The day began with a lot of vocalizing. Abby doesn’t like being by herself even for a couple of minutes; if the humans are up, she figures she has to be up, too – even if it’s 2am and either my husband or I get up. If she doesn’t get her way, she gets very vocal and she doesn’t stop until she’s not by herself again. Thankfully, her outburst didn’t last too long; she realized and then accepted that she wasn’t going to get her own way and she went back to sleep.
As of today, Abby’s main challenges are impulse control, lack of confidence and trust, and engagement. She’s focused and she’s learning patience with her meals – which is excellent – but outside, she is completely disengaged and insensitive to both collar and leash pressure. However, when I redirect her by moving, she is starting to respond. She still doesn’t look at me when I do that, but at least she’s moving with less resistance. It’s small progress, but it’s better than no progress at all.
The plan for today is to work on loose leash walking, conditioning her to the car, practicing commands she knows and introducing one or two new commands, and trigger exposure. Our normally quiet street has been rather active for the past two days; I’m hoping that will continue today. Desensitizing Abby to daily life is very important to her recovery and a key component in being able to take her to more social places such as a local pet store.
Abby is a very sweet, loving dog. She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s compassionate and sensitive, she loves to learn, and while she is extremely food-motivated [as are all Labs], she actually values touch more than food as a reward. All of the challenges we’re dealing with are rooted in a lack of confidence and trust; create just those two things, and Abby can become a stable, calm companion.
Stay tuned – and remember to stay calm and lead on…