I know I don’t normally do lengthy posts but as 2013 is coming to a close I’ve been doing a lot of reflection on my year with Riley. It’s amazing how far he’s come from that scared little puppy to the (more or less) confident dog he is today. Of course, he’s not perfect and still gets into mischief every now and then but I still feel like the luckiest person in the world. In lieu of this I’ve decided to create a reflection post of this past year, both the good and the bad.
- Riley is soo much better confidence-wise. His transition was so seamless I didn’t even notice until I started creating this post! He has gone from being terrified of walks to absolutely loving them! In fact, almost nothing phases him on walks- the garbage truck can pass by and he’ll just carry on whereas a few months before he would have planted his butt down and refuse to move.
- He is great with dogs and other animals. I am so thankful to have a non-reactive dog because I really don’t know if I’d be able to deal with that. He also met his second cat (who was luckily already accustomed to dogs) and although a bit scared at first, was very polite and eventually wanted to play!
- He has an “Off-switch”! No more needy puppy who requires constant supervision. He’s fine on the off day or two with no walks/limited exercise to just laze around at home.
- Much better recall! I am extremely happy with how strong his recall has gotten. After failing to be recalled while running after a dog who I knew was not dog friendly, it was a few months before I decided to trust him off leash again. Fortunately, Riley’s recall has improved to the point where he will come back even if he sees another dog. The only thing that makes me nervous about letting him off, is if he were to see a squirrel..
- He gets along with people/kids once properly introduced. I should probably even go so far to say that he enjoys the attention from strangers once he’s decided they mean no harm. I think with a few more positive interactions with strangers he may feel comfortable enough to let anyone say “hello”.
- Although he is great when properly introduced to people, in real life situations this isn’t always possible. It’s hard to tell what people are going to do. I’ve had children chase him down with a stick and others try to force him to greet them. It may only be a few seconds but it sets him back quite a bit. While he has no problem passing people in the street, the minute anyone tried to greet him he backs away. The only caveat to this is if they have a dog, then he becomes their best friend right away.
- He also isn’t fond of be cuddle or pet. In fact, if he’s trying to sleep on the couch and start petting him (or even just move sometimes) get up and choose another spot to rest. While I have no problem with this, it does mean that he probably isn’t the best therapy dog candidate. This was something I really wanted to get into with him.
- Mr. Riley is getting chubby! After starting my new 9-5 job along with it getting dark so quickly, it’s been hard to find time to exercise. Hopefully now that the days are getting longer we’ll be able to fix that.
- I definitely would like to sign us up for some sort of classes. Originally I had wanted to get into beginner agility but I’ve also considered some basic obedience just so he’ll have exposure to different environments. Who knows, maybe we’ll try to get his CGN (Canine Good Neighbour) this year!
- Although it almost definitely won’t happen this year, I would like to eventually add a second dog to the fam. I’ve already started looking into a few different breeds and am also strongly considering a rescue.
And there you have it, my summary of 2013. So far, I’m feeling very optimistic heading into the new year. Best of luck to all of you too in 2014!
Also, please feel free to share any of your reflections as well!