Quick Progress for Kira

Kira is one smart cookie. I gave her a doggy door lesson yesterday, and now, without any prompting, she goes in and out to do her business all by herself! Joyous celebration!! Also, she has met our cat and didn't get crazy over the encounter--she was interested and a little scared but not predatory. She is barking way less, although she still barks and whines in her crate at night. If only I could exercise her properly, I think this problem would be solved. But for a puppy who gets minimal exercise, she's actually quite mellow.

I doubt that Kira has ever been in a house before. She seems to have lived the entirety of her short life outdoors. I can tell by the way she went up the stairs for the first time and the fact that she loves to hide and make herself comfortable behind and under bushes. She also likes to eat her own poop, maybe because she didn't have anything else to eat as a stray. (This makes the use of the doggy door a bit more tricky--I need to keep an eye on her and follow her out so I can immediately pick up any poop. But even this nasty habit seems to be subsiding quickly--after she poops now, she looks at me like she knows I do NOT approve of any tasting. We've been working on "leave it" with urgent intensity.)

close up of chestnut colored kira laying in the grass next to our house with an ice cube laying in front of her, her tongue shows slightly as she licks the ice cubeIt has been really fun to share many "firsts" with Kira. Here she is sampling her first ice cube.

cabana in the background, kira in the foreground, with a bunch of toys scattered about in front, kira is chewing on one of them while cabana looks a bit woefully at the cameraToys also seem new to Kira. She didn't know what to do with them at first, but she is catching on fast. If only I could get Cabana and Kira to play tug with each other--that would be good exercise. Cabana is still acting aloof toward Kira--what is with that? If they had met at the dog park, I think Cabana would have loved Kira. I'm not sure if it was the way they met that caused the damper (barking at each other in our driveway) or maybe Cabana just doesn't necessarily enjoy sharing her house, her humans, or her toys.

kira sitting alertly and looking straight ahead with several toys scattered in front of herHonestly, Cabana stopped playing with most of these toys a while ago anyway. But after Kira gets adopted, I think we'll go buy Cabana a new supply. She deserves that for being such a compliant hostess.

Kari in Vegas  – (August 16, 2011 at 8:06 PM)  

you must be doing a happy dance about the doggy door!


Min  – (August 16, 2011 at 8:36 PM)  

Kira has massive paws! I love hearing about her progress. Good work!

Mimi and CC Cabana  – (August 16, 2011 at 8:50 PM)  

Min, yes, her paws are huge, and her tail is so long it drags on the ground. She's going to be a big girl. Makes me a bit sad to think I won't see how big she gets.

Lacey  – (August 16, 2011 at 9:32 PM)  

Kira is beyond cute! You are doing such a great work.

Becky  – (August 16, 2011 at 9:42 PM)  

I think I keep saying this but your posts on fostering just really inspire me for what you are doing. Such simple joys our dogs have that you are giving to Kira while she is in your home. Cabana is such a patient hostess.

Tessa99999  – (August 16, 2011 at 10:48 PM)  

I agree with Min; I love hearing about Kira's progress! Glad to see you're getting to witness the GSD ability to learn extra quickly for yourself. If you have any pineapple (fresh or canned) tried feeding Kira a little bit of that. It actually makes the poop taste bad. (Weird, I know!)

Anonymous –   – (August 17, 2011 at 6:52 AM)  

Congrats!! It's normal for the house dog to be a little aloof sometimes. Be sure to give Cabana "top dog" status. Continue to give her alone time with the people, treats and food first, etc. With time, the tension will ease.

Briana  – (August 17, 2011 at 7:59 AM)  

Congrats! Kira's beautiful!

Alison  – (August 18, 2011 at 4:36 AM)  

I've never posted before but I've been reading your blog since Cabana was a little puppy. I guess that makes me a lurker! I had to comment though because your post made me think of two things. I am an American who raised for GDB when I was a teenager. Now I live in New Zealand and I have raised six guide dogs here so far. One of my guide dog puppies was a german shepherd (who became our forever dog when she was diagnosed with hip dysplasia -- she was too amazing to pass up!). It is absolutely incredible seeing the difference in intelligence between her and my other guide dog pups who have been Labs and Goldens. Anyway, I was going to suggest the same pineapple idea as another person already has. I boarded a guide dog pup who had the same problem and I think I added about four pineapple chunks to each meal. The other suggestion I have is to cut off the longer hairs at the very end of Kira tail -- the hair past the end of the bone. Shepherd pups have long tails and they often drag on the ground. To avoid them dragging on the ground, the pups will use muscles to keep them off the ground and this can sometimes result in the tail growing in a slighly twisted shape, like a corkscrew. If you cut off the longer hairs that touch the ground, Kira won't try to lift her tail as much and it should grow straight. They just don't like the feeling of it dragging on the ground.

Wow! Long comment...but I hope you find it useful!

Mimi and CC Cabana  – (August 18, 2011 at 8:39 PM)  

Thank you, Alison! I like lurkers and commenters alike! Kira got a tail trim today. I never would have known to do that, so thank you for letting me know!

I'm thinking the poop eating is a thing of the past, but if I catch Kira doing it again, I will get a can of pineapple. Thank you, Alison and Tessa!

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