I have been wanting to blog about Zephyr’s progress on a weekly basis, however I just don’t seem to have had a spare minute so this might be a bit of a long one!
We met Zephyr on Saturday 22nd June at the Wolfdog Rescue Pack Walk that we attended with Tuchena. We had already had long conversations with the breeder and theoretically we thought that Zephyr and our other dogs should all get along, however we still wanted him to pass the ‘Tuchena Test’, as if she doesn’t like another dog she is quick to tell it!
Paul was travelling from Orkney to the pack walk and brought Zephyr with him for us to meet. Tuchena can be edgy around other dogs, but there were 2 dogs at the meet that she seemed comfortable with, Kaahn and Zephyr. We went on a 9 mile group walk on the Saturday with everyone else that had attended the meet. Leon walked Tuchena and I walked Zephyr. He appeared to be very laid back and calm, however he could have just been overwhelmed! I spent all day with him and all evening while we all had a hog roast. To tell you the truth I was smitten with in the first hour, as soon as I realised Tuchena was fine with him.
So, we brought Zephyr home on the Sunday morning with Tuchena. Leon’s parents had stayed at our house overnight to look after the Labradors. I called them when we were on our way to let them know that Zeph was with us and ask if they could take the Labradors out in to the field and we would meet them out there with Tuchena and Zeph, rather than in our house or garden where they might feel more protective or have their noses put out.
When the Labradors spotted us in the field they came bounding over, pleased to see us, greeted Tuchena and gave Zeph a quick sniff. That was it. We then all walked back to the house and spent the afternoon in the garden letting Zephyr find his feet. He seems to be a little bit nervous and suspicious (more so than Tuchena) but quickly overcomes it if no fuss is made. He is very quick to look to the other dogs for their reactions and if they are calm, so is he.
I then took a couple of weeks off work to try to settle Zeph in to the pack and also get Tuchena spayed, as I wont get Zeph castrated until he is at least a year old.
Zephyr definitely needs another dog with him to help him feel secure and confident. I am usually walking him with Hendrix, but have also managed a couple of walks with just me and him. He is hesitant to start with, he just sits down and refuses to move. I have learnt that the trick to that is for me to let go of the lead and just walk away…he soon follows! I will continue to work on this though as he needs to learn to trust me, but we have only been together for three weeks and these things take time!
We initially tried to crate him while we were both out, but he did not like it at all. He was getting far too stressed, so in the end we decided to leave him in the lounge with the other dogs whilst I am at work, but to facilitate that we have had to board up our window as we were worried he might try to get out of it and it is only single glazed in old wooden frames and I didn’t think it was a risk worth taking. So, for the time being it looks as though are house has either been burgled or repossessed! We have also had to fit a door between the lounge and kitchen, as the double-baby-gate-combo was not secure enough and on my first day back at work, Zephyr managed to knock the top one out, jump over and then climb up in to the kitchen window. In the process he managed to knock the tap off, so when Leon got home from work there was a fountain in the kitchen and it was flooded! I have put a picture below, look at the reflections on the floor to get an idea of the amount of water!
We are able to feed all four dogs in the kitchen simultaneously, with no issues with regards to their food and also give them all bones in the garden and leave old bones lying around for them to go back to with no problem.
I am still sleeping downstairs with them (on the sofa), initially it was just to ensure they were all getting on, then because Tuchena had been spayed and I needed to keep an eye on her stitches, now it is just for a quiet life! They are all so much calmer in the mornings, it is lovely! Usually (before Zeph) when they hear our alarm clock go off and we start moving around upstairs they have all got excited, but now it is easy. Who wants to get woken up by some electronic beeping when you can get woken up by dog kisses? 😉
The other thing that I am working on with Zeph is his mouthing. He is only doing it to me (which is great for everyone else) but it can hurt! I am covered in bruises on my arms and legs at the moment but I already think he is doing this less. I am trying to stay calm and consistent with discouraging him from this, but sometimes he takes me by surprise and it is difficult to remain calm when he has my leg in his mouth!
All in all, so far so good! No regrets and I am looking forward to watching his progress. Tuchena certainly likes having a rough and tumble playmate!
He has already got a few nicknames (for some reason I can never call my dogs by their true name) – ‘Geoff’, ‘Zephyr – McGeoffer’, ‘Geoffrey Lumox’ & ‘McFly’ (Back to the Future, not the band!)