Monday, July 30, 2012

Busy Week

I didn't get anywhere near as much writing done this past week as I would have liked, but it was a good week all in all.  I've just finished another chapter of this revision, so I figured it was time for an all around update.

I got my Alpha Readers started (thank you!), saw The Dark Knight Rises, which was a fantastic end to a very well done trilogy all things considered, and celebrated my wife's birthday.

I've also uploaded a new file for my Alpha Readers to have a look at, the last batch of feedback was good and exactly the sort of information I'm looking for.  Of course, as more of the story is filled in for you guys, you'll have to help me find any promises I make that I don't keep etc.  But so far so good.

Beyond this point there's non-writing related stuff about getting a dog, it meanders a bit and probably gives more information than anyone could possibly want.  If you don't care, don't read after the jump.  Just pretend this post ends here.

So, you're reading past the jump (first time I've used one!).  Don't say I didn't warn you.

We're looking at adding a new dog to the family.  He's a 1 year old puppy named Prince, who has spent the last 7 months in a shelter.  His previous owners turned him in at 5 months because he chewed on things?!?!?  

I don't think I've ever seen a 5 month old puppy that didn't try to chew on things.  It's one of those things dogs do when they teethe and have no structure.  He also tries to "mouth" things, which is also normal dog behaviour (though definitely undesirable) and correctable if you can get down to the root cause, whether it's an energy thing or a matter of learning play boundaries.

I saw him on Tuesday for a 1 on 1, which was in the "Gym" at the shelter, where he was very "mouthy"at the start, the playful kind, but I made it clear I was having none of it and the behaviour stopped altogether.  That was promising, as it was the main issue the shelter worker said prevented others from taking him.

I brought the whole family, including our current dog, Sadie, to meet him on Friday, my wife's birthday.  He was bouncy and excitable when they brought him out, trying to get in close and sniff EVERYTHING, and I immediately took him for a 15 minute walk to burn off some of the energy that he'd clearly built up in his 6 x 6 box.

At the start of the walk, he tried to pull me around and take charge, clearly testing his limits.  Halfway through the walk he was digging in and trying to stop.  By the end of the walk, he was right by my side, starting when I started, stopping when I stopped.  All it took was a little praise when he did something right, or a snap of my fingers and a firm "sit" when he did something wrong (followed by praise once he sat of course).

We took everyone into the Gym for some socialization.  Sadie was shy, she always is when dealing with larger dogs, but there was no aggression between them.  Beyond Prince not knowing proper dog social etiquette (i.e. approaching from the side instead of head on) he was fairly well behaved, giving Bear, our youngest daughter a thorough sniff over without touching her and only lightly mouthing my wife once until she told him no.

We talked it over in detail, including the changes we'd have to make around the house and what methods we'd use to introduce Prince to the 2 cats and the living environment, starting very structured and physically controlled (leash, soft muzzle, and head collar at all times at first, and initial introductions with the cats with him being crated etc.) and slowly peeling away layers of control as the situation becomes more comfortable.

Working Prince into the daily walking/running/feeding routine will be a fair bit easier than the rest of it, it just means more baggies and a slightly different walking rotation.  I'll take Prince for the first bit separate from Sadie while Monster or my wife takes Sadie and we'll meet up somewhere.  Sadie will run with Monster while I run with Prince.  

After I get Prince sorted out for walking, Monster and I will walk him and Sadie together, in time letting Monster walk him with me present.  Eventually I intent to have him walkable by anyone holding the leash, just as Sadie is, whether that takes a matter of weeks, or months will be dependant on how quickly he learns, but based on that first walk outside the shelter, I don't expect it to be an overly long process.

To be clear, Sadie will still get her solo walks with me as well, as she's still my dog and I don't want that dynamic to change too much.

We find out if Prince can come home with us tomorrow (we put the adoption papers in on Friday and they have to review them and get back to us).  If he does, I'll keep everyone posted on how it goes (after the jump of course, so those not interested in the non-writing side of my life can pretend it doesn't exist).

- Grimm

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