Running to the Future

I try to be very mindful when talking about Julius to not let too much conjecture creep into my vocabulary. It just seems too self-congratulatory and judgmental. I know where he lived before coming home with me and that he “wasn’t housebroken,” his left ear was a raw, open-scabby area where flies had been biting him, his hair was thin, spotty and a dull grayish-black. Julius is lanky and lean where Ray has always been stocky, but at his initial vet visit, was found to not be too lean. Conjecture: outside only dog.

Julius is highly food motivated where Ray is only highly treat motivated. Ray has never wolfed down a meal but will do nearly anything for a treat of any kind while Ju-bers wolfs down meals and treats of all kinds though so far the only vegetable that he will eat is a carrot. Conjecture: Ray has never missed a meal in his life and has never had to wonder when or where the next meal is coming. Julius may not have had the same feeding schedule and has certainly not enjoyed a variety of good healthy foods.

GoRay knows a variety of “commands” and he learns at a scary-fast rate but Julius …doesn’t seem to learn as quickly nor is he as manipulative as Ray. There is no fancy “leave it,” “drop it,” or “wait” (yet) in Julius’ vocabulary, but we’ve been working on “down” for about 2 weeks now. One thing Julius does know is “no.” He’s also afraid of the fly swatter, which in our home is used only to swat flies. Conjecture: I shudder.

All of the above conjecture though, is normal, in a way. I’m human and we tend to make guesses about things. Tomorrow marks four weeks since I brought Julius home. In that time, his ear is completely healed and nearly all of the hair has grown back in. Though he is still lanky, he has filled out to nearly 43 pounds from the 36 pounds he weighed at his neuter. His coat is silky and shiny and all of the thin spots are filling in nicely. He knows that “who wants one?” while not a “command” is answered by a butt-on-the-ground sit to indicate “I do.”

Because I’m human and need to anthropomorphize, I imagine that when Julius ran out of his yard that day, he was running to a better future, which is why what happened yesterday is funny, though only in hindsight. Tune in tomorrow to find out what it was.

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8 thoughts on “Running to the Future

  1. I think conjecture is perfectly natural! I always wonder about my boys' histories. I think, like Julius, Emmett didn't always have steady access to food, and even all these years later, the boy will do anything for the smallest little bite of kibble. Cooper, on the other hand, has never felt hunger (in a real, life-on-the-line sort of way, even though he's convinced he's starving to death at 5:00 every night…), so he's only really motivated through treats. It keeps it interesting that they're all so different, doesn't it! 🙂

  2. When it comes to Juilus' training you should totally check out this video on youtube http://youtu.be/L0XuafyPwkg . Since Juilus hasn't been mentally stimulated through training in his old home starting out with easier free shaping exercises like the one in the video is a great way just to get the dog use to using his mind, and enjoy training. If you start with working with extremely easy behaviors, in the future it will be easier (and faster) to teach the harder ones.

    Anyways keep up the amazing work! Juilus, and Ray are so lucky to belong to a great person like you! Hugs, Francesca

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