Sunday, October 10, 2010

Out with the good, in with the different?!

Billie was a remarkably stable, well adjusted dog. She is confident, social and really very safe.
So she got a brilliant home, with her blog (maybe) to be continued at Billie's blog by her owner, and I took in a new one.

This is West: Youtube Video
He's VERY cute. And very cuddly. He's also VERY nervous. I'm fostering him for TDBCR.
West is a border collie, and he's growing on me. He's very nervous of new people and strangers, and though he seems to like dogs, he's not very appropriate with them in a typical BC herding way.
This is a long post, with a summary of his activities since arriving here. His departure is described on Wootube

Oct 8

Drive was uneventful, aside from a couple of vomits (which I heard, but didn't see). I just left him in there until we got home. Slipped a fairly stiff slip-lead over his head. As soon as he felt the noose around his neck, his entire attitude/body language changed. Not quite relaxed, but 'oh, i know this!' and he lept out of the crate. Let me handle his collar to put the leash on, and took a big pee. Walked around a little, and he hugged my leg a few times, so I think he's at least decided I'm the best he's got now. Showed him his real crate, gave him some water, and just let him decompress a bit.

So, I took him out to play with Archie. As expected, Archie is a total ass hat, and West just defers completely to him. I expect that will prevent any fights, at least.
As it is now, he's wandering around a little, took his salmon-skin-wrapped pill from my fingers and is drinking regularily.

He knows his crate is 'his' and even when archie tried to guard it, he just darted in, so I expect the two of them will figure it out fairly soon. Archie does LIKE other dogs, once he gets over needing to guard everything.

So far, no bites, no pissing himself. I wasn't prepared, as I was told he didn't like toys, when I threw the ball for Archie and West bonked the end of the long line herding him!! I just let him drag it after that, and he mostly just wants to be on my leg all the time.

Now I've got two busy BC boys staring at me like "hey, what now?"
Now? BED TIME! :)

Oct 9

GOOD first. West successfully was introduced to my mom. I decided to do this sooner rather than later partly because he was so quick to warm up to me, and partly because really, if something were to happen to me, it's important that someone else be able to handle him. My mom is the most available female member of the household, and is very
similar in look and mannerism to me, so I figured she was the best shot.

I had her start sitting very still, and allowed West to approach and sniff her. He had no issue with that, so slowly, she moved a bit, until she was completely standing and he hugged her! He was free to leave/back away at any time, and didn't choose to. She then took his leash to take him for a little walk, and though he went with her, he made it very obvious he wanted to be BACK WITH ME. When she returned (about 20 ft away and back), he lept on me, then on her, and didn't seem to hold any grudges that she'd taken him away from me. I expect if needed now, he'd go with her for a pee break etc. I was surprised how visibly he relaxed. All in all, a very good sign.

Bad news... Archer is being a real ass hat and can no longer be around West. This isn't a big deal (I'm used to it, I just hoped things would be different) and pretty normal for him, but poor west is very confused. I'll be changing the set up a little so that West doesn't have to hide behind the chair anymore, and see how things go with some CC/DS.
It's really hard to do that without two people, one to hold west and one to feed Archer, so it might have to wait until west's more able to think/be around others. Anyway, I can certainly just keep them apart inside until then. Not a big problem, just REALLY annoying.


Anyway, Alls well that ends well, and Archer will get over himself.. eventually.. This puppy is so damn cute I just want to share him with everyone, but instead, he has to stay home all the time :( Ah well, he suits my introverted side very well.

Oct 10 - Today!

I was up way too late last night online, so I slept in a bit this morning. Archie slept free, West in a covered airline kennel. Archie's wire kennel is folded up (one less thing to guard, I'm hoping?) and he has an airline kennel in the other room of the MH so he can't see West from there. This is working out much better so far.
West was getting antsy to go out and started pawing his crate door. Archie snarled at him, and he quit. We all got an extra hour's sleep thanks to that, though it certainly isn't a good behaviour! :S

I let Archie out into the yard, shut the door, then let West out of the crate, then open the door and go out to the yard. It's like a 5 point process, but it works. Once they're outside, as long as West doesn't look like he's trying to get back INSIDE, all's fine.

I tossed the ball for Archie, West chases him and bites him on the ears. Archie can't tolerate West drinking from the water pail, but has no problem with him CHOMPING on his ears. Crazy dog.

We played on the flat for a bit, then I went and tossed the half-a-tennis-ball down the bank a few times. West would tear down after archie, as soon as archie stopped running (to sniff out the ball), west climbs halfway up the bank and lies down, staring at me as he slowly slides down to the bottom.

He heard Kevin come outside, not sure if he saw him. I just called him and held his collar until Archie brought the ball back and we moved away. A few more tosses on the flat to try to dry/clean the swamp muck off them, and we played the door game again.
Yesterday, I was able to convince Archie to stay outside for a minute while I brought West in, crated him, then brought Archie through. Today, Archie would have none of that, so I brought Archie in, told West to wait until I got through the door (I suspect he had no idea what I said, but that Archie told him the same thing!), crated Archie, opened the door to let West in, and here we sit, with his head on my pillow and his mud on my sheet.

I'm going to find something to wrap him with today to try and help ease his anxiety. Even when he's calm/napping, he's still very anxious. His breathing and the tension in his face tell me that. If you watch his little youtube clips from last night, you see him throwing all kinds of calming signals. We'll get there.


  1. Thanks so much for working with West! Best wishes for tranquility to everyone.

  2. Cool blog. I'll be following you and West and your adventures together.

  3. Thanks, both of you :) Amy, your blog is very cool. And how unfortunate, but very cool, that your bird got to see Dr Trout. I've read his book :) Glad he's healing up nicely.