Ace is a young pup who is about 3 years old and he weighs 60lbs. Until recently, Ace lived his life chained outside at an abandoned home in a rural area with little human interaction and he didn’t receive food or water regularly until he was discovered. Ace is very sweet and thinks he’s a big puppy. He doesn’t know his size quite yet! During his time with us, Ace will be learning basic commands, how to interact with other dogs, and how to be a normal dog!
If you want to, try it. I did and Ace got me! First, you have to get Ace all worked up and then you have to try to get him to relax right away. Just so you know, Ace isn't with that! Once you push that button, it's go time! So, it's snowing and I have the creep outside just letting him run around. I would get Ace to chase me and then stop and try to get him to sit. At first we were good, but after doing this 5-6 times, Ace was done with it. I was standing still for about a minute and Ace was sitting in front of me with his tongue hanging out and a smile on his face before trying to engage me to play again. He would paw at me and lick my hand, but I ignored him which turned out to be the wrong move... Dude just got up and took off running around me in circles and that's when it happened and he got me. His leash wrapped around my legs and when I tried to take a step, as you might imagine, I took a spill instead. The sad part is that Ace tried to keep on running while I was down! With friends like that, who needs enemies? So then I started flicking snow in his face and the dude started playing with the snow. Meanwhile, my entire back is all wet and muddy. So again, try it. Ace will win every time. #TwoSpeeds-OffAndOn
The funny thing about having a dog is that it’s almost like having a 2-3 year old stuck in the cell with you. I was messing with Ace because I could tell he was bored so we started a game of tug-of-war. We were cool for the first 10 minutes or so, but then it was time for dayroom and I stepped out of the cell. I was only out for 3 seconds, 3 SECONDS, when Ace decided to jump the crate gate door and take off on me. He would only run up to the end of the block though and come right back once I called him. Another handler and I decided to turn it into a game where I would call him and take off running to the opposite end of the block and the other handler would do the same. This lasted for about 5-10 minutes until dude got tired...or so we thought. I put him back in the cell and went out to play ping pong when all of a sudden people are laughing and yelling, “Ace Boogie just broke out.” So now people are playing with him and he’s getting more and more hyper. I was chasing the dude around the table (running full speed I might add) while he jumped on and off the table until we finally got him cornered. I swear to you America, dude had a smile on his face with his tongue hanging out. I didn't lock him back in because I figured he would be bored so why not just let him hang out? I let him chill under the table while I finished my game. #PlayByPlay
So dig it, I got “Ace Boogie”, (his jailhouse nickname) out on the tier doing normal things like walking back and forth, going up and down the steps, jumping the tables, working on stays, and other basic commands. Dude was doing super good. I put him in a stay position and walked to the opposite end of the block. Normally I could say,“Ace, Go home,” and he would take off back to our cell but not this time though... Maybe the dude was just confused? See Ace and I live in a corner cell so normally I would have him facing our side of the block, but this time I had him on the other end. Anyway I say, “Ace, Go home,” from a “sit-stay,” and dude jumps up and takes off full speed into the wrong cell!! Oh yeah, I panicked!!! He runs straight into the cell and I run like the wind after him...Man, I get to the cell where Neiko lives and they're in there having a blast! They're on the bed wrestling around while Neiko's handler didn't skip a beat. He was just laying there like nothing happened. So I let the dude, Ace, stay there for a bit. When I took him back to my cell, the creepy dude, Neiko, just walked with us! #FriendsToTheEnd
So I, well we, decided to take Ace and Neiko outside again but this time off leash. I wasn’t too worried because Ace isn’t dog aggressive, just noisy! First off, Neiko is a totally different dog when he goes out. He runs, plays, jumps around and just has a blast. So anyways, we must have been outside for 5-10 minutes while I watched Ace and Neiko chase each other around. Then, I turned around for 2 seconds only to turn back to see that Ace allowed Neiko to mount him! Neiko had his tennis ball in his mouth and Ace had this, “Get this dude off me,” look on his face while the other handler was laughing his heart out. I yelled, “Neiko, no,” and then they both took off running. After a few minutes, both of them decided to take a mud bath! I mean covered from head to toe in mud. When it was time to go in, Ace decided to run full speed into Neiko which forced him to chase Ace around again. I’m sure they both planned this. They went running straight back to the puddle of mud and just rolled around in it…He got that one, but he still had to get a bath.
So I take my man, Ace, outside to get some fresh air and exercise. We ran into Neiko and Harry. Neiko gets along with Ace, but Harry is a moody little dude. While Ace and Neiko were playing, Harry was going bonkers! He was yelling, screaming, lunging, and just bugging out. So his handler tells me that Harry wants to play with Ace. We went over and Ace froze up at first. Harry was licking his face and I started getting nervous. Ace sat down and let Harry jump all over him until it happened...Ace hits Harry with what can only be described as an “over-hand right” then takes off. Ace was running like his life depended on it while Harry tried to keep up with his little legs. He wasn’t fast enough. Ace decided to stop and let Harry catch up. Ace hit him with another jab and took off again. We were all laughing so hard at this point. When Ace was leashed up later on, Harry came over and jumped all over him. They both just laid down for a minutes then. #OddCouple
This is just weird! I had Ace on the tier chasing the ball and everything was cool until I bounced it... I would roll it down the tier to the other handler and Ace would chase it down. Every time he would get it, I would reward the dude. After a few times, he started getting weird. Once I would roll the ball, he would just jump up and down about 5-6 times then chase it. So I decided to change it up by picking up the ball and dribbling it. The dude takes off in full speed in the opposite direction. I rolled the ball towards Ace and he jumps over the ball and comes running to me. So another handler rolls the ball back to me and Ace sees it and literally tries to jump up into my arms. He missed and went splat into the wall. He hopped up and went running down the tier. I was laughing but then I saw my man, Ace, trying to peek around the water fountain so now we have to get rid of the ball.
So I handle Ace now...his handler went home. Right now, we’re just trying to figure each other out. I’ll set a limit and Ace will push it to the max. First, I let the dude roam around the cell and every time he gets near the outlet or toilet, I would tell him NO. At first, it seemed to work until I left the cell for two seconds! I came back and Ace is up on the table with his nose buried in my bowl which was empty to begin with. I didn’t say anything and just stood in the doorway. I guess I really startled him when I said off. Dude jumps down and goes straight into his crate. I didn’t say or do anything. I wanted him to come back out, but he laid down and stared at me. Maybe he’s upset he got caught?
My last week with Ace didn’t involve much training as I spent these last few days just hanging out and enjoying having him around. Ace is a very sweet dog and he is very fun to be with because he will always do something to make you laugh although it isn’t always funny when you’re trying to work with him. Ha ha. Ace will be Ace though and that’s what makes him so great. Hopefully his day will come soon too and he gets the forever home he deserves. In the meantime, Ace is here and even though it isn’t the greatest place to be, it’s better than where he was and that’s what’s important. He’s no longer neglected and he’s able to be around someone which is really all he wants. Ace loves everyone and everyone loves him so it’s only a matter of time until he gets his chance.
As for this week, we went to the gym on Saturday morning and had a great time. Ace loves it there and is so happy running around being a dog. It’s really nice to see how he interacts with everyone, especially the staff member whom he shadows and follows around. I take toys along, but he really doesn’t care about them though. He just wants to mingle and eat treats from the guys we are there with… Ace and Hank got together this week in an attempt to work on their reaction towards each other. They play but are very reactive when they see each other and can’t out of frustration so that’s a work in progress. Like always, Ace and Gracie had their fair share of time together doing what they do. I remember when Gracie would only play for a few seconds before being done so it’s nice to see how far she’s come with Ace and how much she likes him now.
Well, it’s 4:12 AM and I am trying to pass the time by writing this, but I’m a little too excited to focus on anything. Haha. Before I end this, I just want to thank everyone involved for the opportunity to be apart of this program and wish everyone the best moving forward. It’s been a long time and I appreciate everything this program has done for me over the years, but it’s time to move on so this is it. Soon, I’ll be reunited with my family and the very first dog that I trained in here back in 2010. Hopefully she remembers me....
Ace wasn’t able to go to the gym this week, but we were more active than the last few weeks because we were able to spend more time outside. Ace and Gracie play well together so of course they had their time, but we also worked on them not playing and being able to just co-exist and listen. Ace did great as we worked in proximity and even when he started to drift towards her, I was able to call him back easily… He also played with Neiko and while doing so, shared a tennis ball which is great. There was even a point where they both had it in their mouth... I’m still working on “sit pretty” but it isn’t a cue yet. He’ll only do it when lured so I just have to continue drilling it. The same goes with roll over as I attempt to turn that into him being able to wrap himself up in a blanket. He will roll over and grab the blanket with his mouth but not together though. Using a treat doesn’t work because he’ll drop the blanket and fixate on what’s in my hand instead so I don’t know if this trick will happen.
The extended holiday weekend made this a long, boring week that wasn’t helped by the weather outside. Ace is not a fan of the elements unless he’s playing with Gracie so we didn’t spend too much time out and about except for Sunday when he enjoyed playing in the mud. We did make the most of this week by doing things in the cell though. He knows all of the basics so I’ve been working on “sit pretty” with him in an attempt to have him sit up like a prairie dog. Six seconds is the longest I’ve been able to get him to hold the stance, but that’s with a lure so hopefully I’ll be able to get him to do it on cue soon... Ace shook out of his leash again but more importantly, he didn’t run away and came right to me. I don’t know how he does it but even though it isn’t intentional, he does and I’m just waiting for the day when he doesn’t listen and runs around the prison. Haha.
Our week began with a snowstorm that Ace wasn’t too fond of. I had hoped that he would be, but I’m not surprised because he doesn’t like rain or the cold weather so Thursday was eventful to say the least. I knew as soon as we went outside and the snow was falling that he didn’t want any parts of it so our time outside was gonna be short lived. We went out front and Ace wasted no time using the bathroom before pulling for the sidewalk that was cleared. He couldn’t get there though because I was cleaning up his mess which was annoying for obvious reasons. While doing so with him pulling, he shook his head because of the snow falling and all of the sudden the tension that I once felt in the leash was gone. Come to find out, so was Ace. Haha. The leash came unhooked when he shook and Ace went right to the sidewalk and ran off leaving me standing there with a bag full of poop in my hand. Surprisingly enough, I called him and he stopped at the top of the sidewalk and came running right back to me! I’ve never been more proud of him because even though he’s friendly, I envisioned him running off trying to meet everyone who was out walking around at the time. He didn’t though so it ended up being a funny story to tell instead of an adventure... Ace also went to the gym again this week and had fun. He is very well behaved after the initial outburst of excitement which is understandable.
Once again, there really isn’t much to write about this week other than two field trips. On Friday, we walked around the jail and visited two blocks, but it was all literally dampened by the rain. The following morning Ace went to the gym and even though we were locked down, we got to stay. I like when that happens because it’s the closest thing to being in a home in here for Ace. There’s only a handful of people there and he can just relax as though we were in a home environment. He did great aside from his initial burst of excitement and behaved really, really well. He spent the morning mingling and checking in with everyone as we did a little bit of work and hung out. Everyone loves him and can’t wait until this Saturday when we’ll hopefully do it again.
There really isn’t anything to write about this week because there wasn’t much done. A lockdown on Saturday prevented his trip to the gym and the rain over the past few days limited our time outside so for the most part, we just hung out. Ace did go on a field trip around the prison on Friday afternoon though where he finally got up close and personal with the Gator utility vehicle. For whatever reason, it’s a trigger for him and he doesn’t seem to be scared of it so I suppose he reacts out of excitement based on his past experience/association. He got the chance to hop in and go for a brief ride while also getting to investigate it and explore. All he really wanted to do was bite at the tires. I don’t know what his fascination is with it, but it peaks his interest to say the least.
Ace went on his first field trip around the prison this week and did really well. He was relatively unfazed by all the different people and places we went to so the fact that he wasn’t overwhelmed with excitement was a good sign of the progress he’s making. He was well behaved and listened everywhere we went so we are looking forward to continuing to build off his improvements. We went to the gym again, but this time we were in the weight room where we stayed back in a caged off area while people worked out. Before everyone came though, he had the run of the place and enjoyed exploring everything. The best thing about that morning was how well behaved he was off leash with the handful of us that he is used to. His jumping and mouthing has decreased significantly from the beginning which is great because that’s his biggest issue. After the weight room, we went back to the gym to finish setting up for the game and ended up playing around on the court. While doing so, Ace went down on the other end and used the bathroom as if we weren’t just outside. I thought he was going to the other end to take a shot with the ball! Haha
Ace had a busy week so there is a lot to write about and I’ll begin with the addition of two new dogs that he got to meet. Ace is great with other dogs so he’s perfect for initial introductions and did well welcoming Harry and Neiko. It took Neiko a bit of time to warm up to Ace, but they’re OK now and will get better moving forward as Neiko gets comfortable and tempers his excitement… Hank isn’t a new dog, but he is a new friend. They are over whatever differences they had and now play together. In fact, they throw tantrums when we are out and they don’t play. Ha ha… Ace’s trip to the gym this week went great and we had a lot of fun on Saturday morning. There were just five of us around and Ace spent hours exploring and keeping us company. He already knows where we are going when we are inside the gym so he leads us while looking back to make sure we are coming. He’s also built quite the bond with the staff and Ace cries when he drops us off and walks away.
Ace went on a field trip with a volunteer and did well from what I am told. He had a vet visit too. I was super happy to hear how well behaved he was for the vet and how he handled some of the tests his training was put through during the visit. He listened and was well mannered while another dog acted up so I am very, very pleased with his progress.
Ace went on another trip to the gym this week and did great. He even ran a lap around the field next to a guy and to my surprise did so perfectly which was kind of disappointing in a way though. I say that because we were looking forward to some antics during the run, but Ace jogged right beside him and behaved the entire time... Also this week, we begun trying to desensitize him towards the utility vehicles. Needless to say, it’s a work in progress but we will figure something out and continue to try different things. Thankfully, Ace doesn’t respond this way with regular cars and trucks.
Ace learned “Bang” this week and has been doing well with the other handlers who work with him. He knows all the basic commands and now we are just trying to generalize the training so that he listens to anyone, anywhere. Distractions are a challenge, but he’ll get there in time. I’ve started using treats this week now that he knows everything and that will help keep his attention and focus around distractions. Ace is very, very motivated by food, but he is doing great with his self control. He is like my shadow so he’s always around no matter what, but I can eat without him bothering me which is a big deal for him. He did something really funny though that I wish could have been on video because words can’t do it justice. While I was sitting on the edge of the bed eating crackers, he was sitting right beside me at my feet. He wasn’t begging me or anything like that and in fact, he was behaving perfectly as I reached into the sleeve of saltines that was sitting on the desk in front of me. As I did, Ace sat there without moving and watched intently as the cracker moved from the desk to my mouth. During this time, Ace would half heartedly open his mouth hoping that I’d put it in his. Ha ha… I did treat him, but not with the cracker.
This week Ace went to the gym with me on Saturday morning again, but this time we spent the entire morning there. Escorted by staff along with a few workers, we got there around 7:30am and spent a good hour exploring the place before activities started. Ace was as curious as you’d expect him to be. He followed us around inspecting everything. He even found a new best friend—a staff member who he seemed to be attached to at the hip. There were six of us in total for the first hour and Ace did great meeting and greeting everyone without acting too much like a puppy. He was off leash and happy to be there just like we were happy to have him there. He listened very well and left a great impression so we are looking forward to doing it as often as possible. The activity for the morning was a flag football game out in the big yard so I wasn’t able to let him run free, but he still enjoyed being out there with us as we stood in the corner of the end zone to film the game. All in all, it was a great morning that ended with Ace crying for the staff to come back after he dropped us off.
Ace’s stays are coming along nicely to the point where I can have him stay in one corner of the area out front and walk to the opposite corner. He even does that with a few dogs and people around so that’s impressive for him. He saw his first groundhog and reacted, but the good news is that he did pretty good with redirecting his focus. Trucks are another story though. Ha ha. Ace also spent an afternoon with another handler in their cell and did good. He didn’t raid his cabinet so that’s a victory in itself, but he also listened and behaved like he had some sense after the initial excitement of it.
Ace is continuing to settle in nicely and is proving to be very trainable as he becomes more comfortable. He is still very excitable and always will be, but that’s an endearing personality trait that makes him so fun to be around. There’s never a dull moment with him because he’s bound to do something to make you laugh although that depends on who you are. My cabinet wasn’t the one he pillaged last week. Ha ha. Speaking of which, he hasn’t done anything like that this week nor has he ever tried to with me. I think he only did that because he was upset about being away, but who knows why he did it...
As for his training, a couple of the other handlers have been working with him and he’s been responding really well to them. The only trick that he’s learned so far is shake, but there will be more to come once he gets a little more domesticated. Ha ha. Right now, the focus is on the basics like sit, down, stay, watch me, and recalls which he is doing great with for everyone, not just me. He is also doing well around some of the typical distractions that exist on a daily basis and isn’t as scattered as he was initially. He’s fine with a few dogs and handlers around, but the big issue was and still is vehicles. Whether it’s the delivery trucks, gators, or the medical cart, he loses it when he sees them and will even hear them before they are in sight. I’m not sure how to desensitize him from that, but hopefully we will figure something out though.
Ace continues to be friends with all of the dogs except for Hank. Over the weekend, Ace and Dexter played for a good half hour which shocked me because that’s not really Dexter‘s thing. He likes Ace though and that’s good because Ace needs all the exercise he can get. Also this week, Ace got the chance to go to the gym with me, but it was short-lived because we ended up getting locked down. We’ll get to do it again this weekend though so hopefully it all works out and he can have some fun.
Ace’s second week has been a productive one as he begins to settle in and get comfortable with his new surroundings. Everything outside of the cell is still new and exciting to him so he is understandably distracted by all the sights and sounds, but he’ll get used to it all in time. As he does, I work on things such as watch me, touch, and recalls to help improve his focus while we are out walking around. He is doing well with those things but when he sees or hears a vehicle, he fixates on it and ignores the world so a lot of work needs to be done there... As far as commands go, he’s learned all the basics and is perfect when there isn’t any distractions so I just have to continue to 'drill' him over and over when we are outside. He is very excitable and energetic so with plenty of exercise and constant training, he will be fine. To help generalize his training and help with his manners, other handlers have been working with him too and he’s been very receptive to them. Over the weekend, we had Ace off leash in one of the dog runs and we were calling him back-and-forth where he would not only come when called but also sit automatically before getting a reward. He still tends to jump, but he is actually doing really well with staying on the ground and getting attention during meet and greets. For the most part, I keep his meet and greets limited to just the handlers and others who know what we are doing so that his bad manners aren’t reinforced. Ace also got to meet the other dogs this week and had no issues in doing so. Hank doesn’t like Ace, but the rest of them are OK with him. He plays well with Gracie until she’s had enough and loses interest. Penny will play around for a little bit until she gets tired. Believe it or not though, Reggie seems to have taken a liking to Ace and they have the potential to be friends. Ace has yet to show any signs of resource guarding and is doing great with his food and toys. When it’s time to eat, he places and stays until I tell him OK. He eats as though he’s never been fed before, but he allows me to pet him and will even leave his bowl when called. He plays with all the toys and knows the drop it command so he’s beginning to like playing fetch. Even when he’s playing by himself, I have had no issues removing the toy. In doing so, I reward him and return the toy so guarding shouldn’t become an issue for him.
Ace is a very sweet and lovable dog who came to us after a rough, neglected life where he was chained up. He’s rescued now so there’s no reason to speak on his past other than to say that as hard as it was, it hasn’t ruined him and he will soon be ready to be adopted into a forever home. All Ace needs is to learn some manners which is really just a matter of time. He’s yet to be introduced to the other dogs, but he’s shown no issues from afar and wants to meet them badly so in time he will. He hasn’t met too many people either, but he wants to and it went well with the people he has met so far with the exception of his manners. Ace is a little too eager to greet you and will jump in excitement. He also tends to mouth you while you pet him, but all of that is expected given his past. All he wants is your attention and since he’s been neglected in that regard, it’s not a surprise that he doesn’t know how to handle it. He’ll get plenty of it in here though so he’ll learn soon enough and will calm down.... As far as his training goes, I wouldn’t say that he knows anything other than sit, but he is beginning to understand some of the other commands I’ve been working with him on. Being outside around dogs he wants to meet but hasn’t combined with the relatively new environment makes his focus hard to gain for the time being, but he’ll get used to it all in time. In the cell, I have his undivided attention and he’s doing really well with everything. He is taking treats much nicer than he was, but he still needs reminded at times. He is doing good with his crate training and has no problem being in there. He’ll even go in on his own from time to time. He acts like he’s never been fed before, but he has learned SOME manners. He knows that when it’s time to eat, he has to go to a certain spot, sit, and wait before devouring his food. He could potentially guard it, but he hasn’t yet and my focus is on preventing that issue. He has a decent grasp on 'touch' and 'down' and his 'stay' is coming along as well. He likes to play ball and is beginning to play fetch with me as he learns how to drop it. All in all, Ace is a great dog who needs some time and patience to teach him how to behave. He will be fine soon enough and will be a great dog for someone and their family.