I wish Sawyere could write this himself, because he’s a lot younger than I am, and I’m tired. I’m going to try to write, ‘just the facts, ma’am’, in no particular order, to save time. I’ve tried it before, and it didn’t work, though. I slip into prose without noticing, apparently. Here’s goes my trial:
Yesterday I took Sawyere in the car to many different places–Wegman’s (a simply wonderful grocery store chain here–I can’t believe I didn’t tell the folks from Elmore SPCA to go there, the day they brought Sawyere…bummer!); my favorite walking park; CVS pharmacy; and McDonald’s drive-through (a great excuse to get fries–I almost never go there…well, OK, maybe it was a likely excuse, but surely Sawyere needs to learn to go through drive-throughs?) 😉
Today he got a lot of visits from his devoted team members, and then I picked him up to take him to his school with Miss Sherri, where he got something very special: a ThunderShirt. I think we think a link for this. http://www.thundershirt.com/
Come to think of it, did I tell you about the pheromone collar Sawyere got as one of his gifts from LuAnn? Here’s a vet’s opinion of a similar collar: http://vetmedicine.about.com/od/behaviortraining/gr/DAP-Dog-Collar.htm
Sawyere is vastly improved in just one week. It helps that we know him so much better now that we did a week ago today, when he had our first group session. What I think now is that any difficult behaviors he has stem from the same basic source, which is that his focus has always been on his environment, and not on his human (almost certainly because there was no real ‘his human’–just, apparently, a mostly absentee owner). So he’s overly sensitive to every change in his environment (for instance, going over a pothole in the car causes an alarm reaction from him, or turning on the windshield wipers), but needed a lot of practice responding to his own name (it turned out that the car was the best place for him to focus on this, so it was worth the potholes and wipers–and anyway, I practice desensitizing him to the wipers by warning him, turning them on, and then giving him a bite of cheese–potholes are trickier, because I never notice them soon enough).
Oh, dear, falling asleep…OK, his hindquarters are filling out from all the exercise he’s doing, making him look even more handsome and powerful than he already did.
He’s very affectionate to his loved people. He gives you a kiss if you ask him. He appeared extremely dog-aggressive when Miss Sherri tested him tonight with two fake dogs, and needs to be the only pet in his new home.
There’s a small chance we might have a foster home to offer him, if his shelter would approve it, and also there was an inquiry at his dormitory about whether he’s available for adoption.
He is ridiculously good at canine soccer. I’ve never seen anything like what he can do with a ball on a field. It’s like someone taught him.
He will be excellent at loose leash walking (not pulling), I believe. He’s already miles improved from last week.
He absolutely loves riding in the car.
He loves being touched, but it’s still kind of intense for him. Miss Sherri is making fast progress with that, though, and all of us touch him a great deal.
I’m too tired to finish, but I just want to get down in writing the clearer picture I have of his new owner.
This person should be looking for a ‘people’ dog, above all. Sawyere is not a dog to be left in a crate for twelve hours a day. He loves to be with you, going anywhere and doing anything. He is very affectionate, and feels like a true friend to you.
This person should be very physically active. Sawyere is wonderfully playful–a superb runner with almost unbelievably fast reflexes (the fastest I’ve ever seen in a dog, including Border Collies), a genius at ‘soccer’, excellent at fetch (he’s working on the ‘drop it’ part), and just an all-around athlete. He’s fast, he’s strong, he’s like a thoroughbred racehorse, and he needs an owner who appreciates that and wants to play and run with him.
He needs to be the only animal in the house, unless the other one is an elephant. Even then… 😉
His new owner needs to be committed to Sawyere’s continued training, with a focus on maintaining the environmental desensitization Miss Sherri is accomplishing and increasing Sawyere’s focus on his human handler.
OK, must sleep, because he’ll be expecting me bright and early. Also, I’m taking Giovanni for grooming at Sawyere’s dorm, which will add another wrinkle to the schedule–my timing will have to be great.
That reminds me…I’m late for almost everything. For the note factory, I struggle like crazy and almost always make it there technically on time, but with only a minute or two to spare (that’s too late, for my business). But for the first time in my adult life (or, my adult life since I started struggling with being on time), I have no trouble being on time for my Sawyere duties. For one thing, both weeks I’ve had to take him down to his classes with Miss Sherri, I was a couple of minutes early, just like a normal person. What do you think about that, Beloved Friend? Will I deteriorate, or is this a true thing?