Sunday, November 27, 2011

Six Months to Real Dog

I've always told new adopters that it takes about six months for the dog to feel comfortable in their new home.  Until that time they are always waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I've seen it with Eris, my cousins' dogs, and my fosters.  They just can't believe they're in such a great place forever until about six months has passed.

Luna has just about hit her six month anniversary and she is starting to blossom into a real dog.  The last time we visited Amber, she tried to get Amber to run with her (with no success).  Over the weekend, she really tried to get Ginny to play with her by offering play bows and playfully nipping at her shoulders (also unsuccessful).  At the dog park today, she felt comfortable enough to have a couple of sprints even though there were other dogs in the park.  It is awesome to see her coming out of her shell and realizing this is her home and we are her people.

Ginny and in crime.
Another great improvement is her attachment to me.  While I am flattered that she clings to me like a preschooler on their first day of school, she can be a bit too needy.  Recently, she has started following other people around and exploring new areas on her own.  She still checks in with me, but she is definitely braver than she used to be.

I'm glad she is finally relaxing enough to show us her true personality and I just love how happy she appears.  We are going to have a lot of fun together and I'm glad she's excited for the ride.

Friday, November 25, 2011

First Thanksgiving is a Success

Luna did awesome today!  She handled the four hour drive beautifully, became fast friends with Ginny, and behaved herself during dinner time.  I did restrict her movement during dinner to keep her well away from the table.  Early on in the day she started getting a bit too familiar with the pies so I wasn't about to take any chances.  After a few whines she settled down and patiently waited for us to finish our meal.

"This is mine too right?"
Luna and Ginny played musical chairs with their dog beds.  It was pretty funny to see Luna on Ginny's pillow which is a third of the size of her bed.  They also performed their plethora of tricks for the family.  It just so happens they both know spin and paw so we were able to get them to do it on cue together.  So precious!  We also experimented with Luna in a stay and Ginny going under Luna.  Very cute.

I had mentioned in my previous post that we were going to bring Luna's crate.  Well, we did, but we haven't set it up yet for two reasons.  One is that there really isn't any space (we've got a full house).  The second is because she is really behaving herself very well.  We don't plan to leave the dogs alone so there really is no reason to set the crate up.  I have to say I am impressed with how quickly she became comfortable in the new setting with a new dog and new people.
"We can help with those leftovers.  Please let us help."

Tomorrow we will take the dogs to the local dog park for a nice run.  Since Ginny and Luna have become so comfortable with each other I'm hoping Ginny will be able to teach Luna to relax at the dog park and enjoy playing with the other dogs.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Can Luna Be a Good House Guest?

We will be staying at my aunt and uncle's house during Thanksgiving which will be a lot of fun for all of us.  Luna will get to meet Ginny, their hound mix, who loves to play.  We've been talking about taking them to the local dog park which is by far the best dog park I've been to.  Luna will also get to enjoy a whole new group of people interested in giving her attention.

I am a bit nervous about her stay since this will be a very new environment and my family is used to the way Eris behaved when visiting.  Eris was so comfortable in their house that she could be left out of the crate when we were out.  She enjoyed lounging in front of the fireplace, snoozing in the dining room, and resting in the bedrooms.  Can you tell she was pretty laid back?  Eris took vacationing to heart and really made the most of her time at their house.

Luna, on the other hand, loves to be involved and will follow people (especially people carrying food) from room to room.  She can get herself into trouble when she noses around the kitchen.  She will cry and bark occasionally when we leave her in the crate.  Basically, I'm worried that Luna will annoy the family and get herself in trouble.

To help her be the best house guest possible, Mike and I will make sure she is not left completely alone in the house and if she has to be she will be in the crate.  We will also keep a close eye on her to correct her anytime she looks like she's getting into trouble.  I'm sure she'll be fine and I'm looking forward to posting a good report later this week. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Greyhound Craft Show

Renny is happy to meet Luna.
Don't they make a cute pair?
It turns out they're related!
Mike and I have been eagerly awaiting the annual Greyhound Friends of New Jersey Craft Show.  We were excited to show her rescuers how well she is doing, do a little shopping, and meet more greyhounds.  Mike's coworker and his girlfriend were there with their rescued greyhound, Renny.  He was a real sweetheart and seemed to enjoy meeting a cute girl like Luna.  I was blown away by how much smaller Luna is than most greyhounds.  She was so petite compared to the males and many of the females.

Luna did really well at the craft show and seemed to enjoy all the attention, sights, and smells.  She received many cookies and showed off some of her obedience skills.  My favorite part was checking out the adoptable greyhounds.  I follow their stories online and root for them until they're adopted.  For me, it was like meeting movie stars.  "Oh wow!  It's Oak's Kid Sister!  And over there is Tipsy Pocket!"  The best was actually petting Regal Lightning, a drop dead gorgeous male who came into rescue in the late spring.  His picture convinced Mike and me that we needed a greyhound.  As much as we loved him (and still do) he was not the right fit for our family so we were forced to pass.  I learned at the craft show that he was adopted about a month ago to a nice family and he is doing great.

Luna made out like a bandit.  It's completely obvious at this point that we are spoiling her, but who cares!
Luna's new winter coat.  Bright yellow to help the cars see her.

Her new blanket.  It says "Bow Wow" all over.

Her new winter collar and necklace.  Silvery white with gold snowflakes.

To wrap the day up we stopped by Mike's parent's house for a visit.  Luna showed us how happy she was by running laps around the yard.  She even chased a tennis ball a few times!  When Amber came out to see what was going on, Luna tried to get Amber to play.  Amazing considering Luna has never asked a dog to play before.  Even though Amber was not interested in playing chase, Luna enjoyed a good deal of running.

Monday, November 14, 2011

First Sleepover

Mike and I went to my cousin's wedding this weekend which meant that Luna needed a place to stay for two nights.  Knowing this trip was on the horizon, we started bringing Luna over to Mike's parents' house to get her used to the environment and to meet Amber, their lab mix.  Amber is not a fan of other dogs and has tendencies to guard Mike's mother.  To get both dogs ready for the sleepover Mike and I started introducing the two dogs months ago.  Here is a quick overview of the steps we took:
  1. On a walk, but plenty of distance from each other.
  2. On a walk with Luna in front so Amber could smell her.
  3. On a walk next to each other.
  4. In the backyard with me, Mike and his father.
  5. In the backyard with me, Mike, his sister and parents.
  6. In the house for an hour with everyone present.
  7. In the house for a few hours with everyone except me present.
  8. The sleepover!
I am happy to report that both dogs did fantastic!  Amber was relaxed with having a second dog in the house and Luna felt comfortable with her surroundings.  When Amber was feeling stressed she was able to escape to the upstairs for a little break while Luna followed family members from room to room.  When outside, Luna would follow Amber around the yard.  She can be a little clingy, but I'm glad Amber tolerated her so well.

The best part was that Luna did not seem very upset with Mike and me for abandoning her.  Last time I left for a conference she punished me all evening by ignoring me.  This time she happily followed us around the house and was very generous with her leans (a.k.a. greyhound hugs).  It is nice to know that she can feel comfortable when Mike and I go away.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sleeping Beauty?

Luna is really tolerant of letting Mike and me manipulate her when she is lying down.  This works well for clipping nails, but it also a lot of fun to play with her.  We like to get her into that classic roach position and pose her.  It works even better when she is so exhausted from a day of running.
Falling asleep with her mouth open.

Silly dog.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Office Dog Becomes Guard Dog

I like to take Luna to work with me every once in awhile especially since my end of the hallway becomes a ghost town in the afternoon.  I work on the side of the building where there are several empty offices and a co-worker who works part-time so it can get pretty lonely.

Usually, Luna is a very well behaved guest when visiting my office and is the perfect example of why every day should be Bring Your Dog to Work Day.  However, I had not counted on the maintenance crew inspecting the fire alarm system today.

I could hear the guy coming down the hallway and spraying (I think smoke) from a canister to test the alarms.  Apparently, Luna did not like this sound and was concerned about the strange man in the building (the office population is mostly female).  As he turned the corner to come into my office she jumped up with several loud barks and stood guard at the door.  You could tell she wasn't interested in attacking the man, but definitely wanted to let him know that he was not welcomed.  Thank goodness the man was not afraid of dogs and had a good sense of humor.  He suggested I take Luna out of the office while he tested the smoke detector which was very thoughtful of him.

Later in the day we were told the fire alarms were going to go off as a test.  Everyone was concerned how Luna would react to the noise and lights.  It turns out that sitting calmly through the alarms was enough to let her know that there was no need to panic.  She had her ears up and looked around for the source of the sound, but after checking in with me and seeing no reaction she just ignored the noise.

While I am a little embarrassed by her out of character behavior, it is nice to know that she would defend us if she felt there was a threat.  So all you men with spray cans beware of the dog when entering my office!