As most of you know, when I brought Cody home, he was an adult dog that had probably lived most of his life without much love. He didn't understand what toys were (besides to defluff them), or playing or even treats.
A few days ago, I brought him a stuffed animal with really long arms and legs, with velcro on the hands and feet for hanging. I hung it where he could reach it if he wanted to; I was trying to trick him into thinking he was being sneaky if he took it.
Last night, he sneakily crept into the kitchen and finally snatched it down. He brought it into the bedroom where I was, set it on the floor, and looked at me with his forehead wrinkled inquisitively. I reached down to pick it up, and as soon as I grabbed one leg, he grabbed the other. He wanted to play tug-o-war, something he's never done before! Whenever he'd win it away from me, he'd toss it up in the air a few times, then drag it back and look at me expectantly until I start pulling on it again. This went on for quite a while. I was thrilled, because most of our playtime only involves chasing each other. I've tried to get him interested in rope toys and such, but usually if I try to initiate something like this, he just lets go of the toy and walks off, like he thinks he?s in trouble and I?m taking it away. I just thought it was great that he is learning that toys can be used for something besides defluffing and destroying.
He?s been doing a lot of little things like this lately. Like today, I was in the basement, the one room in the house that he has absolutely no interest in going into (he waits for me at the top of the stairs, but won?t even venture onto the first step down). Someone had spilled water at the bottom of the steps, and I didn?t see it, so I fell. After taking inventory and making sure I didn?t break any bones, I opened my eyes, and there was Cody, sniffing me, and, I assume, making sure I was ok.
It just made me realize how much he has changed from the dirty, underweight, scared basenji that I brought home in May. With us, it?s the little things like this that are huge milestones.