Archive for the ‘learning’ Category

Progress

Ava-roo is generally carried up stairs. We require that she climb at least one step — the top one. Today, we were all upstairs, when Ava and Dave went downstairs, leaving Gracie and me up. Grace and I were playing with a toy and I watched as she went downstairs then back up. About 4 minutes later, as we were leaving, who is on the 4th stair from the top? Yes! Ava-roo! I’m so proud. She did it one step at a time, slow and steady. She wanted to join the fun and was determined to get here! Yay Ava!

Ava and Her Toy

At yesterday’s Shih-Tzu Shuffle we got a care package. Inside the care package was an Ava sized toy.  Gracie has many many toys. Mostly of the hard plastic kind that can’t be terrorized  and destroyed in three minutes (we timed it once).  But this cute little pink plush doggie was just the size for Ava-roo.  I showed it to her … she took it from me and sort of cuddled it.

There was some tussle, Gracie really (really) wanted pink doggie but Ava held her territory.  Here I’m giving it back to Ava.

Gracie moaned and groaned to get her paws on it.  When I finally put it up to live to play another day, Ava was sort of nesting it, keeping it safe.

I’ve never seen Ava try and play with a dog toy.  Not once.  I find this video very sweet and hope you do to.  She’s just coming into her doggie-ness a little bit everyday.  It really makes me happy.

from Ava to Zoe

Gracie has never gotten along with our neighbor’s boxer, Zoe.  Ava doesn’t have the problems with Zoe that Gracie does and today Ava had some interesting interactions with Zoe. We aren’t sure, but I think they’re playing… What do you think?

Isn’t it amazing the transformation Ava’s had in just 12 weeks!

Progress

Today, Ava-roo went up to a complete stranger — a little boy — without any fear! As I understand it, she led the charge to greet him.

This week both Dave and I have noticed that Gracie and Ava have really bonded. I think it started last week when they went to the groomers together. So stressful. Or, did it start with Lisa B. and her Master Class? It’s hard to say. The only agression I’ve seen this week is when Gracie got too close to Ava and Ava didn’t like it. (In fairness to Gracie, she was being very gentle… it was Ava’s naughty — this time.)

Miracles do Happen

… in which two doggies lie together in peace.  In the first half, Ava-roo came to me (another miracle) and Gracie joined us (yet another one — are you keeping track?).

It happened again today.  It’s really all too, too much!

A few things:

  1. Ava was completely comfortable where she was… she normally spends a good 10 seconds in my lap.  Instead she was there 5 minutes. My hand was on her back to act as a shield from Gracie in case she went postal on me.
  2. I think Ava-roo feels very safe in the doggie bed.  I think it might be another shield against Gracie (see the MasterClass video with Lisa. She didn’t do anything for Lisa until she was in the doggie bed).

All in all, things are looking up.

Ava gets a Lesson

I must confess I thought Ava incapable of learning doggie tricks.  It took my friend Lisa B. to show me differently.  Off-camera Lisa and Ava did some tricks with Gracie and me watching nearby.  When Dave got home, Lisa wanted to show Ava off.

What I find most interesting is the last portion of the video… Lisa distracted Gracie while working with Ava, she worked with them both.  And Ava found her safe place — in the dog bed — and was still willing to work with Lisa.  Isn’t she good?

Ava on the Stairs

When Ava first came to our house (she finished her third week here last Friday), she couldn’t do stairs.  She was in a hurry and stammered and skidded her way to nowhere.  She’s a quick learn.  Gracie got in the way in this video, but I was behind her to help if needed.  As you watch it, you can see how skinny she still is.  We’re working on it, she certainly eats plenty.  By the way, she was so fast on the way down, I missed her descent.  Next time, perhaps.

Ava as she was

taken april 2010

This is Ava when she was in foster care. She’s very skinny. We’re posting this picture as a benchmark. Life is really looking up for Ava-roo.

This is the description from the rescue place:

Asia in an 8 year old, small Shih Tzu who was turned in by her owner because she was frightened of the small children and very nervous in the home.  Asia is very sweet.  Within two days at her foster home, Asia was wagging her tail and following foster mom everywhere.  Asia loves to lay on the couch and get cuddled.  Asia is housebroken and very well behaved.  Asia needs someone who will shower her with attention and help her realize how wonderful she is.  Asia will not be adopted to a home with childre as her previous experience with children traumatized her.  Asia is being fostered in the Wester suburbs of Illinois and will only be adopted locally.

Pedigree Commercial

Three or four weeks ago I saw this commercial.  It ends with

don’t pity a shelter dog, adopt one.

I said, “okay” and promptly went to petfinder.com, which eventually led us to Ava.

The Three and One Quarter Club

We’ve had Ava for two weeks now.  She is making strides with a few things. Gracie and Ava seem to be getting along.  I see Gracie trying to engage Ava in play a lot. Ave doesn’t bite, but she doesn’t hiss at Gracie (that much).  They really seem to be amiable.

Yesterday we went to my friend Lisa’s house.  Her two shih tzus are good friends of Gracie.  They play and really enjoy each other’s company.  Usually when we bring Gracie to see Teddy and Ranger, we’ll leave the dogs and go out to dinner.  We decided four dogs in one house is just too too much, so Dave cooked.

 It was a beautiful day yesterday and Lisa has a beautiful fenced backyard where doggies can run free.  And they did.  But first doggies wanted to make sure we weren’t leaving.  (We weren’t, I promise.)

I wouldn’t say Ava was part of the pack.  She was an observer of the pack.  Gracie, who doesn’t seem to know how to play outside, was definitely part of the pack… she just wouldn’t chase toys outside.  She’s all about the squeak, as discussed earlier, just not outside.

When we got inside, after dinner, we went downstairs. Ava promptly (okay with prompts) went down the stairs all by herself.  The other doggies were playing at our feet, but Ava is an observer and sat outside / behind the furniture.  Lisa, who fell in love with Ava, went to look for her and she wasn’t downstairs.  Where did this dog go?  Upstairs!  Can you believe it?  She went upstairs.  And did so two or three other times.  At first I thought she went up to sit at the door because she wanted to go out.  But no it wasn’t that.  She liked looking outside.  Crazy dog. Who Can Climb Stairs!!!  (Lisa has like six or seven stairs–half the stairs we do…it probably isn’t nearly as scary for her.)

Gracie and the boys had some good play time, chasing each other like doggies who can play together are supposed to do.  But at one point, Gracie lashed out at Ranger.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  It was like she was going for his neck.  <sigh>.  So Gracie was made to heel for a bit.  Lisa thought it was because Ranger was on the ottoman, a place she was enjoying.  But as Lisa said to Gracie, Ranger is allowed on the ottoman.  So Ranger was put back on the ottoman.  I’ve never seen a more nervous look on a dog.  We praised him and told him how brave he was.  Again, a little more aggression–is that the poodle in her?  Finally, we made Gracie apologize to Ranger… sniffing, sitting together, etc.

When we left, none of the doggies wanted us to go.  We got home and it was time for bed.  I wanted Ava to try our stairs.  I put her front paws on the first riser then her back paws, repeat, rest and try again.  Finally, about the last six risers, she did it on her own.  Way to have the confidence Ava.

The Three and one-quarter Shih Tzu visit was mostly a success.  Something we will definitely do again. It’s good for Ava to be around other doggies.

As I sit here writing this, Ava is on her back, getting a good scratch and Gracie is sitting head to head with Ava in play position.  Nothing is coming of it, but Ava is pretty vulnerable and letting Gracie near her.  Good doggies.

Some Hints
I think it takes a while for the videos to load... they're HD format and are pretty big files. If you click on the arrow and then immediately click the pause button. This allows the video to load. Once there is more grey line than black line, you should be able to press the play button. Enjoy.