I have written twice about the new dog, and that she was shy, but those were both within her first month. At the one month mark something opened up. I promised I would write about some sweet and beautiful things, and this will be one - the blossoming of a dog. Let me tell you about Adele.
The first thing I will tell you is that we don't really call her that. With greyhounds, they always come already named. There is a racing name and a kennel name. Sometimes they are similar, like Geno was Oxbow Geno. Adele was Jstrollinthedeep, so yes, it was connected to that Adele, and we don't like her. We nonetheless love this Adele. We are mainly calling her Dellie (I guess that's how it would be spelled). It works.
She was straight from the kennel, had never raced, and was shy and scared of men. Our contact thought we would be a good fit, because it is an all-female household and Geno (the lone male) is a confident dog and she could learn from him.
Dellie came on December 14th. Part of kennel life is that the dogs are usually crated. They get let out to run, and maybe to eat, and things like that, but they spend a lot of time in the crate, and sometimes the new freedom was uncomfortable.
That first day, which was a Saturday, Dellie decided that the bathroom was her crate. It would be a little big, but about the right shape. She parked herself there, and we would lead her out to eat and go in the yard, but otherwise she did not budge. That included Sunday morning, when four women were getting ready for church. This may be why she found a new location.
Her new spot was a dog bed in my bedroom. It is bordered by my desk, bookcase, closet, and dresser, so it does feel a little enclosed, and it is not as high traffic. We would still lead her away for meals and walks and the yard, but she would always run back to this bed. She would make herself fit there, even if Geno was already on it.
I'll admit there was some frustration, especially with getting her housebroken. She was so scared of the yard, and actually so scared to go anywhere, that for a while she would only pee once a day, despite us giving her multiple opportunities. We had to put her on a leash to get her into the yard, and to get her to her food, and to get her to come into the living room.
Still, I could see some progress. It did not take long for her to get to the point where she was happy and content while she was on that dog bed and I was working on the computer next to her. I would see her stick her head into the hall, and know that she wanted to be around us when we were in the living room, even though she could not bring herself to come out on her own yet. I believed she would eventually feel comfortable at any spot in the house, and it would be okay.
There were two ways in which I was completely off base. One is that I thought it would take longer and progress more slowly. Also, mistook shy for quiet. Dellie is a spirited little dog. It started at about the one month mark, and it really started with the toys.
I'm not sure how she first got the idea to put one in her mouth. Geno doesn't play with the toys a lot, but he will sometimes so maybe she saw him. They often have toys in the kennels, so maybe she suddenly remembered. Suddenly she was playing all the time, and making them squeak, and carrying them around all over the house where she was now roaming freely.
The yard no longer terrified her, and she started running. I suspect the reason that she didn't race is that with her shyness, it seemed unlikely that she could do well, but she's a fast little thing. Sometimes she is more into trying to get someone to chase her than running laps, and sometimes she uses this weird prancing type of motion, so maybe she would have been too goofy, but I have seen her do laps and she does okay.
She has also found her voice. She barks a lot. Teaching her to be okay with visitors is taking a while. She is not attacking, but she will stay just at the exit of the room and bark these low throaty barks, like a German Shepherd. So now we will bring her to the person, and have them pet her, and then either let her go, or hold her and pet her while we visit, depending on whether the initial petting stops the barking. She does not love this process, but she did not love it when we made her spend time in the living room or in the back yard, and those worked out.
I suppose there are differences that are not completely positive. My shoes move around a lot, but I can usually find them. I can't get in and out of my room without a few squeaks now. We will periodically gather the stash of toys out of my room and the other depository in the family room, and return them to the toy basket. They come right back, but it gives her something to do. But it's fun. Our pets cheer us up. They make us laugh. In her case, much more than would ever have seemed possible.
She has learned to love home life, and we have found an eagerness there that was completely hidden. We're all lucky.