Last Updated on 2021-05-03 by Admin
Annie, at age three, was terrific. Every day I remind myself what a great dog I have. It’s not easy to put the finger on one or two single things she does. It’s the effect of maturing. The years before were also excellent, but having the chance to look back really shows the difference. Annie developed a lot. Even her face and expressions matured. In a previous article, I had mentioned that instead of a puppy, one should also consider an older dog. As lovely as it is to have a puppy, I find that You can do so much more with an older dog. You can build a connection that is not possible with a younger dog. Living with three to four year old Boxer is such a pleasure.
Taking new routes
Shortly after Annie turned three, she started new habits. When we go for our daily walks, she no longer wants to go the three main ways we took for our morning walks. Before the age of three, if I would cross the street and go south, Annie would stop and not go further. She wanted to go west, which is where we mostly went. Shortly after Annie turned three, she would stop going west on some days and wanted to go south. Annie also started to expand her territory into other directions. On our walks going south, she took every day new residential roads to explore.
Some of that exploration revealed some unexpected results. We found walking trails through the forest in our neighbourhood. I never knew those trails existed. And I have lived here for a very long time. And I must admit, we did enter these trails on some very odd locations. Good that most of the time, I wear hiking boots. Annie also meets new people along the routes that she seeks out.
One thing I noticed is that Annie never really looked up in the sky when she was younger. But starting at three years old, she looks at the ravens in the threes, and she may also look up at airplanes.
On one of our early morning walks, Annie started behaving oddly and would not walks further. She growled and barked. I turned left, to see why Annie was not following, I noticed here looking up at some floodlights. Those floodlights must have been there for decades. We passed them hundreds of times without incident. I did the same as always in such situations. Stand beside Annie, glance at her to find what concerns her. Then I look at her, and I encourage her to follow me one step towards the pole of the floodlight. When we reached the pole, she sniffed around the pole. We continued our way as if nothing happened.
Making new Friends
One spring morning, on our way home, we passed a bus stop with people waiting. Annie slowed down, and in front of the lady in her 20’s sat down and looked up to her. I called Annie to come and tugged at the leash. But she just sat there and looked at the lady. I told the lady that this is something special; she had never done this to Anyone. Annie liked her. Then the lady asked me if Annie was friendly, I told her yes she is, but that she may jump up on her because she is excited. The lady bent down and petted Annie, and Annie licked her hands. After that, the lady looked very happy, no longer did she have that morning stone face. And Annie also happily bounced up and down following me.
Annie is also generally more alert. For example, if she sees that I limp because my foot is sore, she will walk down the stairs slower beside me. Annie notices when I take the ball and put it in my pocket when we go for our walk. For the longest time, I did this quickly, so Annie could not see that I stuck the ball in my pocket. Now she knows precisely in which pocket the ball goes.
When she hears rustling in the trees from squirrel’s she often looks up to see where they are. When Annie was younger, the points of interest were on the ground or at level with here. The up direction was not a prominent direction to investigate.
Not just is Annie more aware. The same may be thru for me in regards to Annie. I noticed that when Annie is off-leash, and I call her to come back, she may or may not come back. But if she is a way off and I use the wait command, she will linger around where she is and wait for me.
For a Boxer, Annie is calm. But like all Boxers, she is easily exited. When I get ready for our morning walk, instead of pacing about what seems like trying to stress me, she lies down and waits till I’m ready to go. Then once out the door, she will either turn left or right and look me in the face, awaiting confirmation that she is going the correct direction.
Now I can walk over to another dog with her, and she will be excited but manageable. When she was younger, she was much harder to manage in such situations. Her patience is excellent; it often astounds me. In general, Annie is better behaved and more focused at age three.
She now also uses more direct ways to be noticed when she wants attention. One way is to use her head and to touch me on the side of my leg. Another way is to place herself sideways right in front of me. That usually means she wants me to massage her leg. Her Knee is sore then. When she stands in front of me with her body pointing forward, she wants a stomach massage. Then she has an upset stomach.
Three to four years old is the best age I experienced. Still playful but listens better. Our communication is excellent because we had years of experience with one another. At times, just a nod or a slight move with my head in a direction will signal where we are going. Annie being a stubborn girl, may at times have plans of her own. She learned how to tell me what she wants in several ways that are understood by me. At this age, she is a pleasure to be with, still playful, still full of energy and very loving. The love of a Boxer is unique!
Scent of the familiar: An MRI study of canine brain responses to familiar and unfamiliar human and dog odors https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0376635714000473