Month: October 2013
Chili’s heat is definitely over so we can finally take her for proper of leash walks. And she didn’t loose any of her obedience during last three weeks. Today I took her for a bike ride through the park (weather was pretty terrible in the morning). She is doing very well next to a bike, thought she still is not fully confident being attached to a springer. As we stopped on red light on our way to the park, Chili….climbed on my lap. It was a tricky situation because she did t want to get off and we were a bit stuck. Fortunately managed to get her to sit before the light changed.
She had to pretty nice interactions with dogs. One purely playfully with 6 months old Portuguese water dog. It was good to see her have fun. And also to see how easily she can stop the play and come back to me. It wast the case for the other dog so I walked him back to his owner. Second interaction was with a black female of Chili’s height. At first she was afraid to pass by, even though we were standing on a side. She stopped by my bike, smelled the springer and then turn towards us. She was more interested in me than Chili. You could immediately see that she was a rescue dog (from Bulgaria it turns out). They just have this air about them. She also didn’t want to leave is so all three of us walked to her owner. We met her for the second time later and then she immediately rushed towards Chili. They were running for a while. It wasn’t aggressive or to serious but it definitely wasn’t playing. I think they were testing each other a bit, seeing who the other dog is. Chili was a bit unhappy when the other dog tried to get food from my pocket, but my calmness made her relax, which was nice see.
Our walk was great but when we got home Chili went crazy. And not just her usual crazy. She was jumping up in a weird way, crying and getting angry. We figured out that something is wrong with her back leg. She was licking it and it was over sensitive but we couldn’t see a wound or anything. It was very difficult to calm her down, and finally I realized that she gets angry when is is hurting or uncomfortable. I think she just didn’t know what to Di with herself because her leg caused her so much discomfort. I would distract her from reaping our couch apart by putting a rubber kong toy in her mouth. And she would bite on it really mad but it helped. It was hard to watch her being so stressed. Eventually we gave her a kong filled with canned food and she settled down in her crate. I later spoke to Ania about it and she said that sometimes dogs cut their paws on grass but it is difficult to see those cuts.
Now she is doing fine, just sleeping on the couch with her belly up.
Chili was sleeping pressed against me (as she often does) while I was reading Game of Thrones. And then she suddenly got up and walk to the other side of the couch, to Salma. It’s their bed time and they usually immediately fall asleep after their last walk. It usually is not that closed though. Its so heart warming to see Salma not mind Chili sleeping next to her, to see that they are getting closer also relationship wise. And even though Salma would never admit it I think she likes the fact that she doesn’t sleep alone in loving room and that she doesn’t stay alone at home when we leave. As I sit and watch them deep asleep, so close, both relaxed and I think back to how bad it was it makes so happy. I’m so glad we didn’t give up on Chili.
Eating a pear while Chili is trying to hypnotize me
I realized today how much has changed since I last time wrote about Chili. She was 8 months old then now she is 11,5 and a different dog. Or maybe she is the same but we understand each other better. I’m very glad I wrote those months ago, I was surprised to see how bad I thought Chili is. Now I would say that she is one of the best behaved dogs I know ;). She still has issues with emotions and with being to rough with Salma. But there is also a lot of good moments. They sleep together all night, and often ate very close when I get to the room in a morning. Chili can stay outside of the cage for around 4-5 hours and doesn’t turn house up side down. She listens very well on walks ( this is the state of events from 2,5 weeks ago. Now she is in heat and has to be always on the leash for safety). Even during heat she didn’t cause more problems. And she still loves to cuddle, and be very close.
A lot of things happened that I want to write about, amongst them our awesome trip to Italy to participate in Alexa Capra’s communication classes, Chili’s first trip to the beach and first meeting with a horse. I also would like to wrote how step by step we got over her separation anxiety because it shows how important it is to be persistent and use right methods.
I hope I will find time to write about it all. And there is more to come. Salma and Jochem are going to Recall class together and I will join obedience class with Chils.
I recently read an article titled The Control Myth. It’s about our human need to control everything and it ends with a nice quote that even the most out of control dogs have a place in our lives. I used to be a big time control freak when it comes to my dogs. And it became especially salient with Salma. She started to go completely mad about rabbits and trains and I in turn begone to control her every move, including looking in a direction that could trigger her. Such as bushes in Vondelpark. She would listen but she was still aroused and tense and I was tense because trying desperately to stay in control at all times is hard work. And at some point I let go. I’ve accepted Salma just the way she is (and she is a wonderful dog, but also a god with a drive) and it was as if magic happened. More I trust her and let her be herself the more she chooses to be with me. We used to struggle and now we are a team. Today we had an interesting interaction in Vondelpark. As we approached a field where a group of dogs was standing close to their owners, Salma didn’t want to go through the group so we went around. As we were already going through the field male American bulldog saw us. He came closer and stopped 10 steps from us. Both me and Salme where standing laterally to him. He looked first at Salma then at me and at Salma again. Salma didn’t show interest in meeting him. He decided to walk up to me. He wasn’t tense but more curious. At the same time as he got next to me Salma appeared behind my back. She looked at him from behind me (they were close to each other) and she pushed my thigh with her nose. It is time to go she was saying. We went our way (slowly and relaxed) and the bulldog went back to his group. I liked this because it really felt that me and Salma are a family group and that our communication goes both ways. I listen to her and she listens to me. A lot of people would say that I’m crazy but now instead of stopping Salma from going into the bushes (where she starts running like a maniac) I encourage her to go and praise her as she runs. Sometimes I join her in her adventure. And she loves and and she stays closer. Because now I k ow that even when she is at a full speed (and she is fast!) she does pay attention to me and does listen so in fact she is not out of control she is just having fun. And I’m enjoying myself seeing her to free and out of control 😉