Four Months In

On this Follow Up Friday, we wanted to follow up on Duke’s progress now that it has been four months. (The four month mark was last week on Black Friday, but I was out shopping! So we’re updating now!)


Since we brought Duke home at the end of July we have been posting periodic Check Ins to share the process of adopting a rescue dog and bringing a new dog into our home. Especially our first dog!

You can read our previous check ins here: Two Weeks In , Six Weeks In, and Three Months In,

Last we checked in, Duke had sit and stay down. I was worried about the ground being too cold for his sit & stay outside but we’ve been keeping it up inside. I’m still trying to introduce “heel”. We’ve had mixed success. Mostly it’s my problem, not Duke’s. He does well with it, it is just so exhausting for me to be always monitoring and correcting.   I would really love to get him into some training classes, but that probably is not in the cards for us until at least next summer due to our busy schedules and a potential cross country move.
So, four months in, he’s got all of the commands down that we’ve pushed hard for him to learn. Now it is really up to us to decide what we want to be next.


At the three month mark he had had a few accidents in the house that hadn’t been a problem for the first two months. I’m happy to report that he is no longer having accidents, at least in our house. We visited Sam’s mother’s house for Thanksgiving and Duke was just peeing all over the place! He’s never done this before at her house and we’ve been there quite a bit since we got Duke. She fosters dogs that can have accidents, so I don’t know if he was smelling things and then felt the need to pee over it? Or if he really just had to pee? Anyways, it hasn’t happened since we’ve been home, thankfully!
So, four months in, it just goes to show that housebreaking isn’t something you can always forget about after the first few weeks home. I’ve learned to never say never in this department!

Walks & Outside Behavior:
He’s been doing well on our walks. He’s just as excited as ever about going outside and squirrels and such which causes a lot of pulling but he is able to get it under control quickly. I think the answer to the pulling is all in training, not in some magical piece of equipment. We are loving his slip lead still. We haven’t done much off leash practice since our trips to the beach are no longer. I’m sure he would do better than we think off leash, but why risk it? He’s also starting to play with other dogs at the dog park which has been cute to watch.
So, four months in, we’re really the ones holding up any progress here since we’re not 100% on top of the pulling training or practicing off leash behavior much.


Inside Behavior:
When we’re home, he’s great! When we’re not home, he’ll get into anything that smells good that is within reach. So we are fastidious about making sure nothing is in reach. Last we checked in, this was the same! We are slacking off more about where he was allowed in the house and where he wasn’t. We’re starting to reinforce limits during meal times and encouraging him to sleep at the bottom of the bed.
So, four months in, again we are waiting on us here! Duke is great at picking up on the signals we are giving, but if we don’t give any signals he just cuddles up right next to us. His inside behavior is not destructive in any way though, which is wonderful. He just wants to be with.


He tries to reach everything!


He really just wants to be with.

Medical Issues:
His only real medical issues are when he eats something he’s not supposed to! Like last Friday, when he ate a Chocolate Brownie CLIF bar. After multiple calls to vets and poison control hotlines, he turned out to be just fine. Got a little hyper, but that was it. Freaked me out to no end though!
So, four months in, I still haven’t learned to not freak out over everything little thing and Duke is still eating things he’s not supposed to, despite our due diligence. Where there’s a will there’s a way!


The scene of the chocolate crime.

No news to report here! He’s still on the same brand of limited-ingredient, grain included food. We bought him a small bag of Fruitables treats, but mostly he just gets peanut butter! That is until our Zuke’s shipment arrives!


Yummy Fruitables and peanut butter!

I’ve never included this category in our check ins before but now that it is December, weather is becoming an issue! Duke does not like to go for walks in the pouring rain. We go out to the closest tree, he pees, and we come back in and wait for it to stop raining. He’s done well in the light snowfall we’ve had. I can’t wait to see how he takes to playing in the snow one we get some serious snowfall. He gets chilly on cold days and starts to shake, but a sweater and keeping moving usually solves any issues. 


One lone snowflake on Duke’s head

So, four months in… not much to report! Other than the humans need to step it up for any training to continue. The main thing to happen since our last check in is the switch up of chew toys, which you can read more about here! Also, even though we’ve had Duke for a decent amount of time and have developed a strong, trusting bond, life with Duke isn’t quiet or boring by any means! There’s always a worry about something he ate, planning for his exercise, and good old cuddling to be done! 

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22 thoughts on “Four Months In

  1. After all you had 4 fabulous months :o) Maybe Duke tried to mark his territory on Thanksgiving? Easy did it too as we visited his breeder. Sadly the dogs of the breeder started to reply the yellow pee-mails and they had a bad mess in their house :o)

  2. Way to go, Duke! Great progress in just four months! Sorry to hear about the Thanksgiving accidents, though. Sounds like an overload. We’ll be going out to play with the dogs in the snow later today!

  3. Sounds like Duke is doing just fine, it’s the parents that need work 🙂 I think that’s always the way – I know the more i work with Jack & Maggie the better they get…I’m just lazy. It’s good you recognize that and don’t blame Duke!

  4. I love that you’re doing these posts to track progress! How great to be able to look back and be so proud. That all sounds like excellent progress to me! Emmett’s update would be something like… six years in: still jumping on the counters, still eating things he shouldn’t. 🙂 We actually had a similar accident issue with Cooper when he was a pup. It took visiting a few houses before he finally generalized the behavior.

    • Thanks! It has been fun to realize where we’ve made progress and where we haven’t! I’m glad to hear that there are some things that older dogs do that aren’t perfect, makes me feel better about where Duke is progress wise! Hopefully Duke will follow in Cooper’s footsteps and figure out peeing in any houses isn’t okay!

  5. Thanks so much for joining the hop! It’s a great recap and I have a couple of thoughts.

    Thanksgiving, if your MIL has lots of foster dogs I’m thinking Duke is marking his territory letting those other dogs know that it’s his place to hang out. I’m not sure how to stop that, but I’m sure there are some great bloggers that have great advice for that.

    Four months in and you are freaking out about chocolate. I laughed at this because the other morning I almost had myself convinced that Delilah had eaten a fork. We are six and a half years in and I’m still freaking out when she eats something she shouldn’t. Thankfully I quickly realized she HADN’T eaten the fork, but I can assure you I did experience a few moments of panic. LOL

    I’ve been working Sampson on his off-leash heel. I simply put a treat in my hand and let my hand hang by my side, if Sampson starts to get ahead of me I usually say, “Ack.” I don’t know why, that’s just what comes out of my mouth. LOL Luckily for me, Sampson is not grabby so he will usually stay very close to me and heel well until I release him and give him the treat. I don’t do it for a long period of time either, maybe a minute at most. Just a reminder that he needs to pay attention to me sometimes.

    You’ll get there with Duke, I know you will!

    Thanks again and have a wonderful weekend!!

    • Thank you for hosting such a fun blog hop!

      I do think he was trying to mark in some way. Luckily, there are lots of tips for that kind of behavior I can look up!
      A fork! Oh my goodness, I would have flipped out. I guess it is both good and bad to know that the freaks out don’t end. At least I don’t have to be worried about it just being a new dog behavior! That’s such a good idea for the off leash heel, and for us to start the on leash heel. I haven’t tried to train him using treats, but I don’t have any other ideas!

      Thanks for having the faith in us! Baby steps!

      • You can do the on leash heel with the treat too. That way you have the leash just in case. 😀 Start off in the house and then progress to the driveway etc…once he gets what a heel is, you can take him somewhere enclosed (a baseball field comes to mind) and practice the off-leash. 😀 I usually do this with Sampson in areas where we typically meet others with their dogs, I want his attention on me, not on something else.

      • Oh, I like the idea of practicing in the house! I don’t know why that never came to me before! So helpful! Then we can move on to other areas like you said. I can’t imagine trying that with Duke near other dogs, he would be so distracted, but I guess that’s the whole point! We’ll get there one day! 🙂 Thank you!

  6. I think you’re doing great. The important thing is that he looks happy and loved! As long as you are keeping aware of what the issues are, you’ll keep working at it and get there in time. I have slack times too where I feel like I am doing so bad, as far as getting the dogs exercise, etc., but eventually I always get back on track.

  7. Excellent follow-up. It sounds like all is going well and you are doing great. Re: house training…I still reinforce that with my dogs. I will say “good boy/girl” when they go potty outside. Its not that they have accidents, but I have always thought it helps to reinforce. 🙂

  8. I love that you’re doing these updates. Give yourself a pat on the back for being such a responsible new dog owner because you deserve it. My first-as-an-adult dog… I bumbled my way through it and he turned out just fine. You’re doing great! I’m betting Duke will like the snow 🙂

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