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by Kyler Laird last modified 2009-02-04 15:25

German Shepherd Dog, male

joined us: 2008-01-15 (5002 days ago)

This dog has passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test.

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Aries is a beautiful bold dog who was pulled from Jasper County Animal Shelter for a GSD rescue group. He had been found as a stray and had significant abrasions on his neck (from his collar). Weather and scheduling delays kept Aries with us for awhile and we grew to appreciate him. We decided he could use some help with socialization so he remains with us.


Aries is a strong large dog and had some incidents with Gus and Sakari but no injuries have resulted. These incidents have subsided as the dogs get to know each other and they even play together now. Morgan keeps an eye on him but has not engaged him. Aries does not seem at all aggressive, just misunderstood by a couple of dogs.


Aries visited University Place after minimal training at the kennel. He did a beautiful job, blending well with the other dogs on the visit and charming the residents. He is easily controlled but he needs a lot of work on loose-lead heeling.

2008-03-07: fosters start CGC/TD class by Kyler Laird

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Last night Aries, Gus, Marley, Sakari, and Sunny got a little exercise and then started the Canine Good Citizen/Therapy Dog class at Klondike Canine Academy with help from their handlers, Waynetta, Mary, Kitty, Jennifer, and Kyler.

Sakari did a beautiful job for Kyler, largely working off-lead getting a lot of "click-and-treat" for eye contact in sits and downs. Gus was his typical calm and quiet cream puff for Jennifer. The doodles, Marley and Sunny, were excited handfuls for Kitty and Mary. Aries was highly treat motivated but Waynetta succeeded in keeping all of her fingers intact.

We look forward to more training sessions and are interested in working with "guest trainers" who would like to learn along with the dogs.

2008-09-30: pulling T-bone by Kyler Laird
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I've been so fortunate to spend time with three of my favorite GSDs recently: Susha, Maddie Bea, and Aries. I pulled Maddie Bea and Aries from JCAS. Now they live with Susha and her family. They're amazing to watch together; there's something special about GSDs and watching three of them running around a farm is a big treat for me.

I'd been thinking about how much I like GSDs when I got the call that JCAS was packed - 30 dogs (for 7 indoor runs and 4 in the shed, I think). Another rescue would take the pups but the older guys were in jeopardy. I didn't hesitate much before saying I'd pick up T-bone today.

I had lunch with Dad and then ran some errands before heading to the shelter. The weather was nice and T-bone was in the shed. When I approached he sat and was calm but when I opened the door he was all over me. He was much more interested in me than when I first met him. I handled him exuberantly, especially hugging him and pulling, poking and holding his face and neck. No reaction. Despite being so excited to be outside he was extremely patient with my manipulations. I finally gave up before getting anything out of him. He was good to go.

I loaded T-bone in the car as I spoke with the ACO. She said Eli was causing some problems with other people. I knew that I was doing the right thing in leaving Eli there but it was tough.

T-bone seemed comfortable in the car but was restless as we headed to the farm. I let him run alongside the car for about 3/4 of a mile as we got close. He surprised me by heeling beautifully with the car. He ran for a bit but mostly he trotted, frequently glancing over. Watching him move was a thrill. I like his build.

At the farm I tethered T-bone to me while I talked with Dad and the builder who'd installed our new grain bin. T-bone jumped on both of them repeatedly. He was also excited about our farm dog but they got along beautifully. Dad helped me remove a rack from the semi truck I recently purchased and T-bone did well at just settling behind me while we worked for about an hour. Eventually I did untie him from my waist and hook him to the trailer so I could climb on the truck. Then he and the other dog really got to know each other and ended up wrestling quite a bit.  It sounded like it was heated a few times but I think they were both enjoying it.

It's been awhile since I've had a GSD farm dog but T-bone was starting to act the part already. I didn't dare let him off lead but he seemed like he was comfortable in the situation. I put him back in the car while I handled a couple things in the house and he was content to wait.

On the way home T-bone was a little restless a few times but he didn't make any noise. We made it to the kennel just after close but they were ready for us. His adopter hadn't returned T-bone's vaccine records so we gave T-bone another Bordetella dose in the nose. The kennel worker even commented how well T-bone handled it. I let T-bone run around outside and he encountered a little girl with her mom and young GSD/Husky on the other side of the fence. Everyone handled the situation well.

I took T-bone into the kennel and put him into his run without a fuss. I think I found another great Rensselaer GSD.

2008-10-02: therapy dog class begins by Kyler Laird

The latest therapy dog class at Klondike Canine Academy started last week. Waynetta attended with Aries but Kitty and I had a funeral to attend. This week we got to start working with Peyton and Dobky. And Layla brought along Chewie for some training too!

We arrived in time to give Aries, Peyton and Dobky a few minutes to run before class. Aries hadn't been around these guys and he was a little tense but they were alright after a few minutes. Aries did well last week but was a bit frustrating this week. He's a good guy and I'm confident he and Waynetta will work together to make progress.

I wasn't expecting much from Dobky but I love how calm and attentive he is. It's hard to do stays with a dog who constantly wants to touch me but I'm trying to appreciate him and let him develop at a comfortable pace. We spent a lot of time just relaxing with each other. He is not at all bothered by the other dogs.

Peyton was the big surprise of the evening. I was surprised Kitty even agreed to work with him but the real shocker was how well they did together. He was a bit wild at first but Kitty stuck with it and soon I saw them working like a real team. She really brought him along nicely.

And then there's Chewie. He's just wonderful. I enjoy seeing the little guy and he is certainly stuck on Layla. He's recovering well from his recent surgery.

Speaking of surgery...T-bone was out on hospital side this evening. He's been a challenge for the staff there. I'm looking forward to getting him back out to play with everyone.

Oh...and then there's Keowee. Tonight we got a call that he was out running the neighborhood again. I drove over to find Allison not far behind him but he would not return to her. I kept driving the neighborhood hoping to spot him if he crossed a major road and then I got the call that he was closer to home. As I drove that way I saw him in the road and pulled over, opened the door and offered him a ride. He hopped in, panting hard and bleeding from a cut dew-claw pad. I think he'll be alright.  Huskies...

2008-10-03: Friday playgroups by Kyler Laird

Waynetta called me today to ask about bringing Aries to meet my pack. She wanted to keep away from playgroup times to avoid other dogs so we met at 3:30, just before playgroups. Aries, of course, did fine meeting everyone. We eventually added the kenneled dogs and Stan joined us. They were doing so well that we stayed for playgroups.  We had a good bunch of dogs and were joined by Sunny and his sister, Leia.

Everyone got along beautifully until the very end when we mistakenly tethered GP and Chewie to the same person to return to the kennel. I looked over to see GP holding Chewie in his mouth. I made my way through the gates to them and GP quickly dropped Chewie who ran off and squeezed through a gate. He was a bit scratched but did not sustain any major damage. GP had a bite on his nose. I wonder what happened.

We were all ready for dinner so I took our dogs and Aries home. I crated Aries and Dobky (separately), leaving the normally-crated Dexter and Marley free in the house with the rest of the dogs. Kitty and I joined Waynetta and Stan for dinner then returned to find the dogs all doing well.

2009-01-19: two more CGCs by Kyler Laird
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We've been working hard with the new dogs in preparation for the Canine Good Citizen test. They have been great at interacting with everyone at University Place but I was not feeling confident at all with their ability to pass the test. It takes constant management to keep them on the ground and in a heel position. I decided that Bo would be too much to even manage at the test and concentrated on T-bone and Huntley. I pulled them from the kennel this afternoon and brought them home for a run with Bob and Marley pulling Grazie in the sled. Only Bob and T-bone pulled. Huntley was crazy to run and pulled hard against his collar the whole time. If he was a bit older I would have put him in harness. He'll be a great draft dog someday.

I met Waynetta and Aries before the test and Stan soon joined us. Aries played well with Huntley and T-bone but they were all still full of energy when we headed into the barn. It took a lot of management just to keep them somewhat still and quiet during the test. Waynetta and Aries went first and did an amazing job. I was surprised to look up and see that Waynetta did not put Aries into a sit when she met the "stranger with the neutral dog." Aries crossed to greet the other dog, failing that exercise. He got through the rest of it, though, including "supervised separation" which had been such trouble for him earlier.

I decided to try with Huntley next so I could get him back to the kennel and concentrate on T-bone. Huntley did surprisingly well. I was so impressed with him that I was a bit shocked when he wouldn't hold a stay. Of course we hadn't worked on this so I should have expected it. I hope I wasn't too pushy with him before I stopped the exercise. We continued with the rest of the test and the only problem he had was...again...another "stay" ("supervised separation"). He pulled hard as soon as I left the room. We'll have time to work on this as Huntley matures.

Jack and Cheyenne tested and made it look so easy. It's obvious that they've worked together and developed a close relationship. Watching a dog from such a rough background flourish as a beautifully groomed family member is a joy.

Finally it was my turn to test with T-bone. It was remarkably similar to Huntley's test; T-bone was attentive and did well at everything, staying at my side, dropping into sits, and lunging into downs. He amused the crowd by rolling over on his downs but I got frustrated because he'd pop back up and follow me if I left. I gave up on the exercise but we continued with the rest of the test and he breezed through it. I was told that was especially well-behaved during the supervised separation.

Aries and Waynetta had an opportunity to retry the neutral dog exercise after everyone else finished. They passed this time, of course. Aries showed an interest in the other dog but that was all.

Two more LTDR CGCs! I'm not just delighted to have these dogs do so well, it's also a treat to have more dogs covered under our insurance for LTDR events.

2009-01-25: Pet Partners tests and Windsor Hall callout by Kyler Laird

I was out late last night providing technical support for a concert and then spent a long time at the kennel letting out some client/friend dogs. I'd considered bathing and doing some last-minute training of Dobky and Dexter before their tests today but I decided sleep was more important.

After church (and a carry-in) I had plenty of time to go home and let the dogs play as much as they wanted. I returned to church with Dexter and Dobky for the Delta Society Pet Partners testing sponsored by Caring Paws. I was happy to run into Amy and Tanner who had gone first and, of course, passed! (Yea!)  I'm excited to have them as part of Caring Paws.  Amy has been integral to LTDR and has done an outstanding job of fostering Bozo the Malabrute.

When it was time to test with Dexter I realized I needed to hand off Dobky to Kitty, who was in a meeting. After a quick jog through the church I was back to test with Dexter. He was so social! I think he thoroughly greeted all of the volunteers and they were all very patient and kind to him. This was an immense help to us as we settled into the test. Dexter did alright during the test and I was especially pleased with how well he followed my lead. Although it was slow compared to other dogs, I even felt good about his "down," something that had concerned me. The most challenging part of the test was meeting the volunteer with the neutral dog. We did it twice and I realized during the first pass that it wasn't the dog who had his interest; he wanted to greet the volunteer! I really stayed on top of him the second time and he narrowly passed.

I got to rest a bit while Allison tested with Keowee. It's been awhile since I tested with Keowee but I was confident that he'd do well for Allison. I heard from a volunteer that he was very attentive to her. She has given him much-needed attention.  They passed!

Dobky and I were the last team of the day. I've learned to love Dobky's slow, controlled movement and thought it would serve us well in the test but I worried that he might simply freeze and blow one of the exercises. Indeed, he was a joy to handle but he zoned out for awhile as I tried to get him to "down" and then he was enjoying getting patted by a volunteer so much that at first he ignored my "come" command. It took a few tries but I was amazingly relieved when he finally rose and ambled over to me. Whew - another pass!

We returned home and I caught a quick nap on the couch with Dobky curled in a ball against my legs. I didn't want to move but I was excited about the callout we had at Purdue's Windsor Hall. Kitty and I took Dexter, Dobky and Bob to Windsor at 6:30. We arrived right behind Waynetta and Stan who had Maddie Bea and Aries. Amy followed soon and we were escorted inside. Bob was the most energetic so I took him and Kitty took Dobky. That left Dexter for Amy, who I thought was a good match for him. I brought up the rear of the group and heard a commotion as I entered the building. It was Dexter - he wasn't handling the slick floors and stairs well. I grabbed his lead and pulled him alongside Bob. He came along but it was obviously a challenge for him.

Downstairs, we gathered in a large room and our hosts cleared some tables and arranged a lot of chairs (20?) for the presentation. I wasn't expecting to see all of the chairs filled but the students just kept coming and soon spilled out into another section of seating. It was a great crowd! Not only were there many students but they were all wonderful with the dogs and very engaging, showing great interest in the dogs.

I rambled on about therapy dogs and University Place for about 30(?) minutes and afterward we again got to meet many of the students as they enjoyed the dogs and spoke with us about their interest in volunteer opportunities. This was an impressive group. I'm looking forward to working with them.

After the presentation we took our dogs home and met Amy, Waynetta and Stan for dinner. I got a couple e-mail messages about volunteer opportunities as we spoke about how exciting it was to work with these students. We have a lot to learn but we see great possibilities in this program.

2009-04-05: rainy day catchup by Kyler Laird

It's been non-stop here for weeks (or months?). Whenever I don't have work to do there's something for the dogs. Today, however, it's raining and I feel like I can sit and write for awhile.

This morning Buddy went to church and was perfect as always. He slept on my lap most of the time, perking up at the performance of Four Dead in Ohio (The sermon was about Kent State.) but quickly settling again. He was very social afterward. I usually have him walk everywhere but there were lots of people so I held him the whole time and he seemed completely comfortable with that.

A bunch of us went to lunch after church and Buddy did fine waiting in the car. We drove directly to the kennel afterward to meet a couple students. Playgroups were canceled so we had the park to ourselves. We had a good gang. Our regular kennel dogs, T-bone, Huntley, GP, Bozo, and Marty were joined by friends Keowee, Ranger, and Meka. They played in the rain for over an hour without incident.

At home we're adjusting to Dexter's departure. He's joined a family in Ohio and I hope he has a great life there. It's always hard for me to see a dog go, especially to a distant home. Dexter deserves a great family of his own though.

Speaking of Pyrs, we have one I haven't even mentioned yet, Cody. He's an IGPR dog who needed a place to stay between foster homes. Cody's in a new foster home now but will return to us soon while his foster family leaves town.

LTDR foster dogs are doing great. Anna is learning to play with Tanner and making lots of little neighborhood friends. Aries came to University Place and Waynetta let me handle him while she took Buddy. Both dogs did very well there as has Tanner.

Dobky attended his first Caring Paws function and did a fine job as a reader dog at the new Klondike Branch library. He has a great personality for this activity. We continue to visit Mintonye Elementary and Dobky goes almost goes with us because I know I can hand him off to someone else and he'll be easy to manage.  The other regular at Mintonye is Maddie, handled by Waynetta.  Maddie is so perfect that I sometimes forget about her.

We completed our second series of mushing classes recently. Bob and Morgan were my class helpers/coaches. While Morgan tolerates the activity Bob revels in it. I love putting him to work pulling and I enjoy watching his spirit inspire other dogs.

GP received a wonderful adoption application recently and I blew it. I took too long to respond and the applicant found another dog. Although I hate that I botched a great home for him I do like having him available. Even more so than Dobky, I know GP can be handled easily by other people around visitors of any age. It sure is nice to have "easy" dogs.

And then there's the rest of the kennel dogs... T-bone and Huntley are full of spirit and love to play with each other. They're both regulars at playgroups and are often requested by name. Bozo doesn't go to playgroups unless I'm there but he's had lots of requests for walks. He's been on campus a couple times and he is easy to manage when he's dragging his tire. Huntley needs a tire but he's too young. He's started class with a volunteer though.

And Marty...oh, what a good dog he's become. It's been such a pleasure to watch him develop. He continues to do well with other dogs but he always circles around to me. He sits in front of me for attention and gets his head patted and his face scrunched. I play with him by shoving him round and round and pulling his tail if he doesn't flip around toward me quickly enough. He's turned from fearing touch to seeking it and it really shows when he's in a group of students. At first I was careful to warn everyone about his sensitivity but now it's not an issue.

There are lots of plans on the horizon for LTDR. I've flown to Wisconsin and Kentucky to look at trailers and I'm hoping to purchase one soon. That will bring us lots of possibilities for activities on campus and all across the country.

2009-04-29: Dead Week Dogs at Purdue by Kyler Laird
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Wow! We pulled off Dead Week Dogs and it was a great success. The dogs were wonderful, the students were a delight, and our volunteers made it all go smoothly.

I've been kicking around the idea of having dogs on campus as a study break for a long time. When the Windsor Hall and Pre-Vet Club students joined us I pitched it to them and got their support. Things happened quickly after that. Sarah Hanson at DRS helped us with reserving the RSC tennis courts. Christie Dewert of Windsor Hall handled the event planning form and got immediate approval. Kristin Bahleda arranged for Pre-Vet Club members to help. Suddenly all the pieces were in place.

Today it all went surprising well. I started configuring the tennis courts around noon. The tough part was securing the doors and after a few failed ideas I finally settled on a simple spring mechanism. It made opening the doors difficult but I was reasonably sure it would keep the dogs inside.

At 4:30 I took Huntley and GP from the kennel along with my gear and made the final preparations. Volunteers arrived shortly after that and we immediately had students descending on the dogs. I'd tried to imagine how to handle all sorts of problems but none appeared. Everyone seemed to be relaxed and enjoying the interaction. We stayed waaaaay late but I just couldn't turn away people who wanted to meet the dogs. Fun!

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