When Annie first came home she was so quiet and guarded that we didn’t hear her bark for the first 2 weeks. One afternoon she noticed someone walking down the alley and let out a couple of deep bellows that led me to believe that she was starting to take ownership of our house and yard.
Over the next couple of months there were a couple of humorous episodes that involved her increased barking. She had been with us for about 2 months when one night she woke us all up by standing at the foot of the bed and barking at us at full volume. She did this 4 nights in a row and we called this her night terrors. I don’t know if she was having nightmares, but we were all terrorized when she did this. Maisie would come flying up on the bed and land on me, my heart would be racing and it would take a few minutes to get everybody to settle back down. Then it stopped. I still don’t know what that was all about!
When it became warm enough to enjoy being outside we introduced Annie to the front porch. It took several tries to get her out there but it has become one of her favorite places. We have a lot of condos and apartments in our neighborhood so there are always a lot of dogs being walked in front of our house. I’ve worked with Maisie to keep her from hanging over the handrail and scaring people as they walk by. She’s pretty good about it but every now and then she jumps up and creates chaos. The first time Annie saw this, she decided to join in as well. Being the old girl that she is, she doesn’t bother with jumping up, but she has a much deeper bark than Maisie and certainly sounds ferocious. Depending on how the dog walking by responds, it’s pretty easy to imagine how quickly this can turn into mayhem. We’ve gone back to the treat jar on the porch and rewards every time they are quiet. It works well and for now anyway, it is peaceful when we are all out there.
Annie is now so joyful and relaxed at home that she talks to us all the time. She howls at me in the morning as she stands at the top of the stairs. I’m pretty sure she is saying, “good morning, I’m hungry”. She barks at me when we are getting ready to get in the car. She loves going places and will stand at the top of the porch steps, bark a few times and then trot up the sidewalk to hop in the car. She barks at the neighbor dogs when she hears them, she barks at the neighbors when they are walking into their houses. I love her voice, I love that she is expressing herself but I don’t love when she barks at my son. He was home all summer and she never got comfortable with him in the house. Every time he and I would try to have a conversation, she would bark, bark, and bark. It’s a reminder that she still has a fear of young men. Hopefully with time that fear will go away.
The one time she doesn’t bark: when she has to go outside and go potty. She’ll just get up and walk towards the door. I’ll look up and see “a bear in the kitchen” and know it’s time. Recently she has started pushing the door open and letting herself out. That’s a big change from choosing to go potty in the front hall where no one could see her. She’s come a long way and she’s a funny girl!