Okay, so we’ve had Butthead for four months, so I figured it’s time to do a little update on how she is doing…and how we are doing with her. Not sure this is a great day to do this update, because I slept really poorly last night, had two horrible nightmares first thing this morning, had a stomachache, a bout of health anxiety, and overall I feel like crap. But here we go.
The trainer we were using to help us with Butthead basically disappeared. She hasn’t been in touch with us and we haven’t been in touch with her. Although there are things I’d still like to have her help with, so much has progressed here that I’m feeling less stressed about getting the training. Maybe we’ll be able to get back to her, maybe not. We’ll see.
For one thing, Butthead loves to play with Cray-cray Lab, so they help each other bleed off some energy at least once a day (twice if I’m up to it). And I don’t feel the need to stand over them or chase them around while they play. Although we’ve had some incidents ending in blood, it’s mostly been scrapes that have healed quickly (and we always separate them at the sight of any blood) and they were due to accidental injuries. So now I don’t have to wait for Hub to be around to let them play AND I am much more relaxed while they are playing. They seem to know their limits (for the most part), play in a similarly semi-aggressive fashion, and if one of them cries they bounce apart to check each other out before resuming.
On a similarly positive note, BH has not peed or pooped in the house since the initial incidents. Now, we are letting her out often (since I’m here most of the time), and she is still crated overnight and when left alone in the house (other than short stretches when we are outside doing something without her). But still, she seems to get that peeing and pooping are for outside time. Also, since she’s learning not to roll in everything, I’m less stressed about her being outside without being watched every single second. She’s also picking up on Le Moo’s love of laying in the yard and staring at everything. Unfortunately, BH is still a barker, often barking at nothing…sometimes I think it’s because she is trying to poll the other dogs in the neighborhood. Hello? Anyone out there? *sigh*
Another positive, BH has learned the command Leave it! She had spent the majority of her outside time picking stuff up or eating (bunny poop) stuff off the ground. She loves the clumps of wet or dried grass leftover after the lawn is mowed, she loves to pick up mulch and sticks from the mulch, and she adores the gross crab apples in my parents’ yard. Somehow I have been able to teach her that when I yell LEAVE IT that means she drops whatever she has (or is doing) and runs for me…and gets a cookie. Damn dog loves her cookies for sure. This is the first dog I’ve ever trained for the leave it command, but it has turned out to work great. She also is picking up on the DROP IT command when we want her to give up what she has in her mouth. Works well outside with the crab apples when she is nearby (rather than the leave it command which she seems to respond better to when she is farther away).
I’m more able to let her wander around the main floor of our house without checking on her constantly. She’s learning what spots she likes to sleep in, and when in doubt I can find her in our library watching out the window to the front yard. We call it doggie tv…both she and Le Moo do that and I often find them together staring out the window. Unfortunately, that does lead to barking fits, which we’re still working on. But I still don’t trust her upstairs, so our baby gate has been moved to the top of the stairs so she and Le Moo can lay on the landing in between floors, which they both enjoy. Upstairs activity is limited for BH, only when I can watch her and mostly only when she and Le Moo get cheerios in their treat balls.
A more recent bonus is that both Butthead and Le Moo have learned that Let’s go home means it is time to leave my parents’ house and walk home to ours. Instead of having to corral the two dogs, I can give them the command and Le Moo will start to head home and BH generally follows. I say “generally” because we’re still working on this with repetition. Also, LM has trended to coming when called because she is learning that BH gets a cookie if she comes when called, and LM wants her damn cookie, too. The two are doing well with their leash training for walks, but during the heat of the summer it’s been sporadic training. Hub has injured his ankle, so we haven’t been able to work on that too much.
We’ve also left Le Moo and Butthead with my parents (and Cray-cray Lab) for several hours (notably during Hub’s mother’s birthday), and it was a successful evening. No one ate anyone else, no one got hurt, and no carpets or tile were soiled.
On the track of BH bugging Le Moo? Well, it isn’t much better. BH still cuts Le Moo off when they are walking, and she’s always following poor LM around. She also seems intent on licking LM, and often ends up slobbering all over LM’s head. BH is a mildly slobbery dog and we’re always having to clean LM’s head and ears of slobber, which LM hates. Another negative is that we have not been able to break Butthead of mouthing/biting us for attention. Not only is that really inappropriate, but it’s slobbery and gross. She’s also a licker, so she freaking licks us all the time, which I hate with a passion.
So I’m generally pleased to report that the early days of Holy shit what did we just do are easing up. Butthead still stresses me out to some extent, and I don’t feel incredibly connected to her, but she’s learning. And I hope soon to try leaving her on the main floor of the house alone for short periods of time to see if we can trust her outside of the crate during the day. Nighttime, I still want her crated for the time being. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing, but Hub dislikes doing it. To me, it’s a safe spot for her, and when I retrieve her from the crate (morning time or during the day after I’ve been out), she’s totally comfortable in there. Most time she’s sprawled upsidedown looking really content, so I don’t worry about her in there.