How long is the “new dog” new for? He was used, so to speak, when we brought him home so he was always only ever new to us. But even in that new-ness how long do we get to say, “well he’s new and just settling in?” Perhaps until we get a newer dog? We don’t call the other dogs “the old dogs,” we just say “the girls” because there are two of them and they are girls. We do sometimes refer to Coco as an old lady because she is nearing 12, but only in an affectionate way, and Apricot still is Puppy even at six and half, so maybe the new dog is just the New Dog and that’s it forever. And, I wonder if that is true does he get to act like a new dog forever? That would not be fabulous.
The new dogs name is Sugar Bear. He came with the name but it sounded like it could be a desserty thing so we kept it. Also he wasn’t super young and he more or less responded to the name so we didn’t want to confuse things more. He had been in and out of a lot of houses, it seemed like letting the name be consistent was a kindness. We have taken to calling him Sug-Dog because he is exactly nothing like a gangster rapper and so it is ironic.
When we brought Coco home she was just over a year old and the new dog transitional behaviors lasted almost three years. For eighteen months or so she would eat clothes and shoes and would pee every time we came home from anywhere. Then she settled down to just eating sofas when we went out. Fortunately we live in a place where it is fairly easy to acquire free, used sofas so though I didn’t particularly like many of the styles I wasn’t terribly bothered by the behavior. I did like it when she stopped.
Apricot came to us as a baby so she just did baby dog things. There is a sort of sorry looking houseplant that never fully recovered from having it’s twin stalk eaten, and the front window ledge still shows that it was a victim of puppy teething. But she never had any trauma to speak of so didn’t bring any baggage with her. We are wholly responsible for the spoiled brat that she is, I accept that and it would be hard for someone else to adjust to her needs where she to go live somewhere else (which she won’t but just if hypothetically).
So I do understand that Sug has some issues to work out, and it may take a while before he knows he is really safe and in his forever home (furever if you want to be cute about it), but I’m just curious about how long really or if some of the things that we say are just “new dog” are actually just Sug. For instance: the sugar nugget issue. He does not like to hear that he is a bad boy, even if he is a bad boy. If you say he is bad he gets worse and leaves sugar nuggets (use your imagination), and I really don’t care for that at all. So I don’t say “bad boy” I say, “Sugie let’s work on these issues,” and he cocks his head, lets his tongue loll about and then runs away. Potty time in general would be great to get under control because I don’t always feel like having to catch him right before bed to put him outside. He can go in and out pretty much whenever he wants, it would be great if he remembered to go pee on his own when he was outside so I didn’t have to remind him. Also, any day now I’m hoping he notices the giant water bowl in the family room, that all of the other animals drink out of, so he doesn’t dehydrate until someone opens the door to let him out (the dog door is not something he is totally on to yet) to the outside bowl. There are just these few little things and he would be great. We have solved for the attacking people on walks so no adjustment there just so long as he doesn’t ever ever ever, under any circumstances go out without the harness. Other than that it’s all good.
Overall things are going pretty well with the new dog. We are getting to know him, he is getting to know us. We are hoping maybe he’s not entirely stuck in his ways…