Stella is doing great with the kennel. She’s learning the word “bedtime”, and when I open the kennel door, she just goes right in on her own, after I take off her collar. She’s also doing great with the food exercises: She knows now that she must make eye contact with me to get the small handfuls I give her from the bowl, and she’s learning to give space instead of crowding me to be close to the bowl.
We did have an incident yesterday in which she tried to attack Glimmer. Glimmer came to see me and I offered both her and Stella a little treat. Glimmer accepted the food, but Stella started giving lip. I corrected her, but she did try to bite Glimmer, which resulted in the resumption of wearing the muzzle. Just to offer reassurance, Stella did not succeed at delivering the bite.
Over the course of the rest of the evening, I made a point of having Stella and Glimmer in the same rooms at the same time, and giving both of them affection. Stella seemed to be okay with that, but I kept a close eye on her body language just the same. She did not raise her lip or growl or practice any of the behaviors that led up to her trying to bite Glimmer.
Gui and Jenn had informed me that Stella can be “a little possessive” about food. Jenn said Stella is fine with her but she gets growly with other people, including Gui. However, when I asked if Stella has any trouble eating with other animals, they told me that as far as they knew, she was fine; that she had eaten with other animals while she was being fostered, and there had never been a problem. But, Stella does have a problem being around other animals when there is food involved. Now that I know that, I can begin the process of helping her change her behavior.
Overall, Stella is doing very well. She’s learning the rhythms and rules of the house, she’s being respectful of Glimmer’s and Violet’s space – and for the first time since she arrived, Stella approached my husband for affection. She was not muzzled, as we had just gotten up and I had taken her straight outside so she could do her business. Glimmer was on the bed beside him, and Stella greeted her first. Then, she went to my husband. He allowed her to rub her head on his lap but he did not attempt to touch her. Baby steps, baby steps…
Today, we begin the process of teaching Stella the correct way to behave around Glimmer and Violet when there is food involved. This exercise requires two people, so my husband will be helping me. Stay tuned for the results….