By me. Renamed (Lam)Beau.

Knowing he needs more exercise than I can give him, we took him to the dog park for the first time yesterday. I figured if we go during the week when kids are in school, things would go better. He’s just so reactive to kids. And there are parents who bring their small kids to this dog park and let them run like it’s a playground. KJ came with me, because if something happens, he can run to the dogs much faster than I can.

It went really well. Beau’s chase drive is very high, but he doesn’t plow into other dogs. He’s quick and can turn on a dime. Would probably make a great herder. He was respectful to other dogs, too. His recall is excellent, even with his new name. I didn’t bring any treats, and he still comes running. As long as I can get his attention. He seems completely bonded with me. His recall is Woodson level. Woodson was so joyful as he ran back to me when I called him.

This morning when I took both dogs out across the street first thing, there were kids waiting for the bus, and while he wanted to react to them, a simple ‘no’ from me calmed him down. This is HUGE!


Let there be peace

Agree or disagree, I got a shock collar for Beau (fka Winston). It’s not anything that is going to hurt him, just give him a zap when he barks. I put it on him yesterday and it is already changing his behavior. I started out with just the beep to no avail. Added the vibration, still nothing. Then put the shock at level 1 (of 7) and nothing. I raised it to 2 and it was too strong, so I put it back to 1 and tightened the collar. Perfect! He stops barking and is already choosing whether to bark or not.

I went back and forth on this. Is it cruel? After talking to a couple friends, I decided it wasn’t. One friend said she tried it on her own skin and said she could barely feel it. She had a basset who barked too much out in the yard bothering her neighbors. She stopped barking.

Another friend used it on her border collie with positive results. I believe I’ve found a level where he can bark softly and not trigger it, but if he gets loud it goes off. I’m looking at using it for a week and then see how it goes w/o it. I’m also hoping then I will be able to start taking him for walks around the park, because one of the things that makes him lose his mind are small kids, and people in general, unless they have a dog with them.

I take it off at night and won’t have it on him when he’s in the basement kennel.

And now we’re seeing the true Winston 🤔

Yes, he’s only a year old. That has become very clear. The cats are no longer hiding from him, so he’s chasing them. This will settle down eventually, but he is definitely obsessed.

His energy level is now typical of a 1-year-old. This is moving into the second week of being here, which stays true to the adage of why we foster for at least  two weeks before becoming available for adoption. The first week is adjustment, the second week is for their true personality to come out.

We had a storm yesterday morning and it continued to rain for several hours. Pour actually. Winston seemed to like watching the rain.

This morning, I’m drinking my coffee and watching Netflix and we’re spending a lot of time looking out the window and barking at stuff.  I was told when I picked him up that they encouraged the barking because she lived alone and they wanted people outside to know there was a large dog inside.

A side note about Brett. He is now almost 12 yet still acts like he’s two. That said, it came to me this morning how he really is sleeping a lot more and when he does sleep he looks old. Definitely not like he could spring into action anymore. It’s been since Jazz that I’ve had an old dog in the house.


Continued improvement

Winston continues to improve. I’m moving the pee pad closer to the door. Tomorrow it will be in the entryway next to the garage door. As long as he keeps using it, I’ll keep it there for a bit, then move it into the garage.

He is peeing outside, but not waiting for me to take him out. He’s a smart boy. We’ll get this worked out. He’s weird, though. I’ve not seen him using the pads, just the result. When we’re outside, he will turn his head and watch himself pee. A co-worker thinks he might be looking for the pad.

We went for a short solo walk yesterday morning. We moved into the grass when we saw a woman with two dogs. Kept walking while the other dogs went a little crazy. Winston wanted to stop and bark, and as we were dealing with that, two bikes came up and he redirected all his energy to that. I got after him and kept walking in the opposite direction. I feel like it’s not as bad as the other day.

Today he barely saw a bike go by out the deck door, ran to it, then ran to the couch to bark out the front window. I have a squirt bottle at the ready now, so he gets a dose of water which quiets him down pretty good. He’s starting to recognize that, too.

Otherwise our walks are with Brett, just out around the pine trees in the park and back. He’s still nervous as he walks through the door. Will get off the step and turn around and try to pull away from me. Seems to be afraid of the parked car.

Baby steps.


I have to keep reminding myself

Winston is not Rodgers, the same as Rodgers wasn’t Woodson, who wasn’t Thor, who wasn’t Jazz, who wasn’t Travis, who wasn’t Kelly. To have patience. It’s weird, because when I had my own collie in the house I didn’t make these comparisons with the fosters, but now, w/o Rodgers, I find myself making the comparisons.

It’s been two days and Winston is improving, by leaps and bounds actually. He started using the pee pads. I have them in the upstairs hallway. After a day yesterday of taking him outside only to do nothing, even after walking him out around the pavilion, he came back inside and peed on the pad. Before bed last night I let Brett come out with us, loose, in the yard. Brett peed and then Winston peed on top of that. This morning I walked  both of them out into the park. We again had the double pee thing, so hopefully he will catch on. The pee pads stay until he stops using them. I was thinking last night, though, that there is probably not a spot in my house that some dog has not peed.

Every dog has its issues, and it takes at least three years to get them where you want them, from puppies to adults. Brett, at 12, is still working on that 😜. Woodson was as close to perfect as a dog can get. None of them compare to my first collie, Kelly. Spending 24/7 with her because I was in high school, was why she was so well-behaved. Thor and Woodson were a year old when I got them, they started out being calm dogs. All others were puppies. Winston is following Lily (cat), everywhere. She’s come out of hiding and is strutting in front of him daring him to chase her so she can turn and give him her sassy what’s what. Moose is still hiding. He comes out for some attention, then goes back to hiding.

Winston is 1.5, so lots of room for improvement. It’s starting over. It’s important to remember that. I can’t say enough how much he hates bikes. He explodes when he sees one. I’m wondering if I should get a clicker or a whistle. With a clicker I need hands and if I have both dogs, I don’t have hands. If I use a whistle, that can already be hanging around my neck and a sharp blow when he sees a bike might do the trick. I will research it. It might piss the neighbors off, though.

Winston is in the house

I picked him up yesterday, spending time with his elderly mom and her grown grandson, who has spent a lot of time with Winston. They gave me a lot of information. I could tell Grandma was in no shape to take care of a dog. As she said, we all never think we’re going to get old and then it happens. So true. She is now living with her daughter and Winston does not get along with her cat.  Winston, at 1.5 is paper trained, going on pee pads, because she could’t take him outside. There are going out the door issues because of this, but once we’re clear of the door he’s okay.

He is somewhat fearful of many things outside, including the buzzing of the cicadas in the trees. Not as bad as Lassie (if you do a search for Lassie you can read about her), but he is in need of some outdoor training. Today was better, so I’m not expecting this to take long.

Brett was very friendly, which he usually is and they were playing a lot, but Brett gets really rough. He’s still playing, but there isn’t enough floor space in my townhouse for crazy play.

I was told Winston didn’t like bikes and this morning I found out just how bad that is. It’s bad. We will work on that.

He is also somewhat snarly. He snarled at me last night when I took hold of his collar to get him off my bed. And again today when I corrected begging behavior. No biting, but I’m fully aware he could. Thinking he should not live with small children.

And as I typed here, we just had our first squabble. Winston tried to pick up a toy Brett was chewing on. Winston is used to being an only dog. He’s friendly, he met the neighbor’s two small doggies this afternoon and was completely fine. I believe in his previous house, Winston was probably top dog, even as far as the humans went. Used to getting his own way. Even at 12, Brett is the boss as far as dogs go in this house.

After 24 hours, these are what we will work on first.

This said, Winston is a very sweet dog. Super friendly and wants to lay next to me on the couch. He’s become my shadow. I got him a martingale collar today, so no longer feel like he could slip out. I’m going to walk him later, right before dark, hoping all the kids on their bikes will be inside. He is  petite collie, probably around 50 pounds.

Rainbow Bridge – Rodgers

Begging for a face rub

Rodgers was my second foster failure, the summer of 2014. About a month after Woodson died, we got four puppies from a farm in northern Minnesota. Named after artists, there was Renoir, DaVinci, Picasso and Monet. Three of them went off to foster homes, while I kept Renoir for fostering and ended up adopting him.

Named after Aaron Rodgers, he was a very sensitive dog, easy to train with just a look. He mostly just wanted to lean in for face rubs.

Last Monday night he was acting strangely, and when I started trimming his nails, I looked at his gums and they were completely white. Took him outside to pee and his front legs were shaking. I got him in the car and headed for the emergency vet where they found him critical, bleeding into his abdomen. At this point he was laying flat out on a gurney. I made the difficult decision to let him go. Because he hadn’t been injured or ingested poison, they said the mostly likely cause was a tumor on his spleen.

It’s been a difficult week, especially, watching Brett look beyond us each time we come into the house, as if he’s looking for Rodgers to come back. Even though Brett has been through this twice before with Thor and Woodson, I don’t remember him acting like this, I wonder if it’s just because he’s older, or if it’s because Rodgers was so submissive to Brett, Brett is a little lost without someone to boss around.

With foster pup Tennyson

Rodgers was so good with all the puppies I fostered in the last couple years. He would let them snuggle up and was so patient. He also went to events, where he would tell me he really didn’t like the noise, but enjoyed the people.

Tuesday, I was thinking, I’m not sure I can do this anymore, mostly because this makes three collies in a row who have died too young. I know we can’t predict how long a dog will live and I will adopt another one. KJ wants to wait, but I need a collie in my life. They are intelligent and sensitive dogs, and completely click with me.


In his new furever home

Tiller met a couple in Golden Valley a week ago, and they loved him. He got on well with their collie, Seamus (pronounced Shamus, which I didn’t know). They thought it over and decided he would make a good addition to their home and I took Tiller over to stay last night.

The last few days here were hard because I was busy and wasn’t able to give Tiller the exercise he needed. His barking increased and he was getting into the garbage constantly. I explained this to Julie and Jason when I dropped him off. They had already planned a walk, which started as I left. Tiller didn’t give me so much as a parting glance 🤔, but it really just told me he was happy 😁 and in the right place.

I got an update this morning that they took him for a second walk and played with him, to wear him out.

He will settle down as long as they keep draining his energy. And as he gets older he will learn how to behave in his down time.

Sweet and gentle

The hershey squirts have passed but last night wasn’t any better at sleeping through the night. Thinking it’s just part of the transition process.

Tiller is a very sweet and gentle collie. Sensitive, which is also typical. He has interest in the kitties, and they are adjusting to him.

Things to work on:

  • He is good on a leash, doesn’t pull, but likes to wander/stand in front of me.
  • His counter surfing and thinking he can take what he wants.
  • Just being in the kitchen in general. My kitchen is very small and I am tripping over him as he wants to be right there.
  • He seems to be house broken, but when left in the downstairs kennel when I’m at work, he does do his business in there.
  • Distraction when he barks. He barks a lot.

We started out in the crate in my bedroom last night, but at some point in the wee hours I left him loose with the gate at the door, so he was confined to my room. He laid inside the open crate for the most part.

He seems to be scratching at his ears a lot. Don’t know if it’s a boredom thing, or if there is something deep down, as his ears are clear. When I get his chip I’ll have the vet look at them.

Tiller has arrived

Tiller meets Rodgers

Foster #29. Tiller is a blue merle rough coated male, about six months old. Very sweet, but needs a lot of work with manners. He knows ‘sit’ and is now learning ‘down’. He counter surfs as soon as I leave the kitchen. Will try to take food right out of my hand.

He’s thin and his coat is dry, but once his coat matures it promises to be long and thick. He has those really long outer hairs sticking out of the puppy fuzz.

We had a rough first night. I came home from work to lots of poop in the basement enclosure. Got that cleaned up and decided I would crate him overnight. He does appear to be crate-trained as he went right in and laid down. We were then up every couple hours with a serious case of diarrhea. While he seems to ride well in the car, I’m guessing travel day took its toll on his body.

I think it’s calming down now, though. We’ll see how the rest of the day plays out. I work again, so he will go back downstairs.