Friday, September 21, 2012

Celebrating Athena's Two Month Adopt-a-Versary

It is hard to believe that we have had Athena in our lives for two months now (63 days to be exact) while at the same time I keep thinking to myself, "has it really only been two months?!"  Whether or not two months seems like a long or short amount of time, we have enjoyed almost every minute of it!

Week 1:

From the minute we spotted her at the shelter, we knew that Athena was the girl for us.  During her first week at home, she was a very anxious little pittie who paced around the house continuously, had accidents inside, and destroyed her bedding and barked whenever we put her in her crate.

Week 2:

Week two proved to be the most challenging within these past two months.  We even considered taking her back to the shelter, as hard as that is to admit.  Her mouthiness was scaring the bageebees out of me and I thought that maybe we weren't ready to deal with this type of dog behavior.  Thoughts of wanting to return Athena to the shelter made me feel like such a failure.

We just couldn't give her up though.  She had already been returned to the shelter once before we adopted her.  What would happen to her if another family gave her up because they simply didn't understand her and didn't give her the chance to succeed?

Week 3+:

Since that challenging second week, B and I have worked hard to better understand Athena's body language and excitement levels that trigger undesirable behaviors such as jumping up and nipping.  With the help of our dear friend Bitter Apple, we have eliminated Athena's annoying leash biting habit and her nipping behavior has significantly decreased in frequency and severity (she gets a spritz in the mouth and a firm "no bite" if she nips at our body or clothing).

Aside from the challenging behaviors, Athena has been pure joy for us.  She is such a silly girl and I can't help but laugh even when she brings me a used tissue or dirty sock in her mouth.  Her favorite thing is to be close to her people.  She will snuggle with us until we decide to get up, follow us all around the house, watch me as I get ready in the morning, and she provides us with endless kisses whenever we say "kisses."  She also loves to get her belly rubbed and gets upset if we don't scratch and massage her snout after walks (the Gentle Leader makes her itchy).

Training:

When we got Athena from the shelter two months ago, the only command that she knew was 'sit.'  Last night Athena graduated from her seven week Basic Obedience class at Petco (check out her training hereherehere, here) and and we are happy to say that she now knows sit, down, stay, come, wait, leave it, watch, up, heel, bring it, trade, crate, kisses, bathroom, and car.  She has also turned into a very polite walker while on leash.  Within the next few weeks, Athena will also be starting the first level of Canine Life and Social Skills (C.L.A.S.S.) training.

Exploring Portland:

Athena is a pretty lucky pooch because both of her parents currently have a lot of time on their hands.  This means that Athena gets to take lots of car rides (which she loves) to check out different sights around the city such as local pet stores like Personal Beast and Green Dog Pet Supply as well as locations such as Cartlandia Food Carts and downtown Portland.  We even met up with the Portland Pit Bull Parade for our very first pit bull walk this month.

In Other News...

We have taken Athena to the vet three times in the past two months.  Once for her initial checkup, another time for a hot spot, and finally last week we went for Athena's allergies.

We have also been introducing Athena to new objects, experiences, people, and dogs to build her confidence and eliminate some of her fears of things such as men, sprinklershoses, garbage cans, orange construction signs, baths, and vacuums.  Athena has yet to meet a dog that she didn't like and she enjoys any opportunity that she gets to play with other dogs.

We have also discovered that Athena needs quite a bit of exercise and mental stimulation on a daily basis (as do most pits).  We take Athena for a morning and evening walk for usually an hour each.  Athena also gets to play fetch in the morning, lick out yumminess from her Kong during the day, engage in mini training sessions, and do regular zoomies around the house and yard.  With this much exercise she is a big couch potato while at home.


Our goals for the coming months are to strengthen Athena's training commands, teach her new commands, and work towards gaining her Canine Good Citizen Certificate.  We also plan to fully crate train her.

This blog came about three weeks into having Athena in our life.  We have enjoyed documenting and sharing Athena's successes and challenges with such a supportive group of dog lovers and pit bull advocates.  Thanks to all of you who read the blog and have encouraged us to keep it going =)

Each and every day we notice Athena making significant strides towards becoming an ambassador for her breed.  We know that the pit bull stereotype is not what defines the dog that Athena is today and the dog that she will become in the future.  She is such a lover and we couldn't imagine our lives without her.

We love you Athena =)

10 comments:

  1. Wow! Congratulations! I can't believe you've only had her for two months. You have been such a wonderful home for her and it's been fun to read about all of her progress, adventures, and training exercises. Keep up the good work! Athena is one lucky pup.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You've accomplished so much with her in 2 short months. I'm impressed! Athena is lucky to have found you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow! You guys have done such great things with her. And what a smart girl! Great job and what a great dog! You all are luck to have found each other! Nola sends her kisses. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. You've done a lot in just two months! Way to go!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Are you kidding? It took Kaya almost a year to be able to do all that, but she was quite the unruly pup. You guys have done awesome! I thought about finding Kaya a new home several times in our first year together, but I'm glad I stuck with her too:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It always make me feel better that I'm not the only one who considered possibly having to find a new home for Athena...Thanks for sharing =)

      Delete
  6. It has been an awesome two months with our pittie too :-) he knew sit, stay and shake. Now with just at home training alone, his mouthing is almost gone, he waits patiently for his kong wobbler for breakfast and dinner. Knows come, wait, and knows to sit before going inside. And today he tried his patience while at an elementary school with kids playing nearby, and when we went to register for Strut Your Mutt with lots of other dogs.

    We are all pretty lucky to have pitties in our lives :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad that things are going well with your same-day-adopted pittie!! That's excellent that yours knows so many commands and has almost stopped the mouthing! Best of luck in the months to come =)

      Delete
  7. I'm so glad you didn't give up on Miss Athena. She is a beauty and has endless personality. I really identify with you a lot, I can't tell you how often we brought Hades to the vet in the first year. Now the little guy has gone months and months without a visit. (First time parents do the same thing with babies, right?) You are doing a beyond amazing job with her, and she is one lucky little pup!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you everyone! The past two months have been great and we are looking forward to many more great months in the future!!!

    ReplyDelete