I volunteer for New Rattitude Rat Terrier Rescue
Helping to find rescued Ratties in need their second chance at life in good fit forever homes.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Moon's Got Mail!

We found out about this cool program called Bark Box. For a reasonable cost we get a monthly subscription to the Bark Box program. Once a month we get to try a few toys, treats and other cool dog paraphernalia, all delivered to our door. We got our first one this month and Moon got to sample some fun and tasty items!

Moon and Jenny ponder together what this box is all about. It has smells inside!

Yup this is something pretty fantastic as far as Moon can smell.

How Fun! 2 nice bags of healthy treats and then there is a wool rat.....and a hemp fabric bone! What is that other little thing in there?

Moon is part Rattie so of course she would be interested in this life size rat.

Moon softly gnaws the woolen toy

Skip likes this bone and with it made of hemp fabric it is safe and eco friendly!

nom nom

This is the other thing in the box...it is a cool little poop bag dispenser that looks like a fire hydrant! All dog lovers can use one of these!

Moon thinks the tail of this thing makes an excellent tooth cleaner.

Our pack and Moon are very happy to be taste testing those yummy treats. I wonder what April's box has in store!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Moon is Foster Dad's Little Girl

When Moon first arrived it took her some time to warm up to my husband Dave. In the beginning I was the go-to human. The way Dave handled this was to give her all the space she needed to get comfortable with him in her presence. Because he didn't push it with her she took chances with him quicker than if he had tried to pet her or pick her up. The first thing she did was to find that his lap was pretty snugly and after all the other dogs loved to be there so he had to be safe!

Even though Moon had discovered Dave's lap it took a bit more time to really begin to trust him.

But as time has gone on, four weeks now that Moon has been in our home....well things really have changed with their relationship, proving once again that time, patience, backing off, and allowing the dog to warm up at her own pace pays off in a big BIG way! Moon is definitely foster daddy's girl now.

A big step for Moon to stretch out like this. Trust is a beautiful thing isn't it?

I love this picture. Stretching...........Makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

Moon likes to nibble on Dave's fingers very lightly.
I love my foster daddy.....

Monday, March 25, 2013

Moon Follows Her Nose

Nosework is an awesome sport. It is a great sport for any dog. We started to notice after a few walks with Moon where she started to feel comfortable, even completely enjoying her time out in nature, that she almost always has her nose to the ground sniffing. She sniffs animal trails, fern fronds, anything an animal has walked by and touched or peed on. She sniffs rocks and water and mud. She sniffS sniFFS SNIFFS everything she can and all the while her tail is wagging or up at attention or relaxed but not slung under her body like in the beginning when she first arrived. Sniffing and seeking is her game so I thought Nosework a game where she would figure out which box held a treat would be right up her ally. It is a quiet sport so she wouldn't be overwhelmed by noise, it is a self rewarding sport, find the box with the treat and eat it! Sounds good to me! And because she has to maneuver boxes and new things in her environment she gets a good dose of confidence building :) The cool thing is we can do this at home.

Today has to be the nicest day of the year so far and Moon was enjoying the warmth of the sun as much as anyone.

More exploring....
This first video is the very first time I threw the boxes out for Moon to see what she would do. My dogs were in the house and Skip and Liza were having fits that they were missing out, but this was Moon's turn to shine and shine she did! The thing is I am not supposed to help her or say anything. This makes it all about her and she can take the time she needs. I made sure to keep an eye on her tail position, I wanted this to be ok for her and not stressful. By the position of her tail, relaxed I think she was just fine with the boxes. Moon is so smart she didn't take any time at all to figure out what to do.

In this second try video Moon checked a couple boxes out but then stops. My camera was running low so I stopped and then picked back up once she got interested again, but the waiting is just as important as the finding, the dog really has to think about what they need to do.

This third video is super cool. You will see her sniffing the air. A breeze had picked up and she was catching a whiff of those yummy treats on the wind. She wanders around a bit, pondering the scent wafting in the air, then she hones in on it. My camera battery died but I got most of it.

Moon Has A Lot To Teach Me Part 3 Labeling

When describing Moon I have been working on being conscious of what words I choose to use to explain who this little girl is. It is quite the exercise to listen to the words we use to describe our dogs and to change our language from saying something like, "Moon is a fearful dog", and then leaving that to hang in the air and not following up with, "Moon is also a resilient, silly, intelligent, snugly, super fast runner, who loves to play with toys, other dogs, and us!" Yes Moon has some fear stuff we are working on. So do I. Yes Moon can be suspicious when meeting new people, so am I. Yes Moon is hesitant about new things and has to go slow in the beginning to build up to being ok in a new environment or with new people, so am I! But that is not all she is, just like that is not all I am.

Baggage comes along with all of us as we journey through this life. Sometimes our bags are fuller than other times.  We tend to carry our baggage around with us but sometimes we leave some of it behind. Moon has some fear in her bags, and knowing this helps me to know how best to build our relationship, but Moon is sooooo much more than a fearful dog and she is showing me every day what she's got packed in those bags and a lot of it is super fun and positive! I am enjoying being part of Moon's journey and helping her to unpack those bags and taking a look at what she's got in there. Labeling her a fearful, shy, or skittish dog would just be so limiting to who she is. I have made that mistake with my personal dogs and am bound and determined to learn from my myriad of mistakes and use what I've learned to help Moon and the next foster and the next.

So who is Moon? 

Moon is a rich assortment of all sorts of wonderful traits and treasures. She is a gorgeous white and tan Rat Terrier-Chihuahua who is full of life and possibility. She has been a mom to two pups who also made it into foster homes with New Rattitude. Moon is intelligent, fiesty and silly and playful and sweet. At times she is frightened, hesitant, suspicious and cautious. Other times she is snugly, and cuddly and goofy and curious and LOVES to explore. She is a hunter when she pounces on toys and wants to chase birds and butterflies. Moon is fassssssst and runs like the wind. She loves to do rattie runs and sniff around in the snow.  Moon is nothing less that a wonderful dog with many many sides to her personality. These are just a few labels we could place on Moon, but the best label to describe lovely Moon is Pure Potential. This is what Moon is teaching me......everything.

Moon loves opossum.

Sleepy Moon
Sweet dreams....zzzzzzzzz

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Moon Has A Lot To Teach Me Part 2 Trusting

Part 1 of this series was all about Moon getting to pilot her walk on leash on the Moss Lake trails. But you might be asking why this is significant or why aren't we teaching her to heel or to follow us where we want to go. Is this about letting a dog have no boundaries, no training? Am I saying a dog should just be able to decide when she wants to come out of the car, get in, and where she wants to walk and how long it takes? Well not exactly. Moon has learned along the way that she has good reason to be hesitant, suspicious, fearful, and the biggie, not to trust humans. We don't know the whole story and honestly it doesn't really matter. What does matter is that we read her body language and use that to help us learn what we need to do to help her to trust us. What we did was set up a time when she could be her own pilot, when we knew we had the time to give and not be in a rush. There is plenty of time for her to learn to sit and stay and earning her trust as quickly as we can will only help us when it is time for more boundaries. Right now we are building a relationship with her so she will be excited to do some basic training, she will want to run outside to go potty when we ask, she will want to get her harness and leash on, she will want us to pick her up, and those won't just be more things for her to feel suspicious about.

As we were walking along and I was contemplating Moon and trust and fear. How would I feel if I was feeling scared and someone decided to flood me with whatever I was afraid of? Or someone was making me do the thing I was afraid to do too fast. I would freak! I have a fear of walking over logs on hikes that have running water going under. I know intellectually that I can swim and that I will be ok but it just scares me to do it and sometime I freeze up. If my husband just touches me, takes my hand lightly, I can go right across. I don't know why that is, except that I trust him, and so that allows me to be able to do the thing I don't feel I can do. If someone said "come on, just do it!, hurry up!, go go go", I would freeze and if pushed get pissed or break down.

So my thought for letting Moon make a whole bunch of choices for herself, and us having the time to let her decide for herself in an environment where that was ok to do, that she would learn that she could trust us. If she learns she can trust us then the other sides of Moon can shine. If she learns to trust us then she will feel with us like I feel on the log, that she can eventually let us guide her and she will be safe. She could start to let her guard down and be a silly, playful, sassy, intelligent, ready to learn new things and go new places to meet new people kind of dog!

Here are a few more examples of Moon on our walk that day and the good news is she really is blossoming and showing us what a resilient girl she is!

There are all sorts of little tchotchkes people have planted on this trail.
Moon has discovered she loves to smell everything! I think some fun nose work games are the next thing I will be trying with her.

In the first few walks we did with Moon she would always stay behind us, not wanting anyone to walk behind her. If we did get behind her she would either freeze or she would make a fast maneuver to get back behind us. On this walk she decided exploring trumped her worry for if we were behind her and she actually took the lead for the better part of the day. Here Moon is in front of all of us including our dogs! (she is leashed, just doesn't look like it)

That small white spot at the front is Moon, leading the way.

Typically Moon has not felt comfortable in our walks to go potty on the leash or away from home. She would literally hold it and then once we got home, which could be quite a few hours, she would go in the yard where she felt safe. In this video she was feeling confident enough to stop and pee. This might not seem like a big thing but it really was significant for her. She is learning to trust her surroundings and being on a leash.

This next video is taken in this real overgrown mossy part of the trail where there are a lot of twists and turns. Moon had turned up this trail and she did just great on it.

We could really tell on this hike that Moon was learning she could trust us. We even passed a couple of other people on the trail and she was so busy sniffing she didn't really pay much attention to them. She met a big dog too. I picked her up at first but she wanted back down so I let her down and she sniffed the dog and then continued on her way.

This next video is of a little brook I love. Moon only felt comfortable to check it out briefly and then she moved away. Skip on the other hand had to check it out more thoroughly.

Monday, March 18, 2013

yes yES YES Moon!!

Yes in deed Moon is making strides! Up until today Moon has not really been secure with us holding a treat out for her to take. We tried Ziwi Peak and small bits of canned food, we tried kibble, and then roast. She perked up for the roast and it was the most high value but still not enough to trump her apprehension for luring or even getting her to go out the door to go potty. So I broke down and bought some hot dogs. I like to be sure anything I give the dogs is high quality and so I got the best hot dogs I could find. Organic, grass fed, all beef no nitrates or nitrites or anything artificial added.

I decided to charge the word Yes today, rather than a clicker, as I felt the clicker might be scary for her and also I always have my Yes with me wherever I go. Moon and I went in a room together and I started by just saying yes quietly and giving her a very tiny piece of hotdog. This perked her up! I did this several times and then waited. She stood staring down where I had the bowl of yummies and then she did the most awesome thing, she looked at me. I quickly replied "Yes" and gave her a treat. I sat there again no words, she pawed at my hand then she went and got on the couch. I sat. She came back down in front of me and sat, "yes" treat. Now she was sitting in front of me and I could tell the wheels were turning. She gave me a quick glance and made eye contact, yes, treat. I was getting so excited but stayed calm. I tossed a treat away from me and she went to get it, ate it, then back to sit in front of me, yes, treat. She tossed me a glance and actually looked me in the eye a fraction of a second longer, yes, treat.

I decided to try and lure her into a sit and it worked! yes, treat. I put out my hand flat close to her face and she nosed it to smell, yes, treat. We did that 3 more times with my hand out farther each time! We finished up with the last treat with me waiting for a sit and then a little longer eye contact, she did it! yes, treat. Joy!

I got up to walk outside and grabbed some Ziwi Peak as I went out the door, she followed, something she wasn't really willing to do before but hey I am the treat lady with the yummies now! YES!

We played around outside and everytime she came to me she got a treat. She peed and when I said "yes" I quickly gave her a treat. PROGRESS!

At one point she walked around on her hind legs asking for a treat, did I create a monster???? No I think she finally figured out the treat wasn't something I was going to give her so I could capture her, or lure her into something she was not sure she wanted to do. I am just the fun lady with yummies that she gets when she does something amazing! Which in my eyes is pretty much everything.

I recorded some video of her trying to get her to do her dance and what I like is that she is wagging her tail and trying to figure out what I am asking of her. She also has her tail tucked too but she is making progress for sure.

It is a bit clunky and shaky and not an official training session but I was excited she was paying attention to me and taking treats that I thought it significant enough to post :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Moon Has A Lot To Teach Me Part 1 Choosing

I am learning so much from Moon. She is teaching me the art of patience, allowing, slowing down, not getting my way, and that my agenda is not hers. I mean this in the best of ways! These are all traits I need to hone and having Moon around is helping me look at myself and to tweak my expectations and the way I look at life in general. This is just one of the many benefits to fostering rescue dogs.

Two of my fellow foster parents have written wonderful teaching blog posts since going to a Kathy Sadau workshop together a few weeks ago. I have been learning a lot from reading about what they learned and every time I read something from the new thoughts and practices vs old school dog training I am astounded at how the new information and ideas inspire me and feel so right. I am so fortunate to be fostering Moon at this time because she is the perfect dog for me to practice what I am learning and she shows me every day where I can do better, be more creative, and to think outside of the box. I was so intrigued by a game to help build confidence in a dog that is all about letting the dog choose that I decided that I would try and continue that theme by letting Moon choose many times in 1 day and I would see if there were any shifts in her. To see other posts on  this very theme please see The Special Box, Hobbs Chooses Again, and Magic Treat Box.

Moon has really come along way with riding in the car from the terrified and even physically ill dog she became when riding in a moving vehicle. Moon is crated in the car for safety and one area we are working on is getting her out of the crate when we get to our destination. She wants to come out but she is nervous and conflicted. We can see that she really wants to come out but just doesn't feel safe about it. Reaching in to a crate to pull a dog like Moon out will do nothing more than break any trust we have earned from her, not to mention could incite a nip or worse a bite (most dogs do not do well feeling cornered) so we have a system and it is working. We attach a light leash to her harness before we put her in her crate now that we drape out the door so we can easily get it and this way when we need Moon to come out of her crate we are not risking her escaping by us in fear if she did decide to bolt. When we get to our destination we take the crate out of the car and set it on the ground with the door open and we have her leash in hand. We DO NOT pull her, she gets all the time she needs to make the choice to come out of the crate. Again pulling her out would only make her not trust us. When she is ready and feels brave she walks out on her own. This is what we did when we arrived at our hiking spot on Friday.

Waiting for Moon

In less than a minute Moon chose to come out of the crate. Yay Moon!
Moon has been with us two weeks now and she has come a long way from that freaked out little girl we picked up from her transport to our care. Initially she did not like the feel of a harness let alone the tension of a leash. Early on we understood that to work with her on leash and just get her to walk we needed to make sure as best we could to not let the leash tug at her or pull at her, if it did she would go into freak mode and try to bolt. When you think about it, the feel of harnesses and collars and leashes attached to a body must be a very odd feeling. I know if someone harnessed and leashed me up even to guide me, in the beginning, especially if I did not know the person I would not like it either. Here is a picture from our first walk with Moon 2 weeks ago.
It is easy to see how uncomfortable she was.

So on this hike Moon got to choose a lot. Pretty much everything, the pace we went, where she wanted to walk, in front, on the side, in back of us. She got to stop whenever she wanted to sniff for as long as she wanted, she got to take us down a different trail than we might have planned on. It was her day and there was magic in the air.

Notice the difference? Tail up and and Moon really got into smelling her surroundings. This made us so happy!

She loved this moss forest as much as we did I think.

Moon wanted to check out standing on this log, tail still out from that tucked position she had it in on that first day on leash.

Alert, curious, gorgeous! You can see the transformation she is making in just two weeks.

More curiosity and healing....

In this video clip you will see Moon meet Moss Lake and again we are just astounded at how inquisitive and brave she was feeling this day. She was choosing so many options for herself, and we enjoyed where she was taking us.

In this next clip, which is one of my favorite clips, you will see Moon show a little apprehension about checking out a stream off the trail. She had to actually go down a hill to it but she did it, all her choice, we did not encourage or discourage, this is all her. She then stops in the trail and so we stop too. You can just feel her brain is unwinding, there are just all these choices for her, continue down the trail, smell a plant, go back where we came from, what to do? Then to our amazement she even ventures down the other side of the trail where she had to stretch the leash out all the way, putting lots of pressure on it and pulling but she was so curious it seemed to redirect her from the feelings of not liking the leash to pull.

Since this will be a three part series I will end this post with getting back to the car and the choice Moon made for the first time. Normally she has been a bit fearful of being near the car and getting her back into her crate meant we had to pick her up, which she can be a little hesitant about, and then getting her into her crate she normally would go in willingly from our arms. But here is what she did to top of her day of choosing, luckily I had the video camera in hand and realized what was about to happen so I got it recorded!

Moon all snuggled in after her day of choosing for herself.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Moon and Skip Play Together

I have been keeping some new toys put away for quite some time now. Some I won at the New Rattitude summer auction, some were given to me, and some we purchased along the way. Toys are pricey and Birdie is hard on toys so I like to let the dogs all get their use out of toys before adding in new ones. Because Moon has shown herself to be gentle on toys I decided today was the day to get the new things out and see what she would do with a basket full of new toys at her paws. These pictures and video were taken over a period of about 3 hours. She started out with one and as the morning went on...well she turned into a toy hoarder!

I took her in the other room, where I could close the door and let her do her thing. Skip was whining at the door to join us, and because he is so sweet with Moon and not a toy stealer I let him in too. Moon and Skip like to mouth the toys but they never tear or degut them, more just suckle them and squeeze them gently, it was so sweet.

Moon and Skip testing new toys together

What else is in here?
This is Skip suckling a kitty by Upcountry I won in the NR auction. He will stay like this for 15 minutes to 1/2 hour rocking in this exact position. I am not sure why he does it but this behavior is very endearing to me.
This armedillo did not make a peep even though her tail was being gnawed on. :)

Moon is such a gentle girl with toys

Moon turned out to be quite the hoarder and spent a good amount of time accumulating toys on the loveseat.

Pretty Princess

It's tiring keeping track of all these furry friends.....

Moon Has Moves!

The morning that Sunbeam was to go to her forever home year old Moon decided to remind Sunbeam that she is faster and has trickier moves than the 5 month old Sunbeam, in case Sunbeam had any other thoughts on the subject.

Moon also has taken up sparring with Birdie, the other white dog, on a semi regular basis, proving this sometimes shy girl has many other sides to her. Moon is the dog without the black spot on her side and ears :)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sunbeam Adopted Take Two!

Well that didn't take long! Exactly 1 week to the day that we had Sunbeam back in our care she is going home. Her new home will be better suited to this sensitive girl and she will have all the time she needs to mature in body and mind and leave her "piddly" problems behind her. She has already met her new parents and she did super with her meet and greet and showed them her "sit" in perfect form. She checked out the beautiful back yard where she will can play with her family and lie out in the sun on the big deck just off the house. She felt comfortable to wander the house and even got in her new parent's laps a few times. Sunbeam will get to go for hikes on the weekends in the Cascades and there is talk of an over night back back trip too! Everything this girl could ask for. She got lots of pets and ooooo's and ahhhhhh's and it was clear from the minute the door was opened that Sunbeam has a calm, and supportive home to call forever. We could not be happier for this sweet sweet girl.

Here are a few pictures of her with her going home toy, a pink dinosaur that makes a crinkly sound and also squeaks if she bites down just right. Happy Tails to Sunbeam!

Breaking in her going home toy.....

The tag is just as enticing...LOL, her new mom and dad love her white front paws....

Sunbeam says thank you to New Rattitude for giving her a second chance at a forever home.