For two weeks, Kronos’s brother, Axle, came and stayed with us. His parents went out of town to see their family and their youngest canid needed some pups to keep him entertained. Terra was more than up to the challenge, and her and Axle became quick play mates. They are about the same size which is really nice, because Axle could hold his own and wasn’t easily flipped by Terra like Kronos always is.
Axle joined in our daily events and it took him awhile to warm up. First, note that this litter is extremely special-though to which degree of special has yet to be seen. They are very skittish of strangers, a little fearful in general, sometimes a little wild acting, and unsure of new situations. Axle would growl and freak out when I came out of the shower and had my hair drying up in a turban or if I emerged from the room with a different hairstyle or outfit-clearly I was an alien or a totally different human who he didn’t know. And anything new in the environment (like the hydrogen peroxide bottle I brought out and left on the floor while I was using it, the laundry I carried around, or even the cases with photo equipment) made Axle tuck his tail, run around, and growl uncomfortably. So for him to be in a totally new situation in itself was unnerving for him, though we did have the benefit of having met and hung out before he came to stay. The first time I met Axle after the day he was adopted as a pup, he wouldn’t let me touch him, though he did take a few treats from me. It took a few meetings for him to begin to accept me and briefly pet him.
The first time I tried to put a prop over his head, he ran away. But after seeing that everyone else was getting treats for it, he decided he wanted to try. Axle was even convinced to pose for a few photos on a scary moving piece of paper with a bright light! He tried out a toy puzzle and quickly figured out how to roll it around to disperse kibble and he thought that was fun. We worked on a few tricks like sitting up, bow, and shake (soft tricks compared to the structured obedience and freestyle work his dad and him do). And he did the Agility tunnel and jump a few times. He even put his front feet on the wobble board on his own after a few tries. When we set up a weave pole as a fake jump, at first Axle did not want to play. But again, after seeing the other dogs demonstrate how fun it is and that there was the added bonus of getting treats, he wanted in!
After awhile Axle learned to relax and that nothing bad happened when something new appeared or came around, and by the end of his time with us, he had stopped growling at my post shower attire (I fed dinner a few times while wearing it). He even jumped up in the bed with us in the morning to cuddle.
When Axle’s parents came to pick him up, Kronos went home with them for a week for some socialization. Axle’s dad is an ex-military canine trainer and handler, so he knows a lot about dogs. Kronos has had some unpleasant experiences with men and is definitely more afraid of them than women, so it will be wonderful for him to learn to trust men from a truly dog savvy guy. He can also be a bit of a brat sometimes and will do invisible ninja nibbles or very subtle bites (many times I miss them until his sisters tell him off for it). He respects his sisters because they tell him that is rude. However, he still hasn’t quite learned from other dogs that is socially unacceptable. Axle is very respectful of other dogs and has learned well from his two sisters, so hopefully they will help instill those social manners in Kronos as well. After Bella got bit by another dog with poor canine social skills (they were sniffing one second, and Bella yelped the next, though that dog is incredibly friendly with people), I didn’t want Kronos to continue to have bad interaction skills like that dog (he nipped one of Axle’s sisters on the shoulder when she came to visit though I missed that interaction). It is incredibly quiet and peaceful around here without the two crazy boys and having someone nudge me and poke me constantly when I’m walking around. It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a village to socialize a dog.
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