Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Skeletor's new friend: a rescue named Souljur

Souljur's rescuer is a really good trainer. Perhaps I can learn a thing or two!

** Note this video was made his THIRD week here. Not even a full month. This dog has completely transformed from the anxious, unsure rescue dog he was his first day.

* The reason he has a cone on him in the video is because he was neutered on 2/17/10 and we don't want him biting his stitches.

Souljur is a male one year old German Shepherd x Pitbull mix who also has a bit of Akita in his blood. His GSD versatility and Pitbull antics lead me to believe these two breeds are dominant, but his facial structure and ears are undeniably Akita. Stature, fur, and tail are all GSD. Build, antics, temperament, muscles and paws are Pitbull.

I adopted Souljur roughly three weeks ago on January 30th [ a Saturday ], 2010. His euthanasia date from animal control was to be February 2nd.
When I found him on the WWW.DOGSINDANGER.COM website, he'd had less than a week to live.
I drove a total of 9 hours out of my area to rescue him.

When he came to our house, he was unruly and didn't know what was expected of him. He had trust and behavior issues like nipping and jumping up. He didn't know anything but sit, and even then he'd need a treat to be prompted. He wouldn't go up or down any stairs for fear of falling as he'd never been up them before at age one [ so they were dizzying to him ]...
With patience, POSITIVE reinforcement, NO BIAS ON HIS CONCOCTION OF BREEDS, -no- harsh or negative or "tough" training [ which just shuts him down I've discovered by other people's "tips" I've tried ], he has become the lovable and trainable dog glued to my side today. He definitely is a project, but together we are healing. He still has a long way to go, but everyday is a new slate.

I have homeschooled him everything he knows today in just three weeks [ but I can't take anymore than 25% credit; he has the versatility of the Shepherd and the trying heart of the Pitbull ], and through mutual respect we've made it SO far. Many people have told me to look at his size and consider his breeds and tell me to use a firm hand with negative reinforcement. They've tried telling me I was doing it wrong, and a "certified dog trainer" once even told me to force him down the stairs [ of course, the staircase she forced him down were the stairs he took longest to go down out of all of the rest in our house because he was traumatized from that experience ]. I'll tell anyone who thinks the same way I do that you should never force a dog down anything. Prompt him, but give him the respect he deserves. He's not "below" you [ most people don't think this, but I've found people who encourage negative reinforcement generally do ].
All it takes is love, dedication, time, patience, and RESPECT. You can achieve so much more than what you bargain for with a dog who loves and respects you back. You just need to share the same respect for him, and be an alpha that's fair [ being an alpha doesn't mean becoming mean or having a power trip ] and you will have a lasting relationship. :)

Looking back, I can't believe Souljur was the unruly dog that had me in tears three times in the first two days he'd arrived. With perseverance and praise, he's made himself from a dog who wouldn't listen at all due to lack of trust and unclear signals, to a dog who knows much more now in three WEEKS than any other rescue I've ever owned.
I'm the proudest dog owner there ever could be [ haha, doesn't every dog owner say this? ], and everyday is a new adventure. Again, most of this is him and his willingness to love and trust me after his bad past, but loving him back and having endless patience doesn't hurt either ;)

Song: Paper Heart
Artist: All American Rejects
Copyright: 100% to them and their record label. I do not own the song, only the gorgeous dog ;)

Monday, June 28, 2010

I love the smell of liver in the morning (not)

Skelly's last visit to the vet showed a slight drop in red cell count. I've received many suggestions about feeding him various kinds of meat, so I asked Dr. Fish what he might suggest. He said to go ahead and cook it, but liver might help with Skeletor's anemia. He then added... "if you can handle the smell."

I remember eating liver as a kid. (Completely against my will, mind you) I was NOT a picky eater growing up. Among my fondest memories is hearing other kids refer to me as "fatty four eyes" and such. Be that as it may... as much of a walking garbage disposal as I was, liver absolutely repulsed me. Liver and gizzards were the only things you couldn't get my fat ass to eat.

But I digress!

So, imagining the sweet aroma of pan-fried liver, I was hesitant to run out and pick it up from the grocer. In fact, I am not sure I had even seriously considered doing it. However, Kim returned home a couple of days later with a whole assortment of meats that many might not consider to be meant for human consumption. Yay.

We've got beef liver, smoked ham hocks and chicken liver!

I busted out the beef liver and split it into portion sizes to be frozen. Just about every morning for the past week, I've been cookin it up for Skelly to mix in with his dry food.

That is one lucky, lovable mutt!

Here's another installment in Skelly's training vids. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bad Doggie Alert: Local dog bites off more than he should chew

Well well well,

It seems that Skelly has a vendetta against his aunty Kim. First, he decided to turn her red shoe into a toy, which she wasn't too steamed about. He actually tossed this red shoe so high that it hit our vaulted ceilings, which we thought was pretty crazy! It's fortunately more of a slipper, otherwise it could do some damage!

So then the real crime was committed. The other day while Kim was at work, Ian and I were doing some work around the house and he noticed that something very expensive had been chewed up. The item in question was Kim's purse.

I wouldn't presume to know the first thing about purse brands, but this particular handbag was made by Doonie & Burke and was a gift from Kim's step mom. (sounds pricey)

Skeletor couldn't resist the delicious leather seams and handles... mmmmmm!

Of course nobody witnessed the crime, so there's nothing we can do but slap our foreheads and hope he keeps them jaws under control.

The good news is that Skelly has put on 2 lbs since his last visit to the vet. The bad news is that he lost a couple percent points worth of red blood cells.

He's very slightly anemic and Dr. Fish has put him back on the meds. He's taking 2 Doxycyclene and 1 Predinizone each day. Kim just picked up his anti-biotics. He's a pill poppin' maniac and getting stronger every day.

Here's a video of how super brave he is around the carpet shampooer... 

Here's a video showcasing his amazing sit and stay skills...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Skeletor's first trip to the beach

Sunday was the big day. We planned to take Skeletor to Hanna Park so he could play on the beach!  We were pretty excited for the boy, who as far as we know has never been to the beach before. The plan was for me to go for a bike ride while Mel and Skelly walked on the beach. Then I was going to join them so we could hang out and eat lunch by the sea.

Sounded easy enough at the time.

That morning we were running behind schedule (which is usually the case). We finally left the house a little after 11. We made it no further than the entrance of the neighborhood when I realized I had forgotten the camera. We turned around, grabbed the camera, and were on our way.

We had the dog, beach towel, bike, backpacks, water bottles, etc... I wanted to run into petsmart and get a stake to tie up the dog on the beach. Oh crap.. we forgot to pack our lunches!

I dropped Mel off at subway while Skells and I ran into petsmart. I found a nice cheap stake and a bag of treats, then got in line at the checkout. After waiting for the guy in front of me to nearly finish, I realized that I had left my wallet in the car. I drug the dog with me to the car to get the wallet, came back into the store and paid for the stuff. Loaded Skelly into the car and scooped up Mel from subway.

OK, now we were on our way!

Oh crap, we only have one beach towel. We stopped at walgreen's to get one. I was elected to go in. They had a very limited selection. Most of them were of very poor quality. Finally I decided on the only towel they had that looked like it would make it through a single wash. This towel happened to be bright pink and covered with flip-flops. Perfect! I jumped back into the car with my super manly new beach towel.

OK, now we were on our way!

We arrive at Hanna Park and as you might imagine are both starting to get hungry. We find a parking spot near the beach and I gear up for my bike ride while Mel and Skells get ready to go walk on the beach.

Skeletor was pretty excited about being out of the back seat after having been cooped up for an hour. Mel and Skelly headed for the beach and I took off on my bike ride. I got about half way done and my bike broke down. The pedal has been coming loose and falling off lately. I tried to put it back on and it appeared to be stripped out completely. Not so great.

I picked up the pedal and started walking the bike towards where I guessed the car was. As I was getting close, I get a text from Mel: "Not working he is too upset won't sit he is crying"

I finally made it to the car and put the broken bike away. I grabbed our lunch and headed out to the beach. Mel and Skelly were sitting in the shade on the boardwalk. She said that Skelly was terrified of the water and was burning up in the sun. Melanie and I were both working hard at remaining positive.

We busted out our subway sandwiches and had lunch. After that, I asked Mel to wait there while I took Skelly for another crack at the water.

He was certainly a bit standoffish. The waves really freaked him out. After plenty of assurance though, he seemed to loosen up a bit.  I don't know if you've been to the beach with a dog before, but this was my first time.

An item of note: dog's have total disregard for sand.

I walked the wet dog out of the waves and up the beach to get Mel. He plopped his wet ass right down in the dry sand and wouldn't budge.  I practically had to pick him up to get him moving. I was trying to signal to Mel to come down to the beach so we could hang out now that the dog was more acclimated. She couldn't see me from a distance. Finally we made it up the boardwalk to where Mel was sitting.

I told her that the dog was doing better, so we all headed back down to the beach. Skelly was now pretty excited about going in the water, chasing the birds, urinating on sand castles, etc. What he wasn't interested in, was letting me get over to our towel so I could put down the backpacks and other beach crap I was trying to carry.

All of our hard work finally paid off. We were on the beach with the dog. We had eaten lunch. He was having fun. We were having fun. The sun was popping out from time to time. It was bliss I tell ya!

Of course that didn't last long before the sky opened up and it began to pour. We hurriedly packed up our sandy belongings, sandy dog and sandy selves, then headed for the soon to be sandy car.

It wasn't exactly as we had planned it, but all the hassle was totally worth it! We can't wait to go again. :)

 Skelly was totally pooped during the ride home

He's such a vicious animal!

Somehow he managed to get his toy stuck in the dishwasher!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

A successful escape attempt, a friendly mail carrier and one very uncomfortable realtor

Here's an interesting story for ya...

Today just after lunch it started raining really hard outside. I noticed Skeletor was taking notice in the rain, so I opened the front door and securely shut the screen. Being the super nice guy that I am, I even dragged Skelly's bed in front of the door so he could lay down and check out the rain in comfort.

He wasn't quite as interested as I thought he would be, but he did spend a little time checking out the view.

There I was minding my own business working on the computer and Skelly began freaking out. Apparently somebody was coming up to the door.

I walked over there and this guy was saying something like "Whew! Good thing that's a friendly dog..." I grabbed Skeletor by his collar and listened to the guy explain something about an open house down the street.

"Yeah ok great thanks... " So the man turns around to leave after hanging a flyer on the door handle. I hold on to the dog until I think he's sufficiently calm. I pull on the screen to make sure it's closed and I sit back down in my chair.

Skeletor had other plans. He immediately pushed the "securely latched" screen door open and bolts for it.

I just barely missed his tail as he slithered out the closing screen door.

The guy and I both try to get close to Skeletor who increases his speed just enough to stay out of flying tackle reach.

The poor guy is apologizing profusely the entire time.

I picked up my trot to about as fast as I could run in my flip-flops through neighbors wet grass. These particular flip flops are made of leather... as they got wetter, they got much more slippery and there was no way I was going to catch him without leaving them behind.

Bah! I gave up. I shook my fist at the little frolicking jerk and drug my feet back home.

After I sat down at my desk my cell phone rings.

"Hello, this is your mail carrier. I found your dog."

"Oh wow! Thanks so much. I'll jump on my bike and be there in a second."

I grabbed the leash, saddled up and hauled ass a couple blocks down. There she was standing with a neighbor in the driveway. The spoiled little punk was just living it up getting all sorts of attention from the 2 nice ladies.

That dog is sooo lucky he's so darn friendly and cute!

Oh... and it looks like Insano is exacting his revenge against Skeletor for eating up all his food!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Skelly Sez: My new bed is totally cool!

Thanks to First in Print for donating a big kushy bed for Skelly!

Now let's see how long it takes him to chew it to ribbons :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

About to go for a walk

I was just getting ready to take Skelly out for a walk and for some reason I pulled up the post about his first day in our care.


Holy crap.. the dog in those photos looks so foreign to me. This pup has come so far!

I know I promised a vet visit last week, but I'm afraid it's going to have to wait until my budget materializes. I've done the work and delivered the products... I wish certain offending clients would cough up the dough!

I doubt any of my customers read Skelly's blog, but if you do, don't make me send my vicious pit bull after yo ass!

Anyways, here's a video and we're out of here!