Welcome to Big Sky Rottweiler Rescue! We are located in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and try to help in Colorado, and North and South Dakota. All of our adoptable dogs are spayed or neutered and up to date on vaccinations. If you see a dog that you are interested in having as a member of your family, please fill out an on-line application which can be found in the web site features menu under Forms/Applications.
Yes! We do adopt to qualified applicants in Canada!
March 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of
Big Sky Rottweiler Rescue and to commemorate
this milestone, our founder, Troy Kechely, has created
a video showcasing many of the dogs that BSRR
has found forever homes for in these past 20 years.
Please follow the link and enjoy.
Train Your Dog to Look at You
By Josh Weiss-Roessler
Training is a necessary and important part of having a dog. Besides housebreaking, training your dog to look at you may be the most important lesson to teach her. It can not only be immensely helpful at home and out in public, but also important for your dog’s safety.
If you can get your dog to focus on you instead of everything else going on around him, it will be easier to communicate with him and teach him other commands — not to mention getting him to ignore that taunting squirrel, far-off bark, or daily visit from the mailman. In addition, that look is also helping to build your relationship with your dog.
It’s not enough, however, for your dog to just randomly look at you. You want her to look at you when you ask. Dogs learn by eye contact, body language, and finally through a voice command, so incorporating all three will quickly help your dog learn to
look at you. Follow these steps to get your dog to look at you on cue.
1. Choose a word or phrase that will mean “look at me”
We want our dog to develop an association to whatever word or phrase you choose to mean “look at me.” It could be as easy as the word “look,” “look at me,” your dog’s name, or even something random like “monkey.” Whatever word or phrase you choose, make sure you’re not using it for a different command. For example, don’t use the word “sit” to get your dog to look. That will only confuse her.2. Stand or sit facing your dog
When you’re first starting out, the closer you are to your dog, the quicker he will learn a command. Once he masters the command at a close distance, you can then start adding space between you two and continue to practice it. Eventually you should even be able to get to the point where he will obey when you’re on the other side of the room.3. Practice the command with your dog
While you’re standing or sitting in front of her, look at your dog and then say your cue word while holding a treat close to your eyes. By holding the treat in front of your eyes, you are encouraging your dog to look there — setting her up for success. As soon as she looks at you, maintain eye contact briefly so she knows that’s what you want, and then reward her with the treat. When your dog gets a treat for looking at you after hearing your specific word, she will obey in hopes of getting a treat every time.4. Add in a hand signal
After your dog does a good job with the treat reward, you will want to start working in a hand signal to continue making him obey. At the same time, you’ll want to start phasing out the treat reward. You want him to be able to respond to you instead of food every time. When you add a hand signal, continue to say your cue word as you hold your index finger in front of your eyes, indicating that’s where you want your dog to look. After he correctly looks at you using the spoken cue and hand signal, you will reward him with a treat.5. Practice everywhere
After your dog is able to get the hang of looking at you in the comfort of your home, you will want to continue your practice in different places and situations to make sure she can obey no matter what. Practice in your front yard or driveway, after a walk, at the park, and anywhere you and your pup might go. Also practice by putting a treat or toy on the floor and getting her to look at you first before giving her the okay to grab the toy or treat. 6. The more you practice, the more your dog will master the command
, at which point you can start transitioning away from the treat reward. After some time, she won’t need the treat anymore because she knows her command to look at you!7. Training your dog isn’t difficult, but it does take some time and effort.
As long as you’re willing to put in the work, your dog will be better behaved, which will make both of you happy.Here are a few more training tips that you should remember when teaching your dog something new:
Reward spontaneous responses
If your dog looks at you without being asked, make sure you reward that behavior. The more you reinforce the positive behavior, the quicker your dog will learn and obey.
Take a break if your dog is tired
Your dog will get tired if you try to practice a single command endlessly. If your dog stops responding or seems tired, take a break and pick it up some other time. Ten to fifteen minutes a day is more than enough.
Never yell at your dog or punish him for not obeying. Try again, and if that doesn’t work, take a break and see if there’s anything you can do better next time.This article courtesy of Cesar Milan
The Senior Family Member
This is the story of one named Jay
On March 1, 2016 we got an email from a shelter in Texas about a 14 year old male Rottweiler named Jay. He had been surrendered to the shelter because he was “too big” (I guess he had a growth spurt at 14). He was heart worm positive and had bilateral ocular discharge which put him on a 3 day euthanasia list. These people had no idea what a gift they had, a Rottweiler that made it to the age of 14. What I wouldn't have given to have had those extra years with all of mine!!
We came to find out, he had been chained for 14 years, banished to the yard, and had only hard concrete to lay on in the Texas heat.
Well, we decided that this old boy would not die in a cold shelter, thrown out by his owners and alone, so we made arrangements to have him transported to Casper, WY. Here he would live out his life in a home, with soft dog beds, carpets and couches and grass to lounge around on. Be it a day, months, or weeks, it didn't matter---he was going to know comfort, a family, and love.
When we picked Jay up from transport, he was a calm boy whose tail didn't move and his eyes were goopy. He looked pretty beaten. He was taking in the new sights, smells, and sounds. He lay right down in the back of the car on the orthopedic pillows and slept the rest of the way home. I don't know if Jay had ever had a bath as he smelled horrible so we took him to Petco on our way home and had him bathed. The folks at Petco were smitten by him..
We got home and took him in the house. He immediately lay down in his new bed and looked so content. When it came time to go outside for his bathroom breaks, he didn't want to go out and we had to put a leash on him. He had finally found a soft spot and had no way of knowing that he wasn't going out permanently again. After a few days, he realized he could come and go as he pleased---he thought that was great and was so proud of himself. After a week, his tail finally started to talk to us and it was a wonderful thing to see.
We took him to the vet. We got several different eye drops that he needed 3 times daily to help clear his burned and dry eyes. We also started him on heart worm medication, and medication to clear his ears. After a couple weeks he was reevaluated and we had to get special eye drops made just for him. A dogs normal eye moisture should be 20. His right eye was 5 and the left was 10. After another month of drops, his eyes were looking pretty good and his moisture content was 19 in the left and 15 in the right. We were pretty relieved that we could just add drops daily, then every couple days to keep them clear,
His heart worm medication kicked his butt, but he just endured. One night about 3am he had trouble breathing, had to do some CPR on him and took him in on an emergency basis. The vet was very afraid of Rottweilers, but after spending an hour plus with him and taking x-rays, she was kissing Jay on the head and had fallen in love with him. His heart worm treatment was slow kill so every couple of months we would put him back on his medication.
Since Jay had heart worms, his activities were somewhat limited but he loved going for rides in the car and going to Petco. I don't know if he loved going to Petco for his baths and treats more than the staff loved having him there to love on. Wherever we took him, people were taken by his charm and calm demeanor, he was a people magnet and loved the extra belly rubs. We would take him out in the yard and go on little “walk abouts". He loved his dog door and it was just a hoot watching him. He would eat his breakfast or dinner, then go right out the dog door to do whatever he needed to do. If it was snowing out, sometimes it was merely to take a trip outside to lick the snow, just because he could.
Then Jay started gaining lots of water weight so we took him in and he was started on Furocimide a diuretic to help keep off the excess water which leads to conjestive heart failure. The long exposure to his untreated heart worms was taking its toll. He was smart as a whip and knowing that he was getting pills, everything you gave him was suspect of having those pills in it. Pill pockets were out. Extra pieces of cheese prior to the ones with the pill had to be given. If they were in hotdogs, they had to be cut in small pieces and smothered in canned food. They could be wrapped in a high quality meat and eaten, but we just had to change up the pill delivery method.
Consequently, Jay got diarrhea. He wouldn't eat the canned pumpkin to help so after a couple days we took him to the vet as he was in and out of the house every 15 minutes or so, even all night, and he didn't have much of an appetite. We did blood work to see if we could see anything abnormal. We took x-rays which were suspicious of masses, so we did an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed he had splenetic sarcoma and another mass in the abdomen, suspicious of a lymph node. The liver didn't look very healthy either Our options at that point weren't very good.
Unfortunately, the masses weren't going away, his appetite was already diminished, and he was dehydrated. We made the difficult decision to help him to the Rainbow Bridge while he still had dignity and hopefully little or no pain. On January 25, 2017, we let our boy go. We knew his time with us was limited when we agreed to take him and think he was 15 years old at this time. We so wanted to have more time to make up for the first 14 years of his life, but it was not meant to be. We sat with him told him how much we loved him and that we were so thankful that he had been a big part of our life. He romped off to greet those that had gone before him. He was cremated and is back home with his brother and sisters.
Was this a lot of work? No, it was what this boy should have had all his life. Would we foster another senior knowing their time is limited? A resounding YES.
Seniors give so much of themselves. They have wisdom beyond compare and they love unconditionally. They are out of the puppy stage and settled, plus they do not need the intensive exercise that young dogs require.
In the meantime, we will give ourselves some time to dry our eyes and heal our hearts, while we give our time and love to our other fosters.
The author of this story is Cheryl Hobson, a BSRR foster
Tricks for Treats: Training Your Dog With Food
By Juliana Weiss-Roessler
1. Food is a powerful motivator for dogs — which is why it can often be very effective for obedience training.
You are asking your dog to complete what may be a complicated task for her — understand a verbal or visual cue and then perform a desired behavior. This may seem straightforward and simple to you, but dogs don’t communicate this way in nature. By harnessing the power of something that is very primal to them — food — you can make learning the task much easier for them.
Here are a few tips for how to approach food-oriented obedience training:
Use small treats
It’s easy to overdo it with treats, particularly while you are training. Help ensure your dog maintains his weight by using small treats or even pieces of treats.
Reward a calm-submissive state
Remember, you are reinforcing whatever behavior preceded the treat, so don’t unintentionally reward hyperactive behavior. Wait until your dog is in the right frame of mind to give it.
Don’t bribe your dog
Here’s the situation you want to avoid. Your dog learns how to do a command… but he’ll only do it when he knows there’s a treat waiting for him at the end of it. Treats are great for initially getting your dog’s attention, but eventually you should rely on them less and less. Instead, share reinforcement by giving your attention or affection.
Reward each step towards the desired behavior
Many people make the mistake of trying to get their dog to perform the entire task before giving the treat… and become frustrated when it doesn’t work. Instead, you want to reward progress — no matter how small — towards the ultimate goal. Often in the beginning, that progress is accidental on the part of your dog.
For instance, maybe you are trying to train your dog to sit, and he lowers his butt just a little. Give him a treat. When he does it again, give the treat again. Eventually he’ll figure out what the treat is connected to. Then you can wait to reward him until he gets his rear even closer to the ground… until finally he’s sitting for it.
“Fade the lure”
This technique helps to avoid the treat becoming a bribe. You’ll use the treat a few times to entice the dog to do what you want, such as lower his head to the ground or coming towards you. Then use the same gesture but keep you hand empty.
When he completes the task, give him verbal encouragement, “Yes.” Then give him the treat with the other hand or a nearby surface, such as the floor. Eventually, you’ll want to only randomly provide the treat, and then stop using the treats entirely.
Give the food where you’d like your dog to be. Remember, the behavior that precedes the treat is reinforced, and that includes your dog’s position. If you want to reward your dog for lying down, then only give it to your dog lying down (or taking an incremental step towards lying down) — not after she pops up excitedly.
Having trouble getting your dog to pay attention to the food? It may be because there’s something more interesting in the environment, such as whirring cars, scurrying squirrels, or playing children. Find a place where your dog’s focus will be on you and that tasty treat.
Try different treats
Another common problem with food-oriented obedience training is your dog’s taste. It’s possible the treat you’re using simply isn’t delicious enough to be exciting and motivate the behavior you desire. Test out different healthy dog treats until you find one that gets your dog’s attention.
Consider clicker training
You can also combine giving the treat with the sound that a clicker makes. Your dog will associate that sound with a reward, and eventually it will take the place of the treat.
Of course, some dogs are more food-oriented than others. If food doesn’t capture your dog’s attention, toys and your affection may work instead. For those who do have a big appetite for a tasty treat, always opt for a healthy reward.
This article courtesy of Cesar Milan
A Check List for Your Dog's First Aid Kit
by Josh Weiss-Roessler
1. All good dog parents want to keep their pups safe, and that means being prepared for potential doggie disasters. One of the best ways to be ready is to create a first aid kit for your four-legged friend.
But what exactly do dogs need in a first aid kit? Some of the items are probably obvious, but others may be a bit more surprising. That’s why we decided to put together this comprehensive list of what you should include, as well as why.
There are all kinds of ways that your dog can get cut, scratched, or otherwise suffer injury to their skin, both around the house and outdoors. Vetericyn, for example, is non-toxic, won’t sting, and is designed to clean and speed healing.
If your dog suffers a serious laceration or other injury, you’re probably going to want to cover it with a bandage after using the wound spray. Look for self-cling bandages that won’t stick to your dog’s fur to avoid painful removal later.
Unless you want Fido looking like a mummy when you bandage him, include a pair of bandage scissors in your kit that are designed to cut through gauze, clothing, and (yes) bandages.
Eye wash and ear wash
If your dog gets some kind of pollutant or other contaminant in her eyes or ears, it can cause itching, stinging, burning, or worse. Dog-safe eye wash and ear wash can help you flush out the problem materials with a dropper nozzle and can even be used on any dressing needed.
The problem with eye and other head-related issues is that your pup is going to do whatever he can to scratch and rub at the area with his paw. Prevent this from happening by using a dog cone, which will also prevent your dog from being able to chew at stitches from surgery or lick at a hot spot during treatment. Your vet may also refer to this as an Elizabeth Collar, or e-collar for short.
Even a normally calm and balanced dog may lash out when injured, and he may also bite at a wound, making it worse. Muzzles, like the Funny Muzzle, serve the dual purpose of keeping a nervous or aggressive dog from harming others or bringing harm to himself.
The leash is an important tool to have on-hand because it’s a way to gain control of your dog at a time that she might be panicking and try to run away. You want to be able to focus on the injury, not just keeping your dog from fleeing.
If your dog consumes poison, you might not have time to get them to the vet. Depending on the poison, making your dog vomit can be an important tactic until you can get them to treatment. One safe and effective way to induce vomiting and get the poison out of their system is to force them to drink hydrogen peroxide. Always keep a fresh bottle on hand.
But don’t assume that hydrogen peroxide is the answer in every situation. Your best bet is to call the Pet Poison Helpline at (800) 213-6680 to get their recommendation on how to handle the situation right.
Important phone numbers
You want to be able to reach help fast in an emergency situation. Include the phone number for your veterinarian, your emergency vet clinic, and the ASPCA poison control center: (800) 426-4435.
If you have to take your dog to seek help from someone other than his regular veterinarian, it can be valuable to provide them with his medical background as well as proof of his rabies vaccine.
With these items, you’ll be prepared to help your dog through most dangerous situations that they’re likely to come across, but remember, it’s always best to seek veterinary care. A first aid kit should just be used to remediate an emergency until you can get to the vet or to address very minor injuries like a superficial wound.
This Article Courtesy of Cesar Milan
It has been said that old dogs can’t learn new tricks—Gunny has proven that nothing could be further from the truth
Gunny came to BSRR as a member of the Ft. Belknap Five which consisted of two 1 year old male and two 6 month old female siblings, along with their emaciated mother. The group had been brought to animal control in Ft. Belknap, Mt to be disposed of when the breeder found he could not find buyers for them. While there, they caught the eye of the good folks at RezQDogs Rescue who then called us to see if we could save them; thus they were immediately transferred to one of our fosters to be cared for until good homes could be found.
Carson and Clovis, two of the Ft. Belknap Five
This is the condition all of the dogs were in upon arrival
All of the dogs were filthy, underweight and frightened, though friendly, and the first thing BSRR did was take them for a veterinary evaluation; thankfully, they were all healthy and only required good food, a bath, and some basic obedience training. Their story was so compelling that applications to adopt flooded in and they all quickly found homes where they were cared for and loved, the very least that every dog deserves.
Five years passed and Gunny enjoyed his wonderful new life but then tragedy struck---his owner suffered a serious health issue and was forced to relinquish him to us. So Gunny, now 6 years old, and his fellow pack member, Bo, a ten year old Rottweiler, came back to us and a search for new homes commenced.
Soon after his web page appeared on our site, he was spotted by Denise and Steve Stanley who were looking for a companion for their Rottweiler, Katie. At that time, there were no plans to train Gunny for competition obedience; The Stanley’s just started training him to ensure that he would be an obedient and therefore a desirable family member. However, as training progressed, the Stanley’s recognized how eagerly and happily Gunny was picking up new commands and with Katie as a training partner, both dogs were showing a real talent for the work; it was at this point that Denise decided to enter them both in a Rally A Obedience event scheduled in Missoula, MT, just for fun of it.
Gunny and Katie relaxing together shortly after his adoption
The big day arrived, the first of three, and Gunny performed well. By the end of the third day, Gunny finished 4th out of a class of 13 and would have finished higher but, as it was the first time out for both Gunny and Denise, a bit of confusion on one of the legs caused him to lose some points—Denise is quick to point out that the error was hers, not Gunny’s. The most incredible part of this achievement is that it occurred a mere two months after the Stanley’s adopted Gunny—he arguably was the only dog in that class with so little time in training.
We are featuring Gunny and the Stanley’s not only to commend them for their accomplishments but to highlight the fact that older dogs can learn new things and they enjoy doing it. The Rottweiler is a working breed and they love having a job but it is up to their owners to make the effort.
Gunny proudly poses with his show ribbons and the stuffless whale that was awarded him on his 4th place win
Gunny Scores Again!
On His Second Time Out, Gunny Wins Top Honors
Here, in Denise's own words, is a description of the day:
Sent the results from our great weekend. Katie earned her Rally Novice
title and both dogs qualified
for nationals by getting their titles and achieving 3 scores of 90+.
Gunny brought his A game and
had two wins, along with a fantastic third against some teams that were
transitioning to rally from the
obedience ring. Katie had a beautiful 2nd place (it was the first trial
and Gunny was overwhelmed by all the
dogs). She brought tears to my eyes as we walked through a transition
from normal speed to slow speed back to normal.
I worked the best I could with focus and Katie slowed down beside me and
looked up at me step for step..I'll
never forget it. We gained some fun support from the crowd...Gunny's 1st
win was actually a tie with an experienced
handler and younger dog. We beat them by time and garnered the win..When
they announced that Gunny had won, there was
a huge explosion of pure joy and the groups at the obedience rings looked
over (I'm sure they were annoyed) and one
of them was heard saying, "What was that about?"..someone else replied,
"Oh, Gunny just won..." :). Each trial
had a different number of dogs, but the average size was 19 that we
About Big Sky Rottweiler Rescue
Our business address and place of incorporation is in Laurel, MT as that is where Big Sky Rottweiler Rescue was established years ago. However, as we have grown, we have added additional fosters to our volunteer base, while some others have moved or left the group.
Currently, the majority of our dogs are with fosters in central Wyoming; we also have fosters in Choteau, Polson, and Manhattan, MT who are able to take in and foster only one dog at a time. Therefore, it is important to remember that when you adopt a dog from us, there may be travel involved for the meet and greet—there is no central facility in Laurel, Mt. Though our fosters make an effort to help with transport when they can, the potential adopter must also be flexible with arrangements. A foster has to leave behind other dogs, including personal pets, plus they all have jobs and families to consider when they make plans to drive to meet an adopter.
Please bear in mind that there are great advantages to driving directly to where the dogs are being fostered:
1. You can see the environment the dog is living in.
2. You can meet more than one dog. If a meeting is planned at a distance, you meet only the one dog and if you decide that it is not a good match, you may go home empty handed. When meeting at the foster’s home, you can meet all of the dogs and may find a different dog who suits you and your family far better—this has happened quite a few times.
3. You may be able to take the dog to an area where he can be off leash and you can see the dog acting more naturally and be able to interact with it more than is possible on leash in a parking lot somewhere as would be the case if the foster met you part way.
As always, many thanks for thinking rescue in your search for a family companion. We are always grateful that good people are willing to adopt a dog from rescue for as we adopt dogs out, we are able to bring in and save even more.
Like all people who volunteer to help animals, we at BSRR are always interested in hearing how our dogs are doing after they have gone to their forever homes. Are they well, have they learned new tricks, gotten their Canine Good Citizen certificates or perhaps they are in training to be therapy dogs? Maybe they have just become beloved companions and that in itself is enough to spawn dozens of anecdotes about the cute things that your dog does on a daily basis. We love to hear about it all and pictures are always greatly appreciated.
This month we are talking about two such dogs, both of whose stories filled our hearts with happiness, though one was bitter-sweet. If you have adopted one of our dogs, please write and tell us your stories and if you have some favorite pictures, send them along as well. We’ll feature them here in the ‘Adopter’s Corner’ so everyone knows what wonderful and special companions rescue dogs can be.
Those darn dog rescues with all of their rules and questions - what gives?
If you have tried to adopt a dog, you know what I'm talking about. Dog Rescues - so many in-depth, personal questions; just to adopt a dog! For goodness sake - do they really need all of that information? After all - aren't these homeless dogs? Wouldn't any owner be better than being a dog, lamenting in rescue? Than being homeless??
Nope - as a matter of fact, those questions and in-depth applications have a purpose. The individuals who run these rescues have seen quite a bit of dog stuff in their day. They have seen the circumstances that brought these dogs into rescue in the first place. There are a few "real" cases where a dog needs the help of a rescue because the owner has died or fallen gravely ill but the majority of dogs in rescues are there because they had owners who did things all wrong.
So, why does the application ask the names and ages of those in the household? Because they need to know if there are kids in the house that might be at risk if an inappropriate dog is placed in the home.
Why does the application ask you where the dog will be at night, or while you are away? Because many of the dogs in rescue are there because a prior owner had to get rid of them after neighbors complained about constant barking.
Why does the dog rescue care about training? Really, if it is your dog, shouldn't training (or not training) be your decision? Nope. Many of the dogs in rescues are there because nobody took the time to train them. The dogs become unruly, hard to own and guess what? Dumped at a shelter or in a rescue. The dogs become somebody else's problem. Unfortunately, at that point, they are often out of control and require considerable work to even become adoptable.
Why should the rescue know about your prior dog-ownership? Is it really their business? Yep. If you had a couple of dogs that you got rid of after they peed in the house, or because you were having a baby, or god forbid - moving, the rescue needs to know.
You see, rescues would not function if dogs were not re-homed. There would be no need for organizations to exist if all owners kept their dogs, no matter what. If all owners altered their dogs and prevented unwanted litters of puppies. If all owners kept their dogs safely indoors, instead of out in a kennel or yard where they might bark, or even get out of a yard and possibly injure someone or something.
The questions on the application (and if you're lucky enough to get that far, those asked of you in a phone interview) have been designed to weed out the bad owners. Is the system perfect? No. Nothing is perfect. However, the situations that the rescue organizations have encountered through the years has given them a pretty good idea of what to ask in order to find exceptional homes for the dogs.
Why are exceptional homes needed? So these dogs do not end up without an owner again. So the dogs don't end up at a shelter where they might be euthanized. The rescues aren't able to take in every dog that needs a place to go. Too many dogs are in danger at the shelters.
So the next time you are looking to adopt, be prepared to complete a lengthy adoption application and to spend some time chatting on the phone with a volunteer. Don't be offended or annoyed - be thankful that those rescue-minded individuals care enough about the dogs in their care to ask the questions that need to be asked.
Rescue organizations find some phenomenal homes - amazing people are out there. That being said, so many of the dogs in rescue are amazing too. They are worth the time and effort and they deserve the exceptional home. They deserve a home that will keep them until the end of their days.
And a final note - a bad owner is not better than getting a dog "out" of rescue. Getting out of rescue, only to be left in a kennel for 10 hours a day or chained in a yard is not better than sitting in rescue. Those "sitting" dogs will eventually get adopted and the new owner will not be keeping them in a bad situation.
Please adopt. Please alter your pets. Please own responsibly.
This article is courtesy of Penny Eims
Penny Eims, a lifelong animal lover, has dedicated the past 4 years to a large, non-profit dog rescue in Washington. Her experiences include fostering, writing web content, creating dog biographies, pet memorials and contributing to rescue newsletters.