Nearly two weeks have gone since we got our new addition to the family.
A 12 week old puppy of unknown heritage,
afraid of many things
and we have lots of work do do to counteract that.
The first week we invited many friends
and neighbours over for a visit.
All of them offered Dixie lots of treats
as soon as she approached them.
She is still reluctant when someone visits but
she always walks over to check for treats now.
Stranger = treats.
Dixie was pretty much housetrained
from the first day on -
until we had a wild play session
with a poodle puppy one afternoon.
We thought that went very well,
but now I have my doubts.
Dixie developed a bladder infection soon after.
The veterinary told us that it might be stress related.
Maybe the rough play with the unfamiliar dog stressed Dixie out too much.
Luckily we got her treated right away and
after two days with frequent mopping Dixie again
is quite good at going outside when needed.
We all are in the process of learning a new language.
Molly, our late dog, had a different way to communicate
her needs and now I am trying to figure out
Dixie's body language.
Several times she has come up to me and
given me a good "look" which meant: potty.
I got that.
Boy, was life easy with Molly. We knew each other so well.
Now, I have a full days work on my hands.
If you are interested in more here is how
our day proceeds:
Each morning we start with a short
obedience training session on the kitchen floor.
Within the first days Dixie learned "sit", "come", "down",
"wait" (before she is allowed to go to her food bowl)
and "leave it" when I drop a treat on the floor
until I give the "go get it" signal.
Every day Dixie get a little better, she is smart.
Of course, there are lots of treats are involved, that's a must.
Today we encountered the scary, noisy vacuum cleaner.
Surprise: it leaves treats in its course.
Next after obedience is a long play session outside.
"Tug-of-war" and crazy racing around.
"Dixie - come" is followed promptly - there always
is praise and a treat waiting at the end.
Good recall = treat
"Drop-it" is trained at the same time when I want her to let go of the toy.
"Drop-it" = treat.
After the play session there is a two hours "nap time" in her crate
and Peter and I can go on errands while she relaxes.
The early afternoon has been divided into
play time inside and outside
until three days ago.
Now, we have started to venture off the property
onto the "scary road".
First we were able to master a few 100 yards only.
Today was a big change.
We went all the way down to North Road and back
(a quarter of a mile, or so).
No "heel" enforced.
Just to give her the feeling of how it is to walk
further and further away from the "safe haven".
While walking Dixie learns
"let's go" when she stops and seems unsure
whether to proceed or to go home.
Following me = treats.
On the way back towards home though she is very eager
and tries to pull ahead.
Therefore, she now learns to "check back" on me.
I go slower and slower until she turns and looks at me.
Looking back at me results in "praise and treat".
That way she stops pulling, comes back towards me to collect her reward
and we continue to walk on.
Pulling = slow.
Checking back on me = treat and
proceeding towards home.
We met cars while sitting at the curb and more strangers.
Surprise - they also offered treats.
Dixie is learning the ropes.
Sorry, no photos of all that because I had my hands
full of sticky chicken bits! :))
No wonder that she is tired in the evenings and
naps often right in front of the wood stove.
The entire night Dixie sleeps in her crate. Without protest.
And we - we have a well owned nights sleep as well.
Did you get tired just by reading about all this?
That's how it is to have a young puppy in your house!
Lots of work.
Never boring and prevents you from growing into
a couch potato.