Our special needs foster dog “Grits ” is looking for his forever home.
Age: 10 Months old
Weight: 24 Pounds
Breed: Terrier Mix
Health: Neutered, Heartworm Negative, UTD on shots
Grits Personality Information:
Does Grits have any special medical conditions, illness, or dietary requirements?
Grits is deaf, and has sub-par vision in direct sunlight. He does ok in dark environments. (Genetic jump causing low pigmentation & deafness, blue colored eyes and blond/white coat similar if not Merle). He is sensitive to high quantities of protein, makes him gassy. Currently feeding him ‘Natures Recipe’ which has been a little better with his gas. Recommend small or low protein treats for training.
Any certain likes or dislikes that are apparent?
Grits loves to socialize and play with other dogs, in most cases if introduced in a neutral zone he wins them over quickly. Grits has gotten much better at recognizing when another dog doesn’t want to play, although it’s best to watch closely for a time if signs of aggression are present. In some cases I’ve observed aggression in dogs directed at Grits without obvious provocation, likely due to Grits deafness (he can’t respond to auditory cues, some dogs take this as defiance). Regardless, I’m constantly impressed with how polite Grits is with introductions.
Grits dislikes crates. Considering his situation when found this is understandable. I spent more than a couple weeks introducing him to a crate, with reasonable progress. He got to the point where he was comfortable sleeping in a crate, or being in a crate for short periods of time with the gate closed. However when his ‘person’ or ‘people’ aren’t around he will panic and escape (he understands latches surprisingly well) I had to abandon the crate as an option after realizing that as soon as line of sight is lost he shows signs of elevated anxiety and lets himself out.
Does Grits bark often?
Grits will bark when he sees fast moving reflections or lights while resting or waking from sleep unexpectedly, however he is quick to orient himself and go back to his business. Occasionally if he sees a cat or small animal outside or through a window, he does bark and show low levels of frustration. He responds ok to the no command when getting carried away.
When left alone inside, or outside he will whine (almost a whistle). He cycles through several different libraries of unique sounds before barking (if he gets too worked up).
Is Grits good with cats?
Grits is playful, and he isn’t afraid of getting swatted. I haven’t seen him do more than excite a swat from a cat. If the cat is declawed I would expect it to be a little less of a concern. He won’t outright ‘attack’ a cat, play around perhaps but I haven’t observed direct aggression. It also depends on the temperament of the cat. If the cat is obviously distressed by his presence he understands the body language. If a cat corners or is teasing Grits he’ll typically let you know with a bark or two and then let it go.
Is grits good with other dogs?
Grits is good with many different dogs, varying ages and sizes. Smaller dogs and Older dogs seem to need a little monitoring at first, smaller dogs are concerned with his size and older dogs with his puppy play and the lack of auditory cues can be tricky. I will watch and listen to other dogs on introduction, if I hear/see anything amiss I’ll get Grits’ attention with the ‘Come Here’ command, follow with a ‘Look At Me’, and while pointing at the other dog with one hand sign ‘No’ with the other – this seems to get the point across a good bit of the time.
Is Grits good with children?
Grits is good with children. I’ve been able to introduce Grits to more than a dozen children ages 5-12 years old, make sure that the child understand the ‘No’ sign and not to allow jumping. Grits loves to jump up on people he just meets, children included and this can be a problem. I would suggest continuing on training grits not to jump up on new people by signing ‘Sit’ + ‘Stay’ as new introductions are made. Grit’s will listen to firm signing, and it’s important that children understand how to talk to him ‘so to speak’.
Is Grits good with other people? (both genders and ages)?
Grits is an incredibly sociable and lovable dog and he doesn’t have a recognizable gender bias. I would caution interaction with young children/toddlers as I haven’t observed interaction.
Does Grits display food aggression or is toy possessive?
Grits will get defensive if a cat begins closing distance while he is eating. This behavior has gotten better, at this point all he will stop eating while monitoring the cat – I believe it has more to do with wanting to be able to see other people or animals that are moving toward him due to deafness rather than aggression.
House broken to toilet outside?
Knows, he prefers soft terrain like leaves or pine straw but will eliminate on hard surfaces if gently directed in a circle a couple times.
Provides command to go outside?
Knows, Grits is very attentive of peoples movements. He won’t typically rush a door, however he seems to pick up very quickly peoples intentions and will follow or wait at the destination. A index & middle finger mime of walking could be used consistently to maintain ‘Walk’. He will let you know when he needs to restroom by waiting/pointing at a door or retrieving his leash.
Come Wave-like gesture, hand facing forward and up in an arch down to thigh.
Sit ASL sign for ’S’ or upright fist.
Lay Down Hang Ten (pinky and thumb outstretched, throw in oscillation for emphasis).
Stay Flat hand forward and tilted slightly towards the dog.
Get down ‘Come’ command followed by pointing down with index finger.
No ASL standard
Good Thumbs Up
Car Ride Two hands miming turning a steering wheel.
Sleep/Rest Hands flat together next to tilted head.
Go Point in direction or object (bed/door).
Drop It Closed fist opening moving towards floor (miming a dropping action).
Other personality information to share.
Grits is calm when he’s near his person. He enjoys car rides and responds positively to the ‘Car’ command (I’ve seen him bolt out the door and wait at the car expectantly). He’s not afraid to be touched to wake him up or to get his attention (a tap on the nape, or lower back). He’s quiet in public places.
Grits is sweet and affectionate. He’s a great couch buddy, and he’s happy sleeping next to his ‘persons’ feet as well. He’s cautious with dogs he’s not been introduced, but is good with building positive friendships with other dogs he meets. Keep in mind that he’s deaf, unknown dogs will startle him if he doesn’t expect them.
He doesn’t like a closed crate, he’s brave enough now to explore one and eat his food and water in one, as well as sleep if his blanket is put in it next to the bed. I would recommend exposing him to a crate in a passive manner by leaving his toys in it, along with food and water with the gate open) for a matter of months before attempting to leave him alone in one.
When you leave him at home he will bark and cry. He has separation anxiety, if trained or given the correct environment he may be able to overcome this issue. He gets excited around windows when left alone and will climb on furniture when left alone.
He likes to chew on: drink straws, water bottles, milk jugs, phone cords, speaker cords, headphones, sometimes shoes, backpacks, wood, leaves, sticks.
If he begins licking the floor or corners it is an indication of anxiety, possibly being cut off from a particular person or animal he is interested in. Getting his attention and issuing sit lay down commands to distract him, or finding him a bone or chew to spend his nervous energy on is effective.
With electrical cables, he is particularly good at avoiding objects that you explicitly tell him ‘NO’ to. Just remember, if you haven’t said no to it he might chew on it. It’s fairly obvious in a new environment which objects have his attention It’s always a good time to deal with his boundaries during an introduction to an environment he will have free roam in.
He likes to restroom on soft textures (clothes, bath mats, towels) especially piles of things. He has been house trained not to pee on these types of items. He will however find the above as a preference if he’s not let out regularly- he’s not interesting in marking (he squats like a girl).
He will restroom quickly once he establishes is place in the yard. He’s quick to eliminate in piles of leaves (especially pine straw), and has been getting better about not being shy.
He has been left outside with other dogs inside a fence, and has been getting better about hanging out with them rather than seeking constant human attention. However, he’ll still frequently want to find his people (or at least see them).
He likes to play with water bottles and bark, jump and chew at them. He likes to play soft balls in the house.
Practice providing good treats (redirection) when passing other dogs and quick corrections with a rope leash. I’ve trained him on and had the most success with an Easy Leader, and it has improved his awareness of leash commands.
He likes to lick people on hands, face, ears and nose. If inappropriate (peoples preference) he learns who he is allowed to lick. We’ve been consistently discouraging (by
When out in public. Please watch for other dogs approaching him, he’s been doing well while on a leash, however if he does begin to show aggressive behavior divert and move on/away if done correctly & quickly the situation can often turn around and a friendly if not cautious introduction can be made.
When working with Grits I have found more success when establishing clear expectations with him. Consistency is crucial, negative reinforcement is counterproductive even when unintentional (he’s more sensitive to body language). I believe that maintaining consistent exercise and positive discipline (training) is going to continue to be the most effective way of providing him a healthy environment. When he is active he is calm.
He is curious, loves new objects, will play with things you bring out gently if observed and understands his boundaries when people are around. Highly intelligent, and I sincerely hope that he’s provided with an environment that capitalizes on his personality and spirit. He does well with limitations as long as his needs are met. I would recommend anyone working with him to not underestimate his desire to understand what people want him to do, he may take a little more patience than other dogs but this isn’t a mental disability on his part, it’s more a challenge of unlearning our typical expectations of how to communicate with animals. His deafness has many positive aspects, he’s great with noisy environments and he reads people better than most dogs. He is uncanny at reflecting nuances in the body language he observes in others.