Dog psychology and habituation

JamieMarch 9, 2014

I've got Pink, a shelter dog about whom I've posted previously. Before her surgery (she had over 15 staples) we would go on leash walks. During recovery we only went to the end of the driveway to poop and pee. In the couple of days since the staples have been removed, we have been working up to longer walks again. She seems to enjoy the smells and sounds, and the exercise, and she's good on the leash. She is curious about other dogs and cats, not aggressive, and sleeps kind of a lot. She's 10-12 years old, has only 4 teeth left, and weighs 8 or 9 pounds.

So far, Pink doesn't play. She hasn't responded to squeaky toys, chewy ones, or balls. She's not terribly food oriented, but I'm giving her Wellness brand food, which is healthy and not particularly tasty I would think.

She gets cold easily and we snuggle in a blanket after a walk.

Here's my question: I may have wrongfully assumed, or projected, that Pink would like to go outside and be a real dog and get dirty. She does like it, but her favorite things are to be held and to ride in the car. The only thing she really demands in life is holding.

As an outdoor dog, I don't want her on my furniture or in my bed. Were she totally indoors and pristine, I could let her do these things and be a complete lap dog. I could have her do her business on puppy pads in the clean attached garage. I'd have less work and laundry to do, because I'm always wiping her off and putting some kind of blanket between me and her when I hold her. If she were indoors all the time, she'd never get fleas and the ensuing skin irritation again.

Should I stop taking her out on the leash and just let her be indoors on lap? DH thinks she would really enjoy the yard come summer, and I don't disagree, but I don't think she'll ever like anything as much as being on a lap. Should I indulge her in what she knows she craves, or continue to enable her to explore and adventure?

I would like to have less laundry, etc., but I never imagined that would be possible because I never thought I'd seek out a purse accessory type dog. Pink could be that happily.

She's not yappy, and I absolutely don't want her to get that way. She can handle not being in lap every minute -- I have a blanket or bed for her in every room -- and I wouldn't want her to get more demanding of being in my lap. She's held enough already, and if not going outside would make her more needy then I definitely won't keep her in.

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In human years she is 70 - 84 years old and a small 8 pound dog is never an "outdoor" dog.

"Indoor" and "outdoor" aren't mutually exclusive. Why do you see it this way?

This is going to look/sound rude ... but your comments are very naïve. Have you lived with dogs before?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 4:13PM
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I say indulge her and let her be inside and on your lap. She sounds like a sweetie. I wouldn't want to mess with puppy pads thought. I would continue to walk her to the end of the driveway and back to do her business, and that would get her outside for a few minutes. Bring her in and enjoy her.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 4:28PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

All dogs need walking and as long as she's up to it, leash walking for some distance is an excellent idea. Not only is it good exercise for you, but it is for her too and helps with not just muscle tone, but even things like digestion. Dogs are meant to cover ground. It is also important to dogs as it's a pack activity that is very natural to them. But given her age, after that, being indoors sounds fine, so long as she's happy.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 4:51PM
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You say she is a shelter dog. Is it possible that no one ever played with her? I have heard of this happening before. A pet being ignored for most of their lives, never learning to play. I would not give up on her!!!

I don't really understand why do you have so much laundry? While wiping her paws each time she comes in is a nice idea it would drive me nuts with my older dog.
When you have pets you have to except the fact that you will have dirt and fur on you and in your house.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 5:08PM
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I don't think going outside to do her "business" makes Pink, or any other dog for that matter, an outside dog. Personally, I wouldn't encourage any dog to potty in the house. Not even on a pad in a garage.

You could try taking her outside just long enough for her to accomplish her business. When she's through, bring her inside and snuggle away, If it bothers you that her feet have touched the ground, that's a different issue.

Totally agree with chipsa about indoor/outdoor not being mutually exclusive. Dogs are pets - domesticated companions, and IMO, shouldn't be forced to live outside. Pets should be afforded to be fed appropriately, and at the very least, sleep in a warm home each night,

That type of outside-only life would be one I would sadly associate with the "junkyard dog" mentality that some business owners believe increases their security (not), (and far too many first-time pet owners for that matter), decide is best when the reality of what having a dog as a companion involves, and becomes inconvenient, or cumbersome because they've had an accident in the house. Believe me, my guys have had accidents. I know they feel badly when they've had them.

Being a dog lover/owner is a commitment for the entire life of the dog.

Perhaps Pink isn't the roll around in the dirt type of dog. Different strokes for different breeds. I've had several large labs who've been much more of a handful in the making a mess department ~ decide to take a swim at 7 a.m.~ while I'm loading my car, my head turned for just long enough. However, we've always had labradors for pets and knew what we were in for when we chose that particular breed. You didn't mention Pink's breed. Her breed is unimportant for inside/outside living purposes, more for researching what her breed's known preferences are commonly expected to be when chosing a companion.

I'm not sure you're going to find any "pristine" pet. Even dogs that are taught to potty in a home on a pad aren't pristine. However, the thought of teaching a dog to go to the bathroom inside of one's home/garage, etc. seems more unsanitary, at least to me.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 5:19PM
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Are you considering a dog who takes a 20 minute stroll around the backyard an "outside dog"? If so, then I'm not sure what you expected when you brought a dog into your life.

Dogs should go for walks on the leash and be alowed to roam in a fenced yard. If you are worried about a flea infestation then have your yard sprayed or better yet use a flea preventative on your dog. As long as her breed has no sensitivities to the medicine you should be fine. How are her paws any dirtier than someone who walks on your driveway or lawn? We keep a towel in the mudroom for our dog but we use it multiple times before grabbing a new towel. On average we use two extra towels a week.

I don't really understand the issue. Walk the dog allow her to play in the yard use a good flea preventative and the. Allow her to sit in your lap or her beds. She may learn to play it her playing days may be behind her. Give her time and see what her personality is. Honestly if you can't handle a dog cuddling with you after coming in from a walk down the driveway maybe it's a good thing she isn't bringing you a drool covered toy that hasn't been washed in a couple if days? It seems that may not be to your liking either.

Perhaps next time you should get a cat?

This post was edited by NashvilleBuild42 on Sun, Mar 9, 14 at 17:39

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 5:34PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

What chispa said. She's cold, lonely and tiny. Many dogs that size rarely go outside, you need to learn about dogs. Fleas? Put her on frontline, and she should be on heartguard too.
If you are that germaphobic, you would be better off with an aquarium.
In some ways, if I didn't know better, I think your post fake, as it's so provocative.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 5:42PM
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Awww....some comments made here were not so nice! Just ignore them, Jamies. I'm glad your dog is getting such loving care.

The dog doesn't have to be totally in or out, but the exercise and stimulation of a daily walk is good for a dog as long as it isn't too far. And the pup might enjoy an hour or two in a safe yard, sunning or investigating the smells. Maybe you could be with her, gardening, reading or whatever there is to do outside. If she is cold when walking, get her a sweater.

I don't worry too much about my dog bringing in dirt or germs. He naps on my bed, on the sofa in the evening, and there is no problem. Fleas--there are wonderful medications available. I would not recommend spraying the yard, however. That's overkill. I do clean my dog's feet if muddy, of course.

I don't know how long you have had the dog, but if not too long, your relationship will continue to evolve and you will settle into a life which makes you both happy.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 5:48PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

A while ago, I lost a long post and then the kids stopped by, so now I will try again. I do need to say that I the more I have thought about and reread your post, the more I am concerned about your ability to be a good match for this pup.

I think you should listen to your DH. Also, remember that you have adopted an old dog. Even our young dog did not know how to play with toys and people, but he loves to play with his mom and other dogs. An old dog may simply be past that. It does not mean she is not a 'real' dog. It concerns me that you seem to think it is okay to just keep her as an "accessory" dog. Dogs are NOT accessories. You say she seems to enjoy being outside with the sights and smells, but then you say maybe she should just be an indoor dog? Really? Why did you adopt her? If you are that concerned about being near her when she has been outside (putting a blanket between you and her), then perhaps a dog is not for you. Dogs should have time outdoors as well as indoors. Just because she goes outside does not mean she will get fleas-our dogs spend lots of time in the yard and have never had fleas. Talk to your vet about natural or other flea preventatives.

As far as her food goes, there are many healthy dog foods. If she doesn't like the one you are giving her, then wouldn't it make sense to try another? That seems like plain common sense. With only four teeth, it can't be easy for her to eat, so I would be trying to give her something she could enjoy. Also, you can add a teaspoon of olive oil to her food-it may help her enjoy it.

You ask if you should "indulge her...or encourage her..." Again, I am confused. Why would you not do both? "She is held enough already". How do you know? Judging from her condition when you adopted her, she probably needs a lot of cuddling and reassurance. She also needs to be allowed outside. I hope you are willing to do that for her. I know this will sound harsh, but if you can't figure it out, maybe you should go with a stuffed animal. Dogs ask very little of us. They ask only to be loved and cared for and in return, they give us more-unconditional love and devotion. I hope you can live up to that.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 5:50PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I know my comments might seem harsh, but I will always stand up for the protection of an animal. 8 pounds is too small to be an outside animal. There are dogs that do enjoy the cold, huskies, however, they want human companionship and want to be with the family when they are at home.
I daily drive by too many confined "outside" dogs and it breaks my heart constantly.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 5:54PM
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She's got a towel under dishes, one for her feet when she comes in, and blankies and/or beds in every room. Well, every room I spend any amount of time in: she follows me wherever I go and needs cushioning under her when she lays down, and she gets cold easily, and I'd rather have her on washable blankies than directly on my rugs.

I guess I'll continue letting her go out and continue keeping her off the sofas and people beds. I figured if it was all the same to her I might make her into a strictly lap dog. But I believe it when you tell me that "a dog must cover ground". I don't want to make her less healthy. I am kind of proud of how nice and bulky her poops have gotten since living with me.

I can see how I might sound nuts to dog owners/dog lovers. But there are many people out there who would never have an animal in in the house. I am torn between these two "cultures".

She's a good dog.

Thank you so much for your opinions and for sharing your knowledge.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 5:58PM
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Jamies, that was a really gracious response. I think your dog is in very good hands and is lucky to have found you!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 6:19PM
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I'm not taking any of your criticism to heart because I have given this dog life saving surgery, taken care of her vaccinations, fed, sheltered and cuddled her. She has become very attached to me in a short time.

If it were up to her, she'd be in my lap every minute of the day, and in my bed at night. But I don't like to have the moisture and dirt of the ground in my bed, on my clothing, and on my furniture. I like to be able to put on a clean pair of pants and still have them be clean an hour later.

That is why I wondered about making her a indoor only lap dog. I know she wouldn't be clawing at the door to go for a long walk, because being held trumps everything, even eating, for this puppy. But I wasn't sure what the long term effects of a "lap only" lifestyle would be, whether it would make her anxious when I had to leave the house, for example, which she seems to handle ok for an hour or two.

I guess it's best to stick with what we're doing, which is an hour of two of walking (broken up over the day), and a four or five hours of lap time (broken up between 2 people).

It remains to be seen how sensitive she will be to flea meds and baths. So far she's only had one flea treatment and one bath.

This post was edited by jamies on Sun, Mar 9, 14 at 18:26

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 6:19PM
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As mentioned you need meds to prevent heartworm. We use one liquid med to prevent heartworm, fleas, and mites. She will not need flea treatments if she is on a med for it. Baths when necessary which for some dogs is not very often.

Remember the blankets she uses do not have to be constantly washed. We may wash our dogs bedding once a month unless needed sooner. No, it doesn't start to smell.

There seems to be some confusion about what an "outdoor" dog is. I would think an "outdoor" dog is one that lives 24/7 outside. Just going outside a few times a day does not make it an outdoor dog.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 6:46PM
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It's clear you have been putting a lot of love on Pink, and I think you just need to get to know her more and develop a routine. The one to two hours of walks sounds great. You've done so much for her well-being already, remember that regular exercise is also very important for her health.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 7:21PM
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Why don't you just get baby wipes and give her paws a quick wipe when she comes inside so she can sit on your lap and the furniture? I don't get it, she's a little pup and she should be able to sit on the couch and under the covers and snuggle to her heart's content. There's nothing better than having a sweet puppy cuddle up on your lap and I would not want to miss out on that because of a fear of moisture or dirt from outside. My pups go for 2 hour walks through the woods and after a quick baby wipe of the paws, sleep contentedly on the bed (often, right on our pillows above our head) and I've never had issues with dirt.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 7:50PM
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I've had dogs nearly all my long life so have some suggestions for you.

Our house dogs have always been allowed both inside and outside. They liked to be out in their dog run part of the time in good weather but we always kept them in at night. During summers you need to be careful not to leave dogs out in the sun too long as they can get sunburn. A small dog should never be out in inclement weather without a sweater or coat unless it has a very thick coat and then only to do it's business quickly.

IMO most dogs enjoy being outdoors in mild weather and sniffing around, perhaps even digging. When we first got our last dog she was only a year old and loved to dig. DH made a large dog run for her and it was easy enough to fill in the holes and replace grass divots. When we went camping in the RV she was so happy to dig holes in the dirt which were easy to fill in and she had a bath in the tub every night. As she aged she quit digging so with her it was just a puppy activity.

Always keep her on a leash for her own safety and your peace of mind unless she is in a securely fenced area.

If she is sensitive to flea meds you might try nutritional yeast on her food. It's supposed to help discourage fleas and is a good nutritional supplement anyhow. I also always give our pets acidophilus - just open a capsule and let them lick the powder out of a dish. They like the taste of it as it is milk powder. It's good for their digestive system and helps the immune system.

We've had several dogs from shelters and one never knows their history so expect it to take awhile before you really get to know Pink and she you. She sounds like a good dog so once you decide on a routine she will feel more secure. Not all dogs are gregarious. She may not have a playful nature or she may never have learned to play if her previous owners worked and she was alone a lot. Also shelter dogs can be depressed if they miss their previous owners or had several previous owners so it may take her awhile to feel secure and show her real personality. If you watch her behavior in various circumstances you may get an indication of what her likes, dislikes, and fears are.

I suggest you not hold her all the time unless that fits your lifestyle and it sounds as if it does not. You will be happier with her if she learns to be secure on her bed or in her crate and she will learn not to be too dependent.

I would not expect a 12 year old dog who only weighs 9 pounds to walk very far. Work up gradually to a few blocks.

Years ago we had 3 dogs at one time and they went for a walk every day. Also our house had white carpet so I was fanatical about cleaning their feet. I used a small bucket of warm water and dipped 12 feet and dried them after every walk. With a different dog who was small I popped her into the laundry sink and sprayed her feet with warm water. Takes very little time and keeps floors cleaner.

I highly recommend that every dog have a crate as dogs are den animals and feel secure in a crate. Our dog sleeps on a soft cushion in a crate every night (quite a large crate for her size) and a towel over the crate so it's dark. She loves her crate and will go in by herself when she is tired. If you use a crate you won't have her in your bed. I will never again sleep with dogs. I know a lot of people do this and I've done it too but I am now picky who shares my nice clean bed! LOL

I hope that after you have had Pink for awhile you will be able to relax about the cleanliness issues and let her be a dog as much as she wants or needs to be. I've found many dogs who are treated like lapdogs or 'babies' often develop personality problems and they are not as good pets as dogs who are allowed to be dogs at least part-time. Like children, dogs require boundaries to be secure.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 9:33PM
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Every dog is different. Some dogs love to spend a lot of time outdoors but some don't, but she will need to go outside to do her business and she will need walks. Maybe as she gets used to you, and as the weather gets warmer, she may go outside in the yard by herself for a few min or longer and be OK with it. I'm sure she is still getting used to her surroundings.

Maybe she never was a very active dog and didn't need to play. OTOH, she seems like she is not a dog that is going to pester you with a parade of toys all the time either.

Great that she loves car rides!

Wipe her paws and try to go forward. Our house had pet owners, which is why there is hardwood and tile everywhere. Cats can have issues too. I spent the whole morning on "dingleberry" duty with our longer-haired cat.

Don't know if the rescue group you got her from can be of any resource to you.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 9:51PM
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Luckygal, question about the crate...

We have her in a little cushioned bed inside a large crate next to our bed. ( I actually have a heating pad under the little bed because I drop the thermostat so low at night) The shelter said to put her where she could see me. She cried and barked and moaned the first couple of nights, but now she loves it. If I go into the bedroom to get something, she goes into her crate and into her little bed.

We leave the crate door open. She usually stays in all night, sometimes getting up once during the night for a little walkabout. She wakes up stiff, so getting up once is probably not a bad thing for her joints.

My plan was to collapse one side of the crate every couple of weeks until eventually she's in the little bed but without the crate. I wanted to do this because the crate is so large and unattractive. I also thought I might need the crate for say, the kitchen, when we go out. So far I just leave her in the kitchen where her water is. The kitchen can be closed off from the rest of the house.

What do you think about the plan to eliminate the crate from the bedroom? Should I be crating her in the kitchen when we leave? If so, does the second crate have to be as big as the first one, which is way oversized?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 11:16PM
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Crates should NOT be oversized. The dog should have enough room to stand and turnaround. If crates are too large they encourage piddling in the crate, pacing in cate or worse. Smaller properly sized crates are a sanctuary for a dog and once trained, any dogs will choose to go rest or sleep in their crates without encouragement.

This post was edited by NashvilleBuild42 on Mon, Mar 10, 14 at 8:32

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 12:07AM
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You can eliminate the crate from the bedroom if you like. We crate train our dogs, but when they are well-trained and past the chewing stage, we put the crate away unless we're traveling.

Some people crate their dogs when they're away, some people don't. You don't have to crate your dog in the kitchen when you leave as long as you know she's safe and there's nothing out that would harm her, and as long as you know she won't destroy anything or pee or poop on the floor. Our dogs have the run of the house when we're gone, they're not crated. They didn't have the run of the house as puppies, but they do now.

Our crates are big enough for the dog to stand up and turn around in them, but not huge.

Your dog probably needs a walk every day and to go outside to eliminate, but she may not enjoy just being out in the yard by herself. Many dogs don't enjoy being in the yard by themselves, and if she's a small, older dog she may not need to be outside except for walks and to potty. Don't be surprised if she doesn't enjoy the yard in the summer unless you're out there, too.

She won't have a flea problem if you keep her on flea preventive.

If you don't want her on the furniture or your bed, that's your call. You can train her to stay off the furniture or off your bed, and to just lay quietly. You can train her to only come sit on your lap when you invite her, although that will be harder, but it can be done. You could also train her to never sit on your lap unless you're sitting on the floor. If you have problems with it, you can get a dog trainer to help you. You can train your dog so that you can cuddle with her, tell her "that's enough", and she'll know the cuddling session is over and she won't pester you for more.

I had a big male Australian cattle dog that loved to sit on my lap just like he did when he was a little puppy. I didn't want him on the furniture, but he could sit on my lap whenever I sat down in the floor. He loved it when I sat on the floor and he could sit on my lap like a big baby.

Your dog is fine if she doesn't play with toys. My daughter's little Papillon doesn't play with toys. He's very smart, very alert and a great dog, but he doesn't like toys, even though he played with them as a pup.

I wouldn't do puppy pads, though, if it were me. I know people who do it, but I think in the long run you'll be much happier if you just take her outside to do her business. Have fun with your dog. She sounds like she has the potential to be a great fit for your household to me.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 12:09AM
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[duplicate post deleted]

This post was edited by jamies on Mon, Mar 10, 14 at 7:48

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 7:36AM
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Elraes Miller

A 12 year old dog wants to sleep and enjoy the world go by. At this age, playing is very little unless she had a great deal prior to your adoption. She may also have been and indoor dog. These little guys are meant to be cuddled and lap bound.

I suggest a small enclosed area outside if you feel the need for outside time. Although most little ones really don't need a lot of time outdoors. Your walk is probably enough exercise for age and size.

Perhaps an enclosed area that is outdoor shaded and carpeted so you can keep the dirt at bay and wash/sun dry when needed. You didn't say where she got enough dirt from to require a clean up.

My dog is 4 and gets into all kinds of activities outside, but crossing over the patio to come indoors, she arrives just fine to live inside. Unless snow/rain, then a big towel drying. Many dogs of all sizes in my life and always at my feet indoors. Their hearts are one with me.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 8:53AM
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Hi Jaimes -

I have just a few suggestions. We have a small (10 lbs or so) dog ourselves. She is an indoor dog who goes outside to do her business. She is also allowed on the furniture - although that is mostly our bed, which is where she sleeps. Honestly, unless it is wet outside or she happens to find something that might be fun to roll in, she does not come in "dirty". If it's wet, etc., she gets her paws dried off (which is a good idea if they have furry paws anyway because wet paws can lead to yeast). She has a little blanket that she likes to lay on on our bed. It's funny, she must know that is "her" blanket and she likes to get on it. Of course she gets on our blanket too, but that is fine to us. She is bathed at least once a month and usually twice. She needs to be groomed and we have that done every 4 weeks and I usually bathe her once in between. Brushing helps keep them clean also and I bet your dog would love being brushed.

We have never used a crate. I think you could get rid of your crate just fine. For several years we used a baby gate on one room when we were gone. All of the sudden, one morning I was going to work and Abby would not go in the room! I finally had to leave the house and leave her out. It's been that way ever since. I would love to leave her in our sunroom when we are out so that she could watch the birds, squirrels, bunnies, etc. but no way. She still goes to our room where she lounges on the bed all day (LOL) or into our bathroom, where she sleeps on one of the rugs.

Also, I wanted to suggest Trifexis for fleas and heartworms. I believe it protects against other worms too. Our little dog is very sensitive to some of the topical flea prevention (and besides with this you get two in one!). We cannot use tick prevention on her because she is really sensitive to that. I just have to check her for ticks.

I think you are doing just fine in keeping her in, walking her, etc. I would continue with that and not worry so much over what she is getting dirty. It will really be less than you think. Plus a dog brings so much joy into your life, the dirt won't even matter.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 9:51AM
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Jamies, our dog is 12 pounds and has a small travel crate (for travel only) and a crate that is larger that we originally had for a previous dog who was 20 pounds. It's large enough for a regular size bed pillow to fit so she can easily turn around and even stretch out a bit. We originally had it in our bedroom when we first got her as she had severe separation anxiety and had to see me at all times or she would literally scream. I had never heard such sounds from a dog before. Later once her separation anxiety ended we moved it to the kitchen as it was easier for us and she was fine with that. She only sleeps in it at night tho and only occasionally uses it in the daytime. We never lock her in there in the daytime even when we go out as have a baby gate to confine her to the kitchen where she can watch the birds and squirrels.

IMO crates work really well for dogs (especially small dogs) as they realize quickly it's their safe place. Our dog is very afraid of thunder and goes to her crate voluntarily then. She also has a fear of some men and starts fear barking sometimes when workmen come into the house. I put her in her crate and she quiets. Must be due to a previous bad experience as she's fine with some guys but with others she goes ballistic.

Sometimes one just has to experiment to find what works with pets. I'd just move the crate to the kitchen one morning and leave her bed in the bedroom. See what she does. If she doesn't settle that night with only her bed you can bring the crate to the bedroom but chances are she'll be fine.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 11:08AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I know some people don't like crates and I used to be one of them, I have two small 14 yr. old dogs, radically different in personality. The neurotic one has slept in the bottom of the bathroom closet for years. It is essentially a "crate" without a closeable door ( I wouldn't do that because of lack of air)

Anyway, when she was little she would seek out any small space when it rained and eventually I put a bed and blankets in the closet and she has been there for at least 12 years.
So fast forward to now, and she has dementia and is as feisty as ever and crazy neurotic now. (think Sheldon) Obsessive about a whole bunch of's not pooping and peeing in the house at all, or chewing things up, mainly licking the floor constantly among other behaviors.
I wish I had crate trained her and had a real crate so I could keep her confined at times but be able to move her around to be with us.
As it is, I frequently leash her to the sofa leg w/a dog bed nearby so she can be with us in the evenings but confined to one area.
At night, she is in the closet but frequently gets up (to do things I don't want her to do) and I can't keep her locked in there.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 1:09PM
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Yes, never complain about having a quiet mellow dog ... karma will get back at you and the next dog will be neurotic! Mellow is so much better than neurotic. My sister picked her dog as a puppy because it was the cute one jumping around her littermates. Well, that dog never calmed down and now at 14 years old is still neurotic and because she is loosing some of her senses will snap and bite when startled, even bite her owners. Luckily she isn't a large dog.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 3:08PM
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It's wonderful that you adopted a shelter dog, and a mature one at that. Sounds like you've done a lot to try and meet her needs. But please heed the posters who remind you that at 12 years, she is old. Her feisty, playful days may be over and she may only crave your companionship and a warm place to nap now.

I'm a former dog owner who adopted an older rescue cat. You can throw cat toys by her all day long and she just looks at them. She'd much rather sit in the window and watch the birds outside. However, she's a wonderful companion, as I'm sure your Pink is.

BTW, if you're concerned about dirt in your bed, you may want to arrange a smaller, special blanket on it that she can lay on. I do this with my cat so that her fur doesn't wind up all over the bed. It's easy to throw in the wash and she loves it.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 9:04PM
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I have a feeling you've never experienced the unconditional love of a dog. If so, you'd be bending over backwards to grant Pinks every wish. I'm a softie where dogs are concerned, so maybe that's just me.

Since she's so tiny & old...and at the end of her life, I beg of you to let her sleep and cuddle with you all at night. Let her experience the love of a human for once in her life.

Let her on the furniture. She'll eventually choose her favorite seat, and put a little blanket on that spot.

I keep a sheet on my sofa fulltime unless company is coming.

If she is treated for fleas there is no worry.

Once dogs get to a certain age, they're not really into toys like they used to be.

Food, there is a lot of good and tasty dog food out there, and you can also cook her some chicken or beef...or give her leftover meat.

Crating her while your gone isn't a bad idea, but once she has free rein of the house she may not need to be crated.

Right now she needs to be treated like a queen. The reward to you will be phenomenal.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 7:28AM
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Oakley, your post just brought tears to my eyes.

I'm not piling on and I'm not trying to be mean (honest!) - but if someone can't deal with a little dirt, they really shouldn't get a dog.

Bless you for adopting this little girl. She is in the last few years of her life. Anything you can do to make her feel loved and safe would be great.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 12:38PM
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I agree, patrice. Very nice post Oakley. I think you are exactly right.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 1:08PM
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Jamies - I just wanted to say thank you and good luck with Pink. This and your other thread have really been a good read for me (and possibly others)

As much as my family wants a dog (and I like them too), I just think there is no way I will be comfortable with it. I dont' know what happened, I had dogs growing up! Maybe I am just old. :) I think I will stick with cats. Cats can be gross too, but for some reason the outside Ick brought in by pets that go outdoors seems to be something I just really do not want to deal with in my house. I have to keep reminding myself of this....

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 1:24PM
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Yeah, Oakley, you made me a bit weepy.

Pink has no idea that you provided life saving surgery for her. Didn't know she needed it and doesn't know she got it.

She does know when she's held, petted and talked sweetly to. Some studies suggest that dogs know how we feel even before we know ourselves. They are keenly aware of the slightest nuance in body language and if you are uptight or have anxiety about her dirty little body touching your nice things - she will know something is wrong and will feel stress because of it.

Yes, you have done much for this little girl and you can feel good about that but you could also loosen up a bit and fully enjoy one of the greatest gifts humans have every received.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 1:35PM
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Oakley, I do wonder about her former owner or owners. She definitely knows what getting into a human bed is, and she attaches and trusts easily and strongly, and she walks nicely on a leash, and has not demonstrated any fear or aggression (yet). They must have been people who were good with dog "psychology" but not with the establishment of Veterinary care, licenses, etc. Her health problems must have just been too much for them. Maybe they got old themselves.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 1:44PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I so agree Oakly.

As far as outside dirt coming in, it really isn't that big of a deal.
One dog, particularly when he was younger, would periodically drag home dead rabbits and bury them in the mulch. I would find a rabbit leg sticking up in the front bed, go get a shovel and bag to remove it, and voila! It was moved again. He would move them over and over but never ate them.

So he got more baths then......never had a skunk encounter but the worst smell ever was when some a** dumped a deer carcass in the woods and he drug home a leg, the hide, another leg... and the smell was atrocious. He had to have immediate baths, I had to strip and wash all my clothes and me after bathing him.

So, I probably do live in a house of filth compared to some. But I won't have a cat. Those are gross!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 1:55PM
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Boopa, I think you are just too busy and you have enough creatures to take care of right now.

Some day you'll get the dog that the boys want.

You're not as old as me, but when I was growing up the world seemed to regard dogs as wonderful, yes, but somehow less precious and holy than they are seen today.

Good to see you!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 1:56PM
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Can you all tell I'm still missing my Gracie girl? :( She was a Pointer with huge paws that tracked mud all over the wood floors no matter how much I tried washing them off. I miss her muddy prints, but at least we have Boone dog. lol.

Boone is DH's shadow. Grace was mine.

Jamies, I wanted to address something. I call our pets "indoor/outdoor" pets. They go out whenever they want, and come in whenever they want. There's a tee shirt that says, "In and out, in and out, in and out." That's what mine do!

But they have to sleep indoors at night They take all their naps indoors too. IOW they only go out when they want to goof off, just like little kids.

You should see my tile and wood floors after a rain/snow. I finally broke down and bought a floor steamer! No matter how much I b.i.t.c.h. about messy paws, I wouldn't trade them for anything.

And when I'm in a funk, a dog is there to listen. No human can replace that kind of love.

If you're not bored by now, here's a little story that put me in my place.

When we moved into our newly built home years ago, I made the dog and cat stay outside. They had shelter. There was NO way they'd get my new carpet dirty! In hindsight, I don't remember them getting my old carpet dirty. lol.

One day I was drinking a Lg. Chocolate Malt in the LR. It suddenly fell from my hand. Splat! A full cup all over the carpet.

I was the one who made the mess. Not my pets, not my kids.

I let the pets inside after that. :)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 2:46PM
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Jamies, I don't think precious or holy are the right words - at least speaking for me.

It is more like accepting the responsibility that comes with owning a creature who is wholly dependent upon you.

I don't see how anyone in their right mind could think an 8 pound, 10 year old dog is supposed to live outside. Again, I'm not trying to be provocative, I swear! :) I still don't think it is ever right to tie up a 50 pound Husky outside either....but it is a different ball of wax entirely when we're talking about an elderly toy-sized dog. This isn't a dog who was bred to work outside - this is a dog who was literally bred to be a human companion.

I've had labs, and so have a passing acquaintance with how much dirt an 80# "outside" dog can bring in. And don't even get me started on the fur tumbleweeds which used to waft through the house. (Did I mention I'm an OCD neat freak?)

I now have a 16 pound dog. I dry her feet if it is wet or muddy out. It takes me like 15 seconds. Sometimes if I don't do a good job, she leaves doggy footprints on the wood floors.

And you know what happens? Life seems to go on. Ha-ha.

All I'm saying is, you chose to adopt an almost helpless, elderly creature - for whom you have total control. You can make her last days good, or not. It's totally up to you. And I'm really just hoping you choose to make them good, and not freak out over a little dirt. It's just not worth it.

This post was edited by patriceny on Tue, Mar 11, 14 at 16:15

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 2:59PM
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I know I shouldn't speak for Jaimies, but I don't think she meant "outside dog" as a dog that lives outside all the time, as "outside dog" means to many of us. I think she meant a dog that goes outside sometimes, and was wondering if it was okay to have the dog never go outside, as in using puppy pads inside. Of course I could be wrong.

I think you're very conscientious, Jamie, and walking her regularly and holding her on your lap for four hours a day is more than most people do, imo.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 3:25PM
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That's how I took it too Nancy and I think we should cut Jaimies a little slack here. She is trying to do what is right for the dog. I am reading between the lines here, but I'm guessing this is a new experience for her.

Luckygal gives some great advice. I totally forgot to say anything about a leash/fence, etc.

Nancy said "I think you're very conscientious, Jamie, and walking her regularly and holding her on your lap for four hours a day is more than most people do, imo." I agree and I hope you have some time with Pink and relax a little and enjoy it.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 3:43PM
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Nancy and Tina, you did read me. She loves the lap and likes the walks. She got to check out (well, not very closely) a squirrel carcass today.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 6:11PM
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Anyone seen the "dog rules"

1. Dogs are never permitted in the house. The dog stays outside in a specially built wooden compartment named, for very good reason, the dog house.

2. Okay, the dog can enter the house, but only for short visits or if his own house is under renovation.

3. Okay, the dog can stay in the house on a permanent basis, provided his dog house can be sold in a yard sale to a rookie dog owner.

4. Inside the house, the dog is not allowed to run free and is confined to a comfortable but secure metal cage.

5. Okay, the cage becomes part of a two-for-one deal along with the dog house in the yard sale, and the dog can go wherever the hell he pleases.

6. The dog is never allowed on the furniture.

7. Okay, the dog can get on the old furniture but not the new furniture.

8. Okay, the dog can get up on the new furniture until it looks like the old furniture and then we'll sell the whole damn works and buy new furniture...upon which the dog will most definitely not be allowed.

9. The dog never sleeps on the bed. Period.

10. Okay, the dog can sleep at the foot of the bed.

11. Okay, the dog can sleep alongside you, but he's not allowed under the covers.

12. Okay, the dog can sleep under the covers, but not with his head on the pillow.

13. Okay, the dog can sleep alongside you under the covers with his head on the pillow, but if he snores he's got to leave the room.

14. Okay, the dog can sleep and snore and have nightmares in bed, but he's not to come in and sleep on the couch in the TV room, where I'm now sleeping.

15. The dog never gets listed on the census questionnaire as "primary resident," even if it's true.

Maybe you just need more time to get used to the idea of having a dog in the house and not worrying about the dirt. Frankly, I truly cannot imagine keeping a blanket in between me and my dogs whenever they want a hug or snuggle. And it is pretty much 100 percent guaranteed if I'm on a couch, bed or hammock, I have a snuggle. I don't see the dogs as really being dirty either- I mean, I walk outside in the yard barefoot and come in and don't stress about the dirt, why is it different for them if they don't get into anything?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 6:20PM
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Beagles, I've read that before and it's hilarious! That's the way it always begins here.

In the winter time, one of our weathermen always tells us how many a dog night it will be. One dog night, 2, 3 dog night (I saw that band 3 times as a teen, lol), so that term was made up for a reason.

Jamies, I predict the bonding will happen soon. Before you know it little Pink will have you wrapped around her paws, and you'll be serving her cat food on a silver plate. Hang in there!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 6:56PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Beagles, I have seen that, too, and love it!

Oakley, we are on the same page when it comes to our pups, although my mother/son tag team won't sleep on the bed. They do get on the furniture when we aren't around and have learned they don't need to hop down when we catch them. Sheets on the furniture? Our mailman asked me once if we were painting. Sadly, no, just two big, long-haired, double-coated dogs. Ha. :)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 7:12PM
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Funny, Beagles!

Oakley, Pink does like seafood. We have shared calamari and sardines. I need another dog, though, because between the two of us we still don't finish the can.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:03PM
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Beagles, that is so funny.

We have actually held the line pretty well with our dog. No furniture and no beds. The reason for us is the prevalence of ticks and Lyme disease where we are. The mom of my DD2's friend has partial paralyzation from Lyme disease. All i do is think of that and it keeps my resolve. She's a big golden anyway so it's a lot different!

Jamies, I am glad you and your dog found each other.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:11PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

That is so true and funny, Beagles!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:33PM
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I'd bet Pink lived with an elderly person in her past life. It's not uncommon that pets get turned in to shelters when the elderly owners go to nursing homes or die. She seems to fit that pattern.

My DD has 2 small dogs, one is older and Pink reminds me of him. He will NOT go outside unless he has to potty, and then only with coaxing. She's done pads, but her DH didn't like them.

Her dogs now have their own beds, they don't get on the people bed, and they would love to be snuggled all day long, but they don't have seperation anxiety, since both she and her DH work. I have dog sat for them and found that they act much differently with me than with their parents.

Pink will be fine, I'm just concerned that you don't give her too much fatty food-some of that seafood can be high fat. No corn products! if her poop is small and not stinky, then you know she's using the nutrients and not passing it out as waste. My 90lb dog has tiny poops (thankfully!).

Thank you for rescuing Pink and getting her the surgery she needs.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 2:35AM
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Cyn, and isn't it funny when we see pictures of our rooms, there's not a sheet in sight? ;)

This is kind of on topic, but have you all been to the Greater Goods website? I've bought several things from them and the proceeds go to feeding dogs.

They don't have just cutesy stuff either. I bought a set of bowls with dragon flies on them, and a pair of polka dot shoes (about $12) just to do little errands in. i don't dare wear them for more than 30 minutes. lol

It dawned on me last week that the 3 pets we have all showed up on our property and they're perfect!

Here is a link that might be useful: Greater Goods

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 7:13AM
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Forgot, the shoes I bought (link below) are now $34.00. The reason I got them for $12.00 is because I'm on their mailing list for special sales.

Here is a link that might be useful: And they even have a paw print on them!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 7:28AM
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Ooooh I didn't see about the seafood! Pesky is right. You need to be careful about her diet. Don't give her table food. I do cook chicken and turkey for my pup, but leave off fatty meats like beef and pork. Never give her ground beef! I have friends who did that to their little yorkie and she developed pancreatitis (small dogs are very susceptible to this). Our vet warns us about that. There are "people foods" that dogs can eat, you just have to be careful. Abby gets green beans, apple, carrots, some squash, chicken, turkey. Be mindful of what the food is cooked in/with (fats especially) and seasoning.

I, too thought that maybe her previous owner(s) were older. How sad.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 8:56AM
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Cooked ground beef is fine for a dog as long as it's lean, like 90%, and you don't cook it in any oil.

Salmon is good for dogs too.

This morning I got a coupon code from Greater Goods. 25% off the highest priced item in your cart.

Code: 25TODAY

Last month I ordered a tee shirt from them (good quality). The front of the shirt has a big paw print and under it that says, "Walk with a friend." Awww.

Geez, this new tiny font is killing my eye's!!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 11:18AM
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Jaimes, thank you so much for giving Pink the opportunity to live her golden years in a safe, warm, loving environment. Not many people would adopt an elderly pet, especially one with special needs. Kudos to you.

I recently started giving my furkids Halo Liv-A-Little Protein Treats (Chicken or Salmon) (I get them through Amazon). They love them! My 18 year old has some teeth issues so I just crumble the treats up in his food and he gobbles it up. Perhaps these will add more interest to Pink's regular food.

Please give Pink an extra hug from Auntie Marlene :-)

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 11:38AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I don't know if it's been mentioned, but at that age they should have wet food. For the kidneys and the teeth issues.
My dogs have good teeth so they get both.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 11:55AM
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I'm going on what a veterinarian said about beef and for SMALL DOGS. Small dogs quite often get pancreatitis and fatty foods are a no-no. I did look it up and found that it could be used as treat, but the lowest fat percentage you can find (we use 93% - 97% lean) and then washed after cooking to remove as much fat as possible. Regardless, it is something I will never feed my dog. There are other, healthier choices. Of course I'm one that will not buy anything but a high quality dog food. Salmon is good. We have some dog treats that are salmon.

Marlene - I'll have to look up the Halo. I'm not familiar with it. I think I might have seen that brand in the pet store I frequent. We do not buy any food/treats that are not made here in the USA.

Bumble and Marlene made me think of something else. I'm sure your vet checked Pink's teeth. We have our pup's teeth cleaned. We've not had to do it often because - don't laugh - we brush her teeth. Did you know the condition/health of your dog's teeth has a huge impact on her overall health? When one of the vets in our group told us we could possibly extend our pup's life by keep her teeth healthy, I jumped on the bandwagon. Another good benefit is it helps their breath!


    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 1:29PM
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The vet specifically mentioned a low fat diet because of the pancreas.

Her breath was so terrible at first. One of the animal control attendants said she found a tooth in Pink's pen at the shelter. The vet said that some of the teeth were only held in by the tartar/plaque, and when that was cleared away the teeth basically came out on their own. Pink only has 4 teeth left and he said he wouldn't be surprised if they had to come out eventually. He did mention brushing them. The four teeth are all lowers, unopposed.

I've been grinding dry food into smaller pieces in an unused coffee grinder, and mixing in a small amount of canned food to soften it.

I don't know if small dogs "hide" their weakness like bunnies do, but you wouldn't think Pink is decrepit if you met her. Except her coat looks pretty bad. I think one of the neighbors was afraid fleas would pole vault onto her dog from Pink -- the look on her face spoke volumes when the dogs encountered on another for the first time. On another occasion, the word "mange" came up. I didn't know mange was a specific condition. She does not have it.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 2:08PM
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Awwww poor little Pink! I missed the part about 4 teeth. Jaimes it is very obvious you care for Pink. I'm sure her coat will improve now that the fleas are taken care of.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 3:10PM
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Her skin/coat condition may have been due to her diet. Food allergies can cause pets to get scabby and patchy from scratching and not be related to fleas. We had a dog who lost most of his fur due to an allergy to corn- which is prevalent in most dog food. Once he was switxhed to lamb & rice his skin cleared right up and no more scratching.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 6:32PM
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Jamies, I cracked up about your neighbor's reaction. Here's what you need to do. Buy the cutest like pink bow and put it on top of her head and walk her with pride! :)

Her coat will change rapidly for the better before you know it. Great idea about adding canned to dry.

Can you take a picture of her for us? I'd love to see her, no teeth and all!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 7:05PM
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I'm so glad Pink has a lot of love in her life now! You spend a lot of time with her, lucky pup.

I noticed you are adding moisture to her dry food and remembered a caution about bacteria growth when doing this. You might want to talk to her vet.

I would also caution on using an old coffee grinder due to oils and residue. You have to be careful about people food. examples are onions, garlic, chocolate, caffeine can be poisonous.

An excerpt from bornfreeusa.

"Although the cooking process kills bacteria in the ingredients, the final product can pick up more bacteria during the subsequent drying, coating, and packaging process. Some experts warn that getting dry food wet can allow the bacteria on the surface to multiply and make pets sick. Do not mix dry food with water, milk, canned food, or other liquids."

Did a google. Here is one conversation.

Here is a link that might be useful: conversation

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 10:43PM
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Having completed her rounds of Up- and Down- Dogs, Pink sunbathes in the side-lying Corpse Pose.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 1:38PM
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How adoreable! And so talented :-).

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 2:13PM
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Awww, she looks so content. Lucky girl!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 2:25PM
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Oh my gosh, she is so cute!

If you already posted this, my apologies for asking again...but do you have any idea what breeds she came from? I think I see poodle, and/or Westie?

She really is a pretty girl.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 2:33PM
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    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 2:35PM
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Awwwww....this pic brings tears to my a good way.

Pink's coat is so shiny! She is obviously thriving in your care.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 2:45PM
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What a beautiful dog! I was expecting something brown and ragged. lol. I don't think I've ever seen such a sheen to white hair before. If she were mine, I'd be brushing it all day!

The sheen to her coat is a great sign. When our Boone dog showed up here, his coat was so dull. In a matter of two weeks it was nice and shiny.

Thanks for sharing!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 6:25PM
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Pink is so cute. It is heartwarming to see her looking so content.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 7:57AM
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She is pink! I wondered about the name, thought she was naked after the singer. (Your Pink is a lot cuter than the other Pink!). She is darling.

Beagles, very funny post about dog rules. Our dog rules are, Dogs Rule! We have three very different dogs with different personalities and needs.....all were rescued. The largest one is about 22 lbs, Mr. Fluffy, the sweetest, kindest dog ever. We also have a crazy peppy spunky dog and a recent arrival not-quite-sure-of-anything dog who was removed from an abusive home and tries to bite any man with facial hair :-( We think he is going to need a year or so of unconditional love to get over his frightful beginning.

Thankful for all dog lovers and rescuers....dogs are God's answer to loneliness, horrid relatives, challenging adolescents, and exhausting coworkers!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 12:01PM
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She is a cutie! I'll just add one thing about the crate. We have a boxer and a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, both large dogs with large crates. We crate trained them both. The Chessie never used her freely, so later I took it out, but the boxer uses his daily. I would love to get that huge thing out of my house, but some dogs really like having that den. My boxer is one of those den dogs, sound like your Pink is too. Mine are allowed get on the furniture, but there are times when he chooses to go lay on his bed in his crate, I just keep the door open all the time.
Just a thought, especially since she's a shelter dog that the extra security of a crate/den might be something she needs. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 10:17AM
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I somehow missed the pic. She is a pretty girl and looks so content.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 1:53PM
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