From the first day that Judah came home we started on a routine. 6:30 AM walk (starting with a mile and working up as Judah grew), next breakfast and playing outside, then into his crate and I’d go off to work. Beth (my friend who lived upstairs) was m built in puppy sitter, she would let him out of his crate about an hour after I left and then work with him during the day on house training and crate training (I was very lucky to have her around). I was very strict with how Judah would be dealt with. No couch or bed, no people food, no jumping, no barking, teach him patience and respect. I knew that having an arctic breed would be work and I was determined to make sure that everyone doubt would be put to rest. Beth was an amazing help to me and she was very hungry for the knowledge about dogs and training. She is a big part of the reason that Judah turned into such an amazing dog, thank you Beth- you are the best auntie out there!
Judah was a dream, potty trained in two days, not mouthy, totally respectful, fun, smart (so smart), very expressive and cute as can be. We had one issue, he didn’t stay in his crate… ever. The first day Beth went to the apartment she said he was sleeping on the couch, weird because I know I had locked him in. After a couple days of this I finally witnessed him unlocking the door of his crate. No problem, I just put a carabiner on the latch, now he can’t slide it over right? Wrong, he learned that he could slide the carabiner up and then slide the latch over (I saw this with my own eyes). Next I used a snap to close it, he opened it, so I started using a screw closed ring. Well When I got home that day Beth told me that when she came downstairs he was again sleeping on the couch and the crate was all folded up. Yes, he did that. He folded up his Midwest collapsible crate and let himself out in the process. Wow. On the advice of my boss at the pet supply store I began to zip tie the crate together. Well now that Judah couldn’t disassemble his crate he ate it. Yeah, we went through a few of those until one day I came home and his face was swollen so bad he looked like an alien. (I assume that he had gotten his head stuck trying to escape) That was the last day Judah was ever crated and left alone (please remember I have never had a dog that wasn’t crate trained).
As time passes I again fall back into the on again off again relationship that had broken me so bad (Should have known better, you don’t have to tell me!). I wish I had realized the time I was wasting. Before Judah turned a year it had fallen apart again, I had left my job (avoiding my ex at all costs), gone back to the job I had before college and started bringing Judah to work with me. He was a dream to have at work (in fact his only real issue other than that husky drive to move was that I couldn’t confine him) he was polite and respectful of all the guests (I was working at a family resort). I moved back into my parents house eventually and life went on.
That first summer Judah had proven on many occasions that he had an exceptional nose and we used scent games to keep his mind working along with teaching him a plethora of tricks. Life went on as it often does around here, rather event-less and slow. The winter of 2011 I moved once again to a house with some friends (this house is affectionately known as the “hippie farm” amongst our friends) and around the same time started dating, pretty casually, a friend of mine. This was both of our first step out after turbulent and intense relationships, so I’m not sure we expected it to work out. (It did though!) I was working waiting tables at the resort and just trying to stay afloat.
As Marshall and I grew closer we began having one issue, Judah. Marshall has a yellow lab named Jordan, a super laid back guy that is generally more of a throw rug than a dog. The problem was that Marshall was under the impression that he could treat all dogs like Jordan- like a child. Well that is simply not the case with my Judah, he’s very much an animal. I raised him that way, I wanted him to very in touch with his “dogness”. I train dogs on the side and needed a helping paw so to speak, Judah was raised to speak dog and only dog. He is my right hand man when dealing with dogs, especially ones with behavior problems, he reads them well and lets me know what he thinks about them. Well Marshall couldn’t understand why Judah was well, the way he is. After countless arguments about my dog I finally sat him down for an explanation, it went something like this:
Judah is a dog, and he’s all dog. He doesn’t speak our language you have to speak his. He’s not like Jordan, he’s not a lab, he’s a husky. He is a lot closer to his primal self than Jordan is. The issues you have with Judah are because you guys are speaking two different languages and no one understands what is being said. He is sending you all the signals you need and you are missing them, he isn’t just any dog, he’s a dog’s dog. Judah will react to how you feel every time, not what you say, that doesn’t matter to him. You need to respect what he is and not expect him to be something else. He’s not broken because he isn’t a snugly dog, he not that kind of dog, he wants to be with you, not on you. He was here with me before you and he will be here after unless you try to understand and build a relationship on trust and respect. If you don’t give it to him he wont give it to you either.
This is how I know that Marshall wasn’t planning on going anywhere, from that day forward he completely changed his relationship with Judah. They began to communicate and respond to one another, it was exciting to see. Doesn’t everyone know that the way to a girls heart is through her dog?! Well Marshall figured that out! Now they have to most amazing relationship and he is the only person that I know has a true relationship with my boy.
When the warm weather came I moved back to Madison for a while, by the kindness and grace of my former landlady who took me in knowing I needed a new place to live (She is an amazing and inspirational person, thank you Jenn). Marshall and I started spending more time together and it quickly became us against the world. At the end of that summer an opportunity presented itself to go to work at a local horse farm (I grew up working on farms with horses) and I jumped at the chance. I had lost a lot of weight recently and adding this manual labor to my daily routine made me the smallest I have EVER been in my life. In October, Marshall and I signed a lease and moved in together. It was a big step and an exciting one! We were on a great path to the rest of our lives, or so I thought.