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Dexter's dreads

by Kyler Laird last modified 2008-08-16 13:51

more grooming for Dexter

date: 2008-08-16 (4788 days ago)

dogs: Dexter

Our neighbors are having a garage sale today so we have lots of people parking in the street and walking around our house. Dexter has been keen to alert us to everyone and warn them away from approaching our house. I've been calling to him when he starts barking and that is working well. I like it a lot more than my gut reaction of yelling at(/with!) him.

I called him away from his sentry position into the living room last time and I was trying to distract him when I recalled that he had a few minor matts around his neck. The brushes were handy so I started brushing him. He seemed to enjoy it so I continued and was almost done when I realized I'd only been doing the top layer of his withers. Underneath he had a bunch of large matts that I'd missed!

So...out came the comb and dematting tools. I went at him for awhile and enjoyed observing his behavior. He has a tendency to bite when he's stressed instead of vocalizing. "Bite" could be a bit misleading in this case; he grabs with his teeth. It's wonderful that he has such good control of his bite. Morgan was the same way when I met him and it's one of the reasons I adopted him. As I cut, combed and brushed Dexter I stuck my face in his and worked on communicating with him that nuzzling was alright and biting was not. (I discovered that his high forehead and mine mesh quite well.) He seemed to get it but it will take a lot of work for me to trust that inhibition in most any situation (as it does with any dog). At the same time, Dexter worked on communicating with me that when I pulled "this" much it was alright and when I pulled more it wasn't. His reaction was always timely and in proportion to what I was doing; he didn't suddenly snap and he didn't remain stressed after I changed what I was doing. I also noticed that he did well with being restrained. He struggled only slightly at first and then he seemed to realize what I wanted and I was able to work on him without holding him at all.

When I first met Dexter I thought that working with him might exceed my capabilities. He continues to show me that he's really just a big sweetie looking for direction. There are so many times that I surprise myself and think "Wow! Dexter is the best dog in the bunch!" about a given situation. Speaking of that...

Due to their health and personalities, I've been feeding Harley and Dobky on their own just outside the kitchen. I don't require the other dogs to go into downs until I return to the kitchen. Normally Morgan and Jarreau quickly down without being told and I have to work on the others. Dexter is usually last and takes awhile. This morning as I was filling the bowls for Harley and Dobky I looked over and saw Morgan, Jarreau and Dexter already waiting patiently in downs! (Yes, they each got a venison medallion for that.) Dexter is such a sponge - so ready to accept training. I hope I can give him what he needs.

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