Gabby is my first foster dog and my first doodle. She came from the wonderful people of Arizona Poodle Rescue.

Gabbie was found by animal control wandering the streets of Phoenix. She was filthy and parasite-infested. She was so shy of people that if anyone just reached out a hand to her she darted as quickly and as far away as she could.

When I picked her up she had been clipped but still needed that flea and tick bath. She was terrified of the car and had to be physically stuffed in. Oh my, how she stunk. She has had no training (although she seems to know NO).

She'd been at my house for two weeks now. We go to the dog park almost every day. Yesterday was a huge milestone for her. She actually let someone (other than me) pet her head! But most amazing of all, when we left she walked calmly back to the car, patiently waited her turn and then jumped in all by her self. She now comes about 70% of the time when called. She knows to sit for food or to go in and out. She's so sweet and really wants to be loved but is very untrusting.

A short video of her is posted on Youtube:

She's quite the little thief. She will sneak up on something, grab it as fast as possible and she's off. It's so darned cute that I have a hard time reminding myself that she really needs to learn better manners.

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Member Since 2009
Comment by Gwen A on August 18, 2009 at 1:15pm
Well last week I had serious family matters going on and had to return Gabby temporarily to Poodle Rescue. They were so good. They made it very convenient to get her picked up, both when I left her and when I went to get her back. She had to be moved a number of times and I was so worried that it would be a traumatic experience for her. But she stayed with some wonderful dog lovers and actually came back much less skittish than when she left.

In fact, after I picked her up I stopped at Home Depot and took her in with me. She actually approached one lady and was so snuggly and sweet that the woman commented on how friendly and charming Gabby was! I was speechless!

I've finally got all of her toenails trimmed. I've been doing a little grinding every day followed by a treat and she 's getting to where she expects it in the morning.

As for treats, I bought a package of chicken hotdogs on sale and sliced them paper thin with my bought-at-the-state-fair mandolin. They make very inexpensive treats that must be healthier than what I was using - Nature's Treats. I'm also hoping that because they are so thin they have fewer calories.

She is the slowest learner when it comes to swimming. I've been carrying her into the pool and floating around with her. She really likes that part. She will paddle a little when I hold her away from me (hand under belly for support). But when I lower my hand for her to paddle on her own, she starts to sink, gets panicky and can't seem to coordinate her back legs enough to get any buoyancy. And she still doesn't know which way to go to get to the stairs unless I keep her pointed that way. We'll keep trying. Retrievers are supposed to be natural swimmers, aren't they?

Member Since 2009
Comment by Gwen A on August 8, 2009 at 6:06pm
She seems far more fearful of men. She's only let women touch her so far. Last night one man got down on his knees and just held his hand out. She backed as close into me as she could get. But after we gave up and he moved away she went right over to give him a good sniff and tail wag. I really want to thank the patient people at Shawnee Bark Park for helping me with her socialization.

Her Sit Stay is getting better. I can now move around; as long as she can see me she will generally stay put. Especially if it might involve food. We're now learning LayDown. She doesn't like this one and just refuses to stay.

Comment by LM Fowler - Admin on August 7, 2009 at 12:31pm
Gwen, you are being so great with her. It's good that you keep giving her chances. Hopefully, eventually she will realize that not all people are bad. Some people she may always be leery with no matter how much socialization she gets. My Ginger is almost three and is so much better with people than she was in the beginning. But some people she gets strange around, even now. We have one friend who is here quite often and he must remind her of someone. When I first got her she would run to my room and hide under the bed or hide behind me and shake if he was around. Now, 2.5 years later, she won't hide, but she won't take her eyes off him. She has allowed him to touch her a few times but will usually just lay and watch him. Why, this one guy? Who knows. Over time, they learn but a sound or smell or look can set them back again.

Member Since 2009
Comment by Gwen A on August 7, 2009 at 12:13pm
This morning at the dog park I put Gabby on the leash and took her around to other people in the park for a potential head pet. The first, a woman, made her wary but after a few good sniffs (and good girls) she allowed herself to be touched very briefly. The next, a man, was only able to get her to sniff his hand, then she backed behind me. I let her run free a little and then tried it again. She could be coaxed into stretching her nose way out for a sniff but just didn't want to be touched. I held her and she immediately went into the submissive roll-over. I scratched her belly and she allowed another woman to scratch her chin (still displaying submissive behaviour). Her poor little heart was beating so fast. But she snuggled her head into the woman's hand. We stood up, moved away and Gabby jumped up, wagging her tail. She still didn't want to be touched. We'll give it another try tomorow.

Member Since 2009
Comment by Gwen A on August 6, 2009 at 8:03pm
Yes, I have been using Nature's Miracle. She never goes back to the same spot. Last night, I had taken her out to pee when I got home. It seemed a little short to me but she didn't seem interested in any more effort. I brought her back in, the two dogs played for about 30 minutes and then I fed them. Gabby gobbles all her food as fast as she can. Afterwards the two dogs relaxed for about 20 or 30 minutes. She was confined to the kitchen at this point and she went to the door and whined to go out. Immediately she took a dump and wanted to come straight back into the house. I figured she was evacuated and so let her into the family room (carpeted) to play with Hoot. Twenty minutes later she had left her puddle (I caught her just as she was walking away).

Before she came to the house, my carpet was fairly new, never having had animal urine anywhere. She loves the smell of it and likes to bury her nose into it and snuffle. Then she'll roll around on it. It's so frustrating for her to be perfectly trained for linoleum but not the carpet. At least if it was the other way around I wouldn't be so terrified of having a permenant smell in my house.

Which reminds me...Gabby does have a very definite and strong doggy odor (and she's bathed pretty often). Much stronger than any previous dog I have had. Another "doodle" myth put to rest.

Member Since 2009
Comment by Gwen A on August 6, 2009 at 6:18pm
I was wondering yesterday how you can give them up to their new homes. Then last night she peed on my carpet shortly after coming in from outside. This is the 5th or 6th time she's peed on the carpet and each time I have not caught her in the act but just after. She gets tossed out but I'm not sure she knows why. I was a little short-tempered (I'm recovering from oral surgery and am just miserable) and she knew how mad I was...she sat forlornly in a corner in the kitchen most of the night, even after I tried to make up to her. Now I'm not allowing her into the carpeted areas at all but at some point I'm going to have to give her another chance as she can't always be confined to the kitchen.

Member Since 2009
Comment by Gwen A on August 5, 2009 at 1:47pm
Well, thanks, it actually does help. Her fur is still a little stained but the clots of dried mud combed out more quickly than rinsing out the gooey stuff. And we've had toenail grinding success. Two down, 14 to go! She sat quietly for the first one, started to get nervous during the second and struggled when I started the third. But she got lots of love and a really good treat.

I think she's mostly over the fear of the car. She crawls right in with only a little verbal coaxing. I rarely have to physically help her anymore. She's also OK with her crate. She will sleep in it even when she doesn't have to. It's also her safe place from Hoot after she's annoyed him to the point of retaliation.

She's still so shy at the dog park. Very few people have been able to touch her.

She still chews (Note: do not leave dirty undies anywhere within dog reach), digs, and will pee on the carpet - sometimes just out of nervousness. She has gained enough confidence now that instead of greeting me by rolling over and tinkling, she jumps straight up into the air. She doesn't make contact with me (usually) but that nose is too close to my nose for comfort. Once she gets control of herself and sits I get down to her level for a good head rub.

Member Since 2009
Comment by Gwen A on August 2, 2009 at 3:38pm
I'm glad you're enjoying my posts. Gabby (who's about to be name-changed to Bucket if majority rules) has gained almost 10 pounds, she now weighs 50 lbs and is still a bony stringbean. She's no longer terrified of the car and jumps right in by herself most of the time. She just needed to learn that a car ride can end in a very pleasant place (the dog park).

Lately she's been rolled around in the mud so she's been getting a bath when she gets home. Dirt basically will fall off of the Aussie coat. Not so with that kinky white fuzz. She is the hardest thing to get the dirt out of. The plus side is that she's getting pretty used to it and just quietly waits (albeit miserably) until I'm satisfied I've got as much dirt rinsed out of her as possible. Of course she loves the towel rub down.

I touched the grinder (while it was on) to her toe yesterday a couple of times and gave her treats. She was much calmer the second time when she realized that it feels funny but doesn't really hurt. I think we'll be grinding away within the week.

Comment by LM Fowler - Admin on July 31, 2009 at 4:19pm
Gwen, I am happy to hear Gabby is adjusting and gaining more and more confidence each day. For her teeth and to get her away from a 2x4, you might try a frozen marrow bone. It will help with the pain and tastes good, too.

The swimming is great and will help her gain more confidence. As is the pets from people at the dog park. With each passing day, she will become more sure of herself. You are so patient and wonderful with her. I love hearing about her updates and I know it will help others who rescue a dog to understand all they may have to go through. Keep up the great work and keeping us up to date on all the steps to peace, Gabby takes.

Member Since 2009
Comment by Gwen A on July 31, 2009 at 3:25pm
Gabby is gaining in confidence every day. She has been gnawing away at a small piece of 2X4 for a couple of weeks. I'm sure it eases her aching teeth. This morning she started to play with it, throwing it into the air, pouncing on it. She hasn't played with any toys yet other than once in a while to pick something up to carry it around.

I have given her a few swimming lessons. At first she was not thrilled. Now she likes to be held while I glide through the water. I have held her away from me and let her paddle but she doesn't seem ready to take off on her own yet. At least she knows how to get to the stairs and climb out.

She's well-loved at the local dog park. Everyone has been patiently coaxing her into a few little head pets. We may have to rename her as Bucket as that is what she is called at the dog park.

She's getting used to a little grooming...she gets a nice thorough combing every morning before I go work. She's more relaxed every day. I would really love to get a grinder to her toes but I just don't think she's ready for that. I don't want to have to do anything that requires holding her down by force as that seems to be the thing she's most fearful of. I have been working every day to get her more used to the grinder. She will come to me and sit for a treat while it is on but only gets as close as she has to, stretching her neck out as far is it will reach.

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