Training Tip Tuesday ~ Introducing the “Scary” Vacuum

For many puppies and adult dogs a like, the vacuum can be a very scary thing. It’s weirdly shaped, vary loud, and moves in frantic forward and backward motions. Since we vacuum regularly on the weekends in my household, I knew that I had to start introducing the “scary” vacuum to the new foster puppies ASAP. If you take the time from the very beginning and slowly introduce the vacuum to your new dog, it’ll be less stressful for the dog when the time comes to actually flip the switch and get the job done.

Step 1: Introducing the vacuum. When you first introduce the vacuum to your dog, you want to do it while it’s stationary and turned OFF. Maybe practice some basic behaviors in the same room as the vacuum and let the dog investigate it while positively rewarding the dog with yummy treats.

Investigating the big weird yellow thing

Investigating the big weird yellow thing (First introduction with the vacuum OFF)

Step 2: Moving the vacuum. Once the dogs seem to be comfortable around the vacuum. You’ll want to start to move it (again still keeping it turned OFF). What I did with my current foster dogs (pictured above) was walk around my house with the vacuum turned OFF while tossing them treats at the same time. In no time the pups thought it was an awesome game. When the vacuum moves we get treats!!

Step 3: Turning ON the vacuum. Going back to having the vacuum stationary. You want to flip the vacuum ON for a second or two while simultaneously give treats (very generously). Once you switch the vacuum OFF, treats stop. So it’s Vacuum ON: Treat, treat, treat. Vacuum OFF: No treats. You want to repeat this step several times until your dog is happily waiting for treats when the vacuum is switched on. You also want to vary the time you have the vacuum switched into the ON position. At first 2 or 3 seconds, then 10 seconds, then 5 seconds, then 20 seconds, then 7 seconds then 30 seconds…. and so on. *Note: Another option could be giving your dog a stuffed Kong or a very high value treat (like a bully stick) to chew on when the vacuum is switched ON.*

What is that noise? Gypsy investigates further as Bandit eats some treats.

What is that? Gypsy investigates further as Bandit eats some treats.

Step 4: Moving the vacuum while turned ON. Once your dog seems comfortable and happy with the vacuum being switched ON and stationary, you then want to begin to move the vacuum around the house while in the ON position. Again, every time the vacuum is in the ON position you are tossing treats like there is no tomorrow. Like in step 3, you want to take baby steps in the amount of time the vacuum is ON and moving. You want to slowly build up your time vacuuming. Start out with a few seconds, then few minutes (or maybe one small room of the house) at a time and then gradually increase as your dog becomes more and more comfortable. *Note: This whole process may take a few days/weeks so be patient and go at your dogs pace. You want to make sure this is a positive and fun experience for you pup. Start out by vacuuming small portions of your house each day. Depending on your dog in a few days/weeks you can be back to vacuuming your entire house in the same day.*

Luckily, our young foster puppies took  to this vacuum thing fairly quickly. It only took them a little more than a week to get used to the vacuum and by the end of the second week I was able to vacuum the entire house while the pups lay quietly on a dog bed enjoying a delicious stuffed Kong.

What ways do you help your dog feel more comfortable around new “scary” things?

Gypsy and Bandit (both pictured here) are available for adoption through Mutts Matter Rescue.  If you are interested in adopting one (or both) of these cuties please visit the Mutts Matter Rescue page and fill out an adoption application.

Photo Friday ~ Cuddle Buddies

You just can’t get enough of puppies who love to cuddle. Gypsy and Bandit can be caught at almost anytime of the day taking naps together. It is just too cute to explain without showing you some pictures, take a look!

Bandit cuddling with his foster sister Gypsy

Whether it’s cuddling on top of…

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…or cuddling next too…

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…they just love to lounge together whenever they get the chance!

Both Bandit (black puppy) and Gypsy (brown puppy) are available for adoption through Mutts Matter Rescue.  If you are interested in adopting one (or both) of these cuties please visit the Mutts Matter Rescue page and fill out an adoption application.

Did You Say 2 Foster Puppies? Part 2: Meet Bandit

On Monday I introduced everyone to the first of my two current foster puppies Gypsy. Today I am going to introduce you to my second and younger foster puppy Bandit.

Meet Bandit, a 9 week old 11lbs Black Labrador Retriever Mix. It’s he a cutie?

Bandit

Bandit

See my white markings on my chest (my two back paws have white on the toes too).

See my white markings on my chest (my two back paws have white on the toes too).

Bandit came to be fostered with me on a complete whim. He, along with his siblings were rescued out of a shelter just in the brink of time. Can you believe these guys were slated to be *gasp* put to sleep! The shelter was over crowded and unfortunately because they were all black puppies they were seen as being less adoptable and were put on the list. Ever heard of Black Dog Syndrome or Black Dog Bias? It’s a bias where black dogs (and cats) are often passed over for adoption in favor of their lighter colored shelter mates. It’s a very sad thing indeed.

How could someone not want to adopt me?

How could someone not want to adopt me?

Funny thing is, I'm not all black. Can you see the brown tint to my coat? It's very pretty in the sunlight!

Funny thing is, I’m not all black. Can you see the brown tint to my coat? It’s very pretty in the sunlight!

Anyway, now that Bandit has been scooped up and placed into a loving foster home, he is getting a great start on life. As like most puppies Bandit’s age, he is full of energy and constantly on the move. He loves playing with his foster sister Gypsy. If they aren’t playing together, they are napping together. At first foster mom & foster dad referred to him as a little “spitfire” cause when he was awake, he was just go-go-go! Now that he’s gotten used to the routine around the house and is kept on a fairly steady schedule, he has begun to calm down and get into the swing of things. Like Gypsy, he is also learning some of his basic life skills. He knows how to “sit” and target “touch” your hand and is currently learning how to “down.” He knows how to “sit” for his food and for attention too. Potty training is getting better every day. He has learned what the “potty door” is and when he needs to go out he will walk over to it and paw at it to be let out. Foster mom *knocks on wood* and dares to share that he hasn’t had any accidents in 2 days! Crate training is also taking place and he is doing fairly well with that.

Practicing "sit" with my foster sister Gypsy and older foster brother Brewer.

Practicing “sit” with my foster sister Gypsy and older foster brother Brewer.

All-in-all, Bandit is an all around adorable pup. He is very self confident and likes to adventure out and investigate new things. No holding back with this puppy, he will be a great companion to an active family who is willing to put his energy to good use.

If you are interested in adopting Bandit or his foster sister Gypsy,  please go to Mutts Matter Rescue and fill out an adoption application.

Bandit cuddling with his foster sister Gypsy

Bandit cuddling with his foster sister Gypsy

Did You Say 2 Fosters Puppies? Part 1: Meet Gypsy

Hello there, I know… it’s been a while. At least 6 months in fact since my last blog. Life got a little bit busy on me and unfortunately this blog fell to the back burner for a little bit. Hopefully, now that I’ve gotten a few things taken care of I can get back to blogging on a regular basis. With that being said… did you see the title? Yup, you read that right, it say’s 2 foster puppies. That’s right, we’ve started fostering again and decided to just jump in feet first and take not 1 but 2 foster…PUPPIES!

Meet Gypsy a 3 month old 25lbs Shar Pei mix. She is the first of the two foster puppies I will be introducing to you on this blog in the next day or so. Isn’t she adorable!

Sweet Gypsy Girl

Sweet Gypsy Girl

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Gypsy came to be fostered with me because she needs to build her confidence with herself and around new people. She was a VERY shy girl when she first came to stay with us but is slowly but surely coming out of her shell. The first day didn’t want to come out of her crate, and if she did venture out, she kept her distance from us humans but was perfectly comfortable playing with her 3 foster brothers. Over the next few days, we made sure when she met new people that they remained calm and let her come to them. When she did, she was rewarded with yummy treats. Every day she started getting more confident. She started to play with toys and solicit attention from me and foster dad. She has also had the opportunity to visit a few new dog friendly places around the area and have positive associations with strangers in public as well. She has made A LOT of progress over the last 8 days. For the first time this weekend, a new person came to visit the house and instead of walking away and hiding under the table or sitting behind/beside foster dad and me, she approached our guest with tail wagging and gladly accepted a yummy treat and a gentle pat underneath her chin near her chest and around her shoulders.**Note: We made sure to tell people not to move quickly and reach over her head because actions like that (although seem perfectly normal to us humans) can be a little scary and even threatening to a timid/shy dog**

Gypsy gathered all these toys one by one before settling to play with them

Gypsy gathered all these toys one by one before settling to play with them

Along with building her self confidence over the last week, Gypsy is now also completely potty trained. She hasn’t had 1 accident since she’s been here with us, and when she needs to go, she approaches you with a wagging tail and a little whimper to get your attention before walking towards the “potty door”. She is also learning her basic life skills. She knows how to “sit” and target “touch” your hand (only of people she knows, not so much strangers). She is also learning how to “down” and seems to be responding fairly well to her name in “recall.” These are all things that can be transferred to her new family when she gets adopted.

Gypsy working on "Sit" with her foster brother Bandit.

Gypsy working on “Sit” with her foster brother Bandit.

She is going to make a wonderful addition to someone’s family. She has not yet been tested with kids under the age of 7yrs old. But with children who understand that they need to be calm and approach slowly she has done fine. We are also recommending that she go to a home with another dog. I don’t think Gypsy would be making as big of progress as she is today without the help and confidence of her foster brothers. Sort of a “monkey-see monkey-do” type thing. If the other dogs approach something new and scary without any sign of anxiety or worry, Gypsy is less anxious or worried to approach as well. It’s a win-win for her.

Gypsy cuddling on the dog bed with her older foster brother Brewer.

Gypsy cuddling on the dog bed with her older foster brother Brewer.

If you are interested in adopting this sweet Gypsy girl go to Mutts Matter Rescue and fill out an adoption application http://www.muttsmatterrescue.com/adoption_app.html.

Stay tuned for our next post on our 2nd foster puppy Bandit.  He is a cutie!

Bandit!

Bandit!

Photo Friday ~ Brewer the Beaver!

Last weekend my husband and I took the dogs with us for a small trip to the shore. Saturday morning we went to a local dock where you can crab and fish off of one side of the dock and swim on the other. Our Clicker Savvy Canine Brewer LOVES the water. Absolutely can’t get enough of it. He will swim till he can’t swim anymore (which is why he now has a life jacket). His brother Bailey on the other hand has never had the opportunity to be in water deep enough for him to actually swim, and it showed. Here are a few pictures of our trip to the dock. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to snap a picture of Baileys first/last time in the water for the day, but I got plenty of Brewer. Doesn’t he look like a beaver swimming in the water!

Brewer swimming out to retrieve his toy!

He loves doing this and will do it for hours on end!

Bringing the toy back to mom so she can throw it again.

Taking a mini breather before going for round 2!

Bailey taking a break after his first and last time in the water.

Photo Friday ~ Baylee Gets Her Learners

I just love getting updates and pictures from my past foster dogs new families! This week I received these two pictures of Baylee (formerly Sabrina) learning how to drive. Her new mom say’s:

“She only has her learners so that’s why she still needs an “adult” to drive with her for a while!”

Baylee learning how to drive with help from her human big sister.