Monday, February 21, 2011

a play bow, a hike, and little victories for sonny

I'm slowly getting to know Sonny's personality, and I'm totally in love with him.  He's adorably playful and he's starting to show some excitement when he sees me in the morning.  He bounds out of his crate and follows me to the backdoor, where we commence play session #1 for the day.  He bows. I bow. He half-jumps, with his front paws in the air like a puppy who has no clue how big he is, or even what balance is, for that matter. I put my head down and he comes over and nuzzles my head a little, licks my fingers, and runs back a couple of feet and play bows again.  At this point, Buster usually runs to me, half tackles me for the morning cuddles, and then Sonny runs over and licks my toes.  He's totally adorable, with his mouth open just a little, his ears relaxed, and his tail up. And the whole time he's observing, watching what's going on and trying to figure this "home" thing out.

Then we go outside, and he eliminates right away; something that was previously took upwards of 30 minutes. I've been taking him out back in the yard on the retractable leash to give him some space because he seems to prefer to go further away from me, rather than closer.  Lately I've been taking him out with Roxy and Buster, now that our introductions are done... and they go off running and he so badly wants to join them and play.  He bounds and leaps after them, with that same goofy, puppy-antic-style leaps and bounds, and I do my best to keep up, but when they start running under and around bushes, I can't follow and neither can Sonny because the leash will get tangled.  I feel awful when he wants to run with them and can't.  But he can't be off-leash, not even in the yard.

The problem is, Sonny has shown that he's easily capable of jumping and climbing 7+ foot fences.  My fence is only 3.5 feet tall. So there's no way I can trust him.  So far, the only way I've got him to approach me is if I'm squatting down and loving on Buster and Buster gets super excited.  So I have that as an emergency backup plan, but I'd really rather not have to go combing the woods in the middle of winter (or any season, for that matter) with Buster, my 3-legger, hoping Sonny will come to us.  I can't risk it.  He's way too much of a flight risk. 

Yesterday, Rob and I took Roxy and Sonny for a hike.  I took Buster for a long walk earlier today, but the hike would have been too much for him, especially with all the ice. Plus, I wanted Roxy and Sonny to be out there together; walking together, getting treats together, and smelling stuff together.  Sonny did really well, overall.  We avoided the few people that were out there, but he was taking treats and drinking water with us right there, which has previously been difficult for him to do.  He even took a few treats from Rob.

Roxy struggled a bit when we saw some people with dogs, unfortunately, and made me realize how far we still have to go with her.  I was actually quite a bit surprised by her behavior, because she's been otherwise doing great when we see other dogs.  But this was a new environment, and Sonny was there and his anxiety probably didn't help.  I can't wait for the weather to get nicer so I can do some more work with her.  It's been so cold I haven't been able to find anyone else outside (with or without dogs) to do some desensitization and counterconditioning.  We also walked her on her flat collar because we figured the halti head collar would get frustrating on her face for 2 hours or so, and boy, do we need to start working on her heel.  She's great on the halti, but once we get on the flat collar, she pulls like a freight train! So rather than having her try to learn "keep the leash loose," I'm just going to train her to walk next to me (in a heel position) all the time.  I think she needs more exact instructions about where she should be walking, as opposed to the general "loose leash" work we've been doing.

Sonny, on the other hand, seems to be leash trained.  Go figure...

No comments:

Post a Comment