Saturday, January 3, 2015

Ryder: A Story of Contrasts

It's funny.  As a kid I hated puzzles.  Any and all puzzles.  Now, as an adult I can't stand not having all the pieces fit.  Having odds or ends that seem incongruent make me nuts.  I have no qualms researching to the point of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Ryder is a puzzle I haven't been able to put together.  He is, in so many ways, a story of contrasts.

He was the 6th pup out of an expected 4...

Born August 15, 2010

When he was born he was adorable.  While lower on the fight for food spectrum than his brothers he would have been middle of the pack.  As a baby he was higher energy but more reserved than some of his really outgoing siblings.

He drove me nuts running out to the corrals with Diva.  Rattling the wire along the bottom of the gate and barking madly at anything that moved.  It was an epic feat to keep him in the yard for "free play."

I was actually relieved to sell him.  Thinking to myself there goes the toughest pup out of the litter.  At this point in time he wasn't interested in interactive play with a toy and human.

When he came back, I took a deep breathe and prepared to work my arse off training.  What I got was a dog prone to accidents in the house.  A dog who flipped out when I hollered at his mom.  He leapt over the baby gate, ran up the stairs and jumped into my mother's lap.  A dog who lost his everliving marbles if you held a stock stick in your hand near him.  A dog who was supposed to be crate trained but who woke me crying each night.  I eventually caved and let him sleep with me.  He would push his body against mine.  If I moved, he'd shift so he was once again touching me.  For months he would only sleep if he was touching me.

Because he was having accidents from being left at home I looked into Doggy Daycare.  Found a new one and tried it out.  It was a failure in the sense that I think they let him down.  I think they allowed other dogs to beat him up and destroyed his confidence around other canines.

I had quite a few offers from people interested in purchasing him.  I couldn't sell him in good conscience.

I began coaxing him to work.  He struggled with any amounts of pressure.  Progress was slow.  But progress was made.

I put him into agility classes.  This bolstered his confidence and he demonstrated a keen enjoyment of the activities.

Between the sheep work and agility exercises he had plenty to keep his brain working.

Yet things were not always perfect.  In fact, at times they were downright awful.  And this is where I began to gnaw on the puzzle that is this dog.

In the beginning he was horribly reactive to men.  He was good with other dogs but that changed.  I neutered him thinking this would help reduce his reactivity.

Here is the puzzle.

1) Sometimes he is beyond awesome with other dogs.  He used to clean Tessa's bum and ears as she neared the twilight of her life.

Walking in the grazing reserve, Tessa is behind him.

He happily and wonderfully played with the Boston Terrier I was dog sitting.  He did not have a prior relationship with this dog.

Other times, he reacts and freaks out at any and all dogs.  It does not matter the size, breed or sex.  He does tend to do this more than anything at all.  We've been working very, very hard on this and have definitely made progress.  But he is most definitely not "cured".  

2) He is the biggest wimp out there.  He is scared of grocery bags, blankets flapping, noises, thunder, doesn't travel well anymore, and so on, so on.  He is so bad that when Honey fart's, Ryder runs out of the room!  True story!  It leaves me baffled because his mother wasn't like that.  His sister isn't like that.  It has taken forever to get him to accept the 12 year old child that's now part of our lives.  He still doesn't like him and mostly tolerates or avoids him.  This is not good.  He really is a horribly anxious dog.  

In his ThunderShirt.

It's funny, as a pup he showed no interest in playing fetch.  He would watch me play with Tessa until one day he joined in.  Now he is inseparable with the ball.  

He even sleeps with a ball.  We jokingly call it his soother.
Even though he no longer sleeps with me, he will always be my sensitive cuddle buddy.  

If dogs could talk, I wonder what he would say?

My question for him: why are you so good in so many ways and such a challenge in others? 

1 comment:

Liz Stout said...

He's beautiful no matter what! =)