Running with Squirrels

fostering dogs that need it most

Archive for the month “April, 2012”

McMuffin and the mini-pool

Sunday funday here at The Ranch and we decided to break out a summer favorite … the mini-pool!  You might remember the mini-pool is a favorite of foster grandma when she is playing with Reese, however we have yet to see how McMuffin feels about it.  Well now we know … McMuffin is veeeery suspicious of the mini-pool and it’s sinister toy hoarding ways.

Well crap ... how am I supposed to get my ball back?

She was fairly puzzled about how to solve this dilemma …

First ... she tried to dig in from below.

Next she tried to paw the ball over to her and reach over without putting her feet in ... all that got her was a wet face and no ball.

The mini-pool took advantage of a distracted McMuffin and managed to hoard two more balls when she wasn’t paying attention.

way rude mini-pool ... waaaay rude

That’s when she called in for backup.

hey brudder ... what's the deal with this thing and how do you steal balls from it?

Reese gave her a quick pep talk on how to conquer the mini-pool and McMuffin was bobbing for lacrosse balls in no time.


It took an hour or so but McMuffin now is a champion at putting all four feet in the mini-pool and sticking her whole head underwater to retrieve her precious lacrosse balls … way to go girl!

People training

We like to go on evening walks with the pups here at the Ranch. It’s a nice time to unwind from work, catch up with each other, and it gives Muffin and Reese some much needed exercise after their long hard day of napping.

We’ve written before about how we worked on Muffin’s leash pulling and have found that the gentle leader has been a life saver in helping her to slow down and helps everyone enjoy the walk. One thing we’ve continued to work on is her tendency to freak out jump, whine, and try to bite her leash when we see another dog on our walk.

We were really puzzled as to why she got so upset when seeing another dog since she’s so good with Reese when they are off leash at home and in our back yard. We’ve tried different tactics like making her sit as the dog walks by, trying to get her to have a treat while the dog walks by, and simply trying to walk by at a distance. After having her become really distressed with all of those tactics, we called in the expert!:)

Jasmine’s House works with an amazing trainer from Canine Lifestyle Academy and we decided to consult with her to get some tips to help Muffin stay calm. She helped us to realize that Muffin’s arousal level was getting up to a full blown 10 when she sees another dog. It’s not likely to be reactivity, but more anxiety and frustration at being confined on her leash and not having control over how close or far she is from another dog on her walk. We learned how to turn around from another dog, and to look for her body signals to understand that her anxiety level is increasing.

It was amazing to see that Muffin could turn around and refocus on us if we interrupted her anxiety at a level 1-3 instead of letting her get all the way up to a 10. It seems that she was giving us information to work with the whole time but we needed some people training to help make sense of what she’s been trying to tell us all along. We were able to practice this training on a hike this past weekend and Muffin did awesome! I think foster dad and I benefitted a ton from our people training and now Muffin can enjoy less stressful walks.

My Confession

So … I have a confession to make.

I used to be scared of pit bull type dogs.

When I was young I had a negative experience with an aggressive dog (now I understand aggressive due to poor pet ownership) and it unfortunately skewed my perspective for quite a while. When foster dad and I moved in together and decided to adopt a dog, I had one criteria … I didn’t feel comfortable adopting a pit bull type dog.

Boy was I in for a surprise. As we walked down the aisles of amazing dogs at our local shelter we saw a LOT of pit bull type dogs. Foster dad walked up to Reese’s crate and said “What do you think about this guy?”. My initial thought was “Are you nuts?!?” He looked like a pit bull type dog and I immediately felt nervous. However, there was something gentle and soft about Reese … he was the only dog not barking and sat looking at us with his big brown eyes. So, I cautiously agreed to take him out to the yard at the shelter to walk and play for a few minutes.

Reese’s little brindle face looked up at me as I took his leash and walked him around the yard. He stayed next to me and walked at my pace. He gently gave kisses to the shelter worker he had formed a bond with and I was amazed and quickly falling for Reese. As we returned him to his crate we decided to take a leap and put in an application to adopt Reese.

When we first brought Reese home he was nervous and would check on us as we slept by running over to our bedside to make sure we were still there. I have to admit I was still a bit unsure of how he would behave … even after we brought him home.

It took me about a week to realize that Reese was the sweetest, most loving dog I had ever met. He would snuggle up and cuddle on my legs if I sat on the floor and he always wanted to be in the same room as his people. He gives the best kisses and greets you like he hasn’t seen you in years every time you come home. I was clearly won over by Reese pretty quickly!

About two years ago I had to have back surgery and was in a great deal of pain leading up to the operation. Reese lay by my side being my nurse the entire time. I can’t imagine having to go through that experience without him and thank foster dad for helping me to open my mind, heart, and our home to pit bull type dogs. Our lives are so much better for it!

Pittie Renovation Crew: Clean up

Sorry for the insane delay between posts … we are back from a little break and ready to bring the McMuffin and Reese show back into the blog world!

Last time we left off, McMuffin had just tapped into her skills as a master of demolition.  As most DIYers can attest to, demolition is the fun part of any construction project … but along with demolition comes everyone’s thorn in their side … clean up.  Being a first timer, McMuffin had no idea this tedious chore even existed.

New subfloor seems pretty sturdy to me ... joist span and flex are good to go ... what awesomeness is next?

Well McMuffin, I’m glad you asked … let me introduce you to my friend Mr. Shop Vac.

Whoa ... who invited this dude ... he seems so serious ... I'll keep my eye on him just in case he tries to get a little crazy ...

Turns out McMufin doesn’t mind clean up as much as I thought she would.  Reese hears Mr. Shop Vac belt out his menacing growl and tucks tail as he runs for the hills.  McMuffin definitely doesn’t like Mr. Shop Vac and probably wouldn’t invite him to share her bed for a bone chew session … but she doesn’t run and hide.  Once everything was all tidy and clean for the next stage, I let McMuffin and Reese lay claim to their first project together …


Spring Break

Hello blog friends!  Foster mom and dad are off on a much needed mini-vacation but will be back and better than ever next week with some more updates on the tiling project and other happenings at The Ranch … have a great week!

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