2 weeks ago today Colorado joined my little family.
An important milestone as I believe when she was last adopted out it only lasted 12 days.
I was thinking about that last night. She really is a great dog. Maybe its chemistry? She’s a completely different dog than she was.
She’s mostly pretty laid back, except when she wants to play, then she’s a joyful bundle of fur. Honestly I don’t even have to play with her. I take her out into the backyard and she seems content to dash back and forth alternating between throwing her ball and her frisbee around. Eventually though one of these gets dropped at my feet so I get to play too 🙂
You’ll recall me mentioning that she becomes a stress case when out for walks and she sees other dogs. I could only take her out for walks when there was little chance of encountering other dogs and I really wanted to be able to walk her when the sun was out.
I stopped by the Feed-All on Saturday morning to pick up some treats for her and cats. I took a look at their leads and decided to buy a choke chain. Now, for those of you who think they’re cruel when properly used they’re not. If you’d think I’d choke my dog (or any dog) to get her to listen to me then you’re sadly misinformed. The key to proper use is to drape the chain over your dog’s neck so it forms a ‘P’. When you need to correct behaviour you give the lead a quick snap. You don’t pull, you don’t tug.
World’s of difference on the new lead. She’s been trained before and although she still has her moments she much better behaved. I’ve been teaching her some new rules. Every half block or so I stop, I tell her to sit (which she usually does immediately). I pause. I then point to a tree or or other vertical structure and say, “Go sniff!”. Colorado enthusiastically jumps to the indicated spot and does her dog thing. I noticed last night and this morning that the little jump/twirl thing she does when she’s finished lands her approximately on my right hand side where I like her to walk.
Other dogs still get her wound up but she’s easier to bring under control. So now our walks are longer and more enjoyable for both of us!
Other big changes:
She no longer cries when she wants attention. She will either sit at my knees and stare at me, or jump on the couch and nudge my hand. When she does “talk” it means that she has to go out “NOW”.
She’s turning out to be a fussy eater. Regular followers of my blog will recall how stressed I was with my cocker Shelby as he became very finicky in the later stages of his life. Not so worried about Colorado. I’m learning her. (Coincidentally I pulled out the last bag of dog food I bought for Shelby…the picture of the dog on it looks a lot like Colorado!)
I no longer get bounced on 30 seconds after my alarm goes off. In fact this morning I had to get up to go to the washroom. Colorado was lying in bed with her head on my chest. I glanced at my clock and was a bit shocked to see that it was in “Snooze”. I still don’t recall slapping the snooze alarm.
I have noticed that Colorado likes music. I attribute the calm morning dog to Florence and the Machine. Last week I noticed that when “What the Water Gave Me” came on Colorado stopped bouncing around trying to get me to hurry up and cocked her head towards my alarm clock (where I had my iPhone docked).
I’ve noticed that when she hears another dog that may be in distress that she acts…its hard to describe but she becomes very alert. On the weekend when we were walking some people were leaving their house. Their dog was objecting strenuously. Colorado’s ears perked and she started pacing back and forth trying to find the dog. She went so far as to jump up and look into parked cars.
Yesterday when we were playing in the backyard. Our upstairs neighbour dog, Bella was scratching at the door (as she does when she knows I’m outside). Colorado immediately gave up our game and ran around trying to find her.
In neither instance was she excited, or distressed. It was more like that she was moving with purpose. Very interesting.
So yeah. It might be chemistry but there is no question that Colorado is my dog, and I her human.