Demo with a Dog

3 min read Just to throw a wrench in the works once again, I gave myself an additional major delay in construction (or de-construction) at the beginning of the year: bringing home a new dog, Roxie. Here’s a little intro to my pup and the techniques I’ve used to acclimate her to her new life as a construction dog.

I decided to make the most of my non-office-worker stint by bringing a pup into my life.  After some research,  I found Roxie at the Humane Society, sugar sweet but bouncing off the walls of the meeting room.  She’s around a year and a half old and was picked up as a stray in Mississippi in December.  I  brought her home the last day of January.  

We’ve been working hard to get used to each other – and learn a few house rules – with great progress through her beginning obedience class and two months of getting used to each other.

One of her early foibles was a strong fear of the basement.  She was alarmed by the door and refused to do more than put her feet on the top step no matter what treat was offered.   Even my sister – the most stubborn of Roxie’s new friends – was unable to induce her to do more than put two feet on the third step down.   After a few weeks experimenting, I realized that the problem might simply be that she didn’t understand how stairs work.  Once she’d been carried downstairs and then scrambled back up to first floor safety, she was able to awkwardly pick her way back down with me if I was going that way.

She has now graduated to hanging out with me in the basement for about as long as it take her to lick all the frozen kibble and peanut butter out of two of her kong toys – about an hour and a half.  (Note: I think she’d stay longer for more kongs but I don’t have any more than that).  I keep her gated off in her own – debris free – area of the basement while I work.  She always lets me know when she’s done with her distraction by coming over to wiggle her tail and lick the wire of her pen.  (Above, right)  That’s my cue to pull off the dust mask, goggles and gloves and knock off for the day.

She’s also now well-behaved enough to join me on trips to Home Depot.  I’m careful to take her there only after a long romp at the dog park, but since it is on the way home from the park we visit every morning, I imagine we’ll be stopping off a lot over the next few months.  Below she tags along while I pick up a sheet of 2″ rigid insulation to start  sealing the basement rim-joist.

Over time, I’ll need to work out ways to keep her happy while I do construction work all day – not just for a two hour change-of-pace in the afternoon.  But I’m very pleased so far with her transition to construction dog.  Updates to follow!