This weekend marks 2 months since we adopted Harley so I thought it a good time to update everyone on his progress. In a word he is doing outstanding!!! It is easy to forget how far he has come in such as a short period of time. Harley is happy, playful and really coming into his own. Without a doubt he has become a huge part of our family. It is hard to imagine that this is the same dog that had to be carried into the rescue the first time we met him.
The transition from a rescue dog to part of our family has been a steady progression with only a few backslides. This improvement continues on a daily basis. Harley is a very bright dog that wants to please. His intelligence, however, was at times well concealed. Especially early on, he seemly tried to hide the fact that he observed everything and retained a lot. I am sure that this was his way of being cautious. His being bright and sensitive was likely a negative for puppy coming from his environment that had a rough start to life. Over time, though, he has completely given his heart to us and now likes to showoff how quickly he learns.
We work on his obedience training for short intervals every day. He now knows the basics of sit, down, come, stay, paw (which he loves to throw at you!) and heel. He also has a good understanding of the difference between a walking heel and a running heel. Since we continue to run 4-5 times a week this is really important. His is also very close to having an automatic sit when he comes to a curb … I’ve always been impressed with dogs that do this. The baseline of his training was helped so much because his foster mom Cindy Meyer trained him to “go potty” on command. This is a great tool!! In two months he has had only one accident in the house which may in fact have been our fault. We are currently working on hand targeting, a quick head snap to the call of his name, go to your bed (his doggy pillow) from anywhere in the house and accomplishing all commands with increased distractions. There is also the socialization aspect to his training. With a dog like Harley this is obviously a critical part of his weekly itinerary. We try to take him most everywhere we go whether it’s to a local dog friendly restaurant or on our recent trip to the mountains which he really loved. His gear has also increased. We have gone from a Choker Collar to a Martingale and now an Easy Walk Harness which really seems to work well.
Harley, that shy dog that would not go near most dogs at the rescue, now loves to play with other dogs. And watching him play is a real joy – it just puts a smile on your face!!! We cannot wait to bring him back to the rescue so everyone can see his progress. He has gained nearly 10 lbs. since we originally got him but does not have an ounce of fat. Harley continues to learn about the world and in the process teaches us just as much. He is proving to be a true champ!