Hogan Graduated (kind of with honours)!

Yesterday, we attended our last Obedience Level One class with Hogan. The TAGS eight-week training course is really excellent, and the last class is the best because we spend it playing games with our dogs (and eating cake afterward).

Hogan had fantastic classmates. We started out with a larger class, but only three dogs attended the graduation, unfortunately: Hogan, Bailey, and Mikey. Ty, Andree’s dog, “the model dog,” was there, too. So these were Hogan’s classmates (competitors in the last class):

Bailey the adorable, happy beagle

Mikey--he looks like a big dog, but he's not! He's a cutie!

Our first competition was an obstacle course that we had to do with the dogs heeling, sitting in hoops on command, and lying down on command. And it was a timed event. And we had to walk the course with a Frisbee on our head (so we weren’t watching what the dog was doing but just trusting him or her to obey). Hogan won that one, but it was close.

Ty is Andree's (one of our instructors) dog. He's very handsome and very smart!

The next event was musical hoops. With only three dogs competing, it’s a pretty fast game. Hogan narrowly won that one, too. He and Mikey got in the hoop at the same time, but Hogan went into a sit more quickly.

Hogan and Mikey battling it out for the win in musical hoops

We all had a lot of fun with dog bowling. In this game, we had to try to get the dog to knock down all the bowling pins. I think we unanimously believed Bailey would win this one because her tail’s going all the time, and she’s such a happy, wiggly dog. We were all surprised by how delicate and graceful she was when presented with the bowling pins. She kept walking either around them or between them! It was very funny. In two minutes, she didn’t manage to knock down a single pin.

Bailey bowling


Hogan did a little better but tired of the game when he found out Daddy didn’t have any treats in his hand and other people in the room just might! Here’s a video of Hogan bowling:

As you might’ve guessed, Mikey won this game! After a few more games, Mikey and Hogan were tied at three a piece, and Bailey had won two, so we went into sudden death overtime. The game: The Fastest Down/Stay, a game that Bailey had won. It was anyone’s game, and we were all on the edges of our seats waiting to see who would come out the victor. Upon the “start” signal, the dads moved forward with their dogs in a heel, and then the “Down” order came. Wes quickly manoeuvred Hogan into the down/stay just a fraction of a second before Mikey got into his. Victory was Hogan’s! All of the competitors were very sportsmanlike, wagging their tails and sniffing Hogan in congratulations. (He won some great prizes. Thanks, TAGS!) And then the dogs got to don their graduation caps. Yay! (For more “Hogan in training” stories, click here and here.)


Hogan doing one last down/stay before the class graduation pic

Hogan's graduating class (l-r: Bailey, Hogan, Mikey)

Best Buds Dusty and Hogan

Dusty and Hogan have been best buds since the day Hogan came into our home (July 1, 2011).

They wrestle:

Dusty and Hogan wrestling in the backyard

They nap together:

Hogan and Dusty were fast friends. I took this picture the day after we adopted Hogan.

They fight crime together:

SuperDusty and Batdog Hogan

They practise their alphabet together:

The letter L

And they play games like chase together:

They really love each other!

Dusty and Hogan kissing


How about a Third?

Several people are asking about doggy #3, so I’ll jump forward in time a bit.

Within our first month with Cora and Dusty, I witnessed something that got the wheels turning about getting a third dog. Dusty continued his desperate attempts to get Cora to play. And she still wouldn’t. By this point, we’d seen her run, get into the play position (albeit briefly), and dance around the kitchen at meal times (I’ll blog about all that later and hopefully post a video if I can figure out how to), but Dusty just didn’t interest her. He’s a bit of an aggressive player in that he goes at high speed all the time. We joke that he’s our ADHD dog. But we actually love that about him (except when we can’t get him out of his own little world)!

Anyway, one afternoon, my mom came with me on a walk with the dogs. She had Dusty, and I had Cora. Mom and Dusty were behind a little. Cora and I turned a corner on the trail and met a large black dog. Cora always loves meeting other dogs, but this one was, I guess, special. Cora got into the play position and bounced around trying to encourage the dog to play with her. Of course, since both dogs were on leashes, we couldn’t let them play (although had the other owner not intervened, I wouldn’t have because this was so amazing to me!). Once Dusty arrived on scene, Cora backed off. Hmm, I thought. I wonder if we could find a suitable playmate for Cora. Dusty would play with anyone, so any playmate who worked for Cora would work for him. And Dusty really seemed to miss having playmates.

My husband and I talked about it and then started poking around on Petfinder.com again. We decided that, as much as we loved our hounds, we’d really like to have a terrier again. Enter Hogan.

Hogan (picture sent to us by his foster mom, Julie)

Hogan was rescued by Rat Terrier Rescue Canada (RTRC). His story always interests people, as it did us: (updated December 2011) He came from Cozumel, Mexico, where he’d been found by four homeless men and where he was called “Gohan.” The men took him to the Humane Society of Cozumel. (Side note: If you’re ever vacationing in Cozumel, consider bringing a kennel for the Humane Society.) RTRC saw his picture and decided to save him by bringing him to Canada. Apparently, he generated a lot of interest among potential adopters. We feel so fortunate that we passed the rescue’s stages of application (written application, phone interview, home visit) and in the end were chosen to adopt him. On July 1, Canada Day, we picked him up from his foster mom, Julie.

Hogan is guessed to be around two years old. He’s a wire-haired terrier mix of some sort. We think he may have Cairn terrier in him, so that’s what we’re going with. (Update December 2011: He fits the Australian terrier profile better.) Others have guessed border terrier or Yorkie. Whatever he is, he’s damn lovable! He’s a really affectionate little dog who loves belly rubs but was really shy about “asking” for them when we first got him. When Cora and Dusty came to us for affection, Hogan held back, and sometimes, he still does. He likes to have our full attention rather than one-third of it, so he often waits until the others are napping before he snuggles up to us. He’s got one ear that always wants to stand up and one that always wants to flop sideways and the cutest little curly tail. He’s generally well behaved, but I think if we didn’t exercise him as much as we do, he’d be a trouble maker. A couple of times we’ve caught him chewing something he wasn’t supposed to (chair cushions, rug tassels), but it doesn’t take much to get him to stop. He seems to have learned “no” now. We’re fortunate that he loves his crate, because it will likely be at least a few months before we’ll feel comfortable letting him roam free when we’re not home. He also proved to be very food aggressive when we first adopted him, so we quickly started feeding him in his crate, away from the other dogs. We’re pleased that he’s much less possessive of food now.

We have some issues with Hogan. He’s fearful, just as Cora is, but deals with it in a different way—a terrier way. Whereas Cora cowers away, Hogan growls—mostly at other dogs, but we’ve also seen him snarl a bit at a child (his second day with us). When Hogan first met Cora and Dusty, he growled at them and got a little confrontational with Dusty, but within minutes, the two dogs worked it out and began playing. After a while, Hogan decided he was done playing and led Cora on a walk through the beautiful wooded area at the back of Julie’s yard. It was so cute to see them trot away together. Dusty, meanwhile, happily played with another one of Julie’s foster dogs. We knew Hogan wasn’t going to be necessarily easy (what terrier is?), but nevertheless, we thought, We can make this work.

And for the most part, it has worked. We’ve got some training to do with Hogan still, but he’s definitely a trainable dog. Smart and loyal, he should learn quickly once we put our minds to teaching him. We hired Joan Weston of Who’s Walking Who to help guide us in dealing with his growling. The main task she gave us is to make him feel safe with us, to show him he no longer has to protect himself. And, slowly, we’re making progress.

So from a household of two in April, we became a household of five in July. A happy little family.