Wednesday, January 30, 2008

So long, little buddy.

For the last couple of weeks I've been reading and re-reading Cesar's Way before I go to sleep at night. I picked up these two books about dog training when we decided to have a foster dog come for a home visit. Most dogs in the shelter system have some kind of behavior problem and I really wanted to be sure I was doing everything I could to make the visit a positive one.
This weekend we picked up another book called Breaking Bad Habits in Dogs, I guess that tells you that these books in the photo above didn't provide me with the answers to all of the questions I had....and that our visitor was proving to be a bit of a challenge.

Kita the foster dog left today. I already miss the goofy little (ok...biggg) love bug.

Kita's last 24 hours here were crazy,challenging, exhausting, maddening, frustrating and finally...just a little bit dangerous.
Kita is big, strong and young. He is an 82 pound jumping, pouncing, dancing, happy dog....add some snow and Kita gets crazyyyy! Happy, crazy, jumping, pouncing wild dog crazy! But loveable crazy. Kita didn't like to be alone so he broke his crate that he was supposed to be sleeping in on Monday night, then he decided the best thing to do was to body-slam the french doors in the living room. Nothing broken. This body slamming was his curtain call after two hours of howling and crying, I was sure there were evil trolls shoving splinters under his nails. When I came downstairs to check on the crashing sounds he greeted me with his usual love and affection. We took him upstars and settled him down on a dog bed in our room....he zonked out...that is to be expected after putting on that kind of a show.

Yesterday we went out back for our afternoon walk , he had so much fun playing in the snow. But then it got wild, wilder than I have ever seen this boy. We had been experimenting with a little off-leash time in very small doses in safe areas of the farm with good results. I had decided that he was too worked up for off leash play and was hooking him back up when he broke away and started running around in circles. Well...the circles got wider and he got wilder. After jumping over and under fences, a short excursion onto a frozen manure lagoon the kid headed for the barn. He started chasing cows, and then he chased some more. The cows here aren't used to dogs so they were pretty worked up. I was trying to dodge stampeding cows while sweet talking Kita to get cose enough to me so I could catch him and get him out of there. It was scary, a freakin' scary rodeo.

When I finally caught him he was covered in cow manure, as was I. My face was splattered with cow crap, so was my ski coat, my cute bula fleece hat, my pretty leather gloves I bought in Italy, my cool apres-ski boots....waaaaaa!!!!
But nobody got hurt, no cows have broken legs, Kita didn't get kicked..although he deserved it. We gave Kita two baths last night and he still stinks ..he stinks baaadddd. My house stinks, we couldn't leave him outside last night because it was cold and snowy and he was a drowned poopy rat. The trek from the back door to the bathroom is a short one but somehow that smell seemed to permeate the whole house. We scrubbed him but good, that smell just won't go away.

Today his case worker came to pick him up. He knows her and looooves her, he showed her how much he loves her by his non-stop jumping and by doing his best to knock her down so he could kiss and lick her face. We had a nice long visit over lattes and he had a chance to settle down, he even took a little nap at her feet. She understands the fact that we can't have a dog here that chases cows, it's dangerous. If the cows had been in a pasture yesterday they would have gone through fences and who knows where they would be by now. The chase scene yesterday was in the barn with good strong gates that are held shut by chains, I was so thankful for those chains.

He is a sweet sweet dog, he followed me from room to room in the house. He will be a wonderful dog for someone. He's smart, in the two weeks he was here we were able to completely house train him with one minor accident. He was responding very well to verbal commands and hand signals, I was even whistle training him with some success....unfortunately if you add snow, a few tweety birds and some cows to distract this guy, things can go downhill faster than I can scream


Big Heap said...

PAWS (Progressive Animal Welfare Society) in Lynnwood has a large selection of dogs that have been graded by volunteers that socialize with them.

You run the risk of getting a city dog but give it a shot. It's worked in the past.

tami said...

Kita will always have fond farm memories and wish that he had been just a little smarter.

Shelly said...

Heap - I think we're going to wait for a little while, thx for the info.
Tam - I knowwww, living here is like winning the dog lottery!