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    Illinois, United States

Fireowl's Achievements


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  1. Greetings everyone! I thought I'd offer a little update on Louie. We've all made tremendous progress since we adopted him at the beginning of June and we're keeping him! He's begun playing with toys! And has learned: sit, stay, shake, lay down, and "go into your crate." He's getting used to the gentle leader on walks (because otherwise he'd pull whenever he was scared or saw a dog or squirrel and 50lbs of dog pulling is not something I enjoy), and he now greets us after we've been gone with full body wiggles! He will also "ask" to be petted by putting his head in our hand. You have no idea what huge steps these are (or maybe you do!)--that he feels confident enough in who he is and in our support and love that he plays and asks for pets!!!! Unfortunately we have to chain him outside when we're out of the house (though we may try leaving him inside again) otherwise he'll escape. We're still working on a good way to keep him in the yard when we aren't home so we can get rid of the chain. I work from home so he's never chained outside for more than 2 hours max. He still has some separation anxiety, but is getting better. And we have a great doggie boarding and daycare place that I can bring him too if I'm going to be out of the house for longer than 2 hours. They've been awesome about working with his timidity and always makes sure they have a female tech to feed him and clean out his enclosure when we're boarding there because he's more fearful of strange men. He comes with me every day to pick my daughter up from school, but prefers it when we stay in the car for the car-line pick up (rather than walk over to pick her up--that brings him too close to a lot of strange people). So unfortunately we can't get bring him with us to her soccer practice or games. But we're working with him and hope that this can happen in the future. He is SUCH a love and SUCH a cuddle bug! And seriously I wouldn't have been able to stick with it had it not been for the animal behaviorist, the rescue where we got him from who continued to support us, and the Humane Society here in Urbana, IL who offered all kinds of great advice (and suggested the toy that first got Louie interested in playing!). I also want to thank each of you that took the time to comment. As I think I wrote, I was so nervous to post anything because I was afraid that I'd be judged for bringing home a dog breed that I didn't know a lot about. Instead you all were so willing to meet me where I was and offer me suggestions (many of which have been so useful!). I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that! So here's to a very happy chapter in the story! : ) E
  2. Yes D'Elle, I'd love to know how you taught your dog fetch. And thank you Cass for sharing how to teach Louie to pick up laundry. D'Elle I don't know if you saw my latest response (last one on page 1). I am looking into either making the fence higher/having a top put on it--or the coyote bars.
  3. Thank you all for these excellent responses and your care and concern! This isn't an easy--or even clear--decision for us. Even if we ultimately decided that Louie would be better served elsewhere, we'd want to keep him until a "better" home (quieter, other dog companions) can be found. I wouldn't want him to go from us back to a shelter situation. Ultimately I think that would do more harm than good. He's made a ton of progress since we've had him (less nervous/more interactive around kids, wags his tail now, etc.). To ensure that Louie is safe while we're making the decision, I'm pricing out what it would cost to extend the height of our dog run and put a top on it. Our cat has been sneaking out the dog door some (seriously, we are really good to our animals--I guess we just pick ones that like adventure!). I've also reached out to a recommended animal behaviorist in our area this morning to see if they would be willing/able to assist us (and if not, who they would recommend). Doing these things will (a) help us better ascertain if we are the right fit for Louie and ( ensure that both our animals are safe in the process. Even if we ultimately decide that Louie would be better served by another family, it will ensure that we can safely keep him out of a shelter situation. Again, thank you all so much for the wonderful replies. I was nervous to post--not sure if I'd be judged. I agree that adoption events can result in people making snap decisions about bringing an animal home. We went to this one knowing we wanted to add a dog to our family. In the future, however, I would much prefer to work with a shelter during normal times--instead of during the high stress of an adoption event. Louie IS a couch potato! While there are times when he escapes because he seems to be fearful, much of the time it's when only our family is around. So I do think it is about him wanting to go on adventures--and getting some help from professionals will assist us in learning how to teach Louie to do some tricks. My step-daughter and son-in-law visited for a week and brought their dog with them. The whole time the other dog was around Louie didn't try and escape once. I've also brought Louie to a couple of friend's houses who have dogs, and he never tried to escape from their yards. So he may also be escaping to find friends. I have two neighbors who walk their dogs together every day and they've invited me to join them whenever I'd like, which I plan to do. And on one of our walks recently we made friends with a dog who lives a few houses down. So maybe we can arrange to have that dog over to play with Louie some. Ultimately we are feeling VERY supported--by our friends and neighbors, by the shelter we got Louie from, and from all of you. P.S. As I've been thinking all of this through it occurred to me that perhaps some of Louie's couch potato-ness has to do with his timidness. And if he grows more confident, he may grow to want more walks/runs/exercise than we could provide. I LOVE the idea of training him to do stuff (I read somewhere that a person trained their bc mix to pick up laundry and put it in a basket! With a 6 year old teaching Louie how to pick up toys and put them in a bin would also be amazing!). So this could help even if he becomes less couch-potato like. We are also open to learning how to teach him agility--I think it could be a really fun family activity, one that our daughter would love. And if Louie becomes secure to the point where he needs more exercise than we can offer, at least we'll know that we helped him on his journey. Thanks again everyone! I'll give you all an update when I have more to report. And I'll try and post pics of Louie (not sure how to do that yet).
  4. Thank you Denice! He's never alone in our backyard--we're always out there with him. If we see him approaching the fence and I say "uh-uh Louie" he doesn't go over. But if we get distracted for even a little bit and are not keeping an eagle eye on him more often than not he jumps ship. I don't know where he goes--though there are dogs behind part of our property. We're in a more suburb-y area. See I'd known about BC's being very active, which is why I never looked at them for us. We're happy to take him for walks and have him run around the backyard (as long as he stays in it) but we aren't the 8 miles a day kind of family. We're just not. I heard back from the shelter that we got him from--and they've been incredibly supportive. They said that we've definitely gone above and beyond for him, and that they'd be happy to take him back. Or we could also try Prozac as sometimes that really helps with a timid dog. But I'm not clear that it'll help with his escaping. I love Louie. If he's bonded with anyone in this house, it's me. He shadows me constantly. And this is what my gut is telling me: Louie would be happiest with a very big area to run around in (our yard is nice, but not huge) and at least one other dog to do the running with. And he'd be happier in a home that's quieter, without a lot of people coming in and out. And these are our non-negotiables. We're always going to have tons of people in and out. We aren't going to be going on 8 mile walks. And we aren't going to be getting another dog. Certainly not for a dog that we're not certain we can keep in our yard. When we're outside we're outside with Louie, our daughter, and often other children. So he gets a lot of attention from us, but not all of our attention. So my gut says he'd be happier in another situation, which kills me because he's SUCH a gentleman. My husband and I are going to talk over the prozac idea tonight--and I'm going to do a bit of research on it this afternoon. Thanks again for your input!
  5. Thank you for your replies--and for being kind and gentle with them! Louie is not an outside dog. He is crate trained--and will go to his crate if he's feeling nervous (or if he realizes we're disappointed with his behavior). He is sometimes motivated by treats--it depends on his level of nervousness and his willingness. I think he'd be more motivated by salami than dog treats, so maybe I should use that as a treat? I was drawn to Louie because (a) I'd stopped in the crowd and was tired and irritated by the whole scene of the adoption event (never again) and suddenly felt a dog nose in my hand. I looked down and there was Louie. So I asked about him and the shelter folks (who'd I already spoken with for a bit about our lifestyle and what we were looking for) said "oh, he might be your couch potato! And ( He seemed to be such a gentleman (and really is). He doesn't jump up on anyone, takes treats and bones from me so gingerly, has only offered a soft warning growl if any kids are doing something he doesn't like (such as touching his hind legs while he's resting). He follows me around like a shadow, and really loves snuggling on the couch. And there are a things I've been able to correct relatively easily (e.g. when we got home the first thing he did was put his paws up on the counter to check out the smells of food from them--and all it took was a couple of "no's" and now he will walk right past open food on the table. Not that we keep a lot of open food on the table or counters anymore.). I also enjoy his quirky personality. Like I said, he's a bit of an Eyeore. He'll also pout when disciplined. We have told people coming into the house not to approach Louie, and to let him approach them. There are a few of my daughter's friends who really love dogs, and I've figured out that if I'm on the couch with Louie I can call them over (only one at a time) and if they sit quietly with us Louie gets used to them. Adults are harder. With my female adult friends who come over regularly I've started having Louie on a leash to hang out with us. Males are the hardest. We are all willing to be adaptive for Louie, as we have been for any of the pets we've adopted over the years we've done so. And we also have non-negotiables. Our house will always be a lively place with lots of people coming in and out. That's just how it is with us--our daughter is very social and we aren't going to change that. So my first concern is whether this is something Louie will come to appreciate or not, once he settles down more. Louie doesn't like going to the bathroom in the penned area we have for him--that a dog door leads out to. And while I take him for walks regularly--as a part-time worker from my home and stay at home mom my schedule varies. So I can't take him out for walks at the same time everyday. He's got to be able to use the dog door to his area. And we've got to figure out how to make that area secure. We also have to figure out the best way to keep him in our backyard. It's a nice size, and we want him out there with us. But we can't have him taking off all the time. And I'm not sure an invisible fence will keep him contained in the backyard. I also wonder if Louie really needs to be in a home with a second dog. He LOVES other dogs--all other dogs as far as I can tell from the many dog encounters we've had on walks. The only time he didn't try and escape our yard was the week that my step-daughter and her husband came to visit and brought their dog. Having another dog, however, wasn't in the cards for us. We've already got other animals--and another dog would be twice the boarding fees when we go away, additional vet bills, etc. We don't want to overextend ourselves emotionally, financially, or time-wise. My husband feels as though Louie is not bonding with us as his "pack" given that he's constantly running away. My 6 year old daughter has been really good with him, as have her friends. They either ignore him or take the time to gently get him used to them. Thanks again!
  6. Greetings and thanks in advance for any thoughts. We adopted Louie (formerly "Nosey") about 2.5 months ago at an adoption event. He's a BC/Lab/? mix, about 2-3 years old, very mellow, couch potato, no concept of toys or playing, extremely timid--even fearful--of people. Anyone. More so at the house, but also in the park. Goes nuts when he sees squirrels or rabbits. Not much of a barker, doesn't know from fetch or catch, LOVES other dogs. Escape artist, seems to have a high threshold for training collars and even a live wire we used on some fencing outside. We have to figure out how to contain him (he got out of the live wire) because he'll jump the fence and leave whenever he has the opportunity. Always comes home, but was brought home by police the other day and was almost hit by a car. We were looking for a smaller dog, maybe terrier mix, and explained our lifestyle: small children all the time, busy household, cat, gerbil, birds, lots of time with human's home, but not the type to jog or go for hikes. No dog like that was available and we were ready to go when we learned about Louie. We didn't know much about BCs beyond some perceptions and some misconceptions. It's been rough. Louie becomes afraid and hides whenever people come over. He warms up to children a little faster--if we go for a walk in the park immediately upon their arrival and he gets used to them outside first. Will this ever change? And is there a way to facilitate Louie not escaping all the time (or wanting to). I absolutely get that I didn't do diligence about this breed before adopting Louie. I was going based on input that he had many of the qualities we were looking for in a dog; and about 15-20 minutes together before making the decision. Louie's personality is different than other dogs we've had; and neither of us has ever really worked with a very timid/scared dog. Is this a wrong fit? Or are there things I'm not doing that I should be? (And then it's about whether I can or not). Louie is also a cuddler, and has a very Eyeore-like demeanor with such dignity. He's a sweetie, and I'd love to not feel like I'm floundering.
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