Stella: Day 3

Stella slept through the night with no problems. This morning, she tried to use her voice to demand release from the kennel, but I told her to be quiet and then I waited until she did just that. She did – fairly quickly, actually. And as soon as she did, I released her.

As all of her meals have been so far, this morning’s breakfast was very calm and relaxed. I am still controlling the bowl and hand-feeding her; Stella has a serious problem with food guarding, and taking control of the bowl, as well as making her earn each handful, is an important part of helping her learn to relax. She doesn’t like having to work for her food, but she’s also learned that unless she does, I will wait her out.

Supper was interesting: Stella was more interested in what was happening on the other side of the door than she was in eating. This was new, so rather than trying to force her to pay attention, I just waited for her to decide she was ready to eat. When she was, the work-for-food exercise was initiated. She did really good with it; I was very pleased.

The weather became decent enough today that I could get her out for a short walk so I could start exposing her to strangers. There were several people outside, and Stella did a fantastic job of watching but not trying to lunge or bark. However, she was muzzled, and the muzzle tends to subdue her quite a bit. But it also allows me to help her learn a different way of perceiving the world. So, for at least the next couple of days, I will continue to muzzle her when I take her out.

Stella is becoming a bit more vocal. She barks and growls when she wants something, and if she doesn’t get what she wants when she wants it, she gets louder. She can be so loud that she makes our ears ring. But, she is learning that the only time she’s allowed to do that is when she needs to potty; she’s also learning that as soon as we respond, she must stop. She’s doing excellent with that, so far.

Stella has had a very good day today. Earlier, she earned several hours of free time in the living room with Glimmer and Violet. Now, for the past couple of hours, she has been there with them and my husband… and without needing to be muzzled. She has really taken to my husband…

As of this posting, Stella is showing that she prefers to be outside. She lifts her paws a lot because of the snow, but she enjoys sniffing around the yard more, so I take her out quite often. However, I’ve also noticed that when she is sniffing around, she’s also gauging the height of the fence and looking for things to climb on. To prevent her from trying to jump the fence, I am no longer allowing her the full length of the lead. She is free to sniff and poke around as much as she wants; she just can’t get within 6 feet of the fence at any point.

Overall, Day 3 has been really positive. Stella is learning, she’s trying really hard to follow them, she’s testing boundaries [which is normal]… On the whole, she’s doing really well. I’m very pleased with her progress so far.


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