Pasco County Animal Services in Land O’ Lakes, FL, decided to fumigate Building C in the spring of 2015. All animals had to be removed for one week. Burt and I agreed to take one dog for that week. One of the staff asked us to take Gilbert, a Weimaraner mix, because he humps people. He had failed a SAFER assessment by biting the fake hand. He was consequently labeled a resource guarder. When volunteers would take him out he was happy and well-mannered with possible adopters…until he started to hump them. She thought if we could get him to keep his feet on the floor, he could get adopted. I picked him up on 4/30/2015.
He was gorgeous! His short coat was sort of a brownish-gray and he had yellow eyes. He was tall and thin with small feet for his size. Burt and I really liked him and he liked us. Our dogs did not like him. He didn’t follow the house rules they had established among themselves. For example, Molly wasn’t allowed to take his toys and he did not see Candy as Queen. He had excellent house manners. He wouldn’t come into the kitchen, he went to his crate on cue, he was completely housetrained, he could shake with both paws, he knew all the basic cues, and he never took anything except dog toys.
I worked with him for that week and he got better in all areas. I could trade for anything he had in his mouth, put food into his bowl while he was eating, walk by him when he was eating, and pet him while he was eating. We worked consistently and calmly on having him put his feet on the floor instead of humping. He only humped people, not the dogs. He could safely go into the yard with the other dogs and would come when called.
After the week was over, I took him back to PCAS. I also gave a presentation to the staff that day on my training methods and used Gilbert as my demo dog. He was perfect until we’d been there 45 minutes and he was done. The staff took him and put him in a kennel. He was there 2 days and we decided to go get him again and see if he would fit in to the household well enough to adopt. He spent most days loose in the house. The other dogs would not walk past him; they walked around him. We took him to the vet to get him a dose of bordetella so we could board him with our dogs. He did ok at the kennel, though he went in to the play yard by himself.
One day while we were all in the yard, he walked up beside me and put his head under my hand and I knew we were making progress. Every day he humped a little less. As long as there were no resources involved he’s did pretty well. Still pushy when he wants to play with people or the other dogs. It’s like he doesn’t know how to ask politely. Burt and I still really liked him.
I just used the pool guy to teach Gilbert Look at That. We went from “must kill the pool guy” to a glance and a Sit. Much better!
I can grab toys Gilbert has now. I can put my nose on his nose while we’re playing. I can give him a hug while he has a toy. He’s finally quit humping Digger. He’s becoming a much more mellow guy. He’s not ready for adoption yet but he’s better.
On May 21st, I was feeding the dogs breakfast and forgot a can of food on the counter. Digger stole it, as he often does, and took it into the yard to eat. Gilbert saw him and decided to take it. Digger has NEVER defended anything as long as we’ve had him. That day he did. Gilbert and Digger got into a fight, then Molly joined in. The 3 of them are tumbling around the yard, sometimes standing up, sometimes on the ground. Noisy with lots of teeth flashing. Luckily I don’t see lots of blood. I’m yelling LEAVE IT and Digger backs off. But Gilbert and Molly are still going at it. Molly is trying to get out but Gilbert keeps going after her. I pull him out by his back legs and he turns around and bites me hard. Then goes back after Molly. I pull him out again and get him to follow me into the house. I grab a handful of treats and toss them into the crate. He goes in after them.
I wrap a towel around my hand and arm and take Molly to the vet (because the vet’s office opens before my doctor). She’s not too bad, just a bite on her chest near a front leg and a couple nicks on her ear. We take her back home and then go to my doc’s. I get a bunch of steri-strips all over my hand and arm. She counts 20 wounds in total, some deep, some superficial, that she puts on the report to PCAS. Gilbert had been at our house about 5 weeks in total.
I cried coming home from the doc but we couldn’t put our dogs at risk. If he had gone after our old dog she would have been badly hurt. When we get back home, I put our dogs in the bedroom so I can safely take him into the yard without them interacting. He and I both still have very high levels of cortisol but he walks in the yard with me. I sit in my chair under the trees and he comes over to me. I try to check him for injuries but he doesn’t want to be handled. I don’t see any wounds. I call PCAS to come pick him up though I feel like shit doing it because I know it’s most likely a death sentence for him. When the Animal Control Officer got there, he happily walked out to the truck with me and I felt even worse.
The next day I’m even more swollen so I go to the hand surgeon. He opened the worst punctures and flushed everything out. Gilbert had also broken a bone in my hand. Gilbert was in quarantine for 10 days and failed another SAFER assessment. He was put down.
I couldn’t even talk it about for weeks. I still feel disloyal to him for sending him back to the shelter and responsible for his death. Even now, months later, I can’t think about him without crying. It will be awhile (if ever) before we can have another foster. I’m so sorry, Gilbert.
The lump on Katy’s side has broken open and scabbed over. I’ll keep an eye on it. If it doesn’t heal up, she’ll have to go to the vet. She’s been licking her right front foot but I don’t see anything wrong. The dew claw is healing ok.
Today I’m trying to get her out from behind the couch. For most of the day, she’s been coming with me on leash. The last time I tried it, she wasn’t budging. So, I dropped the leash. That probably set a bad precedent but I’ll try again later. About 2 hrs later, I picked up the leash again and said, “Let’s go.” She moved a couple steps and lay down. I put just enough tension on the leash to straighten it but not enough to put pressure on the collar. I had to wait about 10 minutes before she came out and jumped onto the couch. Multiple times today I’ve led her out from behind the couch and she’s either gotten on the “dog” chair or the couch. For most of the day she’s allowed me to pet her; every time I approach I try to remember of have turkey with me. Burt can pet her just about any time she’s out here.
She came in today when it started raining. She hasn’t gone out since. When some sort of waterworks come on outside, she comes in and won’t go out again until the next day. That can be rain, sprinklers, or thunder. I’ll have to try and get her out one more time tonight before we all go to bed.
She spent all morning outside. Just as I was wondering how I was going to get her inside so I could leave, she followed Digger in. I could only let her out on leash when I have a schedule but she’s SO happy running around the yard. She needs that stress release.
When she’s been inside, she hasn’t been allowed to hide behind the couch. Late today I put the 20’ leash on and tried to get her outside but she just lay down and refused to move.
She started the second round of Panacur today. I put it in yogurt today instead of squirting it in her mouth. She ate it all. J
This morning she was really funny while I was fixing breakfast. Bouncing around and barking at me. Giving me play bows about 10’ away. She’s eating on the patio now. She runs away, I put her bowl down, go inside, and close the sliding door. I can sit and watch her but if I’m out there, she won’t eat. I haven’t had time to just sit and read waiting on her but that’s what I’ll be doing this weekend. Most of the time, she’s still eating with her weight shifted forward and her tail slightly tucked. Sometimes she stands with her weight evenly distributed over her feet and eats but not often. I’ve been sitting on the chaise and tossing turkey. She will come in and eat what’s close to the door but won’t eat what’s less than 5’ from the chaise until I’m inside.
She tolerates walking on leash. To get her to eliminate I attach a 20’ leash so she can get away from me. For more than a week, she’s been on the long lead after dark. Too many nights I was up until after midnight waiting on her to come in.
I don’t know what to do with her tonight. She’s been loose every night & sleeps on the couch with the other dogs. I have to be able to get her into a crate tomorrow so she may be in the crate tonight. Or leave her tethered. Or something.
While I was fixing breakfast this morning, Katy was running back and forth between the kitchen doorway and the couch. At one point she barked at me like she was saying, “Hurry up!” With her eating her dry food last night & being really hungry this morning, maybe this is a sign that her appetite is up. That would be good because it may signal a mood improvement. I’ll have to wait & see if it sets a pattern.
She didn’t even touch the dry food tonight. Breakfast is dry kibble with something on it. Could be leftovers, canned dog food, pumpkin, vegetables, yogurt… and enough water or vegetable juice to make a sort of stew. Dinner is dry kibble alone.
She was bouncing around, running back and forth and barking at me this morning while I was fixing breakfast. I don’t think there was even any smell left in her bowl when she was done. Katy and Candy gave each other play bows this morning, too. That’s a first.
She’s been outside most of the morning and doesn’t want to come in. I need to get her inside so we can go meet someone for lunch. She finally followed the other dogs in. Then I had to put her in her crate where she still doesn’t want to be. At least she goes in easier, each time is easier. But then she didn’t want me to get near her for the rest of the day.
When I let her out, I held her long enough to put topical flea medicine on her. She was terrified. She let Burt pet her throughout the day, though. I want him to be “good cop” because I’m the “bad cop.” One of us needs to be able to get close to her.
Because I have so much trouble getting her in at night, when the dogs went out late I put her on a 20’ leash. The end of the leash she’s dragging was sticking out the end of the couch (she was behind it). I attached the long line to that leash. That way she can do her business but I can get her back inside. She was ok with that and came with me when I said, “Let’s go.”
She still won’t let me get near her today. She wouldn’t stay on the couch to eat her breakfast. I put it outside because she wouldn’t come back in. She ate it on the patio.
After dark she was on the couch and I was able to walk up and give her some turkey. I had to approach obliquely, not look in her direction, and move very slowly. When I reached the couch I crouched and moved just my hand toward her. She ate the turkey. When I tried it again a few minutes later, she ran away.
She was outside most of the day. She only comes in if she can come with all the other dogs. If she ends up by herself, she runs back outside.
Candy often sleeps under a desk when Burt is in the office. Today Katy went in with her. When he called me to come see, she ran behind the couch.
I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post that we still need to put her in the crate when we leave. One morning Katy tried to come into the kitchen when I was fixing breakfast. Candy snapped at her then Molly started barking at her. If that happened while we were gone, she might get hurt.
She’s so happy when she’s in the yard with the other dogs. Her tail is up, her body language is relaxed. She’s often following one of them around. She’s found a couple cool places under trees to take a nap. She sometimes stands with her front feet on the edge of the hot tub and she looks magnificent. I wish I could get a picture but she leaves when I come out with the camera.
She’s still afraid of the sprinklers. When she hears them come on, she won’t go outside for the rest of the night. They’re going to be on twice this week, poor baby. She was outside when the pool guy came this week. She got in before he came into the enclosure but she was scared. Now she won’t go outside at all. Sigh. I had to lead her out on leash for the first time after he left. She followed me but she was almost doing an army crawl. Now she won’t let me get within 10’ of her.
Slow eye blinks and yawns get the best response from her. When I do a couple slow eye blinks, her eyes get squinty. When she does a yawn, I respond with one and vice versa.
She at her dry food this evening. She doesn’t usually eat it if it’s dry. Tonight she was really hungry and ate it all as soon as I put it down.
The past few days we were able to sit beside her in late evening. Last night she spent the whole day behind the couch when she was inside. This evening, she got on the couch with Molly and stayed when Molly left.
She’s regularly going in/out with the other dogs. I go out with all the dogs and say, “Everybody out,” she goes. When they come back in I say, “Everybody in,” and she usually comes with them. The closer she is to the group, the more likely she is to come in. If she ends up by herself, it takes more time. I can stand by the door now and she’ll go through it. Today I left our dogs inside & put cheese and chicken on the patio no closer than about 4’ from me. I sat on the chaise and read while facing away from the food. She came in/out and ate some of it over the course of an hour.
She’s also dragging a leash again. She’s getting to the point that I can take the leash and say, “Let’s go, Katy,” and she’ll come with me. I’ve been leading her to the door then dropping the leash and letting her go outside. Today I led her to a wire crate. She went, I prevented her from leaving and she finally went in. I’m still not comfortable leaving all the dogs out together. This crate is in the middle of the house so she can see what’s going on, instead of being in the bedroom by herself (where she no longer wants to be). I saw no evidence of attempted escape when we got back.
She’s regularly eating her breakfast on the couch now. Dinner she may not eat at all but it’s offered and she has the opportunity. She gets it on the floor behind the couch or on the couch, depending on where she is.
She’s running from me again since I had to put her in the crate. She’s afraid of me again. When we get up, they all go out, she’s eager to come back in because then she gets breakfast. Her ears are up while I fix it. When I come home out three have a big greeting at the door. Katy is bouncing around about 15’ away. She wants to participate but it’s still too much for her. When I am close enough to touch her only long strokes don’t stress her. When I try to do TTouch, she starts to yawn. I’ve been able to pet her once in the past 4 days.
She walked through the middle of the family room instead of going around the edge. She was standing almost completely up. Both firsts.