Faith, Trust, & Foster Pups

Helping dogs on the road to forever, forever finding ourselves as we walk that road with them.

Seth Goes to Shirlington & Learns a New Trick

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Monday was a hot, hot, humid Memorial Day. Seeing as Seth had been very tolerant and good about heading 50 miles north to Gaithersburg on Sunday to go to a hot, hot, humid adoption event, and then being sent home with a 5 month old terrier puppy so he could spend the rest of the holiday weekend with us before going to doggie daycare for full time fostering, he (and foster brother Ollie) were owed a nice holiday out and an opportunity to cool off.

Crazy Harry the cute: available for adoption/seeking full time foster.
As you might have guessed, a 5 month old terrier puppy made for an active evening, and while Seth was a very good sport, he was sort of giving me a look to say, “We’re not keeping the puppy, right?” Ollie even got tired after awhile, though he had a good run of chasing and wrestling. 
While Ollie and Harry were doing this…

…Seth was doing this.

So after our slumber party, we dropped Harry off at Wagtime and headed over to Shirlington Dog Park for some off leash play time and swimming. This was our first time taking Seth down to Four Mile Run, and I was interested to see how he would like the water. The first time we brought Ollie he took a lot of coaxing to dip his feet in, but not Seth. Rolled right in and took to the water like a champ, happily swimming and exploring. Check out the boys!


After our swim, we came back up onto dry land and ran into a man in his little dog, who started playing chase with Ollie. I was intrigued by the fact that this tiny little dog seemed to have a ridge down her back like a Rhodesian Ridgeback, and asked how old his dog was (thinking perhaps it might be a puppy). He told me the dog was about a year, and that she was a Dachsund/Miniature Pinscher Mix. I asked what her name was and he said “Mia”. I prodded once more and asked if he had adopted her from Lucky Dog Animal Rescue (after which I think he thought I was a total creepster). But he said yes.

Turns out “Mia” was nee “Sweetie”, who I was the adoption coordinator for, so I introduced myself as the lady who he had talked to on the phone during screening. Sweetie has a pretty interesting story as to how she ended up a Lucky Dog after wandering into her foster’s yard. She also had some unique adventures once she became a Lucky Dog, thanks to her spiritied, curious, and sometimes a little mischievous nature. More on Mia, nee Sweetie can be viewed at Lucky Dog’s special blog HERE and HERE.

Mia has been adopted just a little less than 2 weeks, and is settling in beautifully at home. You can already see how quickly she has bonded with her new dad, and how happy she is to be in a forever home where she is so loved. And to see how happy her new dad is was also heartwarming. My camera was too slow to get her actually looking, but even her side profile is incredibly happy. 🙂

After time spent in the water and at the park, we went to the Dog Friendly Shirlington Village for some outdoor dining at lunch. Shirlington is great in being super accommodating to dogs. Their outdoor seating welcomes the furry patrons, and water dishes are abundant throughout. And any opportunity to expose Seth to people without him feeling totally overwhelmed is generally one worth taking. He did really great, and mostly casually sniffed at some passers by while we ate. If he did get a little overwhelmed he was able to hide under my chair, but he really didn’t feel the need except for once.

He also put on his best “I would like some fish tacos and sweet potato fries” face. I would be lying if I said he didn’t get a few sweet potato fries out of the effort.

All in all it was a great way to spend the holiday weekend, and the boys were pretty well exercised as a result and couldn’t keep their eyes open on the ride home:

So the people of the household were actually able to crate the buddies for a nap in the cozy A/C, and head on down to the neighborhood swimming pool to cool ourselves off. 🙂

Another new development this week: Seth learned a new trick!

While this new revelation is pretty impressive, and continually comical for us to watch him keep doing this simply because he sees the little bed as a good sleeping option, this is NOT the new trick. This morning, Seth finally learned how to “sit”. Being that he is such a treat motivated dude, I couldn’t understand why we were having such trouble with this seemingly basic command. But generally it would involve him looking at the treat, walking away, coming back to the treat, giving me a frustrated look, walking away, me giving up and then giving the treat when he came back the 5th or 6th time, so as not to make him think I was nothing but a mean treat hoarder. All the while continuing to tell him “sit” as if he were to just know what the heck I was saying.

Enter Victoria Stilwell, one of my personal heroes, host of It’s Me or the Dog, and possibly the most well known ambassador for the Positive Reinforcement based training, or the Positively Method, which rewards dogs for carrying out a desired behavior and encourages problem solving, instead of using punishment or force to suppress a behavior. When Lucky Dog is adopting out our dogs, this is the method that we steer our adopters towards, and with so many people out there calling themselves “trainers” or using old school, out dated methods that promote “dominance” or “alpha status” over their dogs, I am a huge personal fan of what Victoria and our own Lucky Dog positive training partners do. Putting your dog in the hands of the wrong trainer can be so, so harmful to your dog, and can hinder or damage the development of a trusting relationship between doggie parents and their pups. Our new milestone with Seth as of this morning is testament to how awesome the Positively Method is. 

 In a new web video series hosted by Victoria and eHow Pets, Victoria teaches a puppy to sit in the video you see below. I decided to take the problem solving principles taken with puppy and see if we could apply the same methods to “teach an old dog a new trick”, so to speak.


It took some patience between last night and this morning, but Seth had a breakthrough this morning and sat, multiple times (both to ensure it wasn’t a fluke and as part of the training session below). I’m so excited for him, and so excited as we continue our relationship building while he continues seeking out his furever family.  

Come out to meet Seth, guest foster Harry, and the other adoptable Lucky Dogs this Sunday, June 2 from
12-2 pm at Falls Church Petsmart, 6100 Arlington Boulevard  Falls Church, VA 22044!

Happy Tails ’til next time!
Lynn & Seth


Author: faithtrustnpups

Faith, Trust, & Foster Pups is a combination blog for animal welfare, humane education/positive training, recognizing the beautiful bond that exists between pets and their people, and other fun stuff. I share information about adoptable pets in the DC metro area, promote animal rescue and resources to support adopters and fosters, and share stories and lessons related to the dogs I care for. Much of my writing is for especially my "foster failure" with some specific fear-based issues. In an effort to help understand often wonderful, sometimes challenging dogs like him better, I learn to understand myself. Together, we share our stories, and walk together, leash in hand, and in building faith and trust within one another and within ourselves.

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