Dancey


Fostered beginning Feb. 1, 2004; Rescued originally by Deborah Ullrich of Mixed Breed Rescue north of Austin. For more about her, see below.



Dancey is a sweet, low-key Toller; not demonstrative, but very loving. She is quiet and rarely barks. She is very attuned to human attention, and wags her tail every time you look at her or speak to her or enter the room. She loves to be petted and have her tummy rubbed. She is very docile and does not mind having her mouth, feet and other body parts handled. She is housetrained, understands "No," and usually comes when called. She was obviously someone's house pet in the past; she knows and loves to get on beds and sofas. She is crate trained and sleeps quietly in her crate at night (she also quietly sleeps on the bed all night if allowed to). She is easy to lead on a leash.

Dancey is very typey (of a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever) in many ways. She is the classic rust red color. Her nose, eyes, and eyelids are medium brown. She has feathering on legs and tail. Her general body type fits the Toller image. She does have some faults. She is one inch taller at the withers than the standard. Her ears are a bit short. Her coat is a bit coarse for a Toller. But she is a beautiful dog, especially when groomed.

Because she was in a kennel for a year, competing with other animals for food, she does tend to guard her food from other animals. She has no problem with people touching or moving her food. She did growl and show her teeth once when she didn't know the person was coming, and she was stealing some cat food. I always tell her "No" when she goes for the cat food. She backs off and I pick up the food. She also allows me to pick her up off the bed and put her in her crate at night.

Dancey is a very delicate eater and turns down most treats. She is, however, wild about barbecued beef. But she very quietly and delicately takes the beef from between your fingers; there is no grabbing or snapping. She has a habit of dumping her kibble out of the pan onto the floor before she eats it. She won't take the standard treats I use for clicker training: liver bits, hard biscuits, bacon bits.

She plays well with our other Toller, with the exception of guarding her food and insisting on being the alpha. She would not do well with another alpha dog. She tends to intimidate our other dog and be jealous of any attention I give her. On the other hand, she also licks the other dog and plays with her. It is great fun to watch the two dogs running around the yard together, their mouths hanging open with big grins on their faces. Dancey is fascinated with the bushes in the middle of the yard. She is constantly trying to flush the birds. She does not seem to know what toys are. I have tried her with balls, soft frisbees, and tug ropes. She just looks at them.

Dancey is not particularly good with cats. She seems not to have seen them before, and wants to chase them. One of our cats refuses to run and Dancey woofs at her and would snap at her if we allowed it. It would probably be better if Dancey went to a home without cats.

We are keeping Dancey current on heartworm medicine and Advantage (for fleas). The dogs get a bath once every month, and are groomed every other day.

Feb. 5th Dancey went to the vet. She got all her shots. All her tests -- fecal, blood, heartworm -- came out negative. Her ears are clean, her eyes are bright. She is in great health except for three BBs: one lodged in her ear, one in her shoulder, and one in her stomach. The vet said they are no problem unless they get irritated or swell. The vet says Dancey is probably 4 to 5 years old.

End of first week: Dancey has learned to "sit" on cue. She is learning to "stay" as well. She is beginning to eat some of the treats I give her and is learning to have her teeth brushed daily.

End of second week: Dancey is getting very consistent with her sit, and is learning "down." She tends to pull when taken for walks, so we got her a Gentle Leader collar. She still barks at and chases the cats, but the episodes are getting farther apart. She is learning to play with toys. Her housetraining is really solid; she has not had a single mistake in two weeks, even when I slept late one morning. Dancey is also getting used to grooming, which I do three to four times each week. Since her hair is thick and coarse, I use a pin brush. I do grooming on the bed with the dog lying down. I just roll her over to do the other side. She really likes having her tummy and chest groomed.

End of third week: Dancey has discovered toys this week. She had shown no interest for toys until we went to Petco and got a stuffed duck which quacks when you squeeze it. She immediately took that duck for herself. When I get home at night, she grabs the duck and prances around, quacking; it is so cute to see. She has also learned the joys of licking out a used dinner plate (we use paper plates) this week. She particularly likes seafood leftovers. She is getting along very well with our other dog (but still alpha), but she is still aggressive toward the cats. I must say, however, she has not bitten or injured one in any way.

Midweek update: I found out last night that Dancey is frightened by thunder storms. A storm was approaching at one in the morning and suddenly I awoke to find Dancey standing over me whining softly. She never panicked like a Border Collie we used to have. But she was very unhappy and restless and in need of attention for a couple of hours. She will need some counterconditioning training for this fear.

Dancey knows sit and down. Now she is learning touch with her nose. She also needs some additional work on the come command.

March 7th: I gave Dancey her monthly bath today. In about four days I will put Advantage on her back for the month. I trimmed her toenails a week ago; she was very good about it. I have to be careful when giving Dancey a bath. The first time I did it in the bathtub, she was very frightened and clawed up my legs badly trying to escape. Now I know not to let her climb on me while she is in the bathtub. She has, however, gotten much better about baths. I use a citrus shampoo which also helps deter fleas.

Some general notes. When I first get up in the morning I let the dogs out in the yard. They run around and bark while I make coffee. Then I bring them in and before I sit down to coffee I give them each a garlic and yeast biscuit to chew on. I fill up Dancey's food bowl at that time. She likes to eat in the morning and again in the evening. I let them out one more time before I go back to the bedroom to get dressed. After I brush my teeth, I brush the dogs' teeth. Dancey is not terribly enthusiastic about tooth brushing so what I do is hold the toothbrush in front of her. She smells the poultry in the toothpaste and licks it. Then I brush one side of her mouth until she starts to resist. Then I hold the toothbrush in front of her again. She can't resist licking it; then I brush the other side of her mouth. She is still learning.

One of my grown kids is almost always home to keep the dogs company. So Dancey gets to go out in the yard and run the fence one or two more times during the day. I also let the dogs out when I get home from work. I usually walk out with them and encourage them to run around and play. Dancey really likes it when someone goes out in the yard with her.

I leave her food out at night and she usually eats more. I feed her Purina One Lamb kibble because that is what she was getting in the kennel and I didn't want to upset her stomach. I would suggest upgrading her to a better grade of food, like Wellness Fish and Sweet Potato, or Newman's Own. One note about Dancey's eating. Her mouth foams when she eats. I haven't had a chance to ask the vet. about that. But it happens every day.

Dancey is like a little child in that she doesn't want to go to bed at night. We keep a supply of BBQ beef and turkey on hand to lure her into the bedroom at bedtime. Then I practice her sit and down and touch and leave it and give her treats. She is content after that to go to bed. She is very good about staying on her side of the bed. She often also gets on the floor since it is cooler.

Jerry (rescue) asked me to measure Dancey today for a shipping crate. She weighs 40 pounds. She is 21 inches high at the withers. She is 36 inches long from rump to nose.

March 10: We encountered two problems with Dancey. A guest offered our Toller, Amy, some leftovers on a paper plate without offering it to Dancey first. Dancey attacked Amy and there was quite a dog fight. I ended up taking Amy to the emergency clinic to have five puncture wounds cleaned out. Dancey was not hurt, even though our cat jumped on her trying to protect Amy.

This incident reinforces our views about Dancey's jealousy tendencies and the need for her to go to a home without other pets. She is the sweetest dog in the world as long as her jealousy doesn't kick in.

May update. Dancey is learning "leave it" command.

May 22, 2004 update. Dancey has been adopted by Brandon Gable of Reno Nevada. Brandon drove two days to meet us in El Paso. Dancey immediately took to him (with the help of a little barbecued beef). Dancey will be an "only child" which will be perfect for her.


Colby Glass, MLIS