Saturday, December 3, 2016

Barley and Rye: Day 1 (Part 1)

They say it takes a village to raise a child and I don't think it's any different with a dog. I think all of our blog friends at some point or another have posted about either the wonderful villages they belong to or the not-so-helpful villages that make raising happy, healthy, well-adjusted pups more difficult. Barley and I are lucky to have an amazing village of blog friends, family, friends, trainers, and classmates.

The first thing I did after bringing Rye home was email Barley's reactive dog trainer and her agility trainer to see if they could help us learn to co-habitate. I was in love with Rye from the second I met her, so I knew we needed to get off on the right foot if this was ever going to work. They both responded in a few hours and were more than willing to work with us--and our agility trainer was even willing to come to our house (a blessing because my car is small and the thought of having two dogs that have never seen each other in it--even if one of them was harnessed and the other was crated--gave me anxiety).

If only it were as easy as introducing these two.

Rye's quarantine period for kennel cough ended on Friday, so our trainer agreed to come over Saturday to help with introductions.

At first, I wasn't too worried about it because I had massive amounts of cleaning to do--like finding the top of my coffee table so that there was a place to set treats and vacuuming up all of the tiny bits of rope toy that Rye had left all over the carpet--so I was busy most of Friday. When the work was done, though, I started to feel barfy. The possibility that Barley would hate Rye was very real and that's not a reality I would want to deal with.

Our trainer had instructed me to make sure that both dogs were hungry before she arrived, so everyone only got half of their breakfast and Rye got a nice long indoor play session and Barley got a nice long walk. By the time we finished our walk and I ate some lunch, there was just enough time to get our treats together before our trainer arrived.

We started the session with Barley loose and Rye shut in her room. Barley loves our trainer, so I didn't want her to know that she was here and that she wasn't being allowed to say hi. We chatted for a few minutes while Barley got to be loved on. Then Barley went upstairs while our trainer met my tiny terror.

Rye showed off just how smart she is. We've been working on the "it's your choice" game for the past two weeks and she's caught on so quickly. Our trainer played with her for a few minutes to get to know her better.

Rye gets these kibbles when she makes eye contact with me instead.

Such a good puppy.

Then it was time for my two girls to see each other (although I'm pretty sure they've spied each other through windows before) for the first time.

That experience will probably require a whole book's worth of writing, so I'll save that for Part 2, but since I know you've all been sending us good thoughts, I will let you know that nobody (me) cried. Nobody ate anybody else. Nobody's head ended up in anybody else's mouth. It wasn't all pretty, but it was positive and I have hope that one day--maybe not soon, but one day--we will all be one big happy family.

Training is so tiring.

Tune in tomorrow for Day 1, Part 2.


  1. Gosh, I feel myself being nervous for you! I'm so glad you had a trainer to help, because I could not imagine trying to do that on my own either. On to read Part 2...
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

    1. I'm so glad we had our trainer, too. She really is wonderful!

  2. It sounds like you have a good plan in place.