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05/07/2011 / Julie

Eso day 8 – Social, we are

Today has been spent downtown and next door with the neighbours. We have been social all day, and now the dogs are exhausted.

On our way downtown we met two women with a toddler in a pram that took up the entire sidewalk. Seeing me with two dogs that looked sweet, one of the women lifted the toddler out of the pram. The toddler made for the dogs on unsteady legs. Bajnok is used to children of all kinds, and he likes children, more than he likes adults, and he really does seem like he is actively trying to keep Eso from getting scared or beeing exposed to things he can’t handle. Eso was originally in front, however when he saw the child moving towards him, he was braking, and Bajnok moved in front of him, welcoming the toddler. The mother went and stopped the child before she got all the way to the dogs, but I said that it was OK. I couldn’t get passed them, and it would be a good excercise for Eso.

The child was very calm and nice, Bajnok was equally calm and nice. He sat down with his back towards them and let himself be petted. I told them that they had to let Eso take it at his own pace, and after a while he plucked up the courage to sniff them from the safety of behind my legs. It could have been a disastrous meeting, but Bajnok and the mother of the child turned it around.

Another kilometer walk and we were downtown. The first plan was to sit down and just watch the world go by. But then I hear a noise. Brrrurrrh. I turn my head and see a bunch of kids on skateboards coming our way. On the kind of pavement in the center it makes one hell of a noise, so I took the dogs and ran the other way. Decided to pop into the vet’s office. Thought we could meet some people and sniff around.

I tied up Bajnok outside and went in. We went in and sniffed around. Started just walking around, because he really didn’t want to meet anyone. He got to know the place and after a while I sat down with him on the floor, and we met one of the people working there. It took a while and some treats, but after a while she was allowed to stroke him without Bajnok. I the went to get Bajnok, and things got a bit looser.

We sat there for about 15 minutes before we walked on. I took the dogs to the least travelled part of the town. I sat down and let the dogs calm down for a bit. As the dogs got calm, I walked towards the bridge, the river and away from the center. I wondered if the dogs were thirsty, but decided to find water else where when I heard “A dog!” in a screeching voice from behind me. We made a quick break for the river and under the bridge. The dogs took a drink and cooled down in the water. We avoided the excited child.

Afterwards we moved on to a busier part of the town. We moved very slowly, we had time to take in every impression on our way to the other side of the city center. We got there and sat down. I rewarded Eso for eye contact, looking at people without pulling towards them and progressively as he calmed down. I also threw treats on the ground. After a while he was sitting down and happily watching them pass.

A few times a couple of bikers passed him only a couple of inches away, but he was very calm, didn’t jump up, and he got rewarded. This happened more than once, and bikers in Norway keep talking of the unthoughtfull drivers. They drive so close and they never use a bell, even though it’s right there on the handlebars. I don’t have eyes in the back of my neck! (sorry, needed to get it out).

After they seemed to be calming down there, we moved on to the next spot. This was a bench where the to center paths meet. We sat down, I treated for what I wanted, and it didn’t take long before they were both lying down and relaxing quite comfortably. After a while we started to walk home. We took the route through the car park and walked very slowly to the other end. Eso was very good, his tail never fully hang. It did go down a few centimeters, but it came up again quite quickly. Walked to the store and tied them up outside, so that I could go in and buy myself something to drink and some pig’s feet for the dogs (actually it’s a half for each of them). When I got back out, we walked and stopped by the store closest to home, where I did my shopping. When I came out of the store I found both dogs lying down and resting.

On our way up the hill a woman stopped us as we walked by. She told that she had just lost her two GSD’s and that she just had to stop me to meet my dogs, and to talk dog. I was more than happy to oblige. I stood there for about 15 minutes, and it was a lovely chat. Eso seemed to really like her too.

Later that same evening I went to give back a milk I had borrowed last week and brought Eso with me. I gave my friend the milk and then he said hi to Eso. Eso thought that he was very nice. And dared to say meet him without Bajnok present.

Even later I decided to take a trip over to our next door neighbour again. There were a lot more people there today, and they all met him at the entrance, without Bajnok. He froze at the bottom of the stairs and actually growled. At this point my focus had been on Eso, and I was stroking him and talking to him. When I raised my eyes I saw the reason for his growl. The dad in the house had gone down on all four at the top of the stairs, staring Eso straight in the eyes. I was quite abrupt with him and said “that is very threatning. Please stop”. Luckily I have known these people all my life and I dare to be a little rude with them. He heard what I said, and backed off. Eso eased up a bit.

We spent a good 15 minutes trying to get him to cuddle with them, but it wasn’t the best start and there were a lot of people. At the end they were allowed to stroke him a bit, but if the got too close, he would back away. Determined to make it a good experience, I went to get Bajnok. When we got back, both dogs were very happy to be there. Eso ran around as happy as a clam, and Bajnok loves these people.

Eso got a bit stressed and almost started to hump the mum in the house. I called him over the first time he was about to start, which stopped him. The second time, Bajnok actually moved in between and gave him a little growl. It was a weird thing to witness. Bajnok is turning into a big brother/foster parent to this guy. I love watching these boys interact.

Wonder how we’ll spend our remaining days. I think getting Eso to count less on Bajnok and more on himself, is something to focus on. Also meeting neighbours, more clicker sessions and trying to find some dogs to meet. There aren’t many dogs around here I would like him to meet but there’s got to be someone! I wondering if I should dare take the bus or train to Hamar with him. I know he gets car sick, but close is that to a train? What do you think?

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