Give a dog a home

I’m sitting here in a thick miasma of dog farts and I’m nothing but grateful. Eye-wateringly grateful.

The JRT came home with me on Wednesday for a trial run. I do not think she will be leaving. We’ve renamed her Penny.

She’s back in her element again as a lazy house dog. Naps galore. It’s been wet and rainy, so there haven’t been very many walks. She’s more trained than we were led to believe. She has a very reliable “sit”, a “lie down” that only works when she’s on the bed with us, a respectable “leave it”, a problematic “stay” (she gets horribly confused when Patrick tells her to “Go get Stacey”) and she knows “go to your crate”. She may be a bit rusty on her commands, but she’s a quick learner. She already knows her new name, and our names, and has learned directional commands for upstairs, downstairs, kitchen, bed, front (door) and back door. She’s also displaying targeting to my hands or to a pointed finger if she is unsure. I think she’s going to be a blast.

She’s a crafty little bugger. We’ve learned that she knows enough to chew a leash to pieces when no one is looking. I mean, astonishing, record-breaking “snip-snip-done!” sorts of escapes. It’s obvious she has losts of practice. Other than that, she hasn’t tried to chew anything inappropriate at all.

She’s rather soft, so she falls to pieces at corrections. Most of the time a little “ah” or a cleared throat is enough to reprimand her, but she’s gotten a few full-out yells for futzing with the cats. I don’t trust her with them unsupervised. It’s not that she wants to chase them or anything, but she resource guards food and attention from us. We are swift and severe in correcting this. The cats seem unconcerned, for the most part. They’ve taken a few lazy bats at her when she is running around, but nothing in their manner suggests they are upset with her presence.

She’s calm and wonderful in the house, but she’s a nut outside. She’s scared of other dogs, she doesn’t like loud noises, and most of all she’s absolutely terrified of people. I refuse to take her out for a long walk until I get her a harness, a chain leash that she can’t chew through, and updated tags with our contact info. She likes the walks themselves. She thinks we’re going to go for a ride in every parked car, she sniffs every bush, tries to pick up every bone or tennis ball we come across (yuck), and is thoroughly disturbed by the “bears” in the neighbor’s lawn. I have to get the camera for this one. Penny turns into a teensy white hyena whenever she sees the trio of painted bear silhouettes on a nearby fence. I’m sure they’ve seen bears at the farm, and I need to take her over there again so she can see that they’re not real. But damn, was it ever funny to see her all fluffed up.

Patrick is totally smitten with her. He’s never had a dog before, and I was really talking up the virtues of a dog in the year or so we’ve been preparing for one. Penny is the ideal: obviously not perfect, but gentle and compliant and silly and people-oriented and completely lovey-dovey. He’s been so cute greeting her and asking if he’s doing the right thing, or how he should correct x or reward for y and he’s been jumping up to take her outside and for walks and… well, it’s just been really great to see. Also, when he was having some stomach troubles, Penny sat with him and took naps with him and really helped him to feel better mentally. I’m glad it’s not just me.

This was just supposed to be a few days trial run, but Patrick talks like she’s a member of the family. Guess I can’t blame him, she fits in here perfectly.

In short, she’s a dog, and we love her.

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3 responses to “Give a dog a home

  1. dangerouspenguin

    Congratulations! Sounds like you’ve got it all covered. The only insight I can offer is this: In my experience a hard correction with a JRT sometimes needs to be very severe to get through to those tenacious little minds — especially where cats are concerned. The first time I looked after my friend’s little girl I would correct her like a border collie (and I have no troubled dishing out a stiff correction) for harassing the cats, but she’d be back at it an hour later. So one day I grabbed her by the scruff, gave her a shake, flipped her on her back and held her there until she stopped her glazed-eyed screeching — she’s never harassed the cats again. Not advocating such treatment — just saying that some really tough love may be required if the guarding behavior persists. Good luck!

  2. homespunheretic

    I’m fully prepared to flip a screaming dog, but the timing hasn’t been right. Fortunately we’re on to her warning signs, and we’re watching her like a hawk.

    Penny’s been more respectful of the cats lately. She accidentally stepped on Batman’s tail while he was in the kitchen, and he came at her with flying fists. Batted her silly. No claws, but I think the notion that she can get whacked by the cats puts a healthy fear into her.

    The hollow whacking noise when he was beating on her head made me crack up.

  3. dangerouspenguin

    That’ll learn her!

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