Monday, August 8, 2011

Daisy Not Yet A Member Of Team Dickens

"Kids. Hmph."
One of the reasons I wanted to add another dog to the family is because Daisy was slowing down. I don't know how old she was when I got her from the county animal shelter, but they told me six months, a figure I dismissed as unprovable and therefore irrelevant. But I got her 11 years ago last Thursday, so she's definitely a senior dog.

The first day with Dickens in the house she was shell-shocked, as if a tornado with a tail had touched down in the back yard. "What is that, when is it going away, and why does it have my ball?" She's a quiet, dainty dog, well-mannered and exceedingly polite under most circumstances. She has for the most part remained so since Dickens' arrival while staying as far away from the Red Menace as possible.

Yesterday Daisy began asserting herself, in her typically quiet way. Earlier, as I threw the ball for Dickens, she started after it. Of course Dickens beat her to it by a country mile. So I got her ball and gave it a toss. As she ran after it Dickens swooped by and scooped it up. "Well, I never!" sums up the look on her face.

"Mine! All mine! Bwahaha!"

It was easy to see how this was going to play out, so I got Dickens' leash, tied him off to the deck, and sat beside him while I played with Daisy. Every time she brought the ball back she dropped it just a little closer to Dickens, but never close enough that he could reach it.

I've been training Dickens to sit, stay, and come on command. When he's focused, he learns fast. He's equal parts food-motivated and orange-ball-motivated, with the balance swinging back and forth unpredictably. I have to keep reminding myself he's been here less than 48 hours. I also have to remember how hard it was to train Winzer, and how once the light bulb came on he simply couldn't do enough to please me.

The issue of Dickens' separation anxiety is causing me some anxiety of my own. He simply must be with me wherever I am, and will not tolerate being apart from me. If I were 10 years old, or Tom Sawyer, this might be an endearing trait in a dog. But at some point I'm going to have to leave the house and go someplace where I can't take him. Like a motorcycle ride. Although this is the perfect excuse to buy that sidecar I've been looking at.

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