Top 10 Reasons to Add Georgia to your Family!

Want to hear something crazy? We are approaching Georgia’s ONE YEAR anniversary of rescue. Can you believe it? We certainly cannot.

It was a cold December afternoon, just a few days before Christmas, when LCPO heard of a little red pit bull with newborn pups, slated to be euthanized at a heart-sticking shelter in Georgia. After scrambling to bring them all to safety, the rescue has worked diligently to bring mom and babies back to good health. While all of her pups have found wonderful, forever homes, poor Georgia seems to have been overlooked. Honestly and truly, I cannot think of ONE reason someone wouldn’t want to adopt her. She is about as close to perfect as it gets. (Don’t tell Tonka I said so.) However, I thought I would be proactive, and deliberately tell you all just why we think she is so wonderful.

10. Grooming. Georgia has a shiny, sleek coat. What does this mean for you? She is a VERY LOW shedding pooch, so that means less vacuuming, brushing, and blanket washing! You won’t be carrying little ‘pieces’ of her (hair) around on all of your clothes and coats, either. She feels like velvet under your hands, and is a festive red and white! She also LOVES baths, and sits quietly in the tub for them.

Sitting patiently for her bath

Sitting patiently for her bath

9. Highly Trainable. Georgia is a people-pleaser, and is very motivated by food rewards. This, coupled with her intelligence, makes her a great candidate for easy training and obedience!

Training session with Foster Dad

Training session with Foster Dad

8. Low-maintenance activity level. A short game of fetch and one walk a day are more than enough to keep Georgia’s mind and body active, which is rare for a dog of her age and breed. This makes her perfect for a busy family or college student. She also walks well on her harness and leash without pulling.

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7. Cuddling. Georgia is a professional cuddle bug, who loves nothing more than a lazy Sunday spent cuddling on the couch. She does a great job of finding the perfect spot to snuggle in close beside you!

Cuddling with her favorite.

Cuddling with her favorite.

6. Cats. Georgia lives very successfully with cats! She doesn’t bother or try to chase them, but is content to let them lay down beside her, or even climb on top of her!

Cat's got your tail?

Cat’s got your tail?

5. Training. Georgia is already 100% house-trained and crate-trained. This will ensure a seamless transition into your family, without the worry of stained carpets and chewed furniture that might come with a younger pup! She has even had some professional training classes.

"Look into my eyes, and fall in love."

“Look into my eyes, and fall in love.”

4. Travel Companion. Georgia is very calm and quiet in the car, content to fall asleep in the back seat. She would make a great co-pilot for someone who travels often! At the same time, she has been great for our dog-sitters during extended trips.

Look at all of those smiles!

Look at all of those smiles!

3. Age. At approximately 2.5 years old, Georgia is of the perfect age, as she is young enough to still be spunky and silly, but old enough that she understands most of what is expected of her as a family pet.

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2. People. Georgia absolutely adores people! Although her appearance might seem intimidating to intruders, she would only try to lick your guests to death! So while she probably would not excel as a guard dog, this makes Georgia a great candidate for an adopter that enjoys entertaining or has children. She loves all people, male or female, young or old, from the next door neighbor to the vet!

Georgia loves children

Georgia loves children

1. Mental health. A dog like Georgia is the perfect prescription for your mental health! With Georgia in your home, the stress of a bad day never lasts for long. She is such a clown, enjoying a quick bout of the zoomies each night, and even happy to dress up for Halloween. With her pittie smile and kissable-huggable-squeezable self, you can’t help but be happy when you are around this sweet girl!

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This Old Dog Learns New Tricks!

(Meaning me, people. Gia is only 2.5, after all!)

This past Saturday, we had the unique opportunity to experience a private training session with Debby McMullen of Pawsitive Reactions, LLC. I had never before hired a dog trainer, and so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect! I feel like I put my whole heart into training and socializing our dogs. I do a lot of research and am constantly researching to learn new techniques and understand canine behavior more thoroughly. I am always open to learning more, but I also hoped that the trainer would be able to recognize that we were very invested in the well-being of our dogs. Once Debby walked in the door, all of these fears were cast aside.

When Debby and Georgia met, somehow Georgia was immediately on her best behavior, and I am pretty sure that the two fell instantly in love. (Although, it probably didn’t hurt that she brought homemade liver treats and peanut butter along.)

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We got right to business, working on Georgia’s jumping. Of course, she was showing off for Debby and wasn’t jumping as much as she usually does on newcomers, but she did offer a few leaps & licks when Debby stopped lavishing her with attention. Debby taught us that rather than directly acknowledge Georgia’s misbehavior by correcting her with ‘No,’ ‘Down,’ or pulling on her collar, we were to turn around. This would, essentially, remove the ‘reward’ (our attention) until she was displaying more appropriate behavior, like a sit or down. At the same time, it would stop the jumping in its tracks. With repeated practice the past few days, we are definitely noticing an improvement in more appropriate greetings.

We are taking applications, however, for local friends that would like to help us with this issue! We need new people to stop over to meet Miss Gia, and not come near her until she is sitting and waiting patiently. The friends and family that have met her have been so kind, but simultaneously, are always telling us ‘Oh, it’s okay! Don’t worry!’ when she jumps up on them. Instead, we need someone who understands that this is only perpetuating her lack of manners. It is one thing to train her not to jump on us, but we need her to understand that this behavior won’t be tolerated towards anyone, including newcomers.

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Once Debby had given us some new tools for the jumping issue, we began talking about Georgia’s basic obedience. Georgia is a very kind dog, and she is always looking to please. When you ask her to sit, or lay down, she is very willing to do so. However, Debby explained to us that we want to teach our dogs to ‘offer’ these good behaviors, rather than always having to request them first. This way, they will learn to make better decisions on their own, and be rewarded for them. This was the main technique that Debby wanted us to utilize was, and she called it ‘capturing’. She stressed that we must notice and mark all behavior that we want to see more of, and pay less attention to the behaviors that we want to see reduced. To put it simply, reward the behaviors that we like, and ignore the ones we don’t! Any attention, even more negative recognition like ‘No!’ is still conveyed to the dogs as attention.

Debby explained that the capturing technique was especially applicable when handling the interactions between the dogs. She complimented us for completing the two week de-stress prior to Georgia’s introduction to our dogs, as well as taking their interactions very slowly so as not to create tension between them. She wanted us to be sure to recognize any positive body language between Georgia and our perma-dogs, however discrete. This could be as minor as moving closer to one another, and as major as tail wagging and licking. It is important to note that the dogs have NEVER displayed aggressive, or even threatening, behaviors towards one another. However, we notice Georgia avoiding the other dogs occasionally, or stiffening when they bump into her accidentally. In this case, Debby recommends ‘splitting’. This is using our own body language to interrupt inappropriate behavior, such as a ‘mom stance’ (hands on hips or arms crossed, looking down at the dog). Not only does this communicate to the dog that their behavior is unacceptable, but it also shows all of the dogs that we as the owners can be trusted to protect and lead them all. Additionally, we are not using a stern voice to correct these interactions, which would only add more tension to the situation.

Cuddling with her favorite.

Cuddling with her favorite.

As per Debby’s direction, as well as advice from the team at LCPO, we will be doing more ‘tethering’. This means securing the dogs by leash to an immovable object, and then having them lay on their own mat or blanket. We will reward good behavior with high value objects such as bully sticks or stuffed kongs. Not only do these serve as a reward while the dogs are in the presence of one another, but they are also are exercising their minds, and recognizing that they are safe when together.

The session culminated with Debby expressing to us that she thinks with more socialization, Georgia should do just fine in a home with another dog, particularly if that other dog is a male. However, she also suggested taking her to some group training classes to work on her socialization. This would enable her to be around other dogs in a controlled setting, without the pressure to interact with them. Our goal will be to reward all positive attention to other dogs, as well as any time she looks to us for information on how to handle herself. Similarly to her interactions with our own dogs, this will show her that her humans are the ones that will keep her safe, and that she does not need to resort to proactive action on her part if she feels threatened.

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Private training is not something that is affordable on every budget. For our scenario, I picked up a few extra hours of nannying and riding lessons, and certainly appreciated a generous discount from Debby. She has a love for pit bull dogs, and anyone that wants to help them, and so she offered us a discount in additional time. I really recommend Debby’s service, or the service of any trainer that utilizes positive reinforcement, to offer you a one-time evaluation of your training methods.

I am happy to have been able to share our experiences with all of you, and I hope that you have taken a few tips from our lessons with Debby!

Busy as bulls! (pit bulls, that is)

Woo! It has been an exhausting few days around here. This weekend, we enjoyed time with friends, did some Christmas shopping & decorating, took lots of family walks, and even had a visit from a special guest… a local celebrity dog trainer! (We will save that last bit for tomorrow’s post, however.)

There is ALWAYS time for snugglin'

There is ALWAYS time for snugglin’

The hectic schedule didn’t end there. Today began with an early morning trip to the vet. Georgia was due for her rabies shot, and had also been itching more than usual. She was an angel for her exam, took the shot like a pro, and shared lots of tail wags and kisses with the staff. Of course, they just couldn’t get enough of our girl. We received a few comments on what a BIG girl she was (don’t they know it’s just plain rude to comment on a lady’s weight? Really… 75 pounds is not that bad!) We only encountered one other dog while we were there, and while Georgia didn’t seem entirely eager to investigate the stranger, she stayed relaxed and quiet. We also have a new anti-yeast shampoo to try, in order to combat the itchies, so we will keep you posted on that!

After our adventures at the vet were through, we took a trip to Petsmart. Georgia’s previous foster had warned that Georgia could get uncomfortable at public adoption events, so she hasn’t been out and about much since coming to live with us. I figured that a quiet Monday morning would be as good a time as any to give it a try, and so I hooked up her harness and had a buddy for my shopping trip. I armed myself with lots of treats to reward positive behavior. Again, we didn’t meet too many other dogs during our excursion, but Georgia was a model mutt, even sitting politely when presented with a treat from the check out girl.

Georgia does so well in the car. She loads quietly, waiting for her cue to step up. She even waited patiently while I ran in to a store and then the post office. She was content to sleep in the back seat for most of our travels, checking in with me occasionally for a pet or a kiss. Can’t you just imagine her as your permanent co-pilot?!

And there is always time for play!

And there is always time for play!

Please stop by tomorrow for a big fat post with the full run-down of our time with a special dog trainer. We will share our new-found ‘expertise’ with all of you… and don’t worry, it’s free only to our readers! 😉