Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cowboy, Ghost, Ace and Princess, or how I lost my house to the dogs again

A friend asked if I had room for another running dog as he didn't want to show any more.  After a bit of a discussion, I asked if it would be ok if I tried to rehabilitate him back to the show ring.  The problem was that he had been terribly frightened at a show and did not seem to want to go to another show.  And so it was that I met my friend down in Bowling Green and picked up Cowboy.
He's a very sweet gentle soul with a lovely smile.  It took less than an hour to finish the introductions, and soon he was good friends with Bucky and Princess who thought I brought her home a boy toy. 

Needless to say, she had to be kept separate from him as she, Ace and Freya decided that would be an opportune moment to go in to heat.  All thought of beginning Cowboy's rehab training had to be set aside while I dealt with keeping the girls away from him, and housetraining him not to mark everywhere.  It was also hard to get his attention away from raging hormones, so I took the time to earn his trust, give him time to adjust to his new home, and learn the ropes.
Cowboy was an immediate hit with the younger boys, being about the same age.  They romped and played and played and romped around the acre of yard.  With the older boys, he was a new face and was treated with friendly uncertainty, but no aggression.  Moony soon took charge of showing him around and teaching him about his new home.  At night he slept by my bed in the crate while the girls were in heat, a welcome change from having to shuffle him out and the girls in and vice versa during the day.  He loves the crate, and even when it is open and he is inside while the girls are out, he can often be found laying down in it.  In order to make things easier on us and to fulfill my promise to ensure that the epilepsy gene is not passed on, we had Freya spayed.  This was a very hard decision, as she is a tremendous leader dog and her work ethic is amazing.  It was hard to decide it wasn't worth the risk to breed her again.  Our foundation hope now lies with Princess and Ace.

Ghost also loves to play with him, and is getting so big!  Soon it will be time to take him to the shows.  His training is coming along very well, however, it has been hard to get him to the Kennel Club practices since my husband now goes to school in the evenings.  But we will be gearing up for puppy matches starting next month.

Meanwhile our AC gave out, so we had to get some window units, and our roof was torn up by a storm.  Fortunately the insurance helped pay for our new roof, but not the AC.  It will probably be some time until we can afford to replace that.  Oh and my husband's car was on its last legs, so we traded it in for a 2012 Subaru Impreza.  Great gas mileage, and I'm pretty pleased with the pep and features.

Over the past few weeks, Cowboy's confidence and comfort level has grown and he has become an integral part of our family and pack.  He loves the big yard and loves being able to play with the other dogs.  This morning I was able to allow the girls to interact with him without him attempting to mount even though Princess played with him.  Cowboy seemed completely uninterested in anything but play, not even a sniff, so we should be ok.  It will be a relief to not have to shuffle dogs in and out for 5 or 6 months.  With that out of the way, I should be able to concentrate on Ghost's and Cowboy's show training.


  1. Hi Alicia!
    Shame on me - I totally forgot you had a blog as well! Thanks for your recent comment on one of my posts.

    So how is Cowboy progressing? I am pretty sure that with the patient and loving approach he will not only get integrated to the pack fast and fully, but that he will also re-gain his confidence for the show ring.

    Good luck and Happy Trails!


    1. He's doing great, thanks! I still have my doubts as the fear is deep rooted in him and it is taking a lot of love and trust building, but he is slowly progressing, slowly inching forward in his trust level. I'm going to try out his trust and training next month at the fun match with the local kennel club and see how he does.