One Year with Dobby

01 May 2021


Believe it or not, it has been one year since we welcomed Dobby into our home! We wanted to foster some dogs during the pandemic but never could’ve imagined that we’d end up keeping one. We started fostering in 2019 to get a better idea of what dog ownership was like since neither HB nor I had grown up with dogs. We both wanted a dog eventually, but wanted to first experience what it was like. Through fostering, we learned that each dog is SO different. We had fostered 3 other dogs before Dobby. Lucky for us, Dobby ended up being our “goldilocks” dog - I knew I wanted to keep her after only 2 weeks!

Dobby with tulips

Skip to a question:

How did we know Dobby was “the one?”

I warmed up to her way before HB did because she was just the SWEETEST little thing. On day one, she immediately trusted me (to my surprise) by coming out of her crate and cuddling on my lap.

Dobby on lap

Ever since then, I knew she’d be a special one. HB was a little bit hesitant because he complained she was smelly. She came to us in horrible condition, being dumped on the streets after she was used to breed.

Shelby Back when Dobby was still Shelby. People who use and abuse animals deserve a special place in hell.

He just couldn’t see her full potential yet!

WFH buddy The best WFH buddy

How did you rehab her?

Obviously Dobby was very underweight (only 17 lb) when she came to us, so we gave her a proper diet. She ate nutritious salmon kibble that was loaded with an additional 2 pumps of fish oil and the occasional salmon treat to grow a healthy coat. It took us a while to figure out the proper amount of food to feed her…for a while we overfed her (oops) and she grew a little too thick. But now she eats 1/3 cup of kibble , twice a day.

Spiderman Dobby She knows how to get comfy!

Next we had to battle her skin condition - mange. She was very smelly at first! That was why we put her in that ridiculous Spiderman onesie (the only thing Petco had at the time!), and to keep her from scratching her skin. We had to give her weekly medicated baths. It was no fun. The soap had to sit on her skin for 10-15 minutes and she hated every minute of it! Baths, along with a healthy diet, helped her coat begin to grow out after about a month.

flower girl Still skinny, but at least she had some fur now after 1 month!

Finally, the poor girl had heartworms. Heartworm is a serious condition that can eventually kill the dog. They are treated by getting two injections of strong medication, and it was important that they remain on crate rest during this period of time. This was probably the most difficult time, because we couldn’t let her do any activities that gets her heartrate up (this heightens the risk) such as running and jumping. We also had to limit our walks.

Dobby in stroller We tried putting her in a dog stroller but she HATED it!

Six months after her treatment ended, we went back for a checkup and learned that she is now heartworm free! Sweet girl can now run and jump to her heart’s content.

How did you train her?

Dobby is VERY food motivated. She is not picky and will eat any treat we give her. My favorite training treats are these ones.

corn dog Sorry Dobbs, no human food for you!

As a result, training her was very easy. I learned from Youtube and there are SO many resources. My favorite trainer to watch is Zak George!

The basic commands we wanted to make sure she knew were:

  • sit
  • stay
  • kennel up
  • wait
  • leave it

Everything else is icing on top. She also knows:

  • shake
  • high five
  • spin/twirl
  • roll over
  • play dead

Crate and potty training are also important in addition to the commands listed above.

What about potty training?

With all our fosters, we learned that the best way to get them to go “on time” is to put them on a schedule. This is our daily feeding and bathroom schedule:

  • After waking up, take her out. She pees and poops
  • Feed breakfast
  • After work, take her out. She pees and poops
  • Feed dinner
  • Before bed, take her out. She pees

The only time she has ever had accidents in the house was when we did NOT adhere to this schedule. So this is the number one piece of advice I can give to anyone who wants to potty train their dog: put them on a schedule! This way, you can be proactive and predict their needs.

cute dobby

Why is she named Dobby?

Our dad saw her with her big ears and remarked that she looked like Dobby the house elf! So Dobby it was. And since Dobby wasn’t too far off from Shelby, she responded to it immediately!

Dobby on gotcha day On gotcha day!

What about enrichment?

When we are working or can’t pay her any attention, we give Dobby puzzle toys to work on. Kong, snuffle mat, and treat ball are all great. We also use these tools to help ease her separation anxiety when we are gone.

If we are able to pay her attention, then we either play with her (if she’s in the mood) or go on walks. HB loves taking her on multiple walks a day, which is also a good healthy activity for us!

We love taking her wherever we go and try to expose her to a variety of different and new experiences. She is very suspicious of strangers and isn’t people-friendly yet, but we are hoping it will get better with time and exposure. Ultimately, we should go at her pace and not force her into any new situations that make her feel uncomfortable or nervous.

eating out Eating out with us

fish watching Fish-watching at Cabela’s

shopping Let’s go shopping!

hiking We take her on many, many hikes

camping Camping

canoeing And even canoeing…though this isn’t something we’ll ever try with her again!

As you can see, we love having Dobby in our lives. She truly made my 2020 so much better, and will continue to for all the years to come! I never understood “dog people” before this, but I totally get it now. They truly become part of your family. Dobby will always be our first kid! :smile:

Dobby One Year Calendar

Yes, I really went there:

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