Tag Archives: Progress

Cooper’s Progress Report

When you plant a sapling in your front yard, it’s hard to notice as you walk past it every day just how much it’s grown over time.  Even if you water it daily and prune it’s branches to keep it healthy, one day before you know it you have a fully grown tree in front of you.

In much the same way, the humans at Foster House opened our eyes one day and noticed that our little Cooper-sapling has done quite a bit of developing over the past five months. 

It’s hard to imagine that the dog responsible for destruction like this is the same dog who now jumps up on the couch and settles in for a snooze when we start going through our “getting ready to leave the house” routine.

It’s hard to believe that the dog who couldn’t control his bladder for more than a couple hours hasn’t had an accident in months.  So how’d we do it?

Since I work so close to home, I’ve been able to come home in the middle of the day for a potty  break.  We found that this was the key to Cooper’s potty training success.  We think that when he realized he wouldn’t have to wait all day, it gave him the confidence to be able to hold it until mom got home at lunchtime.  And as the accidents decreased, so has the destruction.  We realized that when we would come home to a mess, there was rarely one without the other. 

The irony of Cooper’s choice in reading material is not lost on us here.

We would rarely find a chewed up remote control or dog bed without a puddle on the floor.  But there was never a puddle on the floor without some matching destruction of some sort.  Talk about a forehead slap moment – Cooper was only destructive when he was frustrated that he couldn’t get outside to do his business!  He knew all along where we wanted him to go, and when  he couldn’t get there, he’d redecorate.  Duh.

We’ve been so pleased with his progress that we’ve been experiementing with leaving him along longer and longer.  There has been some backsliding here and there when we’d come home to a shredded book or chewed up remote control, but Cooper has done outstanding with Holding It.  And as he continues to grow out of puppy-hood and we continue working on him, we’re anticipating more success in other areas as well.  

Cooper my man, you such an amazing dog, and we are so, so proud of you.  You are going to be the perfect companion for a very lucky family. I cannot wait to see what lightbulb will switch on for you next!  

If you’re interested in adding Cooper to your family, please fill out an application with Agape Animal Rescue.



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Last week, Cooper completed the Basic Family Dog Manners class with Dogs & Kat.  He passed his skills test with flying colors – We’re so proud of him!

Of course as a doting Foster Momma, I had to take some video of Cooper’s progress.  First, here is he working on “stay.”

Next, we practiced the beginnings of what could be turned into “roll over.”  For this task, we put Cooper in a “down,” then held the treat close to his nose and moved it back around his head.  Some dogs are naturals at this and go the rest of the way, completing the “roll over” on their own…we are not quite there yet.

Finally, the crown jewel – four on the floor, or “greeting a friendly stranger.”  This is one of the ten tests that dogs have to pass in order to get their Canine Good Citizenship certification, and Cooper – well, see for yourself:

Trust me, I was beaming with pride.  Cooper did so awesomely amazing in his class, I couldn’t be more proud of him.  He’s one smart cookie, extremely food motivated and loves to please his people – a training trifecta!

However, we are far from done with Cooper’s schoolin’ – he still needs to learn how to keep his nerves in check.   So, next on the docket is Relaxed Rovers, also with Dogs & Kat.  In Relaxed Rovers, “we work on helping dogs learn to be calm and focused on their people in distracting environments.  This class is for dogs who have a hard time being calm, whether due to excitement, reactivity with other dogs or people (especially when on leash), anxiety, or just plain lack of focus.” I am extremely excited for this class – it’s just what the doctor trainer ordered for young Coop, and I’m looking forward to sharing updates on his progress. 

If you’re interested in adding Cooper to your family, please contact Agape Animal Rescue.



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Party Animal?

A few weeks ago, we had a little gathering at Flaherty Foster House, in which the canine (as well as human) population of our house doubled.  Our friends brought over their two awesome dogs, Bailey (a senior Chow mix) & Libby (a spunky Border Collie mix). 

Boy if I thought getting two dogs to cooperate for pictures was tough….this is the only successful attempt at getting all four dogs in the same frame.  But, it is proof that Tucker survived the Invasion of the Black Dogs:

For those of you following along, you know what a big deal this was for Tucker.  Not only did Tucker tolerate meeting more than one other dog at the same time, but he did so without barking nervously or freaking out at all.  We made sure Libby and Bailey arrived on their respective leashes, then we met them outside so everyone could do the Butt Sniff Dance – bringing Oscar along for moral support, of course.  Once that went well and the dogs seemed cool with each other, we went into the backyard for some more sniffing and exploring.  Once everyone was happy and comfortable, we all went inside for our favorite fall Saturday tradition: college football.

The only time Tucker got a little nervous was during a little attempt at romance by Bailey (hey, we don’t judge).  I don’t know that Tucker’s ever been dominated by another (larger) dog before, but I do know that Tuck didn’t turn his back on Bailey again for the rest of the night! 

Tucker did absolutely amazing.  He played with the other dogs a bit, and found out that other laps can be just as comfy to snuggle on as his current foster People’s are.  But the most amazing part of the day was just how exhausted all the dogs seemed – at one point, all four dogs were passed out on their respective people or dog beds.  Tucker, however, opted for the one spot where no other dog could reach him:

Even though he did amazing, and got tons of praise and “I’m so proud of you” snuggles from Foster Mom, the ever-present snarl tells me that Tuck would have been just fine without his new “friends.”

It’s OK, buddy.  You may not have fallen puppy love with Bailey or Libby, but I could not be more proud of your performance.  If we had tried this three weeks ago, I’m sure the outcome would not have been nearly as serene.  As much as I’d love for you to become BFF’s with every dog you meet, I will settle for passive indifference – well done, sir!

To adopt Tucker, fill out an application at Agape Animal Rescue.



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Sometimes the Secret to Success is Knowing When to Ask for Help…

Well Tucker you’ve done it.  You’ve stumped foster parents. 

We admit, we had thought pretty highly of our dog training abilities – after all, most everyone who meets him tells us that Oscar is one of the best behaved, well trained dogs they know.  He may not know a ton of fancy tricks, but he won’t jump on you, bolt for the door when it’s open or steal food off your plate.  Our success with Oscar had us feeling pretty good.  “Of course we can foster.  We can train dogs, just look how well we did with Oscar…he’s the most perfectest dog in the entire world!”

Turns out Oscar had us spoiled.  We just happened to seriously hit the puppy jackpot with Oscar’s temperament, which was impossible to predict the day we sprung him from the shelter.  He’s super smart, obedient and well….quite frankly, lazy.  Even in his puppy days, Oscar was quite content to laze around on the couch – once we threw the “no dogs on the couch” rule out the window, that is.

Tucker, on the other hand…we’re stumped.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s come extremely far, and is doing GREAT at a lot of things.  However there are some habits that we just can’t seem to break on our own.   He still gets nervous around other dogs, especially in multiple dog situations.  He’s, let’s just say “vocal” towards the dogs on the other side of the fence in our backyard.  Oh, and there’s this:

Enter: Cathy, a foster and trainer used by Agape from time to time.  So tomorrow, Tucker is headed away to spend about a week with Cathy and her pack for some intensive doggie boot camp training. 

We’re sure going to miss the crap out of that little nugget, but I’m choosing to approach this week without him as a dry run to mentally prepare myself for what remains our ultimate goal: to get him adopted, pat him on the head and send him off to live with his People, forever. 

Make me proud, buddy. 

For information on adopting Tucker, visit Agape Animal Rescue.


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Tricks for Treats

Happy Halloween from Foster House!  This weekend we thought we’d let Tucker show off a little, and share some of the tricks he’s learned to earn his treats:




Keep in mind, this was a dog who, less than four short weeks ago, didn’t know his name, had absolutely zero training, and was an overall nervous wreck.  I’d say he’s gained some confidence, wouldn’t you?

  To adopt this little Einstein, contact Agape Animal Rescue.



Filed under Our Foster Journey