I have had dogs my whole life. I obviously love dogs. You don’t have a blog about your dogs if you only moderately like the species. While I consider myself somewhat of an expert on dog health issues, I am not as knowledgeable about behavior or what ‘they think’. I sort of make the latter part up, so my take on how it’s going may or may not be shared by the boys. For the record, we have been a two-dog household for 46 days. That’s six-and-half weeks; 1,104 hours. It’s just a few days short of, one-dog-year.
Melvin is taking it all in a rather remarkable stride. He is for the most part, relaxed. Most of the time he is doing his ‘usual’ – enjoying his couch time, laying at my feet while I cook, and jumping in the big bed at 5am for a few hours of sleep with me. Yes, there are moments I can see that he is a tad stressed (these are the exact moment my catholic guilt meter surges to the right). These come in the form of him trying to ‘win’ against Jake — be it down the steps, to the door, into my lap. All in all, he continues to be my happy-go-lucky-nugget whose biggest source of joy in life, is me. I love that dog. The good news is that 95% of the time Jake yields to Melvin through those doors and down those steps (yes, I admit it, I was hoping Melvin would be 2nd, and Jake would be 3rd and it seems to be netting out that way). If Melvin is lying around and Jake tries to goad him, Melvin let’s him know with bark or two to go away. It usually works. When Jake stands firm on not wanting to go into the mudroom when I’m leaving the house, Melvin loops around him, nudges and herds him in (Jake going into the mudroom while I’m gone is a highlight of Melvin’s day so him making this happen makes perfect sense). I think the biggest source of stress for Melvin is our walks. Prior to Jake, Melvin and I had a flow about us, it was carefree and easy and love ruled. Back then, he and I had a language and if I gave a command, it was clear that it was directed at him. Now as I’m trying to teach Jake the lingo, it can tend to (understandably) confuse Melvin. For example, on walks, if I say ‘stop’ to Jake for eating goose poop, Melvin stops what he is doing (which is usually just sniffing. “No, no it’s okay buddy, you can sniff” — moment lost). Or when Jake is trying to go backwards and I want to move forward I use the phrase “this way”. Jake ignores me but Melvin listens and ends turning towards me (the direction of Jake) which is backwards to what I wanted. Say it with me everyone: FLASK TIME. Maybe I’m suppose to have a different lingo for Jake? I can just tell that Melvin does not enjoy walks as much as he used to. Join the club buddy, we’ll get there! Still, they continue to get along great while walking together.
Jake is starting to realize he is staying. He is learning our dance… he goes right into his crate at night, heads to the correct door for a walk in the morning, knows where his bowl will be put down for meals and can sense if he needs to get up or stay snuggled. He waits until Melvin has had his time with me before he sneaks up onto the couch. He is a bundle of snuggly love. He has had two poop accidents in the house since coming off tie-down. Both were pretty soon after a walk and both were also within close proximity to where I was. My thinking is that maybe he lived a life on carpet and hardwood feels more outdoorsy. I make these things up to convince myself he’s not doing it to be punk. If it’s time for him to go, and he doesn’t go, he waits it out in the mudroom until he does the duty outside. Pooping outside = access to the room with the couch, check – check. He hates the gentle leader harness with the intensity of a million hot suns, my apologies to him but, walks are starting to move in the right direction. At the end of every day, he is a funny guy and when he looks up at me, I melt. I love him. Where Melvin is my nugget, Jake is my pea-nugget.
As for me, I am trying to take them each on their own walks here and there. I want to shift the balance back to enjoyment. Adding a new dog is disruptive. Disruptive in exactly the way it should be, another living creature added to the mix is different and due diligence requires that we sometimes have to bend in strange ways and create a new normal. I wouldn’t turn back the pages of this chapter but with each day, I feel it inching toward more enjoyable and away from…so structured. Thank the good Lord!
I adore my odd couple. My frick and frack. They are both big and small, bossy and gentle, slow and fast. Similar, yet completely different.