April 7, 2000
I got another newsletter from the humane society and they are still looking for foster homes. They are really pushing this "Initiative 2005" for Pittsburgh to become the first eastern no-kill city by 2005. They don't want to ever turn away an animal (which the existing no-kill shelter does when they are full) but they don't want to kill them anymore just because they don't have space, so they want to recruit tons of foster homes. They have plans to majorly expand their facility, and one of the other shelters is already adding on to their building.
There is an orientation on Monday night at 6:00 so I think maybe we'll go to that. I'm supposed to call and tell them we're coming, so I guess I'll do that tomorrow. They also want people to train dogs but of course you have to go to the shelter to do it, and that's kinda inconvenient. So I think we'll find out more about fostering, and who knows, we might end up really doing it. Kinda scary! I like the dog aspect of it but it's scary for me to deal with the people.
So depending on how things go on Monday, we might end up with a new foster dog sometime in the next couple of weeks. In the newsletter they said they need people to foster very young puppies (which we couldn't do since we're gone all day), hyper adolescents (just what we need!), and older dogs that are too stressed by being kenneled all the time. We'll see what we find out on Monday and I guess we'll go from there.
April 10, 2000
People kept filtering in late, and we were about halfway through the meeting when some lady came in and got greeted by Buddy and was totally PETRIFIED. The only other guy there (besides Warren) sounded kinda embarrassed when he said, "That's my wife." She was plastered against the wall and Buddy was just trying to say hi and she was terrified. The person in charge put Buddy on a leash and passed him off to somebody to hold. Everybody was laughing hysterically at the scared lady. The dog was big but he was the goofiest, silliest, happiest dog you could ever hope to meet, and he never jumped or barked or anything. If you could have seen how scared this lady was... it was hilarious.
Anyhow, I don't know exactly what happens next. I guess I have to call them back again and tell them yes, I am interested, and then I guess we go and get our first foster.
April 11, 2000
"go back there and get buddy. it sounds like he will fit right in with your animal family."
But you don't understand.... When I said he's big, I was not clear enough. I mean, he is REALLY big. Bigger than me, I think. And like I said, I would have taken him anyway, but I don't want to annoy Warren with our first foster dog. Obviously this is not something he would be doing on his own, and I was actually pretty surprised that he agreed to let me do it. So I have to be careful.
"i think buddy is calling you. . . . . ruff, ruff, ruff"
Was there ever really any doubt? =) The only obstacle was getting Warren to agree to it, and that was easier than I thought. He's pretty tolerant of my dog hobby.
"so, does this mean that when you come to visit you will have one more dog?"
Probably. As long as it fits in the car....
April 12, 2000
So he's here. He's huge and totally clueless. I think I 'll try to get them to keep him for us next weekend cos all the animals will not fit in the car together. And I don't think you and dad would be too pleased to have him around. He's really nice, and not at all mean, but he's just so BIG.
Everybody is getting along. Echo stood on him and Brin humped him and Keek hissed at him, so now he knows his place.
He's really big.
Did I mention that he's big? And totally clueless. And he howls in his crate.
"i'm so glad. congratulations. I knew you'd end up with buddy. he sounds like a great dog. he probably doesn't know that he's big. he can't help it, you know. does he stay in the yard? is he good outside? what tricks did you teach him? I bet if you do some tricks with the other dogs, and let him watch, he'll figure it out. I 'm so happy for buddy. great news."
I could barely hold him on the flat collar they put on him. I think he is bigger than I am, and he is strong. We brought him home and he instantly peed in the yard. He appears to be housebroken. We introduced him to our dogs outside. No problems. When we took him inside, the cat hissed and raced out of the room. I offered Buddy some food but he didn’t want it. I took all the dogs back outside. I asked Brindle and Echo to sit before I opened the door, because that is our routine. Brindle sat but Echo was distracted. I repeated the command. Buddy sat! Apparently, someone has been working with him. Since then he has sat on cue a few times but has ignored the cue most of the time. He doesn’t seem to respond to his name.
We played ball a little. Buddy would get the ball and bring it back but he didn’t want to let it go. I ignored him until he dropped it. When I tried to throw it again, he grabbed my arm very gently. I told him no and he stopped. He seems to have great bite inhibition, but with a dog of his size, I would prefer to eliminate the mouthing.
We took all the dogs for a walk. I had a prong collar that fit Buddy so I walked him on that. He was very easy to walk but I wouldn’t want to try it without a prong collar or a Gentle Leader. Later, he happily chewed a sterilized bone on the bedroom floor. Brindle decided he wanted that bone, although he never had any interest in it before. I took the bone away to prevent a squabble. Buddy didn’t growl when I took it, although he did try to hold onto it. He never attempted to get on the bed when he was in the bedroom.I introduced him to the crate. He went into it without much trouble when I put his bone inside. I let him go in and out a few times but unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to really acclimate him to the crate. I did not feel comfortable letting him loose at night because of his strong interest in the cat. So I put him in the crate with his bone, closed the door, and prepared for the worst. For a few minutes, I tried leaving the room when he started fussing and returning as soon as he was quiet for a moment. But he didn’t seem to be getting it and it was past my bedtime. So I gave up, turned off the light and went to bed. Remarkably, he was quiet after that. He whined a little but that was it. Maybe he understands that “lights out” means bedtime.
April 13, 2000
I'm kinda surprised I didn't get any mail here from you guys today. I bet G wasn't surprised to hear about Buddy. She was telling me to go get him a couple days ago. If they hadn't asked me specifically to take him, I wouldn't have offered. I was planning to call yesterday when I got home and tell them I was ready to foster SOME dog (like, a normal sized one), and I figured they'd want to meet with me again and go over the rules and stuff. I didn't think they'd just kinda hand a dog over to me.
Anyhow, I said we'd give it a try. "When should I come pick him up?" "Whenever you want." "Well, how long will you be there tonight?" "The kennels will be open until 7, and I'll tell them to give you a collar and leash and some food." I thought maybe they'd want to go over the rules or give me some tips or something. Nope. I signed my name on a paper and walked out with the dog.
Anyhow, I 'll take some pictures tonight and send them. I wish today was Friday. I feel bad leaving him alone in a crate all day cos he's not used to that. I should have waited to pick him up until Friday or Saturday. Oh well, maybe next time I 'll be less impulsive.
April 13, 2000
Keek woke me up very early this morning. I tried to ignore him but I was mostly awake anyway, so I decided to get up. Buddy whined a little when I got up but he settled down when I went to take a shower. Then I let him out and we all went outside. He peed like a good boy. I was debating about what to do with him while I walked Brin and Echo because I didn’t want him loose in the house, but I also didn’t want him barking in the crate while Warren was sleeping. So I decided to walk all three dogs at once. It worked surprisingly well. Brin and Echo walked nicely on my left and Buddy cruised along on my right. When I returned, I had breakfast. Buddy can stand and look down at the tabletop, but he never tried to help himself to anything.
Brin and Echo had their breakfast, while Buddy ate about half of his in the crate and then started whining. Eventually he settled down and I let him out. It was still very early (like 5:30) and I had a lot of time to kill, so I put Buddy on a Flexi and took him to the playground. He exercised very nicely on the Flexi, although he did try to grab it and pull on it a couple times. Whenever he did that, all I had to do was stop “playing” (in other words, I stood still and let the leash go slack so there was nothing for him to play tug against) and he gave up that game. When I started to jog around the playground, Buddy grabbed my foot. Again, it was a very inhibited bite, but still unacceptable behavior. I immediately stopped, told him NO sternly, and he let go. He played ball a little, found a big stick to carry around for a while, and then we went home. I cuddled poor B&E on the futon while Buddy rested quietly on the floor. One more trip outside, then he went in his crate and I left for work. He howled a little but I couldn’t hear anything as I left the house.
Buddy was waiting quietly in his crate when I got home. He had shredded the bedding I gave him, but that’s okay. He did his business outside and then we went for an uneventful walk. We practiced sits and downs in the kitchen while dinner was cooking. He knows the word sit and he does this fairly reliably on cue. He sits almost as fast as Brin and Echo when they're waiting for me to open the door and take them outside. He has also started sitting for attention without a cue. Nice! For downs, he is still following my hand. Sometimes he tries to paw me instead. I told him to “shake” and “paw” but he didn’t seem to recognize that.
We took Buddy to Pet Supplies Plus to buy a citronella collar to curb his howling. Buddy was well behaved in the store and he even got to play with a cute little 16-week-old pup. He was very gentle. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any citronella collars in stock, and it will take 5-8 days if I order one from a catalog.
I gave Brindle and Buddy some rawhide bones. I only had little four inch ones and I expected Buddy to finish his in one bite, but Brindle finished first. Buddy took the rest of his bone outside and buried it under the porch.He still doesn’t care for the crate, but he will go in easily now. He just doesn’t like to stay there. I’ve been putting him in, giving him a treat, and letting him come right back out. At bedtime, I didn’t feel like listening to him howl, so I tied him to the bed for the night instead. He was quiet all night.
April 14, 2000
Mom said so too. It's a shame he's so big because I bet he'd be really easy to place if he was a normal size. He has a great temperament.
"if they could shrink him a little bit, I would want a dog just like that! bigger than a min pin, smaller than a buddy. anyway, I think it's cool that you're hosting a dog. what if you start to really like him and want to keep him?????"
Right now I 'm totally neutral about him. He's nice and all but he's not special to me. He's just a dog. I probably will start to like him but he's not the right kind of dog for us. It could never happen because he doesn't "speak" to Warren. Besides, then I wouldn't be able to foster anymore.
"how is everybody getting along now? any problems? what does keek think?"
Keek hates him. Buddy just wants to play but that would be a disaster! Keek has been living on the fridge, top of the cabinet, top of the computer table, and in the living room (no doggy access). As far as I know he didn't even come into the bedroom last night, so this morning I moved his food into the computer room. He started eating right away. Poor Keek.
The dogs try to play with him but then they get freaked out when he tries to play back. He really wants to play. He needs a huge dog buddy. (Ha, Buddy needs a buddy.) And Brindle has some issues. He thinks he owns everything in the house. I gave Buddy a bone that Brin and Echo NEVER played with. All of a sudden, that bone is the greatest thing ever. And Brin gets really snarly if food is around. Buddy still isn't really eating. It is weird to be around a dog that doesn't want to eat.
"that's another bad part of getting such a large dog. I bet he eats a lot."
Actually, so far he won't really eat, which really puts a damper on my training method! We weighed him yesterday when we went to Pet Supplies Plus for a citronella collar (unfortunately they didn't have any) and we were both surprised to find out that he only weighs about 60 pounds! He's long and tall but he's skinny.
I wanted the collar because he howls in the crate. I didn't want to use a shock collar because I was worried he would associate the shock with the place rather than the behavior, and I don't want him to be scared of the crate. Warren said he howled for about 20 minutes after I left yesterday, which really isn't that bad, except that Warren was trying to sleep. Last night I decided to just tie him to the bed, and he was quiet all night. He stood up a couple times and looked around, but mostly he just slept. I tied him there again this morning when I left, and told Warren to crate him before he leaves. I don't think he'd need to be crated at all if I didn't have the cat and dogs to worry about. He seems to be totally housetrained and he doesn't seem to chew stuff, although he did destroy the bed that I put in his crate yesterday.
"buddy looks like a very nice dog. he doesn't look that big. I think you should keep him."
He is nice but there is no way I 'm keeping him. I want to help him learn to be good and then send him on his way and get a different one. He already sits to go outside, and today he sat to get his leash on. If he wasn't so darn big, he'd be pretty easy to place. I think he should go live with a nice young adult jogger. He would be a great jogging partner. He has a really different temperament from my dogs. He's more detached, less in-your-face, not as freaked out by people. He's not very affectionate though. And he barks and whines a lot. If somebody takes his bone, he cries and then starts barking. If I leave the room, he does the same thing. That's why I want the citronella collar.
C. called to check up on Buddy. I told her he's doing great. I said I could tell that somebody had been working with him because he sits to go through doors and to get his leash on. She was happy to hear that. I told her we are going home next weekend and she said we could drop him off on Friday and maybe he'll get adopted on Saturday. If not, we could pick him up after we get back, or we could leave him there for a while. Sounds good.
April 14, 2000
Buddy is settling in and is eating better. He will take treats now, so we worked on sit, down, crate, go to your place, and “off” (not mugging my hand for food). He caught onto “go to your place” quickly enough that I think someone taught him that before, or maybe he was taught to sleep on a blanket. He also caught on to “off” rather quickly, although at first he licked my hand nonstop for about a minute. I haven’t seen him startle to the click sound yet but he seems to be learning anyway. He is good at sitting to go outside, although he usually complains about it.
We took him to PetSmart, looking for a citronella collar again. He was well behaved in the store and got a lot of attention. The store had a collar but it was too expensive. We'll just have to deal with his barking, and hopefully we'll have a collar for the next foster. He actually isn’t a real nuisance barker. He barks for a few minutes when he's left alone, and then he settles down. If I put a chewy in his big bone and give him that when I crate him, we can sneak out without any barking. He barks when he is playing with the dogs, or trying to play with the cat. Sometimes he makes a sound like, “I love you!” As long as he's in the same room with us, he's quiet and mellow for such a young dog.
April 16, 2000
I trained Brin and Echo a little cos I was all inspired by the freestyle. They are both learning how to do laterals (walking sideways) and Echo is finally learning how to go backwards. Buddy practiced being quiet in his crate. He's not very good at that but he's getting better.
I took Buddy for his evening walk and everybody in the entire neighborhood had to comment on him. Terry (the guy that Brindle loves so much) liked him a lot. The lady up the street was outside with her daughter and granddaughter, and then two other people came to visit them, and every single person had to stop and pet Buddy. The daughter really liked him and even asked how much he would cost. She said they live in the country and it would be nice to have a dog like him around. But her husband didn't go for it. Then a guy and his wife were going for a walk and they commented on him. Then three boys were trying to guess what kind of dog he is. (They guessed right.) One of them said he would try to find somebody to adopt him. I told him to come and let me know if he finds somebody who's interested and the other kid said, "Yeah, I know where you live, with Brindle and Echo." Then we went around the corner and another guy said hi, and then two guys were on their porch and they wanted to know what kind of dog he is. Buddy wanted to say hi so I took him up to get petted. Then a little boy ran away but then he came back and wanted to pet Buddy. His mom was really nice. She was asking me all about the foster thing and she thought it was really cool and said it's really nice of me to do it. She wanted to know if they need people to foster cats, too.
So what I want to know is, why hasn't he been adopted yet? Every single person I saw just HAD to comment on him or ask about him. If he's such an attractive, well-behaved young man, why doesn't anybody want him? Is it really just cos he's so big? Warren said maybe he barks a lot in his kennel and that turns people off. I'll have to ask.
Well, I have to go order a citronella collar. I found a "cheap" one. It probably won't be here in time for Buddy to use it, but it will be a good thing to have if I keep doing this fostering thing.
"I like reading your dog stories. :) and I wonder too why somebody hasn't adopted buddy already - a lot of ppl have/like big dogs. I mean, he's not as big as a st. bernard or anything. and he's so cute. wouldn't it be neat if somebody in your area takes him and then you and brin and echo can visit him sometimes?"
I wasn't there at the time, but Warren was talking to the people next door about him. They already have two fairly large dogs. Warren said he told the guy about the fostering thing and the guy made a big thing about not saying that loud enough for his wife to hear because she'd take every animal that needed a home. Hmm, sounds like our house.
The day after we got Buddy my leg muscles were very sore and the only thing I can figure is that I was very tense. I was really kinda freaked out, like, "What on earth was I thinking?" I feel a lot better knowing he's going back on Friday!
April 16, 2000
Buddy got a lot of attention on our evening walk. He was a great ambassador for the Doberman breed, shelter dogs in general, and especially the foster program. He was very polite and friendly with everyone, even a little boy who was shorter than he is. People were initially intimidated by his size, but were pleasantly surprised by his great temperament. I told everyone that he is available for adoption and at least one person promised to spread the word since he is such a sweet dog. Several others ALMOST seemed interested in adopting him, but were put off by his size.We had a thunderstorm tonight. Apparently, Buddy is scared of thunder. He kept trying to get in bed with us every time he heard thunder. Eventually I had to crate him because he wouldn’t stay on the floor. Luckily, the storm ended shortly after I crated him, and he was quiet the rest of the night. Maybe now he thinks crates are good for escaping thunder.
April 17, 2000
But that would be false advertising! He's a big, whiny, clumsy puppy. He doesn't bark at anyone but me, cos he wants attention.
I was sort of half awake last night during the storm, and I noticed a large dog head and two large dog paws appear on the bed. I sat up and asked him what he wanted. He tried to crawl up in bed. I petted him a little and he lay back down. After that, every time it thundered, he tried to get up in bed! I couldn't believe it. He never cried, or tried to run and hide (well, he was tied to the bed so he couldn't have, anyway). He just wanted to come up and cuddle. Of course he's much too large for that, and I don't want him to learn bad habits (so far he's pretty good about staying off the bed). After I pushed him off for about the tenth time, I decided to crate him. I figured maybe he'd feel safer in there. He cried for three minutes (seemed longer!) and then he went to sleep and was fine until morning. Big silly dog.
April 17, 2000
This morning’s walk was difficult. I had all three dogs. I mistakenly thought Brin would not pull on his regular collar (he did). It was raining so I had two leashes in my left hand, and another leash and umbrella in my right. Then Echo pooped and I had to pick it up. I need more hands.
Buddy is getting used to wearing the Gentle Leader, as long as the leash isn’t attached to it. He acts like a pony that doesn’t know how to lead. I think he's one of those dogs that would do better on a prong collar, but I know that a lot of people think they are cruel, so I doubt if his adopters will use one. Maybe they will use a GL though, so I want to get him used to it.
Buddy has really bonded to me and I'm not so sure it's a good thing. He whines and cries if he's not with me. He has also started whining for no reason (that I can see), even if he is with me. He is very pushy sometimes when he wants attention. He’ll put his head on me and lean really hard. I should probably not pet him when he does this. I guess he has mild separation anxiety (who could blame him?), and I suspect he’ll outgrow it once he settles into a more stable home. Echo was the same way when we got her.
He had to sleep in his crate again tonight, because once again he kept trying to get on the bed. He never tried that for the first four days. I think his real personality is starting to show now. Instead of being sort of morose and quiet (like Echo was at first), he’s now acting more like a typical exuberant adolescent. He’s eating well now, too, and it turns out he is very food motivated.
April 18, 2000
We did some training tonight and Buddy did great. I’m beginning to wonder how much training he had in the shelter because he catches on to things so quickly, it seems like he’s done it all before. We did sit, down, shake, go to your mat, come and sit in front. Then I showed him how to target my hand and we did some “heeling” complete with (not quite automatic) sits. And he quickly learned to retrieve a dumbbell. And I can lure him to lie on his side.
He is also doing better with the cat. Keek is more likely to stand his ground now instead of running off, and Buddy respects him. If Buddy gets too nosy, Keek smacks him on the muzzle. They can sniff each other and basically stay calm. But I’m always there to supervise because Buddy wants to play with the cat and I don’t think that would be safe.
Buddy went along to Dairy Queen and yelped when we left him in the car.
April 18, 2000
The good news is, if he's crated at night, Keek will actually come around. He slept with me a little last night. He's not pleased about the Buddy thing. They have sniffed noses a couple times and Buddy wagged his tail. But he just won't leave Keek alone and Keek gets annoyed and smacks him (too bad he's declawed!) and then runs away and jumps on top of the kitchen cabinets.
When I ordered the citronella collar last night, they told me it should be here in one or two days! According to the catalog it should take 5-8 days, which is why I put off ordering it and tried to buy one at the store. If I had just ordered it right away, this barking problem might be solved by now. (I sure hope the citronella thing works!)
I'll take off Friday and we'll come early. I think we'll take Buddy back on Friday morning. They don't open until nine though, so that means we will be getting a late start. But we'd be back Friday afternoon instead of Friday night. How does that sound? I don't want to take him back a whole day early, so we'll keep him Thurs night and I 'll take him for a good walk on Friday morning.
April 19, 2000
April 20, 2000
As expected, P did not get back to me about adopting Buddy. I think I’m glad. She’s a bit clueless. Some kids in the neighborhood were pretty clueless, too. I told them he’s up for adoption and one of them thought I would give him the dog right then and there, for free.
The citronella collar arrived and I tried it on Buddy. (No, I did not wait four days like the instructions recommended.) He was a very quiet dog all evening!
April 21, 2000
April 24, 2000
"wow!! buddy was adopted. with only one day to get adopted. see, there you were. worried about what you were going to do about him when you got back. and he got adopted. well, you said he was nice. and he was cute. good for buddy."
"that's great!!! wow, that worked out perfectly. so, who's next? go get another one."