Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Lolly, Once Foozie, Goes Home

Last week we said farewell to Foozie, who was renamed Lolly (short for "Lollipup" -- adorable, isn't it?) by the kids in her new adoptive family.

Before she left, Lolly had just started to really relax and let her true personality come out. I took her to a couple of different dog parks, where she socialized and played beautifully with everyone from a juvenile Great Dane to a couple of elderly, wheezing (but still energetic!) Pugs.

She also learned to appreciate the joys of dog beds...

...and learned "Sit," kinda-sorta, to a shaky level.

Ordinarily I try to separate the foster dogs for training sessions, especially early on, when Dog Mob is likely to be a greater distraction than they can ignore. For most dogs, it's much more difficult to learn something totally new when you also have to worry about other dogs competing for your treats. Dog Mob is pretty good at staying out of the way (they're accustomed to the routine of one dog being put in a Stay while I practice with the other a few feet away), but it's still more than the average foster dog can handle.

Lolly was a little different, though. She got more worried when there wasn't another dog close by, and she was a lot more comfortable trying out a Sit when the other two did it in front of her first.

So, since that's what worked better for her, that's what we did. I put Dog Mob in Sits, rewarded them for doing it, and then lured Lolly into a Sit and gave her treats as well. Dog training is all about adapting to whatever works best for that particular dog.

Within a couple of sessions, Lolly didn't need the other dogs right beside her anymore, and she could respond to a verbal cue more often than not (although, as demonstrated by this clip, her response rate was far from 100%).

I wouldn't go so far as to say she knew Sit by the time I gave her away. It would be more accurate to say that she knew the best guess was to Sit when I looked at her and made talky noises in an expectant tone of voice. The cue itself wasn't tremendously meaningful to her (if I had said "Banana" or "Radio" in a similar tone of voice, I expect she would have responded at least half the time with a Sit) and we hadn't even begun proofing... so the foundations were in place, but the behavior was far from finished at the end of our first week. Still, it was good enough to get her posed for pictures.

And by then we were out of time. Lolly had garnered quite a few applications (at the time I stopped accepting new applications, there were seven homes that had expressed serious interest in her -- an all-time high for my fosters, especially since I only had Lolly listed on Petfinder for about a day and a half before I stopped taking applications to avoid disappointing even more people) and, after meeting two prospective adopters, she had a commitment and a loving family who was waiting to take her home.

On Friday night we packed her bags...

...and on Saturday morning she went home.

Adios Lolly, who once was Foozie. Have a wonderful life. You're a lucky girl who landed in a loving home, and you won't have to scrounge in garbage cans anymore.

No comments:

Post a Comment