Sunday, February 28, 2010

More pictures of Max

Just wanted to share some pictures of Max from this weekend. For some reason he is threatened by the children's old picnic table, he barks at it and attacks it. He does this with the outdoor toy box as well.
I have tried to explain to him that the table and box is not alive but for some reason he just does not understand.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Behaviorist and Max

So it is the day for the behaviorist to come and see how Max is with myself, my husband and the children. She first does the Canine Good Citizen test and exam. I am very happy to report that Max passed with flying colors. She took his toys away from him and taught me things to do to help teach Max recall and not lunging for cars. Again, as I am not a behaviorist I am not going to provide any instructions as to what I am doing, I will just tell you that we are going on a lot of short walk's with Max, during which time we are trying to teach him that we are the leader and not him, that he can not pull us on the leash and he has to follow us. We are also working on his reacation to when cars or people go by. Him being a hearding dog he has a natural tendency to want to chase things.

At the end of the day the behaviorist assured me that Max was a very healthy dog, she took samples  of his BM to take back to the vet, the new vet we are going to, in order to check for signs of worms. From her examination, pressing on him etc, he does not appear to be in any pain and can tolerate pressure as a normal healthy dog would. She also examined some of his bm and to the naked eye did not see any worms. This is a huge relief as we are not going to treat him for the heart worms for at least a month to get him adjusted to our family and the new vet. She agreed this was the right thing to do. She also assured me that there is no indications what so ever that Max is unpredictable and should not be around children, in fact just the opposite, he would stand between the behaviorist and the children at first, protecting the kids. She watched as the kids played and ran with Max in the back yard and assured me that he is safe. I will still have to be careful with him and the kids as he gets to know us but there is no fear on my part of Max attacking any of us.

Max's forever home, be careful what vet you go to.

So after our Friday night disaster, lots of reading on my part and questions to my friends with pets we made the commitment again to give Max his forever home. We were determined to do what was best for all of us. Which meant that we needed to set boundaries for Max as well as us and the children.
I started the process of teaching Max Zen Hand, as I said before I am not an expert if you feel you want to learn more about what I did you can find instructions at
Max took to the zen training very well and with following the guidelines listed in Lead the Dance we have come a long way. Max is now listening and following simple commands and loves to play the Come game. He will Sit, lay, and stay.

We continued to work with Max, as I was as committed as I could be to providing him with everything he needs we made the choice to take him to the vet. I told the vet to NOT trip his nails as he is so sensitive about his feet. The vet however did not listen to me and trimmed his nails, Max of course did not handle this well. Max was already over stimulated. When we got to the vets office that morning the leash I had been given with Max broke, he snapped it and got away from me. Ran into the road to chase the cars. Thank goodness there was a police officer directing traffic who was able to stop all cars and get Max for me. I am just glad I have been working out and was able to run after him with out hurting myself. So his day is not going well and to be honest neither is mine.

I go into pick Max up and the vet ask me to come to her office, she tells me that Max is not a dog to have around children, that he is unpredictable and if she were me she would put Max down. She went onto say that he has one testicle that never descended and he has heart worms, which she believes to be early on. So the neutered dog that was in perfect health now has some issues. My head is still spinning about the do not have this dog around children and you could leave him here till you decide what to do if you like. I of course took Max home with me, and then went to my pesties, chat board of experienced pet owners and asked for advice and help. With their help I found a behaviorist to come to the house and work with me and Max, to let me know if Max was in fact a dangerous dog .

I call a few other vets and get their opinion, several of them tell me we should retest Max before doing any treatments and that it is unfair for a vet to make that kind of recommendation to me regarding a scared, confused dog's behavior while at the vet. That in fact Max should have received no treatments on his first visit, it should have been a met and great. So I have now changed vets, Max has gone in and met his new vet and the office staff, walked around etc, but was not treated, the vet did pet Max and love on him. We will continue to go back to the vet's office one to two times a week over the next month. During which time I am going to work with Max on the behavior issues we are working with.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I am not an expert

I just wanted to clarify a few things before we get to deep into this. I am NO WHERE NEAR a dog/cat pet expert. I am not a behaviorist nor a vet. This is my experience with Max, our experience with Max, the mistakes I make, the things that work for us and the funny tales of things that Max does that I want to keep a record of. Also remember that just because it works for me does not mean it will work for everyone. Max has been a blessing to us and I have learned a great deal in the short time that we have had him, but I will make mistakes I will do things wrong. Do not feel like you can not give me advice or ideas on things that may work better for us. Keep in mind that I am new to this. While I had pets most of my life I have not had any for the past ten years so I am learning as I go. I hope that someone will get something other than a chuckle from my experience and that in a year, you will see that Max and our family are still trucking along and doing just great.

When we almost gave him back

Max has been with us for right at a month now, boy has our life changed a lot in that time.
I picked Max up on a Tuesday, needless to say he was a tad confused and shy at first. It did not take him long to realize that I was not going to hurt him and that I was going to play with him. He even started playing with the children as soon as they got home from school. But you see this is where I made some of my first mistakes. I forgot that Max was in fact a dog, who was not used to children. He loved their excitement level and enjoyed running with them. But I was not becoming the leader of the park, nor were my children. We took him on a walk, but really Max walked us, he was in control.
We figured out early on that Max was sensitive about his feet, I did tell the children not to mess with them but did not stress how important it was that they made sure they did not accidentally sit or step on his feet or tail. I did other things, things that most people would think of. I provided Max with a child free zone, and instructed the kids that they were not allowed any where near his water or food bowl EVER.  I thought I had done all that I could to make sure the kids and Max were safe. I was wrong. I forgot some very important things, one being that Max was new to us, that while Max was two years old, and trained he was not trained with us, and we were not trained. I did not think about how traumatic this must be to him, new family, new house etc.

Fast forward to Friday night, yes just a few short days after I got him, we are all sitting on the couch, JM moves and in the process ends up sitting on Max's back paws. Remember he is sensitive about them, he of course reacts and nips at JM> I of course over react and tell everyone he has to go. That my children safety comes first and he can not be biting my children. I even went to a pets chat board and posted that I had to get rid of him. (word of advice unless you are wearing your big girl panties, never tell a large group of pet owners that you are going to get rid of a pet) Thank goodness I did not take offense to the things they said to me, that I read every response and that with their help I was convinced that I was being an ass and not looking at this through Max's eyes. They provided me with great websites to help me train him, is my favorite and has helped us so much. I started reading all I could and asking them one million questions. They tore me a new on that Friday night, but in the end I am glad they did. They taught me that Max deserved this chance to be in a happy loving home. So we did not pursue taking him back, we instead pursued training him and well of course training us.

Hence Second Chance Max...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Why not to re-home your pet.

I wish that everyone who was considering adopting a pet could read this, or even those that are considering re-homing their beloved pet, or getting a new kitten/puppy.

Before I started this journey I had no idea what re-homing was, I soon found out it is a common used word in the pet world to indicate finding a new home for your pet, for what every reason you have made the decision that the pet you so much desired is no longer working out for your family. But before you make this choice I beg of you to consider a few things. I know that pets are not human, but they have feelings and they care. They become attached to you, they bond with you, get exited when you come home, stay by your side when you are sick and are there for you regardless of what kind of mood you are in. Some breeds are even said not to do well at all in a re-homing situation, as they will not bond well with new owners. For example the Chow does not bond well with new owners.

Consider if you will that your spouse, your mother, your father etc makes the decision one day that you have become too much to take care of, that you are a problem child and just do not want to deal with you anymore. So they place an aid in the paper, on craigs list or even better they just drop you off somewhere. Imagine how  you will feel, imagine going from living in your loving home with people that love you one minutes to being given to someone else. You do not know these people from Adam, they treat you well but imagine if you can how scared you are. You are sleeping in a new place, a strange place, you are eating different food and have different rules. I for one do not think I would be on my best behavior, how about you?

I have to admit that this is a lesson I learned the hard way, after having Max in our home for a tad over a week I almost gave him a way. I had some great ladies give me some awesome ideas and try to make me see things like Max did, to help me to understand what Max was going through. Again to those of you who helped me through this, those of you who suffered through my ignorance, thank you, yet again.

How we got to where we are!

Before you can understand how far we have come you need to know where we have come from, how we started on our journey to getting Max and how he became a part of our family. During the fall of 2009 I started talking to my husband about getting a pet for myself and the children. We discussed the pro's and con's of both cats and dogs. My husband shot down the idea of a cat very early on as he is highly allergic. This of course made the children sad as they wanted a kitten.

I, however, have always been a dog person. I had my wonderful Bear for eleven years, she was a chow that was given to me by my first husband. When I moved form the country, Mississippi, to the city, Chicago, I decided she would be better off staying with my ex husband who had land and was not going to be living in an apartment. I missed Bear and great deal and never imagined that I would have another dog, especially
once I had triplets. How on earth was I going to care for a dog as well as the kids.

Now that the kids are in school and I have time on my hands I thought it would be the best time to add a new member to our family and once my husband got on board there was no stopping me. I did my homework, contacted rescues and put my name on every list I could think of. I was addicted to, humane society web site as well as Craigslist (a whole different post)

A friend of mine associated with a rescue in the area contacted me about Max, after two other dogs fell through. She knew very little about Max, just that he needed a good loving home and he needed it fast. I contacted the owner as she was in the process of picking up ten rescues from a different state. After many questions and yes being lied to I agreed to go met Max. I of course, fell in love with him as soon as I saw him and he came home with us that night. This was three weeks ago, during this three weeks we have been through a lot and in the upcoming post you will see how we almost lost max not once but twice. Just so you know we are very committed to Max and there is no way he will be re-homed. My kids would be devastated as well I would.

Second Chance Max

Hi, there and welcome to our journey with Max.

You may be asking well who are you and who is Max. Max is our two year old sheltie that we rescued from a bad situation. I am a stay at home mom of bbg triplets who are now 5 years old. If you want to follow my life with triplets check out my other blog, this blog however is about Max and our journey with him, how he changed our lives and how we changed his life.

Our journey includes ups and downs, triumphs and joys. Like with any dog owner there is going to be good and bad, as well as close calls. Max almost did not stay with us, in fact at one time I was determined to re-home max yet again due to my own ignorance. That is why you are reading this and I am writing this. To show that you need time and that training starts with you, the owner being trained and not just the dog being trained.

There will be funny tales, stories that make you laugh and even at times I will post about dogs in need, a rescue who needs to be adopted, a dog or cat that needs a forever home.. Please do not contact me about one of these animals unless you intend to give them a forever home and not freak out at the first issue that comes up.

Enjoy learning about my journey with Max.