Last week, after a couple practice visits (and a good cry I’ll have to admit) I helped settle Zydeco back in at home. David and Leslie took puppy duty on the weekend, and his mom Christine returned from her 6 week road trip Monday. Although I’m sure he’s raising hell now and then in his own fabulous Zydy way, by all reports, so far he is doing pretty darn well. Certainly each time I’ve gone to visit, he’s looked calm and happy.
First off on transition day, the most important thing was getting his new confinement areas set up so he could be managed during his higher energy times, and so David and Leslie could maintain some of the same structure he had at my house. Because of the need to keep him out of Zoë’s space, with me he had almost no access to furniture, so we discovered right away that total freedom in the living room the first night home turned out to be a wee bit over- stimulating. (What? You mean couches and chairs are not for vaulting practice? Well, what a silly idea! They are so soft and bouncy!) We set up an ex-pen in the living room so he can practice hanging with family without being a doofus, his crate under the kitchen table so he’ll continue be able to go there during meals, and another confinement area in the back pantry for night-time and when left alone for longer periods. The good news is all the work I put in teaching him to be calm in his pen and crate seems to have transferred. YAY!
I was worried that the transition would be more stressful and confusing, and that for him it would be like losing another home, plus a tough rip in his attachment to me. But, true to his brave heart and all the love he received in that home before he came to me, and perhaps a testament to his improved resilience after six weeks of intensive and respectful positive reinforcement training, our boy seems to have taken this new life change in stride as just another adventure. For sure, he clearly remembered his old house and his family from before. Jumping from the car, he bolted for the front door, then went ridiculously giddy when he saw everyone. He also quickly remembered that Leslie has a great lap!
Without Zydeco, our house seems very quiet and a little empty. Zoë and Maya are much much happier though for sure to get full access to kitchen and yard again and not to be annoyed or worried by Mr. Puppy Pants. My heart has been aching but, as I’ve mentioned, luckily Zydy lives just around the corner. As his honorary “auntie,” I still get to visit. So far I’ve gone over and taken him on one neighborhood walk and one very mellow, very lovely trip to the park. Each time I’ve picked him up he seemed even calmer and more settled in than the last.
A couple people have wondered if Zydeco’s departure means no more Z-blog posts. No worries there! I have a backlog of about 15 post ideas and dozens more videos to share. Plus there’s my other Z-dog to celebrate too. Now that Zydy’s gone, she and I can get back to her work learning the Do as I Do protocol. So, lots to come! Stay tuned!