Saturday, February 28, 2009

One of my friends told me to keep track of Teddy's progress, because I'll forget as time goes on. The day Teddy arrived (he was called Happy, which fits his personality, but I just couldn't call him Happy for the next 12 years!) he came with his foster mom and a foster brother. His foster brother was typical of a puppy mill dog - scared of people, new surroundings, noises. You name it, he was scared of it. Teddy was a little less scared. He didn't want anything to do with me, except take a few treats from me and then run away, but he loved Ranger from the start. He followed Ranger around the house, and they played together in the backyard. Teddy was adorably cute, in a pathetic kind of way. His tail was always down and he was scruffy looking. He has one blue eye and one brown eye, and while it's striking to look at, at times it makes him look possessed. I'd like to say I fell in love with him right away, but I had my doubts. Still, I felt like I could give him the life he deserved after spending his in a wire cage.

The first few weeks he lived with us, he was so scared of people that he ran from me whenever I got too close. If I needed to catch him, I'd have to follow him around until he finally just threw himself on the ground and rolled onto his back in surrender, as if to say, "I give in, please just make it quick!" He snored like a large grown man with a head cold. I had to wear earplugs at night because he woke me up. While he walked well on a leash, he wouldn't walk in front of me with Ranger - he was always about a foot behind me, just enough that I couldn't see him without turning completely around. He didn't want me to touch him, yet he was always worried that I would leave him. He was (and still is) my constant shadow, and is always underfoot. He is shorter than Ranger, and just outside my peripheral vision, so I can't see him. I live in fear of tripping over him. He never misses a meal (and eats Ranger's food too!) Poor Ranger has lost a little weight since Teddy came. The only command Teddy knew was 'sit'.

We're working on Teddy's fears. I knew from the start that Ranger would be a good 'big brother' to Teddy. Teddy looks up to Ranger and does whatever he does. It's great to see Teddy overcome a fear, just by watching his big brother. One of the best things we've done is take lots of walks. In the beginning, Teddy would have his tail down, and would be startled by every noise, like the wind, or a car door. But in a short amount of time, he has transformed into a much more confident, happy dog. I don't coddle him or make a big deal about anything that he is afraid of - I try to ignore it and just keep walking. He seems to be learning that if I'm not scared of it, he doesn't need to be scared either! The one fear we're having trouble overcoming is his fear of men. He turns into a different dog if a man comes into the room. His tail goes down, and he just shuts down. I guess I have to invite more men over to help him!

Friday, February 27, 2009

As anyone with dogs knows, it's very hard to get a good picture of a dog, let alone 2 dogs together. Until I can a get a good picture of the dogs together, you will have to make do with 2 separate pictures. But trust me - they do like each other, I just can't get them to sit still long enough for a good picture. Ranger is the one looking out the window.

Stil life with dogs - the beginning

For the past 6 years, I was content to have one dog - an adorable, intelligent Shih Tzu named Ranger. We took long walks together, long naps together, and he even rode along with me on my bike. He was the perfect companion - his only desire was to be where I was and do whatever I was doing. Then last month, I had a sudden urge to get another dog, and Teddy entered our lives. What was I thinking?!

Teddy is a former breeder dog from a puppy mill in Missouri, and while he loves Ranger, he is still not too sure about me. We continue to have a "I hate you, don't leave me" relationship. Things have been getting better in the past few weeks, but I thought a blog would be the perfect place to document our progress and also to get tips from other dog lovers on how to earn a rescue dog's trust, and how to train a suspicious and timid dog.

Any advice?