Saturday, August 20, 2011
Dickens: A Progress Report
As of today Dickens has been with us two weeks. He's just about settled in. He can be left alone in the back yard for about an hour, and in the house for at least three so far.
He's learning the hand commands for sit, stay, down, and come; he already knows the verbal commands. We're beginning "quiet" to stop his barking. Results so far are inconclusive.
He regularly plays with Daisy, who, to my surprise, seems to enjoy it. He still won't let her have the ball--any ball--unless I hold him by the collar and give her some time with it.
This morning I trimmed his claws. He's unaccustomed to having his feet handled by me, but he tolerates it in accordance with House Rule Number One, which says, "The human always wins, and life is easier for everyone once you accept that."
My vet said Dickens' tendency to eat grass and his own poop might be a condition called pica, which prompts the dog to ingest all manner of strange things to force parasites out of its system. He gave me three syringes of a worming medication, which I had to squirt down Dickens' throat. This was every bit as much fun as it sounds like for both of us.
His initial unwillingness to let me out of his sight is breaking down. He still follows me from room to room, but now and then he wanders off to another room and naps there by himself.
He continues to surprise and delight me with his goofiness. Today he found a stick in the back yard, a branch that had fallen from a fir tree in the neighbor's yard, and amused himself for a solid half-hour swinging it like a samurai sword, wrestling with it, and running around in circles with it clamped in his jaws, growling happily.
He ran from me whenever I tried to grab one end. It was inevitable that he would flee through a gap narrower than the stick itself, and I'm not ashamed to say that when he finally did I laughed so hard I nearly choked.
In two weeks Dickens has gone from being a problematic guest to a member of the family. Even on such short acquaintance I'm convinced he is a very smart dog who wants very badly to fit in, and to please.