Thursday, December 14, 2017

SPOTLIGHT ON......Duchess-the (no longer) loner

Been meaning to do this for weeks, but I get so tired at the end of the day --when there is time.

SO I'm going to talk about Duchess.  
Duchess on PetFinder

 We adopted Duchess into our tiny pack that consisted of Galen & Sheba. She was a very good addition to the family.   She was very non-responsive to the older two and was accepted rather easily.

I would brag about Duchess as being "chill".  She was laid back and there were no issues.

First pic of the new pack
Eventually as she became accustomed to the family, she began to show her true colors. She would often try to get Sheba to play and would often be found playing with her food.  She was a doll and made me smile often.

As time marched on and nature took it's course, we lost Galen and it was just Duchess and Sheba.  Duchess was the perfect companion to Sheba. She definitely helped her through her grief of losing her Life mate.   

Next came Athena and Duchess liked her as well. In the beginning the 2 of them would be wrestling and playing in the house.   It made me smile knowing Duchess had a playmate.  

We began bringing the girls to the park and Duchess would go off by herself. She would sniff the entire perimeter, stay by herself, and would not play with any dog.   She was "fence aggressive" to new dogs entering the park and we had to watch for new people entering all the time.

As Athena became more socialized, she gained new friends and didn't want to play with Duchess.  In fact, these two just didn't seem to click the way any of my previous dog combos had.   

1st family photo with Athena
Any park, any time that we took them to, Duchess was off by herself.  She might interact with a bigger dog here or there, but nothing ever came from it.

We started taking them to this awesome park in the country that was almost always empty and huge. Duchess LOVED it. She loved to run free and do her own thing. The happiest I'd ever seen her was at this park.

Duchess and Athena

Along comes Peryn.  The girls were NOT happy when we first brought Peryn home.  Duchess loved going to pick him up as she got to run with a pony, but the actual coming home..not a fan.

Yet, within a week, Duchess had a playmate.  Not just any who took her on. It didn't matter if she towered over him, Peryn would dish it out as much as he took it.   

Still at parks, Duchess did her own thing.  She may allow her siblings to tag along on her perimeter searches, but she still didn't participate.     We joined a husky group because she was a husky, but our husky NEVER played.

At the beginning of this year, right after adopting Lada, we began sending Duchess and Athena to daycare with Peryn.   I was concerned at first due to her disinterested attitude.  At first, I felt my fear was a bit justified.  In the photos they posted from daycare, she was just lying there. She never looked like she played.  

Through 2017 a few other things in addition to daycare came to play.
First,  Lada is obsessed with her big sister. She might antagonize her and interrupt her play, but Lada adores Duchess.  And I really think Duchess loves Lada.  In spite of how they play, she's never "attacked" Lada..and she's had reason to.

And with the 2 puppies, more park visits were happening. The most shocking thing started happening. 
We like this blue dude.
At the dog park & at meets, Duchess didn't necessarily go off on her own.  She'd be right there in the middle of the chaos. Now, she wasn't necessarily playing, but she wouldn't be off by herself the whole time.   She would occasionally play a bit with the right dog, but she wasn't really a longer any longer.  

The big change is when I went to drop them off at daycare one morning.  Normally the hub would do it, but for whatever reason, I did this morning.  Duchess started getting super excited and howling in the car on the way to day care.    Then it eventually turned into going nutts in the drop off area.   Then it was knowing it was day care day.

Big Sis & baby sis

Duchess & Lada

Duchess & her shadow

The BIG change is when the owner of the daycare tells me she's got a "crush".  Duchess actually plays with other dogs and especially one she likes to follow around. 

 So you're reading it right here. Duchess, once a loner, now has a boyfriend!!!  

Playcare and her little annoying sister have forced this loner into a participator.    Who'd of thunk it?

I think I love you
near the boyfriend
She's becoming a stalker
Duchess and her love

Thursday, August 31, 2017

UPDATE on Pscyho...err I mean Lada

Happy 4th of July
Sorry it's been awhile between updates, especially on the newest one of the pack.   Little Lada may be small in size, but has a gigantic personality to go with her gigantic jump.

Lada loves ...EVERYTHING.   Well, actually not dogs (especially hyper big dogs) can freak her out.  She loves people. She loves her siblings. She loves her neighbors (human and canine). She loves car rides, parks, playcare, her toys, her Daddy and most importantly her Mommy.
Hi there!

The dog that Hubby wanted is super attached to me.  Now all heelers tend to bond to one or two humans.   That was the first thing we were told.   Peryn loves us both, but favors me more. debate. It's all about Mommy.

Her biggest faults is her jumping.  We've tried and tried and we can't stop it.  She loves to jump and greet you. And she doesn't just jump up, she jumps and jumps and jumps and jumps and watch out...she's in your face.    Girl can jump a minimum of 5 feet from a dead stop.   She's jumped over the door at day care NUMEROUS times. They've gotten smart and keep her behind the high fence when waiting for me to pick them up. They've learned their lesson.

She is a FANTASTIC traveler.   She's been my co-pilot on 3 separate trips down to Tenn to visit her Grandparents.   She is the best travel companion I've ever had.  

She does have a strong prey drive and has taken off after some, but she immediately comes back.   She cannot stand being far from me.

She's 95% house broken.   She can be stubborn and if you don't respond to letting her out when she tries to tell you, she WILL go in the house.  

Things she loves:  She LOVES her Scooby slipper.  Story of the Scooby Slipper. I had my favorite slippers back in 1999.  In early 2000, after moving to Florida and adopting Galen--he loved my slippers too.   He used to carry it around in his mouth and I let him. Which unfortunately led to him pulling off the head from one of the slippers.  He then constantly played with the Scooby head for months!!

Eventually, I found the same pair of slippers on Ebay and bought them. Wore them for over ...10 years I'd say.   When we adopted Peryn, the bottoms had holes in them and there was no more cushion. I gave them to Peryn.  He destroyed the one slipper.   Never really played with them after.  Lada on the other hand LOVES the slipper.  It's her go to toy.

She loves to play fetch. She loves the herding ball we bought. She and Peryn go crazy with it in the back yard.   She loves Athena.  Her BFF is Peryn, but Athena is her other playmate.   She and Duchess have a weird thing, but it's theirs.
Lada & Scooby

If you don't keep an eye on her, she will take your shoes.  Peryn did the same thing, but she is so non-nonchalant about it.  Currently as I write, she and Peryn are going at it and it includes the zoomies.  

She's a nester. She gets frustrated if she can't get her bed in the right way. Her frustration makes us laugh. ANYTIME she gets frustrated she makes these noises and it's funny.      She's a funny thing.

And...she's not any bigger.  She's still around 22lbs.  I'm going to do a DNA test on her soon (like I do with all them) to verify she's completely an ACD.  She is--it's obvious. Everything about her (minus her size) is ACD.  

She definitely does not like sharing me.  If I dare call to any other pup, she either jumps on them trying to start something or she jumps on me in order to block them.

Again, except for the incessant jumping, she's a wonderful dog.  OH! Wait..the licking. Yeah...that's not a favorite of ours either. When she's jumping, she's licking you... and she does.not. stop!
Little package--lots of love.

Other things she loves : lying on the backs of the couch & chairs. She loves to swim (better at it than Peryn. She ACTUALLY swims).

She's still the only one in a crate when we're gone. She can't be trusted and it has NOTHING to do with going in the house and everything to do with getting into everything.   She's still a curious puppy and she loves to chew.

Crate! It's what's for dinner!
Another thing that she is really good at that none of the other dogs have ever been able to do is play by herself.   There are days when I'm working from home or on the PC and she's quietly playing in the room with one of her toys.   It's quite adorable and such a contrast to the absolute CRAZY she lets out when greeting people.

She's scared of her Grandpa, but adores her Grandma.  She even loves her Uncle Jack--who is way too old to play with a pup.  
My little girl is going to be 11 months this upcoming week.   That means 1 month away from a year!  They're growing too fast.  

best buddies

On the road again! 3 fighting for the front seat.

She's on the new dog bed

I wanna play too!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

UPDATE on Peryn

His alligator
First, I feel bad that Athena's post /update wasn't that long.   Thing is, she's a pretty consistent and happy girl. She doesn't get into trouble and she just is.   So with that out of the way, let's get an update on Peryn!

Peryn. Peryn. Peryn.  What can I tell you about him?  First off, I love this guy with all my heart.  He's my little dude. There is just something about him that gets to you.  He's my little bully and my big sweetie.  

He has an OBSESSION with his toys: Anything that can be thrown or tugged.   His desire to play with other dogs comes way down the list of things he likes to do.  Well, that's not entirely true. He's content to chase after other dogs if he's got his ball in his mouth.    If there is a rope or it's long in nature, tug is his game of choice.   

herding ball
A new thing that has come into his and Lada's lives is the "herding ball".  It's just a big ole hard plastic Jolly Ball that they can't get their teeth around due to the size and material.  He and Lada go BEZERK running around the yard with that ball "herding" it.   When he's in the mood, he'll push it towards the neighbor, MC, to allow him to play along.  When he isn't, he's content to just play by himself.  

EVERY time the 2 of them go out, they're running towards their ball.   They're nutts!!

We've discovered recently that he's very "sensitive" to some things. He cannot stand getting yelled at.  He cannot stand disruption.  We have been in remodel mode for the past 2 weeks. It involved moving all the furniture on the first floor around from room to room. First to paint the living room and then to accommodate the flooring guys as we got new flooring throughout. 

Just prior to this, he attended a new day care* without Lada and regular day care without her.  He's lost without her.

So for those days he was hiding upstairs-even when we were downstairs.  Dude was not happy about the disruption.   Good news is that we're all done and he's mostly regained his equilibrium.

*The reason they were trying a new daycare & without Lada is this one is open on the weekends. I need a place to take them occasionally on the weekend and their regular playground is not open on the weekends.  Lada was unable to join them because they do not allow dogs over 6 months that are not spayed.    

Peryn is doing well otherwise.  He's a healthy 42 lbs and is just a great companion with a major obsession with FETCH.

He and Lada are still besties and he cannot stand doing stuff without her.  He's mopey when he has to do things without her.    He's been without her several times over the last 5 months or so.  She's come with me on my road trips to Tenn and unfortunately he's been unable to join us.    He's a great travel companion, but the dog at the other end of the trip isn't very hospitable.  Two males trying to show who's boss? Yeah not a great idea.

He really is a wonderful dog that I love so very much.   I'll admit, he's my favorite. It's hard not to love him with his personality--even when he annoys you.

His tug
Gramma loves him to death.  She is one of the few people who actually love to play fetch with him.   Too bad she can't visit more or that he can't visit her.    

He still has his tether tug outside which he LOVES.  Let's just face it, he loves all his toys.   His tether tug is great when he's in a frustrated mood to just yank and shake around things.  It's great when he's by himself.  If you have a Heeler and want one, get the XL size.  He broke the one for his "size" within 2 mins of getting his teeth on it.   

When we take him to dog parks or dog gatherings, he's all about the ball/toy/fetch.  He's pretty non-reactive to other dogs and that makes his a great companion.  He is the chillest passenger in the car-just happy to be along for the ride.    He's going to get to come with us on our next vacation & I"m excited about that!

He loves his Tether Tug
Peryn really is a joy to have in our lives. He was the best quick decision we ever made and don't regret it one bit.   He really helped put this breed on our radar more (we knew of them prior, just never considered them).   He is a big teddy bear and best bud in one furry package.   
He still gets along great with his other sisters, Duchess & Athena.  They really all interact more as a foursome than they did as a two-some and three-some.  I think the four of them are at where the Old Guard were as a pack.   They're fiercely protective of one another and love to play together.  Not to mention, only they can pick on each other--no other dog can!

Tug. Tug. Tug.

after Playcare----tired.

Whatcha doing?

So Very Handsome!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

UPDATE on Athena

at play-care
Athena, like Duchess, has changed a bit since bringing in the little ones. She plays a lot with Lada. They seem to have this sweet bond and I love watching them play.   Athena loves to go over with the Cattle dogs to play with MC or Bridger.   

She's also very clingy as of late.  She really lets it be known when she wants affection and does not shy away from DEMANDING it.   She really loves play-care as well.  She's still a sweet girl and couldn't hurt a fly.

She's still a barker and that really comes out when any of the dogs OTHER THAN her are playing.  

Physically she's doing OK. If she plays too much she ends up overdoing it.   Her hind legs/hips still bother her.  In fact when I picked her up from play-care I was told she started limping and was forced to rest for a bit. Sounds totally Athena.   

Mommy & Athena
She has problems getting in and out of the car and we often have to help her. She still hates going on car rides (or I should say she still whines and barks).

She definitely is a dog who is loving their second chance at life.  Whatever bad stuff or horrors she may have had prior to us, haven't effected her emotionally -- that we can tell.   

She LOVES being outdoors. She loves to just watch and chase squirrels.  She absolutely hates gunfire and barks whenever the shots from the gun range sound.

She loves her pack. She loves to sleep and will NOT get up once she's down for the night. She has a bladder of steel.  She loves going to dog parks and you will always find her zipping around looking for some fun. She enjoys jumping in the water with the other dogs, but doesn't swim or play with them once in. 

Resting at play-care
She loves our neighbors and she loves us.  
Her physical pains are going to be the thing that most slows her down, but she is a very happy girl.

Her visible injuries from her previous life are barely noticeable these days. Again, the only real reminder is the problem with her back legs and hips.     She really is a doll and we're so happy she's with us. 
Nature watching
Running at the park

Friday, July 28, 2017

UPDATE on Duchess

Daddy..can I have some
I've not been updating nor have the dogs gotten anytime to fill you in on everything going on.  I'm going to focus on each dog so they all get their fair share.

Duchess is doing well. In some ways, I see her showing her age.  Daddy can take them on a small walk around the neighborhood and that'll be enough when once upon a time we were walking 3 miles easily.  

She's softened up. Lada & Peryn and the "competition" have made her more direct with her seeking attention. She will cuddle up in bed (weather permitting) and she will come to us for some affection.  

I FINALLY got a kiss. It's been about 3 years since she last gave someone a kiss, so this made me very happy. A few of us were in competition as to who would receive the next kiss.    
I'm surprised it wasn't our neighbor K.   
Rare Photo!

They LOVE K and her son. K helped take care of them when Lada was a puppy needing to be let out more and when we left them home while we were away.  K spoils them with treats, affection, & walks.  If they have an INKLING she's out when I let them out, they fly over there...ESPECIALLY Duchess.  

Duchess is more likely to engage with another dog at the park or daycare these days.  It's nice to see she's not entirely a loner like she once was.

Lada & Duchess still have a weird relationship.   If it's truly "playing" they do, it' looks and sounds more like 2 dogs who don't like each other.   They do it often and never really attack each other, so I guess it's their form of playing.   It just is annoying as it gets the others all wound up.

Unfortunately, Duchess & Athena have been "left behind" a bit more often than not.  Daddy takes the pups for walks at the park.  He's too tired to do another when he gets home and I'm having knee issues preventing me from walking the girls alone.

So regal
We took the ACD's to an ACD meetup and the big girls were left behind. They do not travel well and a 2 hour trip is not something we would enjoy with them barking, howling and whining in the back.   In a few months we're going down to the state park and the big 2 are being left behind.  1) we can only bring 2 dogs to the cabin and 2) the little ones have more energy to burn.   I think we're going to try something different this time around with the big girls.

Duchess is quite funny with some of her....routines/habits.  For example, when we're at the park and she's had enough (doesn't matter what the other dogs are doing) , she goes to the fence or off near the exit and sits there-Usually looking out, back to us.   When she's done, she's done.

Another is her morning "constitutional".  If I'm late delivering that AND I'm awake, she will walk over to me and make sure she touches me with her nose and then walks over to the door, looking over her shoulder.  It's her way of saying.. "uhhm Mom..let's go!" She is ALL about routine. Don't do something that throws that off.  She will let you hear it.

As time has gone on, her husky howl is more prominent. She howls at everything now..  Why bark when she has a howl?   It cracks me up every time.

Bathing Beauty
She still loves to sun bathe OR lay in the shade. It all depends on time of day and her mood.  She can be found either on the patio getting some sun or along the back in the cool grass and shade.    Love that some things don't change. It's like her Husky & Boxer side are fighting each other.   The Husky wants it cool and the boxer enjoys the heat!

I adore this girl.
Duchess and "HER " spot

Thursday, July 6, 2017

This breed....

Hey! Before I post updates on the puppers goings ons, I wanted to talk about something we've discovered.

We've had our numerous fur children since 2000 when we first adopted Galen.   We adored the Old Guard very much and still miss them so freaking much.   Because of them, we've always talked about getting another "Eskimo/Collie" mix or Dutch Shepherd, but it was in the 'only if we find the right one' type of mindset.

Before we brought home Peryn, our knowledge of the Australian Cattle Dog was very minimal. We were aware of the breed and the very basics, but that was it.   Since bringing him home, we've done our research and joined the numerous groups to gleam as much information about him and now of course Lada.   

One thing we've come to discover, we love this breed.    Prior to Peryn, Rich had wanted a Husky, so having our half husky  half boxer mix was pretty close to it.  However after hanging out and learning from other Husky owners, we're quite happy with our half and half.  
We're totally in love with the Australian Cattle Dog.

Peryn has a lot to do with that, of course.   Lada as well, but Peryn is a character all his own.   He owns Mommy's heart.  Additionally, there is just something about this breed. They are so freaking smart and loving and I don't think I've come across one ACD that I do not like.

We attended our 2nd Annual Cattle Dog Cookout in June.  It was quite a blast and we got to interact more with everyone than we did last year.  Cattle dogs are just so regal and intelligent and..PSYCHO...or maybe that's just Lada.

Don't get us wrong, we still love all dogs and when and if the situation is right for it, we'll adopt another in need...but don't be surprised if it's another ACD.

We love all our kiddoes, but since Peryn & Lada are younger and have so much more energy-we play with them a lot.  I think that interaction has helped build a bond.

Sadly, I see so many re homing posts about these guys (and Huskies too).  I really wish people would research a breed before bringing them home. No matter the breed, each dog is unique in their own way. However there are big parts of their personalities and mannerisms that they inherit from their breed.

Heelers, another name for ACDs, got that nickname because they tend to bite and nip at the heels of the cattle they're herding.  My dogs are nowhere near cattle, but watching them play with others you will see them go for the heel.  It's in there genes.  Additionally as puppies they were very nippy.  We've been able to get Peryn to stop his nipping and for the most part have it almost gone from Lada, but it's still there.  

Almost every re-homing post mentions they're being given up for nipping and biting. Education people!  This goes for EVERY dog you adopt.  That's another reason I will always highly recommend dog DNA tests.   Sometimes you need to know what you're working with. 

Lil ms Lada

Duchess for example.  She was adopted to us as a "Shepherd Mix".   After her DNA tests, she was discovered to be 50/50 Boxer/Husky (Boxsky).   This is important to us to know how to deal with her in certain situations and daily life.

For example,, she's s rough player.  We discovered this early on at the dog park and unfortunately scared away man other dog owners.  Through North Ohio Husky & Malamute Enthusiasts, we found a group where she can be herself and everyone understands. 

Additionally we can watch out for typical behaviors of the other breeds.   

I think EVERYONE should get to know the dogs they're bringing home. It can make all the difference.

So, as I said...we're in love with ACD's and while we know they're not for everyone, we love ours to death!

If you want more information, look it up or feel free to contact us with specific questions.