As our time is wrapping up in Oregon, I am a little bit heartbroken. I have said goodbye to most of my clients, but I still have a few more appointments this week before we head out.
I’m mostly excited about the adventures that lie ahead, but I sure will miss these sweet faces. Like…a lot.
My two lemons. They were a handful, but totally worth it. I mean..look at those wrinkles!
The sweet, shy girl took awhile to warm up to me but we became the best of friends. Her brother is also a big softie. 😉
The most fun duo! I couldn’t ask for a better pair of pups. Ugh…these two were some of my favorites ever.
Oh, Cora. Rufus reluctantly let you into his life…and you were such a champ for putting up with his grumpy ‘tude! Even though we all know he kind of liked you. Kind of.
Ru’s favorite gal, Abby. This one is going to be the hardest of all. I can’t wait to cuddle this goof a few more times this week. My heart is gonna feel this one.
I like to think of this time as a “See You Later” moment. It’s been a whole lot of fun! We will return, you beautiful coast. Oh yes we will.
It’s been a crazy few weeks. We’re in the middle of packing up our house and moving…somewhere. Still trying to figure that part out. We really like to fly by the seat of our pants and it always turns out as a pretty awesome experience, but right now? I’m a bundle of nerves trying to figure out the logistics. :deep breath:
So here’s a photo of my beautiful pooch with his southwest-inspired bandana looking all kinds of cute. Maybe that’s a hint? Maybe not….only time will tell!
P.S. If you’re following us on Instagram, you already know that Mr. Rufus had a pretty severe tail injury a few weeks ago. We’re still in the healing process and things are looking ok. Unfortunately this kind of injury can take weeks or months to show any kind of real progress, but we are doing our best to avoid surgery. Fingers crossed!
I hope everyone is having a great week!
This girl. Such a ray of sunshine.
*If you haven’t already, follow me on instagram @therufusway for more frequent updates!
Saying goodbye is never easy. Since owning my own business, I’ve had to say goodbye to a couple of my extended pack members but none of them as integral to my weekly life as Rufus #2. As one of my older clients, he was this wonderful, almost meditative break from the puppy and young dog excitement I have throughout my work days. He was such a gentle soul, a little skittish of the world but always kind and willing to love.
R.I.P., sweet boy. Your family and I will miss you and your beautiful heart.
A lot of people with reactive dogs feel as though they have limited options when it comes to traveling with their furry friends.
-No busy cities or tourist spots
-No public stays such as hotels
-No way am I taking my dog on “vacation” when time away from home with them is anything but relaxing.
But the one thing I’ve been pretty diligent about is making sure I include Rufus in as many activities as possible, which has included his fair share of trips and vacations.
Over the weekend, we took Rufus out of town with us. I knew this would be a great opportunity to work on his reactivity. And with the right tools, it was pretty stress-free.
We stayed in a very pet-friendly hotel. And because they were so accommodating, we actually had a personal entrance so that we wouldn’t have to walk through the main lobby. However, we did run into other dog owners and I’m proud to report this dude did pretty well with all of our encounters.
My two tools:
- Lots of treats
- Head halter/gentle leader
That’s it. It has been years since I’ve used the head collar on him and wow! I can’t believe how wonderfully it worked this time around. Having control at that level made it so easy to get his attention and gently correct him when he was getting too excited. It was kind of like magic. Honestly, I feel silly that I waited so long to try this again. It’s a total game changer! He was calm, relaxed, and willing to work the entire weekend.
And at the end of every day, he was pooped. He wasn’t sweatin’ it.
I know I’m lucky that Rufus is incredibly motivated by food. He will LITERALLY do anything for a nibble. It makes life and training so much easier.
And while we still have a long way to go, I have to say that I couldn’t have asked for more from this amazing dude. I love traveling with him and he made our trip so much more memorable. After all, he is my best friend.
Good boy, Rufus.
There are a lot of reasons why we as dog owners/parents/caretakers sometimes allow ourselves to slack on training.
Sometimes life gets hard or hectic.
Sometime we get lazy.
Sometimes we work with other dogs all day and we forget we have a project pup at home…:cough:
Sometimes it’s easier to avoid our dog’s obstacles and triggers than it is to keep it up with hard work and consistency.
For whatever reason, sometimes we mess up. And while that’s completely fine in some behavioral cases, it really isn’t for Rufus.
I know he looks smug and confident, but he’s really a total wuss.
This dude thrives on repetition and positive association.
So after a few incidents in which I found myself avoiding situations or completely shocked by Ru’s reaction to a trigger, I decided to dust off the old “dog behavior” book pile and strap on the treat pouch. Time to get back to work.
The Cautious Canine outlines the most straight-forward approach to correcting unwanted behaviors rooted in fear. And for the most part, Ru’s behavioral quirks (to put it nicely…) are all rooted in fear. It’s a subtle fear, but it’s definitely there…
Here are our baby steps:
- Keep him a safe distance from his triggers and reward him for being brave and calm in those situations. In this case, that means FEED HIM ALLLL THE TREATS!
- Be consistent.
- Slowly shorten the distance from said triggers while continuing to build up his confidence and reward him for his progress.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat.
It doesn’t seem like much, but it works! I plan on making this a mini-series and keeping all of you out there up to date on Ru-man’s progress. I hope you like this kind of stuff as much as I do. Dog behavior nerds unite!
Happy Healthy Dogs<3
Sometimes I really love my job. ❤
P.S. Sorry for the radio silence lately. Sometimes life gets hard and self-care must come first. Rest assured I’m still lurking around and adoring all of my fellow dog bloggers from afar! 😉