Dog Update: Things Are Getting Normal

22 Oct

Pretty soon, these updates are going to get really boring: Dog is cute. Dog catches frisbees. Dog gets overeager and occasionally someone hisses.

So, here’s where we are now: aside from the fact that Mosley pretty much hates all humans with whom he isn’t well acquainted, we’re down to pretty normal stuff. He yanks on the leash. He doesn’t want to go outside without me much, and when I leave him out alone for a while, he pees on the side of the house. We had two accidents overnight last week, but those are the only two in the past few weeks. You’re not going to believe this, but they happened on the only two nights when Andrew didn’t ask the dog to please not mess in his den before bed. Every other night, Andrew has presented this request; every other night, Mosley has abided.

We have a clicker, a boatload of treats, and a dog nanny. We have some training tactics, and maybe will do some classes later. We have a head-collar, but that just makes him an asshole, and he still yanks on the leash, nearly yanking his own head off in the process, so we’ve given up on the head-collar. (Plus, we think it left some scabby skin behind his ear, so: no.) What we need are a few doggy play-dates and a good way to begin to introduce him to strangers so he stops the maniacal barking every time he sees one.

Did I mention that Mosley¬†hates small dogs? I know this isn’t universal, because he used to live with a rat terrier, but yow, small dogs. They set him off. The other day during our walk, this mole-man looking guy with a little dog sneaked up on us from behind. (Which: on a public sidewalk, you shouldn’t have to announce yourself, I know.) Of course a crazy barking fit ensued. I’ve never seen Mosley

even nip at anyone, but when he gets to barking like that, you’d swear he was a vicious fighting dog. And this, I’m pretty sure, is the worst I’ve ever heard him. (Okay, the time the creepy utility guy came to the door and knocked really loud and Mosley got so scared he pooped was pretty serious.) So I’ve got him trapped between myknees, holding his collar as he barks his ass off, and Andrew hears Mole Man say to his ugly little sausage of a dog, “Don’t worry. I’ve got something to protect us.” And, hey. I saw a loose pit-bull down the way attack a lady and her two dogs one afternoon. I get that. But it still made me want to let him loose, or to bite the dude myself. So yeah: I guess I’m dog people now.

Anyway, if we take him to a dog park and he goes off, people are going to be pissed. If we take him somewhere around people, both he and the people are going to be pissed. (Holy hell did he have a fit one Saturday when we tried to take him to PetSmart, just to see how he’d do.) So short of asking everyone we know to come over on a revolving-door basis, this is one we still have to figure out.

He also needs more dog time. He’s used to play time with dogs from his foster home and from his days spent at his foster mom’s office for about a month, before our dog nanny took over. We’ll probably take him back there for a few hours to play from time to time, but we really need to find someone whose dogs want to come over to play, or who want Mose to come to their house for a few hours a week. Because not-small dogs: he loves them. So there’s a project, as well.

The relationship with the cats is coming along. Here’s another reason he needs some dog time: He wants to play with them, so he chases Griffin around. Griffin thinks this is not at all funny, but he keeps coming back, so I suppose there’s no damage done. The general pattern is a lot of sniffing on everyone’s part, much less active avoidance, and regularly increasing curiosity. Mosley seems to genuinely like the cats, perking his ears and wagging his tail when they show up, following them around slowly, and often laying down in a very dog-submissive posture when they approach. Most importantly, he is not afraid of the cats, the cats are not afraid of him, and the kitties’ eating, sleeping, and hanging-out behaviors have returned to their pre-dog patterns.

In all, I think this has been an incredibly quick stabilization. Mosley is affectionate and patient, and seems happy. If we don’t prepare him for bed (and the couch for him) by 11:00 or so, he jumps on it and goes to sleep anyway. I’m pretty sure neither of us has had to tell him to go to bed since that last update. He’s a ridiculously fast learner, picking up new tricks in a matter of two or three practices, and learning what to avoid (eating the cats’ food, for example) in almost no time. (Today he walked around the area where the cats eat, nibbling up spilled kibble, and didn’t touch the bowls or what was in them.) So I have no doubt that we’re going to get over these last few hurdles and move along just fine. Meanwhile, here’s some video of our amazing dog catching a frisbee. Twice. (Did I mention that he came with this skill?)

Dog catches Frisbee. Twice. from Victoria Barrett on Vimeo.

2 Responses to “Dog Update: Things Are Getting Normal”

  1. myfanwycollins October 22, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    He is incredible with that frisbee! I love the updates. Please keep them coming!

  2. Victoria Barrett October 23, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    Aaannnd the dog and one of the cats were just playing. Mutual silliness. I’m almost sad that I caught them at it.

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