Posts Tagged ‘Bullies in Need’

Forrest

So I know again postless for a few days. We were quite busy this past weekend. We spent a ton of time with our pups and helped out at the Bullies In Need nail trim at the Pet Valu in Rockland. It was a huge success so let me say thank you to anyone who came out to see us. Forrest was a perfect gentlemen at the event and had a visit with a FUR EVER HOME!! It went really well. I was amazed at how well he behaved, he was perfect. He was affectionate and calm in the store, walked well on a leash for them and even crawled into the girls arms (I’m not sure who taught him that but I’m pretty sure that was the deal sealer). I couldn’t be happier for him. I can’t lie I really have gotten attached to the little guy in a short period of time but I’m so thrilled for him. Forrest is  a loving and affectionate puppy who deserves to be a  part of someone’s home permanently. He has made amazing progress in just a few short weeks. He came in nervous and scared and is leaving happy and confident. He has worked really hard to get where he is.  He has learned his basic commands, walks well, and even started to rollerblade with me and my other guys in the morning. I can’t say enough how proud I am of him. He will be going for his trial run with them shortly. Everyone keep their fingers crossed as this puppy deserves a family!!

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So today I was having a bit of a hard time deciding on a topic. I had spent a few weeks before starting this blog getting ideas together for posts. My goals are to talk about pit bulls in a good light, my fostering experience, and the BSL here in Ontario. Sadly I read an article that again painted pit bulls in a negative light and unjustly so. If you’d like to read it you can click here. These were my thoughts.

The article leads with  that the attack was un provoked as many do. Dog language can be subtle and more than likely it was missed dog language that lead to the attack. It is something that people commonly  miss out on. It could have been as something as small as a lip curl or one dog displaying another subtle form of dominance. At times the body language can be very hard to pick up on.

The article goes on to paint a pretty vivid and negative image of pit bulls. The story is that she was walking by a group of men who “called out at her”. The next thing she knew there was a un muzzled “pit bull shaking her small dog every which way”. Let me say in no way am I excusing or condoning what happened here. Everytime a dog bites someone  it is tragic. A bite usually comes from a negative situation from both sides human and dog. The article goes on to say the man fled and the police are still searching for him and his “pit bull”. I have to ask this. During the chaos of a dog attack how was this person, whose profession is not identifying dogs, properly identify that this dog was a “pit bull”. Shelters are wrong 87.5% of the time when identifying dogs. These are trained professionals who have time to examine each dog not just a look during a moment of complete mayhem. It makes me think about a dog we had in BIN named Guinness. He was labeled a pit bull when he is actually a swiss mountain dog. So I wonder how in the mix of all the chaos and a dog fight that this person was able to positively identify that this dog was  pit bull. It may have been one or not but the point is here are pit bulls in the media being portrayed as a “snarling mass of muscle and teeth”. The authorities stated that if it was a pit bull it should have been muzzled not committing either way. Yet the article says pit bull over 5 times.

I did some research into dog bites and the articles that surround them. Many dog attack articles sight that the attacking dog was a “pit bull” or “pit bull mix”. Many of the police reports accompanying these attacks site no breed of dog at all. So I wonder where did this magical pit bull come from. Well let’s face it a small dog biting someone’s hand and the person requiring 5-10 stitches is no headline grabber. On the contrast a head line like “Pit Bull Mauls Man, requires 50 stitches” pulls people in and grabs readers. It’s a shame that so many journalists are being so irresponsible and ruining the reputation of a whole breed just to entertain readers. On average pit bulls score much better on temperament tests than many other “family dogs”. Lilly has grown up with pit bulls her whole life.  In many instances there is no hard evidence  at all  to support that  the attacking dog was in fact a pit bull. In many cases it seems some writer took it upon themselves to just assume what kind of dog it was. If this author was reporting on  a plane crash  I find it hard to believe that people would be so understanding of falsifying facts just to gain headlines.

I’ve said it in my past posts that pit bulls fall into what I believe are power breeds of dogs. These guys require the extra mile in most cases. Some popular ones including Dobermanns, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and Mastiffs. Many of these breeds at one time or another were subject to BSL laws in the past. Not everyone has what it takes to responsibly own one. Many people buy dogs to selfishly fulfill something inside themselves or portray an image never thinking about what the dogs needs are. What the article fails to do is place the responsiblity where it belongs on the owner. They talked about his tattered clothes as if that had anything to do with his out of control dog or maybe it was to add to the negative image many people have of pit bull owners.  Today it seems as if people just get dogs and assume that they will behave with little to no effort on their part. Or maybe that they should behave because we humans are “in charge”. They couldn’t be more wrong. When we get a dog we are making a commitment to giving a dog what it needs to feel fulfilled each day. It is our responsibility to train them show them rules, boundaries, discipline (which is different from punishment), and appropriate interactions with the world around them. I guess it’s just a shame people aren’t more responsible with their pets and journalists with their words. Both create a bad image for a loyal and loving breed of dog.

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Thought I’d include a picture of one of those “snarling masses of muscle”.

So I just wanted to take a quick second to update everyone and say a few things. I just wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to read and share!! Second we had an a great time at BIN’s Spring Fling yesterday (Opie was pooped right out). It was a huge success and we wanted to thank everyone for coming out and helping us spread the word. Third I thought I’d welcome Forrest to the pack. He is our newest foster. It seems the poor thing has spent quite a bit of time at the shelter (right now were just adjusting to the world around us although I can tell being neglected has made him a nervous little guy). I’m not blaming the shelter I know they did the best they could there are just too many dogs and not enough people to properly care for them all each day. Well you’ve got a stable home here little guy.

Here are a few pics of his first day and a half.

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So  I’ve talked before about Bullies In Need a rescue we foster for. They are a pitbull and bully breed dog rescue here in Ottawa. Dogs are rescued from shelters, fostered, and then rehomed outside of the province due to the BSL here. Some of the dogs are ok to adopted in Ontario some are not (check out our website for a listing of adoptable dogs.) Fostering has been an amazing experience so far. I’m thankful for everyday I get to spend with Opie. He is an amazing little guy. He has been such a great introduction into the world of fostering. Like I said I totally believe you get the dog you need. I think for my first experience with fostering I could not have asked for a more positive one. He has been an amazing guide.

I thought that each Friday my post would be about fostering or our foster dogs we have here in BIN. I recently had the chance to baby sit another one of our young guys Mojo he was awesome and fit right in with my pack. As I write this I’m in the process of getting everything ready to take in Forest a little guy from Toronto who is need of a place to crash and to brush up on some manners. Who knows he may end up staying if Opie finds a forever home. Which I hope he does because he really deserves one.

Opie has been amazingly easy to raise. I really credit it to his willingness to learn combined with  his eager nature to please.We have always been consistent with him, from day one he was shown what was expected of him and those expectations have never changed. He is a very smart pup and very food motivated so training with him has been a breeze. Stella helped us out a bunch with showing him the boundaries of our yard and even potty training. He knows all his basic commands sit, stay, down, give both paws, stand, and roll over. He even does a small agility course. It’s pretty impressive for a little guy.

It helps dogs especially puppies to get on some sort of a schedule. We usually get up at about 730 8 ish. I open his cage door and he waits patiently to come out.

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We also wait patiently at the door to go outside. Just because the door is open does not mean we go outside.

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He also knows that to come inside he needs to sit and wait patiently. Next we usually eat breakfast or go for a walk/rollerblade. He walks well on a leash rarely pulling. He loves to run beside you while you jog or rollerblade. If we run first thing then we eat when we come home. He  knows the feeding time ritual of waiting calmly for his food. Opie has been a great eater from day one ( he is a little chunky despite a good amount of exercise). He has zero food aggression towards humans or other dogs, I’ve even caught him and Stella sharing food from the same bowl.

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He is an amazingly well-behaved guy who deserves a great home. If your outside of Ontario and are interested please email bullies_in_need@hotmail.com and fill out an app. You can check out our webpage here.

Oh did I mention He was a snuggler.

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Can you Scoot Over?

Really in my house couch overcrowding is the major issue (Stella and Opie both sleep in their crates). Fortunately on an overcrowded couch the worst that can happen is Opie may spill out onto the floor. Sadly the same cannot be said in shelters all across North America. Right now there are many dogs out there where this is their last night. No crowded couch. The shelter is full and now the workers and volunteers must choose dogs to put down.  Not an easy task or a job I envy. To be honest I couldn’t do it. Sadly an alarming number of these wonderful guys and gals are pit bulls or pit mixes. They are the most over bred and under adopted dog in the United States. Some estimates show that as many as 93% of all pit bull and pit mixes are put to sleep in shelters. Sadly one study shows that only 1 in 600 pit bulls will find their forever home.

I’m going to get right to the point. We need to put restrictions on the breeding of these dogs before things get even worse. Owners should by law have to spay and neuter their dog. With the alarming rate that these dogs are being put down there can’t be any possible reason to breed them. These dogs are first to get put down (sometimes immediately) and last to get adopted.  Pit bulls make up roughly 33% of all shelter intakes with it rising in large cities. So I ask then what possible reason could there be for not spaying and neutering your dog. There is nothing good that comes from continued breeding. Simple math shows that there are just not enough adopters out there. I mean really the same can be said for most dogs who find themselves at the shelter.

So if there are so many pit bulls out their without homes, why you might ask do people continue to breed pit bulls. Sadly some are bred to fight. The reality is they are one of the most popular fight dogs. Thankfully many states are adding dog fighting to their RICO statutes making the jail time much stiffer. No more small fines and a little slap on the wrist. I wish more states would change their animal cruelty laws period. But I digress. Why else might they be bred? $$$$. That green-eyed monster that lives inside of all of us. Thankfully people like you and I don’t act on it. Instead we invest our time into rescuing, fostering, and helping adopt out these dogs. It’s upsetting to think that people are still purposely breeding them with so many of their kind at the shelter waiting for homes, many are puppies. The sad truth about these breeders is if the pups don’t sell fast enough many will just drop them at a shelter as it is much harder to sell a juvenile dog than a small  puppy. I always wonder to myself how these people can just throw the puppies away as if they’re disposable and go on living with themselves.

Bottom line there is no reason not to spay or neuter your pit bull. This simple act alone will help decrease the amount of pit bulls in shelters and being put to sleep. If you love this breed like I do then I implore you to get your guy or gal fixed. Check around many local humane societys and SPCA’s will often have a discounted rate for your pitty (guess this is one time where prejudice may be on your side). Either way you will be helping solve the over population of pit bulls in North America by ensuring your dog won’t have puppies.

Have room in your place for one more? If you made it here you know where to look. Google some local rescues and animal shelters. Make an appointment to fill out an application and meet some potential dogs. Explaining your life style to the rescue or shelter worker will help him to match you with a suitable dog. Even if you are dead set on a puppy they are sadly in abundance as well in rescues and shelters. Bullies in Need have a large amount of puppies filling up foster homes right now. Not that we don’t love our little fur balls it’s just sad to think their parents were more than likely breed on purpose and then the puppies dumped when “things just didn’t work out” or “it was more than we could handle”. End note be responsible if you love the breed you’ll do the right thing and spay or neuter your pit bull.

Wedding

Spring is in the air or if your here in Ottawa then it’s buried underneath the snow somewhere. With my fiancé and I quickly approaching our wedding (we’re tying the knot in November) the word commitment comes to mind. Now for those of you thinking of getting a dog this spring this “C” word applies to you too.  Similar to marriage being a commitment so is getting a dog especially a puppy. Let me say I love puppies my girls are 1, 1 1/2, and Opie must be about six months now (he is snoring away next to me). But puppies are a lot of work. Most of the time people are over whelmed with how cute a puppy is without really ever considering what it takes to raise a dog. Many people overlook adopting an adult dog over looking the many benefits (I mean other than giving a totally deserving guy a home). Many are already house and crate trained. Check with your local rescue or shelter to see what dogs  their care that are adults and up for adoption.

One thing to consider is exercise. It is a major factor in a dog being happy and well BALANCED. No exercise No Bueno. Sure it is easy to exercise a puppy now while he is small and a short run poops him out but what needs to be considered is what kind of exercise he will need in the future. All dogs need it large or small. Now there are a few things that vary how much exercise a dog needs. These things being age, size, energy level, sometimes even breed. Without even touching on rules, boundaries, and proper behavior. Just exercise itself is a minimum half an hour a day commitment and that would be a low energy level dog. If you fall in this category consider yourself lucky some most dogs need more. In an ideal scenario I get my pack out twice a day one Rollerblade in the AM before breakfast this helps your dog to feel as if they are working for food something they naturally do in the wild. Sometimes for the second activity we switch it up go for a walk, go to the river for a swim, go hiking, walk in the city. Variety can help when things are getting repetitive. When it’s too cold out we rent an indoor hall in Ottawa where we can play fetch, run an agility course, Stella likes to play find it (she finds a treat hidden amongst a bunch of toys and other distractions.)

Exercise is only a portion of having a balanced dog, showing him how to behave is another. It’s your responsibility to show him proper and improper behavior as well as socialization with other people and animals. Obedience and training classes can help as well. But having a well-balanced dog goes far beyond having him sit or stay. It’s our job show our dogs what are appropriate interactions with the world around them. Just getting out and walking around with your dog aids in proper socialization. He will see strangers and be put in new situations. When introducing something remember to take it slow and make it positive. Always end on a positive note. That way you dog will associate this with something positive. These are only a few of the components that when all put together give you a well-behaved balanced dog.

Back to actually getting a dog. I am a firm believer in adoption from a shelter or rescue. I hear a lot from people “well we would adopt but we want a puppy.” The rescue we foster and volunteer for BULLIES IN NEED has a bunch of puppies right now (for anyone interested in adopting outside of ONTARIO let me know). Another common one is “I want a small dog”.  Friends of mine from high school rescue Chihuahuas. Going to show dogs big and small, old and young are in need of homes all across North America. More importantly than size or breed getting a dog to match your energy level can help in having a happy home. Explain your energy level to the people at the rescue or shelter and they should be able to help match you to a suited dog. If you run 5 miles a day then you need a dog that can keep up with an active life style. If you’re more of a couch potato then a lower energy dog would suit you better. Bear in mind all dogs need exercise every day. But in this instance adopting senior dog may fit your life style better. Whatever the case may be there is a dog out there for you. He’s waiting at a shelter or rescue for you to come find him.

Despite all of our picking and choosing I believe firmly you get the dog you need not the dog you want. Let me explain. When I was living in Jersey I was having a really rough time. Some things in my life were changing and I just wasn’t happy with them.  That was when I rescued Bently. For a long time that dog was my rock. Without my fiancé and Bently I’m not sure what I would have done. When I rescued Stella here in Ottawa it was a bit different of a story. I found myself more angry and frustrated with life. Stella has shown me patience and whatever scenario you find yourself in, find the joy in it. She’s the type of dog that is just happy-go-lucky. It’s hard to look at her and not smile. Rarely is she not bouncing around in a care free way. Lilly our small dog is a snuggler and seems to know when you’re feeling blue and will snuggle right up to you to make you feel better. My fiancé got her when I had an apartment in New Jersey and was away for quite a while and needed a companion. Our dogs are always trying to teach us something we just have to have the intuition and patience to figure out exactly what that is.

I got up at 9:30 this morning with the full intention of letting the dogs out and writing something for this blog. It’s my goal for the first 30 days to write something everyday. I let everyone out for their morning pee and poop and sat down to read a few articles look over some topic ideas and write something. Pretty much from the get go our little guy Opie (we foster him for Bullies In Need a great rescue who is always looking for volunteers and foster homes contact me for more info) had a bunch of spunk and so did his older sister Stella who is normally lazy in the morning. I immediately knew I was going to be getting very little done this morning until I drained some energy. So I put on my warm clothes strapped on my roller blades and off we went. Thankfully they are all asleep now which frees me up to write this.

I know in the title of my article I said training and you could certainly look at it that way. I prefer to think of them as behavior expectations. I find when people hear the word train they think of treats and dogs sitting as their owner wags a biscuit over their head. What people don’t understand is puppies from day one are formulating exactly what is expected of them and exactly what you allow them to do. I touch on this concept in a previous post . A lot of people think that for a dog learn he needs to be a certain age or you can’t teach him anything. I find just the opposite. The earlier you start the easier your making your life. An amazing example of this would be our foster dog Opie.

By the time we got Opie from Bullies in Need we were well aware of the fact that it is never too early to start showing your dog acceptable behavior. When he came to us he was just a bit more than 8 weeks old. One key thing with dogs is patience for both of you. You need to have patience in showing them what you want and they show patience by waiting for your command before doing anything. Your dog should be looking to for leadership at all times. For instance when you are letting your dog out of its cage it should not just burst out the second you unlatch the door like a charging bull. Instead you should be able to unlatch the door open it and walk away ( I can turn my back even round the corner). Repition is key. It took Opie about a week to pick up on what the proper way to exit you cage was. None the less at 8 weeks he was already learning what was expected from him at home. Another prime example involving doors would be letting them out. Your dog should not be crowding you at the door. Opie was taught just like the rest of our dogs that an open door is just that an open door. It’s that simple nothing more nothing less. Just because a door is open does not mean you may go out of it without my permission. Same with entering some where the human always goes in first and the dog once he is calm and submissive. Never should your dog be allowed to bound into the house ahead of you. This is your home you let him live here not the other way around and by letting him just run in ahead of he is affective saying this is HIS home.

The best part about this is each time you make them wait and return to a calm submissive state it drains energy. Not physically but mentally. Sometimes mental work is just as hard for them as running or physical exercise. Conditioning is the key. A prime example is Opie and our kitchen. When we cook in the kitchen we don’t allow our dogs in there. For Lilly and Stella this  wasnt always a rule so they will occasionally drift into the kitchen where as Opie has learned that by quickly exiting the kitchen and lying down gets him a food reward. Let me explain the reward. It is my expectation that you remain outside the kitchen but laying down calmly is above and beyond so in our house we choose to reward such behavior ( I would strongly recommend that you try this at home.)

My point is showing them first what you expect is a much better way than letting them do whatever they want and then begin at 4 months to place expectations on their behavior. I’m not saying at all that it wouldn’t be possible for the 4 month old to learn (you can teach all dogs new behavior and place new expectations on them) but it is much easier to never let your dog form behaviors that you don’t agree with. Even as a puppy correcting undesirable behavior is a must and creating new desirable behaviors is possible.

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