Monday, October 21, 2013

Annoying Little Brother

We've taken Luna over to Mike's parent's house a few times over the last few weeks.  The dogs are doing well together, but it is obvious that Luna is not thrilled with Ryder.  She tolerates him, but she's not interested in becoming his next best friend.

It turns out Ryder is over two years old which explains his relatively calm demeanor.  However, he is a young dog who wants to play.  He tries to get Luna to play by offering play bows, gentle nose nudges on her head, and happy tail wagging.  For a young dog interested in finding a playmate, he is surprisingly respectful and gentle.  I believe it is due to his experience growing up with an older dog in his last home.

Luna tolerates his invitations to play fairly well, but she has shown her teeth several times and given him plenty of dog body language clearly stating, "Back off! I'm not interested!".  One of these days she may snap at him if pushed too much so we always supervise them.  Luna has snapped at young dogs before, but she is always careful never to make contact.  She just gives them a quick scary bark/snap in their direction as a warning to go away.

Last weekend, Mike and I went to a friend's wedding and we left Luna with Ryder all day.  When we came back to pick her up, the report was that Luna behaved beautifully, but Ryder had to spend some time in time out when he was bugging her too much.  Afterwards, both dogs settled in for a nap, but Ryder insisted that Luna stay within eyesight just in case she decided it was playtime.

I'm sorry that Ryder hasn't found a playmate in Luna, but I hope that someday they will enjoy each other's company like Amber and Luna did.  I think it will just take some time for Ryder to fit in the family a little more and for Luna to accept that Ryder isn't going anywhere.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Welcome Ryder!

Last weekend, Mike's family welcomed their newest member.  Ryder is a 1 year-old black lab mix who was surrendered by his previous owners in West Virginia.  He only just arrived in New Jersey last week and Mike's mother was lucky enough to meet him at a local Farmer's Market.  By the end of the day, Ryder was settling into his new home.
He's a happy guy.
We brought Luna over to their house to meet Ryder the following day.  To be honest, I was a little nervous about how this introduction would go.  I figured Ryder would be too energetic for Luna and was worried that she would be reactive to a young pup's attempt to play.  With Luna's experiences getting hit by other dogs when running and now the attack from the German Shepherd, she is very nervous about unfamiliar dogs moving around her.

Fortunately, Ryder spent at least three months living with an older Labrador in his previous home so he is understands how to be respectful of older dogs that do not want to play.  After a few unsuccessful invitations to play, Ryder settled on Mike's sister as his playmate.  Luna was clearly uncomfortable with the new puppy in the house, but she went about her business searching for snacks in the kitchen.  For awhile, Ryder followed Luna from room to room the way Luna used to follow Amber.

I think it is going to take some time for these two to find a routine that works for both of them.  I am hopeful that Ryder will get Luna to play a little in the yard when she feels more relaxed around him.  In the mean time, it is nice to know that they are respectful of each other and can co-exist without too much trouble.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fall Hiking

Sunday was beautiful with sunshine and slightly cool temperatures.  It was the perfect day to take Luna for a long hike at the local park with the mansion on the hill.  It seems like we've visited this park once a season so we were due for an autumn walk.
Mansion on the hill.
When we started the walk, I had to keep Luna leashed because there were so many walkers, runners, bicyclists, and other dogs.  By the time we reached the nature trail which goes past the barn and through the field, most visitors had finished their hike and were headed back to their cars.  We were left in peace to enjoy the hike a little more "free ranged".  
Luna checks out the fencing.
The nature trail requires hikers to travel up a steep hill in the woods (at least its shady), walk down the hill to the barn, through the grassy field (very sunny), back up the steep hill (this time in the full sun), and finally back down the hill through the woods.  It's a pretty good workout for both of us.
Headed downhill towards the barn.
Luna goes on ahead.
A quick stop for a photo shoot.
Luna knows how to strike a pose.
Final stretch before we had back downhill.
After we did the nature trail, Luna and I stopped at the stream for a quick drink and a rest in the cool water.  Then, we continued on the standard trail which took us on an easy walking path through the woods and across the main lawn.
Isn't that water cold?
Somebody is a happy puppy.
By the time we returned to the car, Luna was feeling pretty tired.  It has been a while since she's had such an extensive walk.  We'll have to make these hikes a more regular experience.