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Blaster Update: Dec. 21, 2005

Note: We at Chinook Winds Greyhound Rescue are in the process of consulting an animal behaviorist to see if we can learn more ways to help Blaster and understand his inconsistent behavior better. Following isn't so much an update on Blast, but some observations from his foster mom:

Sometimes I think Blaster is timid, sometimes I think shy and maybe both and other times he does act like a little spook. He is just so inconsistent. I can touch and rub and play with him this minute but not in the next.

He never tolerates restrictive contact such as arms around, reaching under or over or getting too close as if to snuggle. He just escapes the fastest way he knows how but he has never even growled, snapped or made an aggressive sound or move towards anyone. Sometimes when out on a walk another dog's leash will come around his butt and as soon as that happens he is jumping all over.

If Blast did get away there would be no catching him. I can't even get his leash on consistently. Tonight I got his leash on but then he got out in the backyard and wouldn't even come to me. I just had to wait it out. He'll walk with anybody I hand him over to at the walks but he doesn't want them to touch him.

I am just starting to encourage him to eat out of the crate, again he will and then he won't. He is always looking around and aware of all 4 sides of him at all times.

He almost always runs past us, skitters in place on the hardwood and hit his crate so hard tonight with Gracie, the greyhound I'm dogsitting, on his tail (after his leash) that he slammed the door shut on himself.

He doesn't trust the hand brush yet and will no longer trust me to put a coat on. He'd rather hang himself. He is food motivated until he feels threatened and then he shuts down.

He loves Gracie, although she threatens to take his face off. He loved to play with Movane, the foster greyhound I had, outside but inside when Movane was on the move he would just stay in his crate.

We still can't get our faces near to him, he just goes sideways and is out of reach - looking at him or not. If he feels the least bit threatened he is plastered up against the back wall of his crate or tries to hang himself on the leash and he will pull and twist and buck like a bronc.

He did do some vibrating at the M&G but he did settle down. He preferred to be back in the second row where he could watch the action but not be in close proximity. Yet, he only tucked his tail once. Mostly it just hung straight down.

He is just so different than other shy dogs I've fostered. As fearful as they were of the world they never turned down human contact and it even became their safe haven.

On the other hand Blaster sometimes has the most playful side to him and the most beautiful smile. He loves his stuffies inside and his kong or oversized tennis ball outside. He loves to play with his mouth and will nudge me from behind. He will sneak up on strangers to get a sniff but backs up almost immediately if they go to touch him. I have had my dog walker now for 5 weeks, in 3 days per week and the most she can do is rub the side of his head from a distance.

His comfort zone is definitely outside as opposed to inside. Maybe this is because he knows he can get away. There is such an obvious change in him and his comfort level when those 4 walls of the house enter the picture.

He will always need a crate and at night he sleeps in his xpen - albeit some nights with the xpen open as I can't entice him to come to the bedroom. He doesn't like to be in the livingroom by himself but won't come to the bedroom until he can sneak in when he thinks everyone is sleeping.

Blast is such a sweet and gentle soul. It is funny to watch him play with the others outside and try to be the "top" guy. He'll growl and get his hackles up and put his paws up on their backs - doesn't go over well. He is a quick learner though and knows the word "NO".

He does love to go in the van and is the first in line to go for a ride.

November 17 :

Blast has been with us 3 weeks now and he is making greyt strides. He still skitters around and gives us a wide berth when we move about the house and yard but he is much more receptive to being touched and petted. He even gets a little jealous at times and will barge right in for a rub or for that post meal treat ahead of the resident hounds. He gets real excited, tail wagging when I come home from work and will even run to the door when the man of the house arrives home. At present he is still more comfortable with females than males but this is improving. He's getting quite brave with the dog walker that comes in to let everyone out at noon each day.

Blast is not totally oblivious to his surroundings. He can play the "monkey-see, monkey-do" game with the best of them. He figured out pretty quickly that the couch was far more comfortable than a dog bed, although he has since decided that the recliner end is just a little too small !

Blast made his debut at the greyhound walk on Sunday. He was walked by several people, both male and female, and although he wasn't sure of their touch, did allow a few people to touch him. He walked along beside them very nicely on leash. Blast will make his debut at some of the M/G's this weekend. We won't be sticking around long, just a pop in and out for the exposure to sights and sounds.

Blast is a very sweet and gentle boy. We eagerly look forward to the snippets of personality he chooses to show us from time to time.

Thursday, November 3

Blast got up this morning in a very brave mood. He ran all over the house, each time down the hallway changing stuffies in his mouth like he just couldn't get over this new world of toys :-))

He is play bowing at me, shaking his head and play snapping his jaws and giving little barks to invite me to play. He gave me a big smile and came right into my face twice today to see what I had eaten for breakfast. He then does a rapid turn about and takes off racing. It's a good thing he has brakes and my little house has walls.

When we were outside he barked at Lidia to leave his froggy alone - when asked what that was all about, he picked up his frog and brought it to me. I took it right out of his mouth and off into the house he trotted.

He comes in to the computer room and as of this morning nudges the arm of my chair with his long needle to get my attention. He discovered that the bathroom is the cuddle room.

This is a greyt day in Blaster's world !!

Sunday, October 30

Just a short update on our Special needs Boy. He is doing fabulous.

He will rest his head on me now while I rub his ears and he'll gaze into my eyes - unsure but agreeable to being touched.

We have this game we play where I massage him while I talk to him and this game ends with me rubbing my hands down over his hips and butt very quickly while telling him he gets cookies. Now I would never be able to walk up to him and touch his butt but he allows gentle contact - MAJOR breakthrough I hope.

He will eat out of our hands and is getting liver-heart cookie addicted. He's liking his training sessions. He still won't let my husband pet him but he can touch him. He is curious when the others are being cuddled and hugged and comes right up to see what all the excitement is about. Beth (greyhound) got him playing in the yard today and I had him chasing the tennis ball. He goes in and out now off-leash with or without the other dogs and is much less of a klutz on the stairs. He really is still very puppy-lanky.

He's learned there are beds outside the crate that are mighty comfy and he is here now curled up beside me at the computer.He is greyt on his walks and doesn't get spooked or fearful of loud noises/barking. I can put his leash on without issue and he even had a coat on last night. I thought the over-the-head might be a problem but NO. I must admit the coat makes him walk slower. He is very aware of anything happening behind him - he just stops and looks back. He's eating well and stools are just starting to form. It was hilarious to watch him compete with the dog in the shiny dishwasher for his breakfast. we did move his bowl.

He discovered stuffies and squeakies but have had to limit access as Lidia (greyhound) thinks they should be hers as does Beth.

All-in-all for just a few days he has improved immensely. He still has a long way to go but he is going to be a super guy. I'm looking forward to getting him out on the greyhound walks and maybe a M/G after he's recovered from his neuter.

Wednesday, October 26th

Blast arrived in his new foster home Wednesday, October 26th, afraid of the world and everything in it. We couldn't touch him anywhere, especially his hind quarters. He would just tuck his hips in and almost do back flips or hang himself to get away. He didn't do stairs and seeing as we couldn't touch him, it made it very difficult to get him in and out of the house. He wouldn't follow the other greys and wasn't interested in leaving his crate. The one thing he would let us do was crawl into his crate to put his leash on and take his leash off, never a growl. We had to let him drag his leash around the yard once we got it on him for the first couple of days. He thought that everything with a square corner was a tree so house training became quite interesting. He was so skittish that we couldn't even use a firm voice for correction. The one thing that he did learn quickly was how to surf the counters and the stove. It was a few days before we were comfortable enough to even take him out of the yard.

We could see in his eyes from the beginning that although his whole world had been turned upside down, he very much wanted to trust us. We knew from being in his crate with him that he didn't have a fear-aggressive bone in his body. Blast soon let us know what a rewarding trip we were going to have together showing him the world.

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