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The RHYVALry Begins

Shock to the system

December 21st 2007 1:31 pm
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Now that Rhyval has officially turned five months I just had the biggest shock to my system when concerning her. Whenever I look down at this wee puppy I see a puppy still growing and developing into a hopefully well-mannered, well-rounded dog. The other day I looked down and didn't see a wee puppy but a wee dog. Who is we? You and me? The realisation that Rhyval was nearing the end of her growth cycle and that what she is now is what she'll always be, except furrier, really threw me for a loop. Gucci is a toy dog and is at the top of the standard being 10" and a little over 10lbs. Rhyval is holding at 9.25" and 4lbs so the contrast between the two is remarkable. Now throw in Abbi at 21" and 38lbs and little Rhyval is a piece of fluff when in comparison. I'm not fluff, I'm a Pap! I just shake my head at the absurdity of the mind and it's preconceived perceptions. Thank Dog Rhyval's personality is bigger than her actual size. I'm not that small, am I? Yes, you are little one.

Since the last time I wrote Rhyval has developed some new quirks to her repertoire. She has the need, the need to attack the broom whenever it is out of the closet. If it's stationary she'll go for it with gusto. If it's moving she is on a whole new plane - the intensity of which scares Gucci out of the kitchen. Must kill the broom. The real funny part is that she has no front teeth at the moment so her ability to grab the bristles has severely diminished - not that she cares. Due to the fact that she is teething Abbi has taken it upon herself to lick Rhyval's gums when they start to bleed thereby helping the healing process. At least that's my theory. And a good one too! I think. Not sure but Rhyval really enjoys the bonding time. The only thing she doesn't enjoy is when Abbi places her paw on Rhyval's head to hold her still. Poor Rhyval is no competition for Abbi's paw, which when combined with the leg probably weighs more than Rhyval altogether. It's not fair she's bigger than me. Sucks, huh?

Another quirk is probably associated with the teething process - Rhyval's incessant need to chew on snow. Mmmm. Snow. Now that she is used to the extreme cold weather her paws aren't freezing up as quickly as they used to so whenever she has the opportunity she is outside. She revels in the snow. She loves to shove her head underneath it, she loves to bounce through the really deep stuff, and mostly she loves to chew on it. If given half the chance she would spend most of her time eating snow but alas, it is cold out there and her puppy coat isn't thick enough to last more than 5-10 minutes. It doesn't stop me from trying though. That's very true!

Now that Rhyval is older her confidence in her jumping abilities has grown considerably. She regularly leaps onto and launches off of the couches, beds, chairs, laps, Abbi... anything that is higher then she is. I can fly!! My own bed is the highest out of everything she is allowed on and her little 'helper platform' has worked wonderfully. So wonderfully that Rhyval hasn't figured out yet that she can jump on and off the bed without it. What was that? Nothing, sweetie. The few times she has forgotten herself, when chasing Gucci or Abbi, she's had no issues so I know she can do it. For now though, I'll keep her in the dark to her abilities. As long as she stays wary of jumping off of my bed until she is fully house trained I'll be a happy camper. Why? Well, since you sleep with me at night your fear of jumping off the bed means you'll whine to be let down and thus wake me up so I can let you out. Ohhh. That makes sense. I think. Rhyval refuses to use the pee pads and has determined that the outdoors is where she goes. Now I'm not complaining about the fact she would rather go outside. The only issue is that if no one is in the kitchen to let her out then she'll go in the living room. She only whines when she is on the bed and no other time. Hence we've started shaping her to ring a receptionist's bell to tell us when she needs to go out. It will come with time.

Rhyval's confidence has also extended into other areas. She now routinely chases both dogs and doesn't have any fears of Abbi chasing her anymore. Being stepped on once was a lesson that stuck with Rhyval for a very long time. It really hurt. I know it did. Now the household is constantly filled with the sounds of tiny growls, from Rhyval, and scurrying of feet as the dogs race all over the place. Rhyval is a quick little sucker and can stay ahead of Gucci quite easily. Abbi has to hold back but not too much. If Rhyval's need for speed eventually crosses over to agility I'll be ecstatic. I've been encouraging her love of running by playing a chase game. She gets to chase me and I try to stay ahead of her - which is pretty hard to do in the house. As she chases me she growls constantly until I stop and then a teeny bark will come out when I try to chase her. That is the only time I get to hear her bark and only happens when she is really pumped up. If she ends up growling the whole time while on course I'll be spending a lot of my time trying to hold back from laughing - it's just too cute. Are you laughing at me again? Not yet.

As the weeks go by small idiosyncrasies start to become commonplace as new ones pop up. Case in point is Rhyval's sudden ability to cross her front paws or her need to 'bury' her bully clubs or her desire to steal everything off of my bedside end tables. New things to carry around and chew. Another is the ability to stand on her hind legs and balance like a gopher or meerkat. The latter one is especially funny to see as she uses it to spy out something of interest. She first showed this ability at a PetSmart where we bought her winter sweater. It was the first time she had been in a PetSmart so she was a bit overwhelmed by all of the treats and toys. When she wanted to see something that was out of her reach she hopped up on her hind legs, tucked her front paws against her chest, and stood perfectly still as she scanned the upper racks of toys or bones. I couldn't see it very well. I needed to get higher. I was impressed and figured it was a one time only type of deal. Turns out I was wrong. She does it at home all of the time now when we pull anything out of the cupboards and at Abbi's last agility fun match Rhyval did it to see the people and dogs coming towards her. It's cute as hell. And handy.

Training has ground to a bit of a halt as I came down with the flu and was out for the count for over two weeks. We started working on Rhyval's circle work for agility and continued with her focus along with crate games. Because her love of the crate games she has now transferred it over to any spot I place her in a sit or down. Be it on the couch or in a chair. I like Mummy's chair. It's comfy. At the fun match and the last trial of the year we were able to work on her stays, recalls, and sends with just my trial chair. Instead of a crate Rhyval held her sit on the chair, came when called, and then ran back onto the chair when told from over 15 feet away. And this was with a bunch of dogs around getting ready to run, coming off the course, etc. She was a great little girl and did awesome. Thank you. You're welcome.

She is still wary of all dogs she meets and I'm hoping that will fade as she gets older. If not then she might be like Abbi and be a bit anti-social as an adult. No big deal to me as she has Gucci and Abbi to play with. She met her half sister for the first time at Abbi's last trial - they share the same father - and didn't want to play with her which really surprised me. Considering that her half-sis was the first dog she has met who is smaller than her I assumed Rhyval would want a meet and greet. She was pushy. I was wrong and a bit of snapping happened. Rhyval is classic Pap colour where her half-sister was mostly colour with a bit of white. Even though Rhyval was quite a bit taller, despite being three months younger, her half-sister had a much longer back and considerably bigger ears. Seeing the two of them together made me glad I got Rhyval. Me too. I'd miss Abbi n' Gucci. The whole time we were at the trial Rhyval wanted to meet new dogs only to cringe and hide between my feet when they actually wanted to meet her. Those that ignored her seemed to be the ones she liked the most. Like Pearl and Trinity and Bryte. Go figure. Oh well. At least she is thriving, happy, and still a little wild child despite maturing. I hope she never loses that. Are you sure about that?


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