One year ago today, we adopted our dog Conrad. He’s been a great dog: very smart, eager to please, very playful, and just a bit naughty. Apart from a few hours per week, he is my constant companion. I depend on his relentless cheerfulness and lust for fun to keep me energized.
On occasion though, he can be serious:
The major problem with Conrad has been his unquenchable desire to catch, kill, and eat our cats. Yes, he would have killed and eaten them, if he’d ever been free to do that. He has a very high prey drive — combined with the impulse control of a teenager.
I’ve been working with Conrad on that problem for the whole year, almost every day. He was making slow but steady progress — usually on the order of “he’s not frantically lunging at the cat the moment he spots it” and “he’s willing to look at me when the cat is in sight.” Finally, in the last two months, we’ve made major headway. I’m now able to have him loose in the house — under voice command, with the shock collar as backup — while the cats roam about, eat their raw food, and engage in their usual strange kitty behaviors. He’s still far too fixated on the cats, but he’s able to sniff them, then leave them alone. Given his history, that’s just amazing. He’ll be pretty trustworthy in another few weeks with some further daily work on my part, I think.
I tried to take some pictures today of him sniffing the cats for this post. However, I taught him that he can only sniff the cats for a second or two, then he has to leave them alone. Consequently, I had a terrible time getting anything other than a blurry mess. You’ll have to do with these two blurry shots of him with Elliot. (Oliver is more skittish, but they’re doing okay together too.)
And here’s another shot that I just took of my handsome boy:
Conrad doesn’t know it yet, but he’s going to get a HUGE reward for learning to live in peace with the cats: a live-in girlfriend. Conrad loves the company of other dogs: he’s a favorite with all the playful ladies at the dog park. So he’s going to be thrilled to have a dog to play with 24/7.
This time, however, we’ll be adopting a dog that used to live in a household chock full of cats!