Day #8 of Conditioning Month
Jasper has a little metal bone-shaped name tag with his name and a mobile phone number on the back, along with his Dubai Municipality tag – which is basically his dog license – which dangle from his collar but make no noise at all. That’s mostly because of all the fluff that’s also around Jasper’s neck, which tends to muffle things pretty well.
Nacho also has a name tag. His is shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head (I don’t know why) and also has his name, but has somebody else’s mobile number. We’ll get him a new one soon. He also has a funny little metal bone on his collar too, and when he moves around the entire assemblage jingles like one of Santa’s reindeer.
This is actually quite a good thing, because I can hear him wherever he is in the house and know whether he’s active or not, or whether he’s coming my way. When he first arrived with us this was really useful just to find him, because he’d be away hiding so much of the time. These days he doesn’t hide so much, but he still jumps up at the tiniest sound. He also follows me everywhere – which is the biggest bone of contention (hey…that was a doggie joke!) in the house, because with the rest of the family away I am the only source of attention for two attention seeking animals…and there’s only so much of me to go around!!
Over the last couple of days I’ve noticed that Nacho is managing to venture around and do his own thing a lot more than usual. I hear the jingling from the next room or another part of the house, so I know he’s doing something, but as soon as I move to go find out what it is, he hears me and comes running – then just stands and stares at me like it’s walk time or meal time or scratch under the chin time (and ANY time is scratch under the chin time in Nacho’s day planner).
But finally today – when I managed to persuade both Nacho and Jasper that I was actually asleep on the couch and hence ‘not really there’ – I got to see Nacho playing for the first time! Ok, he was playing on his own, but he was definitely playing. He had one of Jasper’s old rawhide bones and was batting it with his foot then prancing around it like it was going to run away. Then he’d spin around with his tail wagging and have a scratch, then do it again. This went on for a minute or so before he noticed I was watching him, then he got all embarrassed and came over to me for a chin scratch. This is huge progress. It’s the first sign that buried underneath all that neurosis and fear there actually is a dog personality that’s dieing to get out.
One week down. Three to go.