I can’t believe today marks 5 months that we’ve been dog parents. It feels like much longer and it’s hard to remember life before Duncan. We’ve all learned a lot (mostly me) and we are loving being a family together. Here are some tidbits about D-Money lately:
+ Dunk just graduated from his intermediate obedience class through Petsmart! He now knows how to sit, stay, roll over, shake, spin around, leave it, drop it, heel and we’re working on “go to your bed.” He does these things exclusively if you have a treat in your hand.
+ He still goes to the wrong door to tell us he has to go potty. The back door does not open to a yard, just a fenced in concrete patio. We have never let him go out this door. Yet he still thinks this is the one to signify going out.
+ He goes into his crate without being asked (as long as we have his PBK ready) but in the mornings when we get him out of his crate, as well as when we come home from being out, he comes out shrieking for joy. Shrieking and yelling and wailing because he was POSITIVE we were never coming back! It never gets old.
+ When he is really super excited he gets a little nippy, as if he just can’t fully express his emotions. He also nips a little when we’re walking around the apartment, which must be the herder in him. Um, those nips in the booty HURT, dude!
+ He is getting good at settling down and is learning how to entertain himself with toys, rather than bugging me to entertain him every 10 minutes. I think a lot of this has to do with warmer weather, and our walks tiring him out more. He is also more calm on the leash! He doesn’t react to people at all on our walks, and we’ve gotten what was once complete rage over seeing other dogs, down to an annoyed grumble. We go on walks and we pass things like an garage door opening or someone rolling out their trash can and we’re always saying to each other “he would’ve have totally lost his mind over that 4 months ago!!”
+ He is still pretty wary of strangers. He warms up eventually but does not like it when new people try to love on him, he needs his space first. After that little adjustment period though, he is a total squish! He will solicite belly rubs from anyone after they’ve passed the background check.
+ He still doesn’t like kids. That sucks, but they really freak him out. Fortunately all the little kids in our neighborhood know that he is “scared” and they can’t run up to pet him. They still yell “Hey Duncan!!!! Is he scared today?” when we pass by though and it’s so cute. Sometimes when they’re all out playing I’ll sit with Duncan at a distance and let him watch them, giving him treats. Baby steps.
+ We brought home a pigs ear from vacation that was given to us, and I hadn’t gotten around to giving it to him yet. Well, he found it on his own hiding under my bed. Usually when he gets a sweet new toy he sprints around in circles and gets right to destroying it, but for this he did something so bizarre… he brought it out to the living room and started walking around with it, poking his head in little nooks and crannies. He started whining and we couldn’t figure out what was wrong! He was scratching at the guest room door (not allowed in there) and trying to fit under the coffee table. Finally, he walked up to the couch and stuck the pigs ear down into the cushions. Then he grabbed the foot of my blanket and pushed it on top of the cushion! Ever since then he will walk up and check on it, then walk away. I took it out once and he looked at me like MOM stop you aren’t supposed to find it! He gently took it out of my hand and stuck it right back in there. It’s so dang adorable.
+ He goes to daycare once a week now. We boarded him at the same place for a couple trips recently and he did great! The staff are great and really put some effort into letting us know how he did and even who his “best friends” were for the weekend. Bring on the crazy dog mom comments. He was relieved to come home after his first boarding experience; not in a bad way but I could just tell he was glad to be home. He ran right to his bed and fell asleep for 4 hours straight. It broke my heart a little to think that he might have thought we weren’t coming back!
+ The biggest change is just how he is at home. Little things like laying on the floor next to us on the couch are huge, because a few months ago he would lay 10 feet away, minimum. Or how when he’s in another room and we say “come here Doofus!” He will come running, whereas before he’d sit there indifferently. If he gets into something he’s not supposed to all I have to say is a quiet “no” and he knows to stop right away.
I never knew how much bonding would play into the experience of adopting a dog. In fact it’s been the most important factor, besides time. I read about it, but that’s way different than feeling it. I also had a lot of anxiety about it all in the beginning so I’m sure that hindered things, but now Duncan trusts me enough to relax and listen to me (most of the time) and it’s awesome. He acts like we’re his people instead of the people whose house he lives in. I love his big toothless grin (he was born missing most of his bottom teeth) and how happy he is to sit and be loved on. I love how he lays in the bathroom doorway while we’re getting ready for work. I love how he goes to his toy box and can’t quite make up his mind so he takes out all of them and has himself a party. And I appreciate it 1000% more because of the challenges we faced in the beginning. Still a lot to work on but man am I proud! We love our boy!