Today I finally got around to painting the door that has A.J.’s dog door in it. (Yes, it’s been two months since the door was put in. What’s your point?) I taped around the door and then wandered back and forth between the patio and the garage to get paint, brushes, drop cloths, etc. A.J. was following me every step of the way, until the last trip. “Wow, he must have gotten tired of going back and forth and decided to just settle down in the backyard.” Wrong. A.J. decided to help:
July 31, 2015
Today was the toughest A.J. day we’ve had in a while. Greg and I went for a bike ride. Before we left we did our usual house check, making sure sure the counter tops were clear and the garbage cans put away. I gave A.J. a treat, and we left. I forgot my sunglasses and had to go back in. I don’t like to do that, I don’t want to stress or excite A.J. by coming right back and leaving again, but I needed my sunglasses. So I came in, grabbed my sunglasses, gave A.J. another treat, and we left.
When we got back I heard A.J. outside when I was pulling into the garage. I put my bike away and went into the house, and A.J. still hadn’t come in. That’s when I noticed the mess in middle of the living room floor. I had left half a granola bar in the front pocket of my backpack, then left my backpack where A.J. could get to it. The backpack had been there for two days without incident, but today A.J. decided breakfast and two treats wasn’t enough, he needed the granola bar. He completely destroyed the pocket of my backpack getting to it. I liked that backpack.
The temperature reached the upper 90s today. Because the high temperatures of the day don’t hit until 6 or 7 PM, A.J. doesn’t get an evening walk on these days. So to try to keep him from going crazy I took him out into the shade and tried to work with him on some of his tricks and commands. He wasn’t doing nearly as well as usual, so I stopped and threw his tennis ball into his pool a few times to cool him off. We tried the tricks again, and he did a little better. Then I put him in a “Stay,” which he’s always really good with. I had put some treats on the ground that he could get when I released him to go over a small jump. But I left him in his stay for a few seconds and instead of having him jump right away I started to sit down. A.J. got up and went and got the treats. He hasn’t broken a Stay in ages.
So we did a 10 minutes Stay. It was going to be three minutes, but he broke it twice and we had to start over.
Definitely not one of A.J.’s best days. We’re going on a longer bike ride tomorrow, hopefully he manages to stay out of trouble for a few hours.
December 26, 2013
Yesterday was A.J.’s first Christmas with us, and he made the most of it. His morning started as it always does: going out early, coming in and sleeping for a little while, waking me up again, getting his breakfast. He went in and out while we waited for Dylan, my adult step-son who was visiting for the holidays, to get up.
A.J. got pretty interested when we started opening presents, so I gave him one of his. That kept him busy while we got about halfway through ours. When he got curious again I opened another present for him, and he stayed busy the rest of the time we were opening gifts.
When we were done, Continue reading “A.J.’s First Christmas”
Note, July 17, 2015: As you’ll see in this journal entry, bringing a crazy dog into the family can be tough on everyone. Especially when a family member wasn’t exactly thrilled about the idea of bringing a dog home in the first place. But here’s a spoiler alert for things to come: today everyone loves A.J. We just needed to get through some growing pains.
December 18, 2013
The last two and a half weeks have been a roller coaster. Thanksgiving Day I was ready to give A.J. away. I felt like I was completely failing him, not getting through to him, and not connecting with him at all. I was miserable.
Before our Reactive Dog class on Sunday, December 1, Mary sent out an email about the weather. I replied to her, letting her know that we had a horrible week, and if A.J. acted up again I’d be leaving so we didn’t disrupt the class.
When we got to class, Continue reading “We Finally Turn a Corner”
November 16, 2013
Note: If you’ve been reading any of these past posts, you might have realized by now that taking care of A.J. is exhausting. He needs a ton of exercise, but because of his leash aggression issues every walk is a huge and stressful chore. So on this day, I decided to take the day off from being A.J.’s dog mom. This is how it went:
We woke up to snow covering the ground. It turns out A.J. loves the snow. He went outside and sniffed around the edge of the snow on the patio, then the next thing I know he’s tearing around the yard. He dug his Kong out of the snow and ran around the yard with it in his mouth.
I did some volunteer work in the morning, so I fed A.J. early and left. Greg stayed home, and told me later A.J. was pretty needy and demanding all morning. I got home around lunchtime and A.J. was more than ready to get out. I mentioned that I needed a day off and Greg said “I’ll take him out.” Continue reading “My Day Off”
November 14, 2013
Since A.J. has had kennel cough and hasn’t been able to go to day camp we’ve been going to the park every day this week. We had quite the adventure yesterday. We got into the park and stopped. I had him sit, and I switched the leash from his harness to his collar. I stood up and said “Look at me.” A.J. looked right at me. I said “OK!” Next thing I know I’m skidding across the grass landing face-first, and A.J. is running free through the park. Continue reading “Still Lots of Issues”
September 9, 2013
A.J. had a good early morning. Now he’s crazy.
He woke me up around 6:15. I got up and let him out, waited 5 minutes, then let him in again. He laid down on his bed and went back to sleep. (Well, he didn’t go right to sleep. His foot still hasn’t healed, so I put his sock on him the night before. It was still dark when I let him out so I didn’t notice the sock had fallen off. So he spent a long time when he came in licking at his foot. Then he went back to sleep.) He stayed put until almost 7:30. I was so glad to have that little bit of extra sleep. Unfortunately that caused me to run into a time of day where the sidewalks and the parking lot I use to walk A.J. are pretty busy. So I decided to take the morning off (hence the “now he’s crazy” part of this blog intro). Continue reading “No Such Thing As a Day Off”
September 2, 2013
Sky left this morning. It was a rough weekend for A.J.
The two dogs had come to a pretty peaceful existence. A.J. occasionally tried to play, Sky of course would have none of it. We left them alone together several times and while they both obviously spent their time on the sofas everything was intact when we returned.
Until Sunday night. Continue reading “A Little Too Much Excitement”
August 5, 2013
We’re well into week 2 of A.J. He’s actually coming along pretty well. We left him yesterday for 2 hours and he tore apart a Kleenex box and knocked over a plastic cup of water that was on the kitchen table. Not great, but not bad. Continue reading “Behavior Issues”
August 2, 2013
A.J. was up at 6 AM today, but when I took him out he just laid down on the patio. So we went back in and slept until 7:00. At 7:00 we got up and went for a short walk. Then we came in and I read the paper and ate breakfast while Greg went for a bike ride.
Everyone who’s spent any time around children knows that when things get quiet you should worry. The same rule applies to dogs. Continue reading “Week One Comes to a Close”