A Long Overdue Update

Wow. I didn’t realize I hadn’t written here in as long as I haven’t. One day blends into the next, and next thing you know, a month has passed.

Well, I think Hilda may well be taller than Leno now, and certainly at least 50 pounds. She’s getting a little bit of that alert/protective vibe going now, barking at people sometimes when they come to visit. She barked at the next door dog, but I think he may have barked at her first. She still wants to be everybody’s friend, and she’s starting to jump less high, and even sort of thinking about not jumping. Slow and steady progress.

We’ve had a few socialization outings. She’s getting pretty good about riding in the car, considering how little she’s been able to do it. We had lots of fun at a picnic, where she got to play with another dog and met lots of nice people and ignore food. She did get a hot dog, but she was allowed. I think she also lost her rabies tag and name tag at the picnic, so I have to see about getting a new rabies tag if possible. At least I do have her rabies paperwork in the folder. We also have gone to the drugstore a couple times, more on that later.

I’ve started putting the harness on her, not necessarily for working, but just to get her used to wearing it. Now, she even has stuck her head into it on her own. While I say it’s not for working, I have exposed her to working in ot. We’ve walked across the house, and she walks fast and enthusiastically across the house and down the walk in front of our house. She’s even stopping at the corner, and we’re reinforcing this on walks when we aren’t pretend guiding. She’s also still very good about stopping at the top and bottom of the stairs here at the house.

On one of these walks, I’ve determined that, indeed, she isn’t noise shy. The day before this, she didn’t react to all the war sounds and hurricane sounds in Forrest Gump, some of which played right over her head on the surround sound speakers. But anyway, we were at the corner. Leno was working, Hilda was walking on my right. We stopped at the corner, Hilda sat. We waited for the light to change. A truck zoomed past us pulling a rattly trailer behind it. Lots of noise, and Hilda didn’t move a muscle. There are fireworks going off now, and she’s in her crate for bedtime, and absolutely not a peep. Nothing. I tell you, this dog is solid.

I’ve decided I don’t like nylon training collars. Specifically, nylon slip collars, and most specifically, the nylon Snaparound Collar. The one I have is adjustable, which is great for a growing puppy, and not so great for action. But I think that the adjustable buckle isn’t the main beef I have with it, even if I got a fixed length, I think I’d have the same complaint…or at least, observation. You definitely don’t get the same sort of tactile feedback from a correction with a nylon slip collar as with a chain slip collar. You also don’t get a consistent action depending on which way you snap. If you snap the leash upwards, you get the best sort of reaction. Any other direction leads to less than satisfactory results, owing, I think, to the small size of the rings used and the flatness of the nylon. I have Hermsprenger toggle collars on order, but in the meantime, I’m using a slip collar I happened to have here. It’s a bit large, but I like its action better than i did the nylon one.

So. Our trips to the drugstore. She only tried to jump on a counter once. That was when I took her on her own with the cane. But she didn’t really try to jump on any people that trip. There were a couple of cool things that happened on yesterday’s trip though, and all of them on the way home. At this one street corner, Leno knew we’d be turning left, and he stopped me at a curb. Hilda tried to take me to the blended part of the curb though. She also sat at a couple curbs without being prompted. (This is something we’re doing to reinforce that stopping at curbs is a good thing to do.) I’m not sure if this going to the blended part of the curb was a coincidence, a distraction, or a conscious act on her part. She also sat nicely, or pretty nicely, to be petted by a couple of people we met. On the trip Monday, we walked past barking dogs without much fuss. Friday’s trip, however, saw Hilda try to turn around completely and try to go back towards a thing that interested her. We kept moving, and she got the idea pretty quickly that this wasn’t going to be a good idea.

Then, a funny thing happened. I’m not sure whether this was Leno being distracted, Leno not thinking about what he was doing, or Leno trying to impart a teachable moment, like, “If you do this, this is what happens”. He ran a couple of down curbs. No biggie, they were quiet side streets, but he ran them anyway, which he does only extremely rarely. When he ran the curbs, we did what we always do: we backed up a few steps and approached them again, and of course he did them perfectly. So. Was his mind wandering, or was he playing instructor? We’ll never know for sure, and perhaps thinking he might have done it on purpose is a bit towards anthropomorphizing. I’m not sure. I can’t say he definitely did, but I can’t say he categorically did not either.

I see more two dog trips, anyway, a thing that I wasn’t sure I’d see for a while yet with Hilda’s exuberance. Pretty exciting stuff.

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