Mike’s view of Riley

Sent: Thursday, August 17, 2006 5:53 PM
Subject: Riley – did I miss anything?

Some things we have noticed in the 6+ months we have had him.  He’s got a lot of positives and is a great dog. The below list is focused more on things to watch for.

  • The first two weeks he kept his tail tucked.  Now he prances around with it wagging high.
  • The first week in addition to fighting with Bones (which was mutual) he also ‘went after’ Kira and Remy.  But I should stress this was a dominance thing and he DID NOT hurt them.  It sounded vicious and he could have hurt them when he grabbed their ear but it was just wet, not even pinched (completely different than when he and Bones fights).  He did this when he thought they were stealing away attention.  He stopped this rather quickly, just be prepared for it.  We didn’t tolerate the behavior at all and reprimanded him for it.
  • He can be sensitive on his back or back hind leg.  We’ve had the vet look at it, they say it is okay.  We have not seen it get worse or effect his ability to walk or run.  But sometimes (rarely) when he gets up (especially in the back seat of the car) he cries.  Just be aware of this and early on (until he trusts you) he may mis-interpret his leg hurting as to YOU hurting him and that might prompt him to bite.  Scott flips him over onto his back resting on Scott’s lap, just be a bit careful if you try that and maybe wait a little while before doing so and definitely tell your kids to be careful if they try that.
  • He has never been aggressive at the door to strangers or guests.  (But still keep an eye on him, especially with kids that might not be able to read him or might get ‘in his face’ right off the bat.).  He does not jump up on people.  He will paw you when he wants to be pet however.  Mostly he just likes his head pet.
  • He is not particularly food aggressive.  We make him sit before feeding him.  I have been able to take away and give back the food bowl, just be wary if you try this and wait a while until he is comfortable.  He does not like he back pet, or you coming up from behind when he is eating.  We feed him twice a day, dry food, either Iams or Science diet.
  • He tends to ‘poo’ twice in the morning.  I only bring this up as if you walk him where you need to pick up, bring two bags so you don’t get annoyed when this happens.  Usually he only goes once in the evening.
  • We have been walking him twice a day, off leash (but we did not start doing that for 2 months), about 3/4th mi round trip along a dirt road.  Sometimes he is ‘quirky’ about going out and he just won’t go unless you put him on a leash.  That is especially true when trying to just let him out to pee before bed.  If you open the door and he heads the other way, get a leash, then he is happy as a clam to walk out with you.
  • He is afraid of thunderstorms and can hear them way before you can.  He usually settles down in his kennel (otherwise he paces around) but not for the bad storms.  We’ve sat with him.
  • He has never chewed anything up that we know of.  He will scratch at doors to go in/out however, mostly to come in.  He will chew on hard bones, he tends to ignore toys/balls, but sometimes will play with a soft squeaky toy.  He doesn’t play fetch, but he may still learn to.
  • He takes a bath pretty well, he just stands there. We’ve never tried taking him to a lake so we are not sure if he likes to swim or not.
  • We have had to keep him separate from Bones during they day, so, unfortunately, he has been in the crate during the day (usually from ~9:30 am to 6 pm) 4 days a week.
  • He either sleeps in his crate (with the door open) or in a dog bed.  We’ve not let him sleep on the bed and, unlike the other dogs, he does not get up on the couch, but probably would if you encourage him to do so.
  • He rides well (as in he does not get car sick) but he is a bit active and only settles down when he is rather tired.
  • He has never run away on us, but we kept him on a leash (or in a fenced yard) for a good two months.  We’ve never left him outside unattended, outside the fenced area.  On off leash walks, he usually beats me back to the house (by maybe 50 yards or so) and waits at the door.
  • He did pee in the house a few times until he figured out where outside was and got used to our schedule.  In addition to the two walks we let him out in the evenings and before bedtime.  He also eventually learned (but it took a while) that he could go out the dog door.

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