Probably a lot of people have read stories about border collies with huge vocabularies.
In these stories, people have systematically taught their dogs various words, and
hoarded counted up the results. Becca learns words on her own, and I have no idea how many she knows. She is always surprising me with her language skills.
Yesterday, I fixed Becca and Elbee their suppers. They both eat in the kitchen, about 4 feet apart, and they each keep to their own bowls. After giving them the food, I started working on my own supper, plus something for Mr. Wren’s delicate post-surgical appetite.
Becca and Elbee ate, then barged out the dog door to intimidate some birds outside, then came back in to stare at me as I did my kitchen chores. I am an endless source of dog entertainment. I looked at them and said, “Hello there! What are you doing?” Then I looked at Elbee’s bowl and noticed she’d eaten only about half of her food, so I said, “Elbee! You didn’t finish your supper again. Is your tum upset?” Then I looked at Becca, who had scarfed her food all down, and said, “You can go ahead and finish her food if you want.”
As soon as the words were out of my mouth, Becca walked over to Elbee’s supper dish and ate the rest of the food. Maybe this is a you-had-to-be-there story, but I was surprised, pleased and impressed.
Becca also talks a lot in her own Becca language.
It’s been two years since we adopted Elbee. She has worked hard to become a super good dog. She always comes when called. She follows her three rules of “no peeing, no pooping, no destroying.” (She can do the first two outside, of course!) She is funny and affectionate, and she has developed a lot of lovely Sadie-like qualities.
I have to brag a bit about Becca & Elbee, the awesome adventure dogs! We just took them on a three-week cross-country road trip, and Mr. Wren & I came back from the trip even more in love with them then before. There were such excellent dogs!
They happily got in the car every time, and happily got out for their walks. While in the car, they worked out the cutest bunk bed situation. Mr. Wren put a blanket on the floor of the back seat. That ended up being Elbee’s spot, and the bench seat was Becca’s. They rode quietly and nicely all the time, even on long driving days and even though they didn’t always get as much exercise as they are used to.
They behaved nicely in the motel rooms. When we stayed overnight near Vail, the motel was barely occupied, so I let them off their leashes when we got off the elevator, and Becca ran down the hall and danced outside the door to our room. Pretty smart dog!
I was especially worried about how Becca would deal with visiting our friends who have a newly-rescued Weimaraner. Becca has been working on her fear aggression issues, and this was a big test. That Weim was huge and obnoxious. He wanted to play all the time, and his play is much rougher than border collie play. He even tried Elbee’s patience, which was a first. But Becca did really well. She gave a few Elvis Presley sneers right away to let it be known that she was boss dog, and that was that. Respect was given, order was created, and all the dogs got along. Becca & Elbee really enjoyed that visit, and so did I.
Of course, they were wonderful hiking buddies, as always, even though they mostly had to be leashed. They were happy the whole trip. It was joy traveling with them.
This will probably seem like a silly thing to be excited about…but I am very pleased, nevertheless!
Sadie used to just love playing tug. When she first came to live with us, she had no idea what to do with toys, but I helped her discover the great joys of playing tug the sock, and she would do this every chance she got.
Becca & Elbee haven’t shown any interest in socks or playing tug, and I’ve kind of wished that they would. Lately, after our morning walk, Becca picks up her Big Mean Kitty toy (also a Sadie favorite) and flings it around. I decided to try playing with her, so I would grab the toy, shake it at her, and throw it. This quickly progressed into a bona fide game of tug! Of course, Elbee had to get in on the excitement, so she came over and grabbed one of the Big Mean Kitty’s legs. At first, Becca wasn’t so sure about involving Elbee, but soon enough the two of them were playing tug together.
Now I am encouraging them to do this every morning. It is such a little thing, but it brings such a joyful start to the day!
I just want to ask everyone who reads this to please think good thoughts for my little dog Elbee. Tonight I found two big lumps on her face, one on her nose and one on her jowl. They don’t cause her any pain, and I am so worried that they are tumors.
Mr. Wren is going to take her to vet first thing tomorrow morning. I hope this is nothing serious. :(
Of course, I assume that everyone will think they are as amazing as I do…. :) Here’s Elbee!
Becca had a bath last night. She rolled in some dead thing. It did not smell good!
I wish I could make them understand that there is a direct correlation between rolling in dead things and baths. If they truly got that point, they would exercise self control and give those dead things a wide berth, since they both abhor baths.
and Becca sez, “Thundershirt is Awesome!!!”
Becca first wore her thundershirt on Sunday night. Our house is right at the end of town, and the street outside is a favorite spot for fireworks detonation. There were lots of firecrackers and rockets exploding on Sunday. Becca was obviously anxious, but she didn’t pant like crazy, pace frantically, or tremble, as she usually does. She stayed by Mr. Wren, who is always a skeptic, and he commented the next day that he saw a big improvement.
Day 2 was July 4th. The real test! The thundershirt literature says it can take up to 3 uses for the full benefit, so I was hoping that Becca would experience even more relief…and she did! She actually slept through the first hour of the fireworks (or else she was just laying quietly on the floor beside me). Then I got up, which woke her up. This was at the peak of the noise and flashing outside. The only sign of anxiety that Becca showed was that she followed me around the house, which is not her usual style. Other than that, she had no obvious discomfort. This was a huge improvement, and I am so pleased.
Becca doesn’t mind wearing her thundershirt at all, waits quietly for me to put it on, and she is able to carry on all of her normal activities while wearing it. Becca & I wholeheartedly recommend the thundershirt for any dog who suffers anxiety issues of any kind!
She is terrified of fireworks and spent most of last night hiding in the bathroom. I’m going to try to get her a thundershirt in the hopes that it will calm her anxiety.