I can’t believe it has been a year. But indeed it was December 28, 2021, when I welcomed boisterous eight-old-month Lewis into my life.
If you want to see the list of things I first identified as difficulties, here it is. But instead of creating a progress report based on that list, I’m just going to write about the ways we have learned to live well together.
Lewis’ and My Achievements, Successes, and Fun
• Lewis’ door-related behaviors are good. He waits until I check out the yard and tell him to go ahead, and will continue to wait if I cue the other dogs to go out first. I never did specific training on release cues, but he knows when I am cuing the other dogs and not him. Waiting at the door is for the dogs’ safety, not some kind of dominance rule!
• I taught Lewis through classical conditioning that riding in the car is cool and leads to great adventures. I had to go slowly at first, because he had issues with both the crate confinement and the movement of the car. At some point, I’ll write a post about it. He loves going places, including to the vet, where he lived for more than a month as a puppy.
• Lewis and I have a great play relationship. He is game to play anything. Tug, balls, fetch, and anything that involves running. (See the video!)
• He loves training games, too.
• He has really taken to nosework, surprise!
• He settles where I ask him to on the bed at night (rather than pushing Clara around).
• I haven’t worked much on extending crate duration, but he hangs out in the crate sometimes, and I ask him to go in there for short periods with the door shut for management. He eats most meals in there.
• I taught him the household’s sleeping schedule; he is no longer on vet clinic time. In fact, I had to get up earlier than usual yesterday, and he stayed in bed and declined to come along when I offered to take him outside!
• He has learned to enjoy walks. He walks decently on lead, largely because his normal pace is slower than mine because of sniffing. But we have worked on it as well. Much of his fear of new things is gone.
• He’s made a couple of human friends on our walks and exhibits moderately good greeting manners even while being thrilled out of his mind.
• He has a good recall, and I know we can work it up to great.
• He has been very cooperative during some periods when I or my partner was not feeling well and I didn’t have time to play and do things with him. He was able to relax and accept the downtime with the rest of the household. This was a long time coming, but who can blame him! Teenager!
• He has made friends with the neighbor dogs on both sides of the yard: doodles on one side and Danes and a Border collie on the other. We incorporate them into our games; when he is playing with me, he will also run to each fence to include them (or, sometimes, taunt them). He goes on his own sometimes, and sometimes I cue him to do it (“Go see your friends!”). You’ll see this in the video.
• He holds back from going for dropped food or other items and doesn’t lunge for other dogs’ treats.
• He waits his turn quietly when I am training other dogs (thank goodness!). He can even station in the same room while I train another dog, although we haven’t worked on it much since I wrote about it last May.
• He remains mouthy but no longer grabs sleeves, and seldom tries to grab things out of my hands.
• He is affectionate and continues to be good-natured.
• He is fun!
Here are some highlights of our year together.
Copyright 2022 Eileen Anderson: all text, photos, and video
Most of my other posts about Lewis are linked in the text, but here are his intro post and the “list of challenges” posts one more time.