It’s been just over five months since Kyber broke his leg. He was four months old then. Hadn’t been with me for much longer than a month. He’s been on restrictions longer than he’s been alive. We finally got the okay from our physical therapist that he can resume normal activity. He’s not 100% yet; his pelvis seems a bit locked so we have an appointment with a chiropractor to work on that and see if we can’t get it moving properly again. Once that is remedied, we can work on more strength exercises. At least I can let him be a puppy again. Finally.
Now that he’s been more than a “puppy in a box,” I’ve been able to get to know him better. At first, I wasn’t sure I liked what I saw! He was an absolute maniac. Letting him loose in the house was like pulling the plunger back on a pinball game. He was racing all over the place and bouncing off of things. He’d been like that as a puppy, too, but it was much less dangerous when he was only 15 lbs. I still had to restrict him slightly even as I allowed him more freedom. We slowly worked up to longer and longer walks. Plus he had physical therapy exercises to work on. Eventually, he earned freedom in the yard and got to start running. The more activity he was allowed to do, the less crazy he was in the house.
Granted, he’s a 9 month old puppy. He can’t settle down well in the house (he will lay down and chew on something or briefly snuggle up on the couch but he doesn’t sleep). But he doesn’t get into too much mischief and he’s getting better about not obnoxiously swatting Kyu in the head constantly. (Kyu does not approve of this gesture.) I can actually have him loose in the living room and watch TV without having to divert my attention from my show for long periods of time. It’s been nice.
I’m also getting to know who he is as a dog. Firstly, he’s very easily stimulated by stuff he sees. This is, of course, unsurprising. He’s a border collie x whippet! Sometimes I feel like he just wants to go on a walk to watch things. All the things. MUST SEE STUFF! He’s getting better at least. But I’ve felt like he’s training for weight pull on most walks the way he pulls as he seeks visual stimulation. Something to fixate on.
He’s also incredibly smart. Sometimes to the detriment of my goals. LOL He’s a great problem solver. Leash looped across his shoulders? He’ll just duck his head under it. Object in the way? He’ll just step over it (this is a big challenge in doing his PT!). He’s very easily distracted, though. I need to remember to keep sessions really short and minimize things that might pull his attention away from the task. He also tends to have a low frustration tolerance which requires me to make sure I’m very clear working with him. He gets a little mouthy if he’s not sure how to get his cookie. He’s also a bit sensitive and can disengage if I’m getting a little frustrated with him (though not nearly to the extent Kyu can be).
Despite our relative distance during his recovery, he still seems to think I’m sort of cool. I’ve tossed treats in the yard for him to find and then walked away–he races to me with so much gusto he often chokes on his cookie as he gets to me. In the woods, though, I’m pretty sure he’d rather just take off into the trees and disappear. Given the past two years, I can understand that desire. I’d like to assume he’d come back to find me but, until I’m certain he will, he’s on a leash!
He’s also a total goober. His most-used nickname is “Big Dumb Puppy.” Just because he’s just this big, silly goof. I love that about him.
It’s been challenging and it’ll still be for a while. We lost a lot of relationship-building time. And it’s a little harder to manage some things with a 35 lb “dog” versus a wee little puppy. But we’ll get there. He’s a good egg.