Saturday, October 8, 2011

The French Connection

Both Gotham and Zayi are busy settling into their new homes and I am hearing good things about how they are adjusting. I knew Gotham wouldn't have much trouble since he was going to a home that already had a resident Ridgeback who would make him feel welcome. Well, if not welcome at least more comfortable!

Zayi's situation is different not only because she has no Ridgeback welcoming committee but also because the people she is now living with speak French. You wouldn't think another language would make much difference to a dog because they don't speak at all, but a change in tone and inflection in your voice is important to how a dog reads your behaviour.

French has a different cadence to it than English, the rise and fall of the speech patterns aren't the same and words that would be familiar to Zayi, even if spoken in English, are accented in such a way she would likely not understand them. So along with new people, place and smells she has to learn a new language.

Add to that her age. Part of the reason why it's good for puppies to go to new homes at 8 weeks is because at that age they are little sponges. They are not in the habit of questioning anything that happens to them, they usually just accept it and embrace each experience. By the time a puppy is 4 months old it has learned the question "Why?" Zayi would be the equivalent of a 4 year old right now, not really knowing or understanding what is happening but being aware enough of 'danger' to question what is happening around her.  Just now her little brain has a lot to take in! Still, she looks fantastic even when she's wondering who that is taking her picture.

Fortunately Zayi naturally has a very outgoing and inquisitive nature so it will likely take just a few days for her to accept her new life and blossom into the spunky little trouble-maker I have come to know.  She is already cuddling with her new Poppa Pierre and exploring her new home - soon they won't be able to stop her! Her new French family is taking is slow, being very sensible and allowing her to come out of her shell naturally. Given the last few months with Zayi I'd offer these words of advice: enjoy the time she is shy and tentative because once she unleashes that inner monkey you can't put it back!

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