Skylar had an excellent first night. No whining or whimpering, no attempts to escape the kennel; she did great. For her breakfast, I hand-fed her to control her eating pace [her owners said she wolfs her food and that she’s choked a couple of times as a result] and teach her that she has to earn her food. Skylar did an excellent job with the exercise; she was polite, she waited until she was given permission to take each bite, and she took it gently from me instead of trying to snatch it from me.
After breakfast, Skylar joined Glimmer on our bed. She came for and accepted affection, she played with us, and when she was asked to get “off”, she did so immediately and without barking. She also gave space, she observed quietly, and she waited for direction.
Skylar and Violet have become friends. Violet has twice initiated play with Skylar, and Skylar has responded with a controlled and quiet play bow. Skylar is also doing very well with Glimmer; she is respectful of space and boundaries and she doesn’t try to force Glimmer to play with her.
I did a total of three trigger sessions with Skylar. All three involved common household noises such as cans dropping to the floor, pot lids clattering, knocking at the door, and the doorbell ringing, to name a few. With the knocking and the doorbell, I had Skylar go to “place” – an elevated cot against the wall at the top of the stairs – and stay quietly. I was surprised that she presented only minimal barking, and that she quieted almost immediately while remaining on the cot. She did not present the out-of-control barking or charging behavior she gave me when I met her. She was so tired after the first two sessions that she actually surrendered to the experiences by laying down and having a nap on my office floor.
The final session involved my husband. He helped by knocking on the door when he got home from work. Skylar immediately went to “place”, and except for a couple of cursory barks to alert me that someone was at the door, she did a fantastic job of remaining quiet and waiting for direction. And when I returned home later in the evening after seeing a client, I knocked on the door and he handled Skylar. She barked a couple of times, and then she was quiet; when I opened the door, she was in “place” on the cot and waiting for my husband to give her direction.
Overall, Skylar had a phenomenal first day. She is behaving very well, she’s getting along beautifully with Glimmer and Violet, and most importantly, she is proving that while sensitivity to movement and sound is inherent to her breed, she can control her reactions. Skylar is still very young – she’s barely out of puppy-hood; she’s still learning about the world and she needs calm but firm direction about when and how to respond to things.