maia’s big day

so, we've finally settled on a name: maia. it just seems to fit her best, and she responds to it pretty well already, which i guess is a good sign. whew!

today she got up and spent some time with the kitties, who were feeling very brave this morning. later, she went for her first car ride with us, to go "doggie shopping." we went to a big pet supplies store to find a doggie toothbrush and some toothpaste, as well as a curry brush for her coat, and we got her another stuffed animal because she seems to like those. next we went to a smaller fancypants dog store, and found her a chew bone and a cute monkey toy. while we were in each store, she got to see lots of people and dogs, and it went pretty well. she is shy, but interested in interacting. when we were at the smaller store, their resident bernese mountain dog (cooper) came right over to meet her. we were a little nervous, but she was great. i think she liked him.

she also started really playing today. she likes the stuffed animals that have little squeakers in them, and she throws them up and then grabs them, shakes them a little, and squeaks them. she plays like a total goofball for 5 minutes or so, then crashes on her bed. she is tOtally clutzy when she plays, though, so i'm a little worried about her bonking her head on a sharp corner or something. yikes.

the totally-covered-crating experiment is still going on; i put her in the crate for two hours this evening while i went to bunnysit for a friend, and then while i checked email after returning home. she was really very good as far as i could tell; only whined briefly once or twice, then settled. so maybe we're onto something…?

tonight i took her for her evening walk, and when we were about 75% of the way done, we ran into one of our friends from school, so she got to meet a friendly guy and she tried to go into the coffee shop with him. heh. every store we passed, she thought we were supposed to go in, i think because she had visited two stores today.

this was her first day at eating "full-strength" for both meals, too, which i guess is good progress. she's only been eating about 50-75% of what she was eating in her foster home, until today. yay!

our only speed bump happened tonight when the kitties ran upstairs, and she tried to jump off her bed and run up after them. i got between her and the stairs, said NO, and escorted her right back to her bed. i think i bummed her out; she seemed kind of sad after that. ugh, i'm so out of my depth.
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2 comments

  1. it’s your job to bum them out occasionally, because you are The Human. it’s just like being The Parent. you have to bum them out some of the time.
    it really sounds like things are going well. I hope you feel settled soon. *hugs*

  2. I have 80 bajillion things to say, but I don’t want to risk sounding like a total know-it-all because I certainly do NOT. I do have a couple of thoughts that *might* make you feel a little better, though:
    –Re: crating. A behaviorist that we know told us that dogs feel more secure and are more likely to relax in a crate (and even on a bed) when it is against a wall–makes it easier for them to monitor what’s going on around them when they don’t have to worry about what’s behind them. I think that the covered crate probably serves the same purpose. We actually used to cover The E like a bird at night (except for the front). He took a really long time to finish with potty training so we were up a lot at night at first, and he also seemed much less unhappy when he could see us, but couldn’t see anything else. Also, putting a shirt that Spouse wore into the crate seemed to keep him calmer.
    –If you haven’t already, maybe get a kong (http://www.kongcompany.com). We found that a kong stuffed with peanut butter and banana (freeze after you stuff it for best results) was the BEST distraction when we needed doggie downtime.
    –Re: “NO.” There are LOTS of mixed opinions on the “NO” thing. We use the word with our dogs and have pretty much since the beginning, but after our first puppy kindergarten class, we did the whole positive behavior reward thing (which, I’m sure you know, just means that you focus on when they are doing stuff right, and praise and treat the heck out of ’em to incentivize that behavior… we actually used clicker training with both dogs and loved it). I had a REALLY hard time with the NO thing because I wanted to correct their behavior because I was so worried about having out of control dogs, but I felt like I was constantly correcting them and I didn’t want to feel like the bad guy all the time. I still feel that way sometimes!
    –Re. general freaking out. Our trainer convinced me that in the beginning, it really is about developing mutual trust and just bonding. You have to build a relationship, and that takes time. I thought for sure that I would instantly fall in love with The E, and when I didn’t, I was so upset. I was really bummed out for a while about how, more than anything, I felt like it was just a HUGE source of stress to have a dog in my house. I vividly remember that the Spouse had to go out of town during The E’s first week home, and I called him one night, hysterically crying because I didn’t want to be home alone with the dog anymore because he kept peeing everywhere and biting me (he was still teething when he came to live with us).
    Fast-forward about 2 months. One afternoon, I was messing around under my desk (messing with computer cables or something) and I stood up too fast and cracked my head on the desktop. I nearly knocked myself out, and it hurt like a MOTHER. I howled, and tears came to my eyes. About 5 seconds later, The E was in my lap, whining and licking the tears from my face. (I remember Spouse saying, “Geez, E. You’re really making me look bad.”) This was around the time that we used to sit on the floor and watch TV at night because The E wasn’t allowed on the couch, and he would whine if he had to sit on the floor alone. We were a bunch of suckers, weren’t we?
    It took some time for me to fall in love with The E, and for him to calm down enough to fall in love with me, but at the risk of sounding like a huge sap, I totally did. And I can’t imagine my life without him. (Or Val, but she’s like a bonus.)
    Ok, so what was my point again? Oh, yeah: cut yourself some slack. Learning to live with an awesome new family doesn’t seem like it should be too stressful, but it probably is. And learning to live with an awesome new friend is totally worth it, but the first stage really is just nuts for everybody!

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