Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Nova and West

I can't believe I forgot my camera AGAIN. I MUST remember it next time! Jeez!

West and I went on an official "play date" today. I've put a request out on the local dog training board for people with playful dogs and fenced backyards. So far, I have several volunteers, and have one more 'officially' booked for next Wednesday. I feel like a parent, trying to coordinate West's play date schedule! And it's forcing me to have a social life! Eep.

So, back to today. We loaded up in the car, just him and I and some cheese. We drove into town and found the place. I went in and asked the owner to stay inside, I'd bring West in, then she could come out with the puppy. She agreed (people are SO agreeable!) so I went to get him.

When I leave West alone in the car, I put his Calming cap on him, just so if someone is stupid and comes right up to the car, he isn't too stressed by it. He's totally fine watching people go by, but I just don't trust the average passer-by not to torment him, and it's smaller and easier to carry than a crate!

I took off his cap, and put the leash on, let him out of the car. Right away, he just wanders and saunters like he's a perfectly normal dog. I dunno what flipped with this guy, but he's a changed dog! He led me into the yard and we headed to the side farthest from the house door. Nova came out with her owner and I took West's leash off. He greeted her beautifully, looked briefly a tiny bit worried about the strange lady, I called his name, and he went right back to playing with Nova.

West was rolling around in the grass, covering his Thundershirt with dry grass, so I pulled both that and his harness off him. He shook, and was off chasing Nova again!

Nova is persistent, so she kept West going most of the 2 hours we were there. Within about 20 minutes, West approached the new stranger for pets, and cheese. This was again without any intervention, coaxing or otherwise, from me. He repeated this 4 or 5 times throughout our visit, and never barked, nor even look stressed.

Nova's housemate came out briefly. She is a bit dog reactive, but she did well. West was very appeasing to her. Nova would not play with West while her housemate was out, so she went back in the house so Nova and West could play again. Which they did.

Overall, the visit was remarkably boring. West played. Nova played. West got pets and cookies from strangers. West laid down when I asked him to. West came when I called him. Very normal-dog play-date!

When we were ready to go, Nova stayed in the yard, while her owner came out front. West was leashed at this point, and was watching people walk by on the path across the street (The street, plus maybe 5-10' of driveway, and another 2' of grass on the other side) without a problem. He was more than willing to approach his new friend for more pets, even though this was a different area, she was standing, and West was leashed. No problemo!

Back in the car, West laid down and mostly napped all the way home. He's sound asleep now, totally exhausted. Archie, on the other hand, is wondering why I'm not taking him to these play dates.. hah.

Oh. Right. Yesterday, we took all 6 up the hill for a hike to the lake. We didn't get to the lake, cause I had to be back in time for puppy class, but the dogs had a blast in the mud!

A herd of 'sheep' for West to keep gathered:

And what do you mean, I'm a pigsty? -- sigh. soo much mud right now.


  1. Wow. Just wow! He has come such a long way, thanks in no small part to your work with him.


  2. I agree with the previous commenter. He is definitely turn around, and you surely have worked hard for him to turn around. It's great to know he's starting to see people as interesting and nice and forget about them being scary.

    Congratulations! you've done a terrific job with him.

  3. West has come such a long way, in such a short amount of time! I love following this blog and seeing what he's getting up to :)