Growing Girl

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Lacey has gained just over two pounds since her emergency visit to the vet on Feb. 25.  At the time of that visit, she was not quite 10 weeks old, she was sleeping a lot, her eyes were a bit dull, and she weighed a mere 7.2 lbs.  Yesterday, she weighed in at 9.6 lbs.  Also, since getting her sorted out at that emergency visit, her eyes have become brighter, she’s been staying awake for longer periods of time, she’s taking more of an interest in her surroundings, and her eyes are much brighter. She’s also able to focus much better, she’s learning much faster, and she’s finally starting to retain what she’s learning.  All in all, she’s becoming a normal, happy, healthy puppy, and that is just wonderful.

As her weight and her general health improves, so does her interest in her surroundings. Whether in the house or outside in the yard, Lacey wants to check out absolutely everything she can get her nose to … or, get her mouth on.  Recently, she has taken a liking to my shoes. She steals them and takes them to Glimmer’s bed, where she can be comfortable while she attempts to chew on them. Of course, the shoes are immediately replaced with a chew toy – and the accompanying “chew toy” command – and she is very good about accepting that. But, we have now put our shoes out of her reach, just to be on the safe side.  We want her to learn that her chew toys are the only acceptable “chewables”.

That she is going after our shoes tells me that her teething pain is getting a little more intense for her, and it’s time to make her some frozen treats to chew on.  I did this when Glimmer was going through this and it helped ease her discomfort quite a bit.

In terms of exposure to various sounds, Lacey is exhibiting high anxiety when the neighborhood dogs start barking up a storm.  She doesn’t care about sirens – she’s heard them several times, now, while we’ve been outside, and she pretty much ignores them.  But when the neighborhood dogs start barking, she becomes very anxious and runs for the door.  I’m working on distracting her with a stick she loves to play with in an effort to help ease her anxiety, as well as show her that ignoring those sounds gets rewarded with play.  In those types of situations, play is the only method of distraction that works with her. As she becomes more secure with those kinds of sounds, her anxiety will decrease. Eventually, she’ll just ignore that sound.

Lacey is progressing so well with her basic-obedience training that I’ve started teaching her the responses she will need to give when her human child is indicating that he’s in distress. So far, she is doing very well.  Thanks to the help of my client, who has made the time to teach me what the warning signs are so that I can simulate them, Lacey is picking up on the cues very quickly. Her responses to her human child’s distress signals have been instinctual right from the moment they met each other, so all I’m really doing is fine-tuning them a bit and rewarding her when she responds to the simulations quickly.

All in all, Lacey is doing phenomenally good for a puppy who was malnourished and very sick when she came into our lives.  She loves her family, and she loves us… and we all love her.  She is an amazing dog who is already making an incredible difference in her human child’s ability to deal with stress. Watching her grow and fulfill her potential to its fullest is an honor and a privilege.

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