Whoa, okay. So that absence was unexpected. The lowdown of the hoedown is…
I can’t even remember what I was doing the first week of my absence here, but I’m SURE it was something amazing (okay, maybe not). I then got sick because… well, germs. And inconsiderate people. And then I got a puppy.
I couldn’t find what I was wanting through rescue. Every dog I seemed to like had aggression issues. And I have a roommate, and he has two cats. So bringing home a dog with aggression issues didn’t feel like something I could take on, while being a considerate roommate. I considered waiting another 6 months for a puppy from a breeder who would be having a litter I really wanted a pup from, but that would then be a full year of Kedric being alone. And honestly, at this point, getting a puppy was mostly for him, because he’s been so lonely. I figured we could get over the annoying stuff now, so he could enjoy his retirement with a well-trained companion.
So there was a breeder nearby whose dogs I really like. Her males are all eye tested, and she’s working on getting all her breeding stock hip tested, which is more than I can say for the majority of the breeders out there… And she had a pup that I’d been checking out since she was little, but was never sure about… She also had a pup last year that I really loved, but didn’t go get because it was a boy and I knew I’d be wanting a girl next. And I saw how gorgeous that dog turned out, and I feel like I missed out on a good thing there. So rather than waiting until this pup had been picked up by someone else, or until she was a year old and I was kicking myself, I decided to go for it.
I went out a week ago, and we talked, and I decided that I was for sure taking the pup home, so money and paperwork changed hands, and I had myself a new dog. She was a dream the whole (very long) car ride home, and was fine that night in her crate… And then the next day came. And my adorable puppy turned into a lunatic. She had lived the first 4 1/2 months of her life in the country. Not much happens out there. She had no exposure to skateboards, bicycles, runners, traffic – nothing. The breeder suggested I just let her chill and get used to me, but I couldn’t just leave this high-drive puppy locked in a kennel for 8 hours while I was at work without burning off some of her energy, so I started taking her on walks in the morning. She is super reactive and fearful. Within a couple days, she had tried to bite my coworker, my roommate (twice), and his best friend. Everything was freaking her out. Strangers and children were not on her happy list. Pretty much everything was triggering her. I figured it was basically just sensory overload. Over-stimulation triggering just extreme fight or flight reactions.
I was a wreck the first few days, thinking that I’d finally made a decision to bring this dog home, thinking it was the best thing for all of us, and I’d bought a psychopathic biting machine instead. So I did what I do best, and got online to research things. Fearful dogs. Reactive behavior. Fear aggression. On and on… Hours of videos and papers about training. Some articles said that since she was older than 3 months, she would never be “normal” again. Some articles talked about how BAT had turned their own nutjobs into normal, sane dogs. I was just frustrated that I could have picked up an aggressive rescue for a fraction of the price, and instead I paid more for an aggressive puppy from a breeder. Of course, she was sane when I picked her up, because she was in her own familiar environment. So to me, the problem was twofold: that she’d never been socialized, and that she was being exposed to everything at once. But I can’t pick and choose what she is exposed to in the city. I never know when I will run into a longboarder or a sprinter. It’s the luck of the draw. I am not going to the park. We are walking on quiet streets. But everything is still so new to her.
So I started doing some modified BAT with her. I can’t turn and walk the other way every time someone approaches or we would never get our walks completed. So I step off the sidewalk, far enough away that she isn’t feeling too triggered, and she gets rewarded when she breaks contact with the trigger and checks in with me. I’m allowing her to check out the things that scare her, rather than continuing to make her walk with me, because I feel like in order for her to stop reacting when she sees things, she needs to have come to a conclusion about whether or not they are scary in the past. It seems to be working. I let her investigate the scary things (some things I have to approach myself, and then lure her to them with a treat), and then she’s like, “Oh, just kidding… It was only a garbage can,” or whatever. And then the next scary thing we run into, she is like, “Oh, yep, seen that before.” Within 3 days, she was no longer reacting to scary Halloween decorations in yards along our route because I’d let her check them out, and then praise her when she looked relaxed and satisfied that they weren’t as scary as she first thought.
She has a remarkable memory, but she reminds me so much of Shannon in how she does things. She doesn’t care a WHOLE lot about treats. I mean, all puppies like treats, but they are not her driving force. She wants to see things. That’s what Border Collies do, they look at the world around them. There are commands that she already knows, that she will just brush me off on, because she just doesn’t give a shit that I’ve asked it of her. Just a hard-headed little shit. But when you have a treat and she wants the treat, the behavior you ask for is done in milliseconds. Within 3 days of moving in, she knew No, Let’s Go, Off, and Leave It. I taught her Sit in about 15 seconds. 24 hours later, after not having repeated Sit a single time in that many hours, she gave me the behavior the first time I asked for it. She’s smart as a whip, this one. Today we started on With Me. It’s more of a mouthful than Here, but I just really dislike how closely Here and Heel sound to each other. All my Borders have been able to tell the difference just fine, but I really want something that sounds different, so I’ll be phasing out Here (although I still let it slip from time to time, since it was Kedric’s command).
So I’ve really got my work cut out for me with this one. She has that typical headstrong bitch personality that Shannon had. I see it and it makes me smile at the same time I want to give her a shake for giving me the finger. What drove Shannon was not food, nor was it toys. It was love, and drive. The day after coming home, this puppy challenged Andy’s dog because it approached me for some pets, so I know she’s becoming attached already. It’s only a matter of time before I can turn that into something constructive, I think.
She hasn’t tried to bite anyone in the last 2 days, and she actually had positive interactions with two strangers today – women who she decided just out of the blue that she wanted to be buddies with. She also met and had good interactions with two dogs she did not know. She then had a not-so-positive interaction with Andy’s new dog, who comes from the same breeder. He was very excited to see her and wanted to sniff her girly region, and then play with her while she was rolling around on the lawn. She was not having either interaction, so she got reprimanded for her bad reactions. I don’t mind a lip curl or something to tell another dog she is not pleased with their actions, but snarling and trying to bite are both big no-nos. A snarl at the wrong dog can land her in the doggie ER, so she’s gotta learn to keep that attitude in check.
But with all good things come the bad… On Friday, she chewed up my phone charger cable. So I am without a phone until the new one arrives. Then the next day, she chewed my internet cable in half. $40 and two days later, the internet was up and going again. Then this morning she chewed the new cable in half. Rather than spend another $40 on a new cable, I spent the morning splicing cables and connecting each itty bitty wire in the CAT-5 line together one by one, and patching it all with a generous supply of electrical tape. I was beyond delighted when it actually worked. *lol* I knew that degree wasn’t worthless! 😛
So yeah, my mind is kind of exploding with puppy training crap. I can’t have a biter or a lunatic, so we’re working on lots of stuff, and my poor brain is spinning. But I was totally stoked today when she had the good interactions with the strange people and dogs. She even offered up the sit after a few go-rounds of me stepping off the path of strangers. “This is what you want, right? Hand me the hot dog!”
I have toys shredded all over my room. It looks like a plastic and stuffed animal massacre. I am beyond tired. It is like having an infant, needing out at crazy times of the night. I have already thrown at least 6 mangled toys away this week.
At the same time, I am trying to get back on the exercise wagon after being sick for like 2 weeks and doing nothing during that time. I also still have not finished the outside of the RV, and I want that done before the snow season hits (it has already snowed a few times, but not for long). I plan to finish the caulking tomorrow, and try to get the windshield washer fluid issue figured out. Then my friend Emily is coming out next week, and she is going to help me finish the roof. Once the roof is done, I have a tarp I want to put on it for the winter. It won’t cover the sides, just the roof, so I can continue to go in and out of it, working on random things throughout the winter – like getting the cushions reupholstered, and doing some basic cleaning. I was going to work on it this morning, but I ended up spending the morning on that cable, and then I had a City & Colour concert to go to tonight.
Wish the phone wasn’t dead, so I could share some pix or videos from the concert, but it is, so a few pictures of the new pup will have to do.
Here’s one the breeder took of her… Her eyes are two different colors currently, but look like they’re changing. Her right eye is currently gold on the top, and brown on the bottom. Her left eye is gold and has some green hazely thing going on.
Here she is, walking with Kedric. Their markings are kind of cool, I think. They have the same white shoulder, but their hips are opposites. She has a spot on her left hip, and a white streak up the right – he has a spot on his right and a streak up the left.
And here’s what she looks like when she’s being good: 😛
So there’s that.
And since it’s Monday, I suppose I’ll include this, to help get the ball rolling…
Starting weight: 272
Lost this week: Who knows?
Total lost: 20.6
Starting BMI: 43.9
Lost this week: ?
Total lost: 3.3
Hope everyone’s having a great week. 🙂