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Soft-eared Weirdo Greyhound-butt
Galen
tiger_spot
The dog is settling in well. His new name is Galen.

Galen's greatest goal in life is to be around people. He doesn't particularly want attention, once he's greeted everyone, he just wants to be there. He is also very fond of walks, liver treats, and shredding plush toys.



He came to us knowing Sit and, it turns out, Stay; we're working on Down and Come. (And on getting the first two more reliable.) He also knows Shake, which he tends to offer when he can tell we want something but he's not sure what. He's got good leash manners (not perfect, but not bad at all) and does not freak out when the doorbell rings or any of the many beeping things in the house beep.

We've had a little trouble convincing him that we want him to pee in the yard and not just on walks, but he seems to have caught on now. It also took us a while to figure out how to get him to play, but I managed it yesterday. Previous attempts had gone rather like this:

Human: "What's this?! It's a toy! What a great toy!" ::shows toy to dog::
Dog: ::sniffs toy politely::
Human: "It's a toy! Look at the toy!" ::mimes great enthusiasm::
Dog: ::looks at human quizzically::
Human: ::tosses toy about a foot away:: "Go get the toy! Go get the toy!"
Dog: Human? Are you... feeling all right?
Human: ::more enthusiasm::
Dog: Uh... can we go inside now?

So we thought he didn't like any of the toys. But yesterday evening, I had him out in the yard after a short bike ride; we did a bit of command work, but he didn't seem very into it so I thought I would see if I could get him to run around with me a bit to get some more exercise. And lo and behold, when I did exactly the right body language[1], he suddenly realized "Oh! We're playing now! I can play!!!" and took off in wild circles around the yard, leaping and racing and, on his second or third pass past the porch, grabbing the previously-ignored Air Kong and shaking it around squeaking enthusiastically. He was also delighted to chase the toy when I tossed it, once he was already in Crazy Running Dog mode. Additionally, he stayed out of the garden while in Crazy Dog mode, which I think is very impressive. When one slamming of the squeaker to the ground left him at the edge of the garden, he stopped for a second and went sniffing into it, but I told him no and tossed the squeaker the other way, and he carefully kept all his mad careening on the grass. Good dog!

He likes shredding plush toys, too. We figured that out earlier:


He is also good on bike rides, with a very short leash attached to the rider's waist so he can't get ahead of or behind the bike, or yank it off-balance. He quite likes going faster than I can run for any length of time, so he stays pretty focused on the ride. Cathy tells me that squirrels in the park are still more interesting than keeping up with the bike, so they are not good to pass, but he does well around the neighborhood. It will take a while to work him up to running alongside traffic safely (he'll need to learn emergency stops and be able to deal with sudden course changes if there's a situation), but he seems well on-track for going to work with Cathy once we get him in shape for the distance.

He is not good with being alone, and whines if left alone in a room or even if left with someone doing something quiet if he can hear people talking elsewhere. He really, really hates his crate. We're hoping that as he gets used to the schedule, he will get less worried about being ABANDONED FOREVER OH NO and will be able to properly relax in there, but we are also looking at ways to get him comfortable enough being alone for very short periods in other relatively safe areas (starting with the bathroom) that we have somewhere less scary to put him when we can't watch him. The crate's terrifying, but I'd like to have doors left in the house when I return, you know?

He is interested in the rats. We're keeping him on-leash all the time for now, so that he's closely supervised, and he's good about walking past the cage with us, or sniffing politely if we happen to be standing near it for a bit. But he gets much too interested if we stand there too long or if the rats move away from him while he's watching, and he's startled and fascinated, even from other rooms, if they happen to squeak. The rats are interested right back, and one of these days I should get a picture of Tethys and Galen sniffing each other through the bars (if he ever approaches her again -- she spooked him somehow this evening, which was tremendously amusing for the observing humans though probably less so for the dog).

Assuming the rats aren't squeaking and there aren't other humans, dogs, or squirrels walking by, he's very calm. He's got his spot in the office and he seems pretty much happy to just hang out there, mostly napping, until it is time to get up and go somewhere else. I would have a lot more pictures of adorable sleeping dog if my camera didn't wake him up...


He is an astoundingly skinny dog. This turns out to be because he doesn't eat. His fosterer told us he'd been getting 1 1/2 cups of kibble in the morning and 1 1/2 cups of kibble in the evening. We are lucky if he eats most of one of those meals. Again, we're hoping that as he gets used to the schedule he'll get better about it, but in the meantime we worry. He's happy to eat the kibble if you produce it like a treat, and it's what he's been eating, so we'll just keep offering him his meals at mealtime and hope he catches on.


[1] I demonstrated the right body language to Andres later, and he said "So you do the Charleston?" Not a bad approximation, really.
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If he's terrified of a particular kind of crate, you might try him in a different kind instead: A friend's rescue dog hated her plastic airline-style crate -- it was what she'd had traumatic experiences with -- but loved our dog's wire crate so much that she now has a well-loved wire crate of her own.

Yeah... as it turns out, he can break out of the wire crate.

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Maybe instead of a crate you could put in a doggie door between backyard and garage and/or other inside area that could be fenced off? Depending on your house layout, you could barricade with doors, baby gate(s), or an "invisible fence" setup.

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I expected him to be all over the Kong, but he's just not that into it. He'll sort of casually lick a bit of peanut butter out of the end, but he doesn't seem interested in chewing it and only licks for a few minutes at a time.

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He's been to the vet for a checkup. His teeth are pretty worn, and one of his canines is broken, but I think they're sound otherwise. He can definitely smell treats.

Could be some kind of digestive problem, but there's no diarrhea or other obvious symptoms. The vet wanted a stool sample to check for parasites, because of the skinniness, and we haven't gotten that in yet.

Yeah, that's not a bad point- the vet checked his teeth and gums and said they looked ok, and he's pooping pretty normally, so I don't see any obvious symptoms beyond the dog not seeming that food motivated.

Anything else we should specifically look for?

Aha. This evening, he has discovered some additional ways to manipulate the Kong. This has extended his attention span for it quite a bit. Good.

So he really liked the octopus, I see. :) He's very cute. (The playbowing thing in the comments makes me wonder if I ever knew what the Charleston was supposed to look like, but totally explains what you were doing.)

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