Amber: Day 3

  Amber is making steady progress with potty training. She’s figuring out how to give clear signals when she needs to go, and she’s doing a great job of going to the area I’ve designated for her. She does goof around once she gets outside, but getting her attention back on the task at hand is getting easier. She’s also starting to understand the command to “go potty”, and though she never eats all of her food portions, she is eating more than she was when she arrived.

Amber’s favorite thing is to be outside. Considering where she came from, this isn’t surprising. And since she went on her first walk, it’s all she wants to do, all day, every day. 😀 Wheaten’s are highly exploratory by nature; they’re driven to investigate everything all at once, over and over again. This drive can make teaching them to focus and walk nicely on a leash a bit challenging, but it can also help us better connect with ourselves by taking time to experience our world as if it’s our first experience.

Amber is doing a really good job learning how to be with Glimmer and Violet. They’ve been teaching her that if she wants to be with them, she has to be calmer and she has to be respectful of their space. She’s still learning to give space when their meals are being prepared, but she’s getting better. She is, however, fed in a different room; she gets too interested in what Glimmer and Violet are eating and won’t eat her own food, and her interest puts pressure on them and stresses them. Feeding her in a different room removes that pressure and stress and lets her focus on her own dish.

Where the kennel is concerned, Amber is still struggling to accept it. She fights going into it, but once she’s inside, she will settle down. I’ve given her a bone to chew on when she’s kenneled in the hope that it would help her release her stress so that she can relax… and it does seem to be helping. She is relaxing more quickly and staying that way longer than she was without it. Ideally, it would be wonderful if she could let go of her anxiety about the kennel altogether, but at least she’s making some progress with relaxing once she’s in it.

As we begin Day 4 of Amber’s board-and-train program, I am very happy to report that she slept all night, she had no accidents, and she did a complete potty [urinate and bowel movement] outside. Our agenda for the day is as follows:

  • start focused basics lessons [sit, stay, wait, place, etc.]
  • learn to walk nicely on the leash
  • learn to enter and exit the kennel calmly

Considering where Amber has come from, the challenges with the kennel are not surprising. But she is trying to become calmer, and trying is all I can ask of her. She’s only been with me for 4 days, and in that four days, she’s had an awful lot happen to her that she’s still processing. Trust is a big deal for her; she’s not giving it easily – and I don’t expect her to. Dogs need to earn our trust, but we need to work to earn theirs, too. It’s not a one-way street.

Have a great day, and remember to stay calm and lead on.


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