Friday, December 26, 2008

The good, the bad, and the yummy.

The Good.

Xena is doing very well. The first day she was here she whined so much I thought even I would go crazy! She is just so insecure and any time you paid her the tiniest bit of attention she would just get so worked up. It broke my heart, but I had to ignore her any time she started. You can't reinforce that kind of insecurity with touching or talking of any kind, you need to just go about your business and demonstrate there is nothing to get worked up about. She has gotten immensely better and now only rarely gets into whining which only lasts a few seconds before she realizes it isn't getting her attention. I tell you though, that first day it was SO hard to find moments to reward the behaviour I wanted (i.e., quiet, calm).

Fortunately, I caught a couple excellent opportunities to give her lots of affection while she was relaxed. She soon realized that she got all kinds of lovin' except when she was stressing out about nothing. I really, really hope whoever adopts her will realize that coddling her is the worst thing you can do for her. She is still super submissive but is less nervous, more confident and much more playful. She really had no idea how to play with a toy. How sad is that?? Sasha told me how Hazel (our dog) showed Xena how to play by repeatedly throwing the ball at her. Too cute! Now it is her favorite thing to do.

I also did two 5-minute training sessions with her today, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. She knows nothing basically. She is like a 3 month old, not a 10 month old AND she is not highly food motivated. She will ignore a Kong full of peanut butter if she's the least bit stressed. I honestly didn't think it was physically possible for a dog to ignore peanut butter, lol. Fortunately, she is also smart and learns fast. She also likes my Zukes treats. I think roll-over or something would be even better for her.

Yikes, I gotta go right now. The bad and yummy to come...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Fostering Xena.

About a month ago, my husband came home from work, took one look at my face and said, "What?" with a slightly reserved tone. I asked if he would be ok with fostering a humane society dog for the holidays this year. I believe if you are going to do something like this, everyone involved needs to be on board. I'd be crazy to think a shelter puppy wouldn't effect both of us. I held my breath. Of course, he said "yes" without hesitation, I've been wanting to do this for years.

This is Xena.

She is quite a good girl, very timid with people. There really is no reason that I can see why a dog like her ended up in a shelter. I have my theories but don't know any of her history. It helps in a way; I get to know her based on her actions, not preconceived ideas I have based on what has happened to her. I have to go finish Christmas dinner prep, but I will post more photos later.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Meet Justine. I am in love with her. I've never ridden her, mind you, I just hang out with her in the paddock sometimes. I first saw her while getting Calico out of the field one day. She looked at me with her liquid brown eyes and snuffled my arm with her super-soft muzzle. I melted. She was calm as I pet her and looked her over. Not pushy, not skittish. Aww.

The next week, I wasn't riding Calico, but I went out to see her anyway. I just scratched her and walked around with her following me. Neat.

The week after that, I brought a carrot for her. And a camera. The pictures aren't very good, I know.

I started asking around about her. Apparently, they've tried to start her and she is "crazy". Really? Like, crazy as in she doesn't do flying changes, or crazy as in wants to kill you?? Somewhere in the middle should be do-able, right??!

Justine was following me around, so I turned around to kiss her nose. Isn't she cute? I am no conformation expert (always learning though!), but that neck looks pretty good to me. The rest of her is pretty good too, nothing spectacular, but not bad. She toes out a bit in the back, and clearly needs conditioning...but I put my hand on her and I just want to teach her things. Yes, the red mare is always by her side.

This one really is bad, in a cute kinda way. The funky markings on her back are just drips of water from her walking out of the walk-in to come say hi to us (my hubby was with me, told him he had to come see my other love, lol). Her head is lowered as she was approaching Sasha. I told the BO I'm in love with her, but even I don't think I'm really the best person to take her on, although that depends on the alternatives!