Say hello to Stella! Stella is a 4-year-old, mixed-breed rescue who is extremely fearful of strangers and so territorial in her house that she has nipped at people coming in. Her people, Jenn and Gui, have had to take her outside to meet and get used to their friends before those friends can go inside the house. I met this beautiful girl for the first time yesterday…
The video below offers a very small taste of Stella’s fear of strangers. Note that while she’s barking, her body is tense and her tail is tucked between her legs.
Jenn has very high anxiety and she struggles with trusting others. It was immediately apparent that helping her see how her anxiousness triggered Stella’s reactive responses was a critical component to helping Stella get on the road to recovery. At one point during the session, when Stella and I were within touching distance, Jenn became nervous and she tensed up, and Stella immediately became reactive to me. In response, I asked Jenn to give the leash to Gui, explaining that she was tense and causing Stella to shut down. Jenn was reluctant to surrender the leash, but once she did, Stella calmed down. This was an important moment for Jenn; she began to see how her energy was affecting Stella.
In this video, which was near the end of the session, Gui is still holding the leash, and Stella is much calmer. Note, too, that her tail is no longer between her legs.
Stella is a very fearful girl and she needs a lot of help. I only have her for two weeks, but in that time, we’re going to be working very hard to help her become less reactive and more trusting. It’s a big challenge made even bigger due to the short amount of time I have to work with her, but I have no doubt that we will make great progress.
Stella arrives for her 2-week stay in just two days. So, stay tuned… We’re just getting started…. 🙂