Day 6: Socialization and leash manners practice at PetSmart, several walks throughout the day. At the pet store, dealing with the distractions of people, other dogs, and all the other stimulants overwhelmed her. She became completely disconnected – as if I didn’t exist at all – and she jumped at and mouthed me when I put a bit of leash pressure on her to encourage her to move in a different direction.
On the walk, Peach showed some improvement. She still pulled, weaved, and lunged at things she wanted to sniff, but she also showed a beginning of understanding that when she pulls, the martingale collar will tighten – and if she steps back a little, the pressure immediately releases. She practiced this several times on each walk, and each time, she pulled a bit less and she stepped back a little more quickly. This was very encouraging.
After a long day of learning how to be better behaved, Peach was given her new lamb-stuffed beef bone to chew on. She went to town on it, and she’s been enjoying it ever since. 😀
Day 7: End of Week 1
This has been a very difficult week for Peach. She’s had to start learning rules, boundaries, and limitations; she’s had to learn to accept being kenneled at night; she’s had to learn how to approach other animals with gentleness and a calmer demeanor in order to be accepted. She’s also had to learn that her choices matter and that there are consequences for inappropriate behaviors. Her entire world has been turned inside out and upside down in this first week, and she has worked really hard to assimilate all of these changes. We still have a lot of work to do with her, but she’s trying, and that’s awesome.
Last night, for the very first time, Peach went into her kennel without resisting, vocalizing, or even a snort of disapproval. She laid down on her blanket, and she went to sleep. As she’s been doing for the past several days, she slept right through the night. No muss, no fuss.
Last night, for the first time, Peach was fed in the kitchen with Glimmer and Violet. She was kept on a short leash to prevent any potential problems [going after Glimmer’s food, etc.], and she had to practice the meal ritual we’ve been practicing all week. It was extremely difficult for her to stay focused on me, but she did it. I was very proud of her.
Getting Peach up in the mornings and asking her to wait to be released from the kennel is challenging. She’s convinced that when we get up, it’s time for her to get up, too. If I don’t release her right away, she vocalizes loudly and for several very long minutes before she realizes she must be calm and quiet before she’ll be let out. This exercise is very important, because it teaches her that her behavior is no longer acceptable; that she will only be released if she is calm and quiet.
Upon release from the kennel, Peach immediately becomes hyper-excited. She jumps on the bed, jumps at me, mouths me, and generally moves her entire body all over the place. Because she must be leashed when she’s out [because she rushes Glimmer and tries to force her to play], I have no choice but to touch her, but I don’t talk to or look at her. Instead, I try very hard to ensure I’m not giving her anything she may perceive as reinforcement of her unwanted behavior.
For this morning’s breakfast ritual, I introduced a new exercise. She’s been doing really well with the other exercises I’ve given her to earn her food, but this morning, she didn’t give me her full attention, and I knew she was bored with the exercises. Introducing a new one – “lay down” – took her by surprise and brought her focus back to me.
Peach is still not alerting when she needs to potty. If I allow her freedom in the house, she will do her business when she feels the need to go. She doesn’t give me any indications at all – not even subtle hints. This is a huge challenge her owners have also been experiencing with her; at home, she just goes out when her dog brother asks to go out. She doesn’t have that here. Glimmer can’t teach her to alert, because Peach gets so intense and excited around Glimmer that she can’t see or hear Glimmer’s alert. Getting her to calm down and actually pay attention to Glimmer is extremely difficult.
Despite the challenges Peach has been and is presenting, she’s been making progress. She’s a stubborn teenager who has, until now, had complete control over everyone and everything, and she’s not going to give that up without some pretty intense resistance. But, with patience and calm but firm consistency, she is slowly starting to come around. All in all, I’m pleased with the progress she’s made in this first week.
Have a great day, and remember to stay calm and lead on…