Life With Yuna -
1 Month Update:
New Dog, New Life
A lot can change in one month, and a lot WILL change in one month if you get a dog. Buckle up. Check in with Yuna and see how she changed my life.
October 2nd, 2018
Time flies. It’s already been a month since picking up Yuna from the rescue.
Time certainly didn’t fly at first. The beginning was an insane scramble of trying to remember to take care of myself while being utterly clueless on how to properly handle a dog.
I won’t repeat the details too much here-you can read about the bumpy start in the Welcome Home, Yuna series.
I aim to publish a regular monthly update on life with Yuna. Without further ado, let’s kick off the first of them!
Highlight #1: Training Progress.
I want to highlight again just how patient you have to be with your dog when it comes to training. Even tricks that appear simple reflect session after session of dedicated training by the owner.
I have developed the greatest respect for dog owners that have well-behaved dogs who know a variety of tricks. It really reveals a lot about the dog and the owner, and the bond they built. Only persistent training over a long period of time can build a bond like that. Even a smart dog will not learn complex tricks on its own.
With regards to Yuna, although there were a few hiccups at first, she is a bright Lab and definitely has the ability to learn some special tricks. Before that though, we had to start with the basics.
Yuna came into our house already knowing basic commands such as sit and down. The problem was, she only knew them in Korean.
We used An-Ja (앉아) extensively the first week to command her to sit, but our pronunciation probably left a lot to be desired. It only worked half the time, if even that.
This definitely wouldn’t do. She had to learn sit, in English.
It’s funny how quickly dogs can pick up things like this. In just the first training session, after verbally confirming each of her sits with “Sit,” she got the hang of it in no time.
The next big hurdle was Shake. I am pretty convinced her previous owners had never taught her this, even in Korean, because she seemed to not even understand the concept at first.
I began with tickling her paw, and rewarding any flinch or movement, even if it was away from me. I remember getting truly frustrated for the first time during my dog days because she could not even do this consistently.
Pro tip: never just grab their paw and say “Shake.” You won’t make any progress. Also, clicker training is wicked useful.
After she could reliably move her paws (this took about two days), the next step was to try and catch her paw as she was moving it.
Again, at first this was a challenge. She barely put any altitude under her paws, so catching them at first was really just making physical contact with her paw and rewarding that profusely.
After a few more training sessions, she started lifting her paw to a very good “Shake” height. I would place my arm in the path of her paw, and when she made contact with any part of my arm, I treated.
Working on it for about five days consistently, we got a good “Shake” down!
From then on, we also taught her “Down” and “Up” (from Down to Sit position) in English.
TL;DR: Yuna became bilingual, and learned Sit, Shake, Down, Up.
We’ll still have to reinforce these outdoors though.
Highlight #2: Walking Etiquette.
As I mentioned a lot in Welcome Home Yuna Part 6, Yuna is not very good at walking on a leash. She becomes extremely distracted by other dogs and pulls with all her doggy might to try and reach them, even when the other dog is very composed and just trying to get through his day.
Many times it is a very one-sided exchange. Yuna scrambling desperately to reach another dog while they just stare at her indifferently.
Funny to watch, but annoying when it happens again and again on what you thought should’ve been a routine walk.
I have to say that there has been very little improvement in this area. Though she does now respond more reliably to her name and “Sit” in public, all that goes down the drain when distractions rear their ugly heads.
We have to get better at this.
One thing I noticed is that when walking a dog, YOU play a major role in the etiquette skit as well.
You become hyper-conscious of other dogs on walks. You have to learn how to read other owners. To many, a dog on leash is a sign that they’re only there to have a casual walk—this generally means no canine interactions.
Before getting a dog I always thought it was customary to allow dogs to meet. It wasn’t until the first “can they meet?” asked by another dog owner that I realized there’s more to look out for.
Most of the time you can just tell via body language whether or not an owner is willing to have their dog meet yours.
This is just even more important when you have a jumpy dog like Yuna. Pulling 60-pounds of Yuna away from incoming dogs should be a valid workout right?
And then of course, humans. Yuna loves meeting new humans. Maybe even more than chasing after other dogs and squirrels.
But not all humans reciprocate that love. Keep your dog in control especially in public areas with lots of people!
Highlight #3: Your Life Changes Instantly
September 2018 was so different from any other month I’ve ever lived.
I mean, how could your life not change instantly when you have a walking lump of cuteness by your side all the time?
It’s like you’re injected with multiple shots of happiness (The MV linked moved me to tears. That is a first for an MV. Excellent video).
That happiness does come at a price though—quite literally.
You start building your schedule and budget around your dog. If you weren’t that great at caring for yourself, you’ve got twice the work now. If you weren’t that great at time and money management, you better get good.
You lose A LOT of your free time. You may not see your friends for a while. You’re burning out faster than your dog does during walks. It’s all your dog dog dog. There’s a lot to do to keep up with Yuna’s typical day.
Suddenly going places gets a lot more complicated. Is this restaurant dog friendly? Is that beach dog friendly?
And traveling? It’ll be a lot tougher to say the least.
All in all, having a dog has put a lot more smiles on my face. Just be sure you’re ready for it!
Tack on the fact that this month I launched this blog and Yuna’s Instagram, and I’ve got myself working pretty much around the clock.
I’m aiming to get out quality daily content of Yuna on Instagram, and informative posts on the blog twice a week.
In just this month alone I’ve learned so much about the Instagram and blogging game, and I’m doing my best to apply various optimization techniques to grow them BIG. It’s an immensely interesting and rich area with so much science around it I never knew existed.
I’m pouring in as much time and effort as I can afford to make sure all my content is down-to-earth and helpful to all.
So if you’re still here reading this, and if you’re a follower of Yuna’s Instagram, THANK YOU for sticking around!
One month down, many, many more to come.