Month: May 2013
We had a good day yesterday, dogs spend most of the time together, sleeping and relaxing. I did manage to avoid meeting any dogs during my afternoon walk with Chili. We played tag of war with a small stick. She is very motivated and pulls so strong that I have problem with keeping my balance but as soon as I let go of the stick she pushes it back in my hand. I try to keep her entertained during every walk, because I want her to look to me for fun and not search for it on her own. When Salma was young I didn’t invest enough in our bond, and for a long time she was more interested in other dogs and the environment than me.
This morning I was extremely tired, I had to rush to quickly take Chili out (I overslept), and walk Salma before my boyfriend has to leave for work. I was waiting for Salma to finish eating grass and I was struggling to stay awake. Unfortunately, because of that Salma’s walk was boring and shorter than it should, At home I had to quickly eat breakfast and shower so I can take Chili for a long walk before I have to lock her in a cage again. Chili really needs her long walk first thing in the morning, otherwise she is a pain in the ass. We were outside for 50 minutes and managed to walk almost 3km but it cost me a lot of creativity. Chili was more fearful than usual, she got scared of a man sitting down on a canal bank. She didn’t bark at him but did jump away when she saw him and didn’t decide to come up even when I was talking to him. Park was really busy with kids and dogs and decided to take more of a side root. Chili could walk around and sniff there and explore but she didn’t have to deal with people or dogs. She is in an age when she will be suddenly afraid of unexpected things, and hopefully it won’t have to much of an impact on her future behavior. On top of that she is gong through hormonal changes and puberty, so at least on paper she is pretty much at her most difficult time.
At the end of the walk we met a male golden retriever, he was young and pretty submissive. They had an ok interaction, but as soon as he tried to come up to me. He just gave me an approaching look Chili walked him back to his owner. I’m afraid she might guard me from other dogs on the walks. I don’t know how to work on it. What I like about her is that she doesn’t run to every dog (which Salma did when she was younger) and that she usually respects dogs that are scared of her.
For last two days I’ve noticed that Chili hesitates before going into the crate. Maybe she doesn’t like being there or maybe it’s a part of her puberty (dogs often misbehave or ignore commands they know during this period). Either way I bought raw heart and we will practice coming in end out o the crate. Additionally I need to find time to work with her more on the recall and “ee”.
Sitting on a couch and looking over both of the girls sleeping in one room, makes me truly happy. The fact that there are able to fall asleep close to each other, without my help gives me hope for the future. I love them both so much, and I want them to be happy. In those peaceful moments it’s difficult to remember how bed it was in the beginning, when Salma would spend all the time in the bedroom because Chili would attack her legs every chance she got. Now with our supervision those moments barely happen. Seeing positive changes in their relationship, and Chili’s behavior is really reinforcing for me, it makes me believe that we are on a good track.
As I wake up a bit late today (7:30) I feel happy to see my two crazy girls. The weather it not so bad and I like being in the park in the morning. I take Chili for the first walk (still not wanting to walk them together). She learns so fast, it’s unbelievable. She sits as we wait for the lights to change and she doesn’t stop looking at me even for a moment. Crossing the bridge is still a bit tricky, because she is scarred to be to close to the edge and we have to walk in the middle. We enter the dog part of the park from the middle, there is closer entrance but it’s by a narrow part of the park which means we might not have enough space to avoid meeting dogs there. Unfortunately, we do have one bad encounter with dogs. Two dogs approached Chili, while she was sniffing, and the female chased her away. Another dog to put on my “to avoid” list which is growing very fast. It’s frustrating how difficult it is to meet normal dogs (and ‘m not saying mine are, but I at least try my best to make sure they have good relations with other dogs). When we walked away Chili heard another dog barking (he was barking at his owner) and she wanted to get away from that place as fast as possible. I took her on a leash just in case she would panic and run away. I have to say that she is very nicely focused on me for her age (and our short past). I hope it will stay that way.
Salma needed her walk, and I decided to take her for 20 minutes (it is not long in general but so far that’s what I can do when I’m alone with them). I walked as fast as I could so Salma can trot and use a bit of her energy. I desperately need to find a way to make our walks more interesting and fulfilling for her. Chili did cry a little bit when we were gone, but it wasn’t too bad and she didn’t seemed to stressed out when we got back. It will take time but she needs to learn to stay home alone. To make Salma a little bit more happy I through her breakfast into a box filled with balls of paper. In that way she can use her nose to search for food.
Now they are both sleeping (Salma in the crate) and I can finally eat my breakfast.
It was one of those days when I questions if we will ever find balance. I’m alone with the dogs for two days which means I have to walk them together. Chili still has separation anxiety from time to time, and we didn’t work on her staying alone without Salma yet. The quality of their walks together did improve because Chili is not trying to attack Salma anymore but last night we had different kind of a problem. As soon as I opened doors downstairs we run into a dog de Bordeaux. I remembered that this dog is not very nice to other dogs, so I dragged my dogs back inside. No, it was not a great think to do, but at that moment I didn’t have a better option. After I opened the door again both of the dogs were excited and it was difficult to hold them. And just as I managed to calm them down Salma saw a cat, and she went into her trans. When we are alone I can easily walk away from cats, and calm her down by asking her to target my hand. Unfortunately, with Chili being all over the place this was not possible. I don’t like to feel that I don’t have control, plus those situations can be dangerous and possibly have bad influence on Chili’s behavior. This morning I decided, I would rather have Chili cry at home then walk them together. After her morning walk, I gave her a pig ear in her crate and I took Salma out. Since I’m alone with both of them I can’t take Salma for longer walks which makes her more frustrated. We were gone for 14 minutes, and Chili did cry a bit (I record the sound whenever I leave her alone so I can keep track of how she is doing). It is not as bad as it was in the beginning but they are both a bit more tense last two days (which in turn makes me worried that they won’t be able to create a healthy bond).
Unfortunately this is not all for today. Chili was attacked by a female German shepherd, totally my fault. First of all, I should know better to let my dog be close to a German shepherd of the same gender. Unfortunately, almost all German shepherds of the exterior type are pretty nasty towards other dogs. And there is a lot of dogs that are aggressive strictly towards German shepherds, because they were attacked by them in the past. Second of all, I should trust my gut feeling, and not let Chili be around that dog. I do know that Chili came to close to her, and probably was not polite enough, but an adult dog chasing and biting 6 months old puppy is a bit extreme. Chili isn’t perfect with other dogs, she needs to learn a lot when it comes to respecting body language and personal space but confident dogs (also small) ignore her when she is too much in their face. I hope this experience won’t make too much of an impact on her future interactions with dogs. Rising a puppy is such a big responsibility. Of course she has her character, and predisposition to behave in a certain way but I have to take care of the environment she will grow up in. We already lost a lot of time, and she already came to me with not the best social skills. Every day I’m trying to avoid bad interactions with dogs, but it is pretty much impossible when we walk in a park. Many dogs there don’t know how to communicate with other dogs. It shouldn’t be a surprise since a lot of owners just put them into dog to dog interactions without any supervision. Owners talk on the phone, or chat with other owners while they brand new puppies are terrified of a youngster running them over time after time. And what do a lot of owners say? That dogs have to figure it out on their own, that they have to toughen up. I do agree that puppies can learn how to communicate from other dogs. Absolutely! There is just one very important issue, those other dogs have to have good social skills themselves. Would I expect my child to learn how to be an adult from bullies?
Aside Posted on Updated on
As I write this I do not know how this will end. It can be a success story with a happy ending but just as well (and probably this is more likely) it will be a nightmare. At the moment the second scenario seems a lot more probable. Messing up two dogs, which each have their own issues and have to live on small space it’s easy enough. I can just sit back right now and let the chaos unveil. On the other hand making sure that they live peacefully and are both happy will take a lot of work and skill. And honestly I don’t know if I have what it takes. Having knowledge is one thing, but being able to act correctly in unexpected situations it’s a completely different story. Since we have Chili (which at the moment is 2 months) we went to hell and back. I thought that we are ready for a second dog; Salma is almost 4 and she is such a sweetheart (chasing rabbits and trains, hating cats and pulling on a leash), I’m looking for a job so I will have all the time in the world to take care of the puppy. On paper it might look good, but in practice we have a four year old dog that has problem with emotional control (because she was separate from her mom too early) which cannot go to a park next to our house because she will get so crazy about rabbits that she won’t even know we are there. I do have time, and loads of it but the fact that I’m looking for a job and market is soo terrible means that I may have to take a job that will require me to be away from the house for 10 hours a day. At the same time when Chili arrived my boyfriend started his new dream job which may mean he will be gone for whole weeks. And just to spice it up, sweet puppy that we adopted turns out to be a dog from hell. We have all the ingredients for a disaster. All of the above add up to one conclusion; we should have not adopted Chili. It is not a right time, our dog is not capable and we were not ready for what happened in the first weeks. And the worse thing about taking a dog when you are not ready is the fact that then you are not able to create proper environment for your new friend.You might be tired, angry frustrated and so forth but the dog didn’t choose to be with you. He is not the one who made a wrong decision, his whole world changed because of your choice. Most likely he is scared and stressed, trying to understand his new situation and it that moment you need to step up and put his well being above yours. I know all of this, and yet when Chili arrived I panicked and made a lot of mistakes. I wasn’t there for her as much as I should.
I’m trying to find the best way possible to rise little Chili to be a well balanced dog, and at the same time I want to find a way to help Salma with her problem with emotions, and rabbit/train/cat issues. I hope that writing about this journey will make it easier to remember all the good and bad moments that we have together (and hopefully with time there will be more good moments)