Good boy (in training)

It’s been a tough week for some of our doggy friends, and my heart goes out to them. Life with our furry best friends can be wonderful and joyous, but it can also be challenging, and heartbreaking sometimes too. I’ve been giving Archie extra hugs, and thinking about how far we’ve come since those wobbly early days when I couldn’t bear to give him back, but couldn’t see how we’d ever get along together. I’m so happy those days are behind us.

Archie has been been working hard, and he’s doing so well. I can finally see an improvement in his anxiety levels when he’s outside. He still hates the walk to the Meadows from our house, of course, with all the people, buses and bikes, but he seems much happier when we get there. His tail is no longer tucked right under, and sometimes it even wags.

On Saturday, horrible weather for everyone else meant good news for us, since the rain kept all but the hardiest dog walkers out of the park, which is just how Archie likes it. We’re working with a 15 metre long line so that he has more freedom to run around and explore, but I still have some control. Generally it’s as though he were off the lead completely, and he has to think for himself and make his own decisions, but I can still reel him in if he’s struggling, or not listening (particularly a challenge for him when we first arrive and there are so many exciting sights and sniffs). We’re still working on mini recalls, and sit-stays. The latter are really difficult for him, but he’s doing super well. We even managed a couple of down-stays, which was amazing, since lying down is the most vulnerable position he can be in. Good work Archie!

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Practising his recall on the long line
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Concentrating hard on ‘sit – stay’

I can also reliably leave him home alone now without drama, provided I leave calmly. It’s all about energy – his and mine. If he’s calm and quiet when I leave, then he’ll stay that way the whole time I’m gone, but I know now (by monitoring him with a dog app) that if he’s upset and barking and whining when I leave, he only gets worse the longer I’m gone. Happily that hasn’t happened in weeks, so hopefully we’ve cracked it. He doesn’t exactly relax when I’m out – he sits alert and listening for every sound in the corridor – but hopefully he’ll chill out a bit more over time (and when we live in a quieter neighbourhood). It’s such a relief. Not being able to leave him to even pop to the shops when I first got him was a huge source of stress. For both of us!

This week was super busy at work so I had to leave him home alone waiting for the daycare ‘bus’ two mornings in a row, and was late home after evening functions, and he’s such a good little boy. He doesn’t destroy anything, and very rarely has accidents in the house (unless he’s ill).

He’s not a total angel though! We definitely haven’t cracked jumping up, a particularly annoying bad habit. On Friday he managed to pull my headphones out of my ears and broke them. I was less than impressed.

 

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Archie denies all responsibility for the emergency earphone replacement
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But is very happy to take charge of responsible disposal of the packaging

But it’s a small fault in the greater scheme of things, and I’m sure we can work on it.

Next week Nana, Granda and cousin Benji are coming to stay so we can all go house hunting; I can’t wait!

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