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!
When Annie first came home she was very shy and quiet. She was reluctant to come when called and preferred to observe us from afar. I would catch fleeting black glimpses out of the corner of my eye but when I turned she would be gone. I started to think of her as Annie the Friendly Ghost. She would wait until we were pre-occupied and would quietly leave her crate to see what we were doing. I chose to let these moments pass “unnoticed” because she was trying to figure out her new situation and if she was safe.
Slowly, she started to trust us and became more comfortable searching us out. It took months for her to join us in another room and the ghosting became less frequent. She now follows me throughout the house and lays down at my feet where ever I may be. It’s so normal to have her nearby that I forgot about Annie the Friendly Ghost until something sparked the memory the other day. It brought a smile to my face to realize how much she has changed as she stomps through the house, no longer trying to be as quiet and unnoticeable as possible.
via Daily Prompt: Ghost
I’m starting with a bold statement: all Newfies love the kitchen. It’s probably safe to state that all dogs love the kitchen. For years I have depended on doing lunges over my dogs as a primary form of exercise, so when Annie showed no interest in joining us in the kitchen I was completely dumbfounded. On one hand, it was nice to only have to navigate around one dog in the kitchen, but it just didn’t seem right that she would rather choose the safety of her crate over being in the general vicinity of random tidbits raining down from above.
It was a very slow process, but after several months, she was realizing that rewards were frequent when she was near the kitchen. She was now wandering freely into the kitchen whenever one of us was in there and was actually becoming a little pushy when she felt it was time for me to share something with her. I think she liked bulldozing her way through whatever was in her way whether it is human, Maisie or the kitchen stool. She was ready for a bite of whatever we were preparing, and she’d like it now please! Since we are still abiding by the rule of Annie gets whatever Annie wants, I usually am persuaded by her sweet face looking up at me but I am learning to say no when I need to.
On July 5th, we were all getting back into our normal routines after the long holiday weekend. In our house we start celebrating on the 3rd because that is my husband’s birthday and then it just carries into the 4th with more things on the grill, more cake, more fireworks, ect, ect. This year it was truly a long weekend because the 4th was on a Monday, so on Tuesday I was staggering through the kitchen in a bit of a blur when I stopped myself mid-stride. I had just lunged over Maisie on my way to the refrigerator and was in the middle of another lunge when I looked down and I was standing over Annie!
It was such a normal thing, I’ve been doing this for years, but this was the first time Annie had parked herself in the middle of the floor and forced me into a second lunge! I shrieked and my husband and daughter looked at me like I was insane. There I was standing over Annie yelling “Newfie lunge, Newfie lunge”! I know it sounds mad, but I wanted to note the day because this is the most normal dog behavior I know and Annie had finally figured it out. This was the day I’ve been waiting for and there were many times that I doubted this would ever happen. I now have 2 kitchen dogs and things are back to normal with my double Newfie lunge workout. No more excuses, surely now I can drop the extra pounds I’ve put on over the last several months…
It’s been 6 months since you became a part of our family so to celebrate, I’ve created a Letterman style top 10 list of my favorite moments with you.
- The look on your face when you gave Maisie her first and only correction and that tuft of brown fur sticking out of your mouth.
- Those crazy old man noises you make, I still don’t know what they mean.
- The way you put your face across my laptop when you want my undivided attention.
- Finding my favorite pair of gloves in the back of your crate that you swiped off of the counter.
- When you finally decided to sit on command.
- It took weeks for you to take treats from my hand so when you came into the kitchen for the first time and licked the food off of my hands, my heart was glowing.
- The morning you woke me up by snuffling in my face. It was so out of character for you that it took me a good minute to realize it was you and not Maisie!
- When you finally forced me into a Newfie Lunge.
- The first time you greeted me at the back door.
And my #1 favorite moment with you is: When you give me a good morning howl!
Our son returned to college in January, a couple of weeks before we adopted Annie. He was on the lacrosse team and this would be his first season playing college lacrosse. We were so excited and planned to travel to as many of his games as possible. After we had Annie for a couple of weeks, I realized that perhaps we would not be able to travel to his games like we originally planned. When we brought her home she was terrified of everything, even the car. Getting her out of the yard was a huge endeavor, bringing her to a game seemed impossible. As the weeks progressed and she responded well as we slowly introduced new places, I began to hope that maybe we could bring her with us to watch him play. Leaving her home wasn’t a consideration, either she came with us or we wouldn’t go at all.
When the season started we were staying home with Annie but we were able to stream the games and watch his team play. During Spring Break the team traveled to Colorado and this was my first opportunity to go to a game. My parents live there so I went out for a visit and I was able to bring my parents to the two games on his schedule. Because my parents live out of town they hadn’t seen him play very often so when he hit the field for the first time in his college uniform we were all thrilled.
The player’s parents have a tradition of putting out a meal for the team after each game. At the beginning of the season we all chose a game in which we would be in charge of the meal. The game we had volunteered for was quickly approaching and we still weren’t sure how we would do it. It would be easier if we were both there and we both wanted to watch a game in the home stadium so at the last minute we decided we would both go. We were sharing the responsibility with another family and we would only have to bring coolers with drinks and paper goods so there was room in the car for both dogs and our supplies.
We loaded everybody up and headed out very early that morning. Once we arrived I led both dogs to a really nice grassy patch near the entrance to the stadium. It was well shaded and Maisie could greet people coming and going and Annie could stay by my side and watch. Once all the spectators were settled we went in and were able to sit on a bench at the top with no one around us. Annie stood stiffly by my side for the entire game. She always chose to stand rather than sit when she was a nervous and I knew this was a lot of stimulation for her but I kept my hand by her side to comfort her and as the game went on she continued to look around and tried to relax.
After the game our son came over to greet us. Maisie was beside herself once she realized that she had found her boy in this new place. She smothered him with kisses and rolled right over for a belly rub. Annie stood behind me and watched Maisie’s reaction in an effort to figure out if this boy was someone she should know. Tom gave her a gentle pat but quickly backed off to give her some space. It was a great first meeting even though I know it was a little stressful for her. I was prepared to wait in the car with her if it seemed like it was too much but she really seemed to be OK with Maisie, Chris and I all right next to her so I considered this excursion to be a success.
We took her to 3 more games and at each of those she was much more relaxed and would lie down or sit right by me. We always chose a spot that was far away from other spectators and she was still shy around my son but I was so happy that we could bring her with us and she was learning that she would be OK in new places.