Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Arkhon's Greatest Talent (To Date)

Yesterday, Arkhon and I were playing ball in the house.

Our apartment isn't very big, and half-way through I decided to try to play the game outside. Jacob was home playing with Adam, so I left them to their fun.

Kevin loves his daddy.
We are facing a pretty busy street, but Arkhon already knows not to run into the road. He also doesn't run away unless he's chasing someone he knows (we're still working on that). He's a pretty good little pup.

He was really enjoying chasing the ball down the sidewalk. He was bringing it back to me and we were having a great time.

Then, we heard a dog bark from the next apartment down. He came running back, a little nervous. I picked him up and we walked toward the sound. As we approached, we met one of our neighbors and our dog. In the past, this particular neighbor has told me to remove my dogs when she brings hers outside, because her dog is dog-aggressive. Her dog's name is Milly.

We talked for a little while, and Milly's owner told me how her dog used to be really dog friendly until they lived in a scary neighborhood where dogs tried to attack them all the time. The frequency of dog fights had made Milly's owner nervous as well, and now Milly was always aggressive to dogs.

It reminded me of how I had felt when Dakota used to be dog aggressive. It was hard to let go of that fear and tension whenever a dog approached you. However, I had finally been brave enough to risk the dog park, and as no fights had occurred, my confidence in myself and Dakota grew. Dakota is now fantastic with every dog we meet and I am not worried at all anymore. I know my own tension is what caused half of those fights. It made Dakota feel likes she had to protect me.

So, I suggested maybe Arkhon and her dog could meet. Milly is an 80 lb border collie/german shepherd cross. Cautiously, the owner allowed them to sniff noses. When that seemed to go okay, I put Arkhon on the ground.

By watching Arkhon's reactions, I could tell how the other dog was feeling. At first, Arkhon was pretty nervous and submissive. He wouldn't come too close, but he expressed interest by sniffing her nose occasionally. After a little while, he ignored her until she relaxed a bit.

A few minutes later, to the owner's surprise, both dogs were playing. Milly, her dog, was still on the leash, but she would paw at Arkhon when he came in reach and she had relaxed completely. He showed that he was no longer worried about her either by dashing around and coming in close. Once he assumed the play position to her, I knew that we were past the worst part. I told the woman that Arkhon was used to dealing with grumpy old ladies (i.e. Dakota).

Arkhon and his grumpy old lady.
At that moment, another dog friend of Arkhon's came down the sidewalk and Milly and her owner went back in their house.

However, before she left we discussed having a play-date with the two dogs. That really excited her owner. We discussed allowing Arkhon to come play in her house so she would feel really secure. We're playing on having that play-date sometime soon.

As we left, Arkhon ran to pay with Petunia, the neighborhood basset hound. They are also great friends. The kid who owns her told me that Arkhon was Petunia's first friend too. Usually she didn't make dog friends either. I watched the basset hound romp with my pup, and I felt pretty proud of him. He handled the situation like a champ.

Arkhon is really good at making friends, be they people or animals. He loves everyone. I've thought about training him to be a therapy dog. I think he would be quite good at it.

He still has some things to work on, but he's making great progress. We are now a week and two days since an accident. This last week we made a great step in not having anymore. He ran to the door, stared at it, and then stared at me until I noticed where he was. Then I took him outside, and he went. I took that to mean that he knows exactly where he is supposed to go now.

Kevin is also doing really well with the pup. He tells Arkhon to sit and go down. He still gives him strong hugs, but Arkhon lays really still until Kevin lets go. Kevin also is letting go when we ask him to. Hooray for progress!

Puppies sure grow up fast. It seems like only yesterday, Arkhon was this small:
About 6 weeks old
At almost ten weeks old
Now when he stands on his hind-legs, he's taller than Kevin. 
15 week old Arkhon
Time sure does fly.

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