Alvin sticks out his tongue when he is nervous

Monday, April 16, 2012

Alvin's in the Trash Can

After grooming Alvin, I swept up all of his fur and threw it in the outside garbage can.  I took a look at it yesterday and it looked like he is in there.  I am shocked that I clipped off that much fur considering I just clipped part of him a couple of weeks ago.  Alvin's fur grows very fast and is very thick and so right now it really looks like he's in the trash can.  If anyone is in the process of making one of those terribly sought after dog fur blanket, or even a dog fur house for that matter, Alvin can single handedly supply the materials.

I am proud to announce that Alvin is learning to outsmart the system.  We continue to work on the command, sit, primarily because I can't think of another command that I can teach him.  Forget commands like lie down or shake because that would freak him out to high heaven and so we're stuck on sit.  It is odd because when I say it, sometimes he gets it right away and sometimes he is at a complete loss.  His retention does not seem to be connected to time because there are times when we haven't practiced for a week and he gets it right away and other times that it's ten minutes later he just stares at me blankly.  He would do anything for food and so it isn't a matter of motivation.  When I used to ask Timmie to sit, he would do it immediately and because he never cared much for treats, he would often refuse it but would sit over and over again because he so enjoyed the praise.  It didn't take Timmie long to learn that he could just stay seated in between the treats or praise and so I would have to walk away to get him up again.  That has never dawned on Alvin until tonight and twice I saw the little wheels turning and he stayed seated.  He looked so cute with those big eyes zeroed in on me while blinking over and over again while nervously waiting for his treat.  I didn't have the heart to walk away and make him do it again and so he got a second treat.  I don't care if it's technically cheating because that's just smart thinking!  He only did it twice before forgetting all about it but during those two times he displayed near genius..........well, for Alvin.

I keep forgetting to mention something very sweet that Alvin did a few days ago.  I am certain that it was just a coincidence but at the time it broke my heart.  Alvin tends to turn in earlier than the rest of us at night and usually goes and tucks himself into his dog bed in my bedroom.  Once he is all settled in and goes to sleep he becomes more relaxed and cuddly.  I take advantage of this time by repeatedly going in, getting on my knees and petting him.  He tends to be warm and snugly and it allows for many tender, quiet moments.  When I was considering him going to live at his former foster home, I went into him, got on my knees and asked him if he wanted to stay here or go to Cathy's.  I was feeling very uncertain about what would be the best choice for him and it helped to ask it out loud.  I will be darned if every time I asked him if he wanted to stay with me if he didn't reach up and lick my face.  For the most part, Alvin is not a licker, with a few sporadic exceptions.  For a while he would repeatedly lick my arm in bed at night and then we went through a much too short period of licking my face at bedtime.  The other exception is when I have had something on my hands.  So, he was killing me when he kept reaching up and licking my face.  Out of curiosity, I went in four separate times and asked him at least three times each trip.  I would say, "Alvin, do you want to live at Cathy's?" and no lick.  Then, "Alvin, do you want to stay here?" and he would repeatedly lick my face.  Don't worry, I haven't lost my mind but I couldn't help but have my heart hurt a little every time I asked and he licked.  Last night I thought I would try it again because if he did it again then I would have simultaneously called to have myself placed on a psychiatric hold, while loudly proclaiming that I had a boy genius in my home.  Things were clearly right in the world because he just stared at me blankly and the moment was gone......thank goodness!

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