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!
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.