***Warning: Very long post ensues.
Yesterday was another puppy outing for Nala, Mr. K, me, Kayla and her raiser. We went back to one of our malls and wandered a circuit around the mall, stopping in the anchor stores to do a bit of turn work with Nala. It took a few reminders from my wonderful walking companions to "slow down." Nala and I seem to have a need for speed because we kept leaving everyone behind. We saw Tenie at her work and told her to join us in the food court when she was done working.
We settled in the food court with some Subway and waited for Tenie. The dogs had been great on our walk around. Kayla is still full of puppy antics and wanted desperately to (play) attack Nala while we were working. Her Mom kept a good handle on her though and Kayla admired Nala's tasty looking jowls from afar. Kayla is a little celebrity and we stopped often to talk to someone or another who was so surprised at how big she's gotten already. Nala sat and waited every time we stopped and when the conversations got too long and boring, Kayla sprawled out on the floor and took a wee nap. For only 3 months old, I think that is pretty impressive. Everyone's behaviour was spot on in the food court as well. Kayla gave her Mom a few good "leave its" and one where cardboard had to be retrieved from the recesses of her puppy mouth, but considering how much stuff is dumped all over the floors in a mall food court, I think both girls did a great job. Once seated at our table, the dogs had a bit of water and then settled in for a nap. I don't think Nala really sleeps. I think she lies still and behaves herself, but like a little Black firecracker before her, her eyes are always tracking the goings on around her.
Tenie arrived and we sat still some more. I thought that Kayla would start getting antsy, but once she figured out that Tenie's coat was a cozy sleep spot, she passed right back out again. We sat there chatting for a good two hours and the dogs were great. Even with people stopping and getting in their faces, they handled themselves like pros. A friend from massage college once said that I needed a bulldog and that Mr. K was my bulldog; essentially, he's much better at heading people off before they can start fussing Nala. I've become better at telling people not to interact with my dog and explaining why, but sometimes words fail me if someone swoops in too quickly. If Mr. K is there when those moments of tongue glued to roof of mouth occur, he always sets the record straight about interacting with a working dog.
After our very long, but very enjoyable break, we headed back to Kayla's Mom's car. We had been sitting quite a long time and since water had been had, we had a pee accident; not that Kayla's to blame. We knew that she had napped and that meant pee time, but we just couldn't get to the door fast enough. We talked about how Kayla doesn't give a sign that she has to go yet, or
I just don't see it yet." Her raiser said, while sopping up the mess.
Both Mr. K and I started talking at once about how puppies at that age aren't physiologically able to hold it yet. They don't have the muscle strength. It's like a little kid: one minute they don't have to go, but a few minutes later they have to go so badly that they may burst. To Kayla's credit, the few accidents she has had, she's managed to hold it until we were near a garbage bin. So, disposal of cleaned up mess was quick and easy.
After her little, or not so little nap, Kayla was raring to go. Actually so was Nala. In the car, Kayla was a little monkey. She was determined that she would most certainly play with Nala now. However, she had to wait. She had no idea that when we left the mall she was not going home, but instead she was coming over to our fur filled, crazy house.
I have to say that the baby gate we've installed in the living room doorway was one of the best purchases we've ever made. It keeps the dogs left at home back from the door so that we can take off winter gear and put any packages down that we may be carrying before being bombarded by excited fur babies. Everyone was quiet when we first entered because they didn't know they had a guest. However, once they heard Kayla's Mom's voice and the jingle of Kayla's Leader Dog tag, all Hell broke loose. Again, thankfully the gate kept everyone at bay. Mr. K was de-wintereized first and let everyone out to go to the bathroom in the backyard. I'm not sure they even went, but it gave us enough time to get Kayla into the living room and fasten the gate behind us. Before long Hermione was jumping up and down outside the glass slider and Otis was running on the glass with his front paws; his signal that he wants in. So, we told Kayla's Mom to brace herself and Mr. K let the tidal wave of fur excitedness into the room. Nala had stayed outside, probably because she thought the puppy was old news, but the rest of the crew bounded into the room. At first there was so much paw scrambling and excited dog noises that I had no idea who was where and what was happening. I managed to figure out that Nala was outside and stopped trying to call her to me and instead switched to Roscoe. He came, albeit reluctantly, and Hermione came too. I had them both sit and wait while Kayla and Otis became acquainted. However, Otis was so over excited that he soon had to be removed from the room. He was placed on the other side of the gate to watch Hermione introduce herself next. To be honest, I was surprised by all of my dogs' responses to Kayla.
First of all, Otis is the lover in our household, but he was so over stimulated that he kept trying to play too roughly with Kayla. Poor thing was so overwhelmed that she didn't know what to do with the little squished face dog who kept running full tilt at her. Otis's play privileges were revoked for the time being. Hermione also shocked me. She can be stand offish with other dogs. Since she's been attacked twice by bigger dogs, she often hides or growls rudely. She prefers people and usually growls at other dogs who get into her space, but she did really good with Kayla.
Kayla's Mom sat on the floor and Hermione was quite happy to go up and love on her, despite the excited little bundle of yellow fur. I was pleasantly surprised because normally Hermione would have stayed away from the person to stay away from the dog. That speaks volumes to Kayla as well as to Kayla's Mom's personalities. During the rest of their stay, if Hermione needed her own space she would jump up on to a dining room chair or go under the dining room table. If Kayla came barrelling too quickly into her space, Hermione would give a little warning growl and Kayla would back off. Kayla was a very respectful puppy and a quick learner. They even played a game where Hermione hid under the table and Kayla would play bow and bark at her. Hermione would come out a bit and then retreat back under the table; kind of like a chase game. It was really cute; especially since Kayla is already bigger than Hermione.
Roscoe was another one who surprised me. All of the times that we've had puppies, Roscoe was the indifferent, old man. He didn't want anything to do with the puppies. Even when Hermione was a baby, he was not interested in playing with the little wind-up toyesk thing licking his face and ears. However, the instant he saw Kayla, he flipped over and was rolling around on the floor with her. In fact, he, Nala and Kayla had a grand time wrestling. I was so happy to see him enjoy himself and play with a puppy.
The whole reason Kayla's Mom had come over was because she has tendonitis in her arm. I have been offering to fix her arm for over a week now and so she came over. I'm not sure how relaxing her arm massage was, Labradors/Labrador Golden Retriever crosses battling and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/puppy chase/vocalising, but I hope she got some relief. I couldn't believe how knotted up her forearm was. I definitely have more work to do. I didn't want to make her too sore, so I kept the session short and by that time, everyone was panting with tongues lolling. So, I gave Otis some water off on his own and brought in a giant bowl for everyone else to share. Hermione was, of course, the first to drink; her little royal highness bossing everyone out of her way. After she had her fill, which really isn't all that much since she is so small, the 3 Labragators made quick work of the water bowl. While they drank-bowl placed strategically next to the baby gate- I sat on the other side of the gate with Otis and had him sit over and over again and treated him. He listened very well and it broke some of his fixation on the newcomer. I decided to try him again and we introduced them in our arms. We started off with some space and slowly closed the gap, but Otis was much too intent on Kayla. She was fine with him sniffing her back end, but once put face to face Otis got too excited again. So, Kayla was returned to the floor and I held Otis on my lap, dropping kibble into his mouth every time she came by.
I've never had a dog react this way before and I'm not sure if I handled it correctly; mostly because I was so shocked by the intensity of his arousal level. I would like Kayla to be able to come over more often, if Kayla's Mom wasn't scared off by the crazy antics, but Otis will have to get himself under control. The first step in that is having him neutered. It's something we've talked about for a long time, but have been afraid to do it because of his heart murmur and also because French Bulldogs do not do well with anaesthetic. However, it's time to discuss it with a vet. I think he's healthy enough and his fixation on Jetta and now Kayla tells me he's more than ready. I also think it would be beneficial for him to meet Kayla on his own and not in the house. There was just too much going on which increased his excitement level even more. Maybe we can take them for a walk together or have them interact at the little park just down the street from our house. I've never had problems with him at dog parks with any kind of dog. So, that is part of the reason I think he was over stimulated. He certainly wasn't being aggressive, but he definitely needs to be in a calmer state; both for his own health and to make sure Kayla isn't being traumatised. No offence Mr. French Piggie, but she has a big job ahead of her and you Sir need to get your 'tude under control.
Regardless, all of my dogs slept like rocks last night. Seeing how much Roscoe enjoyed himself and how well Hermione reacted, makes me feel like having a little energy ball over from time to time is a good thing. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and having the little Yellow set of chompers about is helping me with my puppy craving for sure. Not to mention, Kayla's Mom is really enjoyable to be around and it's nice to have good people in your life.