The rest of Day 8 was fantastic. Stella surprised us several times over the course of the day when she saw Glimmer: She gently extended her nose to Glimmer for a friendly greeting. Even more surprising was that Glimmer allowed it. The first time it happened, Stella was muzzled. I had just brought her inside after walking her. The second time, Glimmer and my husband were sitting on the bed. I was bringing Stella into the bedroom to kennel her for a short nap, and the moment she saw Glimmer, she asked to greet. Again, Glimmer allowed it. And Stella. Was. Awesome.
The night was a bit rough for all of us, including Stella. My husband was up late and he took Glimmer out to potty her. Stella was bedded down for the night and I was already in bed, asleep. Suddenly, Stella started barking up a storm, scaring the life out of me. As it turned out, my husband was making all kinds of noise because he had opened the door to get Glimmer out for a potty, and there was a skunk right at the door. The flurry of activity to deal with the situation and make sure Glimmer hadn’t been sprayed was too much for Stella to deal with.
Fortunately, everyone was fine – Glimmer and my husband did not get sprayed, my husband was able to encourage the skunk to leave the area, and that was that. But Stella was wound up very tight because of it all, and it took her a long time to settle down again.
This morning – Day 9 – the only thing Stella cared about was getting outside and conducting a thorough sweep of the yard.
As of yesterday, Stella has a new, larger muzzle. She even seems to like it; she’s been sniffing at it – which she’s rewarded for – and her resistance to wearing it has decreased. Some adjustments do have to be made so it sits on her nose properly, but she’s even tolerating that really well.
Stella’s behavior towards Glimmer yesterday was a huge victory. I’m hoping it means we’re finally starting to break down some of Stella’s barriers. I’ll be giving her plenty of opportunities today to repeat those positive behaviors. Food rewards are not an option, so access to more of the house and more off-muzzle time will be her rewards. She’ll have to work harder to earn her off-muzzle time, but she wants so much to be with Glimmer, Violet, and my husband when they’re hanging out together that I’m confident she’ll do just fine.
Have a great day, and remember: Stay calm, and lead on.