Tag Archives: Abby

Seasons Greetings!

Wishing you and yours all the best for the holidays.

Abby loves to sleep under the tree as soon as the tree is up and tree skirt is down. She does not quite realize that the gifts would go under the tree and that she is blocking the delivery.  But there she sleeps, dreaming of all the toys Santa will bring. Hope your pups get their wishes met this holiday season!

Waiting for Santa…

Here is a cute Scottie filled Christmas video.

Happy Holidays!


One thing I have learned with having a Scottie is that you cannot rush them. On Monday, I was running late but always give the dogs the same amount of time they need to do their business. I took Abby out and she decided that she wanted a lot of extra time to do her business. I mean a lot of extra time! She refused to pee. She just sniffed and sniffed and sniffed. She would go into a crouch and then pop back up. It was if she was saying “Gotcha! I’m not ready yet.”

Meanwhile, I am trying not to show how frustrated I am but she knows. This is a game of patience which unfortunately I was going to lose.

She finally decided to go so I could just squeak into work on time.

I have to learn to set my watch to Scottie time.

Have a great week everyone!

Abby’s Allergy Update

Hello everyone,

I wanted to give you an update on Abby’s allergies. She is doing much better now. We found out she was not taking the required dose of Atopica so we increased it. We also switched her food to raw. She loves her food! We mix the meat with vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots, etc) and a bit of oil. If we go past her regular meal time, she will let you know it!

Her hair has grown back and is so thick it is hard to see her skin. I can’t believe the change. She still has outbreaks but nowhere near as bad as what they were.

Her personality has changed too. She is now much more playful and content. It must be such a relief to not have itchy skin all the time. She still loves her bath though. If you run the water in the tub she runs and tries to get in. This is a bonus as she has taught Mya that a bath is fun so Mya loves them too.

This is what happy looks like....
This is what happy looks like…well, for Abby.

We are Back!

Hi everyone,

Apologies for the loooonnnnngggg time between posts.  Sometimes life just gets away from you.

A lot has happened this year:

A big CONGRATULATIONS to our founder, Ann, who has completed her book called Dark Ambition The Shocking Crime of Dellen Millard and Mark Smich. This is the true story of a horrific crime that took the life of a young husband and father, Tim Bosma. Ann covers the story from the beginning through to the end of a trial. It is going to be released on November 8th.  Check it out on Amazon – Dark Ambition The Shocking Crime of Dellen Millard and Mark Smich.

As for Abby and me, we are finally settled in. She missed her friends terribly so I got her a new friend – a Giant Schnauzer puppy named Mya. Now, I think Abby was happier alone. She puts up with the new pup but is more than ready to let her know when to calm down and how to act in front of company. As Mya gets older, they play a lot more which is nice.

I quickly learned what a small world it is. I had an email from one of our Scottie readers asking about Scottie breeders on the east coast. They successfully found a breeder in the New England area and sent me an email with pictures.  Imagine my surprise when I took Mya to puppy class and found out a Scottie would also be in the class. I recognized Barb immediately from the photos and knew that the Scottie would their Bonnie. Bonnie is an adorable feisty Scottie. I loved seeing her in class.

Abby really misses her other Scottie friends. Maybe next year, a new Scottie will come into the picture maybe…

Abby missing her friends
Abby missing her friends

The big move

Hello there!

Abby and I have finally gotten settled in our new home on the east coast.  We decided to drive instead of fly which was much easier on Abby.  I was worried because she had only been in a car once before.  She did terrific. She slept the whole way.  She only woke up when we stopped for a break.

However, Abby did not adjust quickly to the house.  She really misses her buddies (especially Bridget).  Moving from the big city to a small town is a big adjustment for Abby.  There is no noise, no elevator, no Bridget, and the neighbourhood is really quiet compared to Toronto. When she looks out the window, there are no delivery trucks, no lawn maintenance guys, no apartments…just some crows.  Oh, and a pheasant that jumped out of a the shrubery at us.  The neighbours are probably still laughing at how high Abby and I jumped.

Abby is now completely comfortable.  She loves her new park but misses her buds.  My uncle brought his dog Susie over but that just turned to an unfortunate incident. Abby and Susie have strong territorial personalities. Further introductions will take place on neutral territory.

So for now, we are getting settled and checking out new walking trails and slowly meeting new friends.

Just hanging out
Just hanging out

Aggression update for Abby the Scottish Terrier

Hi everyone,

Abby is still doing really well.  Refocussing her attention to me changes her demeanour such that she ignores the other dogs.  Even Ann admitted she is doing really well.  (Thanks Ann!)  It has been a pleasure to walk Abby over the last two weeks.  Well, a pleasure in that she doesn’t freak out over other dogs..not so much a pleasure when she decides not to walk).

Something in the comment that Russie made on the first post really made me think.

Russie wrote “We had a much stronger relationship and he clearly trusted me, which was no small thing. He could be distracted with a click or a word–even when another dog was coming at him, teeth bared. He knew I was there to support him, and, more importantly, he was less afraid and had more confidence in himself.”

I think Abby now knows that I am going to handle the situation and it is not up to her.  I once told Ann that Abby was not a confident Scottie as noises and new situations were difficult for her.  Having her focus on me let her know that I could be trusted and that she could relax.  I had her back.  This has changed our relationship and I wish I had done this sooner.

Thanks again for everyone’s advice.  I am getting the Abby I knew back.



Abby’s Big Move

Abby and I will be moving to the East Coast this summer.  I worry about this change for Abby.  She has never lived anywhere else or even travelled very far.   In fact, her first and last time in a car was when I picked her up.

I am concerned that Abby will miss her “pack” (Bridget, Beau, and Bonnie).  She will love where we are moving to as there are a lot of walking paths, dog parks and water.  But no pack.  I may have to create one for her :).

This is also the first time she will be flying.  She is too big to fly in the cabin so she will have to go in the fore hold, which is climate controlled.  I am sure I am going to be sick with worry during the flight.   I know that lots of dogs fly everyday without an issue but I am still going to worry.  I am going to put a bone in with her so that she will chew on that for the flight.  Anything can happen around her and she will not bat an eyelash as long as she has a bone.

I am still going to be writing for the Scottish Terrier News.  Abby and I will let you know about our adventures in Nova Scotia.

Read also:  Tips for flying with your Scottish Terrier and a Sherpa bag review.

Abby’s doggie aggression – reader comments

We had some great feedback from everyone regarding Abby’s disposition toward some other dogs.  I am glad to hear I am not alone in my Scottie experience.

Here is a quick update:  We have had a really good week.  I have restarted her training and getting her to “Watch Me!” (picture me saying that in a loud, squeaky, happy voice).  I use treats and get her to stop, sit, and look at me in the eyes (done by holding a special type of treat by the tip of my nose).  She gets the treat and lots of praise.  I do this each time we see a new dog.  It took a couple of times but now she moves away with me when she sees a new dog and waits for the treat and calmly watches the dog go by.

I don’t always give a treat but I will always praise her.  We have not had any new incidents.  (I am quickly touching wood as I type this.)

Thanks everyone for your feedback.  Here is a summary of some the comments below:

Shari recommended:

Talk to the vet.  Abby might need something like Prozac.  Never used it myself but it might help”.

Sandra wrote:

Oh do I know about walking the difficult Scottie!  We are usually at the farm in mid state Georgia, of course, on a leash except for the family time we spend at the pond when Ansel is so busy fishing he can be trusted not to “break bad” and chase into the woods.  When we have to be in the city we time our walks so to avoid other dogs.  There is always the dog not on a leash whose owner asserts the friendliness of their dog and I assert the non-friendliness of Ansel.  Usually I scoop him up and try to hold him to prevent his work on the other dog.  Ansel was abused as a puppy (now eight years old) and the slightest event can set him off on fearful aggression.  We tried a muzzle, but felt it was causing more damage than good.  What seems to have worked is to provide him a squeaky toy to channel his fearful aggression onto the toy in lieu of the dog, cat, bicycle, etc….you know.


Ansel’s Handmaiden

(Love her sign-off as Ansel’s Handmaiden)

Janet recommended the pet safe bark collar:

I had the same problem with a little breed mama that I adopted.  A pet safe bark collar has really helped when it is needed.   You might try it on Abby.  It has done wonders for Stormy’s attitude.  I talked to a dog behavior specialist in TN recommended by TN Scottie Rescue.  He gave me some very good tips on how to handle the aggression issue.

Here is a link to Pet Safe Bark Collars on Amazon.

Joyce had success with the pinch collar:

I have a two year old with the same problem.  I got her a pinch collar and used properly works like a miracle.  I too have to be aware of what’s coming around the bend, but I found if I make her sit and give her the command “wait”,  she is quiet as a mouse.  Sometimes too, I just say wait and pass them and she is good.  She has been a tough one, toughest I have had and she is my 5th.  Takes patience and training.  You may want to actually “set her up” so you can practice.   Before getting the pinch my leg came between her mouth and another passing dog a couple of times.  Ouch!

Good luck.  The pinch is almost always loose because she behaves.  But just a slight correction gets her right back on track.  Just puts even pressure equally around her neck and is miles away from hurting.  I never used one before, but it works so well, and is more humane than clipping a leash to a collar and her gasping for breath as the regular collar will choke her.  Even a choke collar is better used properly will hang loose if the dog behaves, but good for corrections.

Pinch Collars on Amazon.

Judith has similar troubles with her little Molly:

Sorry to hear about Abby.  It really sucks when your scotties go postal!  I have the same issue with my Molly.  Loves people, is insecure and bites when around other dogs!  A walk is sometimes an exercise in futility.  I’m really good at hiding behind cars when I see another person walking down the street with their dog.  I truly can’t believe the sounds coming out of Molly!  And to make matters worse, she has taught Angus (my wheaton scottie) the same aggressive tactics!  Angus loves to run up to other dogs and bites them to get them to play!  Needless to say, we no longer go to the dog park!!

Mary had success with her Yorkie, Buster, by enrolling him in a training class:

I enrolled him in a socialization class for a year in and half and it really worked. One night a week we would meet with the class and our trainer would have us run drills for an hour and half. We would line up with 25- 30 dogs in close proximity, criss crossing in front of each other, going over jumps but always following the leader, and always moving. We would take breaks away from the group and then get called back in to line up. It worked brilliantly! Now whenever Buster sees an approaching dog on our walks, it’s no big deal. I guess he wore himself out on being aggressive when he couldn’t tackle 25- 30 dogs all at once. I recommend looking in your area for a good trainer who works with socializing groups. It was a great experience and we were all there for the same reason, so you feel a lot less critical about yourself and your dog.

Russie provided titles for books that helped him and his little Scottie.  Fluoxetine was also diagnosed which helped.

I relied on these books to help me gain insight into the mind of an aggressive dog:

  1. Aggression in Dogs: Practical Management, Prevention & Behaviour Modification
  2. Fight!: A Practical Guide to the Treatment of Dog-dog Aggression
  3. Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog by Emma Parsons

I also love the book Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships with Dogs by Suzanne Clothier. I don’t think I understood the sometimes fragile psyche of an aggressive dog. Parts of the book brought tears to my eyes. Hers is a relationship-based method of training. (She has a website with a wealth of information on this subject.)

But not really having the energy at that precise moment to try harder, I enlisted the help of drugs for my frightened and bite-prone boy. He was on the lowest dose of fluoxetine available, but it made a tremendous difference in his attitude and behavior. Training was easier as he felt relaxed. We had a much stronger relationship and he clearly trusted me, which was no small thing. He could be distracted with a click or a word–even when another dog was coming at him, teeth bared. He knew I was there to support him, and, more importantly, he was less afraid and had more confidence in himself. (You’d think confidence wouldn’t be the problem, right? But so often it is.)

Please check out all the Comments.

Scottish Terrier Terror

The last few weeks have been difficult as Abby has decided that she will only be nice to dogs she currently knows or to unneutered males.  This is making walks more like traversing enemy territory.  One must scout what is coming around the bend and try to get Abby’s attention focussed on something or someone else until the dog moves on.

She is really good at hiding her intentions.  Other owners will say, “But she is wagging her tail.”  I have to tell them that it is not wagging but a tail held tight with excitement that is moving back and forth as she tries to hold in the tension.  The problem with her attitude is that she gets so excited that she will turn and bite anything.  That anything is usually me, my jeans, and my coat.  I have holes in my pants and coat and a nice scar on my leg.

Abby’s behaviour has made walks more tense.  When a new dog comes along, I try to stay relaxed and make sure that the dog does not come too close.  I also try to walk with dogs (and owners) that she has had a problem with. This usually works as they are now considered a bit of a pack so she accepts them without issue.

She is always on a leash now as I cannot trust her.  The last time I let her off, she went after a lovely, old Labrador who was just hanging out as all the owners chatted.  Everything was quiet and then Abby just looked up, saw this dog (even though we had been standing there for about 10 minutes) and just ran at it and tried to bite it.  Thank goodness it was wearing a wool sweater to protect it. There was no damage done but I could no longer trust her.

Now, the biggest worry is about off-leash dogs.  Dogs will run up and their owners shout, “Don’t worry.  He (She) is friendly.” That leaves me shouting, “But my dog is not.”  People with large dogs just say that is okay. They don’t realize that I am hanging on to what I can only describe as a tasmanian devil with larger teeth.

Ann agreed to babysit Abby for me for a couple of days.  Before I was to go away, Ann and I met for the regular weekend walk.  Unfortunately, Abby saw a dog that just set her off.  She turned into a screaming, whirling dervish.  Ann was stunned at the level of aggression that was displayed.  I knew she was thinking, “Uh, I have to watch that crazy dog?” (I ended up not going away so she did not have worry after all.)

This behaviour is challenging.  Abby was socialized and loved to play at the park with all dogs.  I am starting to retrain her from the beginning to get her to relearn proper etiquette and that I am the boss (wish me luck with that one).  I am also considering a muzzle.

Wish me luck!

Abby and her bestie Bridget:

Dreaming they are mountain goats.
Dreaming they are mountain goats.