Tuesday, June 17, 2008

New Puppy!

Thanks everyone for the good wishes. And the name suggestions! "It's a dog eat dog world, Sammy, and I'm wearing Milk Bone underwear!"

Today I walked him about four miles. It was a workout. He has a long stride and I can't walk fast enough to make him trot. (This is gonna be so good for me!)

Eddie (former owner) kept telling me the dog settles down once he gets moving. Of course, that's not good enough for me. I had a heckuvva time just getting the leash on him. He was jumping, thrashing around, biting me. I was going to do the dolphin trainer's trick of "taking my bucket of fish and going home" because he was behaving so badly, but I didn't have the heart to do it to him. He needed to get out. I wanted him to sit, but he hasn't learned yet to focus and he doesn't care what I think. I ended up pushing him into a sit.

Then it was more rodeo on the leash. But after a few about-turns he settled down. The trainer told Eddie to keep him on a tight leash. Whee, good advice. NOT. I continued random about turns throughout the walk. He finally swung along next to me nicely on a loose leash. He appreciated praise and petting, but doesn't really make eye contact yet, isn't into me.

Also... Eddie warned me... He wants to chase cars. He is fascinated by the wheels. We had a few encounters which I put to good use. As the car whizzed past, I'd do a fast about turn and the dog would hit the end of the leash -- SPRONG -- Huh? Where'd she go?! After the third car he quit trying. Still kind of dodges and ducks when they go by though. I gave him lots of praise for not attempting to chase. He was way too jazzed up at this point to take food rewards.

We got home and he did some sits and downs for treats. He either learned it from the trainer (doubtful) or remembered it from that session with me back when he was four months old. His attention span was short, so when he jumped up and started sniffing around I left.

He has some issues but he has potential.

Later I went out and did some clicking with him. (Incidentally, this made Clifford very jealous! He stood hollering down by the gate! HA HA!) The pup caught on right away. He did sits and enthusiastic downs, and was catching bits of kibble in mid-air. His attention span is very short for his age, but I know this is because he has never been asked to concentrate on anything. He really liked the clicker game.

I got down with him and rubbed his belly and he bit me in play. I screeched and he licked me -- a doggy apology, but then he got so excited that he jumped to his feet and started leaping all over me. I got up and left. If he's not going to play nice, we don't play at all.

I can only imagine how good and exciting it must feel, to him, to have someone finally "hearing" him and "talking" to him.

He will be penned up for a few days until he learns to make eye contact and bonds with me a little more. Because he pulls so hard, I'm not about to tie a leash around my waist like I would a littler pup.

I am so happy I got him at this phase in his life -- it would have been so easy for him to go down the road of no return. I think he will come around before long.

And yes, he is a pain in the neck! But as much as he needs me, I need him too. I never said how I was languishing here. I had the urge, always, to go back to bed and hide my head. I pulled some weeds about a week ago, got poison ivy on my arms and it has spread to the most horrendous, angry red rash all over my body. I know this is stress! I was just miserable without my German shepherd. Now this guy has given me a reason to get up, get out of the house... Having someone need you this much, well it just makes a huge difference.

Here Rip says hello (a sort of snippy hello!) through the fence.


Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm glad you found each other. I think he will be good for you and you for him. I think he will come around sooner than later, he seems to be making progress already. Have you decided on a name yet? Poison Ivy,yikes that stinks.

Gecko said...

It'll be good for you to have a project too won't it. It seems you found each other at the right time, for both of you!

goatgirl said...

I just found your blog through someone else. Actually she sent me to Eagle Walker blog after I posted a story about eagles in my yard in Washington. Then I saw your blog. Loved reading about you and your new dog. I too do clicker training and taught a class for years at our civic center.
Also enjoyed your post on aggressive dogs. We just had that situation here. People are so clueless. Good luck with him, he is a lucky dog.