Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Adopt the internet day

Today is "adopt the internet day," a day devoted to getting the word out about all the wonderful adoptable pets just waiting for a new home.  And maybe that home is with you.

I want to make the plea for older and especially adult black dogs.  You see, those are often the ones who linger the longest in shelters.  Big black dogs are passed up time and time again for dogs that are smaller, lighter colored, and for puppies.  The reasons people cite are many.  The three favourites are:

1. They're hard to photograph.



2. Their expressions are hard to read.



3. They look "scarier" than dogs who are lighter.



Dahlia, whose pictures are featured above was one such shelter dog.  She was dumped out on the streets of southern Ohio and brought to a high kill shelter.  Where no one wanted her.  Despite the fact that she was sweet and well-behaved and beautiful.  She was ignored by everyone coming into the shelter and quickly put on the euthanasia list.  Luckily a rescue saw her and agreed to take her in.  I helped transport her out of that shelter and instantly fell in love with her.  She's the best dog, better than I could have even imagined any dog could be!

So please, when you're looking into adopting a dog, consider some wonderful adult black dogs.  They make wonderful pets.

Consider Midnight for a moment.  This pretty girl came from an abusive home, but is a sweetheart looking for a new home.  She could use some love!


Or maybe Prancy is more up your alley.  She's just two years old, calm and sweet, loves other dogs, and is great in the car.  Just look at her!  Wouldn't she make a great hiking companion?


And if those two aren't up your alley, there are literally thousands more on Petfinder.com.  Check them out!  I'm sure you can find a companion who would fit your lifestyle.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The chair stealer

When I'm gone during the day, Dahlia has a tendency to take over my recliner.  During the day, my partner says that it's really her chair.  So it should come as no surprise that when I'm home, she would like it too.  It's her bed after all, isn't it?  Of course I got a really comfortable recliner just for her!

Recently she has taken to stealing the chair as soon as I get out of it.  Today, for example, I got up to go to the bathroom and came back to find that my chair had been taken over by a pretty black dog who rolled over and offered me a paw when I came over to the chair.

And when I was out in the kitchen doing dishes, my partner arrived back from his walk with her and did she come greet me?  No.  She made a bee-line for my chair and waited for me to find her in it.

It's become a sort of "game" as to who can get to the chair first.  She'll get off if I ask her, but sometimes it's fun to trick her into getting off by acting like there's something more exciting elsewhere.  Sometimes I reinforce her getting off by playing a game of tug or giving her a treat after she's on the floor.

And other times?  I let her have her chair.  I let her "win" and happily retreat to the big comfy couch.  I'm sure Dahlia likes that best of all!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday (and bonus video!)


Bonus video!! You may have to look hard to see her at first. She's way at the back, pretty far away. She was out for a walk with my partner when I got home from work so I kept an eye out for them and took out my camera. So this is her running to greet me.

You may want to watch this with the sound down so you don't hear me squeal her name at the end. ;-)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A humorous anecdote goes sour

Back in January I wrote a post called Dahlia the Drama Queen.  This posted was intended to be a humorous story about an incident on a recent walk I had with my dog.  However, recently I've taken some heat from it (not surprisingly, from the Alpha Crowd).

I wrote in that post that Dahlia "kept wanting to cross the road and I kept telling her that it was a bad idea because the road had been pretty clearly heavily salted."

One person recently said the following to me in regard to that post:  

Well, don’t you keep repeating ad nauseam that your dog has a CGC title?
Why you don’t gave to her a command? Stay, Sit etc.

To answer those questions, yes Dahlia has her CGC title.  What is the CGC you might ask?  It's the Canine Good Citizen test.  The CGC involves a variety of tests to show that the dog is well-behaved and well-trained.  Some of the things involve mimicking a visit to the vet or the groomer, meeting other people and dogs while out on a walk, and basic obedience commands.

What this means is that, yes she knows sit and stay (among many other commands).

But here's what this person doesn't understand and I suppose they need to know my dog better to understand what I meant by "kept wanting to cross the road."  I'm guessing they believe that she kept trying to pull me across the road, but this is simply not true.  Dahlia rarely pulls on the leash (the sole exception is when she has a reactive moment, which due to diligent training have become few and far between).

So what does she do?  Well, I've always given Dahlia a lot of freedom to choose the direction we walk in and we've gotten into an understanding as to what her signals mean.  When she wants to go in a different direction than I do, she sits down and looks at me.  When she has my attention, she looks in the direction she wants to go, and then looks back up at me.

I interpret this as her asking to go in the direction she wants to go in.

At this point, one of two things can happen:

(1) I say "Nope, this way!" and point in the direction I want to go.  Dahlia will get up and join me.  
(2) I say "Ok!" and we head in the direction she wants to go.

I'm a firm believer in this sort of freedom of choice.  I think having some freedom is a very important thing for a dog.  It shows that not only does she trust me, but also that I trust her.  Trust does go both ways.

In this particular instance, she would follow me, only to sit down and ask again.  After the third time, I acquiesced and hoped that the salt wouldn't bother her paws too badly.  Obviously I was wrong, hence the remainder of the humorous post.

This person also pointed out that if Dahlia had been hurt, it would have been my fault.  No doubt that is true, but I can assure you that Dahlia was in no danger the entire time this was happening.  Yes, her paws got a little sore, but she was not in danger.  Unfortunately, "sad paws" are a common occurrence here in the winter.  There's little one can do to avoid them.

So to sum up, this does not prove Dahlia is my "alpha," as this person claimed.  Nor am I hers.  We're partners and companions.  I like it that way.