Sunday, 9 April 2017

Rosie : Week 1

On Friday 31st of March, 2017, at 5pm, Tom and I picked up our little rescue pup, Rosie from her foster carer's home to come live with us! I thought I'd pop my thoughts down here for the first few weeks so that we can keep track of her initial progress :)

Rosie is an approximately 7 year old Staffy X that we've adopted through Project Underdog Rescue, here in Melbourne.
We've been wanting a little doggy pal for a long time but have finally moved out of our tiny apartment and managed to get ourselves a place with a little backyard so that we could get one! Adopting from a rescue organisation was the only possibility for us, and we knew we wanted an older dog that we could give a comfortable home to for the rest of their life. When little Rosie came up she sounded absolutely perfect for us, and despite the fact that we were in Kyoto, Japan at the time she was shared on PUR's Facebook page, we had to apply immediately.

The evening that Rosie came home with us, she paced a lot and wasn't too bothered by us. Tom went out for a little bit that night and Rosie chilled on the couch with me but overall we could tell she wasn't too sure and was looking for her foster carer, Al, a lot of the time.

On the Saturday we met both with her future obedience class trainer and her future dog walker. Over the course of the week, we realised she needed a bit more training than we realised so we've popped the regular dog walker on hold and have gotten her training walks with the obedience trainer for the short term, until we are confident that she is a bit more relaxed around other dogs.

As the week went on we've figured out a lot about her.

  • She is wary of dogs but think she displays her fear and uncertainty with aggression.
  • She is a lot more fearful of smaller dogs and is more tolerant of dogs bigger than her.
  • She lunges for cats and possums and we now know to cross the road if we spot one - hopefully only for the time being but we don't want to overload her with too many new skills to begin with.
  • She loooooooooves food and is responding incredibly to food-based positive reinforcement training. 
  • She loves belly rubs, and every morning when I wake her up at 5am for a quick walk, she looks up at me, yawns then rolls onto her back for a morning belly rub - I love how warm she is when I wake her in the mornings. She has incredibly adorable puppy dog eyes.
  • She just takes herself off to bed when she's had enough of playing or getting belly rubs.
  • We got a doggy cam to watch her while we're at work, and her favourite place in the world when we aren't home is the corner of the couch that has all of the cushions and nice quilts - we've since gone to IKEA to get yet another blanket for her in the hopes that she'll go on that
  • She sheds less than we thought she was going to
We've been really proud of her for a lot of things. We took her to the vet for the first time on Friday evening. She's recently had 12 teeth out and her breath was smelling a little funny so we just wanted to be sure that it wasn't an infection. Despite the other dogs at the vet setting her off a bit, we were so pleased at how she did considering it was a new environment with a lot going on and a strange person trying to gently stick their fingers in her mouth to get a good look.

She is also SO clever. We are well on the way to teaching her so many things. Commands she knows so far are: sit, look, drop (for letting go of toys when playing), down (for lying on the ground, we tried teaching this as drop but realised she already knew the word), go to bed, leave, and we are working on come. We use the word 'go' to release her from the stationary positions, and when we make her sit at the doorway when leaving the house/gate and when sitting before crossing the road. We use the word 'Yes' as a reward word. She sits so well when waiting for us to let her eat her food. Tom is teaching her 'dead' and we are trying to not use 'paw' as she gets a bit excited to bat the treat out of her hand.

On Tuesday, I was sure she hated me and towards the end of a really great walk, she unexpectedly lunged for a cat and pulled me over, I was sure that she was going to hate me forever and never get settled. That was definitely the low point, because as the week progressed, she has shown more and more signs that she is trusting and loving us more little by little.


I'm going to end this with my favourite moment this week so far.

I woke up at 6am this morning to thunder and lightning. I checked the doggy cam from my phone in bed and could see that she was curled up on the couch but with her eyes open. After a particularly loud clap of thunder, I checked the doggy cam and she was gone, and all of a sudden she was beside the bed!! She's a great sleeper and before this morning, never ever left whenever we'd left her for the night. She's great at sleeping in her bed or on the couch.
 We've been letting her on the bed, but only on top of the doona, not in it. She wasn't crying or whimpering but I could tell she was a little stressed and wanted some company. We were so pleased that she knew to come to us when she was scared of the rain and thunder.
She came up onto the bed, took up about half the thing and after about 5 minutes of sleepy pats, she was fast asleep and completely ignoring the ensuing thunder and lightening.

That was the moment we realised she might love us a bit more than we thought :) <3