This is a post about our new dog.
I’m starting to get an idea of who he is, but I don’t yet know how much is simply ‘adolescent puppy’ and how much is him. I’m definitely starting to like him, even though he’s a brat. He bites walking feet, he gets underfoot, he darts out open doors, he’s shameless about stealing anything he thinks he should have, and he thinks everything Hannah has is better than what he has. And he barks at the cats, and strangers outside, and sometimes just for the hell of it. He stuck his nose in Kevin’s eye this morning. He can only hold his bladder for about five hours before he starts getting anxious, and at six hours he starts getting panicked and crying. It takes him a long time to understand when he’s doing something we disapprove of and desist. He’s pushy. He has a ridiculously short attention span. And he’s funny-looking, with sleepy slanty eyes, and a weirdly large nose.
But he also likes to snuggle in ways that Hannah never has. He likes to be near me, just touching me. And his persistence is really charming and interesting, even when it’s annoying. I love the fact that his response to being thwarted is to find a different route (often physically) to what he wants. He walked under Hannah this morning because she was in his way. I put a treat behind my back and he jumped up on my butt to sniff my hand. I wouldn’t let him go around the couch to harass Hannah and Raymond, so he tried to go over. Each time he’s blocked he pauses, sits down, cocks his head, and adopts what I’ve come to think of as his ‘stubborn, analyzing’ expression. Then he tries something different. It’s really cool.
I’m looking forward to when he knows all the basics that Hannah does: sit, come, getoutoftheway/move!, get down, stay, go. He’s already learning them, but his motivation is shaky.
I think he sulks, but it’s not the same way Hannah does. Hannah actively mopes, creeping around, giving us reproachful looks, resisting attention. Dante’s sulk seems to be him simply looking away and utterly ignoring any attempt to make him re-engage the sulk-inducing situation. But change the context and he bounds happily after it. He’s still confused by the cats, partially because he’s a puppy, I think. My theory is that he’s fine with being dominated by them– he looks away quickly after a staredown– but that he’s used to other dominant dogs (and people) either responding to his attempts to play (the leap forward and back), or just batting him out of the way. The cats do neither; they just stare and stare and stare and hiss. And, if he gets too close, strike his nose. They won’t even run like squirrels or birds. The previously mentioned creativity doesn’t appear here, either; all encounters start with crouching and whining, followed by hoarse puppy barks (and bounding), and eventually end with him giving up and going away.