I have been so fortunate this week to have some input on Stig and his Development.
I meet with Donna Fournier, a Certified Animal Behaviorist and Dog Trainer and one of the co-hosts of the nationally syndicated radio show, Animal Talk Radio. I have so much more to write about Donna, our meeting and the wonderful things she has offered to do for Stiggy’s Dogs (another post). Donna spent a lot of time with Stig, touching him all over, doing different ‘test’. Which Stig passed, almost with flying colors but we have a few things to work on. One suggestion she told me had to do with my ‘connection’ while walking him. When I am walking him, I am to move in different directions, walk back and forth, around in circles, more often. This makes Stig more ‘aware’ of me and follows my lead better.
This suggestion was mirrored by another Certified Dog Trainer, Brian Walsh. I take Big Stig to Better Life Canine Center one day a week for dog socialization. Rescue owner, Brenda Woody, lets all of her dogs, fosters and current owners, come and continue training and socializing. She has different trainer’s that donate their time to help. Yesterday we had Brain, who is great! Ironically, he said the same thing to me about walking differently with Stig. We practiced back and forth, around in circles, with Big following all the way!
I have been faithfully walking Stig everyday for 2-4 miles, but in a straight line and on a mission. However, today……..it was a little different.
I will leave you with a visual: While practicing my dance moves all around the neighborhood with Stig by my side, we were shuffling across the street, when the owner opened her door and let her dogs out. The two little fluffy balls came yelping out as fast as they could, right towards Stig. They had their electronic fence collars on, but only I knew that. So immediately I started walking in tight fast circles, round and round, about 4 times, before Big lost complete interest in the dogs! It worked like a charm! Ha, either that or Stig was trying to regain composure from a dizzy spell…….
First off, even from right off the plane, Stig wanted Joe’s foot. Yup, he has a foot fetish thing alright! Now, it’s on the good side. Meaning: he has not chewed or eaten any shoe’s, he respects them. When Big is ready for a nap, you can be sure you will find him close to a shoe, with his head right on it! No shoe around? No problem, he likes actual feet better! He likes Joe’s better then mine (he stinky!) When you get out of the shower, no problem Stig will lick your feet dry…Which kind of leads into his next ‘thing’……
Stig loves his lotion. Any lotion, scented, non scented, old, new. He will sniff out a jar of lotion that you left in a suitcase! Oh yea, and he will dig his teeth in it just enough to use his big paw to squish a little out, yummy! But if you have lotion on you, and you have a friend for life!!!! Forget treats, lotion works way better!!!!!
But the best thing that Big does, is how he wakes you up to tell you he has to go potty. Stig and Moxie sleep in dog beds on the floor of our room. When Stig (not often thank goodness) needs to go out ‘potty’ in the middle of the night, he gives you the sneak-stealthy attack. Out of now where you will feel a cold wet big dog nose touching your skin and he blows out his nose. He slimes you into taking him out!
The last oddity, is really not his fault. Most dogs love to hang their head out the window for a little dog sniff. Except Stig can’t seem to figure out how to get that big bucket head back in the window….so funny!!!!!!
I may lose some fans, or gain some, by adding my personal feelings and opinions here. However, this is a topic that I am very passionate about.
I was honored to be asked to speak on the behalf of Bully Breeds for the Mid-Michigan Pet Specialist. I got a call from Holly, who saw that Stiggy’s Dogs was training a Bully Breed as an Emotional Therapy Dog. I jumped at the chance to be a voice, to have a platform to speak about the discrimination against this breed.
The dogs in the pictures, are some of the Bully Breeds that I have fostered, rescued, and have had the pleasure of knowing and loving. All these beautiful dogs are from Rescues. They are the heroes……
I consider myself a dog lover. I have experience with many dogs, many breeds, I have fostered, Rescued, and trained. Yet this time it was different, and I was not even aware of how much. I was about to embark on a naew journey, training an Emotional Therapy Dog, in honor of Ben.
I can say that I was ‘in love’ with Stig before I met him. His story was enough to pull on any dog lovers heart strings. Titus (named then) was a stray, that had escaped death row, got fostered (by first time foster mom to save him, Marisa), got Rescued by Kristy Schroeder from Illinois, flew out by Pilots 4 Paws, and then to Stiggy’s Dogs. The efforts by so many to save one dogs life is remarkable.
I was immediately even more ‘in love’ when I saw Stig get off the plane. His big square head, his joules, his big polka dotted paws. He was the kind of dog that I would have went looking for. However, all the mushy, lovey-dovey had to be put on hold. I had a job to do. He had a job to do. And we were off, from day 1.