I have been so excited to introduce you guys to our new family member here on the blog. I’m sorry it has taken so long to share this with you on the blog as we’ve nearly had her for a year! If you follow me on my personal IG, you might have already seen her there. 🙂
We wanted a unique name for her, and I kid you not, we wrote a lengthy list of names. It wasn’t until a day after we got her that we settled on Tsuki. Her name is Japanese and it stands for “moon”. As a lover of the night sky, I couldn’t help myself. She does of course have several nicknames that we have called her since:
- Pookie, Pookie Bear, Pookster, Tsuki-poo, Tsukini, Mutt, Muppet, Bunny, Wookie, Moon Moon
She does have more but I’m blanking at the moment.
** Note: photos are all throughout the last 11 months **
(from what we know)
So we adopted her back in August of last year, so it has been almost a year since she joined our family.
She was picked up off the streets in Fresno, CA, and was at a high-kill shelter. An Oregon-based non-profit shelter transported her back here, and we adopted her within days of her being posted online. They weren’t sure what her real age was, so they estimated her to be about 2 years old. Technically she will be turning 3 next month (we decided her gotcha day is also her birthday). She is a beagle/lab/hound mix, according to the shelters. We have yet to do a DNA test on her.
She’s really good and friendly with people, adults and kids alike, she really loves people, but is also very protective of strangers going near her face or neck, so we always tell people to be careful (she’s never bitten anyone). She is very energetic, super playful, equally lazy/couch potato, is somewhat dog-friendly (off-leash, more about that later), barely barks (more on this later too), and has been fairly easy to train. She’s very eager to learn so teaching her basic tricks and potty training was pretty much a breeze.
The Hard Stuff
Since we don’t have any actual background history on her, it has been hard to pin-point her reactions when faced with new situations/environments. We have to be careful so as to not push her over the edge, one of the downsides of adopting a dog with unknown history. Around our home and places she’s familiar with she does so good on the leash, but her leash-pulling is still really bad.
Leash-pulling is definitely one of the main concerns. She picks up on a trail fairly quickly and will want to follow it with disregard of me being on the other end of the leash. We have been practicing how to “heel” and I will allow her to have “sniff breaks” so she can explore and get to know her surroundings more.
As I mentioned above, she barely barks. She is usually only vocal when we play “fetch” with her; when she’s too eager for us to throw her ball or rope (her two favorite toys). I’m using this to my advantage to teach her “speak”, which is proving to be harder than I thought, but hopefully she will learn and bark on cue later on. She doesn’t bark for the hell of it which is nice, but after three or four months of our neighbor’s dogs barking at us, she started to bark back. I try distracting her by either walking away from the trigger or giving her treats when she gives me a “sit” or “looks at me”, but it doesn’t work 100% of the time, and she fixates on the other dog and her posture changes.
I did notice leash-reactivity immediately when I took her out on her first walks with me, a huge* concern for us. She literally would lunge towards other dogs, no matter the size, unfortunately, which has been really hard for us because it just has gotten worse overtime. When I brought this up to the shelter, they told us that can’t be right because she was friendly with dogs. I’m assuming they only had her off-leash with all the other dogs, or perhaps she was already too familiar with all the shelter dogs, and they didn’t test with a stranger dog to know for sure. Shelters can only do so much sometimes, so I don’t blame them.
From what I’ve read, it’s never a good idea for dogs to meet on-leash anyway, especially if they don’t meet dogs often, just because if they feel the slightest pull or tug on the leash, they react differently. For that reason alone, it has been hard for us to have her meet stranger dogs without her lashing out. It’s like she’s unsure when she’s on-leash, she’s not as confident, but off-leash she has done really well in controlled environments.
It did take a few visits for her to be friends with my brother’s dog Sophie, and unfortunately we don’t know many people with dogs, so meeting other dogs has been a struggle when the dogs in our apartment complex are not dog-friendly either.
I am hoping to find a trainer who can help us out with this, but I haven’t found one that 1) does positive-reinforcement training, 2) is affordable, and 3) doesn’t require us sending her away for several weeks. It’s interesting how Portland is very dog-friendly but finding actual dog trainers is a bit hard when your needs are different than what everybody is offering.
There is a dog park nearby as well but I am afraid that I won’t be able to handle her as well as I should and cause some sort of accident with someone else’s dog. That is literally one of my worst fears. So having someone who knows dogs well, would be super helpful.
Anyway, I’m lingering too much on the negative aspects, but aside from the leash-pulling and lunging at other dogs, she’s such a great dog. She has the potential to be an amazing dog who can learn all sorts of tricks, I’m just not a dog trainer and could really use one right about now.
I will be watching many dog training videos on youtube and trying certain things out on my own and will most likely document it here for you as we progress. I believe shelter dogs can be great additions to any family with the proper training, love and care. It does suck that I don’t know her previous history, but I’m positive we can turn this around not only for our sake, but hers too.
Anyway, I just wanted to share her here before I share our next trip with you, because we did bring her along and it was super fun! We love having her in our family, and despite the many challenges that we have ahead of us, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Thanks for reading all the way if you made it this far. 🙂 ❤
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