Monday, November 12, 2007

Best Friends

Betsy has been going over to the next-door neighbors to play with their dogs while I'm at work for some time now. One, in particular, she is inseparable from. This dog is probably about a year old, and looks like a small-ish golden retriever, except that she is completely black. She's a very sweet dog, too. So the time has now come that the neighbor dog has discovered how to come to my yard. She has also learned how to come in the doggie door, as well. After several attempts to fill up the hole under the fence and take her back home only to have her come back five minutes later, I figure I'd let her stay if she wants to. She can get back through the hole under the fence, and when I separate her from Betsy she goes back home. And it is really a lot of fun to watch them play together. They romp about and chew on eachother, and then curl up and go to sleep together.

I kind of feel sorry for the neighbor dog. Her big buddy got picked up by animal control a couple of weeks ago, and I haven't seen him since. (He can leap the 5 foot fence.) I told the neighbors the pound had him, but they apparently didn't get him. And the retriever-looking one doesn't have much to do with their minute chihuahua cross. Her family doesn't seem to spend much time with her either. All their dogs are always outside, and their kids don't even seem to play with them much. They didn't even come looking for her when she's been at my house most of the past 3 days. (She goes home at night.) So really, who can blame her for wanting to come by and play with Betsy and me? There's water, and a nice cool kitchen floor to sleep on, and friends to play with. I wonder why some people have dogs who don't seem to want to spend any time with them?

And this dog and Betsy really are best buds. They follow eachother around and whine for eachother when they're separated. Although before too much longer, Betsy will not be so easy to push around. She's already trickier than the neighbor dog. They were wrestling around together, and Betsy was getting her butt kicked. So she runs away and grabs a stick to chew. When the other dog lays off and isn't paying attention, Betsy jumps her and has her on her back. The other dog makes for the stick, but during a moment's inattention, Betsy grabs it from her again. The stick remains Betsy's.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

On Civil Obedience (or Betsy's First Day of School)

So, in my effort to raise Betsy in a manner which will result in her being a well-mannered, civilized beast, rather than a wild pack animal who is unwelcome in modern society, I signed her up for obedience class. Her first class was Tuesday. I must admit, I was nervous. I'd never been to obedience class before, and we had to miss the first class due to my being in training. She's gotten quite used to meeting new people, so I wasn't worried about that, but she's pretty shy of new dogs. But I should not have worried at all. She was great! After about ten minutes of "meet and greet," she became friends with a Saint Bernard puppy named Sarah. Sarah is two weeks younger than Betsy, but weighs about three times as much. They were really funny together. When both puppies had done the given exercise to the point they were becoming disinterested in it, we let them play together. I could almost hear their puppy conversation when they discovered these two hyper-active Chihuahua puppies, who were about the size of hairless, tailless squirrels, and Sarah and Betsy didn't know exactly what to do about them. So they watched them with cocked heads. Their conversation went something like this:

Betsy: What do you think those are?
Sarah: I'm not sure, do you think they play?
Betsy: I'm going to check and see. (Betsy approaches one of the Chihuahuas cautiously, sniffing and wagging. The Chihuahua squeaks and runs away, and the other one yaps in Betsy's face. Betsy runs back to Sarah.)
Betsy: I'm still not sure what they are, but they aren't fun to play with.
Sarah: Maybe they are mice?
Betsy: No, too noisy.
Sarah: Oh well.

Betsy did really well with her training exercises, too. She responded to her name, she sat and stayed really well (we'd been working on that at home) and she "left it" with much more predictability than I expected her to. She's also been better behaved at home since class. She almost always gets "off" the first time I tell her to, even though we didn't learn that at class, and it's been nearly two weeks since she's had an accident in the house. She also has been better about chasing and biting my clothing and jumping up on me. But part of that might be the time she spends next door playing with the neighbor dogs. I think at this point I may go ahead and leave the hole under the fence so she can go back and forth. The neighbor won't mind since if I block that hole, Betsy will dig another one, and they're fine with her being over there. It also gives her something to do when I'm at work and she's not so lonely all day alone. The more I think about it, the more I'm leaning toward getting her a buddy once she gets a little older. I'll wait until she's done with teething and house training for sure. Maybe when she turns one or so.