Dexter is a 3.5 year old, American Bulldog mix who weighs about 65lbs. He is very smart and knows several commands. Dexter will be working on his loose leash walking skills and basic socialization while in our program. He loves nothing more than to snuggle on your lap or under the covers of your bed. He is an active dog and due to his love of running, has to be placed in a home with a fenced in yard.
“You have to understand Dexter has plenty of friends, but he only wants to play with one! I’m out front waiting for another handler to bring Zoey outside to run with Dex. But Khloe shows up, full of energy and play. Full speed, she goes running into Dexter, jumping, nipping at his ears and she even landed on his back after trying to jump on him. But the dude just completely ignored her! He never moved and would just turn his head. So after 5 to 10 minutes, Khloe was taken out back and out comes Zoey. Dex is just waiting for her to come over. Normally, he takes a while to get into play mode, but when Zoey came over he fell straight onto his back and that did it. These two must have played for a cool half hour. So when I took Dex out back we ran into Khloe. Dex was so tired that he laid down and let Khloe run and jump all over him until she was tired!”
“I’m not sure how it all started, but I like it... One of the other handlers is sitting out back with Zoey so I bring my man, Dex, over to see Zoey. Normally Dex ignores her but not this time! When I walked over, Zoey was on her back wiggling around in the grass. Dex walks over and sniffed her a couple of times. He looks at me and sits down. Zoey jumps up to sniff Dexter and backs up. Dexter falls over onto his back and starts squirming around. Naturally, Zoey comes running over and got Dex to wrestle with her nonstop for all of 20 to 25 minutes! I never expected that, but it was nice to have him play like that. So tonight, the plan is to put these two together again to see if they’ll play. Keep your fingers crossed, Dex needs a friend.”
I think my man Dexter was playing hard to get. Khloe, the boxer-mastiff mix, loves Dex. She goes crazy every time she sees him and wants to play. She tries jumping on him, meanwhile the dude is running away. Finally Khloe tires of the game and that's when old Dex pounces on her! They're playing for a few minutes and the dude goes weirdo again and hides behind me. I mean really hides! He's peeking around me to see where she is and then he would go to the opposite side. When I step aside, Dex takes off full-speed in the opposite direction. I figured he might not want to play any more but when I tried to take him back inside, he starts pulling in Khloe's direction.
As the saying goes, "Don't wake a sleeping bear." Well, I broke that saying down to include Dex. I had him outside, just going nuts over the basketball for about an hour. We come back in and the dude is dead tired. After about 10-15 minutes my neighbor comes in bouncing a ball. Dex jumps straight up from a dead sleep and bolts for the door. That's when everything went bad, all bad... For whatever reason, he didn't realize the door was actually closed. He basically plowed head first into the door, then backing away he runs into the cage, that scared the daylights out of him and he knocks my sneakers down and they hit him in the back. Poor Dex has never moved so fast in his life! So he bolts back up on the bunk, looks at me, his eyes asking, "What just happened?" I can't help laughing. He's looking at the door, the sneakers, then back at me. After a few seconds he climbs back off the bunk to sniff my sneakers, gives me a final look, and lays down. My neighbor pops in to see what all the fuss was about. After I told him, he gives Dex the ball, which delighted Dex, although he demolished it in minutes. #CrackedEggsMakeAnOmelette
In Dexter's mind he's playing, but his body didn't move! There is a boxer-mastiff mix named Khloe, she's crazy about Dex, only he tries to avoid her. I'm taking dude outside to get some exercise when we run into Khloe. Right away, she's going crazy running and jumping all over Dexter. She's doing the play bow, licking his face and trying to entice him to play. But nope, Dexter wasn't having any of it. At first, he just stood still, then he would walk away, hide behind me, but once she stopped licking his face, he would walk over and give her a nudge to get her attention again. She goes back to jumping over the dude and just stands still, tail going 100 mph. Finally, she would quit, he would go over and nudge her, and she would start it all up again... #DontWannaPlayButWantsAttention
I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first, but once I understood, Dex proably thought he hit the lotto! I’m sitting on the bunk & I notice my man pacing back and forth, so I thought he needed to go outside, only when I tried to let him out, he put the brakes on. Usually he’ll try that if he doesn’t want to go back in the cell, not to stay inside the cell! So I let dude back in and he goes pawing at the bottom bunk. I couldn’t figure him out, so I ignored it for a while and jumped back on the top bunk. Again, he starts pacing back and forth, so I jump back down to see what’s what?! Don’t ask me how, but this dude got balls, two toys, what I think was a pack of sardines out of the trash, all stashed under my bunk. How??? I swept under there earlier! So I’m under there tossing everything out, and as I toss it out, dude is picking it up and putting in on his bunk! I’m not sure what he does when I’m gone, but the way his tail was wagging while I pulled that stuff out was killing me! He was so happy with himself. The sad part came when I cleaned it all up. Dexter walked to the end of the bunk and just stood staring under, like he couldn’t believe his stash was gone! #EasyComeEasyGo
So, I thought I had gotten my man Dex a new friend, until he ran from her! Yup Dex ran from little Zoey! She's one of the new dogs to join the program, and cute as a button. But Dex just runs from her! She had been here 2-3 days, so the other handler and I decided they could meet for a few seconds. At first, Dexter was super excited, he runs up sniffing Zoey, nudging her, tail wagging, mouth open. Then it happened, Zoey wanted to sniff Dex. She sniffed his face, but when she went ran towards his butt, he took off and the dude ran behind me!. Then every time she would get close, the dude just kept running. Not a play run, but a "help me" run! I think he knew we were laughing at him and now he refuses to go near Zoey. But that's okay, Dexter is fine to look at other dogs, but doesn't want to be bothered by them. He prefers his peeps!
I kind of feel bad for the little dude, Calvin. I've got my man Dexter out roaming the tier, having him sit every few doors, when the little man, Calvin, spots him and come running for him. Truth be told, I almost went into panic mode. I had put Dex into a "sit/stay" and walked back about 20 feet. Anyway, lil dude Calvin runs full speed into Dex. Old Dex just turns his face away as Calvin is trying to lick him, then nudge him, and then pulls at his tail. My man, Dexter, finally gets fed up with this, stands up, and walks away as slow as a turtle. The other handler starts laughing, which I guess got both Dexter and Calvin excited. Dex takes off running down the tier, and Calvin starts fighting his handler for control of the leash.
My new goal is to get Dexter and Calvin to be closer friends.
I wish ya’ll could see the look of confusion on my man Dexter’s face. For the last three weeks I’ve been trying to teach him to “ask” by sitting and putting his paw on the bunk to jump up. So I move my bunk back up to the top and put his on the bottom. I swear to you, dude got his head cocked to the side, ears perked up, one paw on the bunk, and giving me the look that says, “What just happened here?” But listen, I’m sitting on the top bunk, telling him it’s okay, but he doesn’t move, just looks at me, not sure if he’s allowed up thre or not. So I get down and sit on the bottom bunk, tapped twice, and he jumps up. Now he’s laying on his back, just watching me.
Well, I just got played by my main man, Dex! I took dude outside to get our morning workout. Normally after a few laps, I would let him chase the ball, but this time he was super worked up, so I let homeboy run free. Naturally, he comes back looking like he has been working underground; his face & chest just flat out filthy! I take my man back out front and give him a good bath. Got him so fresh & clean! Here’s where I get played… I had him sit & stay while I untied his leash. It was then that Dex took off on me! I got him to stop once! Dex runs out back, finds the ball and just goes wild! Now he’s already dirty again, so I just let the dude play it out. After 20 minutes he lays down, in the only mud puddle out there! I swear to you, America, this dog was laughing at me! #PlaytimeIsOver!
"Dexter usually loves playing ball and he was going hard at it for like 10 minutes with my neighbor and me on the tier this week. Suddenly, he just disappeared into the cell. I’m thinking he just popped in to get a drink, but I look and he’s laying down. I roll him the ball and he just looks at me. I tried to call him back out, but he just ignored me. Maybe it’s just the heat, or maybe it’s me. Anyway, it is good to see his anxiety dwindling down. He still gets really excited to see the HOPE volunteers or to see a basketball, but he’s doing much better in his cell alone.
Also, this week, he has been hanging out with Calvin. He usually ignores the little dogs, but the past couple of days he has been showing more interest."
“Now listen, I think I told everyone how Dex puts on the brakes when he doesn’t want to go in the cell. I mean dude just comes to a complete stop. And he’s all muscle, so he’s got the brakes of a mack truck. Earlier I’m bringing dude back in, thinking he should be tired. Nope, he hits the brakes on me and all of sudden he decides he wants to go play with Calvin. But I’m trying to convince him to go into the cell. Dexter goes over and lays down in front of Calvin’s cell and now he has Calvin’s attention. Calvin is watching Dexter with a funny look, his head cocked to the side. So I have to lift Dexter up and carry him back to our cell. I glance back at Calvin to find that he has now sprawled out exactly how and where Dexter was, while his handler is trying to get him to go in the cell. #DoggySeeDoggyDo!”
I really wish you could have seen this… I’m trying to take a nap and I was hoping Dexter would want one too. We’ve been outside all morning. I know he’s tired! So while I’m trying to sleep, I keep hearing Dexter just pacing back and forth in the cell. Then he’s stopping at the end of my bunk and putting a paw up, as if he wants to jump up. I move my foot and he’ll put his paw back down and walk away, like he’s unsure if he’s allowed to jump up or not. When I would move or say his name, he would walk away, but then come right back. Finally, he got tired of this weird game, climbed on up and flopped down with me.
“So listen, I get Dexter out back in one of the runs. We must’ve been playing fetch for 20-25 minutes when Trevor and his handler come outside. At first, Dexter didn’t mind, until he saw Trevor catch a ball. It was like he couldn’t believe what he saw! He comes running to me as if he was checking to make sure it wasn’t his ball, then he would run back toward Trevor, to get a second look. So I threw the ball a few more times until Dexter decides, ‘No, he has to have Trevor’s ball.’ Every time the other handler would throw the ball, Dexter would take off like he was going to get it; nevermind that there is a gate between us. I tried to offer him the ball we were playing with, but he would just take it to the opposite end of the run and leave it there, then go back to running after Trevor’s ball. This must’ve gone on for another 20 minutes, despite the fact that he couldn’t actually get to Trevor’s ball. Now the dude is laid out as if he had a really rough day.”
Okay, America, this is not my fault. My neighbor's dog, Trevor, went out for a weekend visit, and he wanted Dex for a while. I'm good with that... Until 'IT' happened again. My neighbor and I were walking on the tier when our favorite dog Dex must've crept out of my cell, into my neighbors. At first, I didn't notice the dude sneak out, but then my went into his cell and screamed! (According to him it wasn't a scream, ha, ha!) But anyway, he walks into his cell to find Dexter laying on his bunk chewing a tennis ball. I go over to the door and say, "Dex, let's go." But instead of jumping down, he just looks at me, then goes back to chewing the ball. I come over and get the ball; my plan was to lure him back into our cell with it. At first it was working, but once he saw I was going into my cell, he turns around and runs back into my neighbor's cell, jumps on the bunk, and rolls on his back. I guess he didn't want the ball, but wanted to stay at the neighbor's. And he's still there while I write this! Maybe he doesn't like that I'm teaching him to bow??
Ever hear the saying, "When the cat's away?" Well, what do dogs do? I'll tell you, they run out back and chase a ball that isn't theirs! Let me explain... I'm working with my man, Dexter, where I would have him sit and stay, then I would run and hide on the other side of the block. Then I call him and he comes running. This worked well for the first few times, until he notices the outside door is open. I'm standing by the phone, dude pauses, looks at me, looks at the door, and takes off. So, I'm thinking, "Well, the chase is on." Nope, Old Dex just walks out back, as if he owns the joint, takes the ball from another handler, and starts ripping around with it. When I catch up to him, he brings me the ball, expecting me to play fetch! Before you ask, yes, yes... I gave in and played. You had to see the look on his face. You would've given in as well.
So my neighbor decided he wanted to watch Dexter while I was out. No problem, until Dexter got confused. I went back to the block and I see Dexter and my neighbor playing on the tier. I mess with the dude for a couple more minutes to tire him out. But now it’s time to go in. Normally when I give Dex the “house” cue, he goes in our cell or his crate. This time he runs into my neighbor’s cell, looks around, and comes running back out. He looks at me, puzzled, then runs into the right cell. But when I walked away, he went right back to my neighbors. And guess what! He is still over there while I write this! #HomeIsWhereTheHeartIsDexter gets a gold star for settling into his crate and not crying like he used to do. His anxiety has lessened and he has been socializing with Reggie.
"I'm 100% sure Dexter is milking this "sick" thing for all it's worth. He has a case of hives, so everyone is walking up to him and petting him, making a big deal, and showing all kinds of concern. So we're sitting on the block, waiting to give the dude a bath. Normally Dex would have to "sit" before being petted. Now the dude was just lying down letting every person that passed by give him belly rubs. If they stopped, he would lift his head and stare at them until they started petting him again. #DontStop"
“Okay, I’ll take this one, it’s on me. I guess we’re sharing bowls now? Normally I give Dexter a little mackerel or tuna fist at night. It helps with his coat, plus, who doesn’t like fish? Anyway, tonight I made a bowl of fish and rice for me, and fisch and kibble for Dexter. But his wasn’t enough. I was out of the cell for two minutes, TWO MINUTES! I get back, dude ate his bowl and mine! My bowl was on the table when I left, when I got back, it was by the door. Dexter was stting on the bottom bunk licking his lips! I picked the bowl up, he had the nerve to jump down, tail wagging (always tail wagging with this one) acting like I’d brought him more. I’ve officially put him in time out. We haven’t spoken since last night.”
"I wasn't jealous, I was only concerned."
For all of last week I had to attend class, so Dex was left with another handler. I'm guessing these dudes have formed some kind of bond. (??) Anyway, I got Dex running the tier and chasing a ball. All was fine and dandy until Dex sees the other dude and goes running over to him. Ole Dex decides the other dude might be more fun! I recall Dex, he comes back to me, drops the ball, and goes running back to dude. So, now I offer him a treat. Don't you know the greedy lil dude runs to me, grabs the treat, and then runs back to the other handler. So I tricked him to come back, when he noticed nothing was in my hand, he took off on me again! Now I'm chasing after him, and that Dex is smart. Instead of running to the other handler, now he runs around the table. Just when I thought I could grab him, he scoots quick back to the cell. When I get there, he's on the bunk, ball in his mouth, tail wagging, and pleased with his new game. So I bring the dude back out, but this time I've leashed him. The second we come back out everyone is laughing and saying, "Aw Dex, he doesn't want you to play with other people!" Now both of my neighbors are teasing me, telling me I got jealous cuz Dexter played with someone else. #NotJealousJustConcerned
P.S. Maybe I was a little bit...
“Okay, I feel kind of bad. This puppy just came in, cute as can be. So I’m missing with the littlest dude, Stewie, while my man Dex is standing at the door with his head cocked to one side, ears up, and a sad look on his face. I’m yelling, “Dex, it’s over. I’ve got Stewie and getting rid of you.” The dude sits down and stares at me. When I walk back to the door he jumps up, runs and brings me the ball, trying to get me to play fetch. I ignore him, so he brings me his bone. When I ignore him again, he just lays down at my feet. Naturally, I gave in and played tug-o-war. But really, I wish ya’ll could’ve seen the look on my dude Dexter’s face while I was with Stewie.
This week I was really impressed with Dexter meeting Stewie. He sat down and waited until I released him. We’ve been working on loose leash walking. I practiced ‘being a tree’ for an hour! Most times he would look back as soon as I stopped. I also did the “change direction” technique, but that doesn’t seem to work as well.”
“Yup, Dexter just got a new friend! Reggie and Dex are forming a friendship. I’ve been working with the other handler to introduce the two for a meet and play. Slow introductions work best with a dog like Dexter, who gets really excited for play. We only let them play for a few minutes. Today we had them outside about 3-4 feet apart and Dexter does his play bow. Then Reggie responds the same. The funny thing was, they just froze for a few moments before they began crawling toward each other. I guess they were waiting to see who would start first? Dexter rolls onto his back and Reggie sniffs the dude, before taking off running. Then Dex jumps up and gives chase, and Reggie would turn and chase Dex. They repeated this performance like 4-5 times. I guess Reggie finally got tired or bored, because he finally walked off. Dex tries play bowing from a distance and then chasing after Reggie, but Reg just sits there like, “Nah, dude, I’m done.” So I hooked up Dexter to take him in and Reggie throws a fit!" #KeepMyFriendOut
Dex gets a gold star this week because, while he already knows his basics without distractions, he has made strides on being more responsive with distractions.
“My plan was to teach Dex how to clean-up, but then it turned into a whole new game. I started by placing my wash bin at one end of the cell, then having Dexter go get the ball. Once he would get to the wash bin, I would give him the “out” command. It worked once or twice, until he realized he could move the bin. What he started doing then is dropping the ball in the bin and nudging it with his nose. I would kick the bin back into place and Dexter would nudge it back. So now he has forgotten about the ball or cleaning anything up. All he wants to do is push the bin. After 5-6 times of us pushing the bin back and forth, I pushed the bin under the bunk and went to grab another toy. Dexter crawls under the bunk and tries to push the bin back out. Every time he would get it close, I would push it back, until he finally came out from under the bunk. He’d had it! He looked at me, grabs the bin and tries to yank it out. Needless to say, I now need a new wash bin and Dexter got a new chew toy.”
2-28-18 "Dexter and I were standing on the tier, waiting to get into the cell, when Trevor and his handler come out. Normally I would let Dexter run over to Trevor and play for a few seconds, but Dexter didn’t wait. He licks his chops, gives a quick glance at me, and bounces off after Trevor without warning. I’ve never seen Trevor move so fast! He darts back into his cell, so Dexter comes back to me. Then Trevor pokes his head out & Dex bounces back. I’m laughing because after Trevor dips back into his cell, Dexter walks away, then stops to look back to see if Trevor came back out. Finally after like three or four cycles, Trevor jumps all the way out, does a play bow, and takes off down the tier. Dexter runs full speed after him. I’m yelling, “Dexter!” The chase is on! Finally, Trevor runs back into his cell and Dexter, who isn’t too far behind, skids into the door. When I catch up to Dexter he is happy, like he’s won the lottery. I guess they started a new game. #Who’sIt?
This week Dexter is learning about going to “place.” To help him lower his anxiety he gets a lot of exercise in the dog yard and out back. To mentally challenge him I let him smell a treat, put it under a bowl, and when he moves the bowl I let him have the treat."
"It started around 8 AM, right around yard out… I’m taking my dude Dexter outside, but today when he sees Trevor he starts pulling toward him and crying. So I figured, “Okay, Dex wants to play with Trevor. I’ll take them both out this afternoon.” I’m trying to bring Trevor into the cage, so I tell Dexter to “Sit/Stay” while I’m taking Trevor’s leash off. I look back and sneaky dude is doing a Scooby Doo crawl to get to us. Trevor takes one look and takes off running, full speed into the cage door, which then bangs out. The crash of the door must’ve scared Dexter, because instead of chasing after Trevor he comes running back to me, between my legs, and sits down. Trevor is out in front now, looking back at us. These dudes are funny.
In other news, Dexter has been slowly introduced to the other dogs and he seems to like Reggie so we’ve increased their playtime a little bit. We are also working on crate anxiety. I lure him into the crate, give him a few treats, and then let him out. I was able to work up to 10 seconds, but if I walk away from the door he freaks out. He does fine in the cell when he’s not crated."
I’m 100% sure Dexter thinks he just won the lottery. I got my man doing a few laps around the block doing our daily meet & greet. So there’s this one guy that just loves Dexter. Here he comes, wanting to play with Dex. I’m trying to tell him we have to go outside so Dexter can go potty. America, you can’t make this stuff up. Homeboy got Dexter on his back, rubbing his belly and Dex is in la-la land, happy as can be. Then the guy stops petting him, so Dex jumps up and without even thinking twice, lifts his leg and lets it rip all over the guys foot. Aww, man! Everyone is laughing and that got Dexter really going. His tail was whipping 100 miles an hour. Now he’s looking like, “What’s next?” I’m caught up in the moment, so I’m laughing and giggling as well. Oh, did I mention the dude Dex is off leash? So when he ran back to the guy he peed on, the dude is chasing Dexter around the table laughing and yelling, "Are you gonna wash these off?” It was a sight to see.
Dexter is a good dude and slowly learning to pay attention to me when we are on a walk together.
Sometimes you gotta know when to hold’em, and when to take off running if you’re Dexter! I’m out front with my man Dexter when Trevor walks by. Dex does this weird thing where he crouches down like he’s stalking Trevor. Once Trevor gets close enough, Dexter pounces, but Trevor wasn’t in a playful mood. At first Trevor tried to run, but Dexter would catch him and knock him over. So three or four times of this, I guess Trevor got tired of running. So he turns and runs full speed into Dexter and puts Dexter on his back, then runs away. I look at Dexter, the dude gets up and sits next to me, looking super sad. Now when he sees Trevor, he turns away. I think Dex is holding a grudge. #PlayNice
“Okay, so today Dexter and I have decided that January 27th will be his birthday from here on out. Since it’s my birthday, why not have them together. So anyway, I’m trying to clean up and get things straight around my cell. My man, Dexter, is sitting on the bunk, watching me. But I’m singing, and dancing, and messing with him. The first few times I would spin around and point at Dexter while I’m singing. So I guess Dexter figured he would get something out of the deal. Now, when I would spin around and point at him, he would go straight down and play dead, like I was doing the ‘bang’ trick. The first few times, I ignored it. But then he pulls this… He rolls over super slow, lays on his back, but his tail is going 100 mph, and he has the saddest look on his face. So I hook the dude up with a few treats, but now the dude is still in the same position, waiting for more treats! #I’veCreatedAMonster”
Dexter gets a gold star this week for playing with Reggie and for learning to walk on a loose leash while inside the block. He has not transferred this skill outside of the building. Good thing we talked about ‘proofing’ at training this past session.
“Okay, I’m sending Dexter to New Orleans to try out for a defensive position! This evening I took him out and I’m trying to teach him to play fetch. I wanted him to get some exercise before the end of the night. Me and another guy are tossing the ball back and forth and having Dexter chase it down. I guess Dexter went into full linebacker mode! I threw the ball to the other guy and Dexter takes off at full speed and tackles the guy to the floor! My dude, Dexter, steps over the other guy like he just sacked the quarterback and then takes off running. The guy that fell is okay, and naturally we all laughed, before spending the next 5 minutes chasing Dexter!
Dexter is settling in well and getting comfortable with his new home. Right now he knows sit, down, stay, place and he's getting pretty good with 'bang' or 'playing dead' but it needs work. We are also working on his loose leash walking.”
"You know how you might meet a person, or dog in this case, and it seems as if you’ve known each other for years? That’s how I feel with my man, Dexter. The dude thinks he knows my routine. When I jump down and put my boots on, he thinks we’re leaving. He’ll climb out of the bottom bunk, tail wagging like crazy, and stare at his leash. One of the coolest things that he has started doing is when I sit on the bottom bunk dude comes running out of the cage and curls up under me. What’s really cool about that is I think he just wants to chill out with me. So now, I put his food bowl on the bottom bunk so he can chill and watch TV with me. The funniest part is how he cocks his head to the side when I change channels.
Dexter is still new here and still adjusting. Sometimes he seems sad and needs a lot of reassurance. In my attempts to help him out I am giving him lots of treats, and praise, and rewarding him for simple stuff."
"Yup, this just happened… So over the last 3-4 days Dexter has been showing a lot of interest in Trevor. As you may know, Trevor is our mutual ice breaker. His calm demeanor allows him to meet all our dogs. Anyway, we run into Trevor and his handler outside. We’re standing about 7-8 feet apart when Dexter decides to do the play bow and they take off running in circles. So now Trevor and Dexter are both running like 100 mph in circles, kicking up snow, but neither decides to make contact for 4-5 laps. Finally on the way in Dexter runs full speed into Trevor’s butt. Trevor runs away, then looks back at Dexter and sits down as if to say, 'No! Bad dog Dexter!'”
“I’ve only known Dexter for 2-3 days, but you would think it was longer. Oh yeah, let me tell you ‘bout Dexter. He’s an American Bulldog & pit mix, white with blue-grayish spots. He almost looks like the dog from ‘Lil Rascals,’ only Dexter doesn’t have any eye patches. When you first see the dude, you know what I mean.
So last night I had to remake the bottom bunk for Dexter. He doesn’t seem too excited about going into his new ‘house’ [his crate], but he likes the bottom bunk so far as I can tell. Like I said, I just met the dude, so we’ll keep you posted. I haven’t done much training except leash walking. He seems to know sit, stay and shake. Right now he is reacting when he sees other dogs. I’m not sure what his reactions mean yet, so I will wait a few weeks before I introduce him to the other dogs.”