In 2010 I adopted a 5 week old puppy. Let’s call him R-dawg. I didn’t know he was that young. I also didn’t know that the lady I got him from was running a puppy mill, not working for a shelter like she claimed. I thought and was told that he was a border collie. I thought he was healthy. I thought he would be an easy puppy.
That little guy has been full of surprises since day one.
Conjunctivitis. Worms. Fleas. Ticks. 5 weeks old. He was a mess. And this was just the second day of our new life together, when I took him to the vet. $500 later we were home and he was on the mend.
Thankfully, not all of the surprises have been bad. He was surprisingly housebroken. He was playful. He had a great appetite for food, love, and learning. And separation anxiety that took 2 years to get over.
He also grew… A lot.
My little border collie puppy that we expected to be around 30-35 pounds as an adult grew to be a 70lb shepherd mix. He is now four and a half, and still surprising me every day!
He has had his share of ups and down. He was beat up by a golden retriever. He got a pretty nasty eye infection when he was 2. Then he got seriously dehydrated when he refused to eat or drink when we moved 1400 miles. Soon after, he caught the flu. Since being dehydrated and catching the flu R-dawg has become good friends with the vet and vet techs, and we visit on a regular basis for wellness checks to make sure he stays healthy. My boy is going to live forever with the quality of care he receives from our new vet! The vet we had before the big move wasn’t the greatest.
Anyway… In 2013 we started taking obedience classes, but then we moved before completing the class. R-dawg became my decently behaved obedience school drop out. Well, about two months ago our family grew by four feet… Or should I say four paws? R-dawg became a big brother to an 8 week old female German Shepherd, whom we will call K-dawg. I figured that putting R-dawg back into school would help ease him into big-brotherhood. Not only will it give him a new job and reinforce the few things my boyfriend and I have managed to teach him, but it would also give him time with mommy awake from K-dawg.
The first couple classes have gone great! Much better than I expected. We skipped the basic class, too! Before these classes started we met with the trainer to see what R-dawg knew, and she put us in the next class up! The tasks R-dawg has been learning are not easy, but he is trying his hardest to figure it out. I am so proud of my baby boy. He is the oldest in the class, and he doesn’t have the energy the other dogs have, but he is a star so far. I’m so proud of him that when he picks up on a new command, even just a little, I give him treats AND I get down on the floor with him for lots of hugs and rubs. He is just so good and so willing to learn! He really is full of surprises!
The past two weeks we have reviewed sit, down, wait, and leave it, as well as started to learn how to turn/spin. Then we started learning to go to a special mat on command to begin learning “settle.” I can’t get over how quickly R-dawg is picking up on everything. Sometimes I wonder if this dog is smarter than he lets on. I’m pretty sure he plays dumb to make his life easier. He’s crazy intelligent. And so well behaved. At one point during class I told him sit, wait, then I walked away. He just sat there, eyes on me, maybe a little confused but going with the flow as best he could. So damn smart! It actually surprised me that he sat and waited for me. I really expected him to follow me.
As these classes continue I will update. I’ll also start updating on K-dawg’s training. She starts this Sunday! It’s going to be a great set up: R-dawg’s class starts at 4, and K-dawg starts at 5, so while R-dawg is training K-dawg will be in a crate near us, and they will switch. I’m hoping it will help show K-dawg that it’s ok if R-dawg gets attention and help her settle down instead of bullying R-dawg away from me.
We shall see!