360 pugs rescued since October, 2005

Barnaby - May 10, 2002 - December 6, 2007, 6:45 pm

Donations in memory of Barnaby:
Larry St. Aubin
Cathy Blocki

Foster Update - July 12, 2007

Barnaby was adopted to a wonderful couple who also had a playful standard poodle. Unfortunately, Barnaby could not make the behavioural adjustment that was needed in the new home. He reverted back to his previous pattern of resource guarding. I went to the adopter's home to bring him back into my care.

Given his history of biting, we could not adopt him out to another home. Although he was good with me, I was not in a position to adopt him. I made the painful decision to have him euthanized.

Barnaby in his favourite chair, next to my desk

Foster Update - November 24

Barnaby has adjusted well to his surrondings. It has helped that he is in a familiar setting. He is still in a transition phase, though. He is most likely unsure of what is happening. It may take another month for his true nature to appear. He stays close by me, jumps up to give me a lick when I get home from work, and snuggles beside me on the couch.

There continues to be no integration problems with the other dogs. A couple of times, when he ventered too close to Odin's supper dish, he got put back in his place but did not retalitate or challenge Odin's position.

We generally stay to ourselves in the park. The odd time a dog does get closer, Barnaby emits a warning growl. I've been letting him placy with Dante, Dublin and Odin when the park is empty. He loves running, barking and chasing with the three of them. He has been protective of chew bones, giving me a warning growl if I get to close. If I were to try and take it away, I know he would bite (or try to). Instead he responds to trade offs. At first I had to lead him away from the bone by tossing weiners further and further away. Now I'm at the point where I can call him and he will leave the bone and come to me for the treat. This was a major step for "The Barn"

Now, to bring everything into perspective:
We cannot adopt him out to anyone now that he has a history of biting. We would be liable in a lawsuit. A lawsuit would shut down our pug rescue operation and financially affect the board members. So Barnaby will not be adopted to anyone.

As he has trust in me, and responds well to my commands, there is an option of him staying in foster care with me. However the ownership in this case would still be with Pugalug Pug Rescue - thus making the corporation still liable for any agressive conduct that Barnaby devleops.

The other option is for me to adopt Barnaby - a financial burden and canine responsibility that I don't know if I can take on at this point

The final option is to have him euthanized based on this previous, known biting history. If he had been a larger dog and bitten a child and and adult twice - he would most likely not be around It is an ethical delemma that the Board of Directors face. We have had a presentation on canine agression from Joan Weston Behaviourial Consultant of Fangs But No Fangs. We understand now the questions we must ask of every owner surrender so we do not have this situation again. I understand some of the triggers that sets Barnaby off. Can these tiggers be overcome over time? Can Barnaby be rehabilited so he can co-exist in a modern, urban world? Do we take a risk, possibly jeopardizing our entire pug rescue organization and it's Board of Directors?

Sometimes, Pug Rescue is not easy

Foster Update - November 1

Barnaby has been returned to Pugalug Pug Rescue and is in my foster care. He spent a fine, comfortable summer with his new adoptive parents. He went up north each weekend, went for long walks and was generally the family pet that Terry and Inge had been wanting.

However, there were a few agressive incidents that happened out of the blue. Despite continuing with the training and positive reinforcement, Barnaby's previous behaviour began to return. For the most part, he was the lovable, affectionate dog they had bonded with in the summer. And even though they loved him, the subtle but noticeable change in his behaviour was enough for Inge and Terry to be concerned about their safety.

As a result, he is back with us for an assessment. Given his history, we will not be adopting him out unless the person were a professional trainer or behaviourist. He has had no issues since being with me for the past week. He has not shown aggression to any of my dogs, nor to Bella, the Pug/Chirhushua that I'm fostering. As any typical pug, he follows me around the apartment, snuggles close to me on the couch, jumps up to greet me, wagging his tail, when I get home and will whine at the door if he needs to go out. He is in a period of transition but you would not suspect, seeing him now, that he has agressive issues. However I will continue to monitor his behaviour patterns and provide updates in the weeks ahead


Foster Update - July 6

I'm continuing to look through applications to find the right home for Barnaby. He needs to have someone who will be around those first few crucial weeks to let Barnaby know the rules and reinforce the wanted behaviour with treats

He has a home visit scheduled for out of town next week. In the meantime, I'm continuing his regimine of meeting new people and new dogs, correcting any unwanted behaviour with positive reinformcement. He is quite comfortable now in most situations where a cautious approach and sniff will suffice for him. He continues to develope a strong relationship with Dante, Dublin and Odin so he will be able to fit in nicely with another dog household.


Vet checkup - June 16

Barnaby was the perfect gentleman pug at Usher Animal Hospital. He was a little nervous at first being up on the examining table. But after a few reassuring words from Dr. Greg Usher, Barnaby was quite alright with the examination. And, with the help of some chicken wieners Barnaby was led into the other room to have his vaccinations, blood taken and micro chip.

Barnaby is in excellent health. He is 28.5 lbs but no excess fat. His eyes, lungs, heart and teeth are all in good condition. The lab results came back for fecal and blood and no problems reported. Just a big, lovable, healthy pug for someone to love for a long, long time.

The Gentle Giant is ready

Barnaby from day 1 has been an easy going, gentle and very intelligent pug. He was surrendered to us because he was doing what he thought was right - protecting his people from intruders. With a new environment in his foster home came new rules - rules he was quick and quite happy to obey. The first couple of days he growled at people on the street, but with patience and positive rewards he now greets strangers with a sniff of their hand (to check for treats) and he then goes in for a head scratch. He enjoys jumping up beside me on the couch or bed and sits very close and quiet - just enjoying the momemnt

Barnaby will be going in for his vet check, vaccinations and micro chip on June 15. After that he will be ready for his new home

He integrates well with another dog in the house. He now happily joins in play and chase game with my guys. He is still a little cautious with larger dogs (he was attached as a puppy by a larger dog).

He would be best suited in a home with another dog, cats are okay but no small children/toddlers. The new adopter will continue the training - introducing Baranby to friends, family and selected strangers. Regular visits by people who will have him sit first and then a treat will ensure his old behaviour does not return. After 3 weeks the real playful, lovable Barnaby has come through and will make a fine pet to your household.

If you match these requirements and would like to give Barn and new home, email me or fill in an application


Foster Update, June 6

Oh, we reached a shining moment tonight. Barnaby gave me his first kiss (pug talk for "slurp on the face") Previously, he had been watching the others when I got home and they all gathered around to give me kisses. He would come up and sit quietly beside me for a head scratch. A couple of times he bent his head toward me as though he was considering it - but would veer away. Tonight I got my first kiss from him which indicates just how much trust he now has with me. Whoever adopts him will be able to build on this trust that Barnaby is now able to exhibit - building a loving and forever relationship.

I wanted to work on introducing Barnaby to other dogs in the park - much like we did with strangers. Barnaby tends to growl a "back off" at other dogs and I want him to become as comfortable with strange dogs as he has become with my guys.

Unfortunately, with Odin developing Kennel Cough, that ruled out any contact with other dogs. But Odin is now rid of the virus so the next week will be controlled situations with other dogs in the park. If fact, tonight on our walk, we met a Boston Terrier and Barnaby assumed the downward play position and started doing a Pugtona around the other dog.

He will be going in for his vet checkup on June 15th. Before that I will put him up in the Ready section and begin the screening process


Foster Update, May 26

Each day Barnaby continues to improve on his social skills with strangers. He will now sniff their hand to see if he remembers their scent. When he does, he bends his head for a head scratch. He was at the Pugtoria event but all the pugs was a little overwhelming. He spent most of his time at the Mechandise table where volunteer Wendy petted him as he watched the pugs race by. I would bring him out every so often so he could socialize with the other dogs and develope a sense of comfort in this type of setting.

We still have work to do on his behaviour toward larger dogs when we are in our local park. But with repetition comes recognition and he is learning to know who are the regulars and thus there is nothing to fear. Each time he reacts in a positive manner to another dog, he gets a reward. And this little trick he has caught on to. If he growls at a dog - then no chicken weiner. If he sniffs and then sits - Bingo - positive reward. Aslo he has lost 2 lbs so is starting to run around with Dante, Dublin and Odin. He likes to now get into the chase but, when Dante hits the ground and rolls on his back, Barnaby does not beat up on Dante like the other 2 pugs like to do.

All in all he is adjusting nicely. I'll setup a vet appointment next week for his vaccinations and micro-chip. He will soon be ready for adoption after that. He can be with another dog who is laid back and easy going. Or he would also be fine as an only dog. He would not be suitable in a family with other active dogs or small children.

Foster Update, May 13

Baranby went to the Pug Award Photo Shoot yesterday and fit right in with the 26 other pugs. It was crowded and a little strange for him (see the photo in the Group Photo Album) but Barnaby was quite comfortable being with the group. He also glady accepted treats from various strangers and the recent friends he has made. He always sniffs the person who gives him a treat so he will know them next time.

This morning Barnaby initiated play for the first time. This a big step as an indication that he is overcoming his fear of dogs. A little puppy Cairn terrier came up and went into the down play position. Baranby responded by doing the same, shook his body back and forth a few times and then took off doing the Pugtona. It didn't take Odin long to join in the chase (see picture)

Afterwards we had some quiet, head scratching time in the sun and tulips.

Foster Update, May 9

Well Barnaby has turned out to be just the sweetest pug. We have not had a single incident of agression. He stays beside me when I'm working at the computer, comes when he is called, tilts his head when I speak to him and shakes paw for the chicken weiner treat. He comes to the door with the other dogs when I get home, wagging his tail.

Whenever he responds to a new situation with a good nature, I give him a treat. When we were at the BBQ, he did not want the other pugs in his space and I gave him the option to let them know and to also back up. It was important not to restrain him. However, when he allowed the pugs to be near him I gave him positive encouragement with the chicken wieners.

We walk along now on the busy streets of Yonge and Eglinton and he barely notices the people around. We have gone to all of our favourite shops (the ones who let dogs in and have cookies behind the counter). He has been introduced to the people at Canada Post, Bark and Fitz, Lululemon, Pet Cuisine, the Wine Rack and Global Ryans. Each one gave him a treat when he was introduced. After the treat, Barnaby goes up to sniff their leg so he will always remember the kindness of strangers.

On the third night, he jumped up on the bed and curled up beside me and the other dogs. So thanks to the boys, Barnaby's fear of other dogs is also changing.

Continual positive reinforcement to new situations over the coming weeks will entrench this behaviour as he comes to understand that he does not have to bark at or threaten strangers - that he has nothing to fear.

Foster Update, May 6, 7 pm

Barnaby was very gentle in his response today to the strangers who offered him turky weenies. He had a little corner where he felt safe and the people aat the BBQ were great in helping him to overcome his fear of strangers. He graciously accepted the food treats handed him and a number of people who sat beside him massaged his neck and ears (which he loves).

When the other pugs came too close, Baranby would give a low warning growl and they would acknowledge and not come close. Our host, Mary, brought out two cakes for her pugs and passed a slice over to me to give to Barnaby (see picture below)

All in all it was a very successful transitioning excercise and I'm more confident now than ever that Barnaby will be a happy go lucky pug at the end of his transition. Thanks to all today who helped Barnaby overcome a small but important hurdle in his life.

Foster Update, May 6

I've put his own bed next to mine and he is quite content to sleep there. We went for a long walk on Saturday and he was ready for a good night's sleep. He was on the dog bed in the living room and did not want to get up to go to the bedroom. However sometime during the night he made his way to the bed as the next morning he was there beside me. The bed gave him comfort of something familiar during this upheaval of life.

At first he kept his distance from Dante, Dublin and Odin on our walks. He has now accepted the pack and walks along with them with no nervousness. He does get a little skittish if they come up to him in the park but I can see he will come to accept the presence of other dogs as natural.

He is beginning to get use to people on busy streets. We pass by lots of people, children and dogs and he doesn't how any signs of fear or apprehension. I reinforce his behaviour by calling his name so he looks at me and give him a treat. He does not go up to people but I'm happy with the progress we made.

I expect him to semi-revert back once he gains confidence but I'm going to have people he is unfamiliar with to toss him food treats. He loves his turkey weenies and they are a good "high reward" for him to understand that there is nothing to fear from the prescence of these people. The dog owners in the park are helping me with this task - much like the did with Odin last year. I will next practice them taking the leash from me and walking Barnaby around for a bit - reinforcing with treats.

He was on a diet of Alpo kibble. I'm transition him to a raw diet using Innova's Evo as a kibble substitute mixed with chopped chicken wings. He has been relishing working on both beef marrow bones and lamb bones.

All in all he has settled in nicely and is responding well to my authority. He loves a good head scratch and now does the pug head tilt when I speak his name softly and tell him he is a good boy.

Introduction, May 4

Barnaby is a 5 year old neutered fawn male. He was surrendered to us due to a fear of strangers he developed over the years. Unfortunatley, the behaviour was not corrected but was unknowingly reinforced. Joan Weston, of "Fangs but no Fangs" Caninie Behaviour Consultant, and I went to the home to do an assessment. After the assessment, I was able to take the leash from the owner and walk Barnaby around - gaining his trust. He went into the car and sat on my lap without any signs of fear.

He also has a fear of other dogs but it is not an agressive fear. When he was introduced to Dante, Dublin and Odin, he curled his tail and tried to escape. However, after our afternoon walk he became more relaxed. In the park, he would back away whenever the boys came close. But by the end he was remaining calm.

Right now he is suppressed and confused. Over the next few days he will gain more confidence in his surrondings and that is when the behavioural modification work will begin. More on that in the coming days.