Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hitting Our Stride

Jai came to live with me on January 25th, 2012. Give or take a few weeks, that's about nine months, and only now do I finally feel like we have a good relationship.

That's not to say that I feel like we've been muddling along accomplishing nothing for the last ten months. We've made great leaps in soothing his anxiety. It's just that a good relationship with a dog, particularly a dog with "issues," takes time.  There's no way around that. I'm just glad it didn't take eighteen months to get to like it did with Rubi.

Part of this relationship is just getting to know each other. Now, when I take Jai into new situations, I'm pretty confident about how he'll behave. This week, we had three outing that went exactly as I'd planned. The first was to my aunt's house where Jai didn't run and hide from my uncles even once (he did that on his first trip there, I was very sad for him). He was also the perfect gentleman when my aunt's little dog tried to eat his face, another non-surprise for me.

Our second field trip was out to our friend Rachel's house for a play date with her girl, Greta. Greta was more interested in my treats than in Jai, and Jai was more interested in peeing on everything in Rachel's backyard than in Jai, but nothing even mildly interesting happened. Jai didn't pace the fence or whine or get anxious at all. And I was not surprised. I knew him, and I knew what he was likely to do. It's nice to know that even if we're not always on the same page, at least we're reading the same book.

Jai and Greta.
I want to make an award for cutest couple, just so I can give it to them. 

Lastly, Jai and I crashed Sunday's Rott'n'Pit Ed. Classes were temporarily moved to a new building, and I'm still working on remedial socialization with him, so I jumped on the chance to expose him to a new place. With new dogs. Lots of new dogs, as it turned out - there were twenty or so boarding dogs there, plus the dogs going in and out for class. We planted ourselves in the entry way and practiced watching everyone come and go. I snagged a few pictures, and looking through them, the difference between who Jai was and who he is now - well, see for yourself.

In case you forgot, here's a picture of Jai at the end of his first night at his first reactive dog class:

And here he is on Sunday:

Not really relaxed, but I have to say, I like the new "working dog" look.

He wants to hang out with me when he's bored, he looks to me for instruction when he's worried, and he wants to play with me when he wants to have a good time. But relationship goes two ways, out and in. It was no surprise to anyone that I decided to keep Jai. But there's a difference between keeping a dog and being utterly smitten with him. I love Jai. I love that he's so sensitive and curious about the world around him. I love how resilient he is, how hard he struggles and how hugely he succeeds. How he still wants to be with me even when I'm cranky or miserable or doing nothing at all. How I get all giggly and giddy when I talk about him or see him first thing in the morning or after a long day at work, like a sixteen year old with a crush.

Dude! He's SO hawt!!!

Photo by Paige


  1. I love the overwhelming love you have for your dogs! It's what keeps me reading (that and your great tips/tricks/knowledge)!

  2. I love his pretty pink snout, which mixes/clashes perfectly with the rest of his muy macho self!!
    (But, pls tell Rubi, that SHE's still the Favorite...)