Puppy Update!

Holy puppy!  This has been the craziest week and a half ever.  Gosh that ball of cuteness sure is quick to piddle and chew.  Ok.  So let’s be honest, pictures of the puppy are far more exciting than me talking about the puppy.  So I’ll make this brief 😉

Yesterday I showed our summer fashion shoot, aka luau party.  I certainly had fun with that.  My dad thought it was hysterical that Leroy just stayed like an angel while I tortured him with sunglasses and accessories.  If only I had some arm floaties… Hmm.  Since Marshmallow’s arrival, Leroy has grown to accept and love her, as he does with every foster pup.  Here are some of their “bonding” pictures. 🙂

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It’s been a whirlwind experience having a foster puppy!  We have our third meet and greet today.  Yikes!  And then I am going to make a very hard decision.  Stay tuned for more puppy excitement and pictures 🙂

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Things That People Don’t Like to Talk About- Progress Has Stopped

It’s not that there we’ve never made progress.  We have, and it has been excellent.  Leroy is on Prozac and he is a happier and more manageable dog.  I wrote about it here, and took a video of us working at the park.  That is an improved dog… seriously.  Maybe you didn’t know him before, but just take my word on this one.  Or take my vet’s word after she watched the video, “That is really terrific – GREAT job, and you’re using different tools (watch, leave it, look at that). You really seem to have found that door into his brain :)”.

So despite the progress, Leroy still has his moments.  That’s all fine and well.  But is that as good as it gets?  I have been participating in a weekly training walk for Pit Bull owners.  Leroy seems to do the same thing every week.  Maybe I just am too close to see what I’m doing wrong.  He freaks out but recovers quickly, then he’s happy to be next to the other dogs and enjoy the pack walk.  Freak out, walk.  Freak out, walk.  Freak out, walk.  Every single week, all summer long.

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I’m gonna be honest here.  I am quite sure that I have room to improve.  I know it for a fact.  But even considering that, there is a part of me that thinks I should be happy with what we’ve accomplished and stop expecting more.

I’ve had the great pleasure of helping one of the rescue dogs, Denali, as her foster buddy and trainer.  She is a sweet three year old girl that needed some help on manners. She happens to have a very pregnant foster mom who has never had a dog before.  🙂  Denali is just a little bit pushy and rude in social settings.  But she absolutely stole my heart!  And after one adoption event and training walk, she has gotten significantly better with her handler focus, sit, watch me, and down.  PROGRESS!  So much progress in just two days.  It’s overwhelming!

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After causing a scene of excitement in the park once Denali mastered the “down” command, I realized that I love and miss training!  I just have been stuck in a routine with Leroy.  I am enjoying the Nosework class with him very much.  But I haven’t felt that excited rush of watching him learn something in a long time.  So until I figure out what to do with my boy, I will get that clicker out and help Denali be the best girl she can be!  She will learn manners, basic obedience, tricks.. maybe she’ll even get C.L.A.S.S. certified!

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*Note.  While I was in the middle of writing this and making mini strawberry pies, my brother Steven’s friend said, “I hope when I have a dog he is as well behaved as Leroy.  He’s a good boy.”

I feel like the universe just smacked me in the head!  Granted, this friend has not seen Leroy lunge after another dog or protect a bone.  He has not seen Leroy be his full-arse-self. But when Leroy is being properly managed and in a familiar location, he is a very good boy.  Sure he chases his tail, sometimes regularly jumps on strangers, begs for food, acts like a goon, ect.  But he is a wonderful dog, especially when he’s not being stressed out by any of his triggers.

To top things off, we showed off our most recent trick, “Bang” which we learned way back in Philly.  But apparently my family had not seen it yet!  They were very impressed 🙂  Since it was new and we hadn’t practiced regularly, he was a little rusty.  But by attempt three he promptly rolled over, flailed up his legs, and paused for effect.  Thanks buddy! 🙂  So my dog is making progress!  Or maybe I’m just making progress at managing him 😉  Either way, Leroy was called well behaved today, possibly for the first time in his life.  So “Thank you”, to my brother’s friend Anthony, for unknowingly putting me in my place.

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Progress Pie

Puppy Time!

The puppy is here!  After a long journey from Tennessee, two baths to remove the filth, a long collar-buying excursion, an even longer naming-the-puppy adventure; I’m finally here with pictures 🙂

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Get ready for cuteness overload.

First of all, we named her Marshmallow, or Mel for short.  Something about her white squishy face just called out, “Marshmallow!” 🙂 When she is a lady, perhaps she’ll go by Mel.  To be professional, of course.  But for now, Marshmallow is settling in and doing wonderfully.  She already got to meet the whole human family, Blueberry, Leroy, and Major the cat.  Positive socialization is starting off  strong!

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Marshmallow is 10 weeks old.  She is spayed and will be up to date on her shots.  We will be working on crate training, socialization, house training, and basic obedience.  Mel is curious about the world around her.  She is slightly cautious, but ready to play and explore.  She is loving all the human attention, and desperately trying to woo the adult dogs in the house into some wrestling and play time.  She will need a committed, life long, adopter who is willing to  make her the best dog that she can be.  And I will need an adopter who will fall head over heals in love with her- not just as a puppy, but as she goes through the challenging teen years, the frustrating adolescence, the slowing in adulthood, and the tender years of old age.

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oh hai. iz a marshmalloz.

More exciting puppy-ness to come as she settles in!

If you have questions about Marshmallow or the adoption process, email me (Casey) at LeroyandCompany@gmail.com!         

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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Impressive Trickster!

I wrote Leroy a resume a few months ago and I decided that since we won’t be fostering for some time, I want to add some awesome things to it.  And I need your help!  Here is a list of Leroy’s tricks that have been changed slightly since his first draft resume.

Sit, Down, Stay, Drop it, Leave it, Nice to Meet You (paw), Watch Me, Say Hi, Here, Bang, Go To Your Room, Give Me a Hug, and Kiss.  His newer or less practice commands are Stand, Spin. Crawl, All the Way Down, Roll Over, and High Ten.

The newest things we’ve been working on are Back Up, and Close The Door.  And I am excited!  So first, here are two progress videos of Leroy working.

 

Now!  The part I need help with 🙂  I would like a list of wonderful comment suggestions of what we should work on for the whole summer!  Cute tricks, hard sequence activities, funny things- whatever you’ve got!  Bring it on 😉

 

If you have any questions about Tofu, becoming a foster parent, or the adoption process- you can email me (Leroy’s mom) at Casey@caseyheyen.com

Sponsor me here!- 5k Race to Rescue

Temporary Fix

Although the concept of a foster home is inherently temporary, I am sad to report that Tofu will be moving into a new foster home as of tomorrow.  This was not a quick or unplanned decision.  In fact, I was not planning to foster at all this semester because I knew what would be happening in April and May.  I am finishing my last semester in graduate school, preparing for the Annual Student Exhibition, and planning to move back home with my parents.  I will graduate in May with my Masters in Fine Art from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  And soon after that, I am moving back to Scranton, PA to save money and live with my parents.  Sadly, these situations are just not fair to a foster dog.  But most importantly, I cannot bring her when I move back home.  So as I said, I was not planning this to foster at all this semester.  Sure… I could have probably squeezed in a foster puppy less than 4 months old, or a super gorgeous, highly adoptable blue nose pittie who loves cats and other dogs.  But that’s not my typical foster dog, we have plenty of foster homes for them.  I was just going to take a break.

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But when the LCPO president asks me to help out, it’s hard to decline.  I do have a heart after all!  We had been cross posting for Tofu for a few weeks, with no interest.  (Her name was Mama back then) Her scumbag breeder “owner” was leaving the halfway home and about to hand her off the first offer he got.  Actually, the one offer declined once he found out she was spayed (thanks to Almost Home rescue).  No more Mama for this girl.  But another person was still happy to pick her up, we can assume for less than honorable reasons since dog fighting is common in that area.  So things were becoming dire and we just could not see her end up in bad hands.  So I was asked to take her in.  I said yes, but with the understanding that as finals approached, she would need somewhere else to go.  This is something that easier to say than follow up on.  And if I could keep her, I would.

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As a foster mom, I feel responsible for my foster dogs until they find their perfect forever home.  As the saying goes, “Fostering is not a lifelong commitment, it’s a commitment to saving a life.”  I hope that this is the last time I will take a foster in, and have to say goodbye before they have found their forever home.  It truly breaks my heart to uproot Tofu.  She has made amazing progress with me in terms of being a wonderful companion, preparing for that perfect home, and learning how to trust Leroy.  I will be worried about her being moved, confused, and starting this process over again.  And they all must do this again when they are moved to their forever family.

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The one benefit of her new foster home is that there is a well balanced female dog (along with a handful of other great pooches!).  Because of Tofu’s past as a breeder dog with little, if any other socialization, we think that she may feel a little more comfortable with female dogs.  However, it will likely still take her time to adjust and feel at ease with them.  But her new foster mom knows how to take things slow, so Tofu will be given a nice opportunity so socialization with a variety of other dogs.  I am hoping that this benefits her in the long run,  and allows our rescue to know what type of home will be best suited for her in the future.

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But for my girl Tofu, just because you are leaving me, I will not feel any less responsible for you.  I will think about you, and bother your new foster mom with questions.  I will worry and hope.  I will cross post and blog about you.  When someone says they are looking for a dog, I will suggest you.  I will miss your cuddles, kisses, and happy butt wiggles.  I will meet your forever family and see you on your way before you are adopted.  You will always have a piece of my heart.  And I will love and care about you always.  I am sorry that I was your temporary fix, but I am thrilled that I was able to help in saving your life.  You will never live in a yard again; never know loneliness, cold, or hunger.  You are safe and we will take care of you… until that special family finds you and wants to call you their own.  ❤

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If you have any questions about Tofu, becoming a foster parent, or the adoption process- you can email me (Leroy’s mom) at Casey@caseyheyen.com

Sponsor me here!- 5k Race to Rescue

The Good Stuff

Yesterday I wrote about the Reactive Rover training class that Leroy and I finished.  Woo Leroy!  (more on that later, I promise)  I mentioned that I bring the “good stuff” to class, meaning that I stock up on very high value treats.  Here is a run down of what we use, and why we use it!

When I first signed Leroy up for training classes, I was worried that he would be so stressed out that he would ignore all of my special treats!  Sometimes when we are in a scary place like the vet, Leroy doesn’t care about food.  This is always hard for me to believe, because he LOVES food.  Seriously, he loves it.  So I was concerned that he would be stressed and just say “meh” to the hunk of meat in my hand.  Luckily for me, I have an awesome trainer.  She talked about what “goods” to bring to class, and Leroy ate them all up!

*time out*  If there are any of those, “Why do you need food to train your dog? Shouldn’t he be a good boy because he loves you?” type people, I would like to give them a shout out.  My dog (and most others) learns best by receiving food rewards when he is doing something right.   He offers a behavior, and either a. I do nothing or b. I reward it.  Behaviors that are rewarded will happen more often.  Training 101.  Sure, I could give him a nice pat on the head and tell him he is a good boy.  But my dog loves food, so damnit, I’m going to give him food!  It is a very high value reward for him.  Therefore, using food helps keep his attention and interest in training.  Otherwise he would just be eating Fluffy for a full hour. 😉 *time in*

Most of these are under the category of “soft and small”, aka perfect for training.  Although we are stocking up with food, dogs should be getting super tiny amounts of these rewards each time they do something good.  (And this should be faded and mixed in with functional/life rewards over time)  Approximately half a pinky finger nail!  No fat puppies here 🙂  So here is our list of the “good stuff”!  Tested and proven to be exciting, high value, and delicious to Leroy.. and maybe your dog too!

1. Hot Dogs.  First of all, gross.  I’m not a meat person.  So it was quite the effort for me to buy these suckers and feed them to Leroy.  But I did it, and he loved it!  The highest of the high value.  If you have a dog that ignores food when stressed, try the magical hot dog!

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2. “Soft and Small” training rewards.  Most companies make some type of small training treat.  We like to stay on the healthy side of things, so brands like Blue Buffalo or Zeke’s.  Not much junk in them, but still a great treat 🙂

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3. Food Rolls.  These are a newer thing in the world of dog food.  It can be used as a full meal, as a special dry food topper, and as a training reward.  It’s pretty soft but still packed together.  I used this a lot in Reactive Rover because I could hold a big chunk of it and break of smaller pieces.

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4. Freeze Dried Beef Liver.  Aka, crack for dogs.  This one is a little different because it’s not soft.  However, it breaks apart pretty easily so you can still give tiny treats and the dog will swallow it up nice and fast.  I don’t know what it is, but dogs like this.  Take my word.  Tofu is a huge fan as well.  🙂

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Well there it is, my list of the top four best training treats in the whole world.  Or something like that!  Thanks to Stephanie from And Foster Makes Five for the suggestion! Check out some wonderful blogging over there 🙂

 

If you have any questions about Tofu, becoming a foster parent, or the adoption process- you can email me (Leroy’s mom) at Casey@caseyheyen.com

Sponsor me here!- 5k Race to Rescue