Thursday, March 10, 2016

Arkhon the Big Brother

It's hard to believe Arkhon is only a year and a half old. It seems like we've had him so much longer.

Arkhon is a really well trained dog. He comes when he's called, he stays for long periods of time, he barks at strangers but quiets down when told, he's calm in the house, and he doesn't escape from the yard. Really, he has very few foibles.

He still gets excited when people ring our doorbell, but other than that, I have few complaints.

That's been one of the great things about having him as a role-model for the puppy. It's interesting to watch Siff and Arkhon together. Arkhon will do something, and Siff will cock her little head at him. You can see the gears in her mind working. He'll sniff something, so she'll sniff it. He'll bark at something, and she'll look really confused, as if she's thinking, "What's he up to now?"

Siff loves her new stuffed animal.
He's so gentle with her, usually. Sometimes he gets a little excited when they're outside and he jumps at her from the deck. He doesn't land on her, he just likes pouncing from the sky. However, when they're playing, he will roll on his back and let her chew on him. It's helped get out all of her puppy biting energy so that she's been really gentle with Kevin and the rest of us.

He also helped teach her to go up and down stairs. When she first came, she had trouble going down the deck to the backyard. He would encourage her by showing her over and over how to do it. After only a couple days she was going down on her own, and the next day she was coming back up. He was really excited for her, and accidentally knocked her back down a step in his enthusiasm. It didn't deter her though. She now climbs stairs like a pro.

Arkhon is, like a typical older brother, a little bit of a tease sometimes. He loves to grab her by her collar and pull her around or push her onto her back. She gets really mad about it, and with indignant puppy barks tries to get him back. He's practically laughing as he runs away.

It's been really fun to watch how happy the puppy has made him, and the rest of us. She's doted upon, but we still are giving Arkhon a lot of attention.

However, dynamics are still changing. Both Kevin and Arkhon seem to feel that they're not getting enough attention anymore. Even though I'm trying to give them plenty, Kevin and Arkhon have really been in my face the last few days. Even if Arkhon is being petted by someone else, if the puppy is getting attention, he wants to leave the person petting him and get in between the puppy and whomever she is playing with. We usually push him gently back or call him back to show him that this isn't okay. It's all right to take turns.

Kevin loves to pick Siff up. He loves to play with her and he loves it when she chases him around the house. However, he's been feeling neglected too, evidently. Sometimes, over the last few days, he's been unusually disobedient and spastic. He accidentally kicked the puppy in the jaw one time, and yesterday he jumped on my back when I was laying on the floor. That hurt.
He LOVES his new puppy.
My mother told me that every time you bring a new baby home, that the older siblings have to adjust to that, and it can take a while. Even though she isn't a human baby, we're having a similar experience.

Kevin and Arkhon love Siff, as does everyone else. She's sleeping from 10-5 a.m., which is usually when we're sleeping, so it's been working really well. I've been surprised that she isn't waking up more during the night. The trade-off is that she isn't really tired at 5 a.m., so she gets mad when we won't let her get up yet. However, she will eventually go back to sleep.
They love to play!

It's been a little stressful to have a new puppy, but it's been really great too. One of the hard things about having a new puppy, that I think a lot of people don't realize, is that for the first few months, you cannot take your mind off the puppy while she's out of the crate. That's why crate training is so nice. It's supposed to be a pleasant place for the puppy; a place where she can feel safe. Our puppy eats and sleeps in her kennel and she has things to chew on while she's in there. She very rarely whines (unless she needs to urinate or defecate) and she will walk in there on her own. When she is getting tired, but the other two want her to keep playing, I'll remove her and let her go sleep in her kennel. Arkhon and Kevin are learning to leave her alone when she is in there.

However, when she's free in the house, I have to be paying attention all the time. Our house is pretty puppy proof, and she's learning our boundaries, but she is also exploring the world. All it takes is one second and she's chewing on a power cord, or having an accident on the carpet. It is nice to have a backyard so she can go play with Arkhon without me being out there all the time. It's a really nice break where she can get out a lot of energy too.

The potty-training is going pretty well, though we average about one accident a day. That's alright, we were expecting that.

I wouldn't recommend getting a second dog if your first dog has behavior issues. Get the issues fixed first, and then get a second one. Don't expect the second dog to fix the problems.

When I was younger, we had a lab mix who liked to run away. She grew up on a farm, and so when she came to live with us, she just wanted to wander, and she was REALLY good at escaping. One of the reasons my parents let us get Dakota was because they thought it would help Meg to have a companion. In some ways it did, and Dakota was wonderful. However, Meg also taught her how to escape and run away.

Even when Dakota was 15 years old and could barely walk, she  would break out of our yard and stumble her way around to the front door. We would hear the sound of her panting through the front window. She also destroyed our wire fold-up crate the one time we put her in there (which is why we got another plastic crate for the puppy). I'm grateful that Arkhon didn't learn those bad habits.

Right now, the habits that Arkhon is teaching her are wonderful. When we whistle for him to come inside, he immediately comes running. So, Siff is also learning to come when we whistle. She is also learning to sit, and doing very well at it. She's an intelligent little pup.

It's been really fun to have a new creature in our lives. I think she likes being here too. She seems awfully happy.

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