So we’ve got a new dog in the house. I’d have included his picture here, but out of the 20 shots I took, none of them show his face! He’s not fond of picture-taking, I suppose. My plan is not to keep him as my dog — my goal for this guy is to get him into a home where he can be of service to someone — either a companion dog or working in a service capacity.
He’s about two and we’re his third home. His first home couldn’t afford him and he just wasn’t a good fit in his second home. Contrary to the information his original owners gave, this dog is not used to being an indoor dog or being around people. Clearly, he didn’t see enough of anything when he was a pup. (He’s the poster boy for what can happen if you don’t get your puppy into a group training class before they’re 16 weeks old!) He’s a bit skittish around anything new. He’s hand-shy as well, which makes me think his original home used quite a heavy hand to “teach” him anything.
His second owners said he had a few weird quirks:
- He might have separation anxiety – he escaped from his crate once, and tore the plastic floor of the crate up another time.
- He didn’t like peanut butter at all – which is a real bummer, because that’s what I stuff all my dog’s food toys with.
- He barks wildly sometimes at seeming nothing.
I left him home today for about an hour and a half while I ran errands. He was safely enclosed in the kitchen, but not crated. I came home to find that he’d jumped the divider and was in the family room with Tango and Nemo. No damage to the room, no house training accidents, so maybe he just wanted to be with the others, who knows.
When I leave him again, I’ll leave him in the same room as another dog and we’ll see if it works out.
I’ve found that he will eat peanut butter, but won’t touch the food-stuffed toys while I’m gone. So my first job is to teach this guy how much fun food-stuffed toys really can be. I plan to stuff the toy with some really yummy stuff — loosely enough that it practically falls out. Making a food-stuffed toy too difficult will ruin all the fun.
Once we get him used to working the food-stuffed toy, then I’ll begin leaving him in a separate room with that toy while I’m still home. We’ll see if he’s able to remain calm enough to actually work on the toy even though no one’s in the room with him.
In addition to teaching him how to be alone while I’m home with him, I’m also going to start to distance myself a bit from him. I don’t want him to (falsely) believe that the sun rises and sets around my being home. So the greetings and departures are really low-key. No theatrics, no really enthusiastic hello’s or goodbyes.
There are a lot more things he and I are learning about each other, and I’ll be sure to bring each of those to you here in this spot…Stay tuned!