Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Story of Kyra

My first dog as an adult, Kyra has been a learning experience!  My boyfriend and I adopted her from a coworker of mine at the tender age of 6 weeks.  She had been taken from her mother and littermates at 5 weeks old by my coworker, who then decided a puppy was too much work.  For those who aren't aware, puppies should be left with their doggy family until at least 8 weeks, for many reasons - one of which is it's the law in Maryland!  So Kyra came to us with some built in separation anxiety, fear of strange people and dogs, non-existent bite inhibition, and poor doggy social skills, all of which stemmed at least partly from her being taken away from her mother and siblings too young. 

We have been working on all of those issues for the last two years, and she has come a LONG way.  She plays well with other dogs now after intense socialization when she was a puppy.  Her only dog issue is she will occasionally flip out if she sees another dog and she's on a leash (she barks and turns into a bucking bronco).  It used to be she would do this every time she saw a dog, so there's been definite progress.  Her separation anxiety is very mild now, especially since we got Marcus.  She gets over-aroused and/or anxious in public, so we are still working on how to relax and be calm when we're out and about.  Her biggest issue now is being afraid when trucks and buses go by the house - she gets very scared and shakes.  However, this has also gotten a bit better since we got Marcus, so I'm hoping that as we work on it the fear will eventually go away. 

Her various issues notwithstanding, Kyra is a great dog, although not the dog I had expected.  Kyra has given me a lot of reality checks.  Before I got her, I had a very tabula rasa view of puppy raising - puppies are blank slates who with proper training can become anything you want.  Kyra was most definitely not a blank slate!  Whether due to her being taken so young or an innate temperament (or a bit of both, which is my opinion now) she came to us with a lot of baggage already at 6 weeks old that we have been working on ever since.  She will never be a competition dog - noisy crowded environments stress her out, and even with a lot of work she will never be completely comfortable in such chaos.  But she is an awesome pet dog.  She is very loving, loves to cuddle, loves to be with people.  She is in love with everyone she meets.  She learns fast, and has mastered a huge number of behaviors, and could learn an infinite amount of new ones if only I had the time.  She will always be my first dog.

World, meet Kyra:


  1. Enjoyed your new blog.

    I especially liked what you said about a puppy not really being a blank slate. It's something I frequently ponder.

    We can have expectations for our dogs but they'll always surprise us.

    Good luck with Kyra and Marcus

  2. Thank you! Yes, I was totally convinced that puppies were blank slates until I got Kyra. Now I see that it's a complicated relationship between nature and nurture.

    Like you said, they will always surprise us!