Toad has been home for 3 months. This is usually when new dog has settled into the new routine and into your family. At least that’s what the rescue groups tell you. We are still learning things about this guy everyday. As his new guardian, it is my responsibility to make sure I am giving him everything he needs to be successful in this house. For clients, this is explained as exercise, enrichment, diet and communication.
One cloudy Saturday afternoon I realized Fat fat needs more sleep than we are giving him. All the dogs were asleep in their respective places and I was working on business stuff. Cargo was outside, Toad on the couch, and Opie in the bedroom or hallway behind the gate. (Note: 3 months in and if I am not actively supervising, they are separated!) They had been asleep about 3 hours at this point (winning!!) and I was finished with the things I needed to do. As I started to shift things around to move out of my office, Toad barked, jumped off the couch and rushed Opie who was behind the gate. A reflexive “Hey!” from me and Toad looked up sleepily and started wagging his tail. Opie approached the gate with good body language so I knew we were fine. If the gate had not been in place we might have needed more intervention than my voice interrupter. (again why the gate is there)
What I learned
Fat fat startled awake from a deep sleep and forgot where he was. For him there was lots of confusion about where he was and a strange dog in the doorway. That is important information for me. He is not having his needs met if he is startling from sleep like that. So Sunday we went to the pool and swam, and had a nice nap before dinner, then he went to bed early. This week I will work on his training plan for the future since he has figured out life stuff at this point. (joy of adopting an older dog! They already know the basic stuff!) We will make sure we are checking the boxes that need to be checked.
Dogs need around 16 to 18 hours of sleep a day. Those of you who work all day and give your dogs a full nights sleep and a whole day to snooze, your dogs have it made. Those of us who work from home or have a weird schedule, we have to pay more attention to how much sleep our dogs are getting. Naps in other rooms or in crates while you are working are a great way to create a routine for your dog, and make sure they get the opportunity to sleep as much as they need to.
The Plan from Here
So Toad is not going to be a house dog, he is going to do stuff as soon as he gets some more weight off. Stay tuned for more Toad adventures, and watching me take my husbands dog (again). Maybe we will try some barn hunt, some agility or rally. As always, I let them decide what they like to do.
What signals do your dogs give you when their needs are not being met? Lets talk about it!