Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘puppies’



We are right in the middle of a 4-week training for our rescue pup – Dexter.  He will be 2 next month and has some fear/anxiety which makes him act out in aggressive ways toward people – especially those he does not know.  Most of the time this is good.  He’s a watch dog – protective and always guarding the perimeter.  It is nice to know when strangers are lurking near-by.  But when this behavior is any time and with any and all people it must stop.

One of the most powerful things we have learned in the class is the phrase “Leave it”.  This applies to any and all things.  From food dropped on the floor to people dropping over to say “Hi” – he is learning to “Leave it” – stop what he wants to do (rip their throat out or at very least bite their ankles) and stand by.  Our trainer, Wendy says it’s a “win” if you can get them to stop fixating on something, either an object such as food or a toy – or a person and actually look away.

A training exercise was ensued in class last night using toys and treats thrown in the center of the room.  The objective was to take our dog on a little stroll over near the toys and treats and get them to “leave it” and look away.  This actually was not hard for Dexter.  Both our Bichon and Shih-poo are picky little eaters and they simply don’t like most dog treats.  To ask him to leave the treats was not the problem with him pulling on the leash.  The problem for him?  THE OTHER DOGS IN THE ROOM.  He was fearful and VERY distracted by 20 LARGE dogs looking at him.

Dexter is about 12 pounds fully grown.  Besides a 5 pound chihuahua and a 15 pound mixed breed – he is one of only 3 small dogs in the class.  There are 20 other large dogs in the class.  You do the math.  Yesterday we were privileged to have a seat by the Alaskan Siberian Husky (Wow those are BEAUTIFUL DOGS!!) who is still a puppy.  At about 70 pounds – he will be HUGE!  There is another northern dog in our class and was sitting close to the Husky.  Wendy finally had to separate the two of them.  It is interesting to see those dogs eyeballing each other and every other dog in the room.  Wendy told us this is how dog fights start.  They eyeball each other and fight for the dominant position.  So poor Dexter was given the place of honor (or stupidity) by the Husky – affectionately named “Snoopy”.  Snoopy took one look at Dexter – knew he was no problem and would not challenge him and began to calm down.  (WHEW! – He even had me on edge!)

It is a 2 hour class once a week.  Yesterday it was in the mid 90’s here in Yakima.  The room where the training is – although well ventilated and open to the outdoors at the back – has no air conditioning.  Because the dogs were hot – it was easier to calm them and have them sit through the long training session.  But when one dog got riled up – an interesting dynamic happened in the room.  All the large dogs reacted.  They barked and pulled – straining to get to another dog and rip their faces off!  Our trainer has established herself as the “lead dog” in our pack – and they respect her.  She keeps a squirt bottle of water on her person and has to spray the dogs often to get them to calm down.  I watch Dexter as this drama unfolds around him.  He instinctively seems to know his place in the pack.  He remains seated and calm – being as small as possible by my chair.


The phrase “Leave it” is used OFTEN in our class.  So many comical things happen when training dogs – and I just have to laugh at some of them!

If only “Leave it” were as easy with us humans!  We fixate, we stew, we scheme, we plot – we’re not so much different from dogs in this way.  Unfortunately we don’t leave it.  Even when we know we need to.  Leave it and look away.  We would all be better off doing this for all those unhealthy distractions we encounter on a daily basis.

Learning some great things in that class…


God Bless

God And Dog

Today Greg found this wonderful video by Wendy Francisco.  This darling song has also been made into a children’s book by the same title, “God and Dog”.  You can purchase it on Amazon by clicking here.

If you have and love dogs like I do – then this is for you today.  Watch it and smile 🙂


God Bless

What’s The Deal?

Yesterday we visited a couple of animal shelters on the east side of Seattle.  They are impressively run – have informed and knowledgeable staff on hand.  The website is up to date and colorful.  Many animals pictured in need of fostering or adoption.  Because we too want to do our part – “save a life” and all that, we first turned to those places when thinking about a companion dog for our year old Bichon Frise puppy.

The choice to get a dog in the first place is a hard one.  We took our time.  We researched and researched.  We were appalled at the price of puppies.  Even more shocked at the price of adoption from a shelter!  We decided on a Bichon Frise puppy from a breeder some 150 miles from our home – got to meet both parents on site – was happy with the breeder who LOVES these dogs and owns 3 adult dogs herself.  The temperament fit with our lifestyle.  And we knew what we were getting and could train her to be used to music students coming and going out of our house.

Choosing to get a 2nd dog is even worse than deciding on the first one.  When visiting the shelters it became apparent to us that not just any dog was going to fit the bill for us.  We found a few cute little dogs – but upon further inspection, there was something about them that we knew would be an issue.  One poor little thing was what Greg called “street smart” or “kennel smart” and had all her defensive’s on HIGH ALERT.  Who can blame her?  It’s a “dog eat dog” (no pun intended) world out there – calling for growling and barking at all the other cell mates.  Most of them did this incessantly – something we are not used to.

I’ve searched on-line like Ebay Classified for pets (this is where we found Daisy) and Craig’s List in our area.  There are MANY dogs and puppies on there.  Problem?  Most want an obscene amount of money.  It doesn’t surprise me when they are purebred, even though we did NOT spend very much on our pure bred (and she has papers too) because our breeder believed that even people who don’t have much money should have the awesome opportunity to own a Bichon.  I have really appreciated that.  Especially now.  But what really surprises me are those that sell mixed breed puppies for $400 and up!  Good grief.

The adoption fee at animal shelters for a small dog or mixed breed is MORE than what we paid for our pure bred puppy over a year ago!  We just can’t justify it.  It seems to me that we would have more people adopting animals if people could AFFORD it.  I mentioned this to one of the workers who was helping us at the shelter.  I don’t think she appreciated it.  They should interview families and care more about the care and love that these dogs will receive than recovering their “fees” for boarding these dogs.

The bottom line is this:  We would like a companion puppy for our Bichon Frise.  Even though my husband and I work from home and have plenty of time with her – I think she might appreciate another dog to wrestle and play with.  I think it must get lonely for her.  We were told that a male small dog would be the best playmate for our female.  Also a consideration would be a similar temperament dog – like another Bichon, a miniature poodle or a mix of either of these two with other small breeds.  A low maintenance dog will be best because of the high cost of grooming.  But we simply can’t afford the high costs that everyone is asking.  We would have liked to “rescue” a dog – but to rescue a dog who is already an adult and set in their ways is a risk to bring into our home.  It is simply not an option for our dog and for our home and even if it was – we cannot afford the adoption fee.  What we are really looking for is another puppy we can train and who will be raised to fit into our lifestyle and our other dog.  An owner who cares more about that puppy getting an excellent loving and attentive family – then making $500-$1000 on each pup.

I know that many animal activists are not going to like my opinion on this.  But the only way my opinion will change on this is to lower the cost for people to adopt and more people could enjoy having a their first dog or would maybe be willing to adopt a second one.   We cry out “save a life” – “save a dog or cat” and then make it so difficult to own one.  Dogs are expensive – need grooming, shots, good food and a lot of time and energy.  Why make them SO expensive to purchase, knowing how expensive they will be to own?

We were lucky.  We never thought we would be able to own a pure bred like our Daisy.  She is a gift and a little miracle to our family.  We need another miracle puppy to take into our home and love.

Do your research – there are breeders out there not looking to make money – just looking for loving families to take care of their animals.  The right one will care more about you than your money.

Just something to think about.

God Bless

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