Tag Archives: Learning the Ropes


Zekie is ever so slowly showing improvement in his behavior. As he does, he earns more freedoms.

He has become my husband’s shop dog. Whenever he goes out to the shop to work, Zekie goes too. He lays under a sawhorse or workbench and passes the time while my husband works. The loud sound of the power tools, the hammering, the sawing, none of it bothers him. Several days of shop work in a row have Zekie waiting at the door to report for work. He likes to have a job.

Earlier this week Zekie got to go along to grandma’s house with my husband when he went to do yard work. Aside from jumping up into grandma’s lap to stare in her face and lick her nose, he was a good boy. She thought he was funny so that ended well.

Another morning, Zekie and Baxter got to ride along to a local plant nursery. They were both good boys.

Yesterday evening Zekie got to go along to a Craft Night fundraiser for our Sheltie Rescue group. My friend went along too and brought one of her dogs. Both dogs did well on the ride and at the event. Most attendees brought a dog along. Everyone got along well and it was a fun evening.

I hope Zekie is learning that new opportunities open up to well behaved dogs. I know he greatly enjoys these new adventures. He is happy and generally well behaved as long as he is with one of us. Good boy Zekie!

Cassius-Three Months In

Dog, Greyhound, Cassius

We have had Cassius for almost three months now. He’s come a long way since he’s come off the racetrack. For the most part he’s a good dog. He certainly does try.  It’s just that he finds our ways to be confusing sometimes.

For instance, what’s with this waiting for food thing? We feed twice a day. Around 9:00 am and again at 6:00 pm. For about two hours before each feeding he is an excellent herder. When we get in the vicinity of the food can (a 32 gallon plastic garbage can with lid, our house was built in 1830, read-keeps mice out!) he tries his best to herd us in the direction of the can. And he herds us better than any of our shelties do. Of course the shelties are not into herding their pack leaders. Much. Cassius is a large dog, around 70 lbs., so he is pretty effective. You have to push him out of the way to walk any where else. We won’t give in to him because we are afraid that he will want fed earlier and earlier and who knows maybe even more often.

Most of his mishaps do seem to center around food. At first his food drive was so intense that it was scary. I discovered that he had a tape worm and after I treated that his food driven lessened to a more bearable level. Woe to anyone who leaves any form of food substances within reach though. This includes the kitchen counter. One week we were on our third loaf of bread because Cassius took up counter surfing. We discovered on the second loaf that he would even reach all the way to the very back of the counter. Another week we lost a three pound bag of apples from the kitchen counter. He took the apples, still in the bag, removed them from the bag, and rather than eating one, took a bite out of each apple. This reminds me of a story of my daughter when she was a wee tot. Dogs and kids can have a lot in common.

But we can’t complain too much about Cassius. He is a dog with an excellent and very tolerant temperament. He never snaps or growls at the other dogs. Even when they are chasing after toys or running over him. He is very accommodating with the cats as well. One time our old, senile cat Lacey fell off the arm of the couch and landed on Cassius while he was sleeping. He did wake up with a growl, but once he recognized Lacey, he put his head back down and went to sleep. We think he is great, and we are never biased!

Now, rest assured that when no humans are home, Cassius does stay in a crate. This is as much to keep him out of trouble with food and safe from other harm, as it is to make sure there is never an incident with the cats. Cassius may one day earn his freedom while we are away, but not any time soon.

“I Try to Be Good! “

Day 3. “I try to be good.”

Cassius was fascinated by the cat running through the living room this morning. He never touched the cat and I was there in seconds. He seemed surprised. “Oh, you want to chase the cat too? What? Oh, I’m not supposed to chase the cat? You guys are weird.”

So on went the muzzle until he was suitably calm. We had one more time where he got up from his bed to look at a cat. I told him no and said “no cats”. He looked at me in puzzlement and laid back down. There were several more instances where he looked at the cats as they went through the room. I calmly told him no cats and as he continued laying on the bed told him “good no cats”. He still thinks I’m weird but I could see the process of working things out in his head. I’m glad I the day off from work so we can start dealing with these things now.

Never fear. Cassius will not be unsupervised with cats anytime soon. If we must step outside or go in the basement he will wear a muzzle if no one else is home. And he will definitely be crated when we go away for the forsee able future. 

Dog # 356


Time for a new foster dog at our house! This is one of the longest stretches that we have gone without one. It had been around three months since, Blitz, our last one, got adopted. This is Sweetie. She is a  35 lb sheltie that the vet said is no more than three years old. She has been at our house for a week and a half now and she is very sweet, if a bit needy.

Sweetie came from a local dog pound and was adopted directly by one of our previous adopters . She got spayed, brought up to date on her shots, and was treated for an ear infection. She had a couch to sit on, humans to pet her and walk her. She was living the good life. Unfortunately she had one trait that was not very  sweet. She liked to threaten the other resident dog in the home and attack him when he came too close to “her” human on the couch. To their credit the family gave it a go and consulted two private trainers and also asked our rescue for advice which they tried. It was a Herculean effort. But things didn’t improve very much and in the end they feared harm would come to the other dog they had for several years before Sweetie came on the scene.  So Sweetie came into our rescue and the family will wait for a more mellow dog to come through our rescue. This is the way it goes. Not every dog can fit with every family.

And since our house seems to specialize in challenging, dominant dogs, she came here. I have come to realize that not only do my husband and I have experience with rehabilitating problem dogs, but our own dogs have experience too and are a part of the process. The pack we currently have is very well adjusted and help to show new dogs the ropes and what is to be expected.

Baxter Shelby

Baxter and Shelby in particular are very good at acclimating the new dogs. So I  knew if Sweetie got threatening beside me on the couch, I would just remove her to the floor. Sitting with us on the furniture is a privilege and if you don’t behave, you don’t get the privilege. And if she threatened our dogs at other times I knew they would handle it. Baxter especially is very benevolent. He never starts anything but if other dogs threaten him in his home, first he will hold his ground, then if the other dog keeps at he doesn’t use his mouth but pins the other dog to the ground with his legs. It is actually impressive to see. Shelby won’t take any guff either. First she curls her lip at the instigator to warn him off. If this is not effective she will usually do it a second time as if to say “didn’t you hear me”? After that she will rush the offending dog possibly nipping them or running them over. Neither Baxter nor Shelby will do this without cause. They usually look to see if I am accepting of their behavior as well.

They have had to do this with Sweetie a couple times so far. She seems to avoid them now although earlier this evening I saw her try to play with Shelby. The two look very similar. It is hard to tell them apart from certain angles.

As I have gotten to know Sweetie I have discovered that she really isn’t an aggressive dog.  She is insecure and needy. She is looking to see where she fits in and wondering what she can get away with. I have noticed that she frantically seeks petting. I just ignore her until she lays down so she learns to calm herself. As she finds  her way, some of these behaviors will fade and she will become better adjusted.

Sweetie’s name does fit her. She is sweet and affectionate and cuddly. Though I  think the best bet for her would be to be an only dog or to go to a very experienced multi-dog home.


Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue dog number  356.