Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dog parks and dog friends and chickens

Chimera is just shy of 20 weeks (getting close to 5 months old), about 10.5" high at the shoulders, and weighs 6.7 pounds. Sherry was able to identify that he has some of his adult teeth already. He is growing quickly and has gotten skinnier than I like, so I've increased his daily calorie intake by about 100 kcal. I've switched him to Primal raw nuggets, and not only does he go crazy for this food, but it turned his poop from consistently soft with frequent diarrhea, to consistently solid even when he's eaten something new. On top of that, he's less thirsty and drinks less water now, so potty accidents have decreased dramatically. Woohoo!

On Sunday morning I took him to Point Isabel. I wasn't sure about taking him on a weekend, when it's very crowded, but it was a cold and overcast day so I thought that there wouldn't be as many people there. Boy, was I wrong. But it turned out to be a good trip for him. Initially he did a little bit of reactive growling and barking at the first three "weird looking" dogs he saw (a dog wearing a dress, a large wet dog, etc), but then he was calm. He ran up to nearly every other dog within 50 yards, and so was able to greet dogs of every size and shape -- bulldogs, poodles, boxers, chihuahuas, pit bulls... He had no scary experiences and it was good socialization.

His recall was 100% perfect, likely because we were in a brand new place (so he wanted to stay close to mommy) and I had boiled chicken for his reward. He did frequently lose track of where I was since he was so busy greeting dogs, but his giant ears were able to hone in on my voice easily.

He was quite affiliative with people, too! He ran up to people here and there with his tail wagging, especially women or people who were sitting on benches. We passed some young children and he glanced at them with no reaction.

Monday morning we went to Dog Bone Alley, an independent pet supply store in Alameda which has a large selection of harnesses for small dogs. Chimera is about to outgrow the baby harness I bought him. (Sniff.) I wanted a step-in harness (over the head ones are hard to get over giant Papillon ears) with a wide fabric front (for maximum comfort). I found only one line of harnesses that met my requirements and actually fit him well, and the color that looked best on him was pink. Everyone already assumes a default female gender for him, so I went ahead and got it.

In the evening we took a walk at the Albany Bulb. He got to really stretch his legs and run at the beach, and was quite happy.

Sunset at the Albany Bulb, in pretty pink harness.

He's still quite reactive to the appearance of dogs or even people when we're out on the trails with my hiking group, since they're a bad influence on them. (I had to take him every day last week due to being out of the house all day.) But in other contexts, I've seen a sudden decrease in his dog reactivity, and almost no people reactivity. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but it's nice to see results.

Yesterday we visited our friends Sherry and Jacques the Papillon. Chimera was less of an obnoxious puppy and not a jerk at all. His social skills are improving. He had no potty accidents, and indicated to me when he wanted to go outside to poop. (Last time we were there, he had five accidents or so, despite getting him out about every 45 minutes.)

He met her chickens, 3 beautiful Golden Sebrights. I wish I had a video of their meeting. Cai wagged his tail very widely and playbowed at them multiple times. He ran toward them a few times but it was with head high and tail wagging -- a combination of curiosity and playfulness, with no predatory overtones. Silly puppy.

No comments:

Post a Comment