creepymcsteezerson

Training, Behavior, Nutrition, Toy Reviews and More!

Playing The Role Of Animal Control Officer

I didn’t really have time to tell the story earlier, but I can now since I am finally back on my comfy couch healing my feeties. It seemed like every client I had to deal with today was either in a really bad mood, had some declining health issues, or something just straight up went wrong during the visit….anyway, this bulldog that I have acquired and am working with is the culprit (as usual) of my biggests troubles today. It was requested by myself and my boss that the owner of said bulldog should leave the harness on to make it easier for me to work with her (i.e. getting her over her fear of strangers and her aggressive tendencies towards getting the leash/harness clicked on). However, the owner did not put the harness on correctly. I cannot adjust the harness without being bitten – possibly a grab and hold which is not something I want to experience. So I left it alone and prayed for the best. This morning was fine, the dog was not resistant whatsoever and I was thinking, “Wow! We’re actually making some progress here!”. Yeah…..not the case apparently. I had to visit again in the afternoon and we were back to square one. Taking her outside was where the trouble started though as I’m already prepared and used to dealing with her aggressive tendencies inside – afterall I have all of my tools there. Because the harness was not on correctly combined with her increased resistance outside……it slipped right off of her. This is a serious and dangerous problem. Passersby could be bitten and injured. Luckily, two things happened. I was constantly sheilding the passersby from her lunges while distracting her with the slip lead and she (thank the fucking Gods) listened to my verbal commands. I really didn’t need to chase her because of this. Anyway, the always trusted slip lead method worked (I swear by it) eventually. I didnt have my gloves and she almost got me a couple times, but one thing I have gained from this job is some incredible reflex reactions. I really hope I never need to play this part again. Phew. I was more terrified of this dog getting hurt than myself. The fact that she actually listened to me says a lot though. There IS some trust there, but her fears seem to override it. It can definitely be worked on, at least 

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Catching Up: New Dog Drama & Mountains Of Toy Reviews!

My computer has been down, in and out of the shop, and just plain screwed up for months. After having literally everything except for the screen and outer shell replaced, it is finally up and running again! So, where do I begin? I know in the past I had mentioned the Cockapoo who I helped conquer her anxious fear of my strange self. She had previously been handed over to a co-worker of mine because she moved, but she is now back in my care. The two elderly bulldogs are in another co-workers care and the male’s attitude has not changed in the least. The reason I bring up these past problem dogs is because I have encountered a new one who is also an English Bulldog. I cannot recall if I had breifly brought her up in the past, but she is now in my care as the only co-worker I had who could handle her has switched jobs. I have previously tried to work with her in the past, but I was not given much time. Needless to say, she hasn’t changed her attitude much about me. She is much younger and much faster than the older male I had previously dealt with, which makes her more difficult to “tame” for lack of a better word. Anyway, this morning I had to run out and grab some thick, deer skin gloves for protection.

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 Deer Skin Leather Gloves

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is that bad. This morning did not go so well. She bit down on my finger, but luckily these awesome gloves were not punctured. I find that the color is very useful because dogs can only see blues and yellows. So, when she does decide to bite down, she is drawn to the shockingly bright color of the gloves, rather than the duller, grayish color of my skin. When I move on from this job, I am donating these to the business so they can be used by others who may end up in my position. Alas, this is only the beginning of this story. I will have to update you on the progress with this dog as life goes on. Now, for what you really want to read – DOG TOY REVIEWS!

Boris and I have tried so may new toys since this blog has been put on hiatus. There are three toys I would really like to add, but I will start with two from the same company, Jolly Pets. Jolly Pets is a fantastic company as they are environmentally friendly (all toys are recycled and recycleable) and are non-toxic, containing no BHA.  The “Jolly Ball” is the first one I decided to try.

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 The “Master of Destruction” uses his trophy as a chin rest.

If you have a power chewer, the handle on this toy will last about two minutes and then the dog will lose interest.  However, this can be preserved if you allow your dog to use it only during certain times. I started off using it as solely an outside toy when we visited the park, but then one day I decided to see how quickly he could chew off the handle. He did not swallow one piece of this, but instead spit each piece out onto my carpet, stared at me, and then continued on with his destruction. So, as far as the durability of this toy? Not so good. It certainly captured the attention of my dog though. Without the handle, it works something like this next toy, with erratic rolling. I introduce to you, the “Jolly Egg”.

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“Why…the hell….can I not…pick this goddamn thing up!”

First thing I need to say about this is, you NEED to give rewards with this toy. It drives them CRAZY because there is absolutely NO WAY to pick this thing up. Have treats handy. I love this toy because it keeps Boris busy, and because it’s basically impossible to pick up unless you own a giant Mastiff or a Great Dane, the durability is also fantastic. I have heard of larger Pit Bull type dogs chewing off the end, but I can guarantee that unless you have a seriously stubborn bully breed who will not quit combined with you not watching your dog play with this toy (which would be terrible pet parenting), chances are you won’t be seeing a hole chewed in this thing any time soon.

I have one last toy to review, and it is one that we actually tried well before the two above. It’s called the Tire Biter and it is said to withstand “500lbs of bite force” and “1,000 chomps per hour”.

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Camera Ham Plus Rubber

Boris loved it. I loved it. We both still love it. The durability is TOP NOTCH! I don’t know if I can confirmed whole-heartedly what they claim since there is no domestic canine with a 500lb bite force, but I can claim that this is DEFINITELY a toy that will LAST! With any power biter, this is a go-to toy. I have yet to find a toy that is just as durable as it is enjoyable for my dog. I HIGHLY recommend trying this toy. You can find it in any major pet store. This is the largest size pictured above. Below I have posted the damage the toy has taken so far – really minimal!

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The “500lb Bite Force” does not take into consideration that large canine teeth can cause punctures with much less force.

I hope everyone enjoyed this update. I really enjoyed sharing my experiences, even if no one reads them! I hope someone finds joy in the toys I shared 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your week, ladies and gents! – Rachel

 

 

Chuck-It Toy Review, Introduction to a Bulldog, and Kong Wubba Update

So, it’s been a while, eh? I’ve got a lot to say today just to bring you up to date with what’s been going on. Where should I start? If you’ve read my previous entry where I did a review of the “Kong Wubba” dog toy, I have an update on that. It’s mutilated. I mean, I fully expected this to happen. I think it lasted a month or two before Boris dumped it’s innards on the couch. Want to know what’s inside? The little top ball is merely a tennis ball (destroyed in a few hours) and the bottom squeaker looks like this:

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Kong Wubba Squeaker

The squeaker ball is still intact only because I minimize play with it and Boris gets very upset when he destroys his wonderful squeakers, haha.

Next up, I’ve been working with a couple bulldogs the past few months. The female is a sweetheart, but the male is.. to say the least, a grumpy old man. This past week has been really bad. Every time I approach with his collar he becomes aggressively reactive. He growls, he snaps, he even charges. This old bulldog doesn’t move very fast, but it’s fast enough to cause some anxiety on my part. So, until this past Saturday I’ve just been contacting my boss and telling him “I can’t get him out. He absolutely will not let me take him.”, which means he would have to come down and care for the male himself. I don’t like doing that, at all. Alas, my boss continued to put them on my schedule and this Saturday he was not available. So I was put between a rock and a hard place. If I didn’t get this grumpy old man outside there would be a mess in the house and a not so happy client. He still would not take to the collar and I didn’t want to put myself in a position where I could be bitten, so I had to improvise. I’ve often seen slip leads used in rescue and aggressive situations so I decided to give it a shot. Luckily, he is also food motivated. Unluckily, he’s not a gentle taker and snaps the treats out of your hand. So, I created the slip lead with his leash like so:

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Actual Slip-Lead

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Improvised Slip-Lead

I then had to lay the loop on the floor, and place the treat in the middle. Sounds simple enough, but doing this also gets your hands within reach of a snapping dog as you need to get the loop over the dog’s head. Hopefully, the dog stays busy enough with the food that he does not even notice. The leash I had for this dog was not particularly stiff, so I had to keep the loop large enough to fit over his wide head, making it slightly more hazardous. I would really recommend using something not so limp, it just makes everything easier. Anyway, I got him on the second try. He then realized he was very upset with me and started his growling/snapping routine. Thankfully, when on lead this is pretty futile and you can use “corrections” with a slip lead. I prefer not to use corrections, but for this particular case, the quick tug to let him know he’s behaving inappropriately was well warranted,

Lastly, I have another dog toy review! I purchased the “Chuck-It Kick Fetch” a few weeks back. For those of you who are not familiar with this toy, Boris posed very nicely with it. Personally, I think this photo would make a lovely ad for them.

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Boris is in love with it and it is holding up pretty well. Granted there are a few pock marks from his teeth, it hasn’t gotten any major tears or pieces ripped off……yet. I definitely would not call this toy “indestructible”. I only use it at the park because I know if I leave it out at home, Boris will surely sit and chew on it for the entire day until nothing is left but shreds and vacuum food. It costs about $25 at Petco and for that price I would really like for it to last. Anyway, here’s a video of us at the park today. Please ignore my babbling in the background, haha.

I’m sorry about the quality. My camera died unexpectedly, so I ended up using my phone. Meh.

Kong Wubba Dog Toy Review

Today, I thought I might write something a little different. The “Kong Wubba” is a dog toy I frequently encountered during my time at the ASPCA and the other day I decided to give it a shot.

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“Kong Wubba” Dog Toy.

I found this intriguing because not only is it a tug toy, but it has a squeaker as well. Boris adores both of these things. The Kong Wubba comes in a variety of styles, but because Boris is also a strong chewer, I prefer the one made with the super strong, fire hose-like material. They also come in adorable animal shapes.

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Or if your dog is not a strong chewer, they also come in adorable, plushie animal shapes.

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So far so good on my end, but I still don’t think the “super strong” fire hose-like material is going to hold up to Boris’ teeth. In fact, I have yet to find a squeaky toy that will. He loves squeakers so much, but because they need that bit of air in order to squeak they never last long. I’ve tried this other squeaker ball as well:

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So, all in all, if anyone happens to have any suggestions or otherwise, please feel free to leave a comment for me.

Good News & Bad News

Let’s start with the good news since it will also make this post in chronological order. Yesterday, I had a major break through with the defensive-aggressive Cockapoo I’ve been blogging about. She did not bark or growl at all when I entered the apartment. Although she did retreat to her chair in the corner, it took much less coaxing to get the harness on her. Today was even better. She did not retreat. She came right up with her wiggling butt, friendly as could be. I’m incredibly relieved that this went over so well with her. She’s a real sweetheart when she wants to be.

The bad news is that one of the walkers called in today so we all had to cover for him. It gets a little worse though – I inherited another defensive-aggressive dog on my schedule and this time it was an English Bulldog. I was scheduled to see her twice and both times it wasn’t pretty. I was there for over an hour the first time, repeatedly trying trust building exercises. In the beginning it was similar to the Cockapoo’s reaction to me coming into the apartment, only this Bulldog was much more bold. I was able to finally get into the kitchen area to grab some treats and the barking ceased almost immediately. In this case, she really just hated the thought of me putting the harness on her. This was the biggest issue, so I slid the harness onto my wrist and gave treats. I slowly moved the harness up my wrist until it was right near where she was taking the treats. It was about a 20 minute exercise. I’d try to pet her, and she’d put on a stiff, uncomfortable pose – so I’d repeat the exercise. I did this three times with no change in attitude. On the last try, I tried to quickly slip the EasyWalk harness over her head as she was eating, but she was not having it. As a final attempt, I simply held the harness up so she could see it and attempted to feed a few more treats….that was a huge mistake. She barked and charged, stopping short of me as I jumped back. At this point, I decided to call it quits. The second attempt was much like the first, so there’s not much point going into detail about it. The only difference is when I gave up towards the end of the second try, I just sat down. I sat and waited and just let her sniff me out and then I left, hoping it would leave a decent impression if we meet again.

If anyone has any experience with a situation like this, particularly with an English Bulldog (as they are well known for stubborness and often hold up that reputation), please leave your comments below. I would love to hear from you.

The Story of Boris the Pit Bull Mix (Short Version)

Since nothing that interesting has been happening at work, I’ve decided to take tonight to share Boris’ story with you. So, here it goes.

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This is Boris’ furry mommas, Steelie. Boris is the chubby butt on the far right.

Boris is a 3 year old American Pit Bull Terrier mix, born on May 22, 2010. His mother, Steelie was an AmStaff/APBT mix. His father, Gauge, is a mystery. Boris was born in a van on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Unfortunately, he was separated from his biological mommy a little too early, which was not really my fault. On the day when I went to visit Boris while he was only 4 weeks old, I witnessed his sister have her head stomped in by a deranged man in Tompkins Square Park. Here is a link to the story in the New York Post:

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/pup_slay_outrage_at_court_dgylTKsBLxnKa4PTMjioGN

If I had not watched that happen that day, I would’ve let Boris stay with Steelie longer, but because this is how it happened I could not bring myself to leave him there wondering if he would suffer the same fate. Only 4 out of 7 of Boris’ siblings are still alive that we know of to this day. He doesn’t seem to have any serious issues because of being separated early, but there are definitely some separation anxiety issues and he seems to lack confidence with some strangers – especially men. Other than these things, he is a wonderful companion, guardian, family member, and all around a lovely dog. He is know for his immense good looks, and his humorous charm. He seems to have a never ending source of energy and of course, a boundless source of love.

Second Day with Defensive-Aggressive Dog

I haven’t made much progress, to be honest. I had to go through the same routine, or at least a variation of it. I was so comfortable with yesterday’s results that I tried pushing things along too fast and almost got myself bit. Luckily, the cats at the ASPCA taught me how to use a practiced fast hand and vigilance. I know even further what to expect from tomorrow now. I tried giving this dog some bonding time after our walk as well so she would get used to my smell even further.

While my schedule is generally the same, I actually walked a new dog today. It’s the first “Pit Bull” I have walked on this job. He’s an old man with a whitened muzzle and slow movements. He doesn’t like walking all that much and he sleeps like the dead. I had to literally roll him over to wake him up the first time I met him. The second time he actually woke up from the clinging of the leash on the formica countertop.

As a side note, I will never post photos of our clients, their pets, their homes, or their possessions unless given permission. I will also not use client’s names or their pet’s names without permission. And, quite obviously, addresses will never be posted. I’ve met most of the owners so far, but I don’t come across them often. This is also a fairly new job for me and at this point and I wouldn’t feel comfortable jumping into asking them for permission for these things until I get to know them a bit better. Just letting you know that you shouldn’t hold your breath for photos of the adorable pooches I walk just yet.

If I have nothing of particular interest to post about in the upcoming days, I will get into Boris’ rescue story. Until then, I’m signing off!

Welcome to my Blog Thinger!

So, let me start off by introducing myself. My name is Rachel and I am originally from Long Island, New York. I moved out on my own when I was about 19 or 20 years old. New York City was my destination of choice. I’m going to skip over my sad and very personal beginnings in NYC and get to the good stuff. I got my very first dog, Boris in 2010. Boris has an amazing rescue story, but I’ll have to get back to that another time.

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Pictured above: Boris after the March Against Monsanto in 2013

A little over a year ago I started volunteering my time to the ASPCA and just recently, I acquired a job as a dog walker down near Wall Street in lower Manhattan. This blog will be mostly based on my adventures and experiences during this new job. While I learned a lot during my time at the ASPCA, I was never really able to apply much of it anywhere. That is, until today.

The first time I met this dog was yesterday while her owner was home. She didn’t seem to have an issue with me until I shook her owners hand, but after that she seemed ok. Today I went to walk her on my own while the owner was not home and it was a completely different story. She backed herself into a corner and never let up barking and growling. Because it seemed to work well while the owner was home, my initial reaction was to wait it out, give her some space, and allow her to come up to me on her own. That wasn’t going to happen.
This is the first time I have worked this closely with a defensive-aggressive dog. While I did learn a lot during my time at the ASPCA, I never really had a chance to use it. Today, I finally had that chance. While I didn’t want to intrude in her space and make her more uncomfortable, there wasn’t really any other way for her to gain trust in me. She was highly food motivated, which made everything much easier. Distanced treats did not work. I had to use limited to no eye contact, no sudden movements, and approach her with the treat. Luckily, these were long treats so I could still distance myself enough from her. She stopped barking for a minute and investigated the treat, but was still uncomfortable and started growling and licking her lips – definitely a sure sign that if I bothered to get closer it wasn’t going to be pretty. I turned my back without moving further away from her. I’m pretty sure that was the key right there. I made myself less threatening by doing this and she ate the treat, just a foot and half away from me. My mistake though was getting too relaxed and moving too quickly when I approached again with more coaxing treats to seal the deal. More barking ensued, but not for long. I was able to edge closer, still not making eye contact. Once she ate a few more (a couple straight out of my hand) she settled a bit and I grabbed the harness. Her posture was not as rigid, but her head was still down. Although, at this point she was also avoiding my eye contact so she may have become more submissive than defensive. She allowed me to pet and touch her, but because I didn’t want to push her I added a few more treats while I slowly put her paws into the harness holes. Patience is of the essence really and if you rush, you stand a chance of upsetting an already stressed animal and possibly getting bitten. This entire process took me about 30 minutes. Anyway, once she’s out of the apartment it’s like she’s a completely different dog. She’s happy to greet everyone and everything. When we got back her attitude hadn’t changed so I hope things will go just as smooth tomorrow. I expect I’ll be using a handful of treats again and possibly for the next few visits though.

I am super proud of how I handled this. At first glance I didn’t think there was any way I was going to get her out of that apartment for a walk. I proved my worth to both my boss and myself. I couldn’t be happier with this outcome and I look forward to working with this dog further.