Friday, January 21, 2011

Lotsa Water, eh?

It's been raining here. More than usual, that is. The ground is over-saturated, which is part of the reason there was a septic pumper working at the library this week. Ugh.

But there are good things about rain. One of them is quiet walks. Polo drools like a St. Bernard when he has to ride in the car, but I hope I made it worthwhile today. We had a wonderful time together on the trail. He really wanted to chase the ducks, but I would only allow him to take pictures. It was good to get out and MOVE.

Here's Polo's best photo of the day:

Friday, January 14, 2011

Rescue Dog, Bad Dog?

Here we are in Week 3 or 4 with Polo the rescue pup. Sigh. At first, I didn't think of him as having been "rescued". He was mild-mannered, sweet, and only had a couple of accidents in the house. I thought this was going to be easy, bringing a six-month-old to responsible adulthood.

Maybe not so much.

Polo is still mild-mannered and sweet. He loves belly rubs, and finds ways to climb onto me and roll over so I'll massage him. He hasn't had any accidents, but consistently potties in the crate. We thought we had a very smart solution to this, and started leaving him outside when we had to go away. He's got plenty of fur to insulate him, and he loves playing outside. Putting him out should be a win-win, right?


Polo's biggest problem, as I see it, is separation anxiety. He hates being left alone in the crate, so he's learned to avoid me when I'm getting dressed and brushing my teeth. Now, he hates being left alone outside, so he has to find indoor places to pee AND poop in case we run away from home while he's outside doing his business. Ugh.

Poor Polo. He'll enjoy a lot of time with me this weekend, and I'm looking forward to being with him too. We have our first training class on Sunday. In the mean time, I have a couple of positive-training books on hand. I think we'll have some fun lessons in Mommy Permanence now. Polo needs to learn, little by little, that I always come back.

Poco a poco, Polito. Good dog!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ups and Downs, Ins and Outs

The Pup is named Polo (because he looks like a cuddly little polar bear) but is also known as Apollo and Spud. He kind of told his side of the story already, so here's mine. We were dogless for about a week, and that was as much as I could stand. I had said that the timing of getting another dog would be a family decision, but I couldn't wait. I let my husband talk me into "just looking" at the local animal shelter. (He didn't have to twist my arm at all. Seven days of not being gleefully greeted at the door is a long, long time.) We went home with a sweet six-month-old golden Lab mix. The naming rights were supposed to be a matter of family vote, too, but I stole the ballot box.

Polo loves to go on walks, although he still hates meeting oncoming traffic. If puppies are "chick magnets", Polo is a general "people magnet". Since we end up doing a stop/sit for many encounters, strangers praise us for great obedience. I can't take a compliment that we don't deserve, so I inform them that he's actually scared stiff and refuses to move. This is usually followed by, "Oh, I see, he's just a pup. Inn't he just the sweetest lil thang?" Yep. So much for aerobic walking. Here we are on the trail together:

There is one nightmare that keeps coming true for the Polo pup. At odd times of the day, tall bearded men suddenly appear in our upstairs hallway. Sometimes, they poke their heads into the master bedroom when they come into the house in the wee hours. They're big, they have man-voices, and they come from out of nowhere. Of course the pup has to bark at them -- they're scary! Unfortunately, this doesn't endear him to them, and not even the Mom and Dad show appreciation for this loud announcement of Polo's surprise. Nightmares, indeed.

So far, Polo has endured two shower-baths. He takes them sitting down, but doesn't particularly enjoy them. Although most dogs don't "mess their nest", dogs who have spent time in kennels don't know better than to potty in their crates. Ick. But with all his beautiful fur, Polo needs regular baths anyway. Here's hoping he'll learn to like them.

We're enrolled in an obedience class that starts later this month. At least, I am, and I think Polo is supposed to come with me. It's good to have a walking partner again. He's still learning the greet-Mom-at-the-door thing, but he'll figure it out.