Roxie arrived here at the farm January 28, 2006. She is our newest foster dog. I'll try and keep a mini-journal here of her progress.
Roxie has just arrived. She is very unsure of us and herself. She is very hesitant to come to me for treats and does not want to play or socialize with the other dogs yet. I am cooking up some yummier treats to use in the next few days, she is reported to be very frightened of women. Her old mistress used a shock collar on her so I can't blame this poor dog one single bit for not wanting to trust me. The things that people do to get a "quick fix" for simple behaviors is beyond me:( She is also obese which makes her appear much older than her not quite 18 months of age.
She is behind in her vaccinations - should have had Rabies on 11/8/2005 so she will again have to have a one-year dose. She's also overdue for her other vaccines and it is not clear that heartworm meds were ever purchased so we will have her tested for that as well as Lyme and Ehrlichia. Some of the paperwork mentions a microchip but it is with a registry unfamiliar to me so I will have her scanned and more than likely rechipped if it is not a scannable/re-registerable chip. These chips do no good if owners do not follow through and register them.
She has her original petstore paperwork. She has "registration" papers for "ACA" which is nothing more than a "registry" created to impress naive pet store puppy purchasers and make them believe that their dog is "pedigreed." It shows her whelp date, her breeder's name but no address or location (although that does show up on the pet store information sheet,) the names of her sire and dam, grandsires and granddams and the rest of the "pedigree" is "unavailable." The original owners paid $799.00 plus tax for her. She went from the "breeder" to a "broker" called Pine Springs from Antlers, OK. She was then shipped to Debby's Petland and received by them on October 13th. She was purchased on October 16th so thankfully she didn't have to sit in the petshop wire-bottomed cage for too many days on end before going to a home.
Early a.m. update: All systems go! Roxie has finally peed and pooped - it is not uncommon for the lasses to hold everything for 24 hours or more! We also had our first hint of "play" behavior. She play-bowed her chunky little butt to Petie this a.m. and then slapped him with a paw and they then proceeded into a short game of chase! I'll have to bring a tunnel down to the playfield as Petie will often teach the foster dogs how to run through as he likes to have a "duck in" place during the chase games. She met Pooka-kitty this a.m. and barely gave him a second glance. She is a major counter/table surfer - not even a "sneaky surfer" - she does it in plain view. She ate all of her dinner last night and breakfast this a.m. This is a change for her as she was "free-fed" in her last home.
Day 3: Read My Lips
Well, she's definitely a female BC:) She's fitting in very well and thankfully, my gang is very used to reading the subtle signals. We saw a glimpse of this the first night. Keegan, our "deep sniffer in the Silence of the Lambs Anthony Hopkins/Hannibal Lechter sort of way" was inhaling and we saw her lips curling up and over (no noise) and it quickly ended once he got his fill. Last night she was in the kitchen with me, getting pets, and gave Beacon "the lip" which he didn't notice so I just stood up and interrupted the sequence. This a.m. as I was petting her, she gave little Petie the lip action (silently) which he quickly saw and backed right up (smart boy.) She has shown NO signs of guarding anything so I am suspecting it is more the "you're a little too much in my space" kind of thing and it has not erupted into anything yet.
Introduction to Clicker
She's a very bright young lady. Already knows "sit" and I am guessing "paw" as well as she kept offering that, and willingly works for treats. We brought out the clicker last night as it is great for marking the exact behavior we want. She was fine with the noise, no problem, but when she looked at me and saw that my hand had something in it and my thumb was moving - she bolted! No doubt a flashback to the remote shock collar that her old home used on her to "correct" behaviors:( We'll do some desensitization and counter conditioning (clicker = good things, thumb movement = good things, tv remote = good things) and try hard not to go over her comfort level. Cell phones are everywhere, can't have her bolting if she sees someone making a call! Tips are welcome if my thinking is not correct on this one.
Great dog with lots of potential! Has become very bonded to me, is coming when called while outside in fenced area (still using the drag line as my gate doesn't secure very well and I don't want to take any chances,) is hesitant and shy towards Craig but he hasn't had the time to spend with her that I have had this past weekend. She goes into her crate on her own when asked. Her crate is in the living room and she will make some noise until lights are out and everyone is settled but then settles in quietly and sleeps well. She's eating all of her meals. Other than the counter surfing, I have not witnessed any "destructive behaviors" but there are chew toys and bones and such throughout my house which she does take advantage of:)
Playstyle: Roxie is enjoying the other dogs but will engage in play briefly one-on-one with her person. She enjoys the bigger, softer balls, like the jolly ball. She won't actively pursue it, but if you roll it to her, she'll roll it back quite nicely with her snout. She'll also tug with one of our softer big balls, releasing as soon as you stop the game. It's kind of cute the way she sticks her chunky butt up as she tugs!
She seems to know the routine! Long leash goes on, and she knows to head for the play field. She doesn't walk too badly on a leash, is content to stick pretty close which is nice seeing as how my yard is partially covered in ice at the moment. Clicker session tonight went very well! She didn't bolt from the room, did several nice sits and "paw" and she lured into a down pretty easily. I had my camera handy to catch her giving some lip, but she didn't do that tonight, even when others busted in on our session. She settles very nicely in the house, hung out quietly in my office today under my desk as I worked at home. She was crated for 3 hours during the day today while I went to the dentist and seemed to be just fine. Tomorrow I have to go in to the office so Craig will get to spend some one-on-one with her.
We visit the training building for the first time...
*WWWM = Woman Who Wears Meat
We go out for one last romp before I head to the office. It is Roxie, Tristan, Fenn, and myself in the play yard. Roxie is intrigued by Fenn. Fenn is our 8-year-old female BC who fancies herself "Miss Thang." Fenn is, quite frankly, a bitch. She will frequently, for no known reason, go after one of the other dogs in the house and just lay into them. After they have cried pitifully, she will retreat but damn her, she always goes for the meekest of our pack. Beacon is her main target, poor old guy. Anyways, today, Roxie thought Fenn was just amazing and that she should run after her as she chased her tennis balls. Fenn is actually very good while playing ball - the ball is her god - as long as it is in play, nothing else fazes her, she worships her tennis balls - we get them through E-bay by the hundred pack:) I held my breath as Chunky Butt bounced alongside the Bitch - waiting for Fenn to say "Enough! Damn You!" - but she didn't. Hmmmmm - it will be interesting to see what happens this evening when we go out to play again after dinner.
Chunky Butt visits Dr. Emily
Roxie went to the vet today. HW/Lyme is negative, heart sounds like a strong young dog but yikes! She weighed in at 56.4 pounds. Dr. Emily gave up on trying to palpate spleen, liver, or whatever it is you feel for during exam - just couldn't feel it through the fur - yeah, right:) We'll get there, like with us humans, it doesn't happen overnight! She was so well behaved, let them draw blood and give her shots without any problems and no muzzle and she rode very quietly in the crate in the car and did not get sick which was reported to happen in her old home.
Busy day here at the farm as Miss Hannah arrived and we've been getting her acclimated as well. We've not let the two girls meet other than at the baby gate which went fine. Hannah isn't very experienced so we'll do that slowly as we're also still getting to know Roxie.
Also, it's February 1st - Interceptor pills for everyone in tonight's dinner!
Yukky, rainy, muddy day and I have to go in to the office all day. Outside mudfest is shortened a bit and Roxie, Petie, and I go on down to the training building. Roxie is getting very good at her sits, downs, and stays. We move to the agility pause table and she is able to hold her sit-stay for a count of 5 like a pro. Evening playtime is interesting - she now perseverates on Hannah - uh oh! What will this end up being - will the super intense Hannah put up with it?
Day 7 - that's all? It feels like she's been here all her life:)
My precious time to spend with the dogs before going to work is being whittled away. I had 3 urgent messages yesterday from the Mohawk Hudson River Humane Society. A 10 year old BC had been turned in and needed to get OUT ASAP as she was deteriorating rapidly in the kennel environment - but we'll give her her own page:) Back to Roxie...
And the Roxie/Hannah interactions turned up a notch or two last night. Roxie's following/chasing/herding finally escalated into Roxie diving in for a nip to Hannah's flank. Hannah took it like a trooper (both dogs are still wearing drag lines BTW so I can intervene when necessary) the two times I saw it happen and the third time, she retaliated with a couple of quick snaps herself. Well, Miss Roxie looked quite baffled! "Wha, wha'd ya' do that for?" Hannah held her ground, giving Roxie some pretty strong eye. I was bending over, reaching to grab a trailing leash in each hand to separate if it erupted into battle...but the girls broke the "stare down" on their own and each went their merry way - I love it when dogs can settle things like this on their own but I was definitely prepared to intervene.
Day 8 - February 4 - Hooray for Saturday!
Roxie and Hannah were absolutely fine this morning. Roxie did not go in for any nips as Hannah chased balls and frisbees and they even play bowed and engaged in a mutual chase game on their own through the big field this morning! She and Petie are wrestling under my feet at the desk at the moment - they are exactly the same age but there is quite a size difference - and I'm not even picking on Roxie's weight when I say it this time:)
Days 8 through 12
Busy, busy, busy! Miss Roxie has learned the A-frame and will also do tunnels and jumps. She does her "sits" and "downs" on the table like a pro. She and Hannah have become very good friends. It's been very cold and the dogs want to be out longer than I care to be. We fixed the gate on the dogs' play yard so I can head back in and watch from the dining room. The two girls play extremely well together, Roxie does her ole' "slap and chase me" routine and Hannah happily obliges. Roxie is under my desk at the moment, happily snoozing away. It is so nice when these border collies come with an "off" switch:) I wrote up her bio today. Her two weeks of assessment with me are up on Saturday and she can start meeting prospective families. She will stay with me until she is placed unless there is a rescue emergency that requires moving her to another foster home. As far as foster dogs go, she shouldn't be too difficult to place, she's a wonderful dog!
This is probably my last post for a bit to Roxie's journal - not a whole lot of spare time at the moment - but my guess is we'll definitely have at least one more entry on this girl before too long!
Catching some zzzzzzz's. Definitely a "dog friendly" home:)
Roxie Update February 20, 2006
She continues to do great! A very fun girl:)
Mini video of Roxie playing Jolly Ball below - wave mouse over to replay!
Sugar Bush Farm