I have to confess that it is sort of nerve wracking adopting a new dog, especially a mature dog, because your just not sure if they will really fit in with your family, your lifestyle, and your schedule. I want to give all my dogs a great life, full of love, adventures, security, good health, and companionship but there's always a voice in the back of my mind saying "well, what are you going to do if he/she doesn't fit in?"
Cody is our fifth dog in 14 years and I feel like we really lucked out with the dogs that have come into our lives. It's been a while since we've had a younger dog (and I didn't realize until last week that I was off by a year with Hazel and Nooner's ages, 10 and 9 respectively) so we haven't had to train a dog for quite a while in the basics of walking on leash, housebreaking, and obedience commands. So I am pleasantly surprised that Cody has fit in with us so quickly! Here's what he learned in the first two weeks:
- How to use the dog door. Huge success! I think he feels proud of himself because now he comes ripping back in the door all excited as if to say "see mom! I did it!"
- How to sit in the crate for dinner. He runs and waits for his turn now.
- How to wear a collar. Pure torture it seemed for the first week, tolerance the second week, and now he's seemed to accept that he has to wear one.
- How to walk on a leash. He has learned that if he keeps up and walks with the girls then he doesn't need to fight against the leash. More progress to be made, but now he runs to the front gate to go for a walk! Ya!
- He uses all the stairs and ramps. This took longer but now he's comfortable using them to get up to the bed and the sofas.
- He's learned that we will come home from work. I was concerned he would have separation anxiety but my neighbors haven't heard a peep out of him so hopefully that's a good sign.
- He's learned to play with Hazel! She gets the biggest grin on her face and I think she likes playing keep away from Cody with her toys. They've been playing more and more together. I don't think Nooner likes being jumped on but she lets him know and he backs off quickly and knows her boundaries now.
We debated about getting a puppy or an adult but with the girls being older and more mellow we decided that an "older" dog would be appropriate companion vs. all that puppy energy. So here's what we've learned about him the past few weeks:
- He "smiles" when he's happy! This makes me laugh every time and I've been trying so hard to get a good picture of it for everyone.
- He likes to sleep on my pillow at night. He curls around my head and lays his cheek against mine.
- He licks you in the mouth- alot! Forgive me but I think this is disgusting especially because of #4.
- He can find and eat cat poop in about two seconds. It's freakishly fast which makes me want to train him in nosework and put him into a barn hunt so badly.
- He's terrified of busy, new places. He had a melt down last week at the Biergarden and the Marina so we'll start to take him really early when there are less people and dogs and see how he does. Nooner is the same way at the dog park since she's lost vision in one eye so we can work with them together.
- He hates tags on his collar and has chewed one off already. I bought him an engraved one so hopefully that will help.
- He does this cute little groan when he settles in his bed, or on top of the pillow, to go to sleep.
- He is a momma's boy through and through! But I don't mind, he's a cutie pie!
So he's a work in progress, we're a work in progress and I have a feeling that in another month things will be going even smoother and I'll be able to take him to a quiet public place with the girls and eventually out to a park. Any recommendations or suggestions on the best way to do this? I'm all ears!