Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Shylo's Christmas Gift

This is Shylo's favorite place to just hang out and watch whatever is going on. Not today though . . . on this very chilly Christmas morning he lined up with the other three to get a treat and get ready for a walk. He actually walked with the other dogs as if he had been doing it all of his life. We walked partway down the street until he saw a moving car . . . end of walk! But at least he didn't freak out this time, just changed direction and started walking home with all of us in tow.

More presents for me. For the last two days he has been full of enthusiasm running IN and out of the house when I let them all out. When we are outside he is starting to run up to me instead of the other way. Yesterday he picked out a toy to bring outside with him! Who is this not so shy dog?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Almost a lap dog

Do I need a bigger lap?

Yesterday Shylo actually came over to me and acted like he wanted me to pick him up. (By that I mean he came over and sat at my feet unlike my others who get up on their hind legs and beg to be picked up) I picked him up and put him in my lap and he is quite a lapfull. He is bigger and longer than the others but weighs about the same as Tigger (17 pounds) When he first got into my lap he was still a little tense but after a few minutes he started to relax . . . and then he went to sleep! I wish I had been able to get a picture of him sacked out but of course I was holding him!

My daughter came over today to play with him and the others and we worked on getting him to come in the house voluntarily. (He still does not want to come in from outside). We practiced "coming inside" encouraging him with special treats. He comes in with a little coaxing, takes the treat and goes right back out! It is definitely a work in progress!

Tonight I took him for a short walk on the leash, we went out the front door down the driveway and up past the neighbor's house. Then a car came down our very quiet street. This is the first time he has been out front and seen a car; we then double-timed it back down the hill and up the driveway. He calmed down, did his business, walked up to the front deck and walked right into the house without a moment's hesitation!!! I wonder if it could be the slider that leads to the back deck that is spooking him?

Here is a clip of Shylo (and Mandy who has to be wherever Shylo is) playing with Christie, his favorite human.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Shylo learns what it's like to be a dog

Shylo continues to amaze us with his progress . . . when he first came he wouldn't let anyone touch him. Now he comes up to anyone who comes into the house. The other day he approached a man he had never met; he didn't bark or cower just walked right up to him and asked to be petted along with the other three. Our son, Stephen, said if it were not for those "crooked teeth" he would have thought it was a totally different dog. His personality is really developing, you can see how playful he is in the clip with Mandy. The two of them play constantly and seek each other out. The older dogs mostly supervise the play activity. After tearing around the yard or the house they all settle in for a nap.
Nap Attack!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Shylo's Thanksgiving Surprise

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. This year we had two new members of the family, Shylo and Mandy. We were planning on 16 people for dinner and I was concerned about Shylo. I didn't want him traumatized with all of these people, many of whom he had never met before. I decided to gate him in my studio and explained to everyone that he was shy and would probably run away if approached. He complained a little as he heard more people coming in the door and the number of voices increased along with the volume. Christie went in and spent some time with him; he loves Christie because she spends so much time with him and calls him her little "buddy". Mandy managed to squeeze through the gate and spent a little time with him as well. (Mandy is a real extrovert, the more people the better and she loves them all!) My sister, Gloria, another dog lover went in and sat on the floor and just talked to Shylo. He got close enough to give her a few tentative licks.When we left him alone he did complain and I was starting to feel a little guilty about having such a crowd so soon after he came to us.

Once we got everyone seated around the table and the noise level went down a little, I told everyone I was going to let Shylo join us and for everyone to please ignore him, don't reach out to touch him or try to call him over. He came out of my studio and walked into the sun room (which doubles as a dining room on holidays). He never made a sound! No barking or running away! He just started making the rounds. He was under the table part of the time and came up to people to sniff. He actually approached some and got up on his hind legs to get a better look. What a shock! The rest of the day he was just one of the gang; all four dogs were on their best behavior, what a relief! He really seemed to enjoy his first Thanksgiving with a real family!Everyone agrees that he is a special little guy and we all love his blue eyes.
Christie & Shylo

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bonding with Shylo

I've mentioned before that he is not used to being handled. I read the other night that puppy mill dogs hardly ever leave their cages and that it is usually a male who reached in to grab them when it's time to hose out the cages (sometimes the cages are hosed down with the dogs in them). Is it any wonder Shylo feels frightened if a strange man reaches his hands out to him? We've told everyone (especially men) to extend their hand "palm down" and give him the opportunity to approach. It seems to be working.

We are still working with getting Shylo to come in the house voluntarily. We've tried the "bribe him with treats" method but he is pretty fast. He sticks his head in the door, gets the treat and is back out the door before we can react. Then he sits on the outside of the door and looks at us. Sometimes he even scratches at the door, but when we open it he still doesn't want to come in. Time to go back to the drawing board! I wonder if he thinks he is going to be put in a cage when he comes back in? It occurred to me that I have to make coming inside more pleasurable for him. I started picking him up and carrying him through the doorway so he doesn't have to go through that whole decision making process. Then I sit for a few minutes just holding him in my lap and petting  him and talking to him. Today, for the first time, he actually fell asleep in my arms. I'd call that PROGRESS!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Feeling more at home

It will be three weeks tonight since Shylo came to stay with us. We are fostering him for the Shih Tzu and Furbaby Rescue group. ( ). I am astounded at the lengths this group goes to to make sure these dogs are saved from kill shelters, puppy mills, and hoarders. Shylo is two years old and this is the first time he has lived in a real home. From starting out fearing the human touch, he is more relaxed now. He has picked out some favorite spots to "hang out" and even shares them with the other dogs. He is going to make someone very happy when he finds his "furever home". We're getting used to having him around (we're not allowed to keep our first foster.) and Mandy just loves him. I guess we'll just have to foster another dog when Shylo gets adopted.

"Chillaxin" on the sofa

Waiting his turn for his favorite chair

I brushed him out and gave him a little trim since he was starting to mat from the collar and the harness. His reaction? HE FELL ASLEEP!!!!! I love this little guy!

He slept through the whole thing!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Two steps forward . . .

Yesterday Shylo let Christie and me hold him and pet him and give him lots of loving. Today, not so much. I wish I knew what was going on in his little head! He still plays with Mandy even when he seems to be having an “off” day. Even when he doesn’t seem to want to be bothered with his humans, he is very even tempered with the dogs. He doesn’t  have a mean or aggressive bone in his body, but he still has a few fearful ones. He still startles at loud noises or quick movements. He has graduated to sleeping in our bed. Thank goodness it’s a king size bed since there are now four dogs and two humans sleeping in it. It is interesting that when he is on the bed he seems totally relaxed and is willing to be petted and loved.

One of the challenges we have with Shylo, is getting him in the door after he has been outside. Sometimes he will follow the other three right in the door, but more often than not he stops just short of coming in and sits down and has to be coaxed in. We are trying to be patient but it is frustrating, especially if there is only one person trying to coax and shut the slider behind him. It is definitely a two human operation.  The other day, I sat by the door and rewarded him every time he came in letting him go in and out on his own. He was doing so well that I thought maybe we were past this whole in/out thing. NOT! Oh well tomorrow is another day . . .we’ll try again.

Since I keep talking about the dogs and the meditation garden, I thought you might like to see it.Just click on the link.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Oh No-Not a bath!

Do we hafta?
Are we done yet?
Cute fauxhawk!

Shylo loves running through  the meditation garden; there are lots of paths and Oh yes! There is also a frog pond. None of my dogs have ever jumped into either of the ponds although Tigger and his brother Chewy used to love to play in the stream that connects the fish pond with the frog pond. Well Shylo jumped into the frog pond and then back out. Yuck! He smelled like a swamp monster. No choice . . . it was bath time!
Are we having fun yet?
Cute when wet!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Shylo and Mandy Playing

 Mandy is really helping to bring out Shylo's personality. He is learning how to play with toys and Mandy. He loves taking toys away from her so she can chase him; sometimes she even gets them back!
Mandy & Shylo going out to play

Please play with me

That's more like it!

I Pinned him!
Day 7-Shylo has a mischievous side-who knew? He has taken quite a shine to Tigger’s food dish and keeps “stealing” it. Fortunately, they had all eaten so the dish was empty-not so the water dish. After mopping up, I filled the water dish and figured it would be too heavy to move. NOT!!! He likes to chew on plastic things and has already chewed a hole in his brand new food dish!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Making friends slowly

Day 5-I moved his crate out of the sunroom and into my work studio. He likes to go in and out during the day so it is easier for me to watch him. My other three spend a lot of time there and have beds and their toys there. We had decided the night before not to gate him at night and he seemed much happier. When I went to bed and took the puppy to bed he stayed up with the other two and my husband. He’s very quiet at night and when I hear his collar jingle in the morning, I get right up to let him out. He wakes up much earlier than my older dogs.

Day 6-Shylo and Mandy are becoming fast friends; he chases her around the yard and through my meditation garden.  He  is much slower to warm up to men than women-have no idea why. sometimes when we leave the room and come back in we have to go through the "warm up" period again to reassure him. Oh-and he can and does bark, especially at a new face.

We finally hold Shylo

Day 3-Shylo is starting to come up to us but he still won’t let us pet him. We can’t reach out to him without spooking him. We’re going to have to go very slowly, but he is making friends with the others; especially Mandy. When I had him outside today in the back garden he actually let me touch his face and rub his head a little. I was so excited I called Christie right away to tell her. She calls a couple of times a day to find out how her little buddy is doing.

Day 4-Christie comes over after work to play with Mandy and work with Shylo. We are determined to get him to love us as much as we already love him. The harness he had on when he came seems to annoy him so we decided to swith it to a lighter weight harness. Of course that means we had to catch him and actually hold him. Much to our surprise when we actually got him he was very docile and quiet. I thought he would freak out if we tried to hold him. We switched the harness and then Christie held him in her lap. He was quivering. It’s sad to think a dog would be afraid to be held. She held him for a while and then I did. We petted and reassured him and I finally felt his muscles relax and he let out this big sigh. What a huge step that was!

We finally get to hold him!
Day 1–We decided to call him Shylo-it certainly seemed to fit him. He woke at about 6 AM and I took him out back. Since the leash was still on him I only had to catch the leash! Our usual morning routine (me and my other three) is to get up early, put their leashes on and take them for a 2-3 mile walk. It’s good for them as well as me. Of course it will be a while before Shylo joins the group since he is so skittish. When I take him out, I put a long leash (I connected 3 leashes) so he feels “free”.  He is watching the other dogs and seems real comfortable with them. He likes being outside  more than being in the house and hesitates when it is time to come in.

Day 2-Christie brought over a 25” lead tonight so Shylo could run a little. We’ve been working with Mandy teaching her the “come” command. She comes because she knows she will get a treat. Shylo watches her and then comes for a treat of his own. Tonight, when we finished working with him he didn’t want to come in. The other three all came in and got their treats and he just sat on the deck watching. Christie got down on the floor and tried coaxing him to come through the open slider. He came close but still wouldn’t come in. She kept right at it and finally he put his front paws through the door but every time we got near him he bolted back outside. He finally came in but every time we tried to close the door behind him he would run back out. Finally, I wen
Shylo lives up to his name!
t out the front door, through the garden, and up on the back deck. When Christie coaxed him in, I closed the door behind him. Whew!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bozo renamed Shylo

Sunday November 3,2013-The excitement keeps mounting as the emails keep flying through cyberspace letting us know how close the transport is and when we will get to meet our foster puppy for the first time. My daughter, Christie, drives me up to the meeting place while my husband stays at home so he can put our other three dogs in a quiet place while we bring the new foster puppy in. All the way up we are discussing possible names . . . everyone we spoke to from the rescue group said please change his name, nobody liked Bozo. When we met the transport it was already dark so we couldn’t see much except that he was bigger than I thought he would be and he did he really have blue eyes?

We took “Bozo” (can you believe he was given the name Bozo?) and put him in our car. Patty the rescue angel told us just to open his crate when we get home and let him take his time coming out. She says mill puppies sometimes take hours before they are calm enough to come out. She gave us his leash, paperwork, toys and a beautiful hand crocheted blanket so he has something new to take with him. He never made a sound all the way home.

When we got to the house and opened the crate door he came right out and went over to where the other three dogs were gated! Surprise!  . . .  but he wouldn’t let any of us get near him. He doesn’t growl or show his teeth-he just bolts if we approach him. He’s not very pretty, doesn’t look a whole lot like a Shih Tzu. He is black and white with some brown mixed in with the black and, yes, he has beautiful blue eyes. He has a protruding lower jaw and is kind of “snaggle toothed”; his eyes are kind of set back (unlike a Shih Tzu) and his back legs are quite a bit longer than his front legs.

We fed him supper, which he gobbled right down and then caught him to put a leash on him and took him out to do his business. Since he hated the leash as well as being touched, I decided to leave a leash on him so he could get used to the idea. He went into his crate on his own and we gated him in the sunroom. He fussed for a while and my husband thought it might be a good idea to leave a light on for him-he finally went to sleep.

I never thought too much about fostering dogs until recently. In April of 2013, we lost our beautiful Finnish Spitz, Badabing . He was thirteen years old. We have two other dogs an eleven year old male Shih Tzu/Lhasa mix named Tigger and a ten year old female Japanese Chin/Pomeranian mix named Saki. Soon after we lost Bing our vet told us that Saki had a liver condition that was untreatable. I realized then how old they were and that I didn’t want whoever was left behind to be alone. I was looking to adopt a young Shih Tzu but it seemed like every time I saw one on line, he was already adopted. I also filled out an application to become a foster mom to Shih Tzus, hoping I might find one that way. At the end of August, my husband and my daughter saw the same ad in the papers for a three month old black and white female puppy about 15 minutes from my home. I went to see her and of course fell instantly in love with her. I hoped my other two dogs would play with her but they were not terribly interested.  I think Mandy was with us 3 or 4 days when I got a call from the rescue group saying they would like to arrange a “home visit”. Following the home visit I was notified that I had been approved to foster. I explained that I had a three month old and it would probably be better if I didn’t rush into fostering. On November 1st I learned I would be getting a two year old Shih Tzu mix . . . well Mandy would have a playmate.
Mandy, Tigger & Saki