Thursday, November 10, 2011

Not All Dogs Play The Same: Part 1

Disclaimer: This is the individual opinion of the author and is based on personal observations and experiences not scientific studies. Dog play is a very delicate subject, especially amongst dog trainers and it would probably take me years to fully break down every aspect of dog play, hence why I'll be writing about Dog Play in Parts 1, 2, 3 and so on . Please feel free to comment on this post with questions, comments or your own personal opinion of the subject material.

When it comes to dog play styles, not all dogs play the same. There are certain combinations of dog play styles that work better than others and there are certainly common body movements that most dogs use to communicate play but there is no standardized play style that all dogs must adhere to. I also feel that it's certainly up to the dog handler to understand the way their dog plays and make informed decisions on who to let their dog play with. There's also "play rules" that are pretty much the same in all play styles which include: no biting too hard, if someone says "ouch" it's time to take a break, no excessive humping and any dog can walk away at any time.

So what styles are there when it comes to dog play? Well, there are many different styles of dog play and some dogs are "NEUTRAL" dogs who can adapt their play style to any other dogs play style as needed. These "NEUTRAL" dogs are great for dogs who are new at playing, recovering from a traumatic experience and sometimes with puppies who are still learning how to safely play with adult dogs.

I will be dividing play styles first by the most common and generic play styles. Then I will break down the subcategories as well as what play styles work well together and what styles don't.

Let's start with the play style I'm the most familiar with, "THE WRESTLERS". These are the dogs who LOVE to wrestle and mouth play. These are the dogs who play mostly with an open mouth and lots of posturing. Pitties are notorious wrestlers and typically are more vocal than the other types of dog players. Their play can sometimes be misconstrued as fighting when witnessed by someone who is not used to this type of play. "WRESTLERS" can be pitties, bulldogs, labs and even small breeds like chihuahuas.

There's also "THE RUNNERS". These are the dogs who just LOVE to play chase. They either want to be the chasee or the chaser but heaven forbid they should ever make contact with another dog. These dogs tend to like their own space and don't want anyone catching them mid run. Border collies, labs, sighthounds and most small breeds are "RUNNERS".

Then there's "THE LONERS". These are dogs who'll hang out with groups of dogs but not engage in play with any of the other dogs. These dogs may even lip curl should another dog try to get too playful with them. These dogs do generally enjoy the company of other dogs but don't need to make physical contact of any sort either because they get winded easily, because they have stiff joints/muscles or simply because they would rather observe other dogs play than join in. These dogs are typically large mastiffs, some shepherds, toy breeds and some brachycephalic dog breeds (i.e. pugs, boston terriers, bulldogs).

There also somewhat of subgroups of the most common play styles. For example, "THE BOXERS" are a sub group of "THE WRESTLERS". "THE BOXERS" tend to do less mouth play than "THE WRESTLERS". They also tend to swat at one another with their front legs and paws while standing upwards on their hind legs. They may still wrestle, posture and chase but they don't engage in much of the mouthing whether it be because they have shorter snouts or just because they're more "refined" than the common "WRESTLER". Rottweilers, boxers and many of the hunting breeds tend to be "BOXERS".

Another subgroup would be "THE BALL DOGS" who just want to play ball or frisbee in the presence of other dogs. This subgroup would generally fall under the "RUNNERS" category because you'll sometimes have a dog who just loves to have others chase him while he chases his ball. Some "BALL DOGS" can also fall under the "LONER" category too since some "BALL DOGS" don't like to be interrupted or may get irritated if another dog tries to distract them from the task at hand. Golden Retrievers, Cattle Dogs and Labs tend to fall into the "BALL DOG" category.

Now let's talk about good and bad pairing of play styles. Obviously, "BALL DOGS" and "RUNNERS" are typically a good match because they're related. Same goes for the "BOXERS" and "WRESTLERS".

"RUNNERS" and "LOANERS" can sometimes be a good match especially when a "RUNNER" is able to playfully irritate "LOANERS" into a short lived game of chase without pushing the wrong buttons. "BALL DOGS" can also be a good match for "LOANERS" especially the "BALL DOGS" who aren't very fond of being interrupted. Both get to enjoy the company of other dogs while still keeping to themselves.

"BOXERS" and "RUNNERS" tend to play together well because neither really enjoy face to face contact and both can appreciate a good run. You have to be a little bit more cautious with "WRESTLERS" and "RUNNERS". "WRESTLERS" sometimes have pretty intense prey drives and could get lost in the chase when the "RUNNER" gets tired of running. "WRESTLERS" and "BALL DOGS" are typically hit or miss. Sometimes "BALL DOGS" enjoy a break from their ball and engage in a little chase or wrestle but if the "BALL DOG" isn't a fan of close contact or the "WRESTLER" isn't respectful of the "BALL DOGS" limits you could have a tussle on your hands.

And forget about pairing a "LOANER" with a "WRESTLER". Typically, "WRESTLERS" like to push buttons and may not respect the "LOANERS" space. "BOXERS" and "LOANERS" can sometimes work for the reason that "BOXERS" and "RUNNERS" can sometimes play; they don't like face to face contact. "BOXERS" may, also like the "BALL DOGS", be able to entice the "LOANERS" into a short game of rough house with their swatting and big play bows.

Some dogs have multiple play styles. For example, my foster dog Latte is a "RUNNER", "BOXER" and "WRESTLER". She switches through the play styles depending on who's she's playing with and in what mood she's in. My adopted dog Money is a "RUNNER" and a "WRESTLER". She tends to get carried away with playing chase though so she only plays chase with dogs who can out run her 99% of the time.

"NEUTRAL" dogs are a bit of a phenomenon in my opinion. They're the dogs who are so well versed in dog play that they can instantaneously switch play styles as needed depending on the mood of the play session and the other player. My former foster dog Buddy, who has been adopted by a wonderful family with 2 other dogs, was the first "NEUTRAL" dog I had the pleasure of solely training. He assisted me in my private training's as well as big workshops that focused on introducting your dog to other dogs safely. My current foster dog, Theo, is also on his way to becoming a perfect "NEUTRAL" dog. He's a big boy though and is still learning how big he really is, so we have some fine tuning to still do.

All in all, there are endless variables involved with dog play including environment, the size of the dogs, whether they're intact or not and so on and so fourth. There is no way to be 100% positive that everything is going to go smoothly 100% of the time but that is life and both dogs and humans can learn from their mistakes.

Part 2 of Not All Dog Play The Same will focus more on the individual styles common body movements as well as advice on teaching your dog boundaries when playing. I'm attaching a few different video examples of dogs playing. Try and figure out what dogs fall into what categories and leave your thoughts in the comments.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Thank You Letter To My Dog

Thank you for always greeting me when I come home with a waggy tail and wet kisses.
Thank you for always waking me up in the morning with bright eyes and unending enthusiasm for the day
Thank you for reminding me to take time out of my life to enjoy the sun even if I’m not laying out in it the way you do
Thank you for curling up beside me when I cry and reminding me to breathe when I’m mad/frustrated
Thank you for reminding me car rides CAN be fun even if my heads not out the window
Thank you for showing me that where there’s a will there is a way, even if it results in getting your head stuck down a hole while trying to catch that evil gopher
Thank you for filling my heart with love just by looking at me with your big brown eyes
Thank you for showing me there’s humor in everything, especially when you do something so stupid, I can’t help but laugh
Thank you for always getting the extra food I left on my face, so that I don’t embarrass myself
Thank you for looking sad when I leave so that I can’t wait to come home
Thank you for warming my feet when my husband steals all the comforters
Thank you for reminding me a game of “Hey give me back my shoe” is an easy way for me to get in my cardio for the day
Thank you for cleaning the floor anytime I spill anything
Thank you for knocking everything off of my coffee table with your tail and reminding me that memories are more important than objects

Most of all thank you for sticking with me, day in and day out. Thank you for your unending devotion, love and loyalty. You truly are my best friend.

My boy Joey and I

My girl Money and I

My husband with our smallest dog Prancer

Friday, September 9, 2011

Why I'm Against The San Diego County Rooster Ordinance

San Diego County has tentatively passed a new COUNTY WIDE (this means it affects even unincorporated areas of San Diego such as Valley Center, Fallbrook and Ramona) ordinance limiting the number or roosters residents are allowed to keep. I've been fighting the ordinance ever since I found out about it passing at a San Diego County Board of Supervisors meeting on August 2nd. I've received a lot of questions from people who aren't involved in raising chickens who don't understand why I'm fighting the ordinance since it's aimed at "curbing cockfighting".

The problem with the ordinance is that it doesn't solely affect cock fighters. It affects rescues such as myself, breeders who are trying to preserve rare and endangered breeds and people who raise birds for their own consumption.

Here are some answers to the questions I've received lately:

Why would anyone who's not a cockfighter have more than one rooster?
There are a lot of reasons why someone who would have more than one rooster. When someone buys chicks from a feed store, a breeder or even a hatchery there is NO WAY to tell if the chicks will grow up to be roosters or hens. So let's say you get 4 chicks from the feed store, you grow them up and fall in love with them when all of a sudden you notice 2 out of the 4 chicks are crowing. Most people will keep both roosters simply because they have raised them since they were babies and have an emotional attachment to them. 

People who show their birds, have to have multiple roosters since roosters are typically what are entered into shows not hens and you need multiple in case one accidentally gets sick or has an accident. If you're breeding birds, you HAVE to have more than one rooster otherwise you run the risk of turning out inbred chickens. Also, most people who raise fancy chickens (ie silkies, polish, seramas, etc.) typically raise more than one breed of chicken so in order to raise more than one breed you need at least one rooster for each breed. I, for example, breed Old English Game Bantams that are no bigger than a gallon of milk and I also breed Silkie Bantams which are also on the smaller side and are super fluffy. Because I live on under half an acre of land I'll have to decide which breed I want to keep.

I'm also a chicken/rooster rescue. I don't always have only roosters but roosters are predominately what comes from shelters since they're harder to place than hens. This means I can have anywhere from 3-7 roosters from shelters at a time.

There are also people who still raise roosters for personal consumption. Most people don't eat hens since they lay eggs and prefer to eat the roosters. The ordinance defines a rooster as any bird 6 months, adult feathered or crowing. Most people harvest roosters at 8 months of age. This means you will no longer be able to raise more than one bird for slaughter if you live on less than a half an acre.

The ordinance exemplifies 4H Groups, FFA, Commercial Poultry Ranches and Humane Organizations. Aren't you a humane organization and why isn't that good enough?
According to the ordinance, in order to qualify as a humane organization, you have to employ Humane Officers which we do not. The Escondido Humane Society doesn't even employ Humane Officers, they employ Animal Control officers so even the Escondido Humane Society may be subject to the ordinance even though they place birds as well as take in found/stray birds.

The problem I have with them exemplifying just 4H groups and FFA organizations is that most of these groups purchase their birds from ADULT BREEDERS. If there are no more adult breeders (which will happen if this ordinance goes into affect), there will be no one for these children to buy their show birds from.

Also, not all schools have 4H or FFA programs, so the kids who raise birds simply for the love of it will no longer be allowed to do so simply because they're not in 4H or FFA which is flat out discrimination.

Are you against the housing requirements and anti-tethering sections of the ordinance?
Yes and no. Yes, I'm all for the housing requirements except for the part about having to keep birds 50 feet away from ANY residences. I live on a smaller lot so although my chickens are 50ft away from my neighbors residences, they aren't 50ft from my own therefore I would be in violation and have to find somewhere else to put my birds and in my current yard there is no way for me to do that.

I'm also not against tethering rooster and let me explain why. ALL BREEDS OF ROOSTERS FIGHT therefore in order to keep roosters safe from each other but still allow them to get grass, bugs and sunshine, they MUST BE TETHERED otherwise you'll have roosters fighting even through cage non-stop. I fortunately have a wonderful set up where I have big enclosures where I can house one rooster and two hens separately however, if I ever wanted to give them time outside of their enclosures I'd have to tether them to ensure their safety.

Also, if you think tethering is cruel I highly suggest you check out the way hens are kept at egg ranches and then talk to me about tethering.

What solution do you propose to eliminate cockfighting?
I propose that the Dept of Animal Services creates a registry where legitimate hobbyists, breeders and rescues who'd like to have over the ordinance amount of roosters register, sign an agreement to allow the Dept of Animal Services to inspect their premises once a year as well as promise to never fight their birds or keep them for illegal purposes and pay a yearly fee similar to what you'd do in order to license a dog.

Most cockfighters won't want to go through the hassle of registering therefore anyone who isn't registered or hasn't registered even though they've been notified could face penalties as well as search of their property and seizure of their birds.

A similar registry has been drafted for Solano County and I have brought this idea to the attention of Dept of Animal Services however my suggestions fell on deaf ears. They did not want to amend the ordinance to incorporate the registry because they'd have to scrap the ordinance all together and start fresh which was going to take "too much time".

Final Thoughts:
I think the Dept of Animal Services had wonderful intentions when they drafted this ordinance however they didn't do enough research on the impact the ordinance would have on the county. I was asked to have a meeting with the Dept of Animal Services shortly after I started the online petition, in which John Carlson the Deputy Director of the Dept of Animal Services as well as the person who drafted the ordinance FLAT OUT admitted to not contacting 4H and only spoke to a publicist for FFA. He also admitted to only talking to one commercial poultry farm in all of San Diego County. He did not contact the American Poultry Association, he did not contact the American Bantam Association, he did not contact the Dr. Francine Bradley who is the UCDavis Poultry expert and most importantly, he did not check with any legitimate hobby breeders which you can find ALL OVER craigslist.

During the meeting all the members, which included Dawn Danielson the Director of the Dept of Animal Services, Dan DeSousa who's basically the press guy for the Dept of Animal Services, Eric Sakach an animal cruelty specialist for HSUS and Randy Lawrence who's the Director of Investigations and Field Services for SD Humane and SPCA, admitted that they didn't know why anyone would have more than one rooster. They didn't know that you needed more than one rooster to prevent inbreeding, they didn't know that people still raised birds for personal consumption and they didn't realize that there were rooster rescues such as my self. Even after I educated them on all of these items, they still refused to amend the ordinance or even to come up with some sort of mutual agreement on how we can all get what we wanted.

I have not, until now, revealed the details of my meeting with the Dept of Animal Services simply because I had hoped that I wouldn't have to and that maybe they'd come to their senses and realize they're pissing off a lot of people that aren't cockfighters but unfortunately that hasn't happened. They've also gone as far as to attack me personally as well as my reputation. I will not go into details about what has been said as I do not wish to add fuel to the fire and the claims are so ridiculous and outlandish that they don't even merit explanation.

Yes, I rescue "fighting breeds" of roosters, just like I rescue "fighting breeds" of dogs. Not everything you hear about animals are true so please do yourself a favor and do some research before jumping to conclusions. I'm a firm believer that all animals deserve a chance at a good life and do my best to give that chance to as many as I can.


Please sign our online petition at:

Or attend the next San Diego County Board of Supervisors meeting on TUESDAY, OCTOBER 13TH AT 9AM AT THE SAN DIEGO COUNTY ADMINISTRATION CENTER located at 1600 Pacific Highway San Diego and make sure to wear RED!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How To End Attention Seeking Barking

Dogs bark for all kinds of reasons, to alert that there's somebody at the door, to tell you they have to go out or to entice another dog to play but in my opinion, the hardest type of barking dog to train is the dog who simply barks to get your attention.

(For safety reasons I must mention that some dogs bark when they're in pain, hungry, thirsty or have to eliminate; please rule out all of these causes of barking before attempting to train your dog to stop "attention seeking" barking)

Attention seeking barkers are a pain mostly because anything that we humans commonly do in order to interupt or stop this behavior is actually ENCOURAGING it, no mater how angry or serious we try to sound, we're still giving the dog attention which feeds the barking.

So how do you, a mere human, stop an obnoxious and sometimes serious habit with out accidnetly encouraging it?

Simple. Reward the silence. Confused? Let me explain.

If you wait for your dog to stop barking for only a few seconds and you reward the dog BEFORE it starts barking again you'll actually be rewarding your dog for being quite.

Still confused?

Let me explain how your dog views and interprets the situation. Most dogs think in terms of cause and effect. If I do this, I get that or If I do this, that happens. So far, your dog has learned in this paticular situation that if he wants attention all he has to do is bark and you'll come running to take them to go to the bathroom, to feed them, to see who's at the door etc. But when your dog is simply barking because they just want you to stop what you're doing and pay attention to them then what do you usually do? You yell at them to stop barking, be quiet, shut up, etc. usually while making eye contact and facing your dog, am I right?

It isn't important to your dog WHAT it is that you're saying to them but that you've actually stopped what you were previously doing, came over to where the dog was, made eye contact with them and then proceeded to talk to the dog. In your dog's brain, he's just gotten exactly what he wanted and he barely had to do anything to get it.

Are you starting to see why they say negative attention is still attention?

So back to what you CAN do about the barking.

After you reward the even just 2 or 3 seconds of silence by going over to your dog, verbally marking the silence with a YES (this helps your dog understand what it is that they're being rewarded for) and then handing them a small piece of their regular dinner kibble, say "OK" and go back to what you were doing. The dog will usually wait a few seconds or even a few minutes before it starts back up with the barking again.


There will be a break in the barking. Wait for it and reward promptly before saying "OK" and resuming what you were doing again. Repeat as necessary, gradually increasing how long you wait AFTER the silence has started and before your reward the dog for it.

Your dog should be barking less and being quiet longer each time you reward them.

You'll definitley need to practice this EVERYTIME the problem barking occurs. So you may do it a few days in a row beofre the barking completely ceases but it WILL work as long as you're consistent and patient.

Also, remember not to reward your dog TOO lavishly otherwise you could end up in a sticky situation of your dog barking JUST so that you'll reward them for the silence. I prefer to use a combination of verbal praise "GOOD DOG! WHAT A GOOD DOG!" and a piece or two of just regular dry dog kibble.

If this sounds TOO easy to be true, your right it is almost TOO easy which is why it is also VERY easy to screw it up. Remember, to wait for a 2 or 3 second pause in the barking at first then as you make your way over to your dog, start telling him/her what a good dog they are, when you get to them say "YES" and then hand them the piece of kibble. After they've finished chewing the kibble say "OK" and walk away. Your dog will then start barking again, wait for another break but this time wait for a 4 or 5 second pause before starting up with the verbal praise, going over to the dog, etc.

It's also SUPER important for everyone in the household to be on the same page. If even just one person tells the dog to "SHUT UP" instead of waiting for when the dog is quiet, you'll have to start all over again from the beginning.

It's a good idea to try and get everyone together in the same room when the dog starts the barking and have everyone practice waiting for the dog to stop, and then sending out a different person each time to reward the dog until the barking completely stops.

Also, remember a TIRED DOG IS A HAPPY DOG! If your dog is consistently barking they may just need more exercise. Please eliminate all causes of your dogs barking before assuming that it's Attention Seeking Barking. It's also a good idea to enlist the help of a Professional Dog Trainer or Behaviorist to help you with any type of barking problem.

Well that's all for now, check back periodically as I'm going to try to get together a step by step video of How To Stop Attention Seeking Barking as a follow up to this blog.

Please leave a comment!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Theo and Then Some!

So it's taken me a bit longer to write about Theo than I had expected but boy is it going to be worth the wait. Theo is a very special dog and I'm so excited to share with you all not only the story of how he came to be a part of the Bowman's Canine program but how much progress he's made since we pulled him from the shelter.

Buddy was a dog who'd been in the Bowman's Canine program for almost a year. He was a fantastic dog who came with us to a lot of our trainings and helped so many dogs over come their fear of other dogs. In April, a wonderful family came to meet him and eventually ended up deciding to adopt him. Now, Buddy and Latte were pulled from separate shelters around the same time and had been best friends ever since. They played on a daily basis, had slumber parties and were generally partners in crime. So you can imagine Latte's disappointment when Buddy was no longer there to play with every day. It was about a week after Buddy had been adopted that we began thinking about pulling another dog, not only to save a life but to hopefully give Latte that someone special yet again. It was around this time Bowman's Canine first heard about Theo.

He was a dog who wasn't available for adoption and was being worked with on a daily basis at Escondido Humane Society to overcome his general fear of pretty much everything. He had one special staff member that he loved and a few volunteers that he'd tolerate but was still VERY fearful. When I asked about what dogs needed exiting the most, Theo's name was the first one mentioned. We added him to our list of potential dogs to pull but wanted to wait until Buddy had hit the 1 month marker in his new home before taking on another dog, just in case things didn't work out and he needed to come back. Another week went by and  I had heard that Theo was no longer in danger as he had been put on the foster list and was awaiting the right foster home. We ended up pulling another dog, a chocolate lab/pit puppy named Mud. He was adopted after only a few weeks of being with us to an absolutely perfect family. Mud had temporarily filled Buddy's spot in Latte's life but he wasn't her partner in crime the same way that Buddy was. He was more of a little brother that Latte needed to shape and teach.

After Mud had been in his home for a few weeks, I began asking around about dogs at the shelter again and Theo's name was once again brought up. He had been taken off the foster list and was now apparently a candidate for receiving anti-anxiety medications. I agreed to evaluate Theo on the condition that I could do so BEFORE he was started on the anti-anxiety medications.

I had our wonderful Adoptions Coordinator/Asst Trainer Krystal join us for Theo's initial evaluation. Theo's favorite staff member brought him out on leash and into an interaction yard. She handed me the leash at first so that she could go get a few chairs for us to sit in. As I held on tight to Theo's probably 6ft leash, he wouldn't come anywhere near Krystal or I. He ran in a perfect circle around me as I held the leash in pure fright. His tail was tucked, he was trying to stay as low to the ground as he could without taking his eyes off of me. He did sit in front of me with his back to me for about a minute and let me pet him but darted right back out again after hearing the slightest noise. Once his favorite lady came back into the yard with the chairs, I let go of the leash and let him be. We all sat there and talked for a while about what all they had been doing with Theo, what we thought he'd need to succeed out of the shelter and how he came to be at the shelter.

It turned out that Theo and a dog who looked very similar to him but was around 5 years old named Norah had been found as strays running loose at Kit Carson Park in Escondido. Theo was extremely bonded to Norah but as soon as she wasn't around, Theo would shut down. Norah was very friendly and was listed as available for adoption and moved over into the adoptions side of the humane society. Theo however, was still too fearful to be adopted and was listed as "Under Behavior Modification" while remaining on the strays side.

Back to our evaluation of Theo, so we were all sitting in the interaction yard with Theo off leash. I began to notice Theo some what "coming to life" he started trying to pull a carpet/blanket thing underneath a plastic table and was casually checking in with his favorite staff member here and there. His tail started to untuck and his brow line finally started to relax. After about 20 minutes of sitting and talking, Theo finally came up to me while I was sitting in the chair for some scratches but never for more than a minute or two. That's when I got out of my chair and sat on the ground with him. He let me rub his head and ears a little bit and scratch his back but he still wanted to run away at every chance he got. After about 45 minutes of hanging out with Theo, I was officially in love and gave the word that we'd be pulling him. He was then scheduled for his neuter surgery and returned to his kennel.

A few days later, I was actually contacted by the shelter's "behaviorist" and told that even though Theo had made some progress at the shelter, he thought that Theo wouldn't be able to "make it over the hump" without anti-anxiety meds and that he wasn't able to cope with new situations. He also said that he thought we should put him on the anti-anxiety meds even after we pull him and offered to get us a prescription. I respectfully declined and asked what behaviors Theo displayed that made him think that Theo wouldn't be able to cope with coming out of the shelter without medication, I never heard back.

We picked Theo up a few days after his neuter surgery and brought him to the facility. At first, he was petrified of our truck but once we started cruising, he LOVED having his head out the window. I took him on leash around the yard, let him explore his new kennel and introduced him through the fence to Latte. Although, he was immediately smitten with Latte, I'm pretty sure the feeling wasn't mutual. At the end of our walk around the yard, I sat down on the front patio with Theo and just let him take his time coming up to me without reaching out for him at all. He cautiously sniffed me but still didn't want to be petted. I was however, able to get lots of kisses after I returned him to his kennel.

Everyday, after that first day, he seemed to come out of his shell bit by bit. Everything was new to him, he was both fascinated and afraid of the most mundane things. He was absolutely petrified of our chickens at first and even our small palm trees that line the fence. We did mini- Behavior Adjustment Training sessions with him and just about everything on a daily basis. The most important one though was with my husband.

It took a few days of doing a BAT session once a day with Theo and my husband before Theo felt confident approaching my husband. At first it was just a sniff and then we'd run away, then it was a sniff and a lick and then we'd run away. By the fourth or fifth day he was practically running up to my husband to give him love before running away and smelling the fabulous smells around the yard.

After about a week of being with Bowman's Canine, Krystal came up and we took Latte and Theo for their first walk together. The chemistry was ELECTRIC! They absolutely LOVED one another. Latte lit up in a way I haven't seen since Buddy was adopted. They rumbled, tumbled,  wrestled and played all while dragging poor Krystal and I along.

They then began going on daily off leash play dates and turned into the best of friends. After, Latte was attacked just a little over two weeks ago, Theo was devastated. Latte was no longer directly across from him day in and day out and he stared to develop a bit of separation anxiety. This was secretly, a blessing in disguise though and this helped bring Theo even further out of his shell without his dependency on Latte.

Theo has now begun approaching people when they come over all on  his own, with little or no coaxing. He approaches people with a waggy tail and confidence. It also turns out he likes kids and was more than happy to say hello to my neighbors little girl through the fence. He still loves every dog he sees even if the love isn't returned. Everyday he's blossoming more and more into the fantastic dog I knew he could be. He has made all of this progress WITHOUT the use of medications. All he needed was some love, time and patience.

This evening, I'll be taking Theo on his first hike away from our facility. We'll be meeting a friend and her dog at a hiking trail out in, gasp, PUBLIC! I'm both excited and nervous to see how Theo does. I'll be bringing the video camera along so don't worry I'll definitely be posting video.

Speaking of video, I'm going to attach two videos for you all to see. The first video is of our first meeting with Theo while he was still at the shelter and then day two with us:

The second video, is Theo's 11th day with Bowman's Canine and his first time meeting Krystal. This was also the same day he walked with Latte for the first time:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Our First Post!

So, I finally gave in, buckled down and created a blog to share not only training tips and articles but to highlight the dogs in our program as well as any progress they're making. As most of you know we currently had three dogs in the program up until Sunday,when Miss Jersey was adopted. We are now down to Latte and Theo and I've decided to do a separate entry for each dog detailing how they came to be a part of Bowman's Canine as well as the progress they've made.

So let's start with the Lovely Latte!

I first heard about Latte from a friend who continued to volunteer at a shelter I formerly worked at. She had expressed to me that she knew Latte was a good girl but had ended up on the euthanasia radar for being "too hyper". At the time Latte was about 8 months old and as stunning as ever. I agreed to meet with my friend just outside of the shelter since, at the time, I was still not allowed on the property (we're all good now but this was about a year and a half ago). As I waited patiently by my truck, little Latte began approaching while on leash with my friend. I could tell at first she was a little shy and was carefully scanning me to determine if I was friend or foe so I kneeled down sideways, turned my head to the side so as not to make direct eye contact and started telling her what a pretty and sweet girl she was in my best Mickey Mouse voice.

She immediately came running over, sniffed my hand and then attempted to jump in my lap. Now, I'm not going to lie, Latte had enough energy to put the energizer bunny to shame but she was 8 months old, a pit and a brindle one at that. Being the proud momma of a brindle female pittie myself I already knew what I was getting myself into. I couldn't help but fall in love with Latte immediately. I did my usual evaluation just to make sure their were no red flags and other than being extra wiggly, I saw no reason for her to be on the "euth radar". I agreed, on the spot, to rescue her if we could find a way to exit her without it being public knowledge that I was the one doing the rescuing.

Thanks to lots of help from several volunteers and a few staff members, Latte was pulled from the shelter and transferred to Bowman's Canine. A few days later we ended up also pulling another dog, Buddy, from San Diego Humane North Campus who just so happened to be 8 months old as well. Buddy was quite the charmer and was able to get chummy with Latte in no time. They both gave each other fantastic bouts of confidence and drool.

At the time, Latte had ZERO manners, she pulled on the leash, didn't know any basic commands, wouldn't sit still for more than a minute and was basically a bucking bronco if I've ever seen one. Latte is now almost 2 years old and is a refined lady with lots of love to give. She knows sit, down, stay, come, release, leave it, is crate trained and housebroken. She is dog selective but warms up to most dogs in time. She's also still a little wary of strange men when we're out and about but if you're a guest at the ranch, she's all over you quicker than white on rice.

Now if you follow me on facebook ( or than you've probably heard that about a week and a half ago, Latte was attacked while on a walk with me by my neighbors two German Shepherd Chow mixes, after they broke out of their yard. The damage was pretty significant, she ended up needing 3 drains and about 8-10 sutures. We thankfully received a lot of support from our supporters, clients and friends which helped pay a big chunk of Latte's $1000 vet bill. The neighbors are going to help reimburse us for the vet bill by making monthly payments to us, so that is already squared away.

Yesterday, Latte had the last of her sutures removed and is now healing BEAUTIFULLY! She's still a bit wary of any shepherd she sees but thankfully still loves her current boyfriend Theo.

Here's a picture of my lovely Latte:

Well, I guess that's all for today. I'm really looking forward to blogging about Theo and his progress tomorrow. He's going to be one of our biggest success stories, I can already tell.

Until next time.....