Kola came for a 4 day foster for a break from the kennels. She had no problems jumping into the car and settled immediately. At the house, she had a quick sniff check of downstairs and the back garden, then lay on her bed in the lounge. She ate all her dinner , and then we took her for a walk along the river. She has a funny hopping forward jump that she does occasionally, a bit like Zebedee (showing my age!) but its like she’s excited about her walk and getting moving, as this happens when there’s no other dogs around. I tried to capture it on film on day 4 but she did the whole walk without doing it once, so there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. She’s a good brisk walker and really enjoys her walks, she’s excited to get her coat and lead on, and is always up for a decent walk. Our usual route along the river is about 30mins, but we took her to Virginia Water for a longer walk (90mins with a coffee stop/leaning stop) and she still had energy at the end of the walk, whereas the bigger male dogs we’ve had have been panting after an hour. She was understandably bothered by off-lead dogs rushing up to her, they were all friendly, but she didn’t seem used to them being so in-her-face, but her barks were more of a “panicked leave me alone” type than an aggressive bark, she stood her ground and didn’t lunge at all. Sometimes she’d walk on the inside and a bit behind you to avoid an approaching dog, but she got more relaxed as the walk went on, or maybe she was just more tired, and therefore less reactive. She had no issues passing dogs on leads, unless they barked at her, so she just needs to meet more and build her confidence. I’m sure she’d love an off-lead run.. we found a stretch of open field and she enjoyed a fast jog (on-lead) with my son running full pelt 🙂
She was near perfect in the home, no accidents, totally zen 95% of the time, but beautifully giddy when someone comes home, you’re the first person to get up in the morning, or when she knows she’s going out. She ate her dinner straight away on day one, but tended to eat half before and half after her walks the other three days. She loved her water, and tells you when she needs to go out for a wee by waiting at the back door. She found the sofa on the first evening, but had to wait til someone else sat on it first, then she’d jump on, and either snuggle with them, or give them a deep stare that meant she was fine now, please could she have the sofa to herself! I couldn’t work out if she was asking for permission, or whether the sofa was just firmer and easier to get on with someone already on it!
At bedtime she settled downstairs on her bed, then about 2am on the first night came up and tried to get on my daughter’s bed for a snuggle, (not on our list of acceptable dog bed compromises) so she brought Kola’s bed up from downstairs and she slept the rest of the night through til 7:30am on her bed on the floor next to my daughters bed. The second night I heard her at 1am on the landing, I came and patted her other dog mattress on the landing and told her to settle down, but didn’t engage in cuddles, and she decided to go back downstairs instead and slept on the sofa til 7:30am. Night three she stayed on the sofa til 11pm, then decided she wanted to be on the floor in my daughters room again, and slept up there til 8am. So she likes to be upstairs with you if possible, but I don’t think she’d be too hard to persuade to sleep downstairs either. Since this foster was as much about giving her a break from kennels as teaching her about home life, it was nice to let her do her own thing a bit. But she seems fairly biddable and listens to you. She was interested in food and is a starer, but she doesn’t try and take it. She does a great “looking into your soul” stare. She was ok on the wooden kitchen floor initially, but after a giddy spell she lost her balance a bit on it, and walked very carefully and somewhat mistrustfully on it after that, and ‘requested’ a mat to stand on to eat her dinner so she didn’t slip!
We tried a game of fetch in the garden and she didn’t get the concept at all… although it took all but one of our other foster dogs a while to understand ‘fetch’, but she has such a fun side to her personality and she loves to get outside, that I don’t think she’d take too long to catch on. She was a real pleasure to have to stay. Carol said she’d lived in a home for a few months before and it shows, she’s very well-behaved and loves her sofa. She was so quiet and chilled out at home, her excitement when my husband came home on the first night was a revelation, but that showed us she has two really distinct sides to her personality. The one thing we didn’t test was her being home alone, we were just glad to spend all our time with her on this occasion 🙂 If we were in a position to, we’d keep her like a shot. She’s beautiful inside and out.