Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Three Years?

I can't believe Seppel has been with me for three years! It seems like only yesterday I was asking friends if it was a good idea and begging my parents to let me "foster him".

Most everyone knows the story but I feel as it is our three year anniversary together I will share it again. Here is the original post I wrote when I started this blog that details how this all came to be:
"In 2011 I logged onto a dog forum that I frequented only to find out a dear friend had passed away. I wondered about her three dogs, two pit bulls and an older border collie but in the beginning nothing was said about her dogs, just that they were okay. In the weeks leading up to the dogs eventually needing a home the thought had crossed my mind "If only I lived nearby..." It was only a fleeting thought, until it became a reality. Eventually it was posted that one of the Pit Bulls and the Border Collie would be needing a home. At first I jumped at the Border Collie because she was OLD - it would be a short commitment, however, when it came to be known that she was roughly 15+yrs flying her out to Oregon from North Carolina did not look like a good option. In the midst of jumping at the Border Collie posting, a posting for Seppel appeared.

I don't really remember the pm's that transpired, but it involved me messaging the forum admin and saying if we could get Seppel out here I would take him. The thing is, Seppel's owner sent me money to pay for my late dog Sofie to get an MRI and the money she sent also covered some of her chemo. It sounds super easy to take money from someone but it was something I seriously hesitated to do - did my dog deserve it? Did I deserve it? I would never be able to pay her back. The thing is, Seppel's owner wanted to help me. She helped many people and many pets in this way. It was humbling, and eye opening. And now, in Seppel's time of need, in his late owner's time of need, I knew that the way I could repay her was to promise to give her dog a good home to live out the rest of his life. I got into contact with Seppel's late owner's daughter, told her why I wanted to offer him a home, explained how appreciative I was of everything her mother had done for me. I also explained that this would be my first time ever owning a Pit Bull, that most of my experience with them is through working in a veterinary clinic and that my parents were not big fans of the breed. Fortunately for me everyone involved felt I could offer Seppel a good home.

Through the efforts of the dog forum, and Seppel's late owner's daughter, Seppel was flown out here October 22nd, 2011"
It all seems like a blur to me now. I took on a dog that I had never met before, all I had to go on was what his former owner's daughter could tell me. I knew I was taking a big risk, especially given his breed. Pit Bulls do not have a good reputation, and rightfully so because there are many out there who are jerks. I couldn't have been more lucky and would never get a dog this way again - simply because I doubt it would work out so well.

The first year I didn't do much with him. Our time was spent mostly working on training and integrating him into my household. He got along with Seth and LiLo pretty well, but there were some bumps in the road. They had to be monitored outside because he would get too rough or try to hump them and if they reprimanded him he would get nasty. The played well inside together no problem but the play was way less intense inside.
I can't wait to
I think the beginning of his second year was when we found the sport of Schutzhund. It was something I had tried with Seth but he didn't have the toy or prey drive for it. We drove up to a club in washington and that is where I discovered that he was cut out for the sport. He hit the bite sleeve like he had been doing it his whole life. He took to it so naturally and we never looked back. I did some research and found a trainer down in Salem and the rest has pretty much been history.

I know I am lucky with how well things have turned out. He has made me completely fall in love with the pit bull breed and he has given me an opportunity to participate in  a dog sport that I think is awesome. I can't picture my life without him now - simply because he is so animated and has so much personality. There is absolutely never a dull moment when he is around.

I scoured the internet for a song to make a short video/photo montage of him, I settled with some Frank Sinatra - I think the song definitely describes how I feel about him.

I can't wait to see what our future holds.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

On being Cautious

Next Wednesday will be the three year anniversary of Seppel coming to live with me. A lot has changed in three years. No matter what I am always cautious with Seppel because I know what he can be capable of. However, I have lightened up a little bit.

I will never crate Seppel with Seth or LiLo.
-But I have left them alone in the car together before, many times. I feel like the car is a little different and they do have more space to get away if necessary. I don't do it a lot, but it has happened quite a few times. It has never resulted in a problem.

I will never leave Seppel unattended with my cat for extended periods of time.
-I do not trust that play will not turn into prey on accident. 

I will never have him off leash in places where we may encounter other off-leash dogs.
-Seppel has a high prey drive and is reactive. He is not a dog park dog, and he is not a reliable off-leash dog. I am okay with that, I don't mind using a drag line [I have a 30ft line we use at the beach]. I know he would go after a small dog or puppy, and I know that his personality type does not get along with everyone. I know he is not always reliable off-leash and that he is impulsive and I have no desire to risk him getting hurt or him hurting someone else's dog.
-I do take him places to play ball off leash, but I can see who is coming around me and if there is a big distraction or another dog I will push him on leash. For the most part all he cares about is the ball when we are playing, but I am always cautious.

I'd like to address Seppel and the cat. Many of you know when I first got him he had an altercation with my cat where he somehow injured him, and he also chased after my horse. Because of the house renovation the cat and the dogs are all having to share my bed. The dogs have slept with me before - back when I was living at my grandmas, and the cat has always slept with me at my house. Until now, they had never really slept together. Napolean would occasionally join them on their dog beds, but never before had they all shared my bed together. I was very worried at first because my cat isn't afraid of the dogs and I was fearful that he would walk on them when they were sleeping, which he has done. The dogs tolerate him for the most part and will only growl occasionally - and it's Seth primarily who grumps about him walking around. What has really surprised me is Napolean and Seppel's relationship seems to have grown. Maybe Seppel is just tolerating him - but it really seems like things have changed. I shared several of these pictures on facebook and instagram but this is what I find daily:

 The last two are from just minutes ago - the cat climbed right on top of Seppel!

I watch them very closely and would never leave them alone together in my room, but it does make me happy that after three years they are doing so well together, especially after such a rocky start.

Next week I'll try to rig up a 'gotcha day' post. So, so much has changed in three years, and I can't even believe it has been that long already.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hidden Bite Sleeve

So today I got to test out whether or not my dog is a true liability.

Ryan put on the hidden bite sleeve today, and Seppel still bit him!

Seppel did see the sleeve beforehand as he watched Ryan put it on. He bit him a few times before we took the video I am about to share. Ryan tried to take video from his perspective but Seppel saw his hand and actually refused to bite. He just sat down in front of him and barked. Of course, that one moment of "there's no sleeve" passed.

We did this just for fun. I didn't think Seppel would go for it because there was no sleeve. He surprised me. We didn't do any weird scenario or anything like that, we just played like we do in training all the time. I don't think he would bite a random person, even if they were acting sketchy I am not sure. Ryan was moving the way he always does when we are in training, so I think it was very familiar for him. Regardless it was a fun time. I haven't had a chance to post pics from training because I need someone to come out with me and take them, so I thought I would share this.


So he did hesitate one time... But this is Seppel biting a hidden sleeve. #ipo #schutzhund #obedience #protection #bitework #bite #apbt #pitbull

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Also, this past saturday I got to go watch the Schutzhund club train that we joined. I have to observe three times before we can participate. A huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders, the club is not super competitive, the highest level of dog is an IPO II, Seppel is very far along on the protection side. I think everyone will like my dog, and I think he will surprise a lot of them.

I was thinking about it and even if we just go for individual protection titles I will be satisfied. I would like to at least get an IPO I, but I also would be fine if we just titled in protection and I saved going "all the way" for my next dog who I can start from the beginning. But then again too, Seppel has at least 6 more years in him for training and we have all the time in the world to get his title. But it is something I was thinking about. Anyway, hope you enjoy the video! I love this guy <3<3