Sunday, February 3, 2008

First Night Chez Homestead

Just when you thought the blog couldn't get any more annoying with endless stories of the babes, I get a new dog to talk about! and show you pictures of! and discuss ad nauseum. Lucky, lucky readers.

The first night with a new being in the house is the worst, be it new baby, new dog, new roommate. Last night with Dodger was no exception. You can imagine the confused whimpering, the intermittent barking, the explosive diarrhea in his crate at 2 am...wait, yeah, well, we didn't expect that either. Too much change, too many new foods, too nervous, we hope, versus real illness. Lots of trips outside through the night (no different from the baby waking us up, really), lots of training time in his crate today, lots of Immodium medicine, and we are at almost twelve hours later with no more blowouts. I'll get him a vet appointment tomorrow, but he seems ok at this point.

Having had Dodger for about a day now, I assess him thusly. He scores a 75 out of 100 right off the bat; his temperament is fantastic, he is playful, game, extremely responsive to our tone & commands even while he understands none of what we say or want yet. He is gentle with the babies, nuzzling them and being pretty respectful of their space without being sketchy or timid. He wants very much to romp with Luna and Cody, and is as respectful of the growly boundaries they are setting as any 11-month old pup can be. His two bad habits are that he is EAGER to interact with the cats, and I'm not convinced that he wouldn't bite them if given a chance. He's been repeatedly scruffed and rolled for this interest, and is now wary of the cats, tracking them but doing much less barking and chasing. His other distasteful habit is humping, primarily Luna. She will have none of it, and his desire and drive should diminish as the hormones diminish. This is the biggest problem with male dogs.

That all being said, he has no bad habits. He is learning fairly quickly, and is happy to be treated with cheese or hot dogs. (Um, no more until after the bowels have returned to normal, though.) He calmly follows H-Mama or I around the house as we go about our business, which is good, as it means he is our bitch. Um, I mean he accepts us as alpha.

I'm feeling more optimistic in the light of the new day. He laid down in my lap this morning while the kids ate breakfast in their booster seats on the floor in the living room and watched Thomas the Tank Engine. Dodger let me brush him, groom him, snip mats out of his coat around his ears and face, let me roll him on his back, legs splayed open, while I trimmed his toenails. Anyone with a whit of dog experience knows this is unbelievably good. He actually fell asleep on his back while I worked on his face. Homestead Mama is starting to fantasize about an agility champion or two in the household. (A, he is like your beloved god-dog Moody was , but less afraid. You will love him when you meet him, my German friend.)

I have but one serious regret. Pequita is love with the kennel we set up in the living room for Dodger. She walks right in, pulls the door shut behind her and organizes her toys on the padded bed in there. Had we known she'd like it so much, we'd have brought it our for her weeks ago. She cries when we make her get out to give Dodge some quiet time. (And right now, he's asleep at my feet on the hard dining room floor while I stand and type this. Sweet boy!)

That black saddle thing on his belly? A 'belly band' I whipped up last night. It presses his willy up to his belly, making it hard to mark (pee) in the house. He apparently did this in the rescue lady's house; he's shown no sign of it here, maybe because we have only females. Better safe than sorry, I say. I have no time to clean pee off the walls. It was a lovely pair of Danskin velour lounge pants that I had in the give-away pile. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

No comments: