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

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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

Tofu?!

We have some exciting news to announce!  LCPO was asked to help a dog that was tied up and living outside in the cold.  An outreach volunteer has been advocating for her and begging the facebook world to help her out in some way.  Here is a little segment from this volunteer.-

“Mama is in desperate need of a loving home to call her own. She has lived her entire young life outdoors being passed breeder to breeder. We met Mama back in August pregnant. At 5 weeks old her puppies were taken from her and she continued to live her life neglected outdoors. Her owners will not bring her indoors. Mama is deaf and is extremely vulnerable living outdoors on a busy corner. Now her owner is moving and will give her to ANYONE in a neighborhood where animal abuse and dog fighting is prevalent. She is a sweet, active girl who deserves a loving family of her own. Mama is a 3 year old, Female, Spayed, Deaf, American Pit Bull Terrier.”
So drum roll please…..

This sweet girl will be boarding with Leroy and Company!  We will continue to look for a long term foster and forever home but in the mean time, we will get her socialized, build her confidence, and work on some training.  Her new name is Tofu and she will be transported here very soon.  I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for deaf dogs so I’m excited to know that her life of neglect will end and become a life of love and attention.  Here are two pictures of her from her yard in NY and with the wonderful outreach volunteer that helped to save her life.

Tofu

In preparing for her arrival, Leroy and I decided to research some training methods for deaf dogs.  Luckily for us, Leroy already knows most of his regular commands by both a voice command and a hand signal.  We worked briefly on a few extras such as Good Boy (thumbs up), Finished/ Release/ OK (shaking out hands), and Here (bringing a finger towards yourself).  Good Boy is used as a form of clicker training and positive reinforcement to let your dog know when they’re doing something right.  A Release is always useful to let your dog know when they’re done with a Stay or Leave it, or finished with a training session all together.  And Here is very important for any dog to know, but it’s especially challenging for a deaf dog because you need to have their eye contact before they can listen.

So we put together a video of Leroy pretending to be deaf and me getting ready to train Tofu.  🙂  We did pretty good for first timers!    Now we just need to wait for our new guest to arrive and let her settle in a bit before we start working!

If you have any questions about Tofu, Jora or the adoption process, you can email me (Leroy’s mom) at Casey@caseyheyen.com  Visit http://www.lcpoinc.org for more information on our organization! 

Resume!

As I embark on my last semester ever as a student, I’ve had to do some serious thinking about my resume.  It has been edited, brushed up and checked over.  So my resume is now ready to be put into action.  After I told you two months ago, that the pooches were going on a “Nothing in life is free” regimen and I followed that up with Leroy’s list of flaws, I decided that his resume needed some fixing up as well.  So here he is in all his glory!

Leroy’s Resume

1. Smart

2. Excellent cuddler

3. Crate trained/housebroken

4. Doesn’t chew or destroy

5. Loyal and loving

6. Good foster brother

7. Always ready to sleep in

8. Cute, cute, cute!

9. Loves French kissing (pretty much anyone)

10. True “Mommy’s Boy”

While you can get a feel of Leroy’s personality from his resume list, he thought it would be better if you could see him in action.  Here is a video of our nightly dinner training.  We’ve been really working hard on “Stay”.  We’ve increased the difficulty level of your average “Stay” to include Distance, Duration, and Distractions.  This is done by going further away from your dog, getting out of his eye sight, leaving the room, opening things and making noise, ect.  Leroy’s list of commands is- Sit, Down, Stay, Drop it, Leave it, Nice to Meet You (paw), Watch Me, Say Hi, Here, 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.  Here is another training clip from tonight.

I hope you enjoy the videos!  Please feel free to ask any questions about Leroy, training, positive reinforcement, nothing in life is free, Jora, or anything else on your mind.  Thanks for reading!

Foster Brother Leroy

I just wanted to share with the world my appreciation and love for my forever dog, Leroy.  He is very tolerant of our overly-playful house guest, Jora.  He has graciously accepted all of my previous fosters and loved them in their own individual ways.  He’s a great help in teaching the foster dogs the routine of our home.  And he enjoys brushing up on his basic commands to help the new fosters.  🙂

Leroy has a few great tricks up his sleeve  that he enjoys showing off.  Here’s another video of him teaching Jora the ropes.

Leroy is not a very dog-social dog; meaning he doesn’t do well at places like PetSmart, adoption events, crowded parks ect.  But I know his limits and I know how to best introduce him to our fosters.  So he might not be the well adjusted dog with therapy potential that I wanted when I started fostering, but I love him to pieces 🙂 I’m forever grateful that I was a foster failure and decided that I needed him as much as he needed me for the rest of his life.   ❤