Kaya and I got off to a rough start...sort of. It just took me a long time to figure out how to get us on the same page so that I was not frustrated and she was not bored. For nearly a year there was a lot of leash pulling, whining, yowling, yelping, jumping and dog park humiliation. I wanted to take her to cafes for leisurely lunches and let her run free on hiking trails but know she'd stay close. I wanted her to show visitors her calm, cuddly side, not a Tasmanian devil impression. I wanted to let her run at the beach and not fear she would ruin everyone's picnic. I wanted her to be patient and loving to every dog she met, not to bug the living snot out of all of them.
But with all the treats and praise, all the discipline, structure, clicking and training tools I tried, none of it was coming true. There was only one other logical thing to try. So I got her a brother!
And everything started falling into place. Looking back, it felt like an overnight change. Without her puppy charm to get by on, many dogs and people were finding themselves overwhelmed or annoyed by all that was Kaya. With Norman she finally had herself a constant partner in life. The type of partner who laughs at all her jokes, who revels in any attention he gets from her, who always pretends to want what she has but doesn't really care, who follows her dutifully from place to place and curls up next to her when it's time to sleep.
Here's a video I took of them at the beach just a couple days after bringing Norman home. A week earlier, I was at the same beach with Kaya and spent the entire time chasing after her, tell her what not to do and where not to go. They still play the same way!
I know now that we still had a long way to go after Norman arrived but he certainly sent us in the right direction. Kaya and I have now found our sweet spot. And she can do all of those things I longed for her to do way back when. But it's not that she became this perfect dog that I imagined she would be. It's that I know her well enough to make it work and she knows exactly what I expect from her.
I won't take her to a cafe if I think she's going to be too bored or hyper. She knows to find a bone to chew on if she's too excited about company. And if they want her on the couch with them, I give her a calm down command so that she knows it's time to put her tongue away and relax.
Using fetch as a reward, I set up obedience drills that she couldn't wait to do over and over. She still makes a beeline for things that may get her in trouble but she turns on a dime when I call her name. She often puts herself in a heel without me asking so that she can get that sweet rush when she hears the word, "free!"
How lucky I am to have this special girl in my life. Still a free-spirit but now one that always wants to be by my side, whether she's running laps around me on a 2 hour hike, keeping me safe when I take the trash cans to the curb or burrowing her way under the covers at night, she's always there.
Kaya's Adoption Story
A Year with Kaya
Two Years with Kaya
Norman's Adoption Story