Well life, as per usual, hasn't really gone according to plan. Week two of life with Goose went well, but the two weeks after that were a bit of a whirlwind! The Friday of our second week with Goose both my Uncle and Gran passed away, and the next day we said goodbye to our pup matriarch Allie. I was thrown a little off my game for the days that followed, and then we had a whirlwind couple of weeks with a trip to Amsterdam for me and my husband, then a trip home for me for my Grans funeral.
I want to share most of the details of this with you because, as much as it sucks, this is life! When you get a puppy things don't always go to plan. In fact, they rarely do. For this post I want to share all about our second week together with you, before things went haywire, but I also want you to keep in mind that things did go haywire after the second week. Because life goes haywire sometimes, even for us professionals.
We started the second week with our very first vet visit! To set us up for success I decided we should go on a decompression walk first. Since Goose is so new to me, this meant a long line walk in some woods. I had scouted the trail I decided to use with Adelaide a few days before so I knew roughly what to expect. This is something I generally tend to do with new dogs, only take them to known trails. That's tricky when I'm still exploring a new to me city and don't know all of the trails yet, so I will often explore the trail first with a dog I have a strong relationship with before heading there with a younger, newer dog. This is partially something I do to set new puppies up for success (I know where to step off if we need, and I know if the trail will be a good fit for them) and partially something that is just a by-product of my anxiety. I prefer to keep the number of unknowns in my life to as much of a minimum as possible. Unknown dog, means known trail.
The walk was off to a bit of a rocky start. We are definitely dealing with some car anxiety from Goose that has been created by getting very carsick. As soon as he is in the car the drooling starts a
nd it's pretty much a guarantee he will vomit in the car, even if it's a short drive. Unfortunately the anxiety can feed the car sickness and visa versa so it becomes a bit of self-fulfilling loop. This is something that we have to tackle on the medical side first, before addressing the anxiety behavior, so we are exploring medicine options with our vet to help with this. Once we were out of the car at the trail though, Goose did great! He did do a little bit of barking at the first person we came across (who was, in all fairness, jogging towards us) but he was able to start taking treats right away and after two people passed us, the barking died down and he was able to watch them quietly and check in with me instead. He did the same for the first dog that passed us, but again was able to transition to watching quietly after a treat or two and with the dogs that followed.
The trail was busier than it had been when I had gone with Adelaide (this is what happens when the weather is nice) but it was still a great chance for him to get out and sniff and explore without too much foot traffic. After our wander we made the short trek over to the vet clinic for our first appointment.
I always bring treats to the vet clinic, even for my experienced dogs. The really good vet clinics will often have their own treats on hand and I don't generally need to dig into my stash, but I always figure better safe than sorry. Plus it means we can practice skills when we are waiting! Since it was Goose's first visit I wanted to make sure it was as fun as possible for him, especially since he would be getting stabbed a few times. So the treats started right off the bat in the waiting room. Any polite behavior that he offered, eye contact, sit, down, standing still while a person walked past, got treated throughout our entire visit.
To say he was a hit with the veterinary staff would be an understatement. He was almost a show dog for a reason! This face is quite a draw. He was incredible with all of the staff and went back for cuddles and treats, even after being stabbed by them. He got LOTS of treats from me and the staff throughout his entire visit and tons of love and compliments as well. Honestly a pretty ideal first visit!
We followed up our vet visit with an extra excursion to the Abell neighborhood to visit a friend. As it often does, a quick pickup of forgotten items turned into a full blown porch hang while we chatted away for an hour or so and Goose got to practice his settling skills in a new place. Again, we had one bark at a thing and then he was able to work really well and hang out like a very good gentleman!
For a lot of the week we continued to focus on settling him into the house. Setting boundaries, working on settling during human meal times (instead of stealing food), not stealing random items as much as possible, trading when he did steal, and making sure things were flowing smoothly with him and the other dogs. We did have a couple little scuffles as we learned his boundaries around food and edible chews, but they were broken up easily, everyone moved on quickly, and it was easy to implement some management steps to avoid issues in the future. Primarily, we make sure that no one is camped outside of his crate as he comes out, especially if he has food left in his bowl.
The biggest struggle of week two was getting him to eat reliably. He had been through a lot of changes, and whippets are notoriously a pretty picky breed when it comes to eating. We chatted a bit with his breeder about it and came to the conclusion together that we just needed to give him more time to settle. Historically I'm used to having dogs who will eat anything you put in front of them no matter how horrible they are feeling, so dealing with a picky dog is a very new thing for me!
We also did our first really focused training session together during week two. We started working on the basic foundational skills. Offering eye contact, offering sits, and responding to his name. Nice and basic! Of course with all of the trip prep and sadness, this ended up being our only training session within the first four weeks. But that's okay! Old dogs can learn new tricks, and I've definitely taught sit as a brand new behavior to older dogs before. We've been able to prioritize and focus on life skills in a way that I am happy with for now. Goose has learned how to settle and exist with us well, is crating beautifully, and is gaining confidence out and about in the world. Those are the most important things right now.
Remember to keep an eye on our Instagram account for Reels of Goose's training! There will be one coming soon of our chaotic first training session!