Monday, October 24, 2011
Alvin's movin' up
I mentioned in my last post that I thought that much of Alvin's issues could be due to being left outside with little human interaction. I based this on the fact that he is far more relaxed when outdoors. I then began to wonder if his circling behavior could be attributed to being in a small space much of the time. The circling reminds me of some horses that don't do well living in a stall and start displaying odd behaviors to combat the boredom. I don't know, but it is clear that Alvin did not have a foundation of regular human interaction. I also think that Alvin may be a nervous dog by nature and that some of his issues are developmental ones, such as his trouble with licking. Alvin would have trouble licking the side of barn. He just can't figure it out and it's hit or miss. Last night he licked my finger and ended up doing it with the bottom side of his tongue. He is getting better at taking treats but there are many times when he just can't figure it out. He hasn't been taking off my fingers lately, which is much appreciated but it still is problematic for him. As mentioned before, Alvin loves to touch things with his nose which has led to his most adorable habit thus far of giving what looks like kisses. I often make a smooching noise and Alvin puts his little nose on my lips, which seems to make my day every time. I am finding that Alvin is an affectionate dog by nature but his fear gets the better of him.......until today! I bribed him to walk up the stairs and onto my bed with treats and he stayed for a few minutes and then got back down. It has become clear that Alvin wants to be up on the bed with the rest of us but things are just a bit too scary for him. My mom took my dog to her house, which allowed me to have more one-on-one interaction with Alvin and as I was sitting on my bed writing e-mails, I saw Alvin start to climb the stairs. This is nothing new because he will start up the stairs probably 25 times a day and then goes back down as though he is practicing for the big event. This time, I saw something different in his stature and demeanor and I started to tell him that he could do it. And bingo he was up on the bed. This is the very first time he come up, not because of treats but because he wanted to be included. Ahhh! This has been my favorite Alvin day. He stayed for a while, got a feel for everything, surveyed the situation and then calmly got back down, but not before I was able to scratch under his chin and tell him what a very big boy he was. It is an odd feeling to be proud of a dog as though he is your own child but today I was so proud of him. I don't take for granted how scared he is and how brave he is and I think we could all learn a lesson from Alvin.