Today at 3:30 PM Mr. Stitch has been a resident for 14 days. The excitement of the “new” has been replaced by the real joy of getting to know each other and watching his personality expand.
Remember that compressed foam mattress I bought? Yes, its like that. How did something so big fit in a package that small?
There are changes everyday.
A few days ago I discovered that he can actually bark!
I feared he had been born sans vocal cords. I now have evidence to the contrary.
I had been warned he was shy with strangers. He has met three of my friends and adored them all with no hesitation. It was a new thing when he met the visitor at the big house, barked at him and refused to enter the room.
Remember my rattlesnake adventure last summer and the over-caffeinated loon who didn’t have the sense to remain calm? Stitch wanted nothing to do with him.
Good boy. 😉
Our mutual trust is growing and I have been daring (already) to let him off leash for part of our long walk for 3 days running. It is easier for someone with my medical issues and the amount of exercise he gets has increased four fold. It is a beautiful sight to see a graceful young animal run flat out.
I give myself a B or B- for my control. I need to work a bit harder at it. Recall is not always instant and is about 98% effective at this time. Not bad really… He is a delicate child and I have learned to keep my tone pleasant and not betray any frustration. I ONLY CALL ONCE.
Twice now he has oddly acted like he doesn’t know me and I have “spooked” him. Once when I used a harsh tone and again yesterday when I picked up a stick to throw and watched him go into a major terror. (Note to self: Cross “stick fetch” off the to do list).
Afternoons, in spite of the incredible cold snap we go back out for hours and try to play hide and seek. He is hard to hide from… 😉
We still are walking the land boundary to teach the invisible line. He is delightfully responsive.
He has started using a pad by my bed more, as opposed to being in his crate all the time. This morning I woke to find him there waiting for me to wake. He also carried his stuffed monkey toy around the room once. He seems to like having toys though their use still eludes him.
Ever know someone who thought money was love? It isn’t you know.
Food isn’t love either. Ask your dog. 😉
Last night he came and put his upper body in my lap for a love session. I pulled his legs up and he lay in my lap while I praised and pet him. He licked my hand for a while and he likes pressing his back against my chest. He fell asleep. We stayed like that for a good 30 minutes until the bloody phone rang.
I think for two weeks we are doing quite well. We certainly are having fun.
A friend asked tonight WHY I consider a non compliant dog a human problem. Here is the reply I sent.:
Dogs are who they are. They are critters and we are lucky, they have many thousands of years of adaptation and evolution that gives them the need to please humans. They are no longer wolves.
A dog who does not follow instruction has an owner who doesn’t understand what makes their dog tick. An owner who doesn’t understand that compliance is willingly given and needs to be appropriately motivated and rewarded. It has to be earned. Your dog needs to WANT to please you and find JOY in doing so. A dog needs to know being apart from your side isn’t as much fun…
People either don’t understand this or get lazy and find it too much work. I need to be Stitches pack leader and help him understand that his welfare comes from me. I am the hot dog man. They are like 2-3 year old human children. Keep it simple.
I need my instruction to ALWAYS be in a happy tone of voice and when he flips me off I need to resist the temptation to ask twice… Reward INSTANTLY when they comply, and make a big happy fuss over them. When they blow you off ignore them. No punishment EVER. They don’t understand and it violates their trust.
I made mistakes with Little Bear. I tried but he was my first dog. He was wonderful anyway.
Stitch is a blank slate. He will become the dog I teach him to be in regards to “minding”. He is so smart he could ride horse back and jump through flaming hula hoops if I wanted to put in the training time…. It will be a joy watching his natural personality blossom.
Eventually you do intermittent tiny food reward. The association (compliance/reward) is permanent. We are still bonding. Yes, any bad behavior he exhibits will be my fault. It is a big job, BUT I HAVE THE TIME. 🙂
I AM HAVING FUN.
What I can do differently is be more consistent. Make sure all my requests are crystal clear and not mixed signals. I need to remind him everyday all the things he knows so he doesn’t forget. Dogs comply with CLEAR requests because they want to. My job is to make him want to. My job is to show him the joy involved in pleasing me.
You and I know with his compliance comes more freedom for him. He is a dog child and that is too complex for him to reason.
Long answer but I had fun writing it.