We’ve had some changes recently and Chocolate the collie is now a full time resident and pack member!
To be honest, it was a very easy transition because the dogs were all well aquanted. Chocolate is my mom’s dog. He’s a sweet boy and they have all gotten to know each other well since she moved to the area 3 years ago.
Over the last several months, it was becoming more difficult for my mom to take care of him, so we welcomed him and her both into our house full time a few weeks ago.
Maisie and Winn reacted to him in the same manner they always do, which is pretty much “oh hi, it’s you” and then they went on with whatever they were doing. None of them have dominant tendencies, but they all seem to know where they are in the pecking order. Chocolate is last, he knows it and so do they. There haven’t been any squables and I’m thankful for that.
The transition has been pretty seamless, but we have all noted some differences that are kind of funny.
- I’m used to big heads and big teeth. They don’t scare me and I regularly put my hand in Winn’s mouth to pull out whatever she is trying to hide from me. Hand feeding my newfs has never been an issue for me. Maisie is the most gentle, Winn sometimes gets a little overexcited but she never bites down. Bailey, my first, was the one that needed to constantly be reminded to be gentle. Her nickname was Chompadile, but Chocolate has a pointy mouth and sharp little teeth and we are both having some frustration while he learns what gentle means.
- He has a very inefficient mouth. He spends more time at the water bowl than the other two and there is water everywhere when he is done. Winn slings water around too, but with her, she brings in so much that the excess drips out of her jowls. If she moves her head while this is happening, she leaves a water trail. He doesn’t seem to be able to bring much in, again it’s that pointy snout and mouth, and the water flies around him while he tries to get a drink.
- Chocolate is a stealthy watch dog. He wants to know where I am at all times and he quietly moves with me. I have turned around many times and run into him because he sneaks up behind me. The girls sleep soundly and rarely wake up once they are down for the night. Apparently, Chocolate doesn’t sleep through the night. My son recently told me that he gets freaked out when he is in the kitchen for his 2 am snack and turns to find Chocolate standing and staring at him. I didn’t know he was also keeping tabs on my son!
- His leash manners are terrible. I’ve known this for a while and Mom used a no pull harness with him that worked well for her but I really prefer to have my dogs walk on a loose leash naturally. I’ve worked with him in the past and gotten him trained for Mom but she didn’t really hold him to the same standard so now we are working on it for real. I get funny looks walking the three of them. Winn on the outside left, her leash over my shoulder, Chocolate with a short lead on the inside left by my hip and Maisie on my right. (If Mom is with me, she holds onto my right arm and has Maisie’s leash.) The collie is the one getting most of my attention, the other’s are just out for a stroll. I’ve jokingly said, if I trip and go down, the whole train derails.
- He’s a waddling pooper. He will squat to do his business, but then keeps walking while pooping leaving a trail behind him. I find this very peculiar and I’m not a fan. I have stepped in poop several times on our backyard sidewalk which in all my years of dog ownership is a first!
- He barks. The doorbell and trucks driving by set him off the most. I still get starteled by the increased noise level but we are working on it. He’s a really smart boy and responds well to positive reinforcement so we will get there together, it just might take a while.
- He figured out the mealtime routine really fast. Everyone sits and stays while I put the bowls down and then they get to eat when I say OK. When they are done, they all move around licking each other’s bowls just to make sure they all got the same thing. Mealtime makes me smile.
- Chocolate is a thunder dog, meaning he’s terrified of it. I’ve never had a thunder dog but I have heard enough stories from friends to know that it can be pretty challenging to deal with. I knew this from talking to my mom, but one night a couple of months ago, I experienced it for real and it was rough. I’ve stocked the house with calming things to try and now I’m taking note of thunder warnings so hopefully with a little preparation I can help him be a little calmer next time.
So, despite all of the changes we are all dealing with right now, Chocolate has been a nice diversion and we certainly have the time to give him all of the extra attention and training he seems to love. Welcome home Chocolate, we are happy to have you!