So, what’s Boxer like?

Boxer has allowed me–a human–to post to his blog today. (Of course, he insists on editing everything.)    🙂

Thinking about Boxer, I’d say he’s all in all, a good dog. Of course, I’m no expert, and I can’t predict the future. I’m just a guy who likes dogs, and one who knows Boxer fairly well. If I had to make a guess, I’d say Boxer is, oh I dunno, 92% a good dog. The other 8% has to do with his quirks. Yes..quirks. Like all dogs, and many people, I suppose, Boxer has his quirks. So, let’s go over his good side, and his quirks.

First the good stuff–He’s good in the house. I have found him to be lovable, affectionate, and energetic, but not hyperactive. He’s bonded well with me, and I suspect he’ll bond the same way with a caring owner. On adoption days at Petsmart, he loves for people to pet him, and pay him attention. I can’t say for sure, but I suspect–like most dogs–he’ll be somewhat protective of his home territory once it’s established. Oh, and did I say, he’s darned smart, doesn’t bark much, rides well in vehicles, is a good walking/jogging partner, and loves to go places?

Next the quirks–He wants to fight with other dogs–big or little–whenever he apparently sees them as a threat. He chases cats. He’s possessive of his food.

This pie chart (Boxer likes pies) might help illustrate the points–

boxers-quirks

Perhaps the perfect home for Boxer would be one in which he could be the only animal, with no small children, and a fenced yard. Boxer  can provide companionship, love, devotion, and a measure of protection. In return, he needs a good owner, someone who loves him, understands his quirks, and won’t let him have opportunities to get into trouble.

If you’re a good match for Boxer, and if you’re approved by Puppy Hill, then Boxer’s adoption fee is covered, meaning you’ll get a healthy, happy dog, and Boxer will get a great home. Sounds like a WIN-WIN, don’t you think?

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Hello, I’m Boxer, and I approve of this message. 

 

Boxer Goes Camping

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This is me standing by our campsite picnic table.

To help find me a home, Dude and I visited almost every rural veterinarian between here and Chiefland. We left them a flyer, telling them all about me, with a number to call, and an email address.

While in Chiefland, we camped out at Manatee Springs State Park. I watched curiously as old Dude set up the tent. I had no idea what the heck he was doing. But once it was set up, and he put my bed inside right beside his, I knew what was going on. When it came time to turn in, I just went straight to my bed, and lay down.

A couple of hours later, though,  I needed to go outside, so I pawed at Dude, and he woke up with a start. Of course, I was staring right down over him, and it took him a second or two to figure out where he was. Obligingly, he took me outside for a couple of minutes. From then on, I stayed in my bed, sleeping soundly, except of course, for that time an armadillo was rustling in the bushes right outside the tent. I looked at Dude intently, as if to say “What is that?” He told not to worry, so I went right back to sleep.

The next morning, we went for a long walk around the Park. The morning was brisk and clear, and we both had a good time. I found a dead armadillo on the roadside, and got to check it out. No big deal. Dude was right. I didn’t need to worry after all.

Dude says I’m a good camping buddy. Of course, he followed all the Park rules, and kept me on a leash when outside the Jeep or the tent.

Maybe we’ll get a call or an email on our flyer. I hope so. Who knows…maybe I’ll be home for Christmas.

Your friend,

Boxer

 

The Quest for a Home

boxer10As many of you know, I’ve been without a home for over a year now. For a good bit of that time, I was unadoptable because I was being treated for heartworm. But those days are behind me now (vet says “heartworm free”), and I’m a healthy young dog looking for a home.

So, why is it so hard for me to find a home? Well, for one thing, I have a little “issue.” There are some dogs I just don’t like. I don’t know why that’s the case. Maybe I was attacked as a puppy, and figure the best defense is a good offense. I’m not aggressive to all dogs. Just some. But it’s not like I jump and pull on the leash. No. What I do is just stare at my potential aggressors a good bit before I want to go for them. Dude has figured this out, and when he sees me lock eyes with another dog, he simply covers my eyes with his hand, and distracts my attention. It’s easy enough to do. In a few seconds, I’m thinking about something else.

So, my ideal home would be one in which I’m the only animal. (Oh, I chase cats, too.) That said, I think I could learn to get along with another big dog if introduced properly, especially if that dog were female. I get along fine with some dogs here at the kennel. And others, well, not so much.

Dude says I’d make a perfect companion for a man, woman, or couple with a fenced yard, and no other animals. I’m no Rambo attack dog. I like people. They pet me all the time at Petsmart, and I eat up the attention. But if I had my own territory, I think I’d be reasonably protective of my space and my peeps. I think I’d be a pretty good canine burglar alarm, even though I’m not a big barker, so if I happened to be outside, you probably wouldn’t have to worry about me barking and keeping the neighbors awake.

Dude says he doesn’t think I’m the kind of dog who would eat up your furniture. I like to chew a toy, but the furniture? Really. I’m no puppy. While I’m energetic, I’m not hyper like some dogs I know. I know how to sit down and relax when it’s appropriate to do so.

Dude has come up with this idea. He said what we need to do is visit all the vets in  North Florida to see if anyone well suited wants a good dog like me. “Vets have clients,” he says, “and sometimes they know clients who want a good dog.” It’s a win-win-win. I’d get a home. Somebody would get a good dog. And the vet would get a new patient. There’s no cat in that barn. Dude says he’s not sure what Puppy Hill would charge for an adoption fee, but he has figured out some way to cover it, meaning whoever adopts me won’t have to pay anything at all. Does it get any sweeter than that?

I’ll keep you posted on my quest. In the meantime, keep me in mind. Maybe you have a friend who needs a good dog.

Your friend,

Boxer

 

 

 

 

Boxer says “Happy Thanksgiving.”

boxer6Things are especially busy here at the kennel. Lots of folks traveling, and their canine friends are spending a few days here. Just wanted to take the time to say “Happy Thanksgiving.”

I’m grateful to be alive this year. If it weren’t for Puppy Hill and the good folks associated with it, well, I shudder to think how things may have gone for me.

Now, about those Thanksgiving turkeys, I just think that eating turkey is the best idea ever. Don’t know who came up with that idea, but I’m sure they were a genius. So, enjoy your day, and make it a great one.

 

Boxer Gets Another Diploma

 

boxer3School’s out! Yaaaay!!! Well, I was a week late–thank you Hurricane Matthew–but I finally got my Diploma. That’s right. I graduated from Petsmart’s Intermediate Training. I’ve come a long way since I was an uneducated stray on the streets.

But the training won’t stop here. Next, I’ll continue to work on and get even better at all the commands–Sit (even with distractions), Down, Stay, Wait, Take it, Leave it, Watch me, and Heel.

Good schooling is so important, whether you’re a dog, or a just a human. So, take it from ol’ Boxer–finish school. Learn all you can in this world. You’ll be better off for it. Who knows? One day, you may even swing on a star.

Last but not least–A big shout out to that really nice family who looked carefully at me yesterday at Petsmart. I liked you all. I hope to see you again. Let’s go for a walk some time.

boxer-intermediate-training-certificate

 

Big Final Next Week

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Just look at me. Am I cool, or what? SOMEBODY’S gonna want me one day, I just know it.

Almost through with Intermediate training at Petsmart. I am now sitting with distractions–toys, balls, and chewy things thrown around the room. I am getting better at heeling. In fact, let’s go over all I’ve learned–

Sit, Stay (with distractions, and for a distance), Down, Leave it, Take it, On your bed, Watch me, and I’m getting better every day at heeling.

Like a new musician, the more I practice, the better I’ll get.

But this Sunday is my big final exam. I have to do all the stuff I just mentioned. Talk about pressure. I’m up late every night studying–well thinking actually. I hope I pass. After this class, I could use a week in Daytona.

 

 

 

 

How Dogs Learn Stuff

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Slowly, over time. That’s how dogs learn stuff. When I first started training, I quickly learned to SIT. But it was sort of an iffy sit. Sometimes, I sat. Sometimes, I didn’t. And if I did sit, it was only for a brief time. Now, however, I’ve learned to sit and remain seated. Not that I’m perfect at it, but my sits are a lot more dependable now. Same way with STAY. I have learned to remain in the STAY position, even while Dude walks away from me, even walks behind me. It’s still a bit confusing. Sometimes, I think I’m supposed to turn and face him, but apparently that’s not the case, so I just stay where I am. Since I get a treat for doing such, I guess it’s what he wants. Any way, it’s fun. I get treats.

HEEL is coming along. That’s probably the hardest one of all. Dude holds a treat in his hand, and slightly behind his left knee. That keeps my nose there, especially when the treat is DELI TURKEY!!! I’d jump over the moon for deli turkey. Now, my nose stays there while Dude turns left, then right. Sometimes, he slows down. Sometimes he speeds up. When he does, he says QUICK. When he slows down, he says–you guessed it–SLOW. QUICK, SLOW, LEFT, RIGHT. It’s a lot for a dog to learn. But never think an old dog can’t learn new tricks. That just ain’t the case. Probably some cat made that up.

As I’ve said before, anybody can teach a dog. Just use positive rewards, make it fun, and keep the training sessions short. Oh, and train consistently–at least several days a week.

I’ll still keep working, until I get really, really, really good.

 

The training never stops

boxer-cat-pageMore training today. Working more on Heel. Also practiced Watch me some more. Dude came out for about 15 minutes–about the length of my attention span–and during that time, we got a lot done. I’m starting to love heeling. Dude once again brought cubes of deli turkey. What I won’t do for that! You don’t learn to heel in a day, but I am learning, day by day. Getting a little better each time. Today, we practiced turning while heeling, and practiced speeding up and slowing down the pace.

Oh, yes, and one other thing. Do you know the difference between Stay and Wait? Well, here it is. With the Stay command, the handler has the dog stay in one place, then comes back to the dog. But with the Wait command, the handler ends up calling the dog to him. How ’bout that? Subtle, but important difference.

In case any of you two-leggers are interested, it’s really not hard to train a dog. Yes, it takes time, and patience. But any human who has both these can train just about any dog.

Well, until next time, my friends…remember what ol’ Boxer says… Wag more…bark less. (No, I didn’t make that up, but I did adopt it as my motto.)

More Training

boxer11Heel. It’s what trained dogs do. Learning to heel takes patience and practice, on the part of both dog and handler. I started learning this a short while back. Now, the goal is to increase the challenge. Let’s go over this whole “heel” thing from the beginning.

Dude never knew how to teach a dog to heel, that is, until Prof. Casey showed him what to do. Oh, Dude had watched videos, and read stuff, but there are so many dog training theories out there, he got confused as to exactly what to do. Like me, he just wanted to be told straight out what to do, so he could just do it.

Casey said “Want your dog to heel? Hold a treat by your knee and start walking.” So, that’s what Dude did, and I started heeling. Once I was walking fairly consistently by his knee, and getting rewarded in the process with treats from the hand near Dude’s knee, it was time to up the ante. Yesterday, in class, Prof. Casey told Dude to vary the pace–speed up, then slow down, saying “Quickly” and “Slowly.” Plus, Dude and I practiced changing the direction of the walk, turning here and there. And, the treats come less often from Dude’s hand, but they still come. All I know is, if my nose is by his knee, once in a while–I never really know when–I get a treat.

And in yesterday’s class, Dude had me sit while Prof. Casey created big distractions. He started out with minor distractions–a toy thrown on the floor. Finally, he was tossing chairs. While I couldn’t help but look over at the chair hitting the floor, I remained in the “sit” position. Not bad, huh?

Finally, straight from this dog’s mouth, I’d like to tell you that dog training is all about positive rewards, and creating a good experience. Getting angry at poor Rover, yanking on his leash, and trying to act like a Marine drill sergeant doesn’t work with a dog. Do this, and you’ll both end up frustrated, with your bonds of trust damaged. Instead, make training a game in which you and your dog have fun. Rover will love you for it, want to play. And you two can accomplish great things.

 

 

Training Hard

boxer10How do any of us learn anything? We train. Musicians train to play music. Football players train to play football. Martial artists train to lock, throw, punch, and kick. Hey, did you see “Rocky?” Like me, he was once considered a “throwaway.” But he showed them what he can do. Rocky is my hero. Like him, I want to show folks what I can learn to do.

But learning involves hard training. It takes time and work to get good. And, my friends, I’m putting in the time and work to get better at obedience skills. Dude comes out here most days, and he and I train. Well, I train. All he does is give commands, hold the leash, and provide the yummy treats. Right now, he’s using little cubes of deli turkey meat. He and I both know I’d jump over the moon for one of those.

Yesterday, we worked mostly on heel. I’ve pretty much learned to sit at his side on command. Then he holds some turkey in his hand, right next to his knee, starts walking, and says “heel.”  Where do you think my nose stays? You got it. Right by his scrawny old knee. And dig this–at the end of yesterday’s training, my nose stayed by his knee, and he didn’t even have a treat in his hand! Of course, he gave me a treat at the end for a job well done. “Fading the lure,” it’s called when the trainer may or may not have a treat at any particular time.

Then, we worked more on “down.” Dude is giving the command more at a distance now. I still look for the treat in his hand. Sometimes it’s there, sometimes it’s not. I never really know. But I do it, just in case it’s there. It’s the “fading the lure” thing, also called the “slot machine” effect. I often get a treat, but I never know when I will, so I play along…just in case.

Prof. Casey says I have two things going for me: (1) I’m a mature dog (old dogs can learn new tricks), and (2) I’m highly food motivated. The way I’m learning, I dream of one day winning an obedience trial.