Saturday, April 26, 2014

New dog, rib bone battle, too cute for words

15 chickens, 2 cats, a 22 year old  turtle and now a dog.  Marlowe joined us  a month ago.  He's a 7 month old Chipin.  Half Min Pin half Chihuahua.  We didn't get him from a shelter but he is still a rescue dog.  He was  a birthday gift to a teenage girl who kept him in a crate in her room and   got tired of him and just ignored him.  One day her Mom got fed up with the situation and just opened the door and put him outside ...forever.  One of DD's  friends found him and took him in but couldn't keep him. So DD  decided he would be the perfect dog for our little micro farm.   She was right.  When he arrived at our  house he was under weight and terrified.  He spent  a good deal of his time  burrowed under a blanket in his puppy bed.  He had a couple of bald spots and  was barely eating.  He was afraid to go outside alone. (When he did go outside , his feet were so tender  that  he had a hard time walking).  He was always glued to a human.  Now lets fast forward a month.  The bald spots are gone and his coat shiny.  He has put on enough weight that his ribs are no longer showing.  He has built up  some nice muscle mass (enough that he can now  jump on all the furniture).   When it is not raining, he spends all day  running at break neck speeds all over the yard and runs the fence barking at strangers that come by.  He is no longer mincing when he walks  because his feet have toughened up.   He still snubs his nose at his puppy chow  but part of that is because our household is treat heavy. There is food aplenty  all day long.  He really prefers  canned dog food but we are NOT  going to go there.  Canned food is a treat for the dog and cats and is used when  medicinals must be applied!   Adorable  and spoiled he may be, but some boundaries must be drawn.    He has gone from being a shaking little cuddle bug to being a real dog.  He refuses his sweater now and has started sleeping without blankets .  He now curls up on whatever carpet  on the floor  that is not claimed by a cat.  He's made friends with the young cat Mickey and gives the old cranky cat Drusilla a wide berth.  He has learned a handful of commands and  has begun shepherding the chickens.  He may even keep Arnie (the tiniest rooster in the world) out of the soup pot.  We had a friend over yesterday and when Arnie charged the friend... Marlowe went to work and put Arnie in his place quickly. He is fitting into the household nicely.  We do have some challenges with him.  We are retraining him to do his business outside ( he was puppy pad trained).  He is a big eyed beggar.  He pouts magnificently  when he doesn't get his way.  A few days ago I was in the middle of cleaning some closets and he wanted my undivided attention.  I didn't give it to him so he peed on the floor in front of me... looking me in the eye.  Belligerence will not be tolerated even from the cutest and newest member of the household so, he was firmly,  verbally reprimanded and put outside for ten minutes with the door closed in his face.  When I let him back in ...he went straight to his bed and pouted for a full 24 hours.  He snubbed me at every chance and gave Jimmy all his attention while glaring at me.    For those of you who say 'maybe he wanted your attention so you would let him outside"  I respond : The door was open and he had been running in  and out all day.  It was a calculated  act of defiance by a very smart animal.  That day he learned  that cute will only take you so far and  mom will only smile indulgently  when you are not being an ass.
Challenges aside he is very lovable and entertaining.   I wish I had had my phone available to video record  when he and Gannicus  got into a tug of war over a rib bone in the compost pile.  Gannicus won the first round by pecking Marlow on the back side and sending him running and  yelping into the black berries , which of course, made for more yelping.   Gannicus, being a chicken, has a short attention span and soon  wandered off.  Marlowe  swooped in, grabbed the rib bone and ran for the house. For those of you who say "Oh My God ! You let your puppy get  pecked by a rooster!" .  I respond : Marlowe has a responsibility to develop  his own workable relationships  with everyone else  who lives here.  That means  respecting  the boundaries of  others and understanding that  crossing some boundaries will get you  time-outs or pecks on the butt.  I love that he is healthy, happy, energetic  and secure enough now to test boundaries.

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