The laziest of dogs

The laziest of dogs

This is Pyrrha’s typical posture on any given day — sprawled out on the living room floor. (She looks kind of fat from this vantage point, but I promise you she isn’t… I’m like a pageant mom about her portrayal in photographs.)

We had more delightful house guests this weekend, my dear friend Angela (whom you may recall from a play date with Bo and Zoe) and her boyfriend, Marshall. Pyrrha took to them both very readily. They are both gentle, quiet souls and those are always Pyr’s particular favorites. She kept trying to incite them to wrestle with her, though, by taking their limbs into her mouth. This is probably a habit we should work on with more diligence, because most people aren’t exactly fond of a German shepherd suddenly taking their fingers into her mouth and giving them a playful nibble.

In other Pyr news: Last month, we switched her over to a grain-free kibble, and maybe I’m just deluding myself, but I think we’ve already been seeing the benefits. Her coat is much glossier, her poops are smaller, and her enthusiasm is only enhanced for meal time (that thin line of drool while she sits and waits for the bowl). After I lauded the benefits of grain-free kibble for weeks, Guion finally agreed and thought it was worth the extra $10 a bag for the health advantages. So far, a very good choice.

Also, Pyrrha issued a protective bark for the first time! I’m kind of celebrating it a bit. To me, the fact that she feels protective of our house and yard tells me that she is feeling more confident and secure. This is reinforced by the fact that she has never barked protectively before. She’s barked in fear, to ward off a dog behind the adjacent fences, but this was a bark directed toward a far-off person in the street, which said, “Hey, I see you! This is my place!” It’s still a very uncommon occurrence — as she still doesn’t bark when she sits in our front window and watches people and cars pass — but I see it as a sign of her increasing confidence.

Hope you and your pooches are well and enjoying a pleasant start to your weeks.

Blooming personality

Those ears

Today marks Pyrrha’s four-month “anniversary” with us.

I have nothing special to report here, except that this dog is really funny and sweet. We love her a lot. I would never have dreamed seeing her so confident and relaxed; she is such a different dog from the one she was in May. The dog who hid from us in various corners of the house now comes to greet us with a wagging tail and kisses every day. The dog who slunk around behind me on walks now leads the way with a confident, curious posture. The dog who cowered with every passing dog on the street now wants to greet (almost) all of them.

She’s been very rambunctious and spunky lately, too. I think part of this has to do with her squirrel-catching encounter, and I’d attribute the rest of her blooming personality to the fact that she’s been very friendly with Guion lately. Last night, HE was the only one she wanted to play with. I couldn’t have been more thrilled. It’s the little things, you know? She opens up more and more every day. We are so happy to have her.

In which our shy dog is not so scared of roofers (or their dogs)

Yard and house and dog
Yard + house needing new roof + dog.

Sometimes I think Pyrrha is a normal, confident dog hiding in the guise of a shy dog. (Or maybe that’s just what ALL shy dogs are…).

For example:

Last week, we had to get our roof replaced. I was not so sure how Pyrrha would handle this, but I imagined she would be rather upset by the whole ordeal: A team of strange men walking around and on top of the house, making loud noises, etc.

But here’s what happened: She was initially nervous and slinking around when the roofers arrived the first day. As I was leaving, my husband alerted me to the fact that one of the roofers brought his dog along (without asking or notifying us about it at all) and left the dog–a medium-sized mixed breed–in our backyard. I was kind of peeved by this news. Who brings their dog along to a construction job, without asking anyone? I had to leave for work, slightly disgruntled, but thankful that Guion was going to be around for part of the afternoon.

Fast forward a few hours: Guion calls me at work. “What do dogs look like when they’re trying to play with each other?” I laugh and he says that he’s let Pyrrha into the backyard to meet Blacky, the creatively named roofer’s dog, and things seem to be going well. Pyrrha apparently raised hackles and snarled a bit at first, but then she started throwing Blacky some play bows and soon, the two were chasing each other around the yard. I was thrilled to hear it, and happy that it went well, considering that I would have never attempted such a thing.

The next day, I walked out into the yard around noon to talk to Guion and Pyrrha followed me out. One of the roofers was sitting in a chair in our yard. I didn’t see him at first, and I was nervous how Pyrrha would react (normally, with growling, hackles up, slinking away, etc.). To my utter amazement, she walked right up to him, sniffed his hand, and wagged her tail. I was SHOCKED.

“Guion, has she met that guy before?” I asked my husband.
“No,” he said. “She’s never seen him; I’ve never even seen him before.”

Pyrrha proceeds to lay down at this man’s feet and look calmly at the two of us, wondering, I’m sure, why we were gaping at her with our mouths open.

“This dog is shy?” The roofer said, when I called out to explain her behavior, and possibly warn him. “I don’t believe it!”

Sometimes I don’t either…

Things we’ve learned about Pyrrha lately

This post may become a regular feature, as it seems like we’re learning new things about our shy girl every day.

Are you done with the photos yet?
You done with that camera yet?

Here are a few things we’ve learned about Pyrrha this past week:

  1. The girl is great at chasing moths! She enjoys this nighttime activity immensely. And she’s pretty successful at catching them, too.
  2. She may not have a great memory with house guests? She was immediately fond of our friend Ann-Marie who was staying with us this past weekend (a bit leery of Ann-Marie’s husband, Shaun, but warmed up). But the next morning, when Ann-Marie walked out of the bedroom, Pyrrha growled at her. This, obviously, was concerning. We were all pretty shocked and I corrected her with a sharp “no.” Ann-Marie, who is good with dogs, walked slowly up to her and let Pyrrha smell her, and then she was fine with Ann-Marie for the rest of the day. My only guess is that she was possibly scared by Ann-Marie’s big, baggy pajama pants, which made a lot of movement? It still seems strange, though. Definitely something to watch and be aware of.
  3. Pyrrha loves running in crazed circles by herself in the yard. She doesn’t do this terribly often, but sometimes, when the moon is full or whatever, we’ll look out the window and she’s just tearing around the yard in circles. Then she’ll suddenly stop and look around, as if she had surprised herself. The lady clearly needs more exercise than she lets on.
  4. She is really excellent company while dining out. For all of her anxieties about social interactions, she is so calm and comfortable–for whatever reason!–dining out with us. We took her to her third restaurant this weekend, and she was great. More on that later.
  5. She’s grown very confident on our neighborhood walks. For the first few weeks, she wanted to go on walks with me, but she was slinking around most of the time, startled by most novel sounds, and keeping her tail and ears low or tucked. Now, she knows what’s going to happen when I say, “You wanna go on a WALK?” and she runs up to the front door and sits patiently (as she’s learned) for me to leash her. She is not as nervous and even seems more confident when we walk down entirely new streets.
  6. We’ve found her very high-value reward: Liver jerky. (At least, I think that’s what it is.) Our sweet neighbor Pat, who has four dogs of her own and also fosters adoptable dogs, gave us some liver to share with Pyrrha and, wow, she goes crazy for it. We’ve decided that it’s going to only come from Guion, since it’s a really great way for her to associate him with GREAT things. She follows him around the house for a good while after he gives her a bit. It’s very cute. And, yes, it might be bribery, but it’s working.
  7. She’s decided that she likes digging. This is kind of a bummer, since we have lots of pretty plants in our backyard. I caught her last night digging up one of our pepper plants. Since I caught her in the act, I could give her a quick verbal reprimand–which quickly stopped the digging–but we’ve found numerous little holes all around the yard since.

More to come, I am sure!