Minder Nikki Adopts a Pup
A few months ago, Minder Shannon found a pup running on the streets of South Philly. The pup was underweight and had matted fur (that had to be shaved off. See below.) Shannon posted her to all of the local boards / shelters and after a few days it became apparent that her old owners were not actively looking for her. Minder Nikki immediately stepped up to foster her and we all knew what was coming. (Because Nikki is an absolute sucker for feisty, little pups.)
Nikki named her Chicken and gave her a forever home. We sent Nikki and her wife, Carolyn, a few questions about life with Chicken. Nikki has been pushing for a dog for years, while Carolyn was more hesitant in this regard. I was so excited to interview Carolyn becuase I knew where Nikki stood on adding a pup. Carolyn says, "Nikki is pretty much as obsessed as you'd guess. She's a little more laid back than she is with her clients, though. If anything the surprise would be how obsessed I am. I grew up as a cat person. But Chicken has won me over - she is the sweetest."
On settling into the good life:
She really settled into a routine super fast. If anything I think she's less well behaved now because she knows we won't get rid of her. She was housebroken when we got her and can hold it for a long time (literally one accident since we got her and it was because guests stuffed her with treats all day and then she ran up and down the stairs trying to tell us and we ignored her.) She walks pretty well on a leash. She loves the cats. The only thing she really does that's new is that we let her sleep in bed two nights during the cold snap, and now when we try to put her in her crate she hides under the bed, then tries to get on the bed, and gives us the SADDEST eyes in the universe.
Chicken is really a poster child for consistent training. She absolutely loves being trained and gets so excited if we are practicing a different command. She has a hard time meeting new people and does tend to get a little nippy. She's never actually hurt anyone and basically just gives a warning bite but it's obviously not ideal. I read a bunch of stuff online about it and it's all about teaching them impulse control and also doing positive counterconditioning.
It's amazing how much of a difference it makes. If we have a walk where we're training her the whole time and giving her treats and praise and doing commands, she's so much more in control and happy. If we let up on it for a few days you can see that she gets more anxious and less in control. We've also pushed pretty hard socializing her in new scenarios and it seems to help that we haven't given up or isolated her. She's come a long way in two months and is much better with meeting new people now.
Sending huge thanks to Carolyn and Nikki for not only giving Chicken a safe and loving home, but also for being so dedicated to her social needs. Chicken has the best days of her life ahead because of their love, training and care. Best wishes guys!