Thursday, February 23, 2012

Coming Along Nicely

Adore me!
Monsoon is a special, special boy.

Of course I want to update you on his progress as he learns how to be a member of our family. Of course I do! So let me update: he's whining.

He's whining under his breath, watching me to make sure I know he's sad. I'm on the couch and he's in the hallway, crying quietly to himself. Between us, there is a living room and a coffee table and, worst of all, the four-year-old. The four-year-old, I add, is playing quietly with stuffed animals. I've checked to make sure that Monsoon can get to his open crate and to the water dish without having to traverse anything too frightening, and he's been thoroughly walked.

He just needs to be brave and go for it.

This coming Saturday will mark four weeks since Monsoon came home. Our family has experienced some life turbulence issues over the past couple of weeks but things are settling and I think our new little man is coming out of his shell. He's still skittish, but not fearful. I haven't heard a growl or nervous bark from him in weeks. He plays with his toys and he sleeps happily through the night.

Our smart little pup, who is already referred to in our house as "the baby," has the basics down. He walks well on the leash without pulling, for the most part. I'm relieved that didn't take him long. He pulled so strongly for the first week he strained my left shoulder. He's very responsive to quiet vocal reminders when something catches his attention.

Most of the time.

See, everything catches his attention. This morning he saw a squirrel. He heard angels singing; I heard my trapezius muscle scream as he lunged. Because he notices everything, I have to notice everything too. If possible, I have to notice it first so that I can shorten the leash, tighten my grip, brace myself, approach "it" cautiously-- whatever the situation requires.

Sorry, I'm probably not going to get any good at spotting the squirrels lurking in the trees before he does, not at six in the damn morning. And honestly how was I supposed to know our green trash bag out by the side of the road for pickup is a terrible dangerous monster?

Anyway, Monsoon is also house-trained already, with little effort from me other than watching his signals and making a billion trips outside at terrible, inconvenient hours. He has had precisely three accidents in the house. Once, I left the room for a while and my husband missed Monsoon's signals. Fittingly, it was his jacket draped over a chair that the baby decided to christen.

Nice photobomb, Lanie.
The other two accidents are hilarious stories involving liquid diarrhea. I have this sort of poop-humor aversion, so I don't know if I'll ever work up to telling my funny story of how Monsoon squirted the foulest substance ever imagined into the least, LEAST convenient place ever. Just... trust me. I actually cried.

It's a game of patience now. He has a bed in the back of the house where he can run and hide whenever he feels stressed, but he already loves being with people. As long as the people are calm and quiet and nobody makes any sudden moves. While I have been reminding people not to shout unduly, for the most part we're living our lives as normal (or as close as we can get, lately) and letting him adjust. Monsoon can hide, or he can choose his crate in the living room. He's happy in his crate with the preschooler playing on the floor nearby, but now the door can be wide open. (Oh, stop. I know. I'm closer to the crate than the child is and the child knows he'll get corrected if he gets too close to the dog.)

So all in all, I think he's doing spectacular, given how freaked out and sore the poor baby was when he arrived. Our next big project is training him to have free range of the house when no one is home. We've also realized that this is the year we need to fence in some of our property because this guy needs a yard to play in. Now. He and Lanie decided to have a full-on jumping-spinning-bowing-smacking play session -- while I was holding a leash in each hand. I'm just going to let you imagine the balletic poses and rapid spins I had to perform myself to keep an eye on them and keep everything from getting tangled. I didn't want to stop them.

So let me know if you want to buy us a fence. ;)

(Also: Don't forget, I made a page on FaceBook and added the widget over there ---->  for the one-sentence updates and the not-perfect-but-still-cute pictures I post slightly more frequently.)


  1. Way to go Monsoon! Keep up the good work!

  2. Glad Monsoon is settling in well ... he's a lucky boy!

  3. Those spontaneous play outbursts while you're holding the leashes (3 here) can be tricky! Glad he is settling in.

  4. So glad to hear about Monsoon and his awesomeness!

    Squirrels are hard to anticipate. It's also hard to anticipate what may or may not be a horrible monster.

    There is a terrifying liquid diarrhea story involving Elka...and I wasn't home at the time. Thank God. Suffice to say, a chair was sacrificed, and Elka may or may not finally know that she can't run away from her butt. Probably not though.

  5. Zoe said to let her know if Monsoon needs any squirrel stalking tips. She has logged A LOT of hours on that activity. I'm glad to know he's settling in nicely. I can't believe 4 weeks have gone by already. Do you think Monsoon will be up for the trip to GIG this year? I know how tough it can be on a shy dog, but Zoe really settled in nicely with her GIG pack last year. I'm sure she'll have to settle in again this year too, but I think she did pretty good with it. I look forward to hearing more about Monsoon coming out of his shell. This was one of the coolest things to observe when we adopted Roxie. She was in our house for a full month before she decided to jump up on a bed. A month! You know how it goes after that . . . she was all about the bed!! Have a great weekend!

    1. As of now I intend to take him, but I need to work him around people / other dogs some first, and before I do scary things like that I want a harness because I know if he spooks and slips a collar, I'll never see him again. They way I did GiG last year was pretty easy-going since I get overwhelmed too... I'm confident we can work it out, but either way I'm getting excited to see MY pack again. :D

  6. Whoever buys you a fence; I could do with one too! ;-) Deccy x