I am apprehensive about writing anything more about Alvin's improvement because as you know, every time I have written about it, he turns around and regresses within days, if not hours, but here it goes.
The rain has stopped and Alvin is back to going potty outside 100% of the time. Speaking of rain, we recently had a very rare, very loud thunder and lightening storm. Alvin had no reaction to it and I continue to notice that what scares other dogs does not scare him and vice versa.
Alvin has started to be able to make simple associations. Until recently he hasn't been able to make any associations but brace yourself for the shock, his first association involved my mom. When she pulled up and slammed her car door, he ran from the bedroom and started searching for her. Granted, his brilliance was limited when he searched for her at the garage door, you know, the one that we have never ever entered or exited, but it's a start.
The favorite improvement is that he will allow me to pet him over his head and on his back far more often and we practice this many times a day. He tends to go into a low crouch but he doesn't run away like he used to and it clearly feels good him. He also regularly seeks out physical affection and it warms my heart every single time.
On the down side, after a brief hiatus, he started to loop again. He has also resumed his muttering/whining noises. In the past two weeks he has started grumbling like a little old man when he wants me to get up and feed him. He wakes me up several times in the morning and puts on his most pitiful, pleading face. I don't respond because I don't want to encourage the behavior but secretly I find it quite endearing.
Alvin had one brief play time with a toy. While on the bed with me, he started that puppy mouthing thing he sometimes does and I grabbed a toy to see if he would use it and sure enough, he chewed on it for a few minutes. Out of desperation, I nearly shoved it in his mouth and called it "playing" so that I wouldn't feel guilty that I am unable to entertain him enough.
Alvin has the taking of treats nearly mastered. He just needed to practice and during our practice sessions I managed to pull my fingers away fast enough so that I didn't need stitches. On a couple of occasions there was blood involved but no need for medical intervention.
Speaking of treats, the boy is a sitting machine for them. Granted, we practice it at least 30 times a day and the practice has paid off because in the last few days, he has consistently done it like he was personally owned by Caesar Millan. He has also incorporated the cheat far more often and sometimes it ends up with him just staying seated and me giving him the rest of the treats that are in my hand, while telling him that his intellect may be near genius level. It is clear that he is ready for a new challenge and I think we are going to try the command, shake. I don't think I could ever get him to lie down on command because it's too vulnerable and shake will be a challenge because of the whole touching thing but we're going for it!
Last and most importantly, as he continues to progress he hasn't lost any of his talent for burping. As gross as it should be to me, it continues to be my favorite habit of his because it's just short of amazing that such a loud noise comes out of such a little dog.
So, progress abounds. I should enjoy it right now because every time I write about his progress it quickly deteriorates but for today, I will enjoy all of the progress that Alvin has to offer. If nothing else, he keeps me guessing.