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Friday, January 01, 2010

Life With "Bear"

I hope you will indulge me another dog post while I continue to cook up one that's more serious and in line with my regular blogging. It's a new year now, it's a Holy Day, and certainly I have more to say. (Then again, blogging is largely just, what, a narcissistic grandstand? So maybe I shouldn't be decide! lol)

Anyway, here is a "Bear" update, and with good news!

"Bear" is doing well. He's calming down, getting used to things and his real personality is starting to appear.

Last night, because he hadn't messed in the house since his first night, I let him loose in my room in hopes he'd settle down. I'm a very light sleeper so every time he moved, I woke up and looked to see what he was doing.  Only once did I have to turn on the light and take something away from him:  an old sock I'd worn and given to him as an appeasement toy, but as it seemed he was actually trying to EAT it,  I took it away.  He pouted and went to lay down.

I'm finding "Bear" also seems to understand the command, "Go lay down!" although not the command "down" itself.

While he's not house trained, he is seeming to begin to understand what to do when we go out, and is further understanding praise and patting.  In fact, when he does his business I have been praising him with many enthusiastic pats, rubbing his side, and he is joyfully eating it up! And even last night although loose in my room which HAS been marked at one time by a visiting male dog, he hasn't actually marked anything himself. I did catch him prepping for "the pose" but the verbal command to stop was sufficient to deter him.  The benefit to living in a small house is apparently contributing to the success of his house training:  he can't do anything as long as I'm watching!  As I've had a couple male dogs in my life, I know the behavior so can read the general "language" before the "accident" happens.  It's paying off now!  Although I'm certain we are not out of the woods....I'm nowhere NEAR ready to let him out of the kennel unsupervised or out of my sight for any serious period of time!

Bear's coat is already softer and shinier, probably both from regular attention and the food I'm giving him (regular dog food, mixed heavily with hamburger and rice in hopes of staving off or minimizing possible gastrointestinal problems), a touch of olive oil, and many treats!  He may have already gained a pound, but in his condition, every little bit shows.

He is still quite stinky and I brought him into the bathroom to look around in hopes maybe he would find the bathtub a place worthy of exploration.  Nope. He shied away from that with the first invitation!  So my guess is that he's experienced a bath before and didn't find it to his liking.  Just confirmation my trying to get him into it might not be the best idea at this point.

So...I'm being sneaky.  I've brushed him a few times, and took an old towel, wet it and have run it over his fur a few times. This afternoon I got it wet enough to "penetrate" a little, got one side wet, then added a little soap for another pass.  Then went to him again for a "rinse". He was contentedly stretched out on a dog bed at the time and not real interested in moving around, so I was just taking advantage of his "doggie down time."  No doubt he enjoyed it immensely.

When I brush him with the flea comb (an awesome tool every dog owner needs), I'm picking up a lot of mats, dead hair, etc, and at least one side of him is now cleaner than it was. Now...the next time he lays down hopefully it'll be on the "clean" side so I can go after his dirtier half!

This isn't anything like a real bath, which he continues to desperately need, but it's a marked improvement and I, for one, am pleased with every little bit!

Just a few moments ago Bear commandeered my dog's favorite stuffed toy so I got it away from him, substituted another he can readily destroy as it was already "rejected" so can go into the trash when he is done "playing" with it.  It's good to see him coming out a little, playing a bit, and showing his personality. Dogs naturally need something to "tear apart" as they are carnivorous animals and in fact, this kind of play is good for their teeth.  Now, for him, he needs several teeth extracted and a major cleaning, which will happen when he's neutered. But still, I want to see him engaging in normal "doggie" behaviors as it's a great sign of adjusting to a new life.

"Bear" may be an older dog, but he's got a LOT of life in him and I look forward to presenting to his future adoptive home.  Even though he's only been here a few days, he already seems like an entirely different dog!

Now...hopefully my next post will be more typical of my blog, but for those of you who love animals, I hope you're enjoying the "Bear" interlude!

Happy New Year and Blessed Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God!


MJ said...

Love the Bear posts - keep them coming. Glad to see he's settling a little.

Mary N. said...

I'm enjoying the Bear interlude very much. Then again, I'm nosy and curious in general and I enjoy reading about day to day events in the lives of others. I know this is a fault but I can't seem to get rid of it yet:) There's something so sacred in the ordinary events of life, I find life endlessly fascinating. I'm glad your new buddy is settling in. How long will you have him for? Is it open-ended?

Cathy_of_Alex said...

I just want to give you both a big hug {{{{{hug}}}}. I'm glad he's starting to come around and that you are patient enough to work with him.

Adoro said...

MJ ~ Glad you're enjoying this!

Mary ~ LOL, ok, so I'm a narcissist and you're's a balance! But really, I'll admit I'm posting this less out of narcissism and more out of hoping to help find this dog, or others, a good permanent home!

It is totally open-ended. I had to sign a contract stating I'd care for this pet until he is adopted (or dies), unless there are serious circumstances that dictate otherwise. They do have a clause that if it's not working out, they will find another foster home, but it can take a few or several days. As it is they struggle to find foster homes. Many are just unwilling to TRY this.

So...I have him from anywhere from a few days to a few years. I'd like to see this guy go to a good home to finish out the balance of his life. He deserves it!

Cathy ~ Well, you can give him a hug but you'll need a shower after and you'll have to wash your clothes! LOL!

Oh, and at the vet clinic there was a cat the other day...he totally ignored the cat! So if you're looking for a dog that won't eat your cats....just let me know!

Adrienne said...

I'm thinking he'll be just fine in another week or so.

The "male marking" thing is the reason I don't have any male pets. My very first Yorkie (when I was 17) was male and it turned into an 18 year struggle. Never again

Adoro said...

Adrienne ~ I hope so! German Shepherds do learn very quickly and this guy is obviously trying hard to do the right things even though he is clearly completely confused by his surroundings.

Seriously...he is FASCINATED by the TV!

I need to introduce him to a mirror and get a picture of it!

As far as the male marking thing...yeah...I'm also not fond of male dogs for that reason. But my greyhound only did it when my GSD couldn't hold it, think she was sick at the time. Otherwise I never had a problem with him. And a dog in the past had been abused but knew about going potty outdoors so marking was minimal.

This one, so far an intact stud, well...I'm expecting problems. Good so far, but he's a counter surfer, he inspected the top of my dresser today (knocking several things to the floor in his exploration), etc.

Great dog but doesn't have any boundaries, stuff he should have learned as a pup. Poor boy!

Melody K said...

Glad to hear things are going better!
Have you ever seen the movie "K-9"?
The German Shepherd lead, Jerry Lee, reminds me a lot of Bear! It's a fun movie, if you've never seen it.
How old is Bear? From his muzzle, it looks as if he might be middle aged. As you say he deserves a good home for the balance of his life.

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Consider yourself indulged! The dog posts are interesting. We are all rooting for Bear.

Happy New Year!