Thursday, September 2, 2010

Vanya update

Even though Vanya hasn't had any updates recently, he's doing just fine. I was off in NW Ontario for a month doing my field research, and Ontario has a pit bull ban, so Vanya didn't get to come along. Instead, he spent August hanging out on the Little Sugar River Farm with Frank and a bunch of WWOOFers (Worldwide Willing Organic Volunteers--people who come and work on the farm half time for a few weeks,  in exchange for room and board). Vanya adored having all the attention. Plus the guests at the guesthouse give him tons of love. So he was a happy boy--no commands, no expectations, just a lot of college kids to jump on and kiss, and a lot of gophers to hunt in the gardens. Now, of course, he acts like he never heard of impulse control games, or anything else for that matter.  He got into certain bad habits I thought he had long ago lost: the zoomies, mainly, where he runs around in circles, trying to get a person to play in the same over-excited way he tries to get other dogs to play.

He's so happy, I can't  help but wonder: why exactly do I keep trying to do all this dog-socialization with him? We live so far from other dogs, when we're down on the farm, that it's always quite the drive to go find decoy dogs. In his normal life, he could go for a decade and never lay eyes on another dogs (this is how Tiva deals with her dog-reactivity. She just ignores it. We all ignore it. Back before she came to the farm, she lived a life of lunging and barking at dogs when she was being walked, leashed, on the city streets, and her former owners used a  prongs to get her to be quiet. It worked, but she looked miserable. She perked right up when she came to the farm and stopped seeing other dogs on the street. Problem solved, more or less.)

Two main reasons to calm Vanya down:
1. So we can go camping and hiking in public together, without me worrying about him.
2. Potentially, so we can get another dog when Tiva dies. Or alternatively, so we can find dog playmates for Vanya, so he doesn't get completely starved of new dog interactions.

But some dogs are happier having human companionship, right? Vanya may be one of those: a dog who wants to be the only dog in a household. Or we may just decide we don't want to worry about the continual household management that goes with Vanya + another dog.

1 comment:

  1. Vanya is who he is. You've done far more with him than most would have. Whatever you decide to do, whichever direction you decide to go, will be best for Vanya, I'm sure.