Thursday, July 16, 2009

Learning the right dance moves...

Moving to a "neighborhood" has proven to be a chance to learn to dance in our house. We never realized how easy we had it where we used to live -- no other dogs, no foot traffic, no neighbors. You never know what you have until its gone, eh?

Now we live in a neighborhood with dogs, kids, people walking back and forth all the time. People working in their front yards, dogs running loose (yes I know there are leash laws but no one seems to know that here!) and kids riding big wheels, bikes and skateboards up and down the sidewalks and streets. Moms push babies in carriages on walks, people from blocks away all walk their dogs up our streets for exercise. And of course, are next door neighbors, with whom we share a front porch, have two little doxies who have been the "only pets" here their whole lives.

Suddenly, the BIG DOG lives here. Baebae adores every human he has ever met. Kids especially. But kids see him lumbering off the front porch and run screaming, dropping everything and taking flight. Moms see him and can't get the baby carriage off the sidewalk to the other side quick enough. Poor BaeBae, he has a very unearned reputation as "That Big Scarey Dog" and he has no clue why people run from him in this neighborhood. And of course, the doxies lay in wait now for the Big Dog -- he has become "the nemesis dog". Baebae does NOT adore other dogs. So this poses a big issue also.

All of this combined made us realize -- we had to take precautions we never had to take before. So we have new dance steps that had to be learned at our house. Its the "Take BaeBae Outside" Tango and here is how it goes:

First -- look out the side windows in living & dining rooms to make sure no loose dogs or kids are in the driveway or coming down the sidewalk to the left.
Second -- look out front living room window, to be sure no moms, kids or dogs are in the front of the house.
Third -- Cautiously open front door, peer onto porch next to us to be sure neighbors are not outside with their dogs off-leash.
Fourth -- Put leash on BaeBae and lead him cautiously to front porch while looking to the right to be sure neighbors are not in side yard with their two dogs off leash.
Fifth -- slowly descend steps all the while craning neck to be sure no dogs/kids/adults have shown up in the last 2 mins that you may have missed.
Sixth -- get BaeBae to the fenced in yard so he is safe. Dancer does stay with BaeBae, we do not let him in the yard alone yet.

To bring him back in requires the dancer on the end of the leash to scan the area constantly while coming slowly back up the driveway, then peering onto the porch before approaching the front steps to come in.

Once, without realizing it, BaeBae went out after all steps were taken, and there, sitting on the bottom step of his front porch out of view of door or window, was our neighbor -- with his doxies off leash!! It was instant frenzy, as they realized BaeBae was coming long before he knew they were there. They rushed him -- all 15 lbs each of them, rushing the big ole' 100 lbs slow-moving-but-dog-hating Akita coming down the steps, like little flamenco dancers with quick movements and snapping jaws dancing around to BaeBae's slower Tango. Poor Justin was the leash dancer that day -- who had to lift his partner up under his front legs in a quick movement so BaeBae couldn't reach down and nail the little ankle-biters who were snapping furiously and barking up a storm.

Justin does the daily Tango with BaeBae. Jenn does the weekend Tango with BaeBae and she has learned the steps really well too. She does however carry "direct stop" with her as added protection. Since its not harmful but will make another dog run away, it helps her feel more protected.

Once my son finds the right house, and moves out with his two Akitas, no one will have to do this dance anymore. His two Akitas have the back room for now, and since Kuma is blind & KoTenshi is deaf, we try not to upset them by making them move out of the room so we can use the back door for BaeBae.

But once they have moved out, we will only have the ChaChaCha going on at our house. ChaChaCha right to the back door, open it, let BaeBae outside to do his business in the fenced in yard. Then ChaChaCha back to the door to let him back in. Simple, easy dance to learn. So easy, so simple. A much better beat for our household!!

And once my knee is replaced & I am all healed, I can do the ChaChaCha too. Then we'll be a dancing family, all in step, all dancing to the same beat -- at least as far as BaeBae is concerned!!

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