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Archive for July, 2008

I volunteered at the Animal Shelter this morning.

It’s so hot these days. So I think I can walk them a little bit in the early morning when it’s still cool.

I picked No. 11, Nevada the young female Pit Bull terrier and then No.12 a no name young female Black Labrador. They stayed outside for about 30 minutes, separately. Both are very pretty and smart, though I have to admit that they are a little bit harder to handle than Angel and Snow White because of their size.

This also benefits me as I’ve been thinking about fostering. But I don’t have any first hand experience with large dogs. I’ve also wanted to improve my training skills, and learn how to communicate with strange dogs. Most importantly, I hope I could help them find permanent homes by making them more adoptable.

I felt very bad at the shelter. It’s really sad to see all those dogs staying in a small dog run, day and night, without petting and communication. They all got excited the moment someone comes in. And once a dog is picked and being taken out, they only get more excited and some are definitely not OK with other dogs walking nearby! They would try to charge!

The stray dogs section is even worse. There is a mini poodle who behaves really friendly and it tried to sniffed my hand. But the dogs next to it just kept barking and growling, and it got so confused! The little dog must be stressed out!

When I came back home, Angel kept sniffing me for a long time… she must have sensed the shelter dogs. And she behaved so well after realizing this.

I really hope those dogs will have a happy ending…

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I haven’t been shooting the girls for a while. And now Angel is definitely afraid of the black thing again~~
Snow White is not totally comfortable either.

Her tolerance has a limit. Before she reaches there, it’s just OK.

Snow White grooming herself

Snow White grooming herself

There must be something in the air!

Snow White looking up

Snow White looking up

Soon she tries her best to be at ease…
Snow White trying to stay calm while Angel already ran away

Snow White trying to stay calm

Now looking around, a little impatiently.

Snow White looking around

Snow White looking around

Later she just left. 🙂

Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS Telephoto. I lost focus a lot of times. 😦

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The girls went to a small dog park this morning. I brought the camera, but there I realized that I had something more important to do rather than shooting — closely supervising Angel. So no pictures this time:(

Snow White is definitely better than yesterday, her first time, while Angel growled back puppies who want to play, or who just want to sniff her. So I made her sit or lie down there, locked her in her position with my hand.

I don’t know if they really enjoy going there, as at last they just stayed around me (there were a lot of dogs and if they wandered around a little bit further away).

Today there was a wire haired terrier mix called “Twiggy” from early on. It’s also the first dog that Angel got interested in and Angel sniffed her very carefully. Twiggy stayed very still for Angel, and I think this helped Angel a lot.

Unfortunately, Twiggy got out of the park and ran off to the road! Now I feel very bad as at that time I was the closest to her and I saw her get out! I wish I wasn’t supervising Angel then. I should have let go of Angel and just ran over, and probably I would catch Twiggy!

I feel really bad. Twiggy’s father didn’t come back later (at least when we were still there) and I had no idea if she was safe! A lot prayers… she is such a nice girl! We hope to see her again in the park!

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We sold our Canon 400D earlier, and were left with a 350D body only.

Finally the battery grip arrived, and the girls reluctantly began modeling again…

Angel just woke up

Angel just woke up

It’s really hot during the afternoon, and everybody feels sleepy…

Angel still feels sleepy after sleeping everywhere

Angel still feels sleepy after sleeping everywhere

Angel moved to a corner and lay down…

Snow White's favorite spot - by the bowl

Snow White's favorite spot - by the bowl

Snowy always protects her food and water, even during sleep.

Snowy stretching and yawning

Snowy stretching and yawning

It looks as if she is smiling. Actually Snowy is just yawning and comfortably stretching out:)

Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS.

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(7/22/2008 update)

I think I am making this post really long… I must have a passion for recording things…

Below is this post…

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Yesterday evening, no dogs. Good manner and relaxed.

This morning, a tuxedo dog and two Bichons soon.

The tuxedo dog looked very excited and was taken off the sidewalk by the owner right away. Angel began to get excited. So I stopped there and tried to get her attention. Luckily that tuxedo dog was taking a turn and going home. We waited until that dog was off the road we were on. Angel partially pay attention to me when we passed them as she did looked to their direction with her ear firmly pointed.

Soon I saw the two Bichons walking towards us. I decided to take my girls to the other side of the road and wait for them to pass. Angel tried to pull over to that direction once but overall she followed me OK. Then she kept trying to get as close as possible to them and I blocked her using my legs. After a while, she retreated a little bit and almost stopped trying. Then the owner of the Bichons talked to me across the road. All the time Angel kept looking at those little ones though no pulling.

…to be continued…

(7/20/2008 evening update)

A yellow medium size dog, probably the Papillon we’ve met, and probably Daffy our neighbor.

A yellow medium size dog got on to the other side of Spring Valley Rd moments after we did. Angel saw that dog and become a little excited. But she still turn back to me when called and didn’t pull the leash too much. After a few second she calmed down a little and almost ignore that dog four lanes away.

Then I heard a dog barking a high pitch and her/his panic little steps behind us. Angel and Snowy didn’t pay attention at all… I turned back after we walked ahead a little more, and saw it seemed like that Papillon we’ve met yesterday morning.

Daffy (I think so though I couldn’t see clearly and didn’t have a chance to talk to them…I didn’t want to excite Angel more) came to us when Angel and Snowy was busy smelling something. So they didn’t notice Daffy at all. But Daffy was on the same sidewalk as us. So I took my girls to the other side of the drive. Angel tried stepping forward and was blocked. After a few trials, she turned to me when called. She even sat down so I let her look over to Daffy while sitting down. She was pretty good as Daffy also smelt that place for a long time and all the time Angel just sat there looking and looked at me from time to time.

(7/21/2008 morning update)

We met a really tiny mini schnauzer pup across Spring Valley Rd this morning. They came out from the neighborhood to the south of the road, while we were at the northwestern corner of the crossing, about to turn left. Angel showed interest as usual. I call her and she turned back. After two treats, she sat down. So I let her look over to that dog and called her from time to time with longer interval. They then began to cross the road and headed west, seemingly “approaching” us. I think it’s a good chance to train Angel, so we just stayed there. During the whole process, Angel just sat there looking. When they were a little bit further away, she just turned back and “smiled” at me. Well done!

Because of the improvements shown above, I shortened our walk this morning, back to old routine.

It also turns out that the treats they consumed during the past two days are much less than before. I still keep treating Angel whenever she looks at me, but she now only needs as half as before to be relaxed in our walk.

(7/22/2008 morning update)

I slept so soundly yesterday that the girls didn’t get to walk in the evening.

We met that mini schnauzer three times today! Actually, the last time we were almost walking by side (though on different side of the road)!

Angel showed interest. And the second time we met, they got really close, maybe only 6 – 8 feet. Both sides were pulling the leashes to the most and staring at each other. And we walked to opposite directions.

What I couldn’t imagine is that soon the old man took that schnauzer back! I wonder if he is also training his dog… Angel cut my route again and again to look at the other dog and I block her with my legs.

Then we headed back home so we had to get to the same sidewalk as them, and walked behind them. Angel was pulling, but still looked at me, maybe one out of three times being called.

I would say, that mini schnauzer walked a really long distance this morning!

(7/22/2008 evening update)

I don’t want to make this post any longer… especially given that we met a lot of dogs this evening:)

A yellow dog, a black and white dog in that backyard, a white Labrador, and a small black and brown dog that looks like a mini Pinscher.

Angel did pretty well with all of them!!!

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I said I was sure about how large is Angel’s comfort zone the evening before yesterday.

Then right after that, Angel was back to the old her.

Yesterday evening, she got very excited the moment she got out. Barked at Dominick our neighbor.

Moments later, we first encountered a black Labrador on the other sidewalk across the street. I did get Angel’s attention. But hat dog didn’t seem friendly and growled. Angel barked a high pitch immediately, then stopped by me.

Then we encountered a light colored standard poodle (my guess) on the same sidewalk. The owner must also have been training his dog, as both sides got onto the lawn by the sidewalk right away when we were about 30 feet apart. The poodle was made to sit at heel. We tried to pass them on the sidewalk while the poodle was sitting. As we got nearer, Angel tried to pull over to that dog and growled a little bit and then looked back and dragged.

I will definitely talk to that owner next time we meet. Maybe we can set a socialization training together.

This morning, Angel seemed a little bit more relaxed (than yesterday evening) at the beginning. Soon we encountered two Cocker Spaniels (my guess) across Spring Valley Rd. Angel got really tensed when they crossed the street. She barked and growled.

Later on our way back we met them again. Again Angel growled and barked.

And the black Labrador. She barked once. She was stopped. But right after that she even barked at an old man walking by. She was still too excited from meeting that Labrador.

Thinking that tiring them out may help, I took them for an extra long walk then. They seemed really tired and walked very slowly.

So we took a rest by the sidewalk. Angel even wouldn’t sit down and relax, while Snowy comfortably lay down on the lawn. When Angel heard a Papillon, she turned to that direction right away, wanting to run over. I held her head and rubbed behind her ear. It seemed to make her feel more comfortable. We saw that Papillon again at a distance of 30 feet on their way back and I led my girls away. This time Angel willingly followed.

As a conclusion, Angel doesn’t like any of the five dogs we’ve met during the past 12 hours at all.

Is this the darkness before the dawn?

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A whole week passed.

They together consumed a 5lbs bag of Bil·Jac in the past 5 days. Considering that their gross weights (including fur) are only 20.3lbs and 15.8lbs, they are eating 1/40 to 1/3 of their gross every day! And they’re eating exactly the same thing everyday! I cannot even imagine myself having Fuddrucker’s 1/3lb burgers for more than once; plus my gross weight is 106lbs!

Don’t worry, all these food were given only as rewards. So you see how much they are trained these days… now they walk twice a day, about 40 minutes each time. And the two of them walk together, on my right side.

They really enjoy the walks They are always happy to see me picking the leashes. Once they walk, they seem to be able to walk FOREVER…

Snowy is a good walker. She is focused, and follows me very well.

Angel always wants to be one step ahead. But this evening, her gait seemed more relaxed and she was no longer in a rush! Most of the time when she passed me, she turned around by herself!

It’s like I have been calling her repeatedly during our walk every day and she just turns back passively (or totally ignores me), then suddenly, after that one point, she got everything. Just like how Snowy got “sit”.

Also, Angel suddenly began to wait at the door when we are going out/coming in. I doubt if she noticed this change herself! No more “No-no” at the door but standing/sitting at the door and looking at me. One moment before, there were always reminders; then she just did it herself! As if she’s been like that all the time!

I don’t know if it’s because our exercise amount nowadays fits them better (so that Angel is better) or she actually got it. I need to observe her for longer time to make sure. Whatever it is, I am still very excited when thinking of it.

Those bags of Bil·Jac are definitely worth it.

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Another thing is, I now am sure that Angel’s comfort zone when strange dogs are around, is a radius of 4 lanes’ width. That’s about 50ft. At this distance, she sees the dog and gets alert and nervous, yet still turns to me when called, and focuses on me for treats.

This is the progress on my side. I have to start from this distance. Hopefully she will learn to be happy and relaxed around strange dogs.

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