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Update - July 20, 2008
Thank you for introducing Benjie into our lives. We're crazy about him, and he seems to feel likewise. He loves to be petted, to play high-five, tussle with his toys, cuddle up with us on his (yes, his) chaise longue, and sleep in our bed. This morning, when Carol made a 25-minute trip to/from the grocery store, he was inconsolable until she returned. That's a lot of bonding in less than two days.

Yesterday our friend Sasha brought her new Yorkie puppy over to our glassed-in porch for an introduction. The puppy was out of control, of course, scampering around and nipping at Benji (whom I kept on a leash for the first few minutes), but it was soon apparent that our dog simply wouldn't hurt another dog, no matter how irrascible -- or small. So I unclipped him, and they dogged around the porch, having a ball.

I took him on several very long and damned brisk walks yesterday, generally at a New York office worker's get-outta-my-way pace, and we had fun. Today, we'll make our first visit to the local dog run (which is pretty terrific) and maybe even to the lake, just to find out how he reacts when I walk him along the shore of the little beach there.



When a dog is returned to us, we have the previous adopters complete a questionaire.  Here are some highlights of that questionaire with the previous adopter's comments in blue and the foster mom's comments in red.

Is the dog crate trained?  yes   agree - Benji goes right into his crate when you ask that of him, is quiet and does not soil his crate.  He will
                                                     yip for a minute or two when his foster mom leaves the house but he quiets right down and is quiet
                                                     when she returns home.  
Is the dog house trained?  yes   agree - Benji is let outdoors frequently and has had no accidents.  If he can hold it while home alone for an
                                                      an entire day, that we do not know as he has not been put in that situation.
Which commands does the dog know?  sit   agree - and he has also learned "high five" in foster care as well as "drop it" to let go of his
                                                                           toy, to sit before his toy is thrown (versus leaping in the air to snatch it back) and to retrieve
                                                                           the toy.  He has learned to take treats from a hand very gently.  Basically, he has learned
                                                                           good dog manners that were not taught to him before.
How is the dog with strangers?  good   agree - Benji has been fine with every adult he has met.  He barks when somebody comes to the
                                                                  the door but is very friendly when they enter the home.
How is the dog with children?  not good if they run   agree - Benji will chase and nip children that run and children making noise cause
                                                                                        him to bark.
How is the dog at being alone in the yard?  good if fenced   No dog will stay in a yard that is not fenced or if they can get out of
                                                                                                   the yard.  Benji, however, has no desire to be out in the yard by himself
                                                                                                   nor is that allowed in foster care where the yard is securely fenced.
How is the dog at riding in a car?  barks at people   Benji does sometimes bark at people while in the car but he does not have
                                                                                       the opportunity to see everyone we pass since he is crated in the car for safety.
The dog has the following habits:
Excessive Jumping yes   He did but it is not allowed in foster care, he is corrected for jumping and he is learning not to.
Destructive Chewing   no   Benji has never chewed anything he is not supposed to in foster care.  He only chews his toys.
Biting or Nipping   yes   Only with children that run.
Getting Into Trash  yes   Most dogs will do that if trash is accessible - trash is NEVER accessible in foster care so it is not an issue.
Fighting With Other Animals  no   Benji is great with other dogs and does not fight with them.
Excessive Barking   yes   Benji will bark at noises, especially if he can hear children yelling and screaming.
Shyness   no  Benji is quite the social butterfly.
Growling   yes   Benji has never growled due to aggression - he play growls when he plays with his stuffed toys.
Counter Surfing   no   Benji has never tried to counter surf or get anything off of a table.

What does this dog like most?  Laying next to you at night   Benji is allowed to lie next to his foster mom to watch television but he
                                                                                                      is crated overnight.  He protested at that for the first few days because he
                                                                                                      was used to sleeping in a human bed at night, but that is something we
                                                                                                      prefer to leave up to the next adopters.  So Benji can either sleep in his
                                                                                                      crate at night or in a human bed, your choice as he is now used to both.
What does this dog dislike most?  Kids that are running and jumping around   That is Benji's trigger so he should not be around children.
What is this dog's biggest fault?  Barking and running away   Yes, he is a barker (as are most small breed dogs) so he would not be suitable
                                                                                                        for apartment/townhouse/condo living.  In a single family home it is managable.
                                                                                                        When he is outside and starts to bark, he knows he has to go inside
                                                                                                        immediately.  He has never tried to escape from his foster home.  With a
                                                                                                        securely fenced yard, running away is not an issue.
Why have you found it necessary to return this animal?  Too active.   Benji is a young dog.  He is a terrier.  Yes, he is active.  But in
                                                                                                                    a foster home with other dogs to play with, he gets worn out and
                                                                                                                    with that youthful energy depleted on a regular basis, he is a
                                                                                                                    a beautifully behaved dog in the home.  Daily walks are not enough
                                                                                                                    to tire him out - he needs another dog to romp with.
Foster Mom's Assessment:
Benji was allowed to run amok with no proper direction or confinement in his previous home.  There was no sufficient outlet for his energy.  Dogs need to be taught appropriate behavior and it needs to be reinforced daily.  Dogs need to earn priviledges.  With correction, praise, boundaries, knowing what is expected and what is not acceptable, Benji is very happy and well-behaved in his foster home.  Where he was at first very taken aback at being corrected, he now looks to his foster mom for praise, approval and direction.  There is nothing that can be done about his reaction to children, it is simply the way his prey drive is wired.  But it is managable by not placing him in a situation where it will be an issue and by offering distraction and diversion when the situation does arise.

About Benji:

Benji weighs around 15 pounds and is 1 1/2 years old.  He is either a yorkie or silky mix, lean but with very long legs so he is taller than you would expect of either breed.  He is full of playful spunk and loves playing with toys and snuggling.  He gets along with other dogs and took well to 4 big dogs converging on him all at once to check him out. .  In fact, he is great with other dogs.  He became instant friends with Joey, another foster dog of similar age and size.  They romp around together beautifully and love to play tug-of-war with the toys.

We had placed Benji in a home about 7 months ago.  The family, however, had not been able to keep their fence in good repair and Benji kept escaping and chasing the neighborhood children.  Now the family feels their situation is not right for him.  Guess not if they can't fix their fence and provide proper supervision and containment.  So Benji needs a home with a very securely fenced yard.  Although Benji lived with children previously, he is not available to homes with children or cats.  He is not an aggressive dog at all and does not dislike children but he just can't help himself when children or cats run (or worse yet run and/or scream) since it involuntarily excites him, causing him to pursue and nip.  We are looking for an adult only home with another dog of equal size/age/activity level.  Benji has been professionally groomed and is a breed that requires professional grooming every 6-8 weeks.