Surprise, He’s the Life of the Party

How many times before have I mentioned that Otis’ behavior in a certain situation surprises me (in a good way)? In my head I continually label Otis as an introvert, and then in reality he continually shows me that yes, he is shy – but he is much more willing to open up than I give him credit for.

It’s no secret that Otis is timid when you first meet him. Unless I am right by his side and encouraging him to interact, he’s usually not interested in strangers. It’s been making adoption visits very tricky, especially since Otis really doesn’t like to be the center of attention (unless it’s my attention). He’d much prefer to warm up to you on his own terms.

I hosted the 4th of July party for my friends at my house. I knew it might be a lot for Otis, but I was ready to tuck him into his crate or keep him in the house while we grilled in the backyard if I needed to. Honestly, I wasn’t really sure what his reaction would be to all the new people. I knew he certainly wouldn’t be interested in making friends right away, so I instructed my guests to simply ignore him when they arrived.

I was right – he was very weary of everyone. I kept him leashed to my waist (so I could do important things like eat my burger and drink my beer freely) which gave him comfort with all these new people around. I was ready to put him inside if he seemed to overwhelmed, but he actually appeared pretty okay with it all. I was a little surprised by this, but mostly just really happy that he could hang out with us.

About a half hour after my friends arrived, Otis seemed comfortable enough with everyone that I took him off leash and let him go where ever he wanted. I told my friends to still ignore him unless he came up to you. Soon he was curiously sniffing the hands of everyone standing around – sometimes ducking away when they went to pet him, or sometimes tolerating the attention for a little until moving on to the next new person for sniffs. After that it really took no time at all for him to settle in. I was thrilled! He was like an average family pet entertaining the guests. Some bribing with Doritos from my friends quickened the warming up process, and soon he really became their BFF.

That afternoon was monumental for Otis. Before this, I might have mentioned to adopters that if they had a party they might want to keep him away from everything. Now I’ll just explain to them that he needs a slow introduction, but then as long as you keep an eye on him and watch his stress level he’ll probably be fine! Obviously I wouldn’t subject him to something where people wouldn’t respect his space, had loud music, had a lot of small children, etc. – but for the right environment, Otis can be quite the party dog!

I was so proud of my little pup. After all the disclaimers I gave my friends about Otis being antisocial, they were pleasantly surprised with his performance as well. Like always, all Otie needed was a little patience, understanding, and structure so he could really shine. I can’t wait for him to find a family that will appreciate that!

For more information on adopting Honey Bunches of Otis, go to his Adopt Me page to learn more about him and how to get in touch.

Building My Confidence

So FosterMama says I need this thing called CONFIDENCE. I’m not sure what she’s talking about, but I do have an inkling that it has to do with all of the very scary stuff that I encounter on a daily basis. When I run and hide from these scary people, places, and things, Mama usually refers to me as “Silly” and laughs it off. I try to tell her that these things are really, really going to get me and that we need to get away fast!!

Sometimes I even tell her that by barking at them, especially if they’re big scary monsters coming into my house. I tell them, “GO AWAY! Go away! Look how big and scary I am! Go away!” I try to do my best at showing them it’s not a good idea to come in here, but then they do anyway! Once they’re in and FosterMama makes sure they’re not yielding any weapons says hi to them, then I decide they’re okay in my book. But until then it’s all a big show.

FosterMama says that I like to put on big shows for the scary monsters because I’m not confident. She says I need to learn to be comfortable in my own skin. According to her, there are a lot of ways to help me do this. Well, I’m waiting lady! Where is my strong Bravery Armor?? Then, to my dismay, she tells me I’m not going to get brave overnight. Shoot. I have to do a lot of exercises like nose work, clicker training, agility, playing with Mama – stuff like that. All of these are supposed to help my confidence.

Well, remember how I told you FosterAunt is around? FosterMama took that, plus a perfect weekend evening, as an excuse to go on a confidence building adventure. We walked and walked and ended up at this place that looked weird and different, called a “playground.” FosterMama told me that if I learned to climb all over it, I would slowly catch on that new things can be fun! I was weary at first, but pretty quickly I got the hang of it. We went up and down and up and down. I even started wagging my tail!

Did I mention that FosterUncle came too? I was comfortable enough up there to hang out with them while FosterMama did her usual click click click away behind the big black box in front of her face.  I really didn’t even mind it. I think I could feel my confidence Bravery Armor showing up already! Or, at the very least, I felt my sorta-comfortable-in-new-situations Armor building up.

I certainly felt good enough to give FosterAunt & Uncle some loving.

FosterMama says that one day someone will adopt me who is willing to put in all the time and effort I need to grow into a more confident dog and come out of my shell (didn’t realize I was a turtle?). She says it is going to take a lot of love, understanding and patience, but that the perfect person is out there somewhere. After all, I have shown her in just two months what an amazing dog I can be, so I will surely win the heart of whoever takes a chance on my shy little self.

For more information on adopting Honey Bunches of Otis, go to his Adopt Me page to learn more about him and how to get in touch.