Yep, very exciting day on the calendar 🙂
Today marks five years since Kasper came to us.
He was nine months old, and we thought he was the dog of our dreams.
I was twenty-one and had never had a dog before EVER, and my partner was twenty – he’d had a family dog, but never one that he was actually responsible for or took for walks.
We wanted an energetic, intelligent, obedient dog who was past the puppy stages and had all their basic obedience down. We wanted a dog that was friendly to all and didn’t have any major issues…Kasper’s previous owner promised us he was all these things, he was even described as “the perfect family dog”.
And being absolute newbies, we believed them – more fool us 😉
Here’s our little wonder-pup on his very first day home!
It quickly became obvious over the next few months that Kasper was anything but the ‘perfect’ dog.
He was incredibly anxious and fearful of almost everything – being left alone, handling, strangers, us, having a collar / harness put on, being dried, new places…he had little basic obedience, his recall was very hit and miss, he was extremely rude to other dogs, he disappeared when you let him off lead on walks and he resource guarded.
To say how nervous he was, he actually settled in pretty well with us, and after a week with us he’d stopped acting at all fearful when we looked at him – and he LOVED getting four hours of walks every day!
However he was still extremely fearful of people he didn’t know (especially men) and he still got nervous when we moved our hands quickly around him.
After years of training, counterconditioning and desensitising him to things he was scared of, we have had many training triumphs.
He’s no longer scared of the vacuum, he can walk past strangers on walks without freaking out, he’s polite with other dogs, he can remain calm around most animals (sheep are an exception…), he can greet strangers in the house, he can be handled, groomed and have a harness / collar put on AND he no longer resource guards.
In general he is just way more confident.
Although we didn’t get the dog we bargained for, and he was drastically different to the dog we thought we were adopting, we seriously adore this dog 🙂
So what happened on his 5th Gotcha Day?
Well, the day started as only the best days do, with snuggles in bed…
After some cuddles & exclamations of “we’ve had you for FIVE YEARS!!” it was time to get out into the sunshine and enjoy a nice big walk…only the world was against us and, as it was sunny AND a bank holiday, there were off lead untrained dogs and children *everywhere*…
Almost immediately a cyclist raced around a blind corner on a road where there’s no pavement, and almost hit Kasper – she had to slam on her brakes and I actually thought she’d hit him, because her brakes ‘yelped!’
This was closely followed by a mum with a three or four year old child; the mum was on her phone and let her child wander horrifically close to Kasper without paying the kid or us any attention. The girl was close enough to brush past Kasper, and was really staring at him at face-height, but Kasper kept his focus on me and didn’t get freaked.
There were plenty of points on the walk where we actually just tucked ourselves off to the side, turned to each other and said “so what do we do now?” because the world was teeming with dogs / kids / people / horses.
This is the same place where we’ve found it impossible to socialise Raiden to other dogs because we could never find any, no matter where we went…
Kasper was really good with everything, and he stopped when we did with no whining or impatience.
After a few loops and dodging screaming children we managed to get onto the beach, and finally we had some open space and Kasper got to go on his longline.
Can you see the orange storage container from our last big walk, right out in the distance??
We had ample opportunity to try out the cool water bottle and the new travel bowl Kasper got for his Gotcha Day 🙂
Mr Calm over here waiting patiently for his dad to catch us up 🙂
The weather was perfect and I got some awesome photos – this is the part of the walk that we all really, really enjoyed!
We were going to go further and make the walk last a few hours, but then decided it was safer to keep it shorter but without incident, so we turned and headed home.
Kasper had great fun jumping down onto bobbly shoreline and exploring the bumps!
In the background you can see the mountain we climbed during this walk!
Isn’t it crazy that with the tide this stream frequently bursts its banks, and regularly floods the road?!
Kasper had sooo much fun 🙂
He loves longline walks on the beach…he gets to paddle, roll on the grass, explore, leap about over chasms, check in for goodies and do training – most his favourite things!
Kasper excelled with everything the walk threw at him and, more importantly, he had a blast 🙂
I have a video I need to edit and upload with clips from the walk, I’ll try get round to that at some point.
After the walk Kasper went into his crate whilst we had lunch and tired out Raiden (well okay, my partner walked Rey – I fell asleep!). Now Kasper gets to come out again and try out his new Tux toy!
His stuff from Zooplus didn’t arrive today, I forgot it was Good Friday, so all Kasper has is literally the Tux for his Gotcha – awww ):
Nevertheless he’s had a great day so far, and love & walks are far more important than toys and a new bed anyway 😉
I’ll post more photos either later today or in a few days, depending on what we do and what arrives when 🙂
We ordered some more stuff from Amazon Prime yesterday (Thursday) and it’s not getting here until next Thursday – SERIOUSLY GUYS, WTH?!