Thursday, June 3, 2010

Visitors Galore

While Kyle has almost impeccable manners in public, his behavior at home still leaves something to be desired. He doesn’t have any destructive habits (thank goodness), but he does like to jump on people, mouth people, and bark when he is being ignored. Since I live alone, these are hard habits to work on. My friends and neighbors are stepping in to help though.

A few days ago, Katie came over for a visit before we headed out to lunch. Kyle is getting much better at not bouncing everywhere when I answer the door, so Katie’s visit was the first time I let Kyle off leash with another person here. Kyle knew that Katie needed some puppy love and laid his head in her lap. Really, who doesn’t need puppy love every now and then?

(Kyle with his head in Katie’s lap while she looks down at him.)

After a while, Kyle did something that amazed me. He wandered off to the side of the living room and entertained himself before falling asleep. That is a first! Kyle always wants human affection and never settles if not contained by a leash, tiedown, or kennel. Yea for major progress!

(Kyle and his red Kong lying off to the side of the room.)

The next day two other friends, Liz and Luke, stopped by to show off their new pet. Never fear, Kyle was back to his old antics. For some reason he is always on his worst behavior around Liz and Luke. Sigh! Thankfully they have seen him work in public and know that he can be wonderful.

Liz has a Russian tortoise, Clyde, for a classroom pet. While we were roommates, I loved to play with Clyde, but Clyde never loved to play with me. He preferred to hide in his shell and pee on me. Now that Clyde is home again for another summer, it was time to get him a female friend…Bonnie. Is it possible to call a Russian tortoise friendly? If so, Bonnie is. She is the opposite of Clyde. Bonnie climbed up to my shoulder to have a look at the world and stuck her neck out farther when I petted her head. The best part is that Bonnie never even considered peeing on me.

Kyle’s reaction to Bonnie was hilarious. At first he pulled to the end of his tiedown to get a look at her.

(Kyle straining on his tiedown with Bonnie a few feet away.)

When Bonnie started to head toward Kyle, he turned into a chicken and hid around the corner of the couch. Liz, Luke, and I had a great laugh over that one. Silly Kyle!

(Kyle is hidden around the couch corner while Bonnie crawls toward him.)

After a bit Kyle decided that maybe Bonnie wasn’t dangerous after all. His curiosity nudged him out of his hiding place, but he still didn’t want to get too close. Instead, he chose to just stare at Bonnie.

(Kyle has his ears perked up and is intently looking at Bonnie while she continues creeping his way.)

Finally, I picked Bonnie up so that Kyle could give her a good sniff. They touched noses and became friends. I was impressed that Kyle didn’t even try to lick his new friend. He earned a few brownie points for that.

(I’m sitting on the couch holding Bonnie while she and Kyle touch nose-to-nose.)

Yesterday, a seven-year-old neighbor girl and her five-year-old friend asked to play with Kyle while I visited with the older sister. Kyle’s favorite people are kids, so he was in his glory. Eventually I taught them how to play tug and Kyle got a good amount of play time in. When it was time for them to leave, I told my little neighbor that she is welcome back to play any time she can see me and Kyle through the front window.

She took me up on my offer and came back twice last night. My young friend even helped me carry in my groceries so that I could hurry up and get Kyle out to play. I love my new neighbors and neighborhood! Kyle is going to get plenty of attention here.

To add to Kyle’s socialization, two of my college friends, and their three daughters (ages 6, 4, and 2) got here at 11:00 last night. They are on a trip to visit grandpa and made a half day stop to visit me and meet Kyle. They don’t have a dog, so at first the girls were scared of Kyle. However, before they went to bed the two oldest, H and E, were cuddling Kyle on his dog bed.

Kyle had breakfast before any of the kids came downstairs. When he saw them, he was ready to play for the day. However, his barks sent them running with hands over their ears. H, the six-year-old told, me that I really need to teach him to be quiet. You’ve got to love children’s wisdom. Anybody out there have any ideas how to teach a dog not to bark for attention when he is on a tiedown?

After I reassured the girls that Kyle was just saying good morning, the girls clamored for his attention. He was one well loved puppy today. They gave him all his toys, played tug, petted him nonstop, helped me measure his lunch, and fed him. They even enthusiastically took him out to do his business and proudly announced that he was peeing.

Kyle was the center of all the day’s activities. The girls wanted to walk Kyle before they headed down the road for their grandpa’s house, so we decided to take a quick hike to a local waterfall. The girls’ energy didn’t hold for the duration of the hike, and with three adults, three kids, and a puppy, there weren’t enough big people arms to carry all the little people. We might not have made it to the waterfall, but we had a great time playing alongside the stream.

(H, Kyle, me, E, my friend, and M standing in front of the stream. If you look closely, you can see sister number four who is due to arrive in September. I love her name—Amanda.)

I am a firm believer that kids and dogs belong together. H proved that once again. She asked to walk Kyle, and since he had his gentle leader on, I decided it would be fine. Boy was it ever! Kyle trotted alongside H like she was the one who always walked him. He even kept a loose leash. I have to admit that I was astounded to watch a six-year-old girl who has rarely been around dogs and a six-month-old puppy work as a team. I adore that girl and my boy!

(H walking Kyle down the trail with a loose leash. I love her red pigtails paired with Kyle’s wagging tail! This is a picture of pure happiness.)

When we stopped for a break, I had to get a front shot of the happy duo. If you look closely, you can see that H is missing some of her baby teeth. We had a great conversation about how she and Kyle are both working on getting adult teeth right now.

(H smiling at the camera while Kyle smiles with his tongue hanging out of his mouth.)

In the entire time my friends and their girls were here, Kyle didn’t try to mouth a single one of them or jump on anyone. I was so proud of him because I really wanted the girls to have a great dog experience. They sure did! In fact, Kyle was such a hit that we are going to visit them on their farm in Idaho in a few weeks.

Never fear, this isn’t the end of the chain of company. Why was I worried about getting Kyle help with house manners again? Next weekend I will be hosting one of my sisters and possibly my mom and grandma. I love visitors, and so does Kyle!

On a side note, I took Kyle to the vet yesterday. He now weighs 42.2 pounds. That means he gained 5.1 pounds in 19 days. The Tylan powder and change in dog food along with adolescence are definitely working to make him a big boy!


  1. Wow Kyle's been busy!! :) His reaction too the turtle sounds exactly like something Pompei would have done! Wussy boys! :))

  2. Freya used to be real noisey when she was on a tie down and wanted to play. My leader told me to just ignore her. If she was quiet for 5 seconds I could pet her and tell her she was a good girl then go back. If she started to whine again I would turn my back and ignore her completely. Once she got the hang of being quiet for 5 seconds she had to be quiet for 10 seconds, then 15, then 20, and so on. It worked for her, but some dogs are a lot more stubborn. We ended up having to put a cintronella collar on Rocco because he would scream and scream no matter what happened. And corrections with a long dragline didn't work and he began to like the smell of listarine. :)

  3. Kyle's such a pretty boy!
    He's about twice the weight of Rudy! (Rudy weighed in at 21 pounds last week!).

    Love the photos :)

    Rudy's Raiser

  4. Kyle has such expressive body language! I can SEE what he's thinking in these pictures. All this interaction with big people, little people, & pets will help to make him a great companion someday.
    Congratulations, Kyle, on your growth spurt and new teeth. You're such a Big Boy now!