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Author Topic: Found 2 possible bichons to adopt: help!  (Read 12702 times)
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BichonMom86
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« on: June 18, 2014, 08:10:16 PM »

I don't post here often, so I'm sorry for not contributing much but asking for advice :-/ However I could REALLY use it. A friend of mine, whose parents adopted their Bichon, recently sent me over to petfinder and adopt a pet. I guess I am a little clueless and thought Bichons just were NOT adoptable! I was saving money for a Bichon puppy ($$$$), but I am really open to adopting, I hate to see a beautiful Bichon (or any dog for that matter) at a shelter.

So I found two Bichons for adoption that I am interested in: the first one, P, is a beauty. However his owners neglected him and he has some house training issues. I spent an hour with him at the shelter. He was extremely happy when I took him for walks, he liked to stand and dance, and was friendly. However he seemed really anxious (who wouldn't be!?), and it took him a while to warm up to me. I'm really nervous about the housetraining issue. The owners report said that they punished him by crating him (!!), left him alone for long periods of time, and in turn he went to the bathroom in the house (mainly on their bed / near the toilet/ in his own crate).

The second Bichon is a severely overweight Bichon, B, his hair was matted so he had to be shaved  No but he was so happy after the grooming he was dancing and running around. The rescue believes he was living with someone w/ dementia who overfed him a lot. He has a REALLY good attitude, he's just adorable, but I worry about his health. He currently weights 48 lbs, and he needs to lose 20 lbs. He is 8, which isn't too old for a Bichon. He was at the vet last week and he is in really good health, his liver enzymes are "very slightly elevated" however the vet said this is normal for his age. I really think B has the demeanor I am looking for, I just am extremely worried about his health.

If anyone has any experience with overweight Bichons, adoption, or any input would greatly appreciated!!!

Thanks so much!

Alyce
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Freedom (Sandie)
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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2014, 09:12:13 AM »

Good for you, considering rescue, and giving it lots of thought.

A rescue dog -- of any breed -- is typically going to have some issues which will require your patience, diligence, and action.  I highly recommend anyone getting a rescue to plan on attending group obedience classes, at a place which uses only positive reinforcement.  This gives the dog a setting in which to learn to focus on YOU, to let YOU take the lead.  This also gives YOU the training you need to work with your dog.  At the same time, you have someone experienced -- the trainer -- who is assessing the dog, noticing the dog's body language and explaining it to you, so you quickly get up to speed on learning your dog's signals.

Most training places charge the fee 'per dog,' so all family members can AND SHOULD attend all the classes, and do all the homework and practices.    This gets all the humans using the same hand signals and verbal commands.

Now, as to these 2 doggies specifically:
You did not state if these dogs are fixed.  Both are males, and a male dog (any breed) who has matured and has not been neutered 'may' have a habit of marking. At a minimum, you need to be ready to pay for having an adult dog neutered.  Do you have the funds for this?

P, you did not mention an age, or age range.  Potty training is usually something all rescues need help with, as they have been in the cage / kennel at the shelter, and in the habit of going in their living situation.  P needs to have a set routine, going out at regular times for walks (not just time to roam in the back yard), eating meals at set times, and having about the same portion each time. 

You said he needed time to warm up to you.  Given his history, I am not surprised; he does not sound like he had a positive experience with humans, in his past.  Since bichons are companion animals, his natural instinct will kick in with TLC and I expect he will bond with humans who tend to his needs, and allow him lots of lap time.  Since he was punished with a crate in the past, I would not use a crate with him at all, but an x- pen instead.  This will allow him to have a save place when he is left home, yet it will be open and roomy, with his bed, toys, water dish, and a pee pad.

B is extremely obese, and is going to need a diligent exercise and meal plan.  Easy walks, no hills, short at first, but several times daily.  Losing that much weight is going to take about 2 years (maybe longer).  Are you prepared to be out walking in all weather? (Sorry, don't recall what part of the country you are in).  You will need to work up to about 2 miles daily, at least 6 days per week.  To keep both of you involved and not bored, you will need to develop different routes around your neighborhood, and learn to explore parks and bike paths in your area.  So you will be taking him out in the car often to get to the places you will walk.  I don't know if he will need a prescription food for the weight loss, as I've not dealt with such an overweight dog.  Most likely just having him on a high quality grain free food will be sufficient.  Helping this dog lose the excess weight will go a long way to improving his longevity and long term health.  However, some things are not going to be avoided, now, his joints have had to deal with all this excess weight and he is likely going to develop arthritis with age.

You can address the liver enzymes by adding samE and milk thistle to his food daily.  Those should come down to normal within a month of using these supplements. 

Both dogs, being rescues, may have latent health issues.  You have no way of knowing their genetic background, what foods they have had early in life, and so forth.  This is true of all rescues, not just these 2 dogs.

Being me, I'd likely end up adopting both so they had a buddy. eyebrows

Hope this helps!
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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2014, 12:25:39 PM »

Sandie, you are THE EXPERT with adopting older bichons, no doubt about it!  I would strongly consider all that Sandie has shared.  I would not be afraid to work with the one that needs the potty training.  That is very easily fixed with diligence: Never allow him to pee inside YOUR house by making sure he gets out very frequently and treating him EVERY time he pees outside.  You can buy a belly band for when he is inside and you aren't closely watching him.  Now, to the overweight bichon.  I would be somewhat nervous of the health effects for this one.  It does get more expensive as they age for all bichons, but one that is so morbidly obese is sure to have many health issues coming.  If you have no concerns about the vet costs for the next 6 or 8 years then I'd adopt both (bichons love a buddy to play with).  If you may have limited funds, the first one would be my choice.  That is my advice (added to Sandie's great advice above).
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Alison
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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2014, 06:17:41 PM »

You've had great advice,I hope you find just the right match and come back and show us.Alison
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BichonMom86
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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2014, 09:58:32 PM »

clapping Thank you all for the very good advice! To answer your questions Sandie: both are fixed males. P is 5, and B (the obese Bichon) is 8. I thought about it for a long time today and have decided to get the first Bichon, the one with potty training issues. I called the shelter and he is still there!

The agency is a local nonprofit and has a strict 24 hour hold policy, I will have to pick him up on Saturday.Right now I am trying to get things ready for him, which is tough because I honestly didn't think an adoptable bichon would fall into my lap so soon! Sandie: I found a great "playpen" for dogs, that I am going to buy for him to avoid the crate.  Mattiesmom: I have begun investigating belly bands, this seems to be a good option!

thinking He  really needs groomed, the fur on his legs is extremely matted. I am concerned because I will not be able to get him to a groomers until Monday. Are there any thoughts on what I should do on Sat/Sun? Thanks for all of your help!!!!
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Freedom (Sandie)
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2014, 10:41:21 PM »

I buy my belly bands here:  www.pawstoadmire.com  She offers plenty of fabric options, and her price can't be beat, IMO.  I usually buy  4: 1 on the dog, 1 in the laundry, 2 in the closet ready to go.  (I could do with 3, but she sells them at a better price if you get 4, lol).  Note you can't order them until you measure the dog.

Call the groomers as soon as you can, and explain what you are getting and when.  If nothing else, you will have an appointment ready for Monday.  Next: do NOT let his legs get wet until he goes to the groomer.  Water will tighten the knots, and make them pull on the skin.  Let the groomer deal with it.  For now, this dog does not know you, so you need to focus on bonding and positive interactions.  The last thing you need is to nick him with scissors -- I am expert at doing that!

Bichons do best with a harness, not a collar. This is because they are prone to collapsed trachea, so you don't want him to pull on a collar, which hits on the throat. 

Oh how exciting!
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BichonMom86
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« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2014, 12:17:15 AM »

Thanks Sandie!!! I am really excited, and nervous! I feel like I am bringing a baby home  swing The shelter is not very clean (when I was there he was stepping in/around dog urine that was in the "visiting" room etc), can I wipe his paws with a towel that has soap and water on it?

Great to know about the harness btw! I had no idea about the collapsed trachea; the people who turned him in said something about him not being a good walker, but he had a collar not a harness, this could be why.
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lorraine (Lorraine)
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« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2014, 01:24:09 AM »

I am sure that wiping his paws with soap and water will be fine until he gets his groomers visit and I imagine they will clip him very short which will be comfortable for him and easy for you to look after.
This is very exciting for you, there will be good and bad days and eventually you will have one of your best friends. Remember they are addictive!  nodding
We will be looking forward to sharing your journey with you, have you thought of a name?
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BichonMom86
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« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2014, 02:23:44 AM »

Thanks Lorraine Smiley I am thinking of names! Right now I am considering: Louie, Mickey, or Ollie. Mickey is my top choice!
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Lin
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« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2014, 09:53:09 AM »

I am excited for you! I'm sad to read about the conditions of the shelter though, by what you said I think you are saving his life  unsure so he is one lucky boy.
He will take a lot of time and patients as it will take time to erase 5 years of neglect but I'm sure he will be awesome once he settles into your home. I strongly recommend you take Sandie's advice and take him to a positive reinforcement training class. These classes are not only for him but for you as you will learn to be the best owner you can be.
Good luck and enjoy!  bouquet
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Thank you Alison!
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« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2014, 11:21:27 AM »

Best wishes!  Now don't have high expectations for your relationship in the first few days.  If you get over excited you may be disappointed.  Try to calm yourself and do expect there to be problems to overcome.  That way you won't be disappointed and you may be pleasantly surprised!  I'm sure Sandie can guide you from afar if you need some guidance!  Fingers crossed that all goes well!
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BichonMom86
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« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2014, 12:05:34 PM »

Thank you! I do expect there to be problems. However looking back, I think we will be okay. I spent an hour with him at the shelter and toward the end (he was VERY excited to be around people, he just wanted to run around and dance!) , he calmed down and sat by me and let me pet him. I took him for two walks, which he loved. He loves to go for walks Smiley Looking forward to sharing pictures and more! Thanks so much everyone!
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BichonMom86
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« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2014, 02:26:02 PM »

 woohoo Well it's official, I went to see my pup today at the shelter and put the money down to hold him until tomorrow when I am picking him up! I took my friend with me, who will be his "Godmother" / Aunt Smiley. He seemed to remember me! Everytime I patted my legs he jumped and danced  fluff !! He was extremely friendly with my friend and I, and seemed less anxious than a couple days ago. I'm super excited!!! I've decided on the name Ollie, the name fits him well and he seems to like it Smiley Words can't describe how excited I am!
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Freedom (Sandie)
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« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2014, 04:47:14 PM »

Yes as mentioned wiping his feet and paws will be a great idea under the circumstances.  Did you get the grooming appt?

SO exciting to have Ollie come join your family!


BTW, when  dog is new to a family, he acts on his BEST behavior.  This typically lasts about 3 weeks.  After that, it is time to let the real MaGOO show up after that, lol.  So work with him while he is in a good frame of mind, you can do a lot of ground work to make things blend well.

Then, WATCH OUT ha ha haaa.

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BichonMom86
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« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2014, 04:56:36 PM »

I had no idea! I will definitely stick to focusing on training in the next three weeks.

When I went to visit Ollie today, the adoption counselor said he may have kennel cough and as a precaution they are giving me 10 days worth of antibiotics. So I'm not sure if I can get him groomed until those ten days are up ? I need to call the groomers to find out.
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