Yesterday was a big day for Miss Stella. She had her first introduction to Glimmer, and she worked directly with me for the first time…
Because of Stella’s nervousness, her history of nipping, and because it was her first time meeting another dog, Stella was muzzled for the duration of the exercises. To everyone’s surprise – including mine – Stella actually did an awesome job all across the board. The only times she had to be moved away came when Gui and Jenn took turns with Glimmer. Stella did become tense, her body stiffened, and she gave Glimmer very intense, direct eye contact. However, after a few times of being redirected and then brought back to try again, Stella got the message and settled down.
Stella and Glimmer were taken on a short walk together. First, Gui and I walked side by side with the dogs on the outside and well away from each other. Then, seeing that Stella was still relaxed – and holding a distance of about 4 feet apart – we changed our positions so the two dogs could walk beside each other. Although she was becoming less uptight and more curious about Glimmer, Stella was not able to close the gap by even a foot without becoming tense. She appeared to want to sniff Glimmer, but her body had tensed and her tail went straight up. So, I held the 4-foot space, and everything went very smoothly.
Stella is going to need a lot of help with this, but I have no doubt that she’ll be fine once she realizes and accepts that she doesn’t have to fight for any kind of affection or protect or guard anyone or anything.
Stella’s behavior changed literally overnight. Gui told me that movers had come over earlier with boxes and furniture, and Stella didn’t even growl. Instead, she just sat back and quietly watched the goings-on. Gui told me that had the movers come before I arrived for our first meeting, she would have been barking, growling, and possibly even trying to nip or bite them. Gui also told me that Stella never goes with anyone she’s only met once. He was very surprised yesterday when he saw her calmly allowing me to not only take her lead, but to actually touch her.
Stella is going to need a lot of help. There’s no doubt about it. But based on the past two days and the behavior changes Gui and Jenn have already seen in her, I have every confidence that Miss Stella is going to turn around and become a happier, calmer, more relaxed dog while she’s with me.
While it has already begun, the fullness of Stella’s transformation begins when she arrives Friday morning. Stay tuned!