I am a clever girl. That’s what my foster mum tells me. I have learned so much in this short time living in a home. My housetraining is going well and now mum doesn’t need to take me out at night anymore. I can hold if for 7-8 hours. We’re going to try longer tonight. I am also very good at hide and seek games and fetching. I am very playful with both people and dogs but I can also settle down and play quietly with my toys. If there is somewhere I can bury them I will. My foster mum says whoever adopts me has to exercise me both physically and mentally. I am just too smart to be left idle. I need a job and something to do. Yesterday I learned a new game. My foster mum got me a dog intelligence toy. I have to sniff out the treat and take the cover off to get it. I got it right first time. Mum will have to think of harder games to play with me. I went for a nice run off leash with Mum and Max. It was great fun, got to climb some rocks, run through puddles and play fetch and chase with Max. I am a happy dog.
Days Four, Five and Six
I just enjoyed my first weekend. In the shelter all days are equally great, I have a great routine, I am fed, walked, trained and played with every day. I enjoy the company of my kennel mate and my handlers who spoil me with hugs and belly rubs. In the outside world, not every day is the same. There are two special days every week called the weekend. During these days mum and dad don't work and my brother is home all day. Mum says she actually works the hardest these days! I don't know about all that. All I know is weekends means extra cuddles, longer walks, lots of fun games and if I am lucky I may even get a peanut butter pancake again. Heaven!
Did I already tell you how much I love food? Oh man! I love a treat. I'm not fussy I'll eat pretty much anything. Mum says that makes me easy to train. I'll do anything for a snack. I already sit on command. I sit before entering and leaving the house. I sit for my food. I sit to have my leash put on and taken off. And I sit before I get my toy. Damn.... I let mum in on a secret. I may love toys even more than food. So now she says I have train without treats, only toys. My toy and a game will be a reward at the end. Bugger! I wanted the treats as well. I thought if I pretend for long enough that I only know sit and ignore all the other commands, she will eventually give up and bring out the treats. Then I'll immediately remember how to do them all. Didn't work. I guess it's true what parents say to their kids. "You can't fool me. I invented that lie. I know every trick in the book".
I am also convinced my mum has some kind of super sense of smell. She found the three toys and one bone I buried in the garden. I don't know how she did it because her nose didn't hit the ground once! I am so confused. I have to figure out how she did it.
I seem to have mum baffled too. Her jaw dropped when I came in the house with an old bone this morning. She sat down with me almost in tears and told me a story. More than two years ago she had a German Shepard cross just like me, her name was Bukha. She was a digger like me too. Mum bought these special bones for her. Max was never a fan of them. Bukha would take these bones and hide them in the garden then come and steal Max's bone and eat his. When she was bored she would dig up her bones again and eat them. Bukha died two years ago from cancer. Today I dug up her bone and lay down to enjoy it. Thanks Bukha for keeping that bone hidden for me. Mum says you must have known a dog just as smart as you were would come along to find it.
I am starting to get used to home life. It's nice having a family of my own. Mum says the most important thing in any relationship is trust, not just for humans but for humans and dogs too. Once my mum fully trusts me I will get more privileges. And once I trust my family I will be an even more confident and loyal dog. My mum puts me in my crate or outside (weather permitting) when she is out. This is not a punishment. My mum is helping me to not make mistakes. If I don't make mistakes then my experience in my new home is purely positive. Once I learn how to behave in my new environment I will be allowed to be left unsupervised. She says that even when my human brother was small and she had to do something he would be left safe in his cot like I am in my crate. He would get his toys in there too just like I get in mine.
Luckily for me my brother was at nursery yesterday so my mum had a lot of free time to supervise me. If she wasn't using one of the rooms she would close the door so she could always see where I am. We spent most of the day in the living room, bedroom and kitchen. I now know that human like to hide their things just like dogs. Except they don't bury them in the garden, they have things called cupboards and drawers. They look very complicated. Surely it's easier to dig a hole in the garden. We spent a lot of time watching TV too. I'd never seen one of those at the shelter. Mum said we were actually not just watching tv but actually training. She was making me practice how to be calm and relaxed. TV time is time when the dogs need to lie down on the rug, eat their bones, play with their toys quietly or sleep. After some initial fidgeting I settled down with my bone. I made her proud. She said she wished my human brother could sit still and watch tv as calmly as I do. Maybe once I get the hang of this I can teach him. I'll try.
When my brother came home, he, mum, Max and I spent time in the kitchen. Mum was making dinner and I remained very calm and didn't even try to sniff out the chicken like Max. When dad came home he said I was right to be sat in awe. He said watching mum cook is like watching a solar an eclipse. You may only witness it once in your lifetime. At dinner time I was asked to practice being calm and lay down while my brother ate. I was perfect. I even helped mum Hoover up the crumbs.
I got to walk with my whole family again. After some fetching and running around it was time for bed. I settled into my crate nicely and slept sound. At midnight
my mum was half awake thinking it's about time for my toilet break. I was trying to be helpful and let myself out so that she could sleep. I only managed to get my foot stuck in the door and let out a great yelp. Mum and dad rushed to get me out. Even Max ran barking to save me. I knew he liked me really. I limped outside in a panic and almost wet my pants (figuratively speaking). I quickly relieved myself and went back inside. Except this time I asked to sleep with mum and dad. I was allowed to sleep in their bathroom. Mum said it's only for tonight. If she had all us kids in her rooms with every accident, bad dream or illness she would never get a decent night's sleep. Tomorrow
I will have to be brave and sleep alone again, just like Max and my brother do. As mum said, it's all about trust. I know now my family will come to get me if I am in trouble, I know they won't let me sit in my poo, I know they will feed me, water me, exercise me, protect me and cuddle me. It will take a while to really understand that but like I told you, I am getting used to this family life. I know it's just my foster family but it's mine for now and one day, I'll have my forever home.
Ermmm I am not sure what to tell you about my second day. I kind of wish I could just delete it from my memory and pretend like it never happened but mum says that we should always be honest and admit our mistakes. There is no point pretending like it is rosy all the time. We need to take the bad with the good. I am trying to be honest here so please don’t judge me.
My name is Diva and I am a digger. I can’t really recall back to when I started this habit but it’s there. If I have someone with me to guide me and tell me when to stop I can immediately stop the urge but left alone I can be quite destructive. I am lucky my foster parents have a sense of humour as if I am left alone I also like to chew the plants. It’s hard being alone, even Max ignores me most of the time. The place is so new and interesting I just want to smell and taste everything. It will take me some time and support and a great deal of understanding but I will kick this habit.
The rest of the day went pretty well. I had a nice long walk in the morning and evening, ate all my food, went to the toilet when asked. Once or twice when not asked in the garden. I was very good in the house. I had a nap in my crate. I chilled out with mum and dad and Max in the living room. Well they chilled out while my brother slept. I took it upon myself to sniff every inch of every piece of furniture and rug. Mum says I fidget too much. I call that being on patrol. You’re welcome!
I got another new toy. I showed my mum how great I am at fetching. I got the toy every time and dropped it in front of her every time, wagging my tail for more. I even impressed dad who said he’s been trying to get Max to do it that perfectly for years. I felt proud. My foster parents were so happy they decided to challenge me some more. They started to hide my toy behind and under furniture and ask me to find and seek. That was hard work. I really had to think about it and use all my senses. But guess what? I found it five out of five times. I was told I am a star. I still think I am a puppy but OK.
Max was getting rather jealous so my family took him out for an hour so he could get some one-on-one attention. I settled into my crate and was fine at first, then I started to feel unwell and had quite an accident; lots of diarrhoea in my crate which I hated. I tried to stay in one corner away from it. Luckily my parents were back very soon after to get me out. I got another walk and toilet break and a nice wash. My crate was washed and sanitised nicely for me. It smelled great again. I slept in it all night with just one toilet break needed. In the morning I had a bad tummy again. We went to see the vet and he said I am OK. It’s probably just all the nerves. All those chewed up leaves probably didn’t help either. Mum says I’ll be just fine. I think so too. I am just a bit of a Diva.
I met my new foster brother Max at the shelter for the first time. I have seen him hanging around before but he never came to sniff me until yesterday. He's got a reputation for being a moody dog. Although I have been known to be extremely energetic and bouncy I was very good and gave him his space. I want him to like me. After a lot of sniffing and a long walk we both got into the car and drove to my foster home.
As soon as we arrived Max plonked himself on the rug in the middle of the living room and let me know he was the king of this castle. I was so excited I gave him a lick and continued
to sniff around the house. Lots of comfy bedding and furniture to jump and lie on but mum says that's not allowed. "Four feet on the ground" she says. That's the most important rule I have to follow. This new place is so interesting. Lots of new smells. I could already tell I would be meeting some more people. I was really great at meeting my foster dad. I immediately got the same vibe I got with Max. So I knew I had to be on my best behaviour and I was. I have a human brother too! I was very friendly with him and gave him so many licks that made him giggle. I did get a little over excited, I couldn't help it, it's all so new. Mum says I must be calmer with my two year old brother as he is so much smaller than me. I don't know what she means. I am still a puppy myself... I will try anyway cos he seems like he could be great fun too.
After our walk it was time for bed. I got my blanket, water and my toys in my crate (more fun thing happen in the crate,) and I went to sleep. I have to be in a crate so I can be housetrained easily. At night my mum came to get me out for a toilet break. After a lot of circling I finally found the place that will be my toileting area. In the morning I was taken to the same place and I immediately knew this is my spot. I think I can get the hang of this quickly. I didn't cry, bark or whine all night. I know dark means bedtime from the shelter and my wise two year old brother said the same thing. "Sun is sleeping. Moon come. Goodnight Diva. See you tomorrow"