We have had our dog, a rescue, for two weeks now, and she’s fitting into the house well. She is house broken, well behaved, and quiet. Surprisingly quiet. She is also doing well with strangers when we introduce her.
Our chief complaint is that she gets excited when she sees us after a long absence and likes to put her paws on us. Often, this is just reaching out her paw while sitting, seeking contact. Less often, she jumps up, and since she is a big dog, she jumps high and her nails can scratch. We are working to control this behavior.
The First Vet Trip
She hasn’t had the easiest week as a vet visit revealed she had Lyme Disease, although she was not yet showing any symptoms. We are now dosing her with doxycycline twice a day. She also had a Trio pill, which prevents heartworms, intestinal parasites like roundworm and hook worms, kill fleas within eight hours, and kills five kinds of ticks. I’m used to dripping something like Advantage on a pet’s back, so I am not thrilled with dosing her with an oral, but it seems to be a necessity in a wood natural area, at least in the summer.
The vet also pronounced her underweight at 72 pounds, which we knew. In fact, the rescue organization had been trying to bulk her up. The vet says she will probably weigh around 85 pounds when she is up to her normal weight. This will fill her up and broaden her out a bit.
The late summer heat has been a bit tough on her, but we expect that means the winter cold will be easier on her. She’s been hanging around outside the chicken run for a few hours a day, lying in the shade and taking it easy. The chickens now ignore her and vice versa.
Our last dog, an Akita, wasn’t very barkative. While some dogs seem to bark all day, she would only bark when something unusual happened. If a strange car pulls into the driveway, she would bark. When my truck pulled in, she would not bark because she recognized it. When a deer runs by, she would bark. We liked this because when she barked, we knew something was up and could check it out.
Our new dog, an Anatolian Shepherd who we will call Annie, didn’t bark for two weeks. Of course, where we live, there is no traffic. We have no doorbell because we don’t get unexpected visitors. So for two weeks, the dog didn’t bark. Sometimes she would be so quiet, denned up in the bathroom or a closet, that we would joke that it was easy to forget we had a dog.
She would “talk” to us occasionally, a long “rowlrowrow” sound that you might mistake for a canine version of yodeling. If my daughter would come down stairs but stand on the landing and not enter the basement, the dog would talk to her, wanting her to come in to play with her. One time, the cat was making a racket upstairs, and the dog talked back, like she checking to see if everything was OK.
This dog is also interested in the TV, which I have never observed in a pet before. When I watch homesteading videos, if she hears chickens, she will run over and look at the TV. Sometimes she when she hears something, she stands in front of the speaker, as if trying to figure out where the sound she hears is coming from. This tells me she stays alert, even when she is lying down.
What it Takes to Elicit a Bark
Early the other morning, when my wife was up, but I was still asleep, the dog barked a good solid “woof!” Then the outdoor lights went on, telling my wife that something had just triggered the motion detector. My guess is that some nocturnal creature was heading home, passed the house a little too close, and the dog sensed it and barked. It got scared off by the dog, triggering the motion detector lights.
When I took her outside, Annie gave the area a good sniffing but seemed content that there was nothing threatening.
This is exactly the kind of behavior we want, and one reason we adopted a livestock protection dog. The breed uses their deep bark to warn away predators. Only if the predator persists and comes closer will they attack. And when they attack, they are surprisingly fast, agile, and can hit like an outside linebacker.
That works for me.