Monday, February 10, 2014

Stranger in the House & The Learning Curve

     Friday evening we had a visitor to the house-the first we've had since Cinder came.  Luckily I was able to warn her of my little Tazmanian Devil that masquerades as a cute, innocent puppy.  She came prepared for a puppy, but I'm not sure how prepared she was to meet CINDER. 
     I was on the living room floor playing with Cinder when our guest arrived. I yelled out to come on in and when she did, in a very normal manner, she stopped just in the door. Cinder was mortified! She jumped from my arms, over my leg and ran to hide under an end table. Our guest patiently stood as I crawled over and coaxed Cinder out; and she returned to sit in my lap. I had our guest put her things down and grab a few of our broken cookie treats to bring back and offer Cinder to help make friends.  At first Cinder was hesitant, but her love of food got the best of her and she finally ate one. Our guest sat across the room and we had normal conversation and after a few minutes, Cinder's curiosity got the better of her and she went over to our guest and they became friendly.  No more "Stranger Danger." When our guest left, Cinder went looking for her and came to look at me as if to say, "I was just getting to know her and she's gone. Why? Where did she go? I liked her." Cinder's initial reactions tell me she will need outside socialization, but once we begin that kind of work, she will probably adapt quickly to new people and places.
     Over the weekend, Brian had an opportunity to taste firsthand how much work Cinder can be. He missed a lot of the work when Gilley was a puppy because he was on the late shift and I did the active puppy chores and training. His new favorite catch phrase is, "Help! I'm outnumbered! There's one Border Collie puppy and only one of me!"  
     While Brian's new saying is kinda funny, it's also often very true! Sometimes a Border Collie REALLY IS like 10 other puppies in terms of energy and their need to ALWAYS be busy. Redirection isn't something you do, it's something you live!  You're constantly redirecting them from doing something bad to doing something-anything-else. Brian was prideful about the fact that Cinder's shredded my hands and arms but he had no wounds because she didn't bite him. I looked at him and said, "That's because you haven't gotten down on her level and played with her or had to be the one to redirect her from everything all day; you aren't the one who's been wrangling her when she's like a wild Kangaroo or Tazmanian Devil!" Saturday afternoon, I had to do a few things around the house and Cinder could not be part of them so Brian watched her and 15 minutes later I heard, "Damn! You have sharp little teeth you little bugger! You need to bite this toy instead of me!" I knew then that his boast was toast-she nailed him too because he was finally the one playing with her.  
     Brian's presence meant we could safely encourage more interaction between Cinder and the older boys. We let them out to potty and didn't let them scurry back to the bedroom as they usually do when they came in again.  During that time, we soon saw that Gilley is still just annoyed with her. He probably thinks, "Take her back to where you got her and NO in-store exchanges!" Buzz however seems to think Cinder's annoying, but he's been good enough to play with her a few times.  Cinder's new favorite thing is to grab Buzz's tail and use it for "skiijoring" through the house on the slick floors. Buzz saw the humor in that the first three times, but the fourth was too much. Her learning curve on understanding the care and handling of two grumpy, old men is apparently steeper than her learning curve on learning tricks I've been teaching herl
     Brian is starting to read the books I've gotten on training and he's starting to want to understand more about training Cinder.  This is an awesome thing!
     Crate training has been improved dramatically. House training has not been an issue-she's only made one accident so far.
     That's life with Cinder for today. Stay tuned for more about Raising Cinder!


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