*** UPDATE: Ella has found her forever home! ***
Ella (http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/15461942) is about 9-10 months old now and she has been having some potty training problems in her crate at the shelter, so Katie (my roommate) and I wanted to see how she'd do in a house.
Ella was born to a sweet beagle girl named Samantha, along with two brothers and another sister (Radar, Sissy, and Turbo). Samantha was in a shelter at the time, so Ella has never actually lived in a house. Sissy and Radar have since been adopted, but Ella and Turbo are still with us. When we brought Ella home on Friday she was actually scared at first - opening the oven startled her, her reflection in the fireplace screen scared her, she was cowering the whole way there in the car, and she was much more interested in following around her 'people' than playing with our other two dogs here. Ella had never seen a cat before, so when she saw Monkey (Katie's five year old cat that has grown up around dogs) she was scared! She barked and barked at Monkey, but Monkey is a good dog trainer and he just sat there and took it. I like to think he was trying to show Ella "Hey I'm not a bad guy, I just live here too!" Even going in the backyard was new to Ella, as it's a very big yard and she wouldn't go all the way to the edges unless we walked with her. This all happened on her first day with us. Ella met our dogs one at a time, Bella first (a 5 year old chocolate lab) and then Desoto (a one year old Dobie/Rottie/Shepard mix). With Bella, Ella was wary and a bit timid - we let those two get accustomed for a while, probably at least an hour, before we took them both outside. When Desoto came out to meet Ella, he ran up and sniffed her, then ran out to play, and Ella handled it like a pro!
We put a spare crate in the kitchen for Ella, but about 30 minutes after we'd put her to bed she started crying. I am a sucker, so I let her in my room and she went right to sleep on the floor next to my bed.
By Saturday, Ella was nonplussed when Monkey or the other cats (Cheddar and Peanut) walked by. After a quick sniff and a bit of a growl from Monkey when she got too close once, she'd taken to leaving them alone - which is how the cats like it best :) She was running around the backyard playing with Bella and Desoto like they were best friends. As for the potty training, which is the original reason we brought her home - we are absolutely thrilled to report that Ella only ONE potty accident the whole weekend! And even that time I believe it's because she tried to tell us she needed to go, but we weren't listening close enough.
By the end of her weekend, Ella was acclimated - she would chill out on the floor with Bella for naps, wrestle with Desoto for play time, and had learned the sound of the cookie jar opening for when it was time to practice "sit" (which she caught on to very quickly!) Taking her back at the end of the weekend was a little sad, but when she saw her brother Turbo she quickly perked up and went right back to playing in her run at the shelter.
What I learned from taking Ella home is that she is still the same sweet girl no matter where she is, but in a home environment she seems more likely to have little or no potty troubles, and she is much calmer than when we normally see her at the shelter. Getting a glimpse of what our dogs behave like in an actual 'home' environment is very beneficial to us AND them - and having Ella for a sleepover made for a very fun weekend.
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