24 June

Gus Loves To Walk With Us

by Jon Katz
Gus Loves To Walk With Us

It was easy to teach Gus to “come,” since he loves to come to people, all we had to do was put a name on it. He loves to walk with me or Maria, we walked all around the pasture, past the donkeys (he keeps his distance) and around the fences. He walks well on a leash and loves to walk alongside of us around the farm and grounds. Maria is great at positive reinforcement, it is her natural gear. This time, she is much more actively involved in training, and that is good for Gus (me too.)

I am still shocked at how big a personality such a tiny creature can possess.

24 June

Gus At The Round House: Had I But Known…

by Jon Katz
Gus At The Round House

Had I but known how much women love puppies when I was a teenager, I would not have spent nearly so many nights alone listening to Buddy Holly and feeding my tropical fish.  I would have  bought a puppy.

We walked by the Round House Cafe this morning, and the staff – Hosannah, Quinne and Lindsay – came charging out to see Gus, they just loved him.

He seemed to love being loved, as do we all. It was just a pleasure to see how happy these very lovely people were to see him, hold him, talk to him. I promised to leave Gus at the cafe sometimes to help socialize him. To be honest, I don’t think he needs much help at being social. But I don’t think he would mind a bit.

24 June

The Wizard Master Tour Resumes: Gus To The Post Office

by Jon Katz
Gus To The Post Office

When we got Gus, one of the first things Maria said was “we have to take him to the Post Office to meet Wendy, she loves animals.” Maria and Wendy, the postal clerk are good friends, and Maria was right. Wendy practically melted away. Gus was happy to meet her. I don’t think socialization will be a big problem.

If you want to lift the spirits of your town and bring joy, get a puppy and march down Main Street. I was the most popular person in town this morning.

24 June

Gus Revealed. First Night. How Dogs Can Find Themselves

by Jon Katz
Gus Revealed

Gus was subdued yesterday, the first day with us, I can see that now. His personality was revealed this morning when he pleaded to get out of his outdoor pen and join the gang. Since he was quiet for a full three minutes, he got his wish.

We had a great first day with Gus in almost every way. I believe he is housebroken after one day, he has gone outside a dozen or so times and runs to the door when he needs to eliminate. Another victory for the crate.

Gus was separated from his mother and siblings yesterday, we put him in his crate, he yowled and screamed for about a half an our, and then gave it up and went to sleep. I let him out at bedtime for me, around 10 p.m., and he walked outside, peed and took a dump. Maria woke up around 3 a.m., as she usually does and took him out and he went again.

He has had no accidents in the crate or in the house, and it’s only been one day, but he clearly waits to go outside, I think we are very close, if not already there. Another victory for the crate, I have not had a dog have an accident in any of our homes for many years.

Once he is housebroken, he will remain in the crate whenever we sleep or leave the house for any length of time. That will go on for several months, at least, until it is clear he has no tradition of jumping in counters or chewing table legs or sofas.

This morning, I thought it was time for him to get to know himself and occupy himself, so I got up early and fed him and took  him outside. I put some toys and water in the pen, and left Fate with him, and went back to bed. He screamed for a few minutes and then chewed on his toys and tossed them around.

For me, there are struggles that simply must be won. If a dog thinks his screams will get him out of his crate, he may never quit.  If he has several accidents in the house, he will have more.

It know it is very difficult for people to put their dogs in crates and turn a deaf ear to their laments, but it is a great gift to them as well as us. He doesn’t need me to bring out his craziness, he needs me to bring out his sanity, his calm.

These are the days when things are imprinted on dogs and become habits and addictions. I need my life and Maria needs her life, and Gus needs to have his life, also, even at so young an age. If he doesn’t  learn it now, he will never learn it, and we do not want a crazy dog unable to settle down or know  himself.

For me, this is a spiritual exercise, not a matter of obedience.

Gus stopped crying after I went inside and I went back upstairs to go back to sleep, read and talk to Maria. Saturday mornings are special time for us, I am not giving them up for any dog. It’s a dignity question, I do my part, they have a part to do as well We respect one another.

When I looked out of the window, Gus was playing and tossing his toys around or sitting and staring at the sheep. So he had a night by himself and couple of hours this morning by himself.

This may be the most important element of my training, helping the dog to know himself, it is the essence of calming training. That is, living with a dog who respects your dignity and space. When I let  Gus out of the pen, I brought him upstairs to see Maria, he was happy to see her, and it was a lovely way for her to wake up, showered with licks. Then back outside with Fate.

When we got up, we walked around the pasture with him, played with him and taught him to “sit,” which he now dies 9 out of 10 times. We took him to the Post Office to meet Wendy, and then to the Round House to see Quinne, Hosannah and Lindsay.  He eliminated outside before we left and when we got back. He is sleeping in his crate as I write this, not complaints at all.

He is beginning to move with Fate and Red when I say “let’s go, dogs,” and Fate is studying him carefully, trying to figure out what he is and how she can push him around. Gus can take care of himself.

I am so pleased he is sleeping in the crate now.  And it allows us to live our lives in peace. I never wish to have a dog I have to shout at all day. Gus is beginning to understand his crate as a safe and restful place. Maria said “good crate!” and tossed some treats in and he ran in happily.

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