I'll never change an animal's name if there's any chance that they know it (and even if they don't) but it seems that Midnight's new nickname is Marty. Not that it matters - as with most of these small breed seniors, he doesn't respond to calling his name at all. I've found that the thing that most reliably gets their attention are different tones of voice - high tones definitely get their attention. Is it embarrassing? YES. Do I try not to do it in front of other people? YES. Does it work? Yes. :) People frequently think that their lack of response is deafness but it's not. My interpretation of their behavior is that all noise blends together but the high voice catches their attention. I have to say that having two 11 yr olds, Nigel and Florence, who actually respond to their names said in a normal voice is a gift.
I have a little more insight into Marty who, by the way, is the cutest most endearing little guy ever. It's hard not to just love him and want to hug him all the time. Definitely his biggest hurdle - his only hurdle truly - is going to be his dog anxiety. The best way I can describe his behavior is that he has separation anxiety but it's from the other dogs. He wants to run behind them and he frequently is vocalizing (a small cry) as he follows them. He now has to wear a slightly humiliating vest and be on a leash sometimes. He doesn't mind his vest!
It's funny, too. He's like a tiny, elderly Tyrannosaurus Rex if you believe the Jurassic Park movies. He is triggered by motion so if he's chasing someone and someone else walks by, he latches on to them. If they stop moving or someone else passes by, it's off with them he goes. He means them ZERO harm (as if he even could hurt anyone) but his anxiety and lack of boundaries is stressful for them. Remember this is a very quiet, geriatric home for small dogs. They're used to new ones coming in and ignoring everyone else which is what usually happens! They also jump into their beds because that should be their safe place and they are SO OFFENDED when he just goes right into the beds with them. Especially Pixie, she is incredibly judgey of him and her facials are hilarious. I need to get a picture of her disgusted face, it's SO expressive. She is my Miss Manners and she would like to sit Marty down with a book on etiquette before he's allowed to be loose again.
Nigel is great. Nigel barks at him and Marty is learning to respect that. He definitely follows Nige much less than the others. Also when Nige barks at him, it knocks him over...that's how fragile the little dude is! Nigel is being a little self-indulgent with how annoyed he is, but that's just Nige. He's not normally allowed to get super offended so the fact that I'm encouraging it in this case makes him quite happy. Florence is perfect. She completely tolerates him and instructs him with her body language. When she's done, she gets on the sofa or sits on my lap. The Poms, Chaz and Pixie, haven't totally figured it out yet. They've both barked at him once and it worked perfectly but they still just mainly run away from him. If they'd stand their ground and warn him, he'd back off but they're not there yet. I don't leave him loose with them much because that's not fair to them, so we do training sessions a couple times a day where he is loose and I'm following him or sitting in the middle of the floor. When Poms start zooming by with their eyes popping out of their heads, it's time to go back on a leash or everyone gets on the sofa and we leave him on the floor. Yesterday there was barely room for me on the sofa!
His time out of his pen is one of three kinds. Loose, on a leash, or on the sofa. Putting him on a leash keeps him out and gives the others a break but it's not fun for him. That's okay...it's just a crutch for now I hope.
Yesterday was great because he took several long naps on the sofa with me, he LOVED them. He seems less frantic with the other dogs he's still too anxious. The one I worry most about is Peek - at 3.4 lbs she's TINY and so fragile with her broken legs. He doesn't stress her out at all but she will never warn him away and if she stops running, he kind of stands on top of her. She has brain damage so doesn't always process situations normally and is just a happy cheerful little dog regardless of what's happening around her.
He's eating a little which is good. Takes treats reliably. And he now definitely looks for me when he feels too stressed which is great. This is going to take a long time and I don't know that he'll ever be safe with Peek but we will see. The best advice I give people is that adjustment takes time. There's no quick fix. Some are so easy - I've had a few easy ones in the recent months/years where you introduce them and they blend in seamlessly. It's not always that easy but hopefully when he's settled, we can look back on this stressful time and be grateful it's over!!
Liz and Marty