(NOTE: This post was part of a previous domain and comments were not migrated over.) I feel like my entire blog could become dedicated to the small, daily updates Gizmo makes toward becoming a “real dog” – but I’m trying to limit myself. 🙂
Tonight, however, was a mini milestone that took us nearly a month in the making – and was so exciting (for me) that I had to sign online and blog it as soon as we stepped back inside:
Gizmo went on his very first walk tonight. In his life.
Many puppy mill rescues are the equivalent of a six week old dog – everything is new, everything is scary. Gizmo is the extreme of this, and when he feels something is suspicious (read: everything), he has two reactions: 01. Scream at it and dart or 02. Lay flat against the ground, as small as possible, and go completely catatonic. The second option is how he treats his harness and leash.
It also means he has INSANE amounts of energy that manifest themselves into barking, chewing, tail chasing – and we’ve been limited on outlets to redirect him. Fetch isn’t a concept he quite “gets”, you can’t walk him, he doesn’t play chase, and Bailey and Emmie can only wrestle so many hours a day before even they are like, “OMG, does it STOP?!” About a week in, we discovered he WOULD chase a remote toy car – which was a great method for wearing him out before bed, except a few times in and Emmie would swing by like Godzilla and eat it. After replacing two $40 cars in a week because of it (yes, she had to play, too – we’re not that smart), we realized he would chase something far less easy for her to eat: The dot of a laser pen.
A $10 laser pen is giving me my sanity back – and tonight, it gave us a walk.
It was Sean’s idea to try to lure him along on the walk with the pen, but our first attempts, he watched it but lay flat.
We spent a week letting him wear the harness everywhere, to adjust to it’s weight. Then we spent a week having him drag the leash around – but that became a mess when he’d get looped on things or decide to meander past a pile of poop in the yard. *rubs temples*
Wanting him to get outside and see that new smells/walk sounds don’t gobble him up, we’ve been including him on walks – which, yes, means that we take turns awkwardly carrying a 13 pound dog – which, believe it or not, morphs into a 55 pound dog before the first half mile. ZOMG. 😉
We tried to find a pet carrier he would use, but no cigar – he was too big for the ones that didn’t completely freak him out.
So tonight, after a fetching 15 minute game in the yard of laser pen, we hopelessly leashed him up and headed out with the moo’s. On a whim, I brought the pen with us – and ta-da, he flew after it. We had several moments where he would get too far behind Bailey (his NEW bff) and freeze – but a quick laser pen moment and we were off again. By the end of the walk, I was only popping it on every so often when he would realize he was on a big scary walk and pause… I think we are hoping after a week or two, he may just walk without it!
Sean and I were beaming, despite looking like weirdos walking dogs via laser pen down the block shortly before midnight and going, “YAY GIZZY!” the entire time. This is a great milestone for him – and, over time, is going to be a wonderful esteem builder – which he needs!