As I mentioned in my post about my goals for this month, my first goal for April is to get my living room draperies finished. Well, it took me four days to get one drapery panel finished. Ugh.
Hopefully now that I figured out the process and worked out the issues on the first one, the other three will go much faster. I wanted to do a Greek key design in the two corners of the leading edge, and it took a while to figure out the best way to adhere the twill tape, and then to figure out the design itself. But I finally got it, and here’s how the first one turned out…
I just hung this panel this morning, so I still need to “train” it to hang right.
And I also need to add more rings to my curtain rods. The last draperies I had on these windows were only one width of fabric, and the current draperies for the windows on either side of the fireplace are 1.5 widths of fabric. The frustrating thing is that in order to add more rings, I literally have to take the rod and brackets off of the wall completely since there’s no room to slide the rod out of the bracket. Anyway, all that to say that they’re not exactly hung correctly just yet, but you can get the idea of what they’ll look like.
Only three panels to go. And I hope to goodness those don’t take me a week per panel like this one did, because I’m ready to get outside and work on some shutters! But I want to finish these before I start the shutters so that I can get my breakfast room turned back into a breakfast room with a usable dining table as soon as possible. If I start dividing my attention between draperies and outdoor projects right now, my breakfast room could be unusable for two months, and I don’t want that to happen.
Now switching gears, I wanted to share a Cooper update. For those of you who missed it, Cooper is a sweet dog who we adopted from the Human Society ten days ago. You can read more about that here. Overall, he’s doing well, but he’s developed some mysterious behavior issues, and I have no idea what brought it on or how to deal with it.
The good news is that he’s gaining weight and looking healthier every day. If you’ll remember, he was way too skinny when I brought him home from the shelter ten days ago. His hip bones, spine, and ribs were all very visible.
From watching him in his kennel at the shelter, I knew it was from his anxious pacing all day every day. So after ten days at home with us, he now looks like this…
So much better, right? He could still stand to gain a few pounds, but he’s looking so much healthier.
Overall, his anxiety is greatly diminished, although he still seems anxious sometimes. His food aggression is also almost completely gone. When he first came home, I would pick up his food bowl and he’d start jumping on me and anxiously pacing, and then before I could even set the bowl of food on the floor, he would lunge for it and eat the entire thing in less than a minute, as if he hadn’t seen food in a month. Now, ten days later, he is calm when I fill his food bowl. I pick up the bowl and say, “Cooper, it’s dinner time,” and he sits down and waits. He now knows to sit there until I’ve filled the bowl and placed it onto the floor, and then he eats calmly.
I feed him twice a day, and he eats at the same time that Matt and I eat breakfast and dinner. For the first couple of days, when he would finish eating, he would start pacing back and forth again. The first day, he paced the entire time Matt and I were eating. We could tell that he was incredibly anxious, but he wouldn’t sit still or lie down. As the days went on, the amount of time he’d spend nervously/anxiously pacing after eating decreased, and finally for the first time yesterday, he didn’t do any pacing at all after eating his dinner. He ate (rather calmly), walked around for a couple of minutes, and then lay down on his bed while Matt and I finished our dinner. It was a dramatic change from the his first meal here.
The first time I tried to give him a treat (a piece of ham) out of my hand, he lunged for it as soon as he saw it and nearly took my fingers off. It scared the heck out of me and made me very nervous about feeding him out of my hand again. But now he waits until I actually give him the treat, and he takes it gently from my hand. So that’s great improvement.
Also, ten days ago, he was afraid of anything going over his head, like a leash or harness. Every time I’d try to put his harness on, he’d run from me and start bucking like a rodeo bronco that had just been let out of the gate. I feel like we finally had a breakthrough on that yesterday, and he’s learning that the harness means that he gets to go outside or go in the car with me, so he’s getting used to it. And for the first time yesterday, when I got the harness out of the drawer and said, “Let’s go in the car,” he actually came to me rather than running away from me.
But here’s the mystery. When we first brought him home, he did so good with only doing his business outside. We have a rather large area in our back yard fenced off, so he can go out and run, do his business, etc. He didn’t want to go out by himself, but if I’d go with him, he would walk around, run, sniff everything, do his business, visit with the neighbor dogs through the fence, etc. Then at other times during the day, I’d take him out and we’d play fetch with a Kong tennis ball or the red Kong Original toy that I bought him.
He seemed to be getting used to being out there, so I started sending him out a few times a day by himself. I’d open the door, tell him to go pee, and he’d go right out. I’d only leave him out for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time by himself, and then I’d either bring him in, or go out and play fetch with him for a while before coming on. For a couple of days, he seemed to be doing really well with all of that.
Then around mid-morning yesterday, he peed on the living room rug. He had already been out, so it shocked me. I told him no, and put him out for a few minutes, but that time he didn’t go out willingly. I had to put the leash on him and MAKE him go outside. Then I brought him in and about and hour later, he pooped on the rug. I told him no and took him out again. And once again, he didn’t go out willingly. I had to put the leash on him and make him go out. And for the rest of the day, every time I’d go to the door and tell him to go pee, he’d run back into the living room. When I did make him go out, he wouldn’t leave the back door step. I even went out with him two or three times and tried to get him to play fetch, and he would just sit on the back door step wanting inside.
And then again this morning, I tried to put him outside as soon as we got up, and he wouldn’t go out willingly to do his business. I finally got him outside, but he sat on the back door step wanting inside. I finally put the leash on him and walked him around the back yard until he did his business, but each time we’d get close to the back door, he wanted to head inside. And he has zero interest in running and playing fetch. But it’s not for lack of energy, because as soon as he comes inside, he’s a crazy dog full of energy and he wants to play.
So I’m completely baffled. I have no idea why he’s suddenly resistant to going outside and doing his business, or even to playing fetch in the yard with me. He just wants to be inside. Only. It’s a bit disheartening, because he’s doing so well in other areas, but this seems like a big setback. I don’t know what caused it, or how to fix it. And he’s part lab and part German shepherd. Those are two working breeds that NEED to be outside running, playing, and working off energy, but he just sits by the back door hoping to be let inside, even if I’m outside with him and wanting to play.
Perhaps it’s time to hire a trainer who can work one-on-one with him. Or a doggie psychologist. 😀
But he’s so darn cute and sweet that I can’t stay mad at him, even when he poops on my all-time favorite rug.
I spent quite a bit of time outside with Cooper today to see if I could figure out what the problem is. In the front yard, he’s perfectly fine and content. He was even fine when my neighbor came over on his big, very loud riding lawnmower and mowed my yard. Cooper wasn’t bothered by it at all.
But in the fence-in area of the back yard, he’s nervous and anxious. And the thing that he’s scared of is a noise that he hears often back there, even on a leash and with me there with him.
My neighbor has a big metal building that he uses as a shop where he enjoys working on cars. And when he’s in there working, which is pretty much every day with nice weather, he opens up the huge front and back doors. When there’s a breeze, that huge back metal door, which is right there by the fence between our properties, and right by the fenced-in area of our yard, makes a loud creaking sound, and Cooper is scared of it. Each time the breeze blows and he hears that sound, he crouches down to the ground and whips his head around towards the sound like dogs do when they’re startled and scared, and then he takes off for the door to go inside.
I have no idea why that sound is so scary to him (perhaps it reminds him of something scary from his past before he came to live with us), and I have no idea how to get him over his fear of it. That’s the only part of our yard that’s fenced in, so if I can’t get him used to the sound, then he’ll never be able to be outside off leash. I tried taking him out there on a leash, giving him treats for going out, doing his business, etc., but he’s so anxious out there that he won’t even eat the treats. He just drops them on the ground and takes off towards the door.
I don’t know what to do other than keep taking him out there and showing him that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Hopefully his fear will go away after a week or two.