Oh my goodness, it was so nice to have Siam back home! It took all of my will power to not kiss him and hug him and squish him and shmoosh him when I finally saw him after a week! I was getting all the videos from Lestre and their Petiks Atbp Facebook page (you can check out Siam’s videos HERE) and it was tickling me pink seeing Siam trying out those agility exercises. Finally, an activity that takes advantage of Siam’s jumping mania (he’s like that alien in the app Doodle Jump)! He’s always been a jumping dog, as if he’s happiest when bouncing high into the air like a dog-kangaroo hybrid, so it’s nice to see him challenged to use it for a purpose. I was beaming like a proud parent seeing him do so well with the exercises because I always knew he had it in him, he just needed the proper stimulus. I also loved seeing him walk off-leash, which I’ve never been able to do with him just yet, although he’s always been good on the leash. But still, the idea that I too can walk him off-leash someday is a prospect I relish.
When I finally got there, Siam started whining a bit, something they never heard the past week, so I guess I do elicit Siam’s clingy side, but he stopped at once when corrected. Lestre taught us a lot of the stuff that we can do to help challenge Siam and his restless energy. The problem basically is this: Siam is an intelligent dog who gets bored when there’s nothing to challenge that intelligence. So the tricks are just some of the things I can do to challenge him. I can change our daily walk route, I can buy him a doggy back pack that he can carry while we walk, and I can even train him to stay for progressively longer periods of time. Even that can already expend a lot of his need for stimulus. Sometimes it’s not just the physical exercise that he needs, it’s also the mental.
We took Siam for a walk with Lestre teaching me the proper way: how to read Siam’s body language, what to watch out for and how to respond to unwanted behavior. At first Siam was a bit too excited to be with me again, so he was really all over the place, but once I established that I meant business, he was walking like a pro by the time we were on our way back. Of course Lestre told me that Siam’s success will really depend more on how consistent we will be AFTER his rehab. If we don’t put into place a lot of what we learned, then the whole exercise would’ve been useless. I really plan to attend one of Lestre’s classes once I have a free weekend. In these classes, it’s the dog owners who are trained instead of the dogs.
When we finally got home, Lestre instructed us to walk Siam first, then walk the other two dogs (Nairobi and Cairo), and let them encounter each other during the walk. Of course Siam went crazy seeing his two best buddies again, and it took all my pack leader mojo to calm him down. I must admit, I’m really too soft on the discipline side, so I need to sharpen whatever alpha male vibe I can muster. But to be fair to Siam, he’s really more attentive to correction now. He’s still is every bit the firecracker that he was, but a snap of a finger or a loud “SHHHT!” (shhht not sh*t, fyi) is usually enough to get his attention. He’s still a handful, but at least he’s starting to listen now.
The rehab is far from over, in fact on our side, it’s just the beginning. But at least we have a plan of action now. I didn’t really put Siam in Lestre’s hands to be magically “cured” of anything, but more for the diagnosis of problems that I may not be able to identify correctly on my own, and maybe a plan of action as to how we can approach these problems. And I knew from the start that the bulk of the work will be done by us, after Lestre gets the ball rolling. So now, we got our hands full in hopefully sufficiently meeting Siam’s needs for physical and mental stimulation. It’s a full-time commitment and we are willing to take on the challenge! For now, I’m just so glad to have Siam back, I think I may have hurt him a bit a couple of times when I hugged him a little too hard and when I bit his ear a little too much. I couldn’t help it, I was just going crazy because I missed that little heffalump so much! He was pretty much sleeping in my arms like a giant furry baby during the drive from Las Pinas to QC.
To Lestre and the whole Petiks Atbp team, THANK YOU so much for adopting Siam as your own for a week, I promise to try my very best to continue what you’ve started, expect me to update you on our progress, and expect even more texts and messages bugging you about questions and clarifications that we may have regarding Siam. Maybe every now and then we can drop by so Siam can run around with his buddy Isko? And if you’re up to it, maybe Nairobi and her hot temper can go next?