January 31, 2005

Digory, Day Two

Today Digory's doing FANTASTIC! We crated him last night, and were really worried with his separation issues that he would howl all night. But before we went to bed we realized he's imprinted as strongly on Scout as the two of us. We sent them outside to go potty separately (Digory was perfect--went right out, pottied, and came back--he knew exactly what was expected of him) because when they both go out Digory wants to play and Scout gets disgruntled when someone tries to interfere with her pottying. As soon as we sent Scout out, Digory stood by the door whining and looking for her just as he's done when we go out. He clearly was relieved when she came back.

We put both crates in the same room (now I don't have access to my closet) and gave Digory some homeopathic calming serum, then turned off the lights, closed the door, and hoped for the best.

He whined and barked for about 5 minutes--no full-out howling luckily. Then he settled down and we didn't hear a peep out of him for the rest of the night! It was surprising not hearing anything from Scout either, since she's a barker as well. I think they liked being together. No accidents either. Kevin let them out early, after about 5 hours, and both were just as happy as could be. They both went outside and pottied, then curled up on the bed with me to sleep some more while Kevin worked.

We haven't tried both leaving the house at the same time. I think this will be the biggest challenge for Digory. But housetraining doesn't seem to be a problem at all. We're still leaving the door open (the weather is great) and he gets the idea of scratching, but we don't quite trust him with letting us know when he needs to go, so we'll stick with this for a while.

He needs some major obedience training--he doesn't even know how to "sit"! He's also a jumper--paws up on the table and your legs, so we're teaching "off" as our first command. So far he seems to be respecting Scout's place as alpha dog and doesn't have a problem. The only time Scout got a little grrrr was when he interrupted her trying to pee. He doesn't try to displace her, even though he could pretty well shove her around if he put his weight into it. If Scout is sleeping on the Costco bed (that is, the bed we got from Costco), he'll find somewhere else, but as soon as she leaves it he jumps right in. He did the same thing with a bone--Scout was chewing it and he sat very nearby. He didn't try to take it from her, but the moment she left it was in his mouth. We've stocked up on several chewies so that there are plenty around the house for anyone to chew on if they want to.

Also I think we're making a small step in the separation anxiety. Last night he stayed close to us but as the evening went on, he did go lay in the living room with Scout while we were both in our bedrooms. Like I said above, he definitely seems to consider Scout a primary pack member and feels comfortable with her. Maybe he thinks if Scout thinks things are okay, they must be!

We're really enjoying this sweet boy. While he doesn't have any formal obedience training, his manners are pretty good. He did a good job with not begging last night (we're very severe about begging at the table--I absolutely don't allow it). He put his paws up on the table a couple of times to try to reach our food--and unlike Scout, he can actually REACH the table! But a couple of pushes and stern "Off!"s and he got the idea.

You can clearly tell that while he wasn't really trained, he wasn't abused either. The train noise doesn't seem to bother him. Next weekend we'll see if the fireworks upset him, but I suspect not. He immediately bonded with both of us and doesn't seem to have a fear of men that most abused dogs do. He's clearly very smart--responding to his name and totally getting the idea of "potty." Now we're looking for a training class to get started on some of these commands.

Edited to add: He's already destroyed his first stuffed toy. I'd forgotten how sharp the almost-a-puppy teeth are! Poor Labrador Head was unable to be mended--and we just got him this Christmas. We'll be looking at several more casualties soon, I suspect.

Posted by Shelby at January 31, 2005 01:14 PM

What a cute little boy! Seems to be adjusting very well.

He's so much bigger than his older sister (Scout.) I love the colors in his face.

Can't wait to meet him in person (well, "dog."

Posted by: Katrina at January 31, 2005 07:03 PM
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