We just got a new dog and I am thrilled.
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Lilly came from a nearby shelter and she is about a year and a half old. Believed to be Basset Hound and Blue Heeler (a combination sometimes called Basset Heeler), she is showing physical and personality characteristics of both breeds. She’s low-slung, though not as much as a pure basset, and she has longish ears, though again nothing as extreme as a purebred. She has markings characteristic of a Blue Heeler (that’s an Australian Cattle Dog). Her athleticism and energy? Very much a heeler… bassets are pretty mellow. But there too, she IS often pretty mellow. Our cat would not agree with this assessment, but Lilly is showing some moderation in how close she gets to the fierce old cat’s paws.
Choosing This Dog at High Desert Humane Society
We had said a very sad goodbye to our old Rottweiler Lola some months ago when she died. She is all over this website, including a favorite photo of mine on the homepage. That left us with just Nicky, a Sheltie-Papillion rescue we had had for several years. We stayed at one dog until we found Lilly.
A couple of weeks ago, I began to think that it was really time for another dog. My husband Kelly wasn’t exactly eager, but he did like the concept of my getting more exercise to go along with my recent change to a more plant-based way of eating. He was on board if we found the right dog. We wanted a female because Nicky is a male who likes them more than he likes other males. Both busy with writing and other projects, we didn’t want a puppy. After such a wrenching loss of our much-beloved Lola he didn’t want another Rottweiler, though we agreed that a Rottie cross was possible. I looked around Petfinder.com for female Rottweiler crosses within about a hundred miles. There was a stunningly beautiful Rottie cross who had timidity issues. I didn’t want a big project right now while I am writing my memoirs so she didn’t make the cut. Nobody did but I was impressed with how much love and hard work go into many of the animal organizations. One that particularly impressed me was Action Programs for Animals in Las Cruces, NM.
One day last week, Kelly and I went to the High Desert Humane Society, located about three miles from our house here in Silver City, NM. I’d heard it was well run, and that was the impression that we both had. They have a nice bunch of walking trails on the grounds, and we went out with a couple of possible dogs, one at a time. Both were quite large and neither one was exactly right for us, but we learned from walking them.
Earlier this week I went back over there to see if anyone new had come in. The only one was ultra-strong and demonstrated when I tried to walk her that she would be towing me all over. Since I was there anyway, I strolled around the dog room and my eye fell on Lilly. Why? Every other dog nearby was going crazy, barking or jumping to get my attention. She was just sitting there, looking intently at me. I liked her calmness.
So I walked her, and it was easy. I noticed particularly that when I returned her to the dog room, she went up to greet other dogs in their pens. One little dog was snarling at her and showing teeth. Lilly just wagged her tail. This bode well for her getting along with our seven-year old Nicky, who isn’t always great with other dogs. I went home and told Kelly I might have found our dog.
The next morning, we took Nicky over to the shelter and Kelly walked him on their trails while I walked Lilly. They sniffed a greeting. So far, so good. We went into a fenced area where we could let them off leash. They did fine. Nicky grumbled at her a little but not much. We discovered that she loves to chase balls but she doesn’t keep them forever.
Kelly liked her as much as I did. SO we adopted her, and she came home with us. We spent some time in our well-fenced yard at first.
Getting Along with Our Other Dog
Out in the yard, things went well. She’s bigger and stronger than Nicky, but not by a whole lot.
And I must say she has good manners with him, backing off for a moment or two when he snarls. Nobody has gotten hurt. But she is relentless when it comes to having fun. She just keeps it going!
They run up and down the parts of the yard they can play in… our big vegetable garden was already well fenced off.
One time that first day, I was chatting with a neighbor who lives on the other side of a tall rock wall, above us on the hillside. Her Jack Russell terrier was barking, and Lilly wanted to meet the dog. She took a flying leap and landed on a ledge partway up the wall. That gave her a way to walk above our garden and I thought she was going to land in our Jerusalem artichokes. But when I called her, she retraced her steps and jumped back down. Kelly has since blocked off that access, and it would only have been to another part of our yard. She can’t get to the neighbors
When we opened the door to the house, Lilly was eager to explore every room. Not hard, there aren’t many… laundry room (where we are feeding her, apart from Nicky in the kitchen), kitchen, dining room, living room, bedroom, bathroom, and home office. The cat hissed at her in the home office.
Lilly and Nicky play for hours, with some breaks to rest. Happy dogs! We are happy people too.
Training an Untrained Adult Dog
Lilly is housetrained already. She’s a dog who hasn’t learned any voice commands or cues that we have noticed, other than her name. I have already started teaching her to sit, and that link goes to my training tips on doing it.
She will need to learn: sit, come, stay, down, off, no, and a variety of other things. We’ll be working on it every day! She likes our walks to a nearby neighborhood park, and we will work on her not pulling on the leash. She’s no dummy and we have some tasty dog treats on hand. I expect it to go smoothly.