About The Foster Zoo

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We have decided to blog our adventures again. So much has changed since we last blogged. Bella and Shiloh both went to their forever homes and they are in wonderful families. June Bug got adopted. We quit fostering dogs after those adoptions because Tanker's epilepsy got bad. We quit doing therapy dog work because Tanker's epilepsy got bad. Tanker passed away June 9th, 2013. We adopted a senior border collie named Shania Tankerbelle in his memory. We still have our two cats, Sweet Pea and Little Bit. Wes has started rescuing pitiful bettas from Wal-Mart and we currently have seven. We have a camper. We camp. We have focused on giving our animals the best lives possible. We are The Foster Zoo Crew and we like to have fun.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Topher Training Note

Today, I had two therapy dog friends come over and work the neutral dog portion part of the therapy dog test with me and Topher.   Topher did much better than I expected!  He was not perfect, but he was perfect up until the end.  We first just stood in the driveway and let the dogs look at each other.  We then walked up and down the driveway and let the dogs smell each other in the air and on the driveway.  (Our driveway is fairly long, so we had plenty of room to walk around without getting too close.)  Then we worked on just passing each other.  Topher did great.  Last, we worked on stopping and shaking hands.  Topher did great the first three or four times.  He remained heeling on my left side.  He showed a little interest, but mostly stayed focused on me.  The last couple of times we did the hand shake though, Topher kind of growled, but didn't show his teeth.  It was a grumble.  I walked away with him and didn't treat him.  We started over at that point with just walking in the driveway and eventually went back to doing passes.  Same reaction with Topher when we walked in between the two dogs.  He grumbled at Amber.  I don't know if he was getting tired, if the wind was picking up, I just don't know.  The good part of it though was that he was completely under control the entire time.  He always heeled.  Sometimes he stretched out to sniff, but he remained focused on me.  I was really impressed with his focus.  I feel like we worked together really well.  He watched me, he listened to all of my commands, as soon as I said his name, he looked right at my face every time.  That, alone, made this a great training session.  He was never distracted off of me.

Topher did not seem nervous.  When we all stood and talked in the driveway, he layed down without me giving the command.  That is actually kind of his default position when he is relaxed.  He will plop down and lay anywhere: in the store, on the sidewalk, at the vet, in the middle of the street if I let him.  He did not pant.  He was not licking his lips.  He did seem alert at times, but still very relaxed.  He was definitely curious.  He sniffed the air to pick up their scent.  He looked at them.  Honestly, what I think it boiled down to, is that he was just unsure of this new situation of two strange dogs being in his driveway.  Like I said though, the great thing that came out of this is that he looked up to me when he was unsure.  That's what makes a great dog and handler team. 

Thank you Kelly, Amber, Muffin, and Muffin's mom (forgot her name already) for taking the time out of your day to come work with me and Topher.  We really appreciate it.  Amber and Muffin are beautiful dogs and I was very impressed at how well behaved and trained they were.  I look forward to many more days of working with both of you.

Poor Tanker just had to sit inside and watch through the window.  He is already perfect at all of this.  As they always say, the good kids never have any fun. 

Goal for the next two weeks:  Take Topher and Tanker out as much as possible and get them exposed to more and more things.  We test on the 13th.  I was told that once we get their therapy dog vests in, we can take them into the mall and into certain stores, like Lowes and Gander Mountain, to work with them as long as we ask first. (since they are therapy dogs in training)  Until then, we'll keep going to Petsmart.

This is me posing in front of the creek so Mom can plaster my picture all over Facebook. Do I look thrilled? I am not.

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