need support!  So yesterday I join Club Pit for their first weekly training walk.  It is a controlled environment that we can work on training, where I am supported and understood by fellow dog owners.  Less judgement; more nodding and compassionate smiles.  I love it, obviously.  Anyone who knows Leroy by now, knows he was bound to throw a few fits.  My friend and rescue champion Christine remarked, “Is that all he does?  That’s not so bad.  I’ve seen worse.”  She was perhaps being nice, or slightly delusional 😉  However, her unwavering support means a lot.  And Leroy adores her.  I did not remind her that, yes, this is all he does after two years of training and 20mg of Prozac!  But all in all, he was slightly improved from his pre-Prozac, pre-Reactive Rover days.  He was vocal.. he really loves to let everyone know how stressed out he is.  And I was a neglectful mom and couldn’t find his Halti, so he pulled like a demon.  But otherwise, he did just fine.

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Watch Me!

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Please ignore how attractive I am. It was a great hair day.

 

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Leroy was trying to woo Sage, who was training for her Therapy Dog test

 

Despite how well I know Leroy and how I am always preaching about standing up for your dogs, I found myself climbing up a slippery mountain to get away from a ditsy, inconsiderate  normal dog owner who thought it was funny that her two dogs totaling 35 pounds were pulling her towards our pack.  Instead of just yelling out, “Stop, he needs his space!”, I decided to run off the path, risking my life  twisting an ankle to get out of her reach.  I need to start taking my own advice!  So in case you haven’t read it yet, or if you need a pep talk like I did, check out this blog.      

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Leroy and I prepared for the walk by decorating ourselves with yellow ribbon.  Of course, not all dog owners know what this means.  So I’m here to tell you! 🙂  It means Leroy needs his space.  Here is the website for the Yellow Dog Project.  Check it out and if you see a dog sporting yellow, (or an owner running up a mountain) give them some space!

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What To Do This Summer

So for the foreseeable future, I have taken up residents with my parents in Scranton, PA.  I am job hunting and looking to move back to Philadelphia around August.  Until then, I’m having a training dilemma.  I’ll start by saying that I am only open to using force free trainers.  Anything other than that is out of the question.  So anyone I will mention is going to fall under that category.  I am hoping that I can get some advice or suggestions.  Keep in mind that I would like to be less broke with a better trained dog 😉 Here are my options while I’m here:

I can choose to travel approximately 1 hour & 15 minutes to a reputable, force free trainer.  I can do private sessions or wait for a potential weekday Reactive training class to start up.  

I can travel 1 hour & 45 minutes to a reputable, trusted, and force free trainer.  I can do private sessions or group lessons.

I can use a local trainer who is less experienced but force free.  I can do a private session where she will evaluate Leroy and see if he can be placed in any of her group training class (which I suspect he can’t).  Or I can continue to do private sessions with her.

I can work by myself on practicing what I know in controlled and respectful environments.  I can do “pack walks” with trusted friends.

I have been struggling with this decision and am looking for some help.  I may give the local trainer a try.  But I don’t want to waste my time and money when I have heard she may not be the best for my situation.  I also can’t afford to be driving all summer, paying tolls, and racking up more debt… Leroy doesn’t even have a job 😉  (and I am barely employed!)  But I also want to keep working with him and seeing progress.  With the lack of bicycles in my neighborhood, Leroy has decided to recently lunge after two cars, actively trying to attack them.  This type of “unexpected” behavior is what brought me crying into Dr. Reisner’s office in the first place.  We must not regress!  Ok, I’m trying not to fall apart completely.  I understand I changed his environment.  But common Leroy, you’ve already been beaten by a car once.  Let’s be logical here.  Your mom can only handle so much crazy out of you!

Until Leroy understands my English; help, suggestions, opinions, local trainer recommendations, advice??  It’s all much appreciated!

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More Happy Tail Updates!

Adele, my very first foster dog, has been in her forever home for almost two years now!  She found a wonderful forever mom who adores her and puts up with all her crazy issues!  Adele has also gone on to be a foster sister to other puppies in need.  She has grown into a beautiful dog.  I love seeing how much she’s beefed up since I pulled her out of ACCT, a scrawny mess of a dog.  So here she is, Adelle-

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Date Night

I spent my last month in Philly exploring some great restaurants and fully enjoying the night life with my friends.  But there’s nothing like a night in with your man 😉  If you read my post a few days ago, you know that Leroy and I were having a stressful time transitioning to living at my parents house again.  There are new, overwhelming things that we run into here that we didn’t deal with in Philly.  Overall, it’s a more peaceful atmosphere.  But there is still some adjusting required.

So I checked Leroy’s schedule and we set a date night!  Just some one on one bonding time for my pooch 🙂 We watched a movie and cuddled, the perfect night in!

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Sometimes I wish for the days when I can have a house of my own, complete with a handful of happy coexisting pit bulls.  I think it’s amazing that so many of my friends have three, four, five, or more rescued dogs!  But for me and Leroy, we’re a team.  And the two of us, plus the occasional foster, is just enough.  Sure, someday the perfect dog might come along.  And I know we would be able to expand our duo.  But for right now, it’s me and my man 🙂

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How many dogs are in your pack?  Or are you a solo dog owner like me? What shaped those decisions? I’d love to know!

Happy Tails Update!

Every time I see a picture of Jora *now to be referred to as Bella* in her forever home, my heart grows 10x it’s original size.  So I wanted to share some of them with you 🙂  Not only did Bella get exactly the forever home that I wanted for her, but her mom came out to volunteer at LCPO’s 5k!  I’m hoping to see both of them soon at another event and catch up more.  So here she is: happy, gorgeous, loving Bella.

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Deep Breaths

Last night, Leroy was exuberantly running around the house, showing off for my parents.  He was flashing his big pit bull grin when he jumped onto Grandma and Grandpa’s bed, quickly lifted his leg, and peed on their duvet cover.

Bad dog..

Bad dog..

People of the world often anthromorphize these types of behaviors, either by saying something like, “Leroy was being spiteful because I made him take a nap in my bedroom”, or “Leroy felt so sorry after he peed on the bed.  He knew he was wrong.”

Well, people of the world; I can promise you that Leroy made no connection between his earlier nap in my bedroom, nor knew that he had done something wrong.  He was simply interrupted and ran away happily.  WHYYYYY??  Why Leroy??

These are the moments I look at him for .3 seconds and say, “Mommy doesn’t love you anymore”, in the sweetest voice I can muster.  Then he’ll do something so cute, it hurts my heart.  Last night his move was cuddling on the couch between me and his Grandma, and propping his head up on her knee, making the best squishy face that ever did exist.  Falling asleep on her with squinty eyed bliss, even Grandma forgot we were mad at the Pudding.  All returns to normal soon after the incident.

But again! The following morning Leroy wants to push my buttons again!  Leroy darling, I am a patient mamma, but you’re making me crazy!  Though for Leroy, I had to accept that he was not trying to make me crazy.  He was simply stressed out, overwhelmed, and unable to handle the situation.  Between the two barking mongrels across the street that run the barrier of their electric fence, the strange collection of men in the backyard with the landscaping company, and the gaggle of seventeen year old kids playing basketball and roughhousing in the pool; Leroy was like WTF?! And I was like WTF?!  These are the moments when I trust my dear friend Christine to tolerate my mental breakdown.  I text her and say, “I’d like to return Leroy and exchange him for a better dog”.  And she says, “No.  You love him too much.  And no one else wants him”.  This of course, is all in jest.  I wouldn’t give up Leroy if you pried him out of my cold, hard grasp.  He is my true love and favorite creature on this planet.  But still, we all are allowed to go over threshold every once in awhile 😉

It’s going to be a long summer…

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I am constantly reminded to respect Leroy’s limits, as well as my own.  So as I type this, Leroy is in his “Safe Place” of my bedroom.  He was too stressed out watching the big kids play in the pool, plus he needed a nap after our exhilarating afternoon walk.  And yaknow what?  That is OK.  I’d rather keep him safe and calm than push his limits.  I am working to be the best guardian that I can.  That includes knowing when and how to protect my dog from stress.  And even though he drives me crazy, I love him more than words can express.  So I am happy to do this for him.

On a lighter note, we do have an exciting announcement to make!  Check back tomorrow for that 😉   And until then, deep breaths!

If you have any suggestions or force free training articles on how to stop territory marking, please send them my way!  Also, please comment with any questions or topics you would like me to write about.  🙂