Wonderful Wednesday Personal Blog
We had two dogs. Why did we need another?
I didn't have time for a puppy.
I was still grieving the loss of my corgis who had been with me for nearly 14 years.
I couldn't be tempted.
Until I met Rezso.
He didn't get along with Freki and Gunnar. He wanted to be in charge. It would have been laughable, but the big dogs were adamant they didn't want an interloper in their world.
But he somehow managed to win our hearts--and most of the toys.
He was such a beautiful puppy!
And he loved to cuddle! (Still does, actually)
He demanded to sleep with us. Not going to happen, I said. After the first week, he slept with us every night.
Housebreaking-- made it eventually.
Chewing-- still does, and we have the chewed baseboards and window sill to prove it.
Training-- he has earned his Canine Good Citizen award, and a Novice Trick Dog title. But his biggest challenge lies ahead. But more on that later.
If you follow Rezso on Instagram (#adventureswithRezso) or even on my facebook page (Cathy MacRae Author), you'll have seen Rezso grow through his training classes at our local(ish) dog training center. (An hour and a half drive, but worth it)
Rezso's heritage is working dogs. His pedigree is thick with Schutzhund titles, agility, tracking and herding certifications. I thought agility work would be fun, and we still might pursue that route.
But we've been sidetracked.
In December of last year my husband and I made the decision to train Rezso as a service dog. Without going into the 'whys', I'll just state that as time passes, he is becoming more valuable to me in his new role.
(Isn't he adorable in his harness? He's 5 months old here, and it appears he's going to need a bigger harness now)
When I contacted a service dog trainer about furthering Rezso's training, she cautioned me about protective German Shepherds. I have to say that's the only down side about placing Rezso in this role. He IS protective, though he is also thoughtful (which is a word his breeder used to describe him, and very accurate) and doesn't just dive into situations, for which I'm very thankful.
We now meet with the SD trainer twice a month and she helps me teach him new tasks. He's doing so well--I'm afraid I'm his limiting factor. It's humbling to admit the dog may be smarter :-)
Rezso has gotten to be too big to ride in the front seat. He often rides in his crate, but if it's a short hop to the store, I let him grab a seat. This is what I see.
In this photo, we were at one of his favorite places - Sonic. I don't advocate ice cream for pets, but he gets a treat from time to time, and no matter if it's been a month or more since the last one, he remembers the place, and waits eagerly for the carhop to bring him his prize.
He turned 9 months old this week, and though we haven't weighed him lately, he was 70 lbs at 7 months, and he's grown quite a bit since then. We're guessing he's close to 90 lbs.
He's really too big to ride in the front seat, but with the sunroof open, and ice cream on the way, he opted to sit up front for a bit.
He hasn't figured out the sun roof, but he sure knows where the AC vents are!
As you can see, he's wearing a training vest. My goal is to post a bit about our journey together. But bear with me. We're in the middle of prepping a house to move and writing time is at a premium.
Have you ever tried to prep a house with 3 dogs underfoot?
Wow! Can you believe he's already 6 months old?
He arrived at our house at 8 weeks old, and fit fairly seamlessly into the family.
Rezso still has a lot of growing to do, and he's working hard at it! He downs 2.5 cups of food twice a day, plus training treats and other goodies in his bowl.
He loves the water--I've never had a dog so happy to take a bath! Of course, after playing in the kiddie pool and rolling in the dirt, he needs a bath often.
He started obedience classes at 10 weeks old, and has been the youngest in his class ever since. In level 2, the trainer mentioned he might not be old enough to do the off-leash recall, and the lady sitting beside me--who had been in Rezso's level 1 class with her dog--leaned over and whispered, "She doesn't know Rezso, does she?" Rezso loves to 'work'.
He's got some big work ahead of him. I'll keep you posted!
After graduating Basic Obedience Level I, we've moved on to Level 2! This is prep work for Rezso's Canine Good Citizenship certification. He's working hard on accepting new situations, and is already a hit at Lowe's and PetCo, and he's even a seasoned traveler with a weekend stay in a hotel.
Not to mention, he's a whiz at his lessons and loves to help with the laundry. (That's his story, and he's sticking to it.) But, seriously, he is learning to pick up things I drop and carry them for me. But more on that on another post.
We also enrolled Freki in a class. She has a difficult time accepting other/strange dogs and we'd all but given up on being able to take her places with us where we knew there were other dogs.. Thanks to a wonderful trainer who took time to work with her and assured us it was a lack of confidence, not aggression, that fueled her bad behavior, we got up the courage to ask the trainers at Canine Sports Academy if we could give class a try.
They were welcoming and helpful, and it has been wonderful to see Freki slowly losing her preoccupation with the other dogs in her class and focusing more on what dad is asking her to do.
Attempting to stand on wobbly discs, rubber 'peanuts' (see the red ball in the background?) or any of the other activities in this class puts her in a somewhat vulnerable position (to her mind). Not to mention there are other dogs happily going about the same stunts only a few feet away. It's a bit noisy and challenging with Rezso just outside the ring shouting encouragement. But Freki is surpassing our expectations!
Way to go, Freki! Can't wait to see where you go from here!
Isn't he a handsome boy?
Rezso is now 4 months old and completed basic 1 obedience class Monday night. He's such a super puppy!
At graduation, each dog was required to do a trick not taught in class. There was a poodle with a faux fur ruff that jumped through a hula hoop decorated with felt 'flames', a terrier that stood on increasingly smaller (or would that be 'decreasingly'?) pads, until his feet touched-- another 'circus' dog!
Lots of other really cool tricks that showed how dedicated the owners were to having wonderful, well-behaved dogs that enjoyed being part of their family.
Our planned trick was 4-fold. Hi-five, turn around, lay down, and roll over. Pretty cute. And required Rezso to focus beyond a single trick and reward. And, let me tell you, he's all about the reward.
But last night, a little girl walked in, fell in love with Rezso, and decided he would learn to jump through a hoop for his trick. She was quite serious.
So, after Rezso did his trick for me, I let him do a trick for his new friend. He's such a trooper!
Here are a few photos from previous classes. Look how much he's grown!!
"Rezso" is a Teutonic name meaning "legendary wolf".
Here he is at 9 weeks old.
(Sorry it took a while to get his post up. We're all a bit sleep deprived around here.)
I'll just say we're completely in love with his smart, confident personality. He's also a cuddler! He sees absolutely no reason for him to be away from us and it has taken us nearly 2 weeks to convince him he needs to sleep in his crate at night. (I shudder to imagine the chewed chair legs--and anything the cat decides to knock off a counter or table top, midnight dashes to chase said cat, and endless potty spots to clean if he wasn't in a crate)
Freki likes him some of the time. He's fearless and charges right back into the fray if he gets knocked down, and she probably admires his tenacity. I have to remind her frequently that he is still a baby. One with very sharp teeth and a tough as nails attitude, but a baby nonetheless.
He's already learned to sit, shake hands, down and walk on leash. He started obedience class Monday night, and he was the youngest in the class. Perhaps a bit overwhelming at first with the sounds and bigger dogs, but he took measure of things, squared his shoulders as if to say "I've got this" and seemed to have a great time.
We'll need a 'trick' for graduation. Suggestions, anyone?
Follow #adventureswithRezso on Instagram for more fun photos!
Freki loves to ride. She's a bit protective of what she perceives as 'her zone' which includes anything within a 10 foot radius of the car. That's problematic when you're stopped in traffic and there are vehicles on every side. She tries to stare them down, but they ignore her.
Today, I let her ride with me since I was only going through a drive-through and wouldn't be getting out of the car. And she was very good (only stared down one motorcyclist and a policeman in his car) and played up the 'good dog' act and got a cookie from the guy at the drive-through window.
Then she talked me into her favorite thing.
She loves Sonic ice cream. She'd probably like it from any vendor, but this is her favorite place to stop. And, yes, she recognizes the word Sonic over the words ice cream. Here's how it went today.
I let her sit up front while we waited for her order. Her calm manner (see above) became a bit more intense as she saw others getting their order ahead of ours. Good luck convincing her they ordered first.
But it kept her interest up, and the car hop arrived very soon, with a big smile on her face (Yes, we've been here before).
It was a bit difficult juggling 2 root beer floats (mine and hubby's) and Freki's order without her testing each, but I managed.
This was the fist time Freki's 'ice cream cone in a cup' came this way. Typically, they simply put the ice cream in a clear plastic bowl as if it was an topping-less sundae.
However, it didn't phase Freki. There was ice cream down in that cup, and she was going to eat it.
One good bite (after I removed the wrapper) took away half the cone, and though she dropped the second half on the seat, it cleaned up quickly.
On to the ice cream. She had her snout in it in no time.
We don't give her ice cream very often, but she loves the treat. Gunnar probably smelled it on her breath when she got home. Jealous? Oh, yeah.
When Freki arrived at our home, we had every intention of beginning SAR (Search & Rescue) with her. Her keen nose and drive seemed perfect for the job.
Several reasons later, Freki is not an SAR dog. We have done some rudimentary training with her and she drops that nose to the ground the instant we say 'track it'!
So, here's the rest of the story.
One of our neighbors stopped by the house, upset that his dogs were missing. These two little dogs delight in tormenting Freki and I'll admit she joins in the fray readily, much to our dismay. (but that's another story)
The point being, I knew if she could put her nose to their scent, she wouldn't miss a chance to chase, er, track them down.
So, I leashed her and we started off.
She took the neighbor's track first, since he was only minutes ahead of us. But, if his dogs had traveled across our front yard (and it was at least a 50/50 proposition), Freki would pick up their track soon enough.
Bingo! About 30 yards or so after tracking the neighbor perfectly, she hesitated, cast out a bit, and took off at nearly a 90 degree tangent from the path I knew he'd taken (I'd seen him, and could hear him in the woods behind our house). Within minutes, Freki led me to the little dogs who were happily ignoring their owner's call, romping in a field nearby.
My other reason for using Freki? I knew they wouldn't pass up an opportunity to bark at her. Sure enough, they came running to us, and their owner arrived soon after to take them home.
What a good girl Freki was! And that nose, which sometimes gets her in trouble when she can't resist sniffing my plate, worked to perfection.
Atta girl, Freki!
Angus the Cat came to us as a 3 lb baby. We had discussed adding a cat to our menagerie, and one day we just got in the car and drove to the local shelter.
The little orange tabby was the loudest cat in the room. No way I was bringing home a mouthy, obnoxious cat home with me. But when I told the lady I wanted a cat that got along with dogs, guess which one she immediately pointed to?
I rather grudgingly accepted him when she placed him in my arms. He purred and stared at me, patting my face gently with his paws. I was hooked.
In fact, Angus is quite a source of amusement. We recently got an automatic waterer (boy, can these critters go through water!). The dogs drink from it if the other bowl is empty, but Angus sees it as a challenge.
Even just drinking from it requires making a small mess.
He loves the way it gurgles. If it is low on water, it's not as burbly and he bats it around. Of course, that brings a human to investigate, we fill the tank, and it gurgles again. We're well-trained.
I changed the fountain from a low trickle to a higher spout. I think I'm Angus' hero :-)
Today I want to post about how Ben lived. It's been a week since we let him go, and I've discovered I have quite a collection of photos of Ben (as I'm sure many of you have of your pets). I'd like to narrate a short journey through his life, if you'd be so kind as to spend a few minutes with me.
He came to us as a 9 week old puppy-- and he was the same color as the hardwood floor! I wasn't sure about those ears. They seemed too big to every stand up. But within a couple of weeks, they began their ascent. Those ears didn't miss a sound!
He and Dixie (who is about to turn 13) were instant buddies. They were pretty much inseparable, though he was happiest curled up with his people.
He went a lot of places with me. His manners were pretty, and he loved meeting people. He even maintained his cool after the canon at a Scottish festival went off (we were much further away when it did) and payed little attention to the bagpipes. His antics even won him an award at the festival's pet parade. Who could resist his dramatic 'play dead' right in front of the judges? He never met a stranger, and everyone adored him.
And then Freki joined the family. We weren't sure how Ben would treat her. He was a rough-and-tumble 4-yr-old at the time. He couldn't have been kinder.
He taught her about kiddie pools, nap time, riding in the car, playing games, and how to snatch treats from the puzzle toy. Occasionally, Dixie joined in.
Did he ever get into trouble? You betcha! He knew many voice commands and tricks, and loved showing them off. He'd race to the top of the stairs and I (knowing he was about to turn right and eat whatever was left in the cat's food bowl) would shout 'Left!'. He'd usually ignore my first command and turn right anyway. To everyone's amusement, I'd immediately counter with 'Your other left!', at which point he'd spin around and head to the left. He was notorious for raiding the cat's food bowl, even when we placed it on the ledge at the back of the tub. Yes, he'd climb up there for a snack.
His favorite trick was to roll over and play dead. He could do this with quite a bit of flair--seemed to love it when people laughed. So we coupled the trick with the dialogue "would you rather be a Bama fan or a dead dog?" (Yes, I'm an Auburn grad). He'd fall to the floor and fling his feet into the air rather dramatically. He was the class clown in his training classes and loved to learn.
Trouble? Mostly for digging. He didn't discriminate between the soft spot of yard in the corner and the flower bed or garden. I had quite a nice garden and flower bed surrounding the back porch-- until he taught Freki how much fun it was to pull up the plants and shake them around.
They also were responsible for the random acts of toilet paper roll placement in the house.
Though he enjoyed being inside, petted, pampered and soaking up attention, he loved the outdoors and was curious about everything.
Thanks for letting me ramble on a bit about Ben. We will miss him for a long time.
All Adventures With Rezso After Christmas Angus The Cat Basketball Bath Bath Time Ben Best Toys Birthday Chiropractic Treatment Christmas Corgi Dixie Dog Training Flowers Freki Fun On The Farm Gardening German Shepherd Gunnar Happy Birthday Harvest Helper Jolly Ball Life With Dogs Life With Freki New Puppy Ninja Dog Obedience Class Odin's Wolves Pool Time Service Dog Snow Soccer #Sonicdrivein Spring Springtime Square Foot Garden Square-foot Garden Swimming Pool Then And Now Tracking Treats Water Games Winter Fun Wonderful Wednesday