Ten Months

Two Journal Entries, 10 months Apart

Saturday, February 6th, 2010, evening.

We adopted Frankie on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, from the Whatcom Humane Society. Kathleen, Krista, Emily, and Marian all helped us end up with him – I am afraid we were the most careful of adopters. I also asked Angi at Tails  for advice about the Iggy/Frankie dynamic, and found her thought encouraging and reassuring.  His full name is Frankie Doodle. The first night, Iggy was not comfortable having Frankie here, and wanted to inspect and investigate him all night long. By last night, Iggy was comfortable and while he enjoys playing with Frankie, there is no longer anything like obsession. We found a field today that was mostly fenced and practiced some basic, informal recalls on a long line, then let Iggy and Frankie loose. It went very, very well. They investigated and marked separately and together for several minutes, and then Frankie started jumping up and nipping Iggy softly and playfully. Iggy gave in and the dogs played a spirited game of chase for 10 minutes before Iggy gave up and investigated a patch of mud. Frankie took the signal well and the game was over, both dogs were tired and happy. We were very surprised by how high Frankie could jump. He is very, very athletic – not something we expected but it is a welcome development. Pia and I agreed completely that Frankie will fit in well, is already fitting in – and that we are very happy with our choice.                                                                                                                                                                               

Also did a more intensive and thorough assessment of Frankie’s knowledge and temperament. We took both dogs shopping to Petco and Clark’s downtown pet shop. Interestingly, Frankie’s love of car rides seems to make Iggy more comfortable. Also, though Iggy is often stressed being left in the car when Pia goes into a store for a minute, he seemed much more calm when left alone with Frankie in the car.  In the stores we visited, we ran into several dogs, a few puppies, children, and adults. Frankie liked them all, and was gentle and good-natured during our whole day. We purchased a coat for him, and a new leash, a flat collar, and a martingale collar.                                                                                                                    

We spent some time testing to make sure Frankie doesn’t know some things we might have missed. We tried different words for basic cues and different hand signals, but our initial impression proved accurate: Though a good-natured 4-year old dog of above average intelligence, Frankie has not been taught anything, not even ‘sit’. We came home and worked on leash work and sitting, not by precise cue, but in response to general situations, as in when coming up to the handler for affection or a treat. Iggy tried to help… 

 Tuesday, December 7, 2010, Night.

Frankie passed his American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen  test this evening. We took the test at the NOAH training center. It was the last day of the NOAH CGC class, and the instructor let us take the test with the class in exchange for a small donation. Iggy and Pia came along, and this turned out to be a little troublesome. Frankie was confused about them being there but not being in the room, and then when Pia was in the room, he wanted to be close to her and me at the same time. Though Frankie had completed the walkthroughs in our living room many times, he was so distracted by the environment of the training room that he wouldn’t even sit for me during the warm-up period. It seemed we had no chance at passing – we took the test, but mostly for the practice. Once the instructor announced the test was beginning, Frankie went through a sort of attitudinal transformation. He sat, he focused, he heeled, he watched me, he stayed until called… it was as if he knew when the real work began. Frankie passed. We have a lot of work left to do.

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