Ben, Enter Week Three

It’s bitterly cold here in Calgary, this Monday morning. It’s -16C (4F) with a wind chill of -26C (-14F). Ben won’t be going outside at all unless he has to potty.

Ben did a really great job over the weekend of behaving himself around Violet, listening, and doing things he was asked to do. We have a family crisis going on that’s been very stressful for us, and my husband had a health issue that nearly landed him in the hospital. Ben showed me a great deal of trust through all of it, and he did a fantastic job of controlling his nervous excitement when some situations became very intense.

Ben’s separation anxiety when kenneled is still problematic.  We’ve discovered that we can’t kennel him for longer than about 30 minutes, even with a fresh bone for him to chew on. We found this out the hard way when we had an appointment we could not miss. When we got home, we found Ben terrified and shaking like a leaf in a wind storm. He had pooped and peed in the kennel, and he had scratched and bitten at the sides and the steel gate in a desperate attempt to get out. Thankfully, he hadn’t damaged his feet or his mouth, and the kennel was not compromised in any way – we checked – but we realized that while he can and does relax in the kennel at bedtime, kenneling him during the day to go to work is not going to be an option. He needs extensive, ongoing work on learning to relax in the kennel for long periods of time, even when people are home. I’m going to begin that work with him today.

Ben loves to play in the snow. But, because he doesn’t have booties – and DINO told me he doesn’t keep them on, anyway – we can’t let him romp around in it like he wants to. Even before he’s finished pottying, he’s already got his back foot up off the ground and he’s limping. So, I want to at least try to find him some warm booties that will stay on his feet. Because he did so well and enjoyed himself so much the first time I took him, I’m going to take him back to our local pet store and try to find some.

Ben is making great progress in most areas. He still needs a lot of work in some areas, but he is making progress. He is starting to feel more secure, and that is helping him trust. The one really big problem that is continuing to present is his ongoing tendency to attack Violet. Not every time – he is highly unpredictable, that way – but often enough that he still cannot be trusted to be off the leash. Because of this, he is still on lead during the day.

Have a great day and a great week ahead, and remember to stay calm and lead on…

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