Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas and Merry Holidays!

Going For 'Good Dog!' Blog would like to wish all readers and long time friends a warm and wonderful season from the Bad Dog herself and her scatterbrained owner.

~ As a side note, we'd like to encourage anyone who has the time and ability to go out and support those who are helping strays and rescue dogs this season. Give a donation to your local shelter, or go give the dogs waiting for home there some loving - and if at all possible, give one a home.

Love those around you unconditionally.
~ ShayLee & The Misfits xoxo

Late: Happy Two Years!

On December 3rd, 2009, I had Bella for two years. But because of a lot of Bella related drama and Sasha's passing, I didn't post about it.

To start, I'd like to quote what I said on her one year gotcha day.
I can't believe it's been a year with my girlie already!

In the short year I've had her, I'm learned a lot. And I have a very strong feeling there's still a lot more learning to be done. Bella has become my constant companion, when I'm home, she's always somewhere close, beside me, on top of me, or looming over me in the stairs while I watch TV in the living room. It's amazing to me how much I have grown to love her in just 365 days. She has become a big part of my life, and the bond that she and I have created in this short time gets stronger and stronger every day; everytime we meet a goal; everytime she licks my face.

When I first got Bella, a lot of people told me she'd pay me back for rescuing her. I knew I'd get love, trust, and lots of puppy kisses as a payment, but I never expected to get the devotion, the strong bond, or the amount of love she gives in a day.

Bella has met the goal personality wise, that I had set for my next dog. She has been everything I asked for, a water dog, a tug dog, a toy dog; all of that, and so so much more.

We still have problems, and dogs we see outside of the house are still an issue, but we're working, and we'll get through it. I know we will.
I know it sounds silly, my speaking so emotionally of a dog, but I figure if anyone would understand how I'm feeling, it would be you guys here who know the love of a dog.

Okay, so enough of my blubbering. Here are a few pictures from the day I saw her at her second owners house to now.

From this:
My girlie looking up at the person holding the camera, because the person 'had to stand on a table' to 'keep her from jumping on them'.

To this:
Sitting in a perfect sit stay, waiting for her next command. Wearing her hunters orange vest (And doing so without a hesitation!).

So, to everyone who has helped me with advice be it on training, health, or even convincing my parents to let me get her. Thank you. I couldn't have come this far with Bella-baloo with you the help of you.


Of course, since then things have changed from what I thought they would, and it's a very different story with Bella, but the idea's still there.

The moral of the story? Love those who no one else would and you'll receive a pleasant surprise in return.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Elephant in The Room.

It's time for this blog to look at the elephant in the room, and discuss it a little more.

The elephant is, of course, putting Bella to sleep.

I know in one of my previous posts, I was very blunt about her being put to sleep, and if you read my posts on AJWW (, you'll read that I'm very blunt and to the point about having her put to sleep there as well.

Do I want to put Bella down - of course not. However, I see Bella's issues as a serious problem, and if they continue and I can't control them, she will be put to sleep. I've come to accept it, and I think it's something that any readers need to accept as well. What Bella and I are going through right now is really tough, and it's very serious. I love Bella to death, but I know that if it comes to it, she needs to be put to sleep.

So, I apologize if it bothers you when I speak so easily of putting my heart dog down, but it's easier for me, and better for Bella, if I think about putting her down in a very straight forward manner, because it's that or have a break down every time I think about putting her down. Right now I just need to work on the problem at hand, and enjoy the time I've got with Bella, in case it's cut short by years.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cuddle Buddies!

Because Bella's spending a bit more time in her crate (rotations between her and Gyp), and because we put our old Great Dane, Sasha, down, I've been leaving Bella loose at night. The first couple of nights, she'd come up on the corner of my bed, lay for some cuddling, but as soon as I rolled over to actually sleep, she'd get off... Sunday night she spent the majority of the night on my bed, and Monday night spent a lot of time up there, too... Last night a little less, but I think it's cause I was hogging the bed!

I used to hate sharing the bed - but when it's a big ol' GSD I don't seem to mind so much!

Monday, December 14, 2009

I can take a little comfort in knowing...

It's been snowing on and off for the past week or so... Bella loves snow.

She was scratching at the door just a bit ago and whining, so I went down to let her out - knowing she hadn't pooped this morning - and as soon as she gets out the door she turns into adorable-loves-snow-so-much snow puppy Bella and is zooming around our fence, having a grand time.

Things only got better in terms of snow play when I let Psyche out to play with her! Those two love each other so much, it amazes me.

At least now I know, if things don't work out, and I have to put her down, Bella got her snow.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Muzzle Success!

Bella was re-shaped to a muzzle over last Saturday and Sunday... I was able to teach her to leave it alone, and to just chill while wearing it - which is a big deal considering the last time she wore a muzzle, she almost needed stitches under her eye from her dew claw.

I took her (and all the others) out of her crate - including Gyp. Bella was interested in her, and was looming over her (Grr!), and did what looked like an attempted bite once. Very discouraging that she was doing that - even more discouraging that even before Bella did that, Gyp was terrified of her. I tried treating both of them, but Gyp was just having nothing to do with Bella. It's really hard to try and get the two to get along if Gyp's going to be irrationally scared.

So, after that night, Mom started looking for a home for Gyp. I feel terrible that it's happening, but Gyp is now very defensive, even with the other dogs, who have never done anything to her. It sucks that they're considering rehoming her, but we're thinking it's what's best for her, considering now she's nervous with all dogs.

Back on track - we took Gyp into the city to meet the man looking at taking her (he gave us a lot of information, talked to us for a while, and agreed to all of our conditions on rehoming her). This was Gypie's first time in the city, and she did amazingly well. I was so proud of her, considering she's usually quite nervous and shy even away from the city. She saw the man walking toward us, and I swear she knew it was him before we did. Her bum started wiggling and she shimmied over to him. He got right now, patted her, and loved on her. She loved the attention!

We're planning on letting him take her for the day, to see how she does, and he was going to call our vet - just to check it out. He's being very wise and responsible about taking in another dog (he has no other dogs now - lost both of his oldies in the past little while). He's not going to take her until after Christmas - smart idea - and so that gives me time to take both of them in for the assessment we had planned on having done.

Bella's been doing well with all of the training I've been giving her - other then loosing some focus after two many days of long sessions - and I'm pleased with her. She learned "dead" and "legs" both within a couple of days, and she really enjoyed the process of training them - and the process of the muzzle!

As far as cross country skis go, no luck yet. Bummer. We're still looking, though... and if all else fails, I'll buy snow shoes.

That's all for now...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Have I mentioned?

I doubt that I've ever mentioned how much I hate cross country skiing; never the less, I do hate it. With a passion...

So someone tell me why I inquired about a set of skis? The answer to this question is the answer to most questions asked here. Bella.

With the first serious snow fall today, it's become apparent that I need something other then throwing the stick with Bella and Psyche to physically tire her out. Plus, I lost a very good agility stick today while throwing it in the snow for them - argh. So, desperate for something to do, I started looking for cheap skis.

Oh well, the things I do to keep this dog!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

How about a little history to tell you about the future?

Hi, my name is ShayLee. I'm 16, and I own and train 3 dogs. Zoey is my Mini Aussie - she started agility in 2006, but only started seriously competing in agility last summer. We hope to do more next summer. Psyche is my Border Collie - she started training for agility in May '09, and we're hoping her first trial will be May '10. However, the dog you'll hear the most about here is Bella - she's a rescue German Shepherd Dog and she's my baby. I brought her home December 3rd, 2007. I was 14 at the time, and I started her training the next month. From then on she did 2 levels (each level 6 weeks) of Obedience with clicker training, then 3 days a week for a summer of private lessons with the same trainer, then a season of 4-H.

Bella's the star of this blog. She has some issues; some very serious ones. It started with barking, lunging and making a big fuss about any and all dogs she saw - other then the ones that live in our house. Through the 2 levels of obedience and the summer of privates we worked that problem down to where I can now handle her around other dogs.

Her newest problem appeared in May '09 when I tried to take her to agility lessons. She doesn't like running dogs. That has been something we're working on getting under control.

However, a new and more serious problem came up on the weekend of Canadian Thanks Giving. We have other dogs in our house, and among them is Gyp. She's a litter mate to my Zoey, and she's always changing her attitude towards Bella. One day she is submissive to her, the next she's lunging at her. This has caused problems, and Bella will posture over Gyp from time to time... But, on that weekend, Bella did more then posture over her. She attacked her, and left a puncture wound on her shoulder. Mom yelled (I was at work), and Bella stopped and went to a crate to hide. A problem, yes, but we thought it wasn't such a big deal because mom was able to get Bella off of her.

On December 1st '09, our problem with Bella grew again. She attacked Gyp while they were outside, and Gyp was sitting beside my mom, not provoking Bella at all. Bella attacked her, mom yelled and she walked away. Bella, however, came back at her again, and my mom couldn't get her to let go. She yelled, pushed, pulled, pried, and screamed. She stuck her fingers in her nose, mouth, and smacked her sides. She couldn't get Bella off, and mom thought Bella was killing Gyp.

I ran downstairs and outside, yelled at Bella to 'Leave it!' and Bella let go. I held onto her and just cried. My heart was broken because I thought for sure Bella had killed her, and I knew that if Bella killed her, it wouldn't matter that it was only strike 2/3; she'd have to be put to sleep.

Luckily, Gyp only had one small puncture wound (smaller then the first time) and a limp that lasted about 5 days.

Now, because of all of this drama, things have to change in our house. Bella's not allowed out with Gyp, unless she has a muzzle on (which I'm still shaping her to accept). And I'm desperately trying to figure out a way to keep my heart dog with me.

With all my thinking, I came up with the thought that since I got my job in June, I hadn't had time to train Bella properly. When she was getting one class a week, or 3 days a week, she was great. Never had a problem in the house... So I thought "Hmm, maybe that has something to do with it...?" so to start Bella and I on the track towards "Good Dog!" again, I'm upping the ante and she's getting serious exercise and serious training daily. She's also going to be assessed by a local GSD breeder, and I'm searching for things to do with her.

Right now we're dealing with cold Canadian winter. And Bella needs exercise, so that's where you all come in. Have any ideas what I can do to keep her worked this winter?