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.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What I Mean When I Say Timken HAS To Go Slooooooooow...

I don't want to belabor the point but it is worth mentioning again that Timken is a very under-socialized doggie. What that means is he did not have an opportunity when he was a puppy on into his first year to have lots and lots of positive experiences with humans, other dogs, sights, sounds, vibrations, smells, and quite frankly anything novel. So for Tim anything new is a challenge for him to trust and feel good about. He is a submissive dog by nature so he has an extremely sensitive temperament and disposition. We want Tim to find his forever home but he will need a special family who is very patient and okay with going slow. We have had the pleasure of fostering a few tender dogs like Tim (Moon, Isetta, Sierra, Cony) but so far Tim is the "softest" dog we have fostered and that has taught us even more in how we need to work with him to set him up for success and not push him over threshold which is so easy to do if we aren't thinking out side of the box. Mistakes have been made but I am learning more and more and hope to keep them to a minimum. (there will be a blog post on a mistake I made soon :)

In a previous post we had introduced Tim to the Kyjen Tail Teaser, a toy most ratties love to chase, catch, shake and tug with us. But Tim was very skeptical about the toy. I mean who can blame him, it has a long stick thing, with a long cord, and a crazy tail thing on the end that rattles and squeaks if bitten into. To a dog like Tim this is just too scary. I decided to try it again with him today. I tried holding the wand and walking as slow as I could around the house with it trailing behind me, to see what he might do, if he he might be curious about it. He glanced from afar but then went and jumped into his chair and hunkered down. Okay that told me what I was doing was still too much for him. So here is what I did....

I decided to just lay it quietly on the ground near the chair he was in. To my surprise Tim jumped down and walked right over it. Brave!

I then got the toy and sat down on the floor next to it and just waited to see what would happen. Again to my surprise Tim came over and did this thing he does. It looks like a play bow but I honestly don't think that is what it is. He does this quite often when he is stressed, but he was doing it close to the toy so I just sat quietly taking pictures.

He moved positions and did it again. (Notice his leg is almost all healed up!)

Here I set my hand close to the cord and he stayed in this bow position for quite a while. I still said nothing.
I was amazed when he sniffed the cord! More brave behavior on his part. I know this seems like nothing but to Tim this is work. His brain is working, he has to muster up his courage to stay with it and sniff the cord which in his mind could harm him at any moment. I was so happy but still kept completely silent so he didn't have to feel like I was egging him on. This was all his choice and that is what he needs right now.

I moved the cord very slightly and kept my hand near and he sniffed again. I was giddy inside...

Timken had gone out of the room and I decided to put the tail on my leg in case he came back in, I was curious what he would do. Sybil decided to come and check it out, she had been cautious of the Tail Teaser too but not nearly as worried as Tim. I laughed when I realized she matched the tail.

A little later I had it on another leg and Tim came in and stood his front paws on me to check it out! WOW!
Here Tim does the nervous bow but keeps his front legs on me for reassurance.
Here Tim is even more on top of me, he does this a lot for reassurance, he likes to be on me or my husband. But he is looking at the tail so this is awesome!
Here he managed to get as close to me as possible, he is pushed right into my chest but still looking at the tail. You might be wondering why I am not giving him treats. I chose not to work with treats because of another experience I had that back fired with treats. (I will blog about this and explain more in a later post)
Sybil comes in and starts to play with me and the tail part of the toy.
Sybil inspires Tim to even get braver! Look at him now, no bow, not on me, he is on his own checking the thing out! Still I just sat there and didn't praise him for fear that he would feel pressure from me.
Sybil gets really brave and Tim is following suit. Sybil helps Tim a lot in our house and we are very thankful for that. (nice curious ear position and facial expression)
This just blows me away! I had gotten up and went to my computer to download the above pictures off my camera and when I  turned around to my surprise there was Sybil chewing on the tail and Tim lying down in a relaxed state just watching over her. Oh my gosh I was so thrilled as I hurried to grab the camera to snap the shot.

So this little story gives you an idea of how rewarding it is to work with a dog like Timken. It also will demonstrate what kind of nurturing, patience, and commitment anyone who adopts him will need. When you adopt a dog who needs a lot of socialization in small increments and with an unlimited timetable it is not for everyone, but I know there is someone out there who will be up for the challenge and Tim will not disappoint. He is a loving, goofy, super intelligent boy and the rewards are endless when working with him. Seeing him blossom in less than two months has been miraculous. Just think how far he will go in his forever home!

Sybil Looking Good in Green.

Sybil is not a fan of the cold weather we have been having. She really dislikes rain coupled with cold and will choose to hunker down in the house checking outside from time to time to see if summer is back yet and hoping for a warm sunspot to appear somewhere in the home so she can bask in it.

So we tried a coat on her to see if it helped her feel warmer when outside. The green coat belongs to our dog Birdie who shares in Sybil's feeling of cold and or rainy wet weather. It is probably the Chihuahua these girls share in their genes. Since all the other dogs love to get out for walks even when it is cold Sybil still gets plenty of chances to venture out.

I think I look adorable in this color!

Okay, so I'm out here, when can we go back in?

I can hardly resist inspecting these leaves in the yard.
 We don't always give the foster dogs access to the whole acre so when we were working out in the yard we closed both street gates and let them explore the property. Tim and Sybil were having a blast!

 Timken and Sybil do more exploring together.

Sybil trying out the new coat on a city walk in Edmonds, WA

Jack Russell Terrier wishing he could join us for a walk.

Skip and Sybil reading the Pmail

Skip leaving his Pmail for the next pup to read. lol

Sybil finds it is warm near the fence with the sun radiating off it. Can we just stop here for a while?

Oh well you didn't tell me there were more things to sniff.

These are pretty flowers.

Ahhhh more sun to warm me up, can we go back to the car now?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Timken Learns About Life In The Real World, Part 1

Our sweet foster boy Timken has had a less than optimal start to life. The fact is he was not socialized and he most likely has not had very good interactions with the few humans he was raised around. Because of this he is hand shy, freaks out with sudden noises or movement, cowers if we try to pick him up too fast, can submissive pee if he perceives anything is awry in our movements toward him, and is completely awkward when it comes to dog-dog interaction. These are the realities of Tim right now-------BUT there is more to Timken than this, much much more.

He is smart, this is not just foster mom saying her foster boy is smart either. In the right environment where he feels safe he learns fast! He learned the cue "touch" in one session. Touch is where I offer my hand with the cue "touch" and he will touch my hand with his nose and get a treat. This has been a great game for him to learn that an opened hand means something good. In the beginning tries I had to modify my hand movement and position because just offering him a flat hand had him pancaking and he was clearly uncomfortable. I quickly changed up, slowed down, and BAM he got it and now will search for my hand to "touch" in most positions.

In talking with a fellow foster mom about Tim we both came to the conclusion that is was time to get Tim out and work on slowly socializing him to the real world outside the safety of his foster home with us and the walking trails we frequent where there is no one else but us and our dogs.

We decided to go to a small park near us, mid week, mid day, so that there would be minimal foot traffic and Tim could start to hear the noises of a small city and he could stretch his comfort zone in a safe and hopefully positive way.

Here is the park we chose to get Timken out and about. As you can see not a lot going on, but we did encounter a few new people and a dog or two.

Here is Tim walking with foster dad, nice tail position, nice ear position. He is doing great!

 You might want to turn the speakers down as there is wind noise on this video.
In this clip you can see Timken is not 100% sure about things, he zig zagz and his body language is not real comfortable but he is doing pretty good considering he has never been here and there were lots of noises he wasn't sure about, (train in the distance, cars, planes over head, kids playing in the parking lot etc...) You will see Tim balk part way in, this was because there was some loud noise of air pressure being released. He recovered quickly and moved on the sniff the cool red fire hydrant, then he gets some reassurance from Dave and then he moves on. I was super impressed with this!

In this clip Dave took Tim up and then down some stairs. Tim was still a bit wary but I didn't feel he was so uncomfortable that we should stop. He seemed curious and interested in moving forward. Then to my surprise there was a woman with her cute JRT at the bottom of the stairs and Tim did great! He and Skip both decided to get some reassurance from Dave but all and all it was a good meeting and Tim was a rock star!

Another wonderful sign here in this clip. There is an off leash dog park that we were walking by and Tim walked by just fine, even with dogs playing there. I could tell by him and Skip that they knew dogs were over there as they were both zig zagging, but it was a great walk-by and again, I was so proud of Tim.

Timken really started to get the hang of walking along at the park.  He did really well and we will come back again and again to continue working on public places and feeling safe. Stay tuned as we get Tim out and about into more real world situations as we do baby steps with him to build his confidence toward being a more well rounded and balanced rattie boy.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Photo-shoot Going For 8

OK the last photo-shoot we did was with 6 dogs and we barely got a picture with them all in. But this time we had 4 personal dogs, 2 foster dogs (Timken and Sybil) and 2 visiting dogs (Vespa and Elphie). When Vespa's moms came to pick up the girls they were excited for me to try and get all 8 into the photo.

I count 7 in this picture. What a herd of little dogs!

Pretty sure there are 7 in this picture.
7 and where the heck is Liza? Plus the camera strap is in the picture...try again

7 again, no Liza and camera strap still in photo...this is harder than you would think lol

Again no Liza but the strap is gone. Love Elphie's smile. If Birdie had been looking at the camera this would have been a good 7 dog photo

ok we regrouped, Dave is working the crowd now, and who is that I see? Liza Bear has joined in, so there is 8!!!!

Quite the blur of black and white.

Ok we did get 8 dogs in but no one is looking at the camera, I am sure there will be another chance to try, A for effort!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Behind The Scenes Rescue Angel/Lynn Bonham

Little Vespa says "Thank you to Lynn Bonham for rescuing me"
Moon says "Thank you Lynn!"
The biggest question I get when talking to people about being a foster mom for New Rattitude is "How can you foster a dog then let the dog go to his forever home?", and the second biggest question is, "why do all your foster dogs come from California?"

Sierra (left) would not be able to use all 4 legs if Lynn hadn't helped to get her the surgery she needed. And Nash would not be able to be in a loving family with 2 kids that he adores if it weren't for Lynn.
When I started volunteering for NR I had no idea how a rescue works. I knew what foster parents did, sort of,  and I was trained to be an Adoption Coordinator. I knew why I wanted to volunteer for a dog rescue as I had been taught from day one that adopting a dog or cat was a good way to make sure that I would be helping to give a dog or cat a home who really needed one and would be euthanized otherwise. Being that I am from CA I heard all the time even in the 60's and 70's how many dogs and cats were euthanized and things seem to be still quite the same today. So for me there was no other option when I was ready to add another canine friend to my life but to adopt.

Pixie says "I love you Lynn and thank you for rescuing me"

I try to explain to people how and why our NR foster parents in WA/OR get our foster dogs from Central CA, but it is tough to explain all the intricacies, not to mention get all the steps right and all the players who work behind the scenes. As a foster parent and also AC I am very well known to the adopters of our rescue dogs and they are always so appreciative of what I/we foster parents do for these sweet babies. But we are at the end of the rescue journey and all our foster dogs wouldn't have made it to our home without the many volunteers in CA who are the real "rescuers".

Isetta is so happy that Lynn nursed her back to health and she is giving her adoptive family more joy than they could imagine.

There are so many unsung heroes in rescue and one of them is Lynn Bonham in the Central CA region. Lynn is a rescue angel who took under her wings some of my foster dogs, Luke, Vespa, Isetta, Sierra, Cony, Moon, Hudson, Pixie, Timken, Nash, Morgan, Sunbeam, Landau, Chevette. These dogs all were recipients of Lynn's unfailing dedication to helping the small working dogs who really do not do well in a shelter situation. These are just my foster dogs, there are so so many other dogs who were fostered by other foster parents that Lynn has helped to safety.

Luke was rescued with his sister Leia and they both live together in Alaska, Luke says "Thank you Lynn".
Cony is the apple of his dad's eye. Lynn went and got him from his previous owner who could not keep him any longer. Cony is so grateful he got a second chance at a happy home.

Please read the two stories about The California-Washington Rescue Railroad, and the other is specifically about Lynn Bonham, I promise you will be truly inspired by her dedication.

Lynn knew Timken needed to get out of the situation he was in with backyard breeders, and he is now safe and learning he can trust humans, all because Lynn kept at it and made sure he was safe and on the Rescue Railroad to WA state.
From the bottom of our hearts and all the dogs (and cats) that Lynn has rescued over the years, Thank You Lynn for your unselfish support. Please read her story here http://www.newrattitude.org/newsletter.htm

More Tim and Sybil

I finally got the video uploaded of Timken playing with a few toys. Sybil is such a great coach and we are so happy she is here to show Tim the way.

This is not a good photo, but here you can see how skeptical poor Tim is about the Kyjen Tail Teaser (tail on the end of the black cord). It was not even being moved at this point and he just was so nervous to go check it out.

Sybil was not so sure about it either but she is much more confident than Tim and she decided to get closer and then sweet Tim manages to get a little closer before backing away again. We have had foster dogs that go nuts for this game, but I do think with us introducing it on a daily basis Tim and Sybil will start to love it. They just need time.

I love this video of Tim. He actually does the rattie death shake on the tug and for just a very very short time he even tugs with me......of course I let him win. Tug is a good game to help with building confidence in a dog like Tim. There will be more tug sessions too. Sybil even got in on the action for a second. Baby steps all add up to big steps, I am so proud of Tim and thankful for Sybil who gives him canine support.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tandem Chewing With Timken and Sybil

It was a cold rainy night and I decided to get all the toys out and see if I could entice Tim to play with some of them. Timken can be nervous of anything new, even toys, but since Sybil has been here he seems to follow her lead a lot. Sybil decided that chewing on some of the toys was a good thing to do and Tim figured if she was doing it, he should give it a try too! It is always so nice to see Tim feeling comfortable and letting his guard down. Good boy Tim!

Sybil started to chew this orange gecko we got in a past Bark Box while Timken says hello to a red ball thing.

Hmmmm no reason to be afraid, testing out the texture by mouthing the ball.

Sybil look at me! Is this the way to chew? I can really get into this!

Don't bother me Tim I am really liking this squishy gecko, need to keep my teeth pearly white.

Oh hi foster mom, do you need something?

Tim found an antler that had never been touched and decided to try chewing that too.

Oooooo Sybil left the gecko and now I can try this toy out too. I am being very brave tonight.

Gecko, I love you and I will try not to bite one of your legs off.

I never said I wouldn't bite your head off though!

Birdie, who was watching from the bed on the couch just behind my head, thinks, "whatever, I have supervising to do, carry on Tim and Sybil, I will allow you to chew on "my toys". lol