Monday, November 10, 2014

Elvis Update

For reference, this was my original post about him. We've now had our furry boy for six months... and we are absolutely in love with him. He's come a long way since we first got him, too. Let's compare that first list:
1. He still follows us everywhere in the house and mostly outside, too. We did a lot of loose-leash training (in & out of class), and he has surpassed our expectations.
2. He seems to only follow *me* into the bathroom every time, not so much with Ace & Princess, and not with guests. I still recommend latching the door, though.
3. He's noticeably a lot less skittish these days. He still jumps back when you startle him, though.
4. He still nips/jumps when excited, but will respond to commands ("off", "no bite", etc). Izzy used to be like that, too, so we feel it's something he'll grow out of.
5. He still runs laps in the yard, but runs into his people less.
6. He now knows "bone", "ball", "rope", etc and will go find one if you ask him to (although he has a short attention span and gives up quickly if one is not readily visible).
7. It seems he no longer feels the need to bark or howl except when he wants outside & you are ignoring him, when he sees squirrels or birds outside & he is inside, or when someone he doesn't recognize knocks at the door. He loves the mail man, the neighbors, our friends, and just about everyone else... but will let you know when he doesn't.
8. Treats are no longer needed, but we do occasionally give them to him. If he's being stubborn, a stern look & repeating the command in a deeper voice usually does the trick. He's still testing us, I think... and he's still young.
9. He no longer howls/barks when left in the kennel during the day (although we don't leave them in there more than 4 hours, max; if we're going to be any longer than that and I take them to daycare). BUT, we did get woken up a couple times in the days after Daylight Savings with his quiet "arf" (if he had a voice, I believe this would be his way of saying, "Mom? Mom, are you awake? Mom, I have to pee... Please?"); both times were around 6am, so I just got up, let them out, used the restroom myself, then let them back in, and went back to bed for a little bit).

And, here are three more I feel the need to share:
10. He loves car rides and walks. He will go anywhere with us if we let him. He's excellent on the leash, but very hyper in the car. So much so that I bought him a seatbelt harness and a waterproof backseat cover. He's also very clever; he figured out how to unbuckle the seatbelt and how to roll down the window. I figured out how to stop him, though; I roll down the window about half way, then lock it there. Also, we bought a seatbelt cushion to attach over where the seat belt buckles in. He verbally grumbles at me because he can't get it undone.
11. He absolutely loves daycare... and they adore him there (they like both dogs, but Elvis has a special place in their hearts). They call him The Escape Artist; seems that because he's small & quick, he can get into & out of the door that goes between the outside fenced area and the inside hall before they can close the door behind themselves. He thinks it's a game, and as soon as he gets into or out of the door, he'll sit and look at them with a smile on his face (one of the attendants said he looked "very pleased" with himself... lol).
12. He no longer pees in the house. This took quite a bit of trial & error and consistency. We also had the help of a professional trainer. I won't tell you what ended up working because I truly feel there are things we got from Sandy that we never would have figured out on our own. There are a lot of training items regular people can do on their own, but when you have a specific issue, when you are considering returning that dog you promised a FURever home to, that's when you need to call in a pro. Dogs are very much like children; when you adopt one, you rarely know their prior situation and it is not fair to the dog if you just give up because you can't figure something out. We were prepared to have him wear diapers everywhere we went if need be... thankfully it didn't come to that.


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