Sunday afternoon, I drove to the animal control impound in Shakopee, Minnesota and brought Buster home with me. We’re fostering him through Carver-Scott Humane Society.
Buster is a cheerful young pit bull who was taken to the impound after being left behind by his owner, tied to a tree, when she moved away. He loves to run and chase with Luna, loves chewing on her toys and has staked out space on the sofa. He’s great with the cats, curiously sniffing them at first and now mostly ignoring them. I knew right away that he would be okay with them, because only a couple of the cats flew into the basement to get away. Isis, James and Juliet all let him approach. They could tell if he had an aggressive aura, right?
Cleopatra, “Kick-Ass Cleo”, repeatedly swatted him with both of her little black paws. Buster just stood there, placidly taking her blows without flinching or growling. It was then that I knew he would have a successful stay as a foster dog in our home.
Successful, even though Buster has had no training, even on the simplest of commands, like “sit”. He learned quickly. An offered treat, and another, cooperative, dog work wonders. Buster learned “down” by watching Luna do it twice. The first time, he didn’t know what to do, just sat nicely and got his treat anyway.*** The next time I tried it, he smoothly slid into his down after Luna did hers, got an abundance of excited praise, and of course, a treat.
Fortunately, he can be trusted to be free in the house when I am not here. It’s a really good thing, because I couldn’t lure him into the crate for treats nor money. He figured out how to open the sliding door between the sunroom and the kitchen, so that option is out. He would probably claw his way through the crappy hollow core doors that populate the bedrooms and bathrooms.
I’m meeting with a trainer tomorrow to talk about what I should be doing about some of this, and we’ll be setting up a time for a one-on-one session. I need all the help I can get.
Meanwhile, Buster and Luna are tugging on a toy together. I’m delighted that I’m not expected to tug with Luna, and she’s ecstatic that she has a tugging partner who can outlast her. Buster’s just happy to be out of the cold, dark, noisy impound and into a warm, bright, noisy home.
*** Professional Dog Trainers, and those who would like to be: I know I am probably doing everything wrong. I don’t claim to be a trainer of even poor proportions. We all just do the best we can.