Archive for the ‘training tips’ Category

Forget about Black Friday….it’s all about BARK SATURDAY

November 25, 2013


2 Bark Saturday-2

The Story of Shalom

October 5, 2013

Most of our blogs are about dogs that are available for adoption.  THIS blog is the story of Shalom, who has been in Dawg Squad for almost 11 years.

Shalom came into Dawg Squad as an adorable 5 month old puppy.

shalom baby

Her first day at adoptions, she bit a volunteer.    “Well”, we thought, “that was weird”.   Not so weird.    She was adopted out 3 times and was returned every time for “behavioral problems”.

Yea…Shalom has a few screws loose.

She can stare at a blank wall and bark at nothing.

shalom sponge bob good

She loves to watch television – her favorite show is “Sponge Bob, Square Pants”.

She will only eat her food out of a ceramic bowl…no stainless steel for this girl.

We have a double diner for water in the kitchen – she will only drink out of the right side bowl.

shalom hat

But how can you NOT love a dog that lets you dress her up in silly hats?

shalom and stuffy

Or look so cute with a stuffy.

shalom at the beach

She does love Dog Beach.

No humans bother her there and Shalom is good with other dogs….mostly.  It’s just humans she is not fond of.

So Shalom is here to stay!  

And we don’t think we drew the short straw!        How can you NOT love this face.


The Zada Chronicles Part Two….by Kelley Derr

August 6, 2013

Still separated from the rest of the house on Day 2, I made lots of trips into and out of Zada’s room.

She always cringed as I walked in, but she’d inch over for some attention as soon as I got down next to her.  Later in the day I was treated to a few small licks and a tiny, tiny wag – just the little tip of her tail – but it was there!    And later in the evening I got a skyward-pointed belly with a silent but understood request for rubs.

My heart has broken many times for Zada – it is obvious that she’s not just been ignored and neglected – but my heart shattered for her at about 3:00 AM on Night 2 when I heard her crying from our bedroom.  Not a request to go outside for a bathroom break, but a deep, dark nightmare from which I had to gently shake her awake.  Perhaps it was of her many pups being taken from her, perhaps from being disappointed by a person she loved, perhaps being physically intimidated or worse; only Zada knows.

On Day 3 I put a radio in her room for some soothing company; she likes classical music!

And on Day 4 we decided a together-but-separate walk in our neighborhood with the other dogs was in order. Only a few moments in and Zada was falling in stride with Nessie and it was obvious she wanted to be next to her.  Not wanting to push anyone too far on the first try, Zada spent the rest of the day in her Mozart-filled mudroom.   But that evening Daniel was certain she was lonely and would enjoy everyone’s company, so…another short walk around the block and then into the back yard and then (gasp) off-leash.

And…this dog is a faker.  

OK, not really; her pain and sadness are very real and I don’t want to diminish whatever it is she’s been put through.  But this dog is a dog!  Joyous day!

It was at that point that we started to see the real Zada – a big, burly girl who has found comfort in her new pack.  There was a lot of running, wagging, and jumping and zero growling.  For the past several days, Zada has had the run of the house and although she still darts from room to room and is unsure of her surroundings, she is only sweet, quiet, and affectionate.

Our trip to adoptions on Saturday was a huge success; she was friendly and dare I say outgoing with some of the other volunteers?

zada adoptions 1

zada at adoptions

But my favorite news to report is that Zada has, with the help of Nessie, discovered MY bed, and I caught her stretched out on it in full-frog position.

zada on bed

That’s how far she’s come in 7 days.  I would have settled for simply walking on her own, but she has given us so much more.

The Zada Chronicles….by Kelley

July 29, 2013

My boyfriend and I (and our own personal dogs) have been fostering rescue dogs for 11 years now. 

In fact, our boy Jack, was our first.  We obviously couldn’t let him go, but with some practice, we’ve been able to learn how to say goodbye when the time comes, and how to be happy for those we’ve helped find their way into new homes.

We’ve fostered dogs of all breeds, shapes, sizes, ages, and personalities.  Some needed more help than others.  Anya came to us with cigarette burns on her head and wanted nothing to do with myself and Daniel.  I give all the credit for her turnaround to Jack and Norah; they showed her what it was like to be happy and secure, and welcomed Anya into their pack right away.

Clover was so scared she wouldn’t stand up at the city shelter where I found her.  She urinated all over herself.  I remember seeing the surprise on the kennel staff’s face when I told them I wanted her.

Biggs came to us obese and shut down.  She didn’t interact with any of us for several weeks, and couldn’t even walk around the block at first, but eventually, she became my shadow.  My heart still bursts when I think of the first day she actually ran with my dogs off-leash on our morning walk by the L.A. River.

Yesterday we met Zada. 

I had seen her posted on Facebook; she had many fans at the South L.A. Shelter and her time was up.  She was an “evidence” dog there, but we don’t know the details.  She gave birth to three pups while incarcerated; they were all adopted or rescued, but Zada remained.  Scared and stressed, she was only sweet with everyone she met, but distant and sad.  Not knowing what we were really in for (we never are), Daniel and I committed to bringing her home and giving her what she needs to be happy again.  Or at least that’s the hope.

Day One:  I picked up Zada at Dawg Squad’s vet’s office.  She spent a few days there getting spayed, getting her teeth cleaned, and getting antibiotics for a skin infection.  (At the age of 7, one can just imagine how many litters of pups she’s had in her lifetime – I wonder where they all are now?)

She’s about 75 lbs., and could stand to lose a few, but when she doesn’t want to walk, well, she doesn’t.

zada car 1

She was carried to my car and silent all the way home.  Amazingly, in our driveway, she decided to walk into the back yard, which both myself and my back were grateful for.  She has her own little room off of our kitchen, safely out of reach from Jack, who would never bother her anyway, and Nessie, our other foster dog, an amazing little Pit mix who is all wags and kisses for everyone she meets.

But Zada doesn’t know that yet.  She’s done a little growling, a little eating, and a lot of sleeping.  I’m pretty sure she’s never slept on a dog bed until now.  And I’m pretty sure we will continue to meet Zada over and over again, each day a little bit different, a little bit more herself.

zada bed

Stay tuned.


Popcorn Takes Over The Squad

June 7, 2013

Lately at the Squad it’s all been about Popcorn!

Just a few weeks ago,we just couldn’t resist the photos we saw of this chubby pink dog with a blue and yellow scarf.

Actually, she looked more like a little pig than a dog! We immediately had to run down to Harbor Animal Shelter to meet her and we immediately fell in love!

Popcorn really was pinker that her photos–in fact, she was neon pink due to a non-contagious form of mange that causes painful sores and loss of hair. It is very curable but requires a very long course of medication. Thanks to our kind and generous supporters, we were able to raise the funds to rescue her! And we are all so happy we did!

Popcorn had to stay at our vet’s for a couple of weeks due to a bad case of kennel cough along with the mange. But despite being hospitalized for so long, she happily greeted everyone she met. And once she was allowed to join the rest of the world–well, WOW!

When she jumped in the back seat of our car, she rolled and wiggled around on her back, snorting with joy, just like a little pig! When we walked from the car into Unleashed by Petco, well, she literally stopped traffic twice!

One lady stopped in the middle of the parking lot, with cars waiting behind her, to meet Popcorn and take a photo; and a little later, a young guy who looked just too cool to get excited about anything jumped out of his car (again with traffic behind him) to ask about her!  And once in the store she acted like quite the celebrity (or politician), excited to meet all!

Popcorn had never had any training, so we thought we would all be exhausted by the end of the day after dealing with such energy and exuberance, but a couple of our younger and stronger volunteers worked with her throughout the day and she quickly began to learn her manners!

Medication had been effective in resolving Popcorn’s kennel cough and her hair is starting to come in nicely–she is becoming less pink and looks at this point that she is probably going to be white with maybe some fawn patches. But the road will be a long one.
One of LA’s finest professional photographers, Lori Fusaro has jumped on the Popcorn bandwagon and has offered to donate 25% of all proceeds for photography sessions booked during June and July to help Popcorn and the rest of the Dawg Squad dogs! So, please take this perfect opportunity to have some great professional photography done of your best friends and help Popcorn at the same time!

lori fusaro flyer


Notice to all Popcorn fans–she will be appearing at Unleashed by Petco in Ladera Center this Saturday from 11:00 – 2:30. Hope to see you there!

All Shapes and Sizes!

August 31, 2012

We’ve got a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and personalities in the Squad right now! Meet some of our new dawgs, all available for adoption!

A good Samaritan found Cowgirl, a very young, small, probably puggle/pit mix, in a local park. She had obviously just had puppies. The kind man stayed with Cowgirl for quite awhile, hoping she would take him to her puppies. It didn’t happen; but fortunately, the man brought Cowgirl to the Squad! After some rest and recuperation, Cowgirl’s personality really started to shine! She is sweet and friendly with other dogs and loves to snuggle with anyone she meets!










We met Edwin at an adoption event we attended in Long Beach. He was on his “last day” at the Long Beach shelter, but because shelter volunteers loved him so much, they networked him to the rescue groups at the event. Well, we couldn’t resist. Edwin has a small neurological problem that causes him to “dance” instead of walk and he loves to be held on his back just like a baby! Other than those two unusual symptoms, Edwin has no other issues and he would make a great companion for a small dog lover!

Bobby is a big guy who lost his home when his family lost their home to foreclosure. Probably a Rottie/Chow mix, Bobby is very loyal, well behaved, knows his commands, and is great in the car and on a leash.   Because he is so large, he shouldn’t live with a family with small children.

Finally, meet Ernie! What a character! A Swiss Mountain Dog mix, Ernie is HUGE for only about 6 months old! He is very energetic, loving, and SMART! It was amazing to see him respond so quickly to a trainer who spent a few minutes with him last week!

To meet Cowgirl, Edwin, Bobby, Ernie, or any of our other Dawgs, join us at our new location, UNLEASHED BY PETCO, located in Ladera Center on La Tijera and Centinela. We’ll be there this Saturday from 10:00 – 3:00. Hope to see you there!


April 6, 2012

Spring is here! And along with Spring, of course, comes puppies! We’ve got some cuties, but this week I wanted to bring some attention to our adult “pit bulls.”

Why do I put “pit bulls” in quotations?

The Animal Farm Foundation did some research to find out how America defines a pit bull. What they discovered, is that this “label” greatly varies from place to place and even within the dog-loving community.

For example, a New York City Animal Care & Control Veterinarian said, “When I started here years ago, we called every dog a mutt. Now we just call them all pit bulls.”

The ASPCA may have put it best, stating, “Depending on whom you ask, it can refer to just a couple of breeds or to as many as five–and all mixes of these breeds. Because of the vagueness of the “pit bull” label, many people may have trouble recognizing a pit bull when they see one.”

In doing my own research, I found that most experts agree that “pit bulls” are one of the most genetically diverse dog breeds, with as many different characteristics and personalities that you would find in any other type of dog. Making assumptions about size, cropped ears or scars is as unreliable as making assumptions about people based upon their looks!

What is important is to observe behavior. And even that is difficult in such a stressful environment as adoption events.

What would you most likely observe if you visited our Dawg Squad “pitbulls?”


Bayou seems quite calm and reserved in her crate, but take her out for a walk, and she’ll get a gleam in her one beautiful blue eye and literally jump for joy!



Oscar Lee will look at you suspiciously and maybe even try to scare you off. But if you don’t back down, you’d find he’s very gentle and he loves car rides!



Thunder is aptly named. He is very enthusiastic, barking happily at everyone–and you should see him with the chihuahuas! He loves little dogs!


Finally, Bubbles is just an all-around good girl that loves walks, or even better, runs, and is great with kids.


Oh, I almost forgot, coming soon, Kay, a calm and gentle girl with the most beautiful champagne coloring and her 5 “pitbull” puppies!

So – everyone – considering adding a dog to your family? Please–consider a “pit bull’!


Your Roving Reporter,


How not to ride in a car

January 19, 2012

With all the puppies and chihuahas we’ve had over the past few months, sometimes our older, bigger dogs get overlooked.

Dwayne has been with us for quite a while, and frankly, we don’t understand why.

We rescued Dwayne from the East Valley Shelter where he was on his “last days.” Although only about 2, Dwayne acts kind of goofy, like an overgrown puppy.

Full of energy, he is always ready for a walk; or better yet, a nice run! And, he gives wonderful kisses! Granted, he needs some training on a leash, and his car-riding manners are absolutely horrible, but he is as friendly as he can be to both people and other dogs.

Dwayne does have one chronic medical problem–he has had seizures. Fortunately, however, the seizures have been brought under control with a very inexpensive medication that he takes once daily; he has been doing just fine!

Dwayne would be a great addition to an active family–and we would be more than happy to show anyone how to secure him properly in the car so this doesn’t happen!

Don't try this at home

Hope you’ll stop by to meet Dwayne and our other Dawgs Saturday at Centinela Feed located on Lincoln Blvd., just South of Manchester. We’ll be there from 11:00 to 3:00, rain or shine!


June 30, 2011

I graduated from obedience class last night.  OK, I wasn’t at the top of the class or anything but I got through it and I can now walk on a leash real nice!   Hate to admit it but Monkey is lots better at sit than I am.   I’m more of a “just stand next to you and not wiggle” type of gal.   Sitting is just not my thing.

But Teacher said that Monkey had to come back to class.  HAHAHA Monkey, you gotta repeat obedience.    I get to go get adopted.  Yep!   I am adopted.  I think I go to my new home on Tuesday.    So someone else is gonna have to be writing to you all.   Maybe Shaloha.   She always has lots to say!

See you on the Success Stories page!

Graduated and Adopted!

Bubbles Obedience…Again

June 15, 2011

Well I’m getting that sit/stay thing down.  Last week we spent the WHOLE class doing heel, stop, sit, stay and I was just too tired to write anything.   And I was really mad at Monkey ’cause I told her that Blaze was MY boyfriend and to stay away but SHE IS A HUSSY!
She kept making eyes at him and wiggling her butt at him and he didn’t play with me at all last week so…well to be honest…I’ve been sulking!

Last night’s class was different.  The teacher said it was problem solving night.  Mom kept raising her hand every time Teacher asked “Who has a dog that_________”.   I really DON’T dig that much and I kinda come when she calls and well, yes, I do jump on you when I first meet you but I’m trying really hard to stop that.   All I can say is I “come” lots better than that Monkey.   Mom has to chase her all over the house just to get a leash on her.   Maybe Monkey would come faster if Mom would stop laughing.

Monkey thinks she's so cute

I was used as the demo dog for jumping.   Teacher called me over and let me jump on him.   Then he called me over again and shook a can at me and said “Sit” and he scared me so I sat.   Well he must think I’m really stupid because the next time he called me over I just went up to him real nice and sat and gave him my cutest look ever and he told me I was a good girl.    I’m good and I’m smart too.  No one has to shake that can at me more than once.  It is SCAREY.

I didn’t even get to stay with Mom last night.  She brought me and Monkey and Dibs because Dibs is a graduate and she brought him to show off and show the other dogs in the class how to do stuff.   So Monkey worked with our friend Lara and I stayed with this lady named Rina who was just visiting the class.  I think she was kinda
surprised when Mom handed her my leash and said “here, have some fun!”

So I’ve got two more classes and then I get to be graduated and next year I can be the show off girl and Dibs will have to stay home!   YEA!


Talk to you next week!