Snakes ‘n Snails …

Frankers gardening ...
Frankers out for a morning stroll ...

… and puppy dog tails!  Or, more to the point, why one should consider adding a male dog instead of insisting on a female.

Growing up in a pet-friendly family in the late ’50s, the mindset was you always wanted a female because the males “marked.”  I’m sure they did as neutering, training and responsible pet-ownership (including not allowing the dogs to run the neighborhood at large) were not the norm.  Vaccinations were not widespread and distemper claimed many a pet.  What a difference 50+ years has made in companion animal care!

“Marking” is the act of releasing small amounts of urine to claim an area as their own.  Both males and females will engage in this territorial behavior; however, it’s with intact males that it generally becomes more noticeable … and especially when they bring this behavior into the home.  Basically, they’re saying “this is mine and I’m willing to fight for it.”  And when one considers the focus of an intact male dog — food, fighting and, ummm, well, fornicating — they generally don’t make good pets for the average owner.  Take away the last two parts to that equation … fighting and fornicating … by neutering and you have a dog that’s focused on you.  One that’s not climbing over the fence at the first whiff of a female in heat.  One that’s totally content being your velcro dog, following you from room to room.  Some females will do that as well, but the males are just … sweeter.  And, let’s face it.  They don’t call ’em “bitches” for nothing.  Their job, if you will, is to raise the pups and at all costs. 

Many of the male dogs arriving in rescue are intact and with little or no housetraining.  First order is business is an immediate neuter.  During the recovery period, they’re enrolled in Housetraining 101.  We also utilize a tether (a 4-6 foot leash) and belly bands if the dog arriving was previously neutered.  Why belly bands?  For several reasons — (1) you know exactly if they are “getting” the concept of housetraining (the incontinence pad in the band is either dry or wet), (2) it protects your furnishings during the training period, and (3) many dogs do not like the wet feel and that’s a deterent in and of itself.  The tether is used as a means of supervision (he’s right there with you) and as a means of issuing a correction (short, sharp jerk of the tether and a verbal command “no mark!”).  With consistency, patience and clear guidance on what is and isn’t appropriate behavior, most males quickly adapt to toileting outside. 

Another “tool” for training is the crate.  Dogs are innately clean creatures who will not usually soil their eating and sleeping areas.  That hardwired behavior can be used to your benefit when housetraining by confining them to a crate when unable to supervise and giving them ample opportunity to toilet in a designated area (with lots of immediate praise/treats for appropriate behavior).

Regarding the belly bands at the link provided above … I find the adjustable bands are much more comfortable for the boys.  Just the shape alone is more form fitting and allows for greater freedom of movement.  One of the straps is adjustable so it can be used on dogs close to the same size in diameter (for multiple male househoulds).  I also find the buckle easier/quicker to use on dogs with longer hair.  Velcro and longer hair do not mix.  The only “issue” with using belly bands:  one must remember to remove them prior to sending the dog outside to potty!

So, if you’re seriously thinking about adding an Apso to your household, don’t rule out a male based on gender alone.  They truly are delightful little creatures who easily adapt with consistent training and the right tools … and will become your best buddy in the process.

Ka Tu …

My husband finally understands what it means when I say, “Rescue allows me to have all the dogs I ever wanted … they just go live with someone else eventually.”  Despite the fact that he calls every foster “Larry” because he can’t remember their individual names when they’re milling around underfoot, he has been paying attention and can, for the most part, identify each foster.  One of the perks of being a placement coordinator is I get regular updates on the fosters who are now in their permanent homes.  Visitors to the rescue site — ApsoRescueColorado.org — read the dogs’ initial stories but hear little about them after they’re adopted.  We’re fixin’ to change that, beginning with this post (if you’ve ever been below the Mason-Dixon line, you know the definition of “fixin’ to”).

Ka Tu, a 7-month old male, arrived in rescue via a Denver vet clinic where he had been surrendered when the owner refused to pay for treatment.  I say “owner”, but it was actually the husband of the owner.  Seems the wife was out of town when the surrender occurred.  I can only imagine the conversation that ensued once she found out hubby dumped her puppy at a local vet clinic with a severe injury that was suspect for causation. 

Ka Tu ... arriving in Rescue

Ka Tu had suffered a fractured lower mandible, rendering him unable to eat solid food and in quite a bit of pain.  After a week’s stay in the Denver vet clinic, two of the ER vets drove him to Loveland after a completing a night shift.  Definitely above and beyond the call of duty.  After several trips to our vet and consultation with a dental expert, a conservative course of treatment was undertaken rather than opting for surgery.  Basically, what this meant was Ka Tu couldn’t have anything solid to eat or chew on for a minimum of six to eight weeks.  That in itself presented a problem as our dogs are fed hard kibble … it also meant that every meal was a preparation of ground-up kibble gruel for the little fella.  After weeks of meal prep and twice monthly trips to the vet for x-rays to determine how his jaw was healing, Ka Tu emerged with a fully functional lower jaw … and a crooked little smile.

Hangin' on the deck ...
Hangin' on the deck ...

Ka Tu recently celebrated his first “Gotcha” anniversary with his new family, Trudi, Paul, Helen and the three cats.  I’m getting the idea that he’s bit spoiled but … who could resist this face?

Ka Tu and feline friend ...
Ka Tu and feline friend ...

 

Checkin' out Dad's chair ...
Checkin’ out Dad’s chair …

Happy Gotcha Day, Ka Tu … you are one lucky little pup!