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Posts Tagged ‘managing two dogs’

We don’t hear Tooey whine very much. Oh, sometimes when she wants out of her crate, or when she realizes she’s close to her favorite swimming hole.

But yesterday we had a whole new venue for her latest, and most grandiloquent concert.

Tooey’s been gone for three weeks, living up at Colleen’s kennel while she’s been in season. We don’t like sending her away, but with Cooper here, it’s just easier for Colleen to keep Tooey.

Having an intact dog and bitch in the house while the bitch is in season is just hard. You can’t take the girl for a walk. You can’t let them out in the house or the yard at the same time. You have to feed them separately and play with them separately, and you have to listen to the boy howling. Plus Cooper stops eating while Tooey’s in season. And you can’t train either of them, either, with their minds so firmly concentrated on procreating the species.

So off the Colleen’s Tooey goes. But what this adds up to is that she has spent a lot (too much) of time away from home.

We didn’t get her until she was 8 months old. Add in that she was away at the pro trainer’s for 5 months, and then she’s been away at Colleen’s for 2 seasons (about 1-1/2 months total). So that means that out of her 33 months, Tooey’s been away from home for not quite 1/2 of that time.

So, yesterday’s concert. We were on the last few miles of our trip bringing Tooey back home. At about 1.5 miles from home, we were traveling by car on one of the main arterials. We start to hear this low whining noise from the back. Tooey is sitting up in her crate, looking around from side to side.

Then we turned up the side road that leads to our house. The whining gets louder and we can hear the start of a tail-thump back beat. Then we turned onto our own street, and the whining turns into these high-pitched whine-barks and the tail wagging gets really intense, loud, and fast.

Russ and I smiled at each other. Tooey’s singing, “I’m going home! I’m home. We’re all home!”

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You know, I need to make a new “note to self.” Whenever I think I “know” something, I really ought to see that as a signal that I probably know w-a-a-a-y less than I thought.

This has happened so many times. In the case of Irish Water Spaniels, I know I wrote about this before, when we were planning to get Cooper. We’d had puppies before, trained them, house trained them, prevented them from chewing stuff they’re not supposed to chew, etc. So, getting an IWS puppy ought to be a piece of cake, right?

Wrong.

Now it’s : Oh, yeah, we’ve had two dogs before. Been there, done that, piece of pie.

Well, maybe.

Having two dogs is really different, and it’s only been less than 24 hours. Russ kept telling me we’ll figure it out, and yes, we WILL figure it out. Here are some of the things that require figuring:

  • What do do when you give the “table” command, and both dogs jump up on the small grooming table.
    (Tell one dog to lie down, then give the other dog the “Table” command. And hope the 1st dog obeys.)
  • What to do when it’s raining hard outside, it’s muddy, and both dogs push their way through the door and get into the carpeted living room before they even hear the “Feet” command — stop and get your feet wiped.
    (Tell both dogs to sit, let the one who sits first come in first, and block the doorway with your body should the 2nd dog choose to disobey. Or get a baby door. Or another person, or all of the above.)
  • How to give both dogs their evening walk.
    (Probably, let them both out into the back yard, then let them play for a bit to work off some steam, then crate one dog and take the other out, then switch.)
  • How to get a relatively calm good-morning cuddle.
    This is easy with one calm IWS. With two IWS, it’s a tornado. Maybe skip this ritual, or let one dog out of his/her crate, alternating mornings with one dog and then the other.

I’m sure other issues will come up. But I will say, Cooper and Tooey seem to really like each other. And they’re both so different in temperament, personality, looks, structure, everything. It’s real entertainment.

So far, we’re loving it.

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