Starting to learn…

Day two of our new life together continued much as day one had begun: Grace was keen to play, eat, learn, pee, poop and sleep! She had all the essentials pretty much covered. The abrupt change of diet had no effect on her insides whatsoever, it would appear that changing to real food is not a dicey as switching brands of commercial stuff. Interesting.
I began to teach her the words and meanings of ‘sit’, ‘down’, ‘watch’ and ‘here’. She payed attention to everything I showed her and tried hard to understand. I name the action of whatever I’m trying to teach her straight away. I see real time evidence that dogs (well mine anyway) are perfectly capable of understanding. Grace was a case in point. Within three repetitions of her bum hitting the floor as she followed the piece of cheese in my hand as I raised it in front of her nose, and saying ‘sit’, she showed she understood the word and meaning by immediately plonking her bottom on the floor when I simply asked her to ‘sit’, without luring her into position. Smart puppy.

Next on the agenda was teaching her to look up at my face and pay attention whenever I asked. I named this watch and rewarded her whenever she looked at me. I needed to be able to get her attention at any time and have her focus on me. She also learnt her name within a day of being here. Super smart puppy.

Paying attention to me - 'watching'!

Paying attention to me – ‘watching’!

Short training sessions throughout the day, along with plenty of play and sleep (and food), soon saw Grace’s vocabulary and skills increase dramatically. She was learning all the time as I was talking to her and explaining things, including the workings of the washing machine that scared the living daylights out of her. By going to the scary object, naming it and putting my hand on it while looking at, and talking to Grace, she understood that it wasn’t so scary after all. She trusted me enough to come over and touch the washing machine with her nose and then when I showed her the clothes going round through the class door, she suddenly found that very exciting, jumped up and put both front feet on the glass door and tried to catch them as they whizzed round. Cute pupster!

It wasn’t long before Grace discovered the mountain of toys in the living room and she would race past me and jump on the enormous tennis balls. She loved these balls and would chase them, bite them and growl at them for ages.

Favourite things!

Favourite things!

Smallest Border collie in the world, or giant tennis ball?

Smallest Border collie in the world, or giant tennis ball?

I was hoping very much that her ears wouldn’t flop down once she started to grow, but would stick up and give her a more intelligent look. It may sound mean, it’s not meant to, but I do think her ears look rather ‘dorky’ in these early pictures, and while it didn’t really matter what direction her ears eventually decided to go, I couldn’t help but hope they would aim for the stars.

In the short space of time Grace had lived with me, I hadn’t felt any sense of panic whatsoever. She was ‘Grace’, and we had indeed found each other.

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