When we adopted Danny, the rescue dog, in late August, one of the first things we noticed was that he barely made a peep. I don’t think he barked for the first week that we had him. When he finally did, he surprised us with his deep, baritone bark. Not something you’d expect from a 15-pound Shih Tzu.
He was so quiet that there have been times when I’d accidentally step on him, not realizing he was at my feet in front of the couch or under my office desk. He hardly made a sound. How was I to know he was underfoot?
During the first month we had him, Danny quietly and efficiently conducted his business on our walks in the neighborhood. He would quickly make his way around the loop, keeping his stops to a minimum. He didn’t waste any time, particularly at night when he’d return to the house in record time. He’d often run to the boulevard, relieve himself, and then drag me back to the house. Believe it or not, a determined 15-pound dog is hard to stop.
But, lately, I’ve noticed his walks have taken on a different tone. He’s become more deliberate, more assertive and, definitely, more vocal. In fact, one of our neighbors pointed that out just the other day after Danny barked at her two poodles without any provocation. “He definitely asserting himself,” she remarked.
She might be right. There are certain dogs (no names mentioned here) that trigger a growl or bark, and often both, from Danny. He’s clearly getting more comfortable and more assertive in his skin.
It’s sort of like the rookie ballplayer who does his job, speaks only when addressed and generally carries out his business without any fanfare. Then, as he grows into his role, he asserts himself and becomes more vocal.
When you stop and think about it, four months in our life is more than two years in a dog’s life. Clearly, Danny is not a rookie anymore. He has indeed found his voice. And, thank goodness it’s not an obnoxious, yappy voice.
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