Thursday, May 19, 2016

all dog, all the time.

For various reasons, just as Anna is the primary parent for J, I'm the primary parent for Leela, which mostly means I'm the Feeder, the Trainer, and the Scary Gender. All at once! She tracks my movements a lot, partly because we're pals, but--and this is inseparable where training is concerned--I give her food. I'm not sure if she's always hungry, but the shelter says she spent time as a stray, so it may just be a survival-mode "eat everything you can while it's available" thing. She tracks my movements pretty carefully, when not doing her Beagleshark patrols, back and forth across the house looking for food dropped on the floor.

J is adapting to her, and she to him. She licked his hand this morning, and he was so grossed out he had to leave the morning snuggle to wash it; on the other hand, this morning I coined the name "Beagleshark," which made him laugh, and then he was singing "Beagle, Beagle, Beagle, Beagle" in the bathroom, an honor reserved for things he likes. And he started out the day saying "Hi" when she was 10 feet away from him, and now says "Hi, Leela" when she's more like 5 feet. And, while it's difficult to gauge these things in doggy brains, she seems to have stopped sniffing at his feet, which he doesn't like.

I'm getting the hang of dog training, at least for a relatively uncomplicated case like Leela: she's pretty bright, and if she's not exactly eager to please, her apprehension makes her attentive, which is useful enough. She knows her name well enough that today I actually interrupted her progress toward exploring a new room. We've been doing some "Sit," and experimenting with "Up" and "Down": I used "Down" to get her off a bench at the dog park, and realized that if she can learn those as "move up/down one level from where you are" that they then have applications beyond getting her on or off the furniture.

It's a good time to be on leave from work.

I'm still worried about her getting bored and seeming to be unable to really have fun: as much for her happiness as the fact she can't be left unsupervised, lest she destroy things. A friend pointed out it will take some weeks for her to really settle in to this being home, and that seems very wise.

She is very much like everyone else in the household: traumatized, dealing with it as best she can, and healing. Last night we watched the first-ever episode of Doctor Who, and when men (not women) started talking on-screen, she got all rigid and started growling and barking. (She has the cutest growl, which you might expect from a dog with a head the size of a Little League baseball.) I took her to the back of the room and soothed her as best I could, and she never really relaxed, but she did stop shaking and barking.

Tonight, we watched the second episode, and voilá! Not only no growling, but the TV barely got her attention.

It's nice to provide a safe space.

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