'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

09 July 2011

Introducing Angus To Chrisi

Chrisi is a 14 year old dog who is used to things being a certain way. She also hates a closed door and will pout whenever she sees one. That's an issue because I want to keep Angus in an area that I can monitor at all times and a missing puppy is an invitation to disaster or even tragedy. Puppies are hyperactive balls of misdirected energy and are best monitored constantly. So a gate was first up.

Yeah, it's crude but then so am I and it is temporary after all. It swings on hinges and locks at the top. This is actually the second iteration. At first it was just leaning against the wall but the little man figured out how to defeat it toot sweet. He's going to be a hand full.

Because Chrisi is elderly and Angus can be a terror on 4 tiny legs, their introduction was best done gently. When Chrisi saw first him she immediately turned tail. So far she's been avoiding him whenever she can but that's gradually improving. Both are getting used to each other so Chrisi in a little more tolerant and Angus a little less bitey.

First introduction was with a barrier between. Can you hear the thought going through her head? "Oh Lord, what have you people done now"?

Well. he is kinda cute. I guess.

Here they are in the back yard. Not too close now. Can't scare her off.

A little closer. By the way, that's a lean to I built over part of the yard and it relates to potty training. It's very hot here and the sun is harsh. The ground, including the grass was getting so hot it was painful on his little feet and he shied away from going potty in the yard during the day. I put this up to shade the grass and I keep it nice and wet. Worked like a charm. He loves wet grass and the hesitation to go when it's hot out is gone.

So. We friends now?

A word on biting. A puppy's world is defined by their mouth. Everything goes into it. Everything. They'll chew on whatever catches their eye from sticks to bugs to toes and fingers. It's not aggression it's exploration. It's one of the prime reasons to watch them so closely. Angus has no idea what is OK to chew on and what isn't. He's depending on me to guide and protect him. It's not only my job it's my pleasure and one I take very seriously. Puppies can be hurt or killed by chewing or eating the wrong things and they seem to pick those objects with unerring certainty. He's usually very good about giving up items I take away though sometimes he really doesn't want to let that clump of unknown nastiness go. When that happens I simply grip his muzzle lightly, don't hurt him, and lightly press his flews into his teeth. He'll open right up and you can remove the offending bit with no muss and no fuss. When he goes for fingers or toes I move them away, give him a NO and then give him an approved chew toy and lots of praise. We can play as hard as he likes as long as he obeys the rules. When he doesn't I simply stop the play, give him a toy and play recommences. If he refuses then play time is over. I'm teaching him the rules without him even knowing it's happening. He's still self directed but he wants to play and learns quickly that some things stop the play and some things make for more fun. I do not hit Angus ever. Ever, ever. I want him to regard my hands as objects of joy not potential pain and I can control and direct him, even at this tender age, without a spanking. Understanding his motivations, reacting appropriately, having a training plan and being consistent and gentle are the keys here. If I hurt Angus I risk ruining the bonding process, maybe forever. If I confuse him with inconsistent direction I risk screwing up Preschool and the learning process. It's true, you never get a second chance with a puppy.

Preschool continues. He's started running with me and will sometimes come to a call and clapping hands, all gangly limbs and floppy ears. He's so cute. He's pushing his boundaries out and exploring more of the yard. He's bold and fearless and shows a real interest in people. He'll watch the kids playing across the street, eyes bright and ears up. He's met the neighbors and we encourage strangers to pet him and coo at him though he's still too physically fragile for unmonitored play with anyone but Lu or I. Accidents do happen, especially with small children. No dogs except Chrisi until after his third series of Parvo/Distemper shots at 12 weeks.

My little man.



Keads said...

Good luck! I know full well puppies will explore everything with the mouth.

Murphy's Law said...

Sounds like you've got things well under control. Lucky Angus. Little dog won the lottery and doesn't even know it yet.

Six said...

Thanks Keads. I think the phrase most often heard around our house right now is "What's he got now?"

Lu and I said the same thing about you and Murphy, my friend. Murphy may not be consciously aware of it but somewhere deep down in his great doggy heart he knows.