She came through her first “bath” (a shower with me) just fine. She was a little perplexed, but went along with it, and after she realized nothing bad was going to happen, started to play.
I wanted Piper to be a little more settled in before she met our (very kind) housekeepers for the first time, so at lunchtime I ran home, Piper & I had a spot of lunch together, and then Piper came in with me to spend the afternoon in my office here at work.
Piper had *no idea* that they made all of us sit in kennels all day long!!! The kennels are weird – there’s carpet, but it’s not very soft. Some people sit with their kennel door open, but they’re still *in* the kennel. Piper tried to urge several to get up and leave, to follow her to freedom, but they didn’t seem to understand.
Piper has done well. Most of the time I’ve been here with her. I did pop next door to talk to a guy on my team for a moment. At one point I forgot to keep my voice lowered, and all of a sudden we could hear Piper. When I came back to my office, there she was, standing up on the arm of my big office chair, apparently looking at how to climb up and over the wall to rescue me.
She has behaved beautifully so far. We’ll get it out of our system here in about another 30 minutes when we can go home, and chase squirrels around the back yard.
Piper has been neatly, precisely, surgically even, opening the gates that we keep on certain rooms to, we had hoped, keep her out of the cat’s food, etc. Piper has in some cases just popped the top pressure mounts, cleverly figuring out whether she needs to pull or push to do that. In other cases she just opens the large gates. Somehow. So we’re ordering more gates – I’m figuring if I stack them, maybe…..
I was so cheered last night to come out from our bedroom to find Bruno and Piper both stretched out at the top of the stairs, laying in the square of sunshine there, waiting for me to go downstairs and do something interesting. There they both were, calmly laying down, in parallel, just over a foot apart. Partial victory!!!
She’s doing great. She is such a sweet love – and so very intelligent. She waited until I sat down to read on the edge of the bed last night to make another stab at being a “sleeping on the bed with you” dog. I was patting the dog bed that’s immediately by my side of the bed – a big white fluffy one that she hasn’t taken to yet, other than tasting it to see if it was food – and quick like lightning, Belle grabbed a chew toy (well, I had a book, so that made sense), and hopped up next to me on the bed, and flung herself down next to me with her head curled up next to my leg. And then I swear she grinned at me.
It’s hard to say “down” when you’re laughing that hard, but Piper is such a sweetie, once she recognized the ploy wasn’t going to work, she hopped down, and then came over for hugs from the floor.
She is one smart cookie – you can totally see her looking and thinking, “what’s going on here”, “what am I supposed to be doing?”, “Is there food in that?” etc
She is doing much better with the cats. Last night, we spent a lot of time with her on the leash inside, while cats walked by. She is learning that she gets praise and treats when she ignores the cats. Piper’s a smart girl, and she seems to be figuring that out really fast. The cats are getting braver as well, which helps.
We’re still settling in on the name, but we think “Piper” is what she wants to be named. She is such as sweet, lovable, loving, wants-to-be-good girl, and we are so lucky to be allowed to bring her into our family!
She is hilarious on walks – I guess it’s been awhile since my goldens, because I’d forgotten what walking is like with a dog who is interested in the scents. Apparently the suburbs are a whole new world – she’s not a pain about it or anything, but she is quite fascinated by the scents of her new home territory, and seems to be having a great time checking them all out.
PIper also invented a new game this morning. I swear she is playing with my squirrels. I drank my tea this morning outside on the back patio with her, while she ran along the fence line, chasing a couple of squirrels that were running along the top of the fence chittering at her. They ran one way. And then ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM back the other. And then ZOOOOOOOOOOOOM back the other way. I had no idea that our backyard was set up like some greyhound racetrack, with squirrels replacing the rabbit. They seemed to be having a blast – once Piper figured out that there’s a nice dog-sized roadway behind the Japanese maples along the fence, and once the squirrels figured out that she wasn’t ACTUALLY going to catch them. I can’t tell you how funny it was from where I was sitting out on the back patio – ZOOOOOOOM to the left. Pause. ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOM to the right. Pause. Pause. ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM back.
She is just adorable - agree that it’s “hey! Can we play?”, not “you look like you’d be really tasty, perhaps with a light lemon butter sauce”. I’m also going to arrange things to give the cats one more “safe” space in the dining room, which prevents the fun chase game around and around and around the bathroom downstairs (Fender was inadvertently playing this with her).
She has done really well on her walks. She is so funny when she sees other people out running or jogging – she sort of starts and goes, “…huh?”, but then she’s good. I just don’t think she expects to see a lot of other people.
And I was so proud of us this morning – we went for the longest Ziggy route, and as we were coming up the backside of our hill here, I’m thinking good, she’s panting, we’re getting plenty of exercise, this is good. And of course 5 seconds on the flat of the top of the hill and I’m still panting and Piper (if that’s her name J) is back to normal.
I think the biggest thing with the cats is that as we work on ensuring her recall sticks here, we’ll be able to more and more, e.g., take her up to the park to run and chase balls and things, and work out that doggy energy. We’re playing fetch inside, and throwing things and running around the backyard, but for while we’re in this intro period, I’m keeping her on a leash when in unfenced outdoor space, which limits how much energy she’s burning off, no matter how much we try and do.
But then…, as we were walking by the tennis courts at the middle school last night, Piper and I checked them out and realized that they are completely closed off. Tonight, we’ll be walking with some dog-tennis-balls in my pocket, so we can do some late night zooming & chasing there, after all the people who think they do something with racquets in that space have gone home.
Completely agree re: crates never EVER being for punishment. That’s so awful. We’re clicker training Piper, which as far as the tossing treats part is going great. Ziggy was always explaining to me why we should just go sit together on the floor and hug rather than train, but Piper’s definitely more into it.
I did a short day at work today – I left a little later, and came home early to take Piper for her introduction-to-the-vet, kennel cough shot, heart worm test (no, I don’t think she was ever taken to Idaho, but I can’t swear it, and I’d much rather run a test & before before giving her Trifexis) appointment. When I came in the door, the first thing I saw was I thought she’d pooped on the rug. She came running to me, and I was telling her it’s OK, no big deal, I’ll clean it up, and then I look more closely – she’d broken into the treats. And when I say broken into the treats, she had:
I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. She was so proud of herself: Look! I made lunch! And I redecorated!!!!! I laughed, and laughed, and she laughed and barked and laughed. She is adorable.
One more update: I figured out how to add two more gates to increase the safe spaces for the cat, and retire to the shower to clean up after a long day. As I get out, I can hear that Piper has brought up one of her squeaky toys – how cute.
And then I walk out of the bedroom, and there she is, sprawled across the top of OUR bed, happily chewing on her toy, telling me, “I’m ready for bed Mom!!”.
Um. Gotta work with her a little on the concept of “that’s yours. This is mine.” And it was very adorable
Belle, who we’re thinking may be named Piper?, is doing great. She was a champ last night – slept through the night on the floor around the bed, literally. She kept scooting around and trying out all the spots J. As far as she is concerned, the dog beds in the bedroom are weird places that the human keeps having her walk across. What is THAT about?
She adores Lucy the golden retriever next door, and is fine with Lucy’s little brother Winston (a young king Charles). She and Lucy hung out for a half an hour yesterday, exchanging play bows, happily sniffing and smelling each other. And doing this weird “you paw me. And then I paw you. And then you paw me. And then I paw you. And then I roll over on my back and everyone paws me. And then you do that. And then…”
Bruno is doing the heavy lifting for the cats – he has been a champ. Belle’s one issue so far is that she wants to play with the cats. Fender is no use – he just runs away, which to Belle means, “A game! Here, let me chase you!!”. Skip has just been watching from behind the fences and from the top of the cat tree going Oy. What IS that thing. Bruno has deployed hisses and an occasional extended-paw-with-extended-claws to help Belle understand boundaries.
There was a little problem tonight: when I lifted Bruno up on my lap here at the computer to be held, Belle kind of jumped at him like “oh! I’d like some!”. Belle did it again a little later when I was carrying Bruno to his dinner.
I’m keeping the fences up, so the cats have a safe part of the house. We have one cat tree downstairs, one upstairs, and I’m thinking about whether I want to deploy another one or so.
Other than saying “NO!!!” when she does it, if you have any suggestions for preventing problems here, I’d love to hear them. I have every reason to believe it will work out, but I want to nip the “cats are prey to chase” thing in the bud.
Not as a punishment of course, but I am thinking I will crate train Belle, so that the cats have safe time, as well as safe space. I think it may help normalize Belle for them, so will probably pick up one tomorrow, at least to use during this transition period.
Belle was a star today – my brother, his two dogs, and my mom came over for breakfast, and then we went for a walk on the Kirkland Trail. Belle has been walking really well on a leash. OK, she wants to stop and SNIFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF quite frequently, and she’s not sure about 1) joggers, and 2) people with umbrellas, which I interpret as 1) hey? Should I chase that? And 2) WHAT ON EARTH IS THAT CREATURE!!!, but she’s been on I think 3 or 4 walks yesterday, and three big walks today, about three minor walks, and she’s done really well.
One of my brother’s dogs has bad manners, and did his “I’m going to randomly growl and jump at you once” thing that they have been unable to fix to Belle. Belle was calm and non-reactive (well, other than walking over to walk with the other dog, and murmuring something like “boy, your brother is an @$(*hole, huh?” to him J ).
She has just been a delight – she and I had a nap on the floor this afternoon, as I was lying on the floor giving her a neck massage and we both fell asleep J.
Thank you again for letting us bring this wonderful girl home!!!