Murphy is one smart little dog. We have a routine around here for mealtimes. Foster and resident dog must sit and stay in the dining room, watching me through the doorway, as I place their food dishes on opposite sides of the kitchen. They're allowed to go to their respective bowls only after I say "OK." Murphy learned how to stay after just a few meals.
That was impressive enough, but today, he surprised me even more. Both dogs were standing in the kitchen, watching me as I prepared their meals. I must have been taking too long, because Murphy decided that something wasn't quite right, and he went into the dining room and sat down! Good boy! Smart boy!
We spent four hours at RAGOM's booth at the Pride Festival yesterday, giving me a chance to see how Murphy does with kids. I'm happy to report that he loves children of all ages and accepts their clumsy, enthusiastic affection with clumsy, enthusiastic affection of his own.
He's young, however, and still learning the fine art of canine socialization. Although he's not aggressive, Murphy hasn't learned how to approach adult dogs politely, with the proper restraint, which sometimes results in growliness from the other dog. Murphy's getting better at it, however, and with practice, he'll be meeting and greeting like a politician.
The verdict is still out on his ability to live with cats. Every day he is showing less interest in them, which is good, although he's easily stimulated into a chase if they run. I think it's a play response as opposed to prey drive, but I want to be sure before I'll call him cat-friendly.
Although Murphy is not entirely housebroken, he's getting better every day. His slow learning curve is really my fault, as I have not been able to limit his use of the house as needed. (Baby gates don't work well in the spots where I need them.) But necessity is the mother of invention, and I'm finding creative ways to keep Murphy in sight at all times. I'm certain he will learn the rules soon.
I should also mention that Murphy is a real lover-boy! He enjoys sleeping on the bed with me if it's not too hot, and he even cuddled up to a perfect stranger at Pride yesterday. We'd walked past a group of people sitting on the grass. One of the girls invited the dogs over for a petting and was promptly bowled over. It's hard to see in the photo, but Murphy (wearing the rainbow bandanna) is lying against her shoulder, and Chaz is lying on Murphy.
Murphy is going to be a superb dog for some lucky person or family. Like every young dog, he has much to learn about how to behave, but the raw material--his sweet personality, his eagerness to please, his strong attraction to people, and his extroverted, social nature--is there for the makings of a wonderful companion. Because he bonds so easily with people, I believe Murphy would be fine as an only dog, although he could also fit smoothly into a multi-dog situation.
Murphy says, How did I lose my tail? Well, it happened when I was just a young pup. I was chasing it, ya see, trying to catch it. No matter how fast I ran, it was always just ahead of me. But one day, I curled myself up sideways real good and CHOMPED! Guess I bit too hard, 'cause it came right off. Lucky for me, I was real young and don't really remember it.
HA HA HA HA!! Ya fell for it! Ha ha ha ha ha! Hey, I got some oceanfront property in Arizona to sell ya...