The Hard Part

It’s been a roller coaster of a week.

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We’ve had more blood, albeit in what’s probably the best possible sort of new dog-related injury. My baby gate set-up means that Lilo now waits in the hall to greet me after work…which means she slams her wagging tail into the walls…which means a case of happy tail. I’m now leaving that gate open during the day; she doesn’t bother Titus in his crate and he hasn’t turned out to be an escape artist. But keeping a bandage on the distal end of a pit bull tail so she can heal is easier said than done!

As for Titus, he is happy and funny and settling in…

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I let him hang out in the bathroom while I shower. Now he thinks he showers, too.

…and I am starting the have expectations, which brings its own challenges.

I said to Krista as we drove him home from New York that that day was the worst behavior I’d see from Lilo. (She was cranky and clingy and ready to be done with the trip.) And then I said, “And ten days from now will be the worst behavior I’ll see from him.” And: yes, and also no.

He’s really impressed me this week in a lot of ways. I backed off any training sessions to give him a chance to relax and get comfortable — not a full two-week shutdown, as Lilo needed, but a similar idea — but we’re still incorporating some impulse-control stuff into everyday life and he is doing great. He puts his brain back together way more quickly when it melts, and it melts way less often now! He is holding his sit more reliably at doors and waiting for a food toy or water dish. And we’re now able to do “all dogs sit” on walks and it doesn’t matter who I treat first; he keeps sitting pretty politely and Zenning his cheese. This is HUGE!

He’s also started barking in his crate at night, which is…let’s go with “not my favorite thing a dog can do.” He is smart, you guys. The first time, he legit had to pee; I’m starting to learn his voice. But one instance of getting out before the alarm has convinced him that happy fun time overnight is a possibility. Before I would hear him wake and chew a toy for a while before snoozing again. I’m going to pull his water a little earlier and get him checked for a UTI, but mostly I think he’s just clever. I don’t know whether to be horrified or impressed!

So I’m blogging this because I want to keep an accurate record; not every minute is fun. And also because it helps me keep perspective. I was feeling a little overwhelmed with the two-dog juggling act on Friday. Not, “Can’t do this,” overwhelmed, but, “Everything is going well and this is still a juggling act.” But sitting down to type, the barking really is the only thing that I’m not entirely confident in my ability to deal with and even for that, I have ideas and resources. Which is not so bad at two weeks in! I think. (I hope.) (I’m pretty sure.)

And as I typed most of this post, I was stretched out on the couch with Titus chilling (on leash) on the dog bed and Lilo switching between her place and the couch, both chewing calmly away on their respective peanut butter hooves (and me intermittently reinforcing the calm with tiny delicious treats). Which is also a HUGE step, so hurrah!

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Evidence in support! (Couldn’t fit Lilo’s giant head in frame.)
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4 thoughts on “The Hard Part

    1. I keep thinking it wasn’t this hard last time, but 1) my old dog was much older and less active/engaged when I got Lilo than Lilo is now and 2) I’m pretty sure it was actually harder in ways that just don’t feel as visceral now because time has passed!

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  1. Ouch! Poor Lilo and her tail! Transitioning between one to two dogs is hard but it sounds like it’s going pretty well! I think you have a good plan about pulling his water a little earlier and I hope that helps! Barking in the night is not cool!

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    1. It really is going well! The big picture is outstanding; the rest is just details. 🙂 The little guy had his first obedience class tonight and really impressed me with his focus and try. I think he’ll sleep well tonight! And Lilo got to run an errand and practice her drop-on-recalls by the river, so she’s happy, too. 🙂

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