Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cosmo Part II

Adding another member to our family has been an adjustment, for all of us. I had certain expectations about how it would be. Some things are like I expected; others have been a surprise.

I thought that Harper and Cosmo would play together right from the start, but instead they have been getting to know each other just like anyone else. Harper loves all dogs, but somehow she knew right away that Cosmo was different, it would not be false to say that at first she was jealous. She pretty much ignored him, and if he tried to instigate play she would simply walk away.

But Harper is a nice dog. She wasn't mean to Cosmo, she was just a little aloof. She shared her toys, and had no trouble with him at feeding time. After almost a week they started playing with each other more and more. I would say they are well on their way to being friends.

Dinner time has been, well, interesting. Harper has always been a finicky eater and one of our hopes with getting a second dog was that she would start acting more like a dog, instead of a fussy princess, when it was time to eat. Well that has definitely been the case! Cosmo is much more dog-like when it comes to food. Little Cosmo is always hungry and eats his food like a starving coyote. Harper has speeded up her eating so that she doesn't have to share with Cosmo. But Cosmo still has to go over to Harper's bowl and lick it thoroughly when dinner is over!

I find it confusing to give commands to one dog, without the other dog thinking that I'm also giving the command to them. I guess I need to be sure to use the dog's  name when I give the command. But I still sometimes get funny results. For example, I want my dogs to sit and wait for their dinner, before I put down their bowls. Harper knows all about this routine, but Cosmo had to learn, and still sometimes forgets. So I tell the dogs to sit and wait. Harper sits immediately, but Cosmo sometimes just stands there, or after he sits, stands again before I've put down their bowls. Meanwhile Harper is waiting patiently, but sometimes she'll decide that maybe I want more. So while I'm waiting for Cosmo to sit, Harper will lie down, and I've even had her roll over once or twice!

We have an electric fence, and Cosmo needs to be trained to respect the fence boundary. I've started the first part of the training, where we go around the boundary of the fence, call him away, and give him a treat when he avoids the fence boundary. He is a follower, and not very adventuresome, so this part of the training is going really well. Next I need to introduce the correction aspect of the fence to Cosmo. I need to be very careful though. Since he is a little timid I don't want to scare him by giving him a big shock, so I need to have the collar just give him a very mild buzz at first if he gets too close.

Another danger with the electric fence is that although it will keep my dogs in, it won't keep bad things out. There have been reports off and on of coyotes grabbing little dogs and carrying them off in our area.  At night I always take Harper out on a leash. Cosmo is still learning, however, that it is okay and in fact desirable to go potty while on a leash. So for the time being when we go out at night I let him just follow Harper and I around the yard. As long as he stays right beside us I figure this is okay. But still I feel better if I remember to take the pepper spray with me when we go out for the last time before bed.

Taking both dogs on a walk has been another challenge. Cosmo walks beautifully, thanks to Diane, right next to me, never pulling. Harper on the other hand, well, it's our fault I know, but she is much more, er, challenging when it comes to walking. She pulls, she runs ahead, she tries to dash off after squirrels. After a couple minutes though, on most days at least, she settles down and walks nicely. But she walks much faster than Cosmo, and I get confused, and tangled up too. Sometimes I think I should see how much Diane would charge to "fix" Harper's leash-walking habits!

Cosmo is sweet and affectionate. I can tell that it won't be much longer until I love him as much as I love Harper. But I'm kind of funny when it comes to love and affection. I've never been a love at first sight kind of girl, maybe lust at first sight, but that's different! But true and abiding love takes awhile to build. Even with my children, while I immediately felt that powerful motherhood protective urge, it took awhile before I fell desperately in love with them.

Puppies are no different. I currently regard Cosmo with a mixture of amusement, exasperation, and yes the beginnings of love. Some mornings when his bright black eyes are wide awake at 5:30 am and I know he needs to go outside soon, but Harper is still asleep, and Lee is out of town, I sigh and wonder why we agreed to take this puppy. When he has an accident on the rug because I let down my guard, I'm angry, mainly at myself for screwing up, but also at this little guy that isn't catching on to the rules fast enough for me.

Then he and Harper go tearing around the house, making up some silly doggy game, or I find them both asleep, side by side. Or Cosmo and Harper both decide they must be in my lap while we watch TV, and I'm filled with love for these little beings, that put their trust so thoroughly in me. And yes, at the same time I need them to get the hell off of me, because I'm having a hot flash, dammit!

Like with babies, these first months of new dog ownership will go quickly. Before too long the changes in our routines will settle into a new schedule, and what is odd and inconvenient now will become comfortable and ordinary. In one sense I really can't wait for this time to be over. In another I wish that time would slow and my memory was better, because this time will be over much too soon.

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