June 21, 2011

Adventures with Arlo: Week 2

Arlo continues to make himself right at home, and we continue to be impressed with his social skills and easy-going, laid back personality.  Last week he spent a couple afternoons with me in my office, where--after snagging some treats from our secretary--he curled up on his blanket and enjoyed a long nap.
Over the weekend, we did a lot of entertaining,  and I was interested to see how Arlo would behave with new people in the house.  When guests arrived on Friday, I had both dogs outside in the back yard.  My thought was to avoid the potential for chaos at the front door.  Katie isn't a problem when guests arrive, but I wasn't sure how she'd be with another dog around, and there hadn't been an opportunity yet for Arlo to greet people at the door, so I didn't know how he'd behaive either.  Rather than give them the opportunity to practice bad behavior, then, my plan was to avoid the possibility all together.  In addition, with people coming to the house, I had a perfect training opportunity.  So I left a note on the front door inviting people to come to the back yard and also asking them not to pet Arlo unless he offered a sit.  The humans did a fabulous job, and Arlo responded appropriately.  As I think I've mentioned, he's not normally a jumper, but I thought he might be overly excited with so many new people around.  I think he tried jumping on the first guest, but when that didn't work, he gave up.  Good boy!

Although Arlo seems very mature to me for his age, he really is just a puppy.  And one of his puppy habits is that he follows us from room to room--just in case, you know, we might be doing something REALLY INTERESTING.  Even though I know he'll probably grow out of this, it's kinda flattering for now.  Here he is "helping" me change the sheets in the guest room by squeaking his squirrel.
Arlo and Katie are continuing to work things out, and I'm proud of both their efforts.  Arlo is of course dying to be friends with Katie who is still mostly ignoring him.  Once in awhile she'll interact, but she seems to avoid getting him all worked up.  Probably a smart idea since he's an enthusiastic player and Katie is beyond that kind of thing these days.  When Arlo is calm, though, she doesn't mind him laying nearby.
As we get to know Arlo better, we have a better sense for when he's most active and, consequently, when he'd do better playing with us than pestering Katie.  As I'm learning from Managing a Multi-Dog Household (a terrifically helpful e-book from Whole Dog Journal), the key to a happy 2-dog household is good management (backed up, of course, with solid training).  

Training over the past week included more sit-to-say-please, down, stand and touch.  On leash, squirrels are his biggest challenge.  He's so interested in them that he can't pay attention to anything else.  I've been using penalty yards to get his attention (backing away from the squirrel until he looks at me, then reinforcing attention to me with hot dogs).  This is working okay except that I don't like putting pressure on his neck when I back up, even when I move slowly.  So I'm going to order him a Sense-ation Harness.  Probably, squirrels are going to be the biggest obstacle to eventually letting him off leash.  The good news?  The very healthy squirrel population around here means we have lots and lots of opportunities to practice.

ETA:  In the first photo above, Arlo is wearing his new, spiffy collar purchased recently from Nola and Spencer, my new favorite place for dog collars.


cauchy09 said...

Aww, Arlo! Nice to hear that K isn't too upset about te new family member.

Bianca said...

Yep--Kate's a one in a million dog. :)

akgphoto said...

Good work with the house guests.. this is an area I have not really worked on past a point with our pups. My biggest thing is that they stay off, but I let them be excited mostly due to their breed and age... but a bigger reason is because I don't feel the people that usually visit would even want to follow any rules, so IMO why fight it past a point, so long as they don't jump or bark we'll live with it. Sounds like he continues to settle in well. If it makes you feel any better our two maybe play once a week in a really personal way, and wyatt has been here since a puppy. But we're okay with that too. Can't force it on them. Wyatt follows me from room to room more than my Vizsla even... kinda drives me bonkers to be honest, probably why Luna doesn't do it, or she is just little miss independent.

Knitting B said...

Thanks Anna. That's good to know about how your dogs play. I think we'd be okay with that too.

Yarny Days said...

How adorable! Enjoy both of them! I hope you are well. It has been a while.

Bianca said...

Thanks, Rima! It has been awhile, but I've been enjoying reading about your knitting, esp the baby clothes. :)

Hahnsmum. said...

like yr blog so l`ll be back.. Dogs are a huge part of my life so we have a few things in common.. l have 2 gundogs & 4 terriers... All loved.. And all very spoilt.. Sometimes we go to shows..
Best Wishes,
Pam..New England,
NSW, Australia..

Bianca said...

Thanks Hahnsmum. This blog is now located at http://wagdtraining.blogspot.com/

buy eve account said...

WoW! such a cute post.=D