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Old 09-29-2009, 04:54 PM
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Default The Story of Peyton

All my dogs with the exception of one came from the Dallas area city dog pound. No history, no clues, no papers and pot luck so my selection process might be different than some. I can't even be sure mine is 100% aussie although everyone agrees she's either 100% aussie or aussie/border. I didn't pick her because she was one or the other, but instead looked at very specific traits from a set of criteria I laid out before I went dog shopping. I went looking for 3 breeds, Heeler, Aussie or Border. It's the hard way to do it I agree, but pound dogs needs homes too and there are indeed some diamonds in the rough even there as you'll read as this story unfolds.

I have not regretted my final choice for even one second, but I looked at many dogs to get to that point. I spent 10 hours over two days at the dog pound with Peyton out in the yard and just her and I before I said yes to make sure what I thought I was seeing was true. It was... and today, I'm as convinced as ever I was right and she's turned out to be an awesome dog by almost anyone's standards and getting better every month.

Her story is really quite interesting and a testimonial to this dog NOT to me. In a nutshell she was a completely ferrel outside dog who had never been on a leash, seen a tennis ball or never been in the car and this is at 6month old according to the vet at the dog pound.

Why in the world would I pick this dog out of the 100's I saw? It wasn't what she could do, it was her core potential. I saw signs...what did I see and how did I arrive at the conclusion?

My first impression was with misgivings. I found her by chance. I was cruising all the pens for dogs that were adoptable, then I wandered into the quarantine area not even knowing it, after looking there I came across a little dog sitting in front of the cage, not in the back, sitting very quietly while the rest of the room was in barking chaos. I thought I knew what she was, an Aussie. I put my finger to the cage and she licked it, very very gently. I told my son who was with me to look at this one and his first comment was Mousey. I agreed, but there was something about her calmness, sensitivity and expression that caught my attention.

I ask about her at the font desk, she was brought in as a stray, they estimated 6 months old, she was either and aussie or an aussie/border mix. She had Kennel cough and would have to stay in quarantine for 10 days. I put my name on this list too be called when she was available for viewing then left. That was day one and I kept thinking about what I had seen. I called every other day to check on this dog. Finally, that day had come and I was allowed to take her out. My son went with me, and were we ever in for a surprise. This dog was WILD, she had never been on a leash, she was bucking like a wild horse, nearly uncontrollable. With the help of animal control we got her out in the yard and let her loose. She ran, she bounced off the fence, she would run in circles like a mad woman. She would not come when called, but what she WOULD do is run over to us, get right in our lap and roll over to have her tummy rubbed, then take off again. That was my first clue, she was a very trusting and wanted to be social puppy. I tried to throw the ball, she did not respond, she was more focused on other dogs in the other fenced yard. She looked like a real nut case, but she had that one trait I was looking for sociability. We spent about 2 hours the first day with her and I left thinking, ok maybe, but I'm not sure I want to take on such a wild dog, I thought about her a lot that night and decided that perhaps I didn't give her a fair chance. I liked some things I saw, but could she be turned into a house dog? On that one, I was skeptical because my live with me 24/7, they are go everywhere, do anything kind of dogs.

The next morning I got up early armed with a medium sized bag of treats, a clicker and a leash and was at the pound before it was open. I asked to take her out, they helped me and it was just this dog and I out in the yard. I had her fetching a tennis ball within minutes, I taught her come in minutes, she got it and it wasn't hard at ALL. Ok, test one she passes, she can fetch big deal. Next was the leash, now this is a dog that was completely out of control on a leash just a few hours before. I put the leash on her and she resisted, I started walking and clicking and treating. Here was perhaps the moment I realized she had moved past me. I took her around the yard but I would stop on these concrete blocks. I would click and treat, I had not realized I was stopping on the blocks. We went around the yard only two or three times. What she did the next time we passed the block, she would stop and sit. What astounded me was without me knowing it, she had learned to stop on the blocks. It was the stop when I stop, but she thought I wanted her to stop on the blocks and she did it 100% of the time. This took less than 10 minutes. Wow, could this really be true? Turns out it was. I spent the next 8 hours until the shelter closed testing her, I had them bring out various dogs to see how she reacted and it was playtime and in every single case. I would ask people walking outside the fence to come up to the fence and greet her, she was cautious, not afraid and always greeted them warmly. I had seen enough, this was indeed a diamond in the rough and the "potential" was limitless. At 5:00 pm, I said yes, paid, signed the papers but had to wait a few days for her to be spayed.
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Old 09-29-2009, 04:55 PM
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Default Part 2

On the day she was going to come home, I arrived early, I put her on a leash and it was like she had forgotten everything. I finally got her to the car and she FROZE. She didn't know what to do, this dog had never rode in car. I remember that moment and me thinking, I want a car dog how can I get her in the car? I took little weenie bites and laid them about 4" apart from the outside of the car to the car floor board. It took about 30 mins I think to finally get her in the car and even then I had to pick up from the floor board to get her in the seat. She didn't budge a muscle for the 30 min. ride to our house. That was my first days with her, now you'll be hard pressed to keep her from going in the car.

What I had on my hands was an outside dog that had ZERO attention all her life. She had zero socialization. As my dogs have to do it all with me, this wouldn't do, so I began her intense socialization n process. I flooded her. I took her everywhere, the dog park, petsmart 2x a day, we went to arts and craft fairs, rock concerts, I walked her next to the busiest roads I could find, I tested her with cats and squirrels, there were even some horses at one of the festivals she went and she had her first smell of horses. If I was in the car so was she, it had to be sensory overload but I let her get comfortable at her OWN pace, she was never forced to do anything. Anything that made a loud sound, she was there to check it out, car horns honking, flags blowing in the wind anything and everything I could find I thought might spook her, I would lead her to investigate. I took her around people in funny looking hats and masks, kids in strollers, I took her to the groomers and encouraged everyone I could find to pet and touch her. She is a city dog now and must be accustomed to the city sights and sounds and be comfortable in large crowds of people and now she is...

How did her basic training go? In conjunction with her socialization, in the first week, she learned to loose leash walk, heel, sit, stay, wait, beg, shake, come, roll over, ring the bell and look at me, she stopped mouthing and even more things that I can't even remember today. In 2 weeks she was completely housebroken and kennel trained. There was one point where I was writing down the commands because I couldn't remember them all but she could. It didn't take hours but literally minutes to teach something new. She learned then and continues to learn at simply an astonishing rate. Let me say this too, I have never trained a dog or taken a class before this work with Peyton. A clicker and I learned everything off youtube and chazhound.

Peyton has the ability to string actions together on her own without a command. This is really amazing to me. She has learned when I do something what action I will want her to do and just does it on her own. I can't help but be pretty amazed at her thought process. Here is a simple example, 2 times when kennel training I put her in her kennel when I took a shower. When I started the water I would give her the command kennel and of she goes without hesitation. Today, I don't even have to turn on the water , all I have to do is pull back the shower curtain and she's in her kennel. That may not sound like much, but she's figured out that me pulling the shower curtain back means the water is coming on next and she should be in her kennel, so she just goes. I didn't teach that. If the other dog in the house gets in the trash and I correct him she is not afraid, she knows who I am talking to and why. I have two different cheese treats with different wrappers, if I pull out one type of cheese, she does one thing, if I pull out another, she does something else even though they are both the same cheese and she can't see either and neither have a specific command. There are more things, like if I dressed in a suite and tie, she knows I'm going to work and she can't go, if I'm in shorts and a ball cap, she sits by the door. That's not training, that's observation and she has sought out patterns of my behavior completely on her own. There's more of these kinds of things she does but you get the idea. She's a thinking reasoning connect the dots kind of dog.

I have had Peyton for almost a year. I have heard her bark 4 times MAYBE. She loves all dogs and people, there is not an aggressive bone in her body. She can be incredibly sweet and tender or rough house and play all day long. She's not a big licker or chewer and would prefer to be with humans than eat and loves to roll over and have her tummy rubbed. Loves the dog park, knows when to play and when to be submissive and get's along with everybody except the most grumpy. She is extremely sensitive and I must be careful not to raise my voice for anything. I have never raised my voice to her directly, or struck her of course, there is no reason to do that with a dog so in tuned to me. She is a very happy dog, she greets each new day with excitement and smiles with her eyes. She loves baby children and is tender and does not chase squirrels... anymore.

In April we're considering CGC trials, she passes with flying colors most tests at home but fails at dog reactiveness so we continue to work on this part. She's going to be about 2 we think in April and that's a good time to start the tests. Even if she never passes, who cares, she's a great dog with a happy ending from being sick and neglected in the city dog pound and is loved dearly by all who encounter her. All her training has been done by me and I while I take great pride in her, I really did nothing but guide her potential. This has always been about Peyton, not me.

Is it really any wonder why I'm so high on Aussies? Well, not to me, she is near the "perfect" dog by my set of standards and this is in spite of her rough and neglected start in life.

I do wish everyone could have a Peyton, but no, you can't have mine, she's my girl for life!
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Old 09-29-2009, 05:02 PM
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That's a wonderful story of the journey you two have taken so far.

I remember when you first joined, there were some rough spots, but you've both come through wonderfully.
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Old 09-29-2009, 05:21 PM
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Thanks Zoom, yes, we had our rough spots and it's still rough in that one area. She is highly dog reactive, she loves to play and anything that looks or smells like dog must be a play buddy immediately!

At least she's not dog aggressive so I'm hoping with age, she'll mellow out some but I'm careful not to loose sight of who she is and what she loves to do.
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Old 09-29-2009, 05:25 PM
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great story
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Old 09-29-2009, 05:48 PM
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.....piiccttuuures?
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Old 09-29-2009, 05:48 PM
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What else can I say !!!! Wonderful story and Kudos to you both !!! You now have a friend for life !!!
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Old 09-29-2009, 05:53 PM
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Great tribute to your girl!

And yes, we need some new pictures!
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Old 09-29-2009, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bubbatd View Post
You now have a friend for life !!!
It's me that's indebted for her warming my heart and making me smile.
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Old 09-29-2009, 06:11 PM
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Same here with Ollie after I lost my Chip !
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