Thursday, September 10, 2015

Amy and Andy - an update

Mischievous. They are that. Not terribly so, but enough!  It's a good thing they consider part of their job description playing with each other! Sure helps to burn off some of that energy.

We've been having some slow success retraining them from their bad habits. I hit a new high spot today with a little bit of sit, down, stay practice. I finally got the looks of "This is fun! Let's do some more!"

They've responded pretty well to training, so don't get me wrong. Especially when food treats are at stake. But when there are no treats, we get a lot of selective hearing. We are working on that.

Until today, I thought we had the indoor potty business licked. Today it was raining. And here is a thing I've learned about these two - they do not like water. They won't wade in the pond on the run. They won't drink from the pond. They are afraid of a spraying hose, and they don't like it when the sprinker gets them wet. It was raining today, so they didn't want to go outside. Which is probably why somebody pee'd on the rug.

They are also quite nervous about strangers (strangers to them). When I meet friends while out running them we will walk and talk for a while, and they will move to the off side of the bike, to keep me and the bike between them and the strangers. They aren't outright scared, or maybe they are - some. Mostly it is demonstrated more like nervous sharpness.

I almost find it odd that we got such a good reception from them at the SaveADog meet-and-greet. They were not skittish as so many of the dogs are, we didn't think so at all. We thought they showed a little nervousness, but not more than one might expect.

But since then, I've come to see they have a very strong dislike and fear of new things. So, even more than before, I am not so surprised that Amy acted so sick the first week she was here with us. It was just way too much newness.

For instance, they love riding in the car - they think its great! But they hate getting out of the car when we get someplace they don't know. The park, the beach, a store, no matter.

We haven't had any new fence-jumping acts, fortunately. And given their insecurity when confronting new people and places, I don't think we will. However, I do think if they did - they might panic and be gone too far to feel comfortable about finding home.

I think they've had some hard times. They certainly get very skittish when one of us gets cross with them. As a matter of fact, and I find this very interesting, they run interference for each other. If one has done something wrong and we are trying to deal with that, the other gets all in the way, to act as a focus re-direction. When Amy is being selective about "come", Andy will be there all in my face as if to say "See! We're such good dogs! Don't worry about her!"  Amy does this a little less than Andy, but she still covers for him.

Back to speaking about hard times. I wouldn't be surprised if they'd gotten sprayed with a hose as punishment.

They also have a very high dislike of being restrained. They don't like to be held down or in one spot. For instance, so we can apply ear drops. Or groomed. They don't like being crated. They will do things we want them to - when it is their idea. Not when they are asked.

We are getting over all that. It's going to take a lot of positive reinforcement, still, but it is moving in the right direction. They are settling in to their new home, and they are definitely feeling "at home"! There are still mischief spots - the cat food up on the counter keeps getting robbed, and a couple of shoes still get occasional attention. And I don't dare leave cooked meat sitting on the counter!

But talking about all the problem areas makes them sound bad. They aren't. They are pretty good. They learn quickly. They are a dream on leash. It's just that, like I said, they came to us having learned selective hearing and independent thinking.

Everyone who sees them comments on how beautiful they are together. And I'm glad they are a pair. They are very devoted to each other, both for play, and for emotional support. When we went to the beach, I tried to get Andy out while Suzanne tried to get Amy out a different door. They actively refused to leave the car from different doors. We had to come around and coax them out the same door!

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