Rescue Dog Diary: Taming Of The Wild Beast—Cookie’s Transition To Civilization

So Cookie got a new family of her own and she took to us immediately.

I don’t think she looked backed once. She was ecstatic. But she had no idea how to use man-made structures, how to live indoors and what the rules might be.

Rescue Dog Diary: Taming Of The Wild Beast—Cookie's Transition To Civilization

Cookie’s story

Cookie grew up outside, pretty much by herself.

That’s all she knew. Suddenly she finds herself living in a house. The rules are different. Outside, one can chew any old thing they find. They can dig anywhere they want, adjusting the ground to their liking.

Same ideas don’t translate very well to indoor living.

Cookie tries hard to fit

Not that Cookie doesn’t try. She tasted everything that is to be found around. Including us and her brother, but he doesn’t seem to mind as much as we do.

She also puts her best effort forward in order to adjust and arrange her sleeping area. Unfortunately, the bedding and mattresses don’t take well to such treatment.

New rules

So how does one explain to her that things that are OK to do outside don’t work so well indoors?

Jasmine’s life-time body count:
  • one thread pulled out of a carpet; partially an accident as it got caught on her nail and then she tried to fix it
  • one pair of dirty underwear
JD’s body count:
  • one carpet padding
  • a phone cord
  • a number of his own beds
  • a wall (yes, he decided to chew a hole in the wall for some reason or another)
Cookie’s body count to date:
  • two bed sheets
  • a hole in her own bed
  • a hole in my bed
  • carpet padding
  • a little bit of a wall also (what’s the attraction?)
  • bite marks on some pieces of furniture
  • several smaller, partially chewed items such as blankets or pillows

Funny, the list isn’t really as long as it feels. I guess it’s because the list doesn’t include all the things I rescued by keeping an eye on her all the time.

Rescue Dog Diary: Taming Of The Wild Beast—Cookie's Transition To Civilization

Why does she do that?

It is not because she’s bored and it is not because she’s stressed.

She’s never alone for more than a couple of minutes, and I do my best keeping her busy. She is VERY happy. Ok, she is way too happy.

It is not because she’s destructive.

She is not trying to damage anything, she is trying to fix it. Well, sometimes things just jump into her mouth too …

I am trying to explain to her that in the house it’s not the same as outdoors. The damaged things won’t grow back. Of course, her English isn’t sufficient for that.

Why don’t I make sure she has something appropriate to chew on?

But she does. She will have a kong and play with it. And then, mischievous as they are, a blanket will jump into her mouth along with it. Or she decides that the kong is in need of being buried …

Yes, I can hear her trying to bury her kong in the bed while I’m writing this. Either that, or it’s the playful ground scratching I’ve seen dogs do. The hole in the bed won’t really care much why it came to be.

Everything is fair play

She’ll also start grabbing whatever is in reach when she’s playing, out of sheer excitement. Both she and JD decided that whey they are playing it would be too unfair and sad not to include at least one of us as well. They generally play indoor games, which mostly consist of fencing and nipping at each other. Or one of us. Or whatever else is within reach.

We can yelp. The blankets and furniture cannot. Though I did try yelping on their behalf.

Punishment is not a teaching tool

Can I get mad at her?

No, I can’t really get mad at her. She doesn’t understand why these things are not ok. And she’s too darn cute. And too darn happy. And doesn’t have a mean bone in her body.

When I catch her in the act, I try to vocally correct her and redirect her to something appropriate. When I don’t catch her in the act, I’m out of luck.

Cookie is learning

She hardly even chews on stuff on purpose. If those things just stopped jumping into her mouth …

The scratching is actually the biggest problem right now. Particularly since she tends to go nuts after having her ears cleaned, which we now need to do daily for the time being. (more on that later)


No, I’m not going to crate her.

She’s been confined and excluded for way too long, I can’t do it to her. So I have to be on my toes and watch her like a hawk while she’s learning what’s ok and what’s not. Hopefully, I can keep the body count to a minimum in the meantime.

Tired dog is a good dog

Getting her tired, of course, works. For an hour or two …

And that’s just some of the indoor challenges. But I love the little girl and that makes it easier to be patient with her. Hey, to her credit, she is clean and never soiled the house. And she is really trying to be good, you can just see it. Just not always succeeding.

In closing

With a little patience and diligence, Cookie learned amazingly fast. She is happy and wants to please. She figured out and adopted the rules faster than I’d ever imagine.

Good girl, Cookie.

Related articles:
From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee

Further reading:
I Adopted a Dog, Now What?

Categories: Dog adoptionReal-life Stories

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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