Sunday, January 5, 2014

Day Two With Shakespeare

Day Two with Shakespeare, and the little guy is starting to relax already. He's beginning to show considerable curiosity about his surroundings; everything from the TV to the washing machine seems to be entirely new to him, and is a cause for inquisitive sniffing and careful investigation. I don't think Shakespeare spent much (if any) time indoors previously, but he's adjusting quickly.

Shakespeare is starting to reveal signs of a playful, talkative personality. He has a pretty good repertoire of whistles, squeaks, and grumbles that he's not shy about using when he wants out of the crate or would like more attention. He's barked a couple of times, experimentally, but was quick to give that up when he learned that barking would not work to get attention (but being quiet and/or resorting to more conversational grumbles would).

I can't tell if he's potty trained, but if he isn't, it should be very easy to housebreak this pup. We're still taking it slow, so we haven't done any leash walks out on the street yet; when he needs to potty, I just take him up on the deck and let him go on the piled snow. He always potties promptly outside -- pees almost immediately, poops within five minutes or less. Additionally, Shakespeare is quick to tell me if he needs to go potty while he's in his crate. If he were able to use a yard regularly, potty training would be a breeze.

On the street it might be a little trickier, but we'll find out more about that once I start trying leash walks with him tomorrow.

Shakespeare is sociable and appropriate with the other dogs. He backs down immediately when Pongu yells at him (which Pongu does a lot, because he is and will ever be a giant jerk) and is polite and curious with Crookytail. No playing yet -- in part because I've been discouraging that due to Shakespeare's recent neutering -- but I think if I gave them free rein to do so, they would start playing within another day or two.

He has shown some moderate interest in toys and in the guinea pig, although his interest in the pig seems to be benign curiosity rather than anything predatory. I don't think Shakespeare would have any problem living with indoor cats or other small pets, given a careful introduction.

As far as I can tell, Shakespeare has had no formal training. He doesn't appear to know any of the common cues. However, he's been pretty quick to learn by imitation -- once he saw that the other dogs were getting cookies for holding Sits, he quickly followed suit, which is how I was able to get a bunch of fake family portraits in less than 24 hours after his arrival.

I started clicker priming with him yesterday. It was just one short session to see how he'd react. Shakespeare was still too withdrawn to have much interest in the treats at that point (all he wanted to do was put his head in my lap and snuggle), but I expect we'll have more success now that he's beginning to take a greater interest in his surroundings, so I'll give it another try tonight and see where we get.

And that's where we are on Day Two. I'm going to try not to push him too far too fast, but tomorrow we'll take a shot at exposing Shakespeare to the big bad city.

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