The Story of Peyton

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by JoeLacy, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. JoeLacy

    JoeLacy New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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.
     
  2. JoeLacy

    JoeLacy New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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!
     
  3. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    40,739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    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.
     
  4. JoeLacy

    JoeLacy New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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.
     
  5. dogsarebetter

    dogsarebetter EVIL SHELTIES!!!!

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2006
    Messages:
    3,999
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    7 (3 rabbits, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a duck!)
    Location:
    kentucky
    great story :)
     
  6. Crowsfeet

    Crowsfeet facetious.

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    Messages:
    579
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Portland
    .....piiccttuuures?
     
  7. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    64,812
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    What else can I say !!!! Wonderful story and Kudos to you both !!! You now have a friend for life !!!
     
  8. umterps97

    umterps97 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Messages:
    546
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    1
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Great tribute to your girl!

    And yes, we need some new pictures!
     
  9. JoeLacy

    JoeLacy New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It's me that's indebted for her warming my heart and making me smile.
     
  10. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    64,812
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Same here with Ollie after I lost my Chip !
     
  11. JoeLacy

    JoeLacy New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    She came at a good time for me. My heeler went through some rough times with spleenic hermangiosarcoma (sp). We had his spleen removed to try and save his life but he never fully recovered, he died at the house after a 6 weeks. He was a go everywhere buddy of mine too for 8 years. Yes, it's tough to loose one. This was Cowboy, he was a city pound dog too.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Lolas Dad

    Lolas Dad New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,017
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    If you get Peyton over being dog reactive you might want to consider having Peyton become a therapy dog. Sounds like he would be a great one.
     
  13. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Messages:
    55,166
    Likes Received:
    35
    Trophy Points:
    48
    THat was a great read. Proof that you can't judge a dog from the shelter on first or even second impressions. You have done well by PEyton and reaping the rewards.
     
  14. JoeLacy

    JoeLacy New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Last night she did it again with something new.

    A few days ago, my son was over, My Son and Peyton were laying in the bed watching TV. I told my son in front or Peyton I was going to fix the dogs Cheeseburgers. My son asked Cheeseburgers? I said yes, it's just Kibble with a little grated cheese on top. I went to the kitchen made Peytons food, took it to the bed and placed the food in front of Peyton, she ate and I didn't think anymore about it.

    Last night at feeding time, Peyton was in the kitchen, I looked at Peyton and jokingly asked if she wanted a Cheeseburger. She took off in a dead run to the bedroom, jumped in the bed and laid down where I had fed her with my son. Evidently, she picked up the "cheeseburger" command simply from a casual conversation I had with my son.

    It's this ability to link actions back to words that she does completely on her own that continues to amaze me. She had never heard the word cheeseburger in her entire life before that day with my son and I wasn't talking to directly to her when she did hear it.

    When I think about it, she heard cheeseburger mentioned and food with cheese showed up. So to her, cheeseburger means get in the bed, lay down, Dad is bringing a cheeseburger to me!

    One problem with all these things, once she learns something it's stuck. A good example is when I pull back the shower curtain she goes to her kennel without a command. That makes it difficult to get her in the bathtub. Now, I'm thinking if I mention I want to go out for a Cheeseburger I won't be able to her out of the bed. :)
     
  15. JoeLacy

    JoeLacy New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    So true, but I do think you have to be diligent of these pound dogs and take your time. It's almost like opening Xmas packages, you think you might know what's in them but you are sometimes surprised, good or bad. Part of the fun too is discovery and meeting a LOT of new dogs in one place.

    I went on my hunt looking for a dog that was highly sociable and highly trainable. While I met many dogs, they didn't meet criteria to the degree that Peyton did. It didn't matter as much who she was at the time as much as who she could be.

    If I adopt a dog it's for the rest of it's life, that's a very important decision to me and not one to be taken lightly.
     
  16. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Messages:
    55,166
    Likes Received:
    35
    Trophy Points:
    48
    So many people think the first impression is the real personality of the dog. They don't stop to think what it would be like if it were them in that situation and how they would respond. Then sometimes they get the dog home and say "it's soooo good!" ANd i think just wait a bit..when the dog relaxes and you won't be thinking soooo good....things get chewed, anxieties appear especially seperation ones. Adopting a rescue takes patience and understanding and bucket loads of time. IT takes adapting your wishes to the situation and helping guide this soul through the rough spots which ease imo from training. YOu did well by Payton. I was just trying to add to the point of visiting a shelter and seeing a dog and developing a first impression. If i had gone by my first impression of Victor i would have turned around and never looked back. If i had gone my my first impression of miss shut down won't look at you and all she wants to do is run away Pepper would would have been the point? NO one looked at Victor at the kill shelter and that was how he ended up in a rescue. His day was up..at the sad age of 5 months. I do believe that training age helps, but Pepper was at least a year if not two when she came here with every door dodging runaway skill under her belt and she has come miles and miles. I am a firm believer in doing the daily training session. Not pushing too fast too hard. Tailoring it to what you need to focus on and working your way through one problem after another. I think when you go into a shelter like that your heart will just know the right one. I looked on petfinder for two weeks before i saw Victor and I knew that was the one. I stuck by that belief for the first 6 months when even my mother said to take him back. It's a lot of faith backed up by hard work. I never went out looking for Pepper. Fate layed her in the road in front of my car. I never expected to keep her, i just didn't know what to do with her or who was insane enough to keep looking for her. SHe was really good at being the artful dodger. Now she is my baby girl..and i can't imagine her not a part of our team. I am certainly pleased with the results in my own home as i see you are in yours!
     
  17. JoeLacy

    JoeLacy New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Obviously you have the conviction and to stick through it, even during the rough spots. I certainly had my share and like you I didn't give up and it paid off.

    Your point is well taken. Peyton was mousey in her kennel, not shy but very reserved. Out of that pen, she was a wild woman. Which was she in real life and even today? Both.

    It's a crap shoot at best with any dog. Existing traits, in bred traits, environmental traits both past and present all seem to play a role in the dogs overall behavior. Having said that, I tend to be more analytical when selecting someone who is going to live in my house for the next 10 years and I "try" at least to disconnect the emotional and appearance and instead focus on more concrete factors as a baseline within in the selection process.

    I'm a hard sell I admit, but as I will be devoting my time, money, energy and unconditional love, any dog must at least indicate certain abilities and tendencies or the dog is simply not a candidate. Perhaps I'm too pragmatic on all this, but it's how I roll. :)

    If I wanted an agility dog, I would look for focus, energy and boldness. Peyton is a cautious scatterbrained super happy dog that is easily distracted and in my estimate she wouldn't be a great agility dog. That doesn't mean should couldn't learn, but she is who she is, and I prefer to play to her strengths which is a great mind and overtly friendly. I wanted a smart, friendly dog and I went looking for one. I got that and more.
     
  18. JoeLacy

    JoeLacy New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Peyton had a LOT of problems, first she was like 6 week old puppy but 6 months old. She mouthed, she jumped, she chewed, she had never even heard the word no. Of course she went to the bathroom in the house, whined in her crate. She was 6 months old with 6 week old behaviors. But what she did have was that she showed signs of being able to be trained and was very social right from the start. I hoped that with the training factor she would learn quickly and boy did she ever.

    I used the Yelp method to stop her mouthing, I'm not sure how many times I yelped but it wasn't many. 3 or 4 times maybe and the mouthing was a non-issue. One of Peytons strength is that she is HIGHLY sensitize. I used that to my advantage on the mouthing and it worked like a charm.

    I made her kennel a good place to be, we would make a little game out of it, she could go in and out to get treats. We did that for a few days and today, she sleeps in her crate even during the day. She won't sleep in the bed, EVER. Her crate is where she thinks I want her to sleep and that's that.

    I house trained her by feeding and taking her out at very regular intervals. I wrote down the times she ate and when she pooped in the house, then would make sure she got to got out before she had to go. I took her to the exact same spot to do business every single time and gave her treats in mid-stream and praised her. It didn't take long at all for her to understand the routine and today, I still feed and take her out at approx. the same intervals and it's been a non-issue ever since.

    This list goes on and on, but you get the idea, I found a dog that was highly intelligent but ferrel, and the rest was "easily" trained.
     
  19. Brandyb

    Brandyb New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    560
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2 dogs and tonnes of fish and some chams
    Location:
    Ontario
    Home Page:
    What a nice story - thanks for sharing. :)
    My little JRT is my "Peyton" - it's amazing to have a dog like that in your life - hard to describe it. Glad you're able to share your life with her.
     

Share This Page