Saturday, December 10, 2016

Dog Owner Level 100 Reached

I really feel like I accomplished something today.  It wasn't that I have successfully integrated a feral dog into every day life with people, that I have solved problems with positive reinforcement that trainers told me I never would or that I have successfully raised a puppy.  It was today when I saw pieces of a Christmas ornament on the ground in a pile of puke and thought "this can be fixed."

I will say it is not quite as gross or premeditated as it may seem.  The items were in a small pile of just them, surrounded by a sticky kind of yellowish bile many dog owners may be familiar with.  I pulled them off the carpet with a paper towel.  On my way to the trash can I looked down and seeing as how everything was intact I figured I might just try to wash it off.  The plastic cleaned up beautifully, I found the ornament they fell off of and with a little bit of the proper adhesive everything was like new.  As you can see above it is like no damage has ever been done to the little reindeer.

How many people have an ornament on their tree that was once inside their dog?  This is certainly a next level of dog ownership.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

4 Years with Nova

It is hard to believe we have had Nova for 4 years.  The day I picked her up from the rescue's vet they warned me not to take her home.  She had been living feral, scavenging food behind a tire store for at least six months.  She had two puppies who both died a few weeks before she was trapped, was malnourished, upset and her first interaction with people directly was being trapped then going through surgery.  She was scared and skinny and it was hard to say what kind of dog was under all that scared.  It turns out now, 4 years later, she is actually a really amazing little chihuahua.  She is very smart, cuddly (with me), and she has great dog skills.

Her life isn't exactly the normal that a lot of other dogs experience.  She won't voluntarily let anyone but me touch her, however she will let me hold her for someone else to trim her nails and just a few weeks ago she made it peacefully through a vet exam and a rabies shot.  Nova does things on her schedule, so we try to concentrate on the important stuff and everything else comes with time.  

Most of Nova's day is spent wrestling with Kerrigan, throwing toys in Kerrigan's face and sleeping cuddled up next to her.  Those two are the best of friends, it is hard to imagine how we would have gotten Nova through these four years without Kerri.  Nova is still wary of new things, you should check out our facebook live video from her cake eating this morning.  The cake was new, and the setup was new so as you can see she is pretty unsure what to do.  Eventually she realized the new object is food and she calms down.  Letting her work through things that in return are self rewarding has been a great strategy for helping Nova learn to live in our house.

Most of her day to day life is actually very joyful.  When she is comfortable (which is most of the time) she is a fun, silly dog.  She wakes me up in the morning by bouncing on the bed, play bowing and jumping around.  As I mentioned she throws toys around to play, loves to cuddle and gets very, very excited when she sees her clicker.  Learning clicker tricks has given her a lot of confidence and is one of the things that has really helped us bond.  Giving her some control over her own life, and learning new things through positive reinforcement has been the key to her success.  It has been a long journey and sometimes it took weeks just to get to the next little step, but me and Nova worked together to get her where she is today. 

After our rather chaotic Facebook video this morning I decided to grab an interview with Nova.  She is in a much more comfortable enviroment in this video and the clicker is in my pocket.  I think it captures a little more of the excited and happy essence that is the real Nova I get to see every day.