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The RHYVALry Begins

Finding one's voice

January 10th 2008 4:35 pm
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Well it happened. Before my very eyes my little girl grew up. As of this Saturday Rhyval will officially be six months old. Do I get a party to celebrate? Sorry sweetie, no. As she is heading into her six months on this earth many facets to her personality are still developing will others are cementing into what a Rhyval is. The biggest changes aren't so much physical. She has been holding steady at 9.5" for the past 6 weeks and her weight gain has been fairly marginal. Tomorrow she will be going in to be spayed which will not only decrease her chance of developing common forms of cancer by 200% but she might grow a bit more. What's spaying? I'll tell you later, little one. I'm hoping the spaying helps her get over 10" for agility. Yes, if she is under 10" she would be competing in the 8" division in CKC and 10" in AAC but... if I want to take her to worlds she would have to jump 14". Now that's a huge difference. So I'm vying for her to be over 10" and let the cards fall where they may. Crazy eights or go fish?

The only other major physical change has been the onslaught of missing teeth. For a while all Rhyval had missing were the front teeth. All I want for Christmas is my twelve front teeth. All canines, incisors, molars, etc were still intact. That changed about a week and a bit ago when she started spitting out teeth left, right, and centre. Due to the lack of teeth Rhyval couldn't bite as hard as she usually did - she could only gum you. I can't even hold onto the tuggie anymore. I know, that sucks. This made me and the other dogs very happy. Hey!!! The only sad thing is I haven't been able to get many teeth to save for posterity. The few I have been able to save from the dreaded vacuum aren't much different in size than Abbi's puppy teeth, which sort of shocks me. Abbi was over 30lbs when she hit 6 months while Rhyval still hasn't broken over the 5lb mark yet. So either Rhyval has huge puppy teeth or Abbi's were a bunch of underachievers. It must be Abbi for I am perfect. You wish.

The biggest changes in Rhyval over the last few weeks have involved her personality. She is truly Miss Independent now which I am head over hells happy about. I can do what I want when I want how I want to. Can't you tell? See the smile on my face? Does it look forced? Having a very independent border collie has been a blessing and a curse all in one. Now that I have a papillon who might be the same I am ready to call in the Dog Whisperer. NOT!!! Actually, I'm just going to have to change how I train Rhyval as she matures. Having a dog with her own ideas on what is acceptable makes training more of a challenge and thus more rewarding. Gimme treats and I might do what you ask. That's reassuring. This has also changed how she relates to Abbi and Gucci. No longer the young puppy, Rhyval now stands up for herself regularly when concerning her treats or playthings. Instead of giving in to the older dogs she now fights for her right to eat her treat in peace or play with her toy without it being taken. Her tiny growls are still tiny but more forceful now and the other dogs respect her. Nobody takes my things! Except Mummy, of course. When worse comes to worse, she'll 'bury' her treasure around the house so the other dogs can't get at it. Unfortunately 'burying' a treat behind a pillow isn't a very affective place but at least the other dogs wait for her to leave the room before they abscond with it.

The greatest change in Rhyval has involved finding her voice. She rarely barked while a puppy as she was either too timid to join her voice with the rest of the pack or she didn't understand the reason for the sporadic bursts of barking. That is no longer true. One day, about 2 weeks ago, Rhyval decided that she heard something out of the ordinary, didn't like what she heard, and proceeded to bark until the rest of the dogs joined her. It was the first time she truly alert barked. I scared it away didn't I? Yes, you did, my saviour. It was a big day for her and for me to experience. Since then she regularly helps the other dogs in keeping strange sounds at bay. Sometimes she joins in, other times she starts the cacophony that rings throughout the house. She has truly found her voice thus I can no longer say there is a puppy living in the house. It was a sad day when I realised it. A young adolescent is now living in the house while the puppy is no more. And so it goes.


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