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At A Glance
Archer has been with our family for less than 48 hours, and what amazing leaps forward we're already seeing!
We picked up Archer Saturday evening after his long trip to Minnesota from Missouri. At 20 weeks of age, he and his littermates are recovering from kennel cough and pneumonia. Upon meeting Archer, he avoided being touched by hiding under a chair and curling his body up to become very small. That first evening, when we interacted with him, he held his body very still, hunched over with tailed wrapped up against his belly. When we touched him he became limp.
We chose to hand feed Archer for the first few days in order to encourage bonding and build trust. While he was hesitant at first, he quickly became interested in the food, and became more accepting of our touch and interaction. As he began to relax I started asking him to work for his food by calmly calling him to me by name. When he came, he was rewarded with kibble and praise. I then moved and called him again... this is a game he seems to enjoy and we continue to play. Archer is quickly learning his name and learning to come when called.
House training is going extremely well... not one accident in the house! And while we take him out frequently during the day, he has asked to go out twice when he needed to go. Our resident dog has been very helpful in mentoring this behavior; Archer watches him closely.
Archer sleeps in his kennel at night and has slept through the night both nights without a sound. He enjoys the fleece blanket he was given and a stuffed bunny that he snuggles up with for sleeping and comfort.
While he enjoys snuggling his bunny, he seems uncertain what to do with toys and is hesitant to "play". However, yesterday we threw the tennis ball for our resident dog and after half a dozen tosses with Archer watching, Archer tore off after the ball and got it! (See triumphant "I have the ball" photo above).
Yesterday I bathed and groomed Archer. He was patient through the bath, and embraced being held in warm towels while drying. (We wanted to make sure he didn't catch a chill since he's recovering from the respiratory condition.) He quickly accepted his nails being filed with the Pedi Paws trimmer, and fell into a deep sleep while being brushed.
From the minute we brought him home with us, his favorite person has been our seven year old son. He seeks reassurance from him while accepting his leadership. As it happens, Grandma and Grandpa were visiting this weekend and Archer began to solicit attention from both of them as well. It's nice to know that Grandma's crutches and Grandpa's height and deep voice were just fine with Archer.
The only barking Archer has done since joining us is an occasional alert bark in response to what seems to be new sounds. He quiets down immediately when we "shush" him and tell him it's okay. As we mentioned earlier, he has whined twice to ask us to take him outside.
Today we went to the vet, and while Archer will continue his antibiotics for five more days, the vet said he was very pleased with Archer's health and that Archer is a wonderful dog who will make a great family pet! Archer did great at the vet, accepting the exam as well as the microchip, even relaxing enough to carry his stuffed bunny around the exam room.
In the coming days we'll continue to work with Archer on socialization so that he can deepen his trust and bonding with humans. We are also continuing to socialize him to new experiences and sounds such as positive associations with car rides, the sound of the vacuum cleaner, going up and down stairs, through doorways... and more! Archer started out with us very timid, and yet he continuously, courageously and enthusiastically tries new things.
Please watch for more updates and information as we get to know Archer!