Spending Time With My Foster Grandparents

I got some great news from fostermama yesterday. She told me I get to spend a lot of quality time with my foster grandparents in the next few days! I looooove my foster grandparents. I think all of you know how this goes: mama makes the rules, grandparents break em – always working in my favor!

My foster grandma is so nice to me… she also happens to the be the treat lady (see above). She likes to play “Which hand?” and that is a game I really like. It gets me using my sniffer and I always get a treat. I also hang out with her on the couch a lot. Her and I like to relax together. Perhaps do some reading?

So I’m really excited to spend the next few days with her and foster grandpa all to myself! But I really wanna know… where is fostermama going??

For more information on adopting Honey Bunches of Otis, go to his Adopt Me page to learn more about him and how to get in touch.


The Kong Dilemma

Otis can be hard to figure out. Sometimes I think he was deprived of oxygen as a pup or something (just kidding) because he can be a little… slow, but other times he catches on and figures things out quickly. I just don’t get him.

When he finally stopped being finicky about his meals, I started introducing the Kong in hopes that fishing for the kibble would give Otis an outlet for some mental energy. Turns out, the kong-with-kibble combo is not one Otis will pick up on quickly. The poor dude is totally clueless when it comes to figuring out how to get the kibble out when it doesn’t just fall out.

That means once Honey Bunches is done with any kibble that happens to fall out during consumption, he abandons the project all together. I’ve tried showing him that moving it makes the food fall out, but no luck (duh). Any ideas on how to increase his desire to play these games? He isn’t really the best at nose puzzles, which I think is one road block here.

I’m hoping maybe some more desirable treats in there will motivate him to put effort into getting them out; aka the point of the activity. He only worked hard for the kibble when he watched it go out of his reach (pictured below). If I put kibble out of his sight when he is not around he is totally clueless to it’s presence when he returns. I want to give him puzzles and work his brain a little, but I can only do so much until it’s up to him… any ideas?!

For more information on adopting Honey Bunches of Otis, go to his Adopt Me page or email peacelovefoster@gmail.com.


Food Motivaton, Positive Training, and Progress

Food motivation: the thing that can make training with your dog a piece of cake and help you feel like the best dog-human team there is, or the thing that can make obedience class one of the most frustrating activities you and your dog will do together.

Baxter was food motivated. He would do almost anything for food. Baxter came to me with pretty much zero obedience training, and in a matter of weeks learned sit, down, paw, and… okay, well that’s about it – but still! It was easy enough because he loved food. I didn’t even have to use treats with him; he would bend over backwards for just kibble. It was great!

Otis showed up as a non-food motivated dog, or so it seemed. The first few days he wouldn’t eat his kibble even for meals, and would turn up his nose at whatever I put in front of him.  Working on basic obedience was frustrating and discouraging because Otis would pay zero attention to me or the treat in my hand. Turns out though that all he needed was to settle in a little, and boom went the appetite (duh! earth to fostermom!).

Look at me being a good little student and staring intently at the treat.

This is making a very positive change in his attention during training work. He will still have trouble focusing if I don’t have a treat, but as soon as I get something yummy in my hand, it’s all eyes and ears on me (gee, can’t imagine why). The treat still has to be pretty high value, like deli ham or cheese (which we break it into baby bites to make sure he doesn’t get an unhealthy amount during our sessions), but now his focus is worlds better than it was three weeks ago.

I’ve been using a clicker with him to help build a positive relationship, especially because he is so sensitive. Honey would not do well with someone saying “NO!” to him all the time. He works best when he is encouraged for doing well, and, like most dogs, he shuts off when he doesn’t know what you’re asking. I’ve used clicker training to help work on eye contact and focus, as well as basic stuff like sit and wait. I’m excited because he has been making quick progress with sit-stay-come; something Baxter never exactly mastered.

To make sure Otie doesn’t get confused or discouraged, we keep training sessions short, sweet, and frequent. I’ll grab some treats when we wake up in the morning and work for five minutes before breakfast. Then we’ll do some simple commands after the workday. Then we’ll have a refresher course after a walk – and so on. It ensures that our experiences stay positive, and Otis keeps enjoying to learn. It is our goal to set him up for success now during his time with us and for when he is in his forever home.

For more information on adopting Honey Bunches of Otis, go to his adopt me page or email peacelovefoster@gmail.com.