June 12, 2011

Arlo's First Week

Arlo's first week with us has has gone pretty well.  As he becomes more comfortable, we're seeing more of his personality.  He's a little more rambunctious than when he first arrived which isn't surprising.  But I have to agree with his foster fam, who told us that after some healthy activity, Arlo is perfectly happy to settle down for a nap.  In fact, that's what he's doing right now, and that's why I have time to do some writing.

Although we've missed the critical period for socialization (the period roughly between 3 and 13 weeks when dogs are most open to new experiences), because of his beginnings, I suspect he may have had exposure to  more people, dogs and experiences than many dogs.  Still, to build on what he's already learned about the world, I'm taking every opportunity I can to continue introducing him to new stuff.  So this week in addition to daily walks, Arlo and I went for several car rides, and we visited the vet, campus, our local strawberry festival, the farmer's market, and my friend Melanie's farm.

On all of these outings, he was a model dog.  I know I keep saying this, but for a 6-month old puppy he shows very good impulse control.  He rarely jumps on people, for example.  And he's pretty good about keeping a loose leash.

Until today, I've been walking the dogs separately to get a sense of Arlo's behavior on the leash.  Yesterday for the first time Andy and I took both dogs for a walk.  I was worried that Arlo might pester Katie, but except for sometimes grabbing her leash, he was pretty good.  This morning, Katie, Arlo and I went for a walk with our friend Bob and his dog Quinn.  Kate and Quinn are old pals and walk together often.  Arlo introduced himself to Q. with typical puppy enthusiasm which Q. discouraged right away.  So Arlo tried again much more respectfully.  Good puppy.

It wasn't as difficult as I thought it might be for me to walk Katie and Arlo together.  They both did a nice job of keeping loose leashes.  What I discovered, though, was that I kind of missed having that one-on-one time I get when I only have one dog with me.  Morning walks with Katie--and now Arlo--are part sniff walks, but also part training.  And I can't do that when I have two dogs to pay attention to.  So for the near future, morning walks are going to be single-dog walks--first one dog, then the other.  I'll just get up a little earlier.  And the extra exercise will be a good thing.

But I still want the dogs learn to walk together,  so I'm going to try short walks with both of them every day or two, and be very generous with rewards for checking in.  We'll see how that goes.


Anonymous said...

sounds like a decent first week. Happened across your blog through a quilting blog I watch. Arlo is a cutie. And I like your idea of doing 1 on 1 walks still and just getting up earlier. Good discipline for all in the beginning when new dogs are added. I did a post recently on how things went when we first got Wyatt as a puppy. Separate time is key to really creating a relationship with the new dog, it is far too easy for them to attach strongly to the other dog instead.

Good luck!

Knitting B said...

Thanks for your comments, Anna, and the link to your blog. It was really interesting to watch the videos of your dogs playing and to know that it took time, supervision and training before they got to that point. :)