A friend of mine knew how desperately we wanted a dog and she also knew of a friend that was looking to rehome one of her young dogs, and kindly put us in touch with each other and last Friday we went over to meet young Dixie. We were allowed to bring her home on the condition if it does not work out for any reason now or in the future we have to take her back to the lady that was nice enough to let us have her.
So on Friday we drove over to the farm to meet Dixie. She was bred by the people who owned her and so they knew her history and we knew she was a pedigree Jack Russell and so we seriously hoped that I would be fine with her. I know we normally only go for rescue dogs but this was too good an opportunity to pass up. After hubby had spent time cuddling Dixie's gran who he wanted to smuggle home as well as Dixie, and we met her mum who had more pups three weeks ago, we headed home with Dixie.
Friday ( Day 1)
We got Dixie home and let her out the back door to have a snoke around, we have a fully fenced in garden so we knew she would be safe. We then let her explore the house and we left her to wander around downstairs as she felt like it. This is all very strange to her as she has only ever known the farm she was born into, has always had other dogs around her as well as children. She has never walked on a lead as she has never needed to and she is not use to roads and traffic either.
She attached herself to hubby and followed him everywhere, did not leave his side. She did not eat or drink much and was reluctant to go into the garden, so we coaxed her with pieces of cooked chicken. She did dirty at the top of the stairs before bedtime but we had expected accidents so was not surprised by that.
We tied getting her to sleep by herself but she did not settle so hubby spent the night with her, she is not use to being alone and it is all very strange to her.
She is the most gorgeous shade of brown, with a wee brown nose and hazel coloured eyes.
Saturday ( Day 2)
So we now have a bed in the living room for her near the heater, a cushion behind the couch in case she wants to go out of the way, one in the computer/sewing/ironing room up the stairs as well as a cushion in the dog cage that is in our bedroom, the door stays open on the cage. We like a dog to be comfortable going in and out a cage in case they need to go in it for some reason.
She still not eating much, but that does not matter. She is drinking water so cant expect much else.
We weighed her to keep an eye on her weight to make sure she is not being overfed and putting on weight.
We have a rule in this house any dog we have is not allowed to scrounge and is expected to go in their bed while we eat. Now this training has to start somewhere, so today I have been encouraging Dixie into her bed by calling her into it, rewarding her with a piece of cooked chicken and saying "bed" when she gets in. It is the only way she will learn the word bed.
I have also been teaching her to come to my call by calling her through the kitchen and when she comes rewarding her with a piece of chicken again. I feel dogs learn well by reward. The same with getting her to go down to the bottom of the garden, reward reward reward.
We have had two small accidents in the house today but again less than we expected
Sunday ( Day 3)
Had another No2 on the top landing, none in the garden off of her so far. Hubby has picked them up and put them down the bottom of the garden where we want her to go.
Today I went and bought her a harness. I am not a lover of walking a dog on a collar. The idea is to build up to her having it on it the house so that she feels comfortable with it before we attach a lead.
First of all she was for none of it, not wanting to walk with the harness on at all. So I went through to the kitchen and shouted her through, she has learnt if I call her from the kitchen she gets chicken, so through she came.
Also bought her some treats, Pets at home do a pick and mix dog biscuit selection, a great way to see what she likes and what she doesn't before I buy big bags of things.
Later on we did the same but with her on the lead and hubby holding it. She is doing really well indoors,
Still does not leave hubbys side and if he moves anywhere she is right beside him. We need to get use to having a dog again and she is so small need to look before we turn round. She is also well matched colour wise to the hall and stair carpet so need to be aware where she is.
Eating well today, Ate all her breakfast her tea and pieces of chicken. Have cut her meal size down to allow for the treats she is getting.
Monday ( Day 3)
Have to laugh at her when she barks, she does a wee low growl and then gives the short high pitched bark, quite comical really.
Today she met the dog next door (Layla) , she has seen her through the fence a few times and not really bothered with her overly much. Hubby opened the gate between the two gardens and let them meet. They had a sniff at each other and pretty much ignored each other. Dixie went for a nose round next doors house and Layla came into our garden,
This afternoon we thought we would see how well she might walk on her lead, was not fussy if we only got a s far as next door or along the end of the road, but no she happily walked on the lead, sniffing and smelling everywhere. But it was all about getting her out and introducing her to a new experience. She managed fab, took us about 15 mins to get round the block, a walk you could do in about 3, but nothing much seemed to phase her, she ignored the other dogs, not overly keen on walking through the front door when we got back.
She did her No2 down the bottom of the garden where we want her to go today, brilliant step forward. She is also getting quite good at taking herself away while we eat, today it is on the other couch, but we can live with that. Really a quick learner.
Still right behind hubby where ever he goes.
Tuesday ( Day4)
Today we had snow, did not seem to bother her and she was quite happy to go out in it.
Also been taking herself off to day to lie in her bed/on the couch but not on top of hubby all the time. Another great step forward, we expected these stages to take much longer.
She was great at going into her bed while we were eating. Did not stay there the whole time we ate but did not scrounge. Really pleased with her progress. She is learning like our last dog that once we have finished eating and put our forks down she gets shouted across and gets a reward off our plate. Then they know when feeding time is over and that they can come out of their bed.
Her character is starting to come out now. She is playing with her teddy and her tug toy I got her. She is a wee monkey for picking things up. Hubby was getting socks out of his drawer and she put her front feet on the drawer and picked out a pair of socks, took them away and dropped them. She also picked up hubbys glasses and took them into her bed.. While hubby was ironing she spent ages snuffling around the shoe cupboard upstairs.
Wednesday (Day 5)
I had to nip into town with DD1 so Bob came up here to stay with Granddad. She was not happy she woof and yelp and went seriously nutty. Wasn't aggressive or anything but seriously unhappy about him being in the house. He is the first visitor we have had since we got her so it may be at the moment she just feels uncomfortable with other people. Hubby put her in her cage behind the couch and she quietened down when she could not see him but started barking at him again from a distance. We will need to work on having visitors in.
We also appreciate that she has come into heat this week which is a hard time for any dog, but for one that has such upheaval we feel she is doing amazingly. We know it is the wrong time to be trying to teach her new things so still a slowly slowly approach.
We went for a walk around the block again. She is not keen on cars passing her but the noise of the snow might not be helping that.
Today she went into her bed without being told to when hubby came through with his lunch in his hand. She has learnt this really quick. She also stayed there the whole time he ate, and then gets shouted out and rewarded. Really pleased.
She also stayed in her own bed in our bedroom last night and I only had to say to her a few times to go back, she cant quite manage up on our bed unaided in the dark so slides down while trying to get up.
We registered her with the vet today.Her behaviour was brilliant, proves she likes people, just not them in her new house at the moment. Also have her on pet insurance for her as well. Same company as last time, did not even look for another company as can not fault the level of service we got.
Took her for a walk while we were at the vet so somewhere a bit different than round the block. Many more walks to come in many more areas over the years.
Got the eldest granddaughter to visit to see if she would be the same, and yes she was, at the moment it really unnerves her.
I spent some time on the phone last night to her previous owner as I had videoed her distress and barking. She agrees it is a guarding instinct and not aggression.
Another peaceful night with her.
This morning I see her again settling in. Normally when hubby leaves the room she wants to go with him. Today he has left her while he goes to wash the dishes and she has settled for some of the time he is not in the room. All small steps in the right direction.
She plays chase with the ball now, not bringing it back, picks it up and runs to her bed with it, and we are firm believers a dogs bed is a safe place so we do not go and take it back.
I am going to be working on the guarding behaviour over the next few days and weeks. I plan to
start by taking Dixie down to their house when the three younger ones are in bed and seeing how she copes with them in their own house so she gets to know them. Once she is comfortable with them and I will get them to come for a walk with me and the dog talking as we are going and her getting to trust them. Once we have done this a few times then I will meet them for a walk and bring them back here with us and see how she fairs with them then.
I am sure a lot of this will calm down with time and once she has finished being on heat. One step at a time for her.
Lots more updates to come.