So Wilson is still with us, getting bigger by the day. A potential adopter is due to come in about 10 days so fingers crossed for him. It will be a heart-wrench to let him go. He's a real Mummy's boy.
Fortunately he was house-trained within just a few days. I wonder if that was from his previous owner. In part I like to think it was down to having him on a schedule. The rule of thumb being: the number of months is the number of hours they can hold their bladders – so I've made sure he goes outside every three and a half hours and gets lots of praise when he does his business outside, and no water is left out past 8pm. Now he's confident enough to run down the stairs and go in the yard when he needs to - sorry neighbours!
I was fortunate to go on a training session with Lee Charles Kelley for a cute little yorkie puppy who had some separation anxiety. It became clear how important it is for puppies and dogs to play with toys. This little yorkie was not into toys at all so when he became stressed that his owner had left the room, he had nowhere to turn to to relieve that anxiety. Wilson, happily, is keen to sink his teeth into anything and I make sure he has lots of gentle tug of war and fetch. When he whines when I eat, it is only a few moments before he runs off to grab a toy to chew to relieve his energy, and on walks when he gets a bit daunted, I take a toy for him to chew on on the way. Encouraging dogs to play with toys takes time. Using treats as playthings, or even using the natural things that dogs choose to play with like paper or shoes can help put them on the path towards playing with toys. Fingers are still not preferable, and it seems the bitter apple spray on hands and feet has made Wilson learn that he needs to look elsewhere for something to chew. Fortunately he leaves the furniture alone, although socks and trousers are fair game (when they're lying around – not when they're being worn!)
Anyway, we are off to the dog park, where I am happy to say Wilson is becoming more confident. He had to spend a few days at a boarders in Massachussetts - The Woof and Whisker Inn - where the owners kept him in their home and he could play outside all day with doggy daycare clients. It's done him the world of good being around dogs so much, and it's so nice to see him becoming more comfortable with his doggy peers.