When we adopted Dobby the Dog back in mid-2014, we quickly became aware that he came with certain issues including separation anxiety, a dislike of high energy situations, and a severe case of velcro dog. In October, after three months in our house, I actually attempted to surrender him back to the adoption agency, but in the end I couldn’t do it because our bond had already formed in those three months.
Now here we are, six months later, and Dobby the Dog is doing great (terrible dogsitter notwithstanding). He is not nearly as needy as he once was, and the tendency towards velcro behavior only occurs when I arrive home from work, but is quickly dissipated once I let him outside to burn off some restless energy.
The thing I’ve noticed is that when it comes to commands, especially the important ones, he is very, very good. Just tonight when I let him outside upon arriving home, he made a beeline for the side fence because our neighbor was out in her yard with her dog and toddler son. Fifty-pound Dobby is very territorial and likes to throw his weight around and bare his teeth to make sure the 15 pound poodle doesn’t cross the line. I’ve even warned all the back neighbors NOT to put their hand over the fence unless I am there to give permission for fear that he’ll think they are invading and bite them. He’s that territorial.
So he’s making a beeline to the fence to bare his fangs and growl, but I said his name and he immediately turned and came back to me, sitting and looking up at me. After a few moments he stepped to go to the fence again and I merely said his name and he stopped, sat and looked up at me. Several times over the course of my conversation with my neighbor he’d begin to walk toward the fence and all I had to do was say his name and he would immediately turn around and come back to my side. It was amazing to watch.
At some point the neighbor’s dog and son went to the other side of the yard, away from the fence, and so I let Dobby approach my neighbor and because he recognized that the neighbor and I were talking and knew each other, he put his paws up on the fence and sniffed her hand through the fence and let her pet his head. After a few moments, I noticed that her toddler was coming back over to the fence, so I said Dobby’s name and he promptly jumped down and came to stand at my side. Immediate recall. No hesitation. He sat at my side, sitting at attention looking at the boy, but not moving.
Now, had I not been there, I know that Dobby would have been at the fenceline, teeth bared and warning off the boy and his dog. He would have raised his hackles and let them know under no uncertain terms that he was the boss. And to be honest, I try not to let my dogs outside when I see them in their backyard because I want my neighbors to be able to enjoy their backyard without my crazy dog trying to protect his territory. It’s why, when the kids of my back neighbors are in their yard playing, I go out with Dobby and monitor his outside time to make sure he doesn’t rush the fence and scare them.
But tonight it was so great to see him not only listen to me, but listen and obey without hesitation and indecision. Dobby is a GOOD GOOD dog – he really is. Quirky, and not without some minor issues, but a good dog.
So glad I kept him.
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