Thursday, November 12, 2009

Back to Business

I have stuff that I need to accomplish on my vacation. Of the utmost importance is building a patio on the back of my house. Mrs. BFP wants a patio and it would be a great place to put my hammock and grill. Thus, I went to a supply company that sells rock, manufactured pavers, and such. Mrs. BFP wants an old-tyme patio made of flagstone. I decided on a natural or snap-edged bluestone.

It has some nice color variants with areas of rust and gold. I think it will be a good look for a patio.

You can see a bit more of the colors on this larger slab. I think I might use a larger rock for steps and caps on top of a small wall. I just need to decide whether I will build the wall by stacking the bluestone or using a block.

The block would be easier with which to work and it might add a nice contrast. Thankfully, I have a bit of time to decide. I still need to grade the site and prepare a base before doing anything.

Now clearly, I have gotten off course a bit with this blog. The intent was to use it as a means to advertise dogs with whom I have been working. Of course, I have been working with the horses, trying to figure out how to be a farmer, getting a new job, etc... so I have not had the opportunity to take in a foster. That is until I went on vacation.

I just got back from a local animal shelter and picked up a pit bull dog that was about to be euthanized. Her name is Kane. The local Humane Society has agreed to take her into their system, but she needed a short-term foster until room opens up. I was happy to lend a hand.

I asked staff about her history and they stated that Kane was an owner surrender. Staff indicated that Kane's former owners had a young child and that Kane never showed any food aggression and always played well with the child. The previous owners indicated that she had some possible aggression towards smaller animals and was dog selective. Kane was just vaccinated on November 6th for rabies, distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvo. She was also given a dewormer. She weighed 58.2 lbs. She is tall, leggy, and on the big size for a pit bull dog. It is likely that she has something else in her.

With the help of staff, I took her to a back room to do an assessment. I generally use the SAFER test and I strap a heart rate monitor on the subject dog just to get some dry, non-subjective data. I was a bit surprised to find a resident cat occupying the room. You want to do an assessment in an area without a lot of distractions. A cat is generally a very big distraction to a dog, especially a dog that might have some prey drive aggression. Thus, I was even more surprised to find that Kane didn't really care about the cat. I put the heart rate monitor on her and she was around 120 bpm (beats per minute). That is typical of a dog doing light exercise. She actually walked up to the cat and sniffed her for a moment and then walked away. Her heart rate increased slightly to 129 bpm during the sniff. I did not get a picture of that because I didn't think it was wise to be distracted... just in case. I did take this photo later on.
Anyway, I went through the SAFER testing protocol. My notes indicate that she behaved in a friendly manner when I looked into her eyes. Her heart rate stayed at 120 bpm. I actually did it twice and she did avert her eyes on one occasion. I then kneeled down and started to knead her skin from her head to her tail. Her heart rate increased to 129 bpm. She wagged her tail in a loose level wag and behaved in a friendly manner, but she did give a quick snout lick when I was at her hips. After that, I assumed a playful position and tried to engage her in play. Her heart rate increased to 155 bpm and she bounded about with a loose wagging tail which was raised slightly. I gave her a playful smack on the butt when she moved away. She remained friendly and playful. I let her calm down a bit and then sat her in front of me. I ran my hand down her front left leg, then lifted her paw and applied some pressure. Her heart rate increased to 134 bpm and she licked my face. Her expression was loose and relaxed and her eyes were soft. I put her paw down and then reached for her leg to repeat the procedure. She actually gave me her paw on the second try. She remained friendly. She was not interested in a bowl of food I provided to her, nor was she interested in the toys I provided. I witnessed her interaction with a cat, so I did not have staff bring out a dog. I recognize that the previous owners indicated she was animal selective and I will accept their statements.

She did very well with the testing so I decided she would be a good project dog. She seemed to enjoy the car ride home.

When we arrived back at Bully Hill, we were greeted by the Bumpases. She behaved appropriately, though she appeared a bit nervous. I did not let her linger too much because Sarah has a penchant for getting aggressive with other females.
I set her up in the exercise room, left the door open, and put up a baby gate. She behaved appropriately with HT and Petunia, but again appeared a bit tense. HT did bark at her later in the day and Kane did give a growl back.

Finally, I took her outside and she ran about for a while, investigating her surroundings. Snow noticed a new dog in the yard and came down to investigate. Kane did approach Snow and again seemed tense. Her hair was raised from hackles to tail and when Snow tried to smell her, she ran away.

This was not good for Snow because she started prancing around the yard with an inflated ego. Kane and I played fetch and she was able to focus on the game and ignore the horses. She played well and I had no problem taking the ball from her.

She tired quickly so we took short breaks. I then brought her back in and she jumped in her bed.
We will start training tomorrow. She will need some better manners on leash (she pulls a bit) and she needs to get a bit more attentive with her recall. Nonetheless, she will be a fun little project for the next few weeks.

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