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iWildWolves Photography

Capturing the essence of animals through my lens

Posts tagged ‘mixed breed’

Avoid expensive vet bills, how to remove Foxtails at home.

Last night I spent a good 20 minutes going through Beowolf’s feet and fur plucking out FOXTAILS! The previous years have never been this bad with foxtails and Beowolf has always been lucky about not collecting foxtails but I find myself picking them up around the house as he drops them.

 

Given my experience at the clinic, I know just how nasty a foxtail can get. Abscesses and infections lead to expensive vet visits and weeks of antibiotics. Well, the good thing about foxtails is they are predictable and work in the same way, their anatomy is designed to “dig” with reverse burs that hold it in place which is why they don’t fall out on their own sometimes.

They can burrow into the skin and work their tract anywhere in the body, leaving room for infections to fester and grow. Sometimes they can work their way out, but it’s not often we see that. Usually once a foxtail burrows and hides it takes a trained hand to remove it, so address it early on before it becomes a problem.

 

Luckily they are easy to remove!

**If a foxtail has gotten in your dog’s Eye(s), Nose and/or Ear(s) do NOT try to remove them yourself unless you are a trained professional. Please to prevent further injuries, take your pet to the vet**

 

Signs your pet may have a Foxtail in it’s:

Eye(s):

  • Squinting
  • Rubbing
  • Inflammation/ redness
  • Pain
  • You saw it go in

Ear(s):

  • Tilting head to the side
  • Shaking head a lot
  • Possible pain while touching the ear
  • Vocalization (whining, crying, yelping, biting)
  • Scratching ears a lot
  • Inflammation/ redness in ear(s)

Nose:

  • Sneezing a lot
  • Reverse sneezing
  • Bleeding from nose
  • Pawing/ scratching/ rubbing nose
  • Inflammation

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Removal of Foxtails from these areas requires a certain tool, a method of restraint safe for everyone or sedation, and training in the removal of foxtails by a professional. I have seen people injure their pet trying to do this at home and needed further medical assistance than they would have. Please don’t be that person. Maybe someday I will do a tutorial on how to perform those tasks at home, if I get 100 likes on this post I will do a video.

 

Here is what you can do at home now!

Here is what you will need:

  • Tweezers/ hemostats/ forceps
  • Grooming clippers (long hair dogs/ foxtail infestations)
  • Mild soap and water (Dawn is always a safe bet, not too concentrated)
  • Neosporin (with Lidocaine or Pain reliever)
  • Treats

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Hopefully, your dog will be tired during a foxtail check since he likely just came from running around outside.

 

First what you want to do is a thorough once over, do this in the light to make sure you catch every one of them, as just one can cause damage. Light dogs should be extra thorough, foxtails range in hues of gold and can blend in with fur quite easily! Now you can use your fingers for these but for stubborn ones you can use tweezers or hemostats. Be careful to avoid plucking any hair, if this is painful or uncomfortable for your dog this can keep them from trusting you with their paws in the first place. If you think you will need to take a chunk of hair with a foxtail, just shave between the paw pads. It’s much less uncomfortable than plucking healthy fur from between their toes!

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Hot places for foxtails to live:

  • Between the toes, including underneath the paw pad
  • In the groin area or belly (longhair or double coated dogs)
  • Tail fur
  • Neck/ collar area

Once you’re sure you checked everywhere then it’s time to clean up. If there were spots where foxtails pierced the skin then gently clean the area with soap and water and apply a little bit of Neosporin. This should prevent any mild infection and if necessary, you can put a cone on your dog to prevent licking which can cause problems in itself.

 

Ways to keep foxtails from clinging:

  • Shave paws, even if it’s just the paw pads underneath (longhaired dogs have long fur here)
  • Take your pet to the groomer for a Summer cut
  • Brush your dog (I would never shave Beowolf, so I brush him and keep up with baths to prevent the fur from turning into Velcro)
  • Do a good once over after your dog comes in from outside

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I hope this was helpful and will update it as more tips and tricks come!

I found this small inexpensive instrument kit that has everything you would need for at home minor treatments.

Click here for the Ultimate Kit!

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Epic tech fail! I lost all my photos… *Update: I got more!*

I AM DEVASTATED!

We started the day with so much potential. I got up early and got ready to take the dogs out to see the poppies… again. This time we got a hot tip on a public field with LUSH poppies! So we hit the road up to the 14 North until Avenue J exit. Go west on Avenue J until you pass the solar panel facility and to the right just before it DEAD END. You will see the large meadow of bright orange flowers!

The best part? It was totally empty! There was an elderly couple who were nice and only stayed around to say hello to the dogs, oh yeah, Valentine made a new friend!

 

I was able to let the dogs out off leash and they could run through the flowers and enjoy themselves. To my surprise, there were already trails made throughout the field, so they were pretty good and kept from being destructive.

 

Now I had pictures to show and was going to make a cool video and post it but when I uploaded all of my footage to my Enuoda flash drive, the DATA DISAPPEARED! EVERYTHING GONE! My laptop nor my phone can find the file! I have no idea how to fix it, yes I knew that sometimes flash drives don’t last or can break, but all of the ones I had lasted forever! I was using this one strictly for “On the Go” photos, transferring my phone images to my laptop where I can edit them. I was in freak out mode for a while but I’m holding out hope.

 

If anyone knows how to fix this please comment below! I’ll keep the flash drive and try it here and there by chance it will work, at that time I will upload images to this post!

**Update**

So I wasn’t going to go down quite that easy, I was in such a bad mood that I lost all my photos that I knew the only thing that would make me happy are to go get more! So that’s what we did, I originally wanted to go back to catch the scene during the Golden Hour, so no time like the present. I loaded up a little after 6 and to my surprise, there wasn’t much traffic! We made it back to the field which was completely empty! Not a single car drove by the entire time we were there, we even stuck around to catch the sunset behind the mountains. The dusk was so pretty that I even got a ton of photos afterward, and yes this time I remembered Slytherin so I got great shots with him!

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Just goes to show, anything can happen, but it’s all about what you do afterward that makes the difference. I learned a lesson with my flash drives and now I back up all sessions until the transfer is successful. I didn’t throw my flash drive away and will recover those images someday, but I got some killer shots the 2nd time around and I couldn’t be happier!

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Basic things to know about the USMRA aka Mondioring for sport dogs

Keeping up with the theme of this past weekend’s San Diego trip I get a lot of people on my social media asking me what USMRA is, no it’s not a branch of the Marine Corp, though I know the acronym is similar and confusing. USMRA stands for the United States Mondio Ring Association, the sport along with many others originated in European countries and is very popular still out there. The USMRA is a member of the American Working Dog Federation (AWDF).

Other ring sports include:

  • Schutzhund
  • French Ring
  • PSA
  • IPO

USMRA Mission

  1. The mission of the USMRA and AWDF is to promote, conduct and administer Mondioring trials held to the FCI standards.
  2. To promote proper and humane training and handling of all dogs that participate in the sport.
  3. To promote sportsmanlike conduct at all Mondioring activities.
  4. To promote education about Mondioring by establishing nationwide trials open to the public as well as participants.

So what is Mondioring exactly?

I have been involved in the sport going on 4 years now, I live on the ranch that holds trials each year and twice a week we have club training, but unfortunately, I do not have a dog of my own to work. With 2 of my own dogs that deserve my attention, I can’t afford a 3rd high octane working dog. It’s not fair to me, my dogs, or a working dog I would get. Everyone knows I’m chomping at the bit to get a dog of my own, and they all ask me when that will happen. Though I don’t participate as a handler I do participate in many other ways and watch from the outside looking in, so that’s why I feel like I’m qualified to explain this to people who aren’t circling the sport or been around it their whole lives. SO let’s dive in!

Here is my elevator pitch on the sport. Mondio is a competitive sport that demonstrates obedience and personal protection at different levels through a series of exercises. Different from the other ring sports, Mondio practices with many distractions like what may occur in the real world outside of the arena. Strangers approaching loudly, shaking hands, toys, and food on the field to deter a dog. It’s all about control and training.

Therefore I love the sport, as someone who suffers from anxiety these days (who wouldn’t with all the mass shootings and human trafficking) I find I look over my shoulder everywhere I go and always have Beowolf by my side. Beowolf is not trained in personal protection at all, but he has an incredible judge of character and will literally push me off the sidewalk is someone sketchy is passing. However, the training for Mondioring is designed around that. In obedience classes, I find I started using the same commands and training techniques I see in the arena and it really helps with keeping him close. everyday life

Really this is a hobby for many people in the sport worldwide, for some, it’s their full-time job and they’ve made a career out of it but for many, they come home from working 9-5 and pull out Fido for training.

Who can participate?

Well right now there are still new regulations being formatted to evolve with the sport, however, USMRA participates in International events such as “Worlds” which is a worldwide trial for the top 6 in each country for each level. As it stands here are the criteria for dogs participating:

  • All new registrants must be purebred and registered through an organization. *This rule is in dispute amongst everyone so it may change*. This includes all breeds! The most popular are Belgian Malinois, German shepherds, and Dutch shepherds “Dutchies”. But can include large and small breeds from American Staffordshire terriers and Pugs to Cane Corso, Rottweilers and St. Bernard’s. If it’s purebred and has teeth, it can work! Currently, mixed breeds can participate but cannot place. boxer puppy
  • All dogs are to be intact (Not spayed or neutered). *This rule is also in dispute* Females can get away with this as you can’t obviously see the uterus from the outside and nobody does a physical to check, but males are harder to fool the judges. If you want to participate but your dog is neutered, there are things called Neuticles which are testicle implants, this is cosmetic surgery so be aware and do your research.
  • Behavior- Dogs don’t need to be outgoing and super friendly though that makes life easier for everyone, for those of you who have aggressive or sketchy dogs, this also may be the sport you can participate in. The sport teaches you how to control a dog who is “on a bite” and teaches your dog an “off switch” it will also teach your dog an “on switch” too so they are less likely to take matters into their own paws. Since the dogs don’t intermingle and many handlers are familiar with an intense personality, nobody is judging you! I know of several dogs are only like their handler and nobody else, when on the field the dogs learned this is time to work and after that, they are put away. Contact your local club coach for a consultation if you are interested in pursuing the sport with your dog.
  • Healthy- Vaccinated and in good physical health. The sport is a sport for dogs, not slavery, so the health and well being of dogs are the first and foremost top priority. Limping dogs, dogs with cuts or torn nails, health issues are not permitted and will be asked to leave the field. Many handlers will pull their dogs the morning of competition if they are subpar on their health, for many handlers in the US these are pets first and a working dog 2nd. So health is always a priority.

*As regulations change I will be updating this post. The coach for the Santa Clarita Mondio Club is close to those on the board committee so all changes, I will be among the first to know. *

Levels

There are 4 levels of Mondioring that are all based on the level of training for the dog. It’s not based on age like shows or other sports but where the dog is in training, the higher the level the harder it gets, and more exercises are involved. Again this sport is designed to build a bond and boost confidence in a dog, not deter it, so putting a dog in a level it’s not ready for is STUPID.

Brevet (Br-e-vay)

This is the beginner level, for young dogs or dogs just starting in the sport.

Obedience Exercises:

  1. Healing without a leash heeling
  2. Absence of handler– Dog is in the “Down” position while the handler leaves for 60 seconds. The dog must stay put until handler returns and releases the dog from the down position. There may be a ball or toy thrown to distract the dog, but this is at a distance so it’s not too hard.long down
  3. Retrieve– Basically a single game of fetch with a “personal item” likely something you’ve been training with. Dog retrieves the item, then comes back to sit in front of the handler. The dog has 15 seconds to complete the task. (Below is Oj Knighten and Dude. Oj is a handler and professional dog trainer in Los Angeles County, see his Instagram)retrieve 2

Jumping Exercise:

  1. Hurdle– The height is based on the standard for the level, which is 0.8 meters. hurdlehurdle 2

Biting Exercise-

  1. Face attack with Baton– The “Decoy” stands at a distance and wave the baton lightly, these sticks make a clattering noise and their bark is worse than the bite. The handler sends the dog to bite the decoy and after 10 seconds the handler gives the command to stop. At which point the dog must stop and either guard or lay down, then the handler can call the dog back or walk over and Heel him away. 
  2. Defense of the Handler– This one is fun, it’s very interactive with the handler and the decoy. The Decoy’s job is to be very annoying and will try and get your dog to bite, however, the dog is not allowed to bite until the decoy hits the handler with both hands. He must use both hands and it must be clear and audible for the dog to understand, at which point when he bites after 5 seconds the handler will call off the dog at which point the exercise ends the same way it did with the face attack.

Click here for Full Brevet rules

Level 1, 2, and 3 consists of all exercises in Brevet, with additional exercises.

Must pass each Level twice to be certified and advance to the next level *Same goes for levels 2 and 3*

Obedience:

  1. Send Away or Send Out- This is like the fake game of fetch. The dog is sent to retrieve an item and once he passes through a certain threshold the handler is to call him back. He is to return to a heel position.
  2. Positions– Handler is to command the dog to change positions from a distance. Sit, Down, Stand. In any combination. The judge or field assistant will tell you the combination during the exercise. positions
  3. Food Refusal– As the name says, handler leaves the dog in a Down position while someone tosses food in front of him. The dog should ignore the food, licking or eating results in failure of that exercise.
  4. Little Wood– Only level 2 & 3. The handler is given a small piece of wood to rub his scent on it, then across the field will place it in the middle of 3 other identical pieces of wood. The dog is to sniff out the scent and retrieve the correct wood.

Jumping Exercises: You can select the height your dog jumps, but you get more points the higher the jump.

  1. Palisade– Level 1- 1.8-meter height; Level 2- 1.8, 1.9, 2.0, 2.1; Level 3- 2.2, 2.3m palisade image
  2. Long Jump received_620808161438781 20161029_144239(0)
  3. Hurdle– Level 1- 1.0; Level 2- 1.1; Level 3- 1.2 (Below is Francois Massart a french handler/ decoy/ professional dog trainer in Temecula, CA. See his Instagram)Screenshot_20190419-162844_Instagram.jpg

Biting Exercises:

  1. Face attack with Baton and obstacle– Only Level 2 & 3 are with an obstacle (something for the dog to jump over like a tunnel or row of water barrels) obstacle 2 e collar present
  2. Face Attack with Accessories– Only Level 2 & 3. An accessory is a bundle of objects the dog should run through to get a bite. (Below is Allison a handler and Decoy check out her Instagram)Screenshot_20190419-163308_Instagram
  3. Flee Attack– The decoy is running away, and the handler sends the dog after the bite. flee
  4. Stopped Flee Attack or Call Off– Only Level 3. Same as Flee attack except handler is to call dog back before it contacts the decoy, the dog should return to a heel position. call off
  5. Search and Escort– Only Level 2 & 3. Basically, a game of hide-and-seek with the decoy, the dog should sniff him out and bark until the handler comes and gives dog next command. Then the dog should stay with decoy’s every move and prevent him from escaping via a bite, a lot of dogs are trained to walk between the legs of a decoy making it harder for an escape. DSCF8267
  6. Object Guard– Only Level 3. The object can be anything and the dog is to stand and guard it against the decoy who is trying to steal it while the handler is out of site. The dog should initiate a bite within a certain distance from the object, then let go to return to guarding the object. object 3

So how do we know who wins?

The best part is it’s a paired team sport, nobody competes against one another, everyone upholds the most sportsmanlike conduct. We all cheer and clap for each other and help everyone out, tips, videotaping and taking pictures among other things. Each exercise is scored on a point system, everything is worth a certain amount of points and the judges remove points as needed. In any event either everyone can pass, or nobody can, it all boils down to each individual team. It’s just you and your dog on the field, all your training and hard work come down to what happens on the field. team

What’s the reward?

Eternal GLORY! Just kidding but seriously everyone competes for a title for their dog and bragging rights. There is no prize money, though, every trial has raffles and you can win some dope stuff! Like I said earlier in the post, this is a hobby for pet owners as well as professional trainers, but everyone has the same amount of fun! Not to mention opportunities to travel for trials and meet new friends. friends

Do the dogs like it?

Do they ever! This is a sport designed for dogs, many thrive in this sport especially mouthy energetic dogs like the herding and working breeds. Most were bred to do exactly this and many owners admit that on their days off the dogs still want to work. You can hear excited cries as the dogs are on the field, they can’t control themselves and are eager to get out and work. They were born to work and do something, sure maybe the obedience part isn’t as fun but their reward in a “tug” or ball is well worth it, not to mention many decoys refer to themselves as a human tug. puppy dutch

What if I don’t want to compete?

There are many pet owners who don’t compete with their dogs but come to training just the same. We are a community of dog lovers who all mostly have the same breeds and can relate. We talk, we laugh, we eat and work dogs! There is no rule that says you have to compete if you train, in fact, if Valentine was able or Beowolf was younger I would participate in training but wouldn’t do the competitions. Like I said it’s a hobby and a fun one at that, creates a bond with you and your dog, teaches you about handling a powerful dog and builds both of your self-confidence! Contact a local club for any questions. *If you don’t plan on competing then a mixed dog can participate*

What if I don’t have a dog?

That’s not a problem as neither do I. You can volunteer at trials, help with your local clubs offering services and such (snacks and in my case I am the Vet tech on duty). If you’re interested in being a decoy the best part is this is an equal opportunity sport, both men and WOMEN can be decoys! Even I have taken a bite from one of our dogs in the club and let me tell you, it’s a major rush! I would do it more, but we have plenty of decoys to help and the coach doesn’t want me to get hurt since I need to be on my feet all day and I’m out of shape to handle the stamina and weight of the suit. received_809283349448893

Where can I check out an event?

Trials are held throughout the year by various clubs, this is nationwide as well as worldwide! National events are held in the spring and the International World’s championship are usually the first week of October. Trials are really fun as each one has a theme so the club decorates and makes it as interesting and unique as possible! Click on this link to see when and where there is a trial nearest to you! jurassic mondio

Check out this video of Jessica and Khaleesi from the USMRA Nationals April 13th. She is a level 3 competitor from our Santa Clarita club. Jessica is a teacher and Khaleesi is a family dog!

So I won you over and you want to know how to get started?

Check out this link to the official USMRA site to find a club near you.

Santa Clarita Mondio Club Southern California.

Hope you like this post, come check out a trial if you’re ever in the area!

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My bloody lovely Valentine

Hey there thanks for tuning in to my page! Since I’m still a baby blogger I would love to hear from those of you who read my posts, feedback is crucial to building a relationship and I want to get to know all of you! I promise I respond to everyone, ask me questions or if you want to hear about anything specific. Also sorry about the long posts, I like to write, what can I say? Leave a comment at the end of this post and tell me what you think! Thank you, happy reading!

Meet Valentine!

For those of you wondering, I wanna tell you the story about a little white dog named Valentine. Everyone knows Beowolf but who is that cute ball of energy in the background? The one flying through the air like a white ghost! Well, that little girl there has a story of her own at 3 years old, so gather round for I have a tail to tell, it starts as a horror story but ends with a happily ever after!

valentine puppy

It was any normal day at the clinic in January 2016, our schedule was light and the staff was going about the motions of the day. Our receptionist came to the back and told us there was a new client who was on his way with a dog fight victim. We prepared for the incoming emergency and waited. A woman walks in with a short man behind her carrying a box, the woman was a client of ours and the man was her neighbor, another technician took them into a room and got the history at which point one of my appointments arrived and then back to work for me.

When I came out of the room with my finished appointment and led them to the front desk I saw the two people with the emergency dog fight. I overheard them discussing payment for the day and that the neighbor would cover it, the man seemed uncomfortable, and so I hurried to the back to find out what was going on.

When I entered treatment the girls were already placing a catheter on a little bulldog puppy, her name was Harley, and she was 10 weeks old. She was covered in blood and her ear was mangled, she sat on the table like a good girl and let them place her catheter and take her blood for blood work. She shivered in fear.

Turns out the man had adopted 2 other dogs that fence fight with the woman’s dogs, when this little one got too close and her 2 housemates turned on her. We didn’t get very many details as the woman was worked up.

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Surgery went without issues, we had to amputate her left ear and put a couple drains around it along with placing a drain in the crook of her left elbow. We then called to tell the owner how everything went and schedule a pickup time when he alerted us that he wanted to surrender her. He claimed she was “no good” and didn’t want her anymore. Prick. He was also returning the 2 other dogs back to the shelter, good he had no business owning dogs. Suddenly everyone is talking about who is going to take the puppy, by order of elimination I was the only choice. So I took Beowolf aside and explained that mommy was going to take in a puppy who was in need of our help, and I was going to need him to be on board. I put her in my car at the end of the day and he looked at me like wtf! He sulked on the ride home, coming up to the front seat to sniff her and give her the once over. By the time we got to the apartment he warmed up to the idea, so he helped me clean her up and get her settled into her foster home.

valentine puppy pic

Most of our staff was a full house and all the single dog homes were single because their dogs were aggressive. Beowolf I knew would welcome a new puppy, and we recently moved to a bigger apartment, so we had more space. I couldn’t stand to look at her, she broke my heart, not to mention she was ALL WHITE and female. Don’t even get me started, I never wanted a white dog, it was mostly the health issues that correspond and I was not much of a fan for myself.

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Also, she was a female, I prefer male animals, I don’t know they just work better for me. My next dog was going to be a solid BLACK male pit bull, but who was I kidding, we don’t pick our dogs they pick us. I knew the second I took her in she would be a foster failure and I wanted Beowolf to be a single dog for a while before we got another dog. It bothered me that he always had to share me with work and other dogs, I wanted it to be me and him for a while. As fate would have it, she came home with me and everyone from work pressured me to keep her. I tried not to get attached and looked for homes for her, but as luck would have it she wouldn’t go to anyone.

valentine and Beowol

She had PTSD from what happened to her, the first night she tried growling at Beowolf (understandably) and she was terrified of men. The next day the woman came in to say good-bye and thank me for taking her in, at which time I asked all the right questions, after all, I was taking in a dog with baggage and this lady was the closest I would ever get to know about her past. Bless this woman for she knew a lot about her.

The man was mean, he kept all the dogs outside. All day, all night, rain or shine with no shelter but a small patio where the 2 bigger dogs pushed the puppy off of (mind you, she is WHITE, skin problems are increased for her). The woman had to force the man to take dog houses she no longer needed which after coaxing he finally allowed her to put them in his back yard. When he did let them in the house the neighbor would hear the dogs yelp and the man yelling at them, then suddenly you would see all 3 dogs run into the backyard.

valentine sleeping

The woman also saw what happened when the dogs attacked her, she was going out to stop her own dogs when the 2 on the other side of the fence jumped on the puppy. One dragged her across the yard by her ear, which explains why mangled. The other dog bit and chomped, at one point he was pulling on her arm, and they were both thrashing and playing tug with her. The woman screamed helplessly on the other side of the fence, for the man to come out as the puppy shrieked and squealed. When the man did emerge from the house the dogs finally let her go, and she ran off to hide, limping and covered in red blood. She told him to take the puppy to the emergency hospital, and he refused to suggest she will be okay and will “walk it off”. No motherf****** she needed surgery!

valentine sunset

To this day I am not sure how she convinced him to bring in the dog, but he stuffed her in a box and came to my clinic. When he signed over ownership to me I gave him the dirtiest looks I could give him, acid built at the back of my throat as I held my tongue from giving him a piece of my mind.

She was “puppy” for about 3 weeks before a name came to me, I need to get to know a dog before naming them and hers hit me suddenly, Valentine. Until that point, I was still hoping someone would take her on as a full-time foster or adopt her. I wouldn’t let work send her to the shelter though the thought crossed my mind, she needed medical attention and her chances of adoption were slim at the location she would go to. I’m glad I didn’t send her there, for the first year of her life she was super defensive and aggressive. I hoped naming her Valentine would let her live to be sweet, more like bloody Valentine! She would lunge after men, women and children, especially dogs!

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Beowolf was the ONLY dog she liked, and I was the ONLY human she liked. I tried adopting her to my cousin who was looking for a puppy, but Valentine wanted nothing to do with her. I was heartbroken to see her so fearful and nervous about everyone, EVERYONE! I certainly wasn’t prepared for this, I was used to an enthusiastic dog who loved everyone he met. Lucky for me I had a trick up my sleeve, in the form of dog trainer, he specialized in rehabilitation and aggression. I employed him, however, she wasn’t going to make it easy on us, she is deathly terrified of him, and he never did anything to her. She wouldn’t take treats, she would stop shivering or trying to run away. the moment she hears his voice she shuts down, so how can he rehabilitate her?

It was up to me and only me to help her, under the guidance of my trainer we have worked her over many obstacles, always at her own pace. One thing I knew for sure was that this was going to take the patience of a monk. Fortunately my job allowed me to bring my dogs to work, so she was kenneled with Beowolf in the back, so we can keep an eye on her and I figured if she learned how to live in a kennel it would be good for her, since I never taught Beowolf and it was harder to break him into it later in life. Well, she learned that and then some, she learned she was trapped and thus became defensive of the kennel. Anyone who she saw, she would bark and lunge and snarl at them.
valentine puppy 2

Oh no, I won’t have ANY of that!

Valentine focus

A couple of months later I moved to the ranch where I now live, it’s a great place, my trailer is plenty of space for us and a private backyard with 2 kennels! I moved in and fixed everything up, first the backyard and kennels where I began housing them while I was away. I spent the next year of her life socializing her through obedience classes that are held here at the ranch where we both learn how to work together, and she gets over her fear and worry of other dogs.

This helped her so much and her issues with dogs resolved faster than I thought they would, most of it was that I housed her in the kennels here too, getting her used to the environment and being surrounded by dogs that can’t hurt her. She actually now does amazing in the kennels, I can board her if and whenever I need and not worry about her. She is still a little defensive of the kennels if she sees a new dog or someone she doesn’t recognize. When she is outside of her kennel or on a leash she doesn’t show aggression or any worry at all, though I don’t let her greet anyone for sake of her training and another dog’s safety, she’s getting there, but she ain’t home yet.

valentine in class

I have also taken her on outings, hiking and isolated areas where we get plenty of opportunities to practice her obedience as well when we meet others on the trails. My trainer taught me that it’s okay to be her advocate, it’s okay not to let everyone come up and pet my dogs and for that, I am so grateful. It does seem too mean but I need to speak up for my dogs, when Beowolf has enough of crowds he shows me in his body language but that’s because he’s learned I read the signs.

Valentine needed to understand I will do this with her, so for a long time I wouldn’t let people pet her, which was hard because she’s so cute, but many people understood she is in training and frankly they don’t wanna get bit either. Besides, Beowolf was welcoming the attention and people are usually satisfied with petting a WOLF. Over time, she was finally able to welcome people’s attention, slowly. In class, we also go over greeting people with dogs and keeping everyone under control, the classes taught her to trust me, and they taught me how to handle a dog with her worry. It took time but she came around!

valentine

Fast forward to now.

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The past 8 months have been the most improvement she’s had! Over the cold months, I was taking her with me to work daily as opposed to once in a while. Everyone there loves her as much as Beowolf, they love to greet her and give her treats and then some! When it comes to Valentine’s socialization she can have anything you want to offer her, within reason.

One of the girls at work gave everyone a Milkbone biscuit every day, Valentine would bark in excitement when she saw her come out with biscuits in her hands. Another girl kept goldfish and crackers and cheeses amongst other snacks at her desk so every morning when we walk in, she got treats while I clocked in. Valentine came to know the girl as “French Fry” and acted like I didn’t exist when French fry was there.

I have also been doing much more with Valentine, taking her to Home Depot or Lowes, Petsmart trips and going places where there are people!

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About Valentine:

  • She is white with faint spots on the skin.
  • She has 2 perfectly symmetrical eye patches.
  • She has one ear, we amputated the left one when she was a puppy after her trauma.
  • Her middle name is Regina George. If you knew her, you would understand.
  • The most affectionate with anyone here at the house, or if someone is sitting with her and petting her she climbs in their lap for more love!
  • Like any bully dog, she is 55 pounds of dead weight when she sleeps!
  • Yes, I did a DNA test and this is what I found. American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bulldog, Bullmastiff, Labrador, Neopolitan Mastiff, Rottweiler! and drumroll please… Pekingese! What! Yep! **Side note: If you’re curious about the mix of your dog I highly recommend doing a DNA test. I prefer Royal Canin or something via the vet because I believe in the best! Regardless, knowing the mix of your dog can be helpful in determining behavior. Here at the ranch we specialize and house all of these breeds and working in a clinic I see many variations so trust me when I say, it all makes sense now! Most of my questions about her were answered when I saw the results.**20190321_171905
  • She is beautiful to watch run at full speed, and she’s fast! She’s athletic and lots of energy, but she can turn it off and Netflix and Chill at the drop of a hat.
  • Still worried, but will approach someone slowly she usually warms up to them. Valentine is still terrified of the trainer but is getting over it more and more every day I bring her around him and will even now take treats from him!

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She is the most obedient dog ever! The guy who gave her up called her “no good”, I can honestly say he wouldn’t know a good dog if it peed on his leg! She is incredibly smart and pretty easy to train, honestly she mostly just doesn’t wanna be in trouble, so she listens to a fault. Not to mention we work on it in classes and when we go on adventures I use what we learn in class to navigate the world it works! Sometimes her recall needs coaxing, but she gets it.

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I wasn’t planning on getting an all WHITE female dog I’m glad it’s her. We still have some work to go but I wouldn’t change the experience for the world, she is a loving member of the family and helping her get over obstacles makes me feel good too. She is a special girl, my little one-eared weirdo. My goal by the end of 2019 is to have her loving Oj because once she lets him in she will fall in love with him like every other dog in the world! He’s eager to win her over as well, he knows as well as anyone how rewarding winning the affection of a worried dog can be. The process has been slow but more and more she is trusting me, over time she gains confidence in herself, with training we both learned how to communicate with each other.

valentine kisses 2Thanks for reading!

I hope this post inspires some of you who are in the market to give a rescue dog a chance, you never know what diamond in the rough awaits!

For those of you who have a rescue or just complicated dogs, don’t give up on them. Find someone knowledgable to help you but always work at your dog’s pace. Show them respect and you will earn their trust.

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