Tuesday, April 30, 2013

To blog or not to blog...

A post by the momma:
I find myself on the fence about a training/behavior issue that came up last night. I wasn't home, but Adam was and was out in the back yard with Corbin and Amelia. Our back yard is fenced, not the worlds greatest fence, but (knock on wood) it hasn't been tested by Corbin or any foster and they respect their boundaries. They're also not left out unattended. 
You want respects?  I've got it, don't listen to the momma.
Monday after work, Adam was out with the dogs. Corbin started barking as he noticed someone approaching our fence. This guy, who was selling something, walked right up to our fence and leaned over to pet Amelia. Corbin was running back and forth up the fence line, barking. He jumped up on the fence and scratched this strange dude's side with his dagger like claws. Seriously, we had them cut back during his tail surgery and they're still unbelievably long.  Adam was close by so got to the area before anything went further -although, I'm not sure Corbin would have gone further, but who knows... who's to say.  Anyway, no damage, just a scratch... and the guy was a pit bull owner and in love with Amelia, so he didn't care. 
Lovable factor: Check.
Adam cared. He was livid with Corbin's behavior.
So.... I get home and Adam starts (frantically) telling me this story, clearly rattled from it. My first question was "wtf was this guy doing on our property?" Clearly, not the first thing Adam wanted to answer.
My first question too... who are you and what are you doing here?
Go away!
Is this an issue? Should Corbin be allowed to protect his gated yard from strange men walking up off of the street? What if it was me in the back yard and this guy had ill intentions? It's not that I want a guard dog, and that's not the reason why we adopted Corbin... but I can't say that when Adam isn't home, I'm not glad to have a dog bark at strange noises. I can think of a handful of situations where I'd be glad for Corbin to react that way... maybe he was trying to take Amelia out of our back yard?

Is this Corbin's fault? The stranger's fault?  Or my fault since it's our property and my dogs actions? 
Cut me some slack, I'm handsome.
I debated on whether or not I would bring this to the blog. But, it's heavy on my mind. I told Adam that we would work with the issue. We would ask some friends that haven't met Corbin or that don't know him too well, to come over and approach our fence while we were prepared to do some training and work with him to be less reactive. Goes back to our issue of not doing any training in a year, so it would be good to have a little refresher... but I'm just not so sure I want Corbin to roll over and allow someone into our yard. Any thoughts?  Or similar issues/situations?  Any input is well appreciated.
My thoughts on people with a lack of smarts.
And, here's my rant -what kind of person approaches and leans over a fence with a barking, running dog that they don't know?!?!?!?!?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?! Can't you just stand at an appropriate distance from the fence and chat with the home owner that way? Or wait for the home owners permission to approach the dogs??????  Although, I guess there could be the other side of that argument with who lets their dog run and bark at approaching strangers... 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Foster Friday: Amelia Honey Bee

Can you believe foster mommy has kept me and the Corbin from our bloggin' rights?! 
For OVER a week?! 
Well, she has.  But, no longer, I say!  Since it's Friday, the Corbin said I could blog for my Foster Friday, so I'm here!  It's me, Amelia Honey Bee!  See that?  I even gots my own nickyname!  And there is SO much to get you caught up on.
Last weekend foster mommy took me for a walkie with some friends at a local park!  I got to look super awesome in my Little Bow Pup tutu!  And, foster mommy got me an Adopt Me vest to wear too! And, of course, I had on my beautiful Sirius Republic Adopt Me collar! My tutu attracted lots of attentions, and my Adopt Me vest and collar got people asking questions about my adoptions! Some people even stopped us on our walkie to take my picture!
After our walkie, I got to go for ice cream!  But, foster mommy done broke her phone Saturday, so no pictures of my ice creams.  It was a place right by the park and the building looked kind of like a barn and as much as foster mommy tried, even for ice creams, I wouldn't go ANYWHERE near it!  Nope, no thank you.  So, foster mommy said it was okay, and I got to eat my ice creams by a picnic table.  It sure was good!
Ice creams heaven!
I've been learning about walking on a leash without dragging foster mommy every where, so she's tried a few different harnesses on me.  Doncha know I manage to wiggle my way out of ALL of them so far????  Yep, I do.  I'm super smart.  AND last night, foster mommy took the Corbin for a walkie around the neighborhood, then she came home and took ME for a walkie since I need some more trainings before I can walk with Corbin.
I'm going to practice real hard
so I can walkie with the Corbin!
We stopped to chit chat with our neighbors and I wiggled and giggled for some lovin's.  Then I plopped down next to foster mommy for a snooze while she gabbed on and on.  BUT!  I decided to wake up and RUN!  And when I did that, my leash got wrapped up around foster mommy's leggie and CAAAA-BOOM!  Down she went.  Don't worry, she's just fine and I'm pretty sure it was her dramatic way of getting on the ground for my smoochies and snuggles!
Right?  Who wouldn't want my smoochies and snuggles?!
Foster mommy got a whole bunch of new harnesses to try but my walkie skills are getting a little better so hopefully no more "mishaps" as foster mommy calls them.  There was also a treat/pocket "mishap" during our walkie last night and I got LOADS of treats for doing a whole bunch of nothing!  SCORE!
Nommy treats for being adorable!
Tomorrow, I get to go with my friend Diggy Wiggles, who is also an adoptable pitty, to a Bark for Life Walkie which supports research for cancers!  I get to skip the adoption clinic to go to the walk and I'm super excited!  I'll be decked out in all of my awesome Pay Attention To Me Adopt Me gear.  Maybe my forever family will be walking for the same cause and find me!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Celebrate Love

Today, we take a moment to celebrate love.  Our hearts are with all of those affected by the awful tragedy that took place yesterday in Boston.  It's less than 3 hours away from where we live.  Life may not be perfect every day, but it can always be worse.  Always celebrate love and life.
Corbin & the momma

Corbin & Amelia.
Foster love.
A Pop Pop's love.

Seeing my mom smile and laugh again.
38 years of marriage.
Unconditional love.
Spread love, not hate.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Foster Friday: Amelia

Hi Y'all!  I'm Amelia!  Let me guess, you thought I was one of those shy, quiet girls based on everything Mr. Corbin here has been telling you, right?  Well, I am quite shy and quiet, but did you ever hear the saying that the shy and quiet ones are the ones you need to watch out for?

That's ME!  Amelia!  My foster family never saw me coming!  Let me tell you how my plan has worked out so far.  You see, previous foster kid here, Sophie, asked this wizarddog, the DoodleBug, how she could make her foster home turn into her forever home.  But, you see, by the time the busy DoodleBug got her question, she had already moved in with her forever family.  But, the nice DoodleBug wizarddog still answered her question with a whole bunch of smarts that were just WAITING for me to find!  So, I stumbled on that when I got here and I followed every bit of his advices.

First, I woo-ed the foster parents...
Look deep into my eyes foster mommy... love the Amelia baby dog!

Rub my belly foster daddy!

Love on my snuggles, foster mommy....

Now, with the foster parents well under my spell belt, it was time to get the Corbin on my side.  This wasn't as difficult of a task as I thought it may be.  Turns out, the Corbin is quite as smitten with me as I am with him.  So I had a bit of an advantage.  But, as you may know, the Corbin isn't a dog on dog snuggler.  Even with the Sofa Snuggler, it took the Corbin a few weeks to allow her snuggles. I wanted to work fast and get my nails in deep quickly... so I didn't have a few weeks.  I had to work on snuggling the Corbin right away.

As quickly as I wanted work, I started out slowly
and just snuggled near him.

Then I wiggled my way between him and the corner of the couch.
He may look suspicious, but he really has no idea.
Then, I got into his sofa bed with him at nighty times.
Then, my plan totally worked!  You see, before this picture was taken
I was the one snuggling in Corbin's sofa and he was on the foamy bed...
And do you know what that Corbin did?
He got out of his foamy bed and HE came and snuggled with ME!
Wouldnchaknow, the Corbin couldn't get enough of my snuggles!
Then, I used the Corbin to help me over come that scary hallway and the scary leash.... so we're totally bonded forever and ever.
So, what do you think?  Do you think maybe I can stay here forever?  The foster mommy says she's sticking to her guns and I have to find my perfect family, but I can stay here until then.  I said.... Lady, I'm not looking any further, simple as that!  Hehehe.
Making a foster home into a forever home is exhausting!
Foster mommy says there are many more doggies just like me, who are sweet and perfect that the Corbin needs to help save.  And, she says if they kept the Sofa Snuggler, I wouldn't have gotten the chance to be saved because foster mommy was my last hope.  And, the Sofa girls forever home would have missed out on all the joy she's bringing them.  So, foster mommy says that they can't steal all of my joys and I have to share them with my forever family when it comes.
Don't worry, I'm not giving up. 
I'm going to wiggle my way in
and keep working on wizard Doddlebug's advices!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

No More Excuses: Update #1

A post by the momma:

Two weeks ago, I put my heart on my sleeve, bit my tongue and decided to tell you all what a crummy Corbin momma I've been.  Our training this past year has pretty much been non existent and because of it, Corbin has been getting a bit out of control.  We told you a few things that we were going to do to alter our routine to better suit Corbin, and here's how we're doing, and the obstacles we've encountered.

KONG Wobbler:
What to you mean my food is in there?
This doesn't look like my food bowl.

One of the things I mentioned was purchasing a Kong Wobbler for Corbin to get his dinner out of.  I was so excited to introduce this fun food puzzle/toy and see how he reacted.  Well... as I should have assumed, Corbin grabbed the wobbler in the clutches of his jaws and hurled it into our wall.  FAIL.  Corbin: 1, Momma: 0

Launching in 3... 2... 1.

You see, this trick worked when we first got Corbin and gave him only dry treats in a Kong.  As he navigated the Kong, he realized that treats fell out when he dropped it... so he raised the bar and launched it into the wall, causing treats to explode out of it.  Wish I knew then what I know now... but we eventually got over that phase as I learned about freezing and he learned about licking.  But, oh my... could have saved a lot of wall dents with better strategies.

It's not a Kong Launcher?  I have to Wobble it?  Like this?

So, how did we fix this?  Before he threw it into the wall, he did use it correctly for about 2 minutes.  Once it made contact with the wall, no more wobbler.  The next day I decided to bring it down a notch.  Corbin received half of his dinner in his food bowl, then the other half in the wobbler.  This way he wasn't so hungry and would spend more time concentrating on the idea.  We got half way through the wobbler before he grabbed it and prepared to launch.  I quickly intervened, said "all done" and took it away.  No more wobbler for Corbin that night.  We've been doing this every night and Corbin makes it a little longer before the launching idea surfaces.  He's never left unattended with the wobbler, for many reasons including the safety of my walls, oven and sliding glass door.

WOAH MOMMA!  If I get a good spin on the Wobblin'...

Doodlebug Challenge:

Our friends at Love and a Six Foot Leash proposed a challenge to take your dog to a different area for training.  We agree!  In compliance with our training, and our commitment to the Doodlebug Challenge, we've taken Corbin to our locally owned Pet Store for some training... It was a great place to work on Corbin's focus with other dogs around.  We worked on Corbin's sit/stays and down/stays and his reactiveness (barking, growling/grumbling) when unknown dogs are too close.  He did fantastic, shown by his side tongue hang.  That's always a good sign of a tired Corbin.

I'm so tired, I can't keep my tongue in my mouth.

We've also gone on a few walks outside of our neighborhood with different distractions.  Corbin walks fantastic on the leash when there are zero distractions.  However, we went to the Crossings for a stroll, where there are lots of other dogs, runners, people, kids, etc.  He gets very antsy and anxious.  Really, he just whines and grunts a lot.  He still walks next to me on a loose leash, but he vocalizes how difficult it is for him to concentrate on me while all these other things are going on.  The grunting cracks me up, but I ignore it and reward him when he goes a few steps with no noises.  Silly dog.

Momma, you's crazy.  I'm just fine on my leash!

Walking in our own neighborhood has also picked up, and last week we were able to walk with our neighbors, their 2 dogs an their toddler in a stroller.  All super exciting things for Corbin.  He walked so perfectly to their house, then it was grunting and whining like a crazy dog.  But, his grunts were less by the end of our walk - so, I'll take that as a success.  Can't wait for our next walk to see how our progress continues!

Food Puzzles:

I was SO excited to introduce some fun food puzzles.  Our friend Athena from Pitlandia recently blogged about some fun and interesting Easter themed food hunts and food puzzles.  So, I went out and bought 10 bags of Easter eggs from Walmart at half off.  Then, we attempted the Easter Egg Hunt.  I put some of Corbin's favorite treats inside the egg and let him open it up -started easy.  Then I let him sit on the couch while I hid the treat filled eggs around the house.  He got so excited, ran up to his first egg and wanted that treat so bad he cracked the egg into 9 pieces.  None were swallowed, but this wasn't going to be a game that we'd be able to continue doing... FAIL.  Corbin: 2, Momma: 0.

No picture of our fun attempt at food games.  The momma
and I have different ideas on how they should be played.

Then, we decided to try another fun food puzzle from Athena... where you put treats in a muffin tin and cover them with half a plastic egg.  The idea is that the dog will use their nose to uncover the treats.  Well, not my dog.  Corbin took one sniff and landed his giant paw on the muffin tin, causing it, and the treats, to fly through the air.  Treats everywhere.  FAIL.  Corbin: 3, Momma: 0.

I think my trainings are going rather well, no?

The last food puzzle we changed up was his regular Kong.  With the increased treats during training, I decided to put about a quarter of his food in his Kong mixed with veggies and frozen.  This way, he still got a Kong every morning, but it wasn't really increasing his daily calorie in take.  He gets that in his crate every morning when I leave for work.  I trust Corbin enough with the Kong to leave it with him unattended.  It's one of the only things I trust with him unattended.  Some nights if he still has energy after all of our days work, he'll get a second Kong, but I've found a few things that make his Kong eating a little more difficult.  Again, our friends at Pitlandia come to the rescue.  The posted a great recipe for frozen delights using a silicon bunny shaped mold -which I got half off after Easter.  These little bunnies can be stuffed in the Kong... which makes Corbin's task a little more difficult, since it's not just licking mindlessly, it's a little bunny bouncing around inside the Kong that he needs to constantly find and lick.  This also works with yummy things put in ice cube trays, which I might start doing with his breakfast Kong.  One of Corbin's favorite things is a Natural Balance food log.  Since Natural Balance is the brand of dog food we use for him, I like their line of foods.  The food log can be cut into any shape or size... so I cut the log, squeeze the Kong so I can fit it in there and let Corbin go to town.  Again, it's a little more mind provoking that just letting him lick, lick, lick.

Where do we go from here?

I just ordered Corbin a back pack from Outward Hound, it's his early birthday present.  No matter how far we walk, how many times he fetches the ball or how many mental games we play, he still seems to have energy now that his back feels good.  So, hopefully he can carry his own water bottles and give him more of a purpose to his walking, or just tire him out a bit more. 

Who, me?

Also ordered a Chuckit!  Ordered two actually, the original one and a travel one!  And, a new 50ft lead, because our 30ft lead never seems long enough when we play at the dog beach.  Corbin isn't trusted allowed off leash because he likes to wander, not listen and cross roads.  But, that's a feat for another day!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I spy...

I spy with my little eye...
An Amelia in the hallway!!!
And... I spy with my little Corbin eye...
An Amelia in the bedroom!  AND on the bed!
Her butt makes a good pillow.
After I introduced her on the blog yesterday, she made HUGE strides in the house.  When the momma came home from work and went into the bedroom, she turned around to see Amelia's little face peeking through the doorway - which is ALL the way down the hallway!  The momma just simply couldn't believe it.  Then, that was that... little Amelia explored the other half of our house and marched and pranced up and down that hallway like a little rockstar!
I'm so very in love with her proud of her.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Meet Amelia

With Diva Serena adopted, it left my house open for another foster kid!  So, the momma brought home a little girl named Amelia.

Meet Amelia.
Now, I know Serena was beautiful in her own fluffy way... but Amelia?  Oh, come on!  The Corbin is in loooooooove.  The momma said I'm just a breed snob, but I can't help it if I didn't care for all that fluffy whiteness on my tongue!  Serena and I got along good enough, but I looooooove Amelia.  Like love her, love her. 
I. Love. Her. Blockyheaded. Smoochie. Face.
1 very smitten Corbin.
Now, I do have my work cut out for me with my dearest Amelia.  She seems to be about my age, maybe a tad bit younger, 2-3 years old maybe.  But, my little love muffin is a little nervous, scared and sometimes fearful being in the house.  It took us all weekend to get her all good and comfy coming in and out of the house because doorways were a bit scary for her.  However, I think getting that accomplished in less than 48 hours is a HUGE step for her!  She hesitates a little, still, but she's so smart and learning to trust the momma and the dad, which makes it easier for me to teach her things because they get to help. 
She smoochies my dad.
Amelia believes that a big scary monster lives in the hallway.  I told her that's not the case in my house, but she just doesn't believe me.  So, I told the momma to get out lots of yummy treats so we can lure her into the hallway where she can see for herself that no monsters exist!  Can you believe that no amounts of cheeses, peanut butters or chickens will get her down that hallway?!  It just may take a bit longer than the doorway, but we're up for the challenge!  Until then, she's very happy on the couch.
Can you believe I have another couch loving foster sister?!
Aside from Lady A's household fears, she's a super wonderful gal.  She really loves the momma and the dad, and of course, the Corbin.  She plays in the back yard and she's slowly getting over another fear she has of the leash and walkies.  I'm amazed at how well she has done in such a short period of time, I just know I'll win her trust and have her prancing around like she owns the place in no time! 
Loves the Corbin.
We don't know much about Amelia's past... she's been at the shelter for a long time, and was adopted out at one point but returned because she got into the trash.  She hasn't shown any interest in the trash and we think the people who adopted her just weren't up for the challenge of making her comfortable in the house.  Either way, her time was up at the shelter and so many people cared about her they made lots of phone calls and landed the momma's number.  Now, the momma had been talking to a family who met Serena last week, so she was pretty sure Serena would have her forever home, so she took the risk and said Yes to Amelia.  I mean, how to you say no to that adorable face?!  Amelia came all the way from Kentucky as a last minute add on to a transport already headed to us.  Lots of people came together to make sure Amelia was safe, and we sure know why.  She's a little love bugger!
"Who, me?"
Amelia's ears seem to have been cropped in at at home attempt with scissors.  They're uneven and jagged, but she doesn't seem to mind them getting massages.  She's super snuggly and really loves her place on my couch.  We're not concentrating on what we don't know about her past, instead, we're moving forward with what we do know about her future.  She's safe, loved, smart and slowly trusting that this life is all it should be.... wonderful.