Thursday, January 21, 2021

Victory

Why we call her Miss Pink Belly


 A couple of months ago, I hired a dog trainer. Although we had conquered most of Cully's fear issues, her fear of trash trucks continued to be a problem. And as she became more confident, her dog aggression  seemed to get worse. Although her dog aggression is still not under control, today we walked by a trash truck without Cully trying to back out of her skin, escape to the nearest backyard, or even walk up into the middle of someone's front yard. It has only taken one year, three months, and an enormous amount of treats but she is finally getting it. Although this might seem minor, this a major victory. 

Next up, dog aggression. And then maybe we'll tackle that little issue of counter surfing...


One year, three months.


Saturday, January 9, 2021

Weird Coincidence?

Gregg and I like to watch mysteries. Cully is actually named after a character in one of our favorites (Midsomer Murders). So when our girl-hound started digging on the stair landing, my mind immediately assumed that there must be something sinister buried in that spot. Because, you see, that was Ray's favorite indoor place to dig. Outdoors he was not particular and neither is Cully. But indoors they both chose/choose the exact same location. As a matter of fact, Ray dug the stair landing so much that by the time he died there was very little rug remaining there. 

That is a coincidence. But not the weird one. The weird one is in the video. I took the video of Cully on  January 8, 2021 when I just happened to be sitting on the stairs with my laptop and she came up behind me and started digging. And when I found an old video of Ray that I had taken when he was still alive, it was from January 7, 2018. Almost exactly three years to the day from the other. So, do dogs need to go through some weird ritual digging in the early days of the new year to assure a good bone harvest? Or is there a body buried beneath our stairs (cue creepy music).

Saturday, October 10, 2020

She's Come a Long Way

November 1, 2019
(scared to go outside)


October 9, 2020
(taken through the kitchen window)




Saturday, August 8, 2020

Nine Months

 It's hard to believe that we've had Cully for nine months now. In some ways it seems like yesterday when we were bringing her home, but then I look at her, draped full-length on her favorite couch, and it seems like she's always been here.

I'm not going to lie, she has been an ongoing challenge. Just when we think we've got one of her issues under control, it crops up again, randomly and unpredictably, like a weed. Some things, I am sure, will never go away. Her fear of trash trucks and motorcycles seems to be insurmountable. But I'm hoping that we can get most of her other fears/issues under control. Eventually.

Overcoming her fear of the backyard at night took a long, long time. This week may be the first week we haven't had to wander around the backyard in the dark for an hour or so before Cully would pee before bedtime. We seem to have it down to twenty minutes or less (knock on wood). Although just when I thought we had it licked last time, she walked outside, flopped herself down on the grass, crossed her paws in front of her, and looked at me like she was ready for a long conversation (I wish I had a video of this, it was really funny). Like I said, random and unpredictable. 

Cully still exhibits aggression to other dogs. I'm very tuned into her body language while we are walking, watching for her head to go up and her eyes to laser-focus on a foe. Nine times out of 10 she will walk by other dogs without blinking. The tenth time she goes ballistic. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the dogs she chooses to hurl insults at: they aren't all small or all big or all bully breeds (like Ray's bĂȘte noir), they are just random dogs on random leashes being walked by random people minding their own business. We are working on this but I feel a bit out of my depth as a dog trainer since I've only had one other dog and he had no issues at all.

On the upside, Cully seems to like people. I think in her past life she had very little interaction with them since she showed no fear but no real interest either. Now that we walk around the cul-de-sac every day, Cully has gotten to know some of the neighbors and has had a chance to show her sweet side. She has a few fans on the block which I think has boosted her confidence a bit. When I think of how long it took to get her to even walk around the cul-de-sac on a leash and how much progress she has made since then, I feel hopeful that she will continue to improve. She'll never be a confident, calm dog but at least she can be the best Cully she can be. We are working on it. 

Hangin' with Li
 



 


Friday, June 26, 2020

Well...

I don't know what they were up to, but I know it was no good.





Sunday, June 7, 2020

Your Wish is My Command

I scooped up Lionel and sat down on the couch next to Cully. Cully was in a frisky mood. She reached over with her jaws agape to grab my arm.
"Don't eat me," I said, "Eat Lionel."
Cully stopped dead and looked at me for a moment then reached over and gnnn gnnn gnnned Lionel on the shoulder, like she was chasing a flea. Lionel stayed relaxed in my arms, unmoving, letting Cully give him a shoulder massage. The hound then flung her head back and opened her mouth wide looking like a lion about to roar. She swung her head forward, put her mouth around Lionel's head then moved to his neck and mouthed him gently.
I laughed. Lionel jumped down and strolled away unfazed.
"Of all the commands for her to pick up quickly," I said to Gregg, "I don't think 'Eat Lionel' would have been my first choice."

Dreaming of eating Lionel

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

6 Months

Well, actually, it's almost seven months now and our girl-dog, Cully, is still a work in progress. However, huge strides have been made. We no longer have to drive her to the lake every morning for a walk (woohoo). Whereas before her fear kept her from enjoying a ramble 'round the 'hood, now she will willingly hit the sidewalk with us for a daily stroll. Trash trucks and other noisy vehicles continue to be fear-inducing but we try to mitigate the anxiety by leading her up into the middle of the nearest yard so that she is well away from the street and can watch the monsters drive by from a safe distance. (So far, no one has called the cops on us. We are grateful.) Now that she no longer tries to back out of her skin in fear-induced panic, we recently (last week) removed her second leash - the one that was attached to a slip collar - and walk her with only a single lead attached to a harness.

Cully is still the most comfortable napping on her couch in the house, but now that the weather has warmed a bit, she can be seen (alone! more progress!) in the backyard enjoying a snooze in the sun. She also enjoys a gentle stroll around the garden with her doppelganger sister, Juno, and LOVES to help Lionel in his quest to eradicate all chipmunks from the face of the earth.

Being a smart dog, Cully is practicing social distancing. We are too, and so is Juno. Lionel, however, is another matter. His huge circle of fans demands his attention and he continues to make his daily rounds to visit the neighbors.

We hope all of you are staying safe in these trying times and have attached a video of Cully in action. We are not exactly sure what the action was but here ya go.