Why am I starting this post with a pic of Azza drinking out of the house water bowl? Because the water bowl is just one of the many surprising challenges that she presents me with daily.
At first, I kept a small water bowl in her crate because during her house training she was spending a fair bit of time in there. But now that she is more reliable and spending more time out with the rest of us, I figured she could drink out of the same water bowl as the other animals.
Too bad she was terrified of it! She went for two days without drinking before she broke down and slunk over to the bowl for a furtive lap or two. She still creeps up on it, and as you can see in the picture, she is as stretched out as she can be, making sure that not a single hair of her body touches the scary bowl.
|Ready? Get it! She will jump up and drive forward for a toy. She appears to prefer plush ones with squeakers.|
I continue to work patiently with her. Our work on the "what is that?" behavior has started to show some success.
On Friday, she went on her first "neighborhood" walk away from the circum-golf course path and soccer field where we normally go and along which we normally only see other people. Instead, I took her on a short walk along a street with houses and yards and what turned out to be an endless array of scary things.
|Harry getting his regular weekend nap in the sun, perfect for warming old bones. Azza was too restless to nap--you can tell that she hasn't settled.|
|Even though her shoulders are barely half an inch above Mimi's, Azza can reach the kitchen counter with her front paws. She is pretty much nothing but legs. Upul and I are working on discouraging this behavior.|
|Upul giving the dogs a treat, as he always does before he leaves whether I am there or not. Azza waiting patiently. I insist on 100% enforcement of this because she is pushy and nippy.|
I have a large agave-type succulent outside my gate. Every few weeks, its javelin-like leaves threaten to impale me as I go in and out so I have to trim them back. I leave the pile of trimmings on the ground next to my sidewalk for the gardener to haul off the next day. When Azza went out to potty the first time, that pile of stuff wasn't there. When she went out the next time, well, she got sight of those leaves on the ground and she slammed on the brakes and refused to walk past them. I walked over, tapped the pile, and said "what is that?". Slowly, slowly, she approached, getting treats for every step she took towards the scary thing, until she put her nose on it. Then, jackpot! A handful of treats and we calmly go back to our original business.
She completely understands now that Harry is not to be bumped or licked or otherwise annoyed. It took four chomps from him but she at last got the message. But now he has become "forbidden fruit" and she is obsessed with him. She waits until he settles down on one of the big dog beds, then creeps around behind him and curls up next to him, usually back to back. Amazingly, he allows her to do this and doesn't even give a single growl as long as she doesn't fidget or flop about. Harry has become oddly both more and less tolerant as he gets older (he's 13 and a half now, nearly deaf, and going blind as well). He and Mimi are always touching when they sleep at night. I never thought I'd see him tolerate the pesty puppy too.
|It's been an unusually cold spring, weather not seen in these parts since the late 1990's. Harry likes to be covered on those cool evenings. Azza crept in after he was settled and curled up behind him.|
I have tried to explain the situation with dogs on camp before but I suppose it is worth repeating. Dogs are barely tolerated. Right now, the official customs rule is "no toy dogs"...and to a Saudi customs agent, ALL BREEDS are toy breeds. Doesn't matter whether the dog you want to import is a toy breed or not. His word is the final one. There is no appeal, no higher authority, no logic. If my Saudi neighbors (I have three of them in my immediate area) complain about my dogs, for any reason, even if it is a false accusation, I would have to get rid of Azza, might be kicked out of Aramco housing, might even be fired. There is no recourse, no appeal, no logic. If a Saudi says it is so, that is the end of the discussion. If you are a westerner, you will always lose. So it is imperative that Azza learn that she can't jump on and attempt to greet every human she sees, that she can't bark at imaginary scary shit at 4 a.m., in short, that she gains some civilized behaviors that will allow us to cope in this environment (and I'm not talking about the weather).
|A three-way game in progress. It was hard to get this photo--I need a couple more hands!|
|Origami dog discovers the couch.|