Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Mobile treat dispenser
So yesterday I introduced Haru to the vacuum cleaner. It was her third day here, so I figured she'd be okay. I've been trying to keep her out of sensory overload with the new surroundings and all.
A few of my past dogs have had issues with the cleaner, so I wanted to get it right this time.
I basically pulled a page out of hunting dog gunfire training and started with vacuum cleaner at the far end of the house, and Haru at the other end playing with my wife. She perked up at the sound at first, but once she was ignoring it, I moved a little closer and so forth. Finally I got about halfway through the apartment, shut if off, and called her over while dropping treats around the cleaner as I was moving it around. We worked our way up to where I could have the cleaner running and she was following me looking for treats.
Shazzzam, the vacuum cleaner is now a mobile treat dispenser (in Haru's mind anyway).
Yesterday we had our first couple of 'situations' with Haru. I left for work, and the wife decided to go out for the afternoon. I feel safe that she's not reading this blog at the moment, so I can go on with this post...
Instead of crating Haru, my wife put her in her little play/eating pen. It's just a small pen with no top, and any dog other than a chihuahua could probably climb out if so inclined. Naturally Haru got out, and proceeded to punish my wife for her slip up by trotting to the other end of the house and chewing on her shoes. Apparently nothing else in the house was touched, and no accidents.
I was frustrated, but not with Haru *wink wink. We had a Newfie mix years ago, a terrific dog with love for everyone and everything. One day he ate my wife's favorite shoes, and she never forgave him. She has been paranoid ever since that her shoes are 'in danger' every time we get a new dog.
Situation number 2: our 3 cats.
Our Persian, Howl, grew up with 2 JRT's, so a little Kai pup is not phasing him at all. Haru has been great with the cats, giving them their space, not trying to chase or play with them.
However, the same cannot be said for Muta and Pookie. They were both picked up as stray kittens, and maybe it's some stray cat gene that tells them dogs are the enemy, but they hate dogs. They're used to having the run of the house, so this raises issues when they're trying to hang around me, and so is Haru. There's a lot of hissing and scrambling to get out of Haru's path, while Haru just looks up at me with a look in her eyes that cries, 'What's wrong with these guys?'
Last night after I got home for work I took Haru out for a short walk. We got back inside and she was still a bit excited. She's figured out how to jump on the sofa, and it's now her favorite vantage point for surveying the apartment. She hopped up and nearly landed on Pookie curled up in the corner. Pookie hissed and ran, Haru stopped and looked at the cat for a moment, jumped off the couch and started sprinting in circles around the house.
It was pretty late at night so I tried to get her to calm down, but she was totally in another place. It looked like her excited state plus the cat running might have set off her chase instinct, but she didn't know what to chase. She finally calmed down and I got her to bed, but I'm hoping this doesn't signal the start of a canine vs. feline war.