One month and training.

Doug has been here for just over a month.  Every week, he surprises me in new ways of how he is settling in.  I don’t even think he fully knows he is staying just yet. I am guessing he hopes so, but there are still so many things that are new to him and our routine is ever evolving to accommodate new issues so we are still in the ‘settling in phase’.  I cannot stress enough, when you rescue a dog, the first few months are not the dance. The first few months are you two finding the rhythm you will dance to, then the dancing begins. Along the way, the tune will change, many, many times. It’s called life.

Every morning when I wake up I say: time to mold me and Doug more. We are both works in progress.

Hey lady, wanna breakdance?img_0611

Doug and I currently take two training classes each week.  One is a group class outside of the house and one is private training inside the house. The outside of the class training is mostly to keep him social and work on him focusing on me. The private lesson class is the really important one, as it focuses solely on what Doug needs (and what I want).

Doug getting in a suitcase – prior to this was jumping through a hula-hoop, to which he said, no thank you. img_0642

Doug’s current challenges are:

  • Impulse Control. He is almost always in a heightened state of excitement (or he can get there very quickly). This is where mouthing comes in. The moment he escalates, he needs something in his mouth. His first impulse is feet and his second impulse is hands. He does not bite, but it still hurts likes hell and it’s not cool. He does this when people come over or when we meet them out and about. MUST PUT HUMANS IN MY MOUTH. Toys are not as awesome as hands or feet for a redirect, but treats earned, are starting to help.
  • He considers me the ultimate playmate and the living room is apparently the epicenter of joy.  When I sit on the couch, he leaps onto my back and uses his mouth to climb up my hair. If I lay down, he runs up and down my body. If I stand up, he tries to jump up on me.  If I take ten steps into the kitchen, he leaves me alone. WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY can’t I sit on my own couch Doug, why?!
  •  He knows his harness = a walk.  The moment it comes out, he is unable to stay still or to remain within a ten foot radius. Also, he thinks step one is eating the harness. It can take up to five minutes to get his harness on. My neighbors don’t understand how I’m already sweating when we exit the garage when the walk has not even started yet. Also, the first ten minutes of our walk are him trying to eat the leash and me trying to play it cool.  Oh hey, yeah it’s totally fine, that he is hanging from the leash as I walk. All the cool kids are doing it.
  • His other big challenge is that he does not know that any of the above is an issue!

So we train. As we should and as we will, likely for the next several years. And Doug is doing great.

  • I still have feet AND hands.  His mouthing of me has gone from 100% of the time to about 10%. YAY! The problem is, he does not translate that to other feet or hands. He only knows not to mouth me, others are still totally edible. We will get there.
  • We are also slowly making progress in the couch area.  He still escalates the moment I walk in, but that is exactly the time we do some training and try to refocus his need to use me as human rock wall or treadmill. I still don’t watch too much TV sitting down but its great for circulation and my apple watch loves that I’m constantly upright! Try to see the positives, even when your dog wants to be your backpack.
  • The harness, well the harness is just something that will take time.  Melvin was the same way with the leash.  I’d rather have a dog overjoyed to go on walks than one I have coerce!
  • He has done INCREDIBLE with every single dog we have met, even the ones that did not do so great themselves.  He is very social and wants to meet all the dogs and all the people.

One month!  One month ago I was afraid Doug would eat my limbs. I still have bruises healing from that time with him. Doug and Tracey takes time. Doug will never be more or less perfect than I am.  We are a team now. I think he’s starting to trust that.

Let me out so I can mouth meet some humans!img_0484