Monday, June 26, 2006

Rescued Pets - Cadee

This is our little girl Cadee that we rescued November 12, 2005. She's about 16 inches tall, and weighs about 22 pounds. Sweet as can be, my son and I chose her in large part because she is very focused on people. Many of the dogs we looked at were totally uninterested in us once they were out of their cages.

Cadee was different. She was quietly interested in everything, but not obsessivly so. When I sat outside with her on leash, she sat so she could see me, then watched everything around alertly, but calmly. Whenever I moved, in the slightest, she looked at me to see what I was doing. The other dogs we looked at would totally ignore us once they had anything else to look at.

The only issue that she seemed to have is extreme submission to people. Any attempts to pet her, lean towards her, she would roll over on her back and show her tummy.

All in all, training is easiest with a dog that likes and pays attention to people. Miss Cadee is as sweet as she can be, was in the size range we were looking for, and seemed like she would be easy to train, so she came home with us.

She gets along very well with our other dog, BJ, who is enjoying having a friend to play with. She also does very well with our cat. The cat and she play together very well, too. It was a bit difficult at first for her not to chase Hawkeye, as our house rule says dogs aren't allowed to chase cats, but she got it quickly. Notice, the rule doesn't say the cat can't chase the dogs. Hawkeye will ambush the dogs as they walk through the house, jumping on them, wrapping his front legs around their necks and biting at their necks. Cadee will play with him, while BJ just sighs and keeps on moving!

Our way to bring a new dog into our home is to introduce the new one to any existing dogs outside, on leashes, in a neutral place before bringing them inside. Once inside the new one gets what I call umbilican corded - put on a leash that is tied around someone's waist. The new dog must stay with the person all the time. The only time the dog is let loose is under supervision, dragging the leash.

Having the leash on all the time means that we can prevent bad behaviors as they start to happen, and lets the dog know immediately when it does something we don't like. It's much easier to stop bad behavior when you can catch it as it occurs. And when dragging the leash you don't have to worry about actually physically catching it, you just step on or catch the leash. With someone like Cadee this is critical, as she appeared to have been abused. Physically catching her would have totally terrified her.

She is very, very responsive, but was also very afraid. When outside, if she went too far, or did something and we raised our voice towards her, or even shouted across the yard to talk with each other, she cowered and was afraid to come close. She had apparently been hurt after being called. Well, that won't happen here. We will yell at a dog to come to us, but always praise it for doing so. After all, maybe it was doing something we didn't like, but by coming to us it did do something we like.

Today Cadee and BJ have free run of the house except when we are gone. Cadee has gone from being very fearful of sudden noises and motions towards her to being happy and interested. Just like I'd hoped when we got her. She still has a tendency to roll over on her back whenever anyone wants to pet her, but I'm working on that. After about 6 months of only petting her if she was sitting I'm now only petting her when she's standing.

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