February 12th, 2010


My dog is weird

Galen has firm opinions about many things. For instance, he does not like kibble or peanut butter. He'll eat them if he's hungry, but he has to be pretty hungry. He does like carrots, crunchy bits of red cabbage, and cream cheese.

He is afraid of running water, especially in the form of hoses and showerheads. He is afraid of canned goods (really!). He is afraid of trains and big trucks (quite reasonable). He wants to get in any car that has an open door, which means his reaction when a UPS truck pulled over next to us was really interesting.

When we're out on walks, he wants to chase squirrels and go see other dogs. He's interested in cats and birds, but usually doesn't try to approach them unless they're very close. He's gotten much better about paying attention to the person walking him rather than other passersby, but some people are much more interesting than others, and I haven't quite figured out why yet. He likes kids, construction/landscaping workers (possibly because they often have long-handled tools, possibly something to do with the clothing), women with a body type like the woman who was fostering him, and occasional other people who don't seem to have much in common.

I would like to work on appropriate reactions to other dogs on-leash, but we don't have many friends with dogs to help set up controlled situations. I don't want to let him approach most of the other dogs we see on walks, because I don't know them or their owners. Maybe I can ask around at obedience class (our last "middle school" class is Saturday -- I'd like to go on to the "high school" class, but I'm not sure whether we should take the one that starts up the next week or the one after that, in April) to see if anybody wants to work with us on that. I'd really like to be able to reward him for behaving himself when he sees another dog by letting him say hi to the other dog, because that is what he wants MOST IN THE WORLD, but I want to be pretty sure about that other dog before I let that happen. I also want the other dog to be bigger than most of the dogs that live right around here. (Cathy takes him to the dog park at lunch most days she's got him, so he is not totally bereft of social interaction. But quieter social interaction would be nice.)

He knows the general schedule around here. He thinks he knows it better than we do -- he gets terribly annoyed when we do strange things like staying up late or roaming around doing chores when we are Clearly Supposed To Be Sitting In The Office, Dammit. He'd like it if we all went to bed earlier; it's quite difficult to rouse him for his last-call trip outside if he's already settled in somewhere. (Although if everybody leaves the room, he'll come looking for us shortly. He's bad at finding people when he's looking for them -- he checks the house pretty systematically rather than, say, listening for us, which I think is odd.)
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