Saturday, January 30, 2010

How Far We've Come...

Tonight is one of those nights were it's hard to believe this is the same dog that came home with me a little under 2 years ago.

2 years ago up until about 8 months ago, it was a nightmare to clip Nubs's toenails. It always involved a jar of peanut butter, clippers and a lot of hog tying Nubs down to get his nails clipped and that was normally front one day then the back the next. I also remember the turning point, just about 1 year ago. Nubs just wasn't feeling well and just wanted to sleep all day long. I ambushed him and clipped his nails while he just attempted to sleep. I know I was such a bad owner for bugging him while he wasn't feeling well, but that day was the end of his fighting. It was like he realized that whole nail clipping this wasn't as bad as he thought.

Today it takes 15mins to trim his nails (with a dremel tool at that), clean his ears, brush his teeth, and give him a wipe down with wet-wipes. This same thing would take days only a year ago. Amazing how far we've come. Sometimes it's so hard to believe this dog came to me with so many demons. No one would ever think he was once so scared of everything around him that he'd pee in fear now of days. I love this dog!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tonight the word is Jumping Bean

So it is official, Nubs LOVES agility. I kind of figured he would. Here is another no brainer statement, Nubs LOVES people. So if Nubs had a chance to either do tunnels and jumps or love on a stranger, which would he choose? If you guessed love on a stranger you would be correct. This is a tad bit of an issue for us. He’ll ignore everything if the agility trainer is near it, and go straight for the agility trainer to get some loving. We... well I have some work to do.

Tonight Nubs was a jumping bean, he just could not stand still. He was jumping all around me, jumping toward people, jumping over the x-pen that showed the dogs how to weave through the weave poles, and even jumping out of the chute when he came to the end. I swear I fed him jumping beans or a massive amount of sugar before class. It was like having a kid with ADHD full of candy. “Watch you? OOOOOHHHHHH LOOK!!!!!!! Wait what? Watch ok… TUNNNEL!!!!!!!!! No tunnel? Fine. DOGS!!!! MOM LADY LOOK! THERE ARE DOGS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT FENCE DIVIDER!!!!!”

At this point I was scratching my head. He had a nice walk before class and a mental work out; he shouldn’t have been acting like he was. So you can assume I was floored with the next conversation I had with the other Pit Bull owner in the class.

PB owner: “So, how many other classes has your dog taken?”
Me: “Just one other. All of my training I’ve pretty much done myself, including training for his CGC test”
PB Owner: “I just can’t believe how well behaved he is! He really listens to you!”
At this point while the Pit Bull owner is talking to me, Nubs lunges at one of the trainers grabbing equipment trying to get attention then when he realizes he’s not going to get attention from her, turns and attempts to pull me over to say hello to the boxer about 10 feet away
Me: “Um… yeah… Well behaved… um, thanks... NUBS ENOUGH!”

Honestly, when Nubs is acting like this and I get such a complement I really wonder, if these people think Nubs is well behaved, what is the world does their dogs act like at home?!?!?!? Nubs does listen very well I do admit. He’ll stop what he is doing with a simple command, but the commands are only short lived. “Enough” will stop him from what ever he is doing, but he’ll start up something else right away. He’ll “Leave it” and “Wait” but will just turn and do something else instead. I had 2 other owners besides the Pit Bull owner say the same thing to me tonight. I still am scratching my head over it.

Agility class wasn’t as funny as last time. Nubs actually sort of behaved. Besides attempting to head butt the Boxer (Nubs and the Boxer seem to get along the best at closer range so we stick close together.) who of course thought Nubs was being rude and laid into Nubs with a growl and a nip. Nubs ran away with his Nubs between his legs. All I could say was “You deserved that”.

Nubs has been the only dog so far to not get loose during class. For being as quick as he is through the tunnels and weave poles, I am about 2 seconds quicker and catch him as he comes out. Tonight, I missed the catch and he decided to go visit his Boxer friend.

Now most of the dogs in this class are not nice to other dogs on leash. 3 of them will snap at the other dog is you get more then 5ft away from them. So you KNOW to keep away from these 3 dogs or expect a lot of growling. So here is Nubs starting to run toward all 6 other dogs and I’m still at the tunnel. I know I can’t catch him in time, so I shout “NA AH!” Something I learned from “It’s Me or the Dog” on Animal Planet. It’s 100% effective at getting him to look back at me because I’ve used it so much and trained so much with it. It’s like a NO command but so much stricter.

Nubs does what I wanted and gives me a millisecond backwards glace. I yell out “Nubs, here!” and HE TURNS AROUND and COMES BACK!!!! Everyone including the trainer is in awe, and I am just proud and relived. The trainer gives me props for such a good recall and everyone else is just giving me the stink eye. I couldn’t have been prouder of the recall. It really does pay to work on you commands with such important ones as recalls.

This weeks homework is working on Nubs and knowing where his back paws are, keeping his focused on the task at hand and not other people, and on his jumping. So much fun.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Adding More Weight

I've noticed recently with Nubs, he really gets bored pulling for long periods of time, so when it comes to our scootering, he gets bored of it after about a half mile. Nubs just was no longer getting tired pulling that scooter, so today I decided to add some weight to the scooter. How to do it was the question.

This is the scooter in question (an older photo of it):

So I grabbed an old gym bag and put some patio blocks in it then using in an Ella's Lead hooked the bag up to the scooter like so:

After he pulled me and the scooter I decided to weigh the 2 patio blocks. 30lbs extra on the scooter. He's up to about 150lbs at about 1 mile+ Not to bad.

UKC, Here we come!

So the other day I received Nubs's LP paperwork in the mail from the UKC. He is officially registered as an American Pit Bull Terrier with the name "DM's Nutter Butter Nub"

Completely ready for weight pulling now! I think our first weight pull with be on March 12th in Kalamazoo Michigan. So exciting to know everything is coming together!!!

Now it's time to re-read the hand book and rules for the UKC Pull's.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The First Day of Agility Class

Tonight was the first Agility class for Nubs and I. I gave him a good mile run with the scooter, and thought “man that should at least take the edge off” HAHAHAH! Man that was a funny joke! Sometimes I forget that after the words “Pit Bull” comes this small word “Terrier”. Terriers do not seem to have an off switch and I need to remember that.

I pull into the drive way at the Agility class and allow Nubs to sniff around and potty. No sooner then I get Nubs out of the car did one of the staff members taking her dog to her car yells over “Hey! Is that Nubs? Man has he gotten big!” I’m quite shocked that people remember my boy. Then again, I guess it is kind of hard to forget a dog that literally dragged a 300lb man 10ft on his stomach, only to stop and kiss him once he got to where I was for the recall. Ahhh memories from obedience class.

I walk into the building and there was a few people and dogs already waiting. Nubs was acting just how I knew he would, like Nubs. When he goes into a new place he always is extremely hyper (the reason why I have him on a prong collar still). He jumps, whines, sniffs, darts, and tries to greet every person that comes near. It’s funny to everyone on the outside, but for me, it’s a tad annoying. It takes about 10mins for him to calm down and act only like a tad bit of a fool instead of the biggest idiot around.

The first task is the Standard Jump. The bars are only on the bottom slot, so for the taller dogs it’s more like stepping then jumping. We were the last to go so I watched as a Golden, a Pit Bull, 2 mixed Shepherds, a Mini Schnauzer and a Boxer did these jumps with ease. All of these dogs were following their owners, listening, and just easing into it. I knew Nubs knew what “over” meant so I wasn’t too worried about him not doing it, and I knew he would do it well. Yeah he did it well all right. He took off like a champ, jumping all 3 jumps dragging me along beside him because I just am not coordinated enough to run at a full speed holding onto a speeding Pit Bull’s leash and making sure that I miss all the jumps with my feet. When we made it to the end, Nubs slides into a sit, and just looks at me like “What is your problem? Keep up next time will ya?” Thanks Nubs, the laughter of the class makes me feel wonderful. The big laugh was caused when we did the off leash run over the jumps.

I let the trainer grab Nubs and I told her “Be careful, he WILL pull”. Her only reply was “Oh I did weight pulling, I can handle it”. SURE maybe your dogs, but you’ve never dealt with a 60lb Pit Bull that is as strong as an ox. I make my way to the other end, and tell Nubs to “Come”. Forget about asking him to go over the jumps, the trainer didn’t even get to move her hand before Nubs took off and I barely had time to register that Nubs was coming before I was clobbered by a kissing Pit Bull. Yes, on my butt, holding onto his collar, with him on top of me, licking me. Laughter from the class was a must. At least we are having fun right???

Next is the Tunnel. Nubs LOVES the tunnel and has a bad habit of the zoomies the first time going through it, so I was kind of worried about him running back through the tunnel like he normally does. Why is it dogs will NEVER do what you expect them to?

That poor trainer’s arms must be hurting her tonight. She was having a heck of a time holding him still to get through the tunnel. Nubs acted like he had NEVER seen it before. I had to actually climb INSIDE of the tunnel to get Nubs attention then he decided that he’d come though it… with me still in side of it.

After I caught my breath again from him flat out clobbering me in the chest, he was a champ at it. The last 2 times we did the tunnel, we walked the dog up to the tunnel and as they went in, we had to drop the leash and catch them as they ran out the other side. Ever attempt to outrun a Pit Bull imitating a bat coming out of hell? Yeah it was fun attempting to out run Nubs and not get bulldozed over or miss him when we got to the end. Everyone got a good laugh over me attempting to catch him coming out of the tunnel.

I think Nubs main goal in these things is to make people laugh. I have never seen a dog that smiles so big, ears back, glazed look; full out body wags when people laugh at him. He looks at me like “See mom! They LIKE me!!!!!!” Funniest dog I have ever seen.

The Weave Poles were pretty much uneventful but the Chute made up for the lack of laughs. Again this dog just never does what I expect him to. The first time he went up to the Chute, he wasn’t so sure, but as soon as he saw my shirt at the end up the tunnel (I didn’t even make it to where I could see him at the other end), he BOLTED down the Chute and right into my arms. Yes, arms. He came out of the Chute and jumped into my arms. I dropped him instantly (60lbs is HEAVY!) and he just thought it was the coolest thing. The next time we came it was our turn for the Chute, forget about him waiting with the trainer and I going to the other end to call him, He ran right into the Chute and came out the end no problem. Of course I wasn’t expecting it, so I was a little lagged behind and that just made Nubs do a “Look at me!!!!!!” dance, tongue hanging out as far as it can be.

So the first night of Agility class was great. Nubs really enjoys the tasks and loves having so many people just in awe of him. I was asked so many times how old he was and just told that he was so beautiful. I guess because I’ve owned him for so long now that I no longer see that aura that he has, but it’s times like these that I am reminded about how special this dog is, and how much of a clown he is.

Next week: A-frame, Tire jumps, Curved Tunnels, and the Table. This will be interesting.

Nubs? Who is that?

What can I say about Nubs? Really what can I say? I should have started a blog a long time ago, but now with Nubs starting weight pulling soon, agility classes, and with summer coming soon (not soon enough though) I guess it's time to start one.

Who is Nubs you ask? Why he is my 2 day shy of 3 years old Pit Bull.
He was a rescue that I found at my local shelter after I put my last dog Carter down. He wasn't a fighting case, abuse case, ot really anything major like that. His owner had given him up after he found out he was going to Iraq for 18 months and no one in his family was willing to take him for that time. So no, he's not a "Fight dog to Love dog" story or anything interesting like that, but like many dogs in the shelter system, he just was a victim of "unforeseen" circumstances.

He came to me with many fears though. I mean I couldn't even walk him down the road without some new object freaking him out. I remember my first walk with him. I use to live by this wonderful walking/biking path that stretched the whole length of lower Michigan, and if followed can take you to the Mississippi river or Upstate New York. You have to go under a few overpasses and Nubs froze as we got close to it. He just freaked out. It took about 10 to 15 mins to get him to walk under it, but from that moment on, life was different. While he was still (and still is sometimes but very rarely) randomly scared of things, his trust in me was so strong that he could overcome any fear in minuets.

So yes, this Blog is about Nubs, Myself, and the stories We have had, or will have. I hope you enjoy the stories and maybe the next time you are out at your local shelter, think twice before you walk past that Pit Bull's cage without looking.

"Please won't you give me a chance?"