Yesterday was a bust. I threw my hip out and lost the entire day because I couldn’t move. Abby had a hard time coping with that; she acted out often, she was vocal and mouthy, and she tried to destroy everything she could get her mouth on. BUT: some really good things happened…
I had to call my husband home from work. I managed to get myself and Abby to my office, where I could wait for him and she could play with the toys. When he got home, he came straight to the office – and Abby immediately began barking, growling, and lunging at him. When he came into the room anyway, Abby got scared and backed away from him. He ignored her and focused on helping me. Within a couple of minutes, Abby came closer to him. Glimmer showed up and went to stand beside him, and he started petting her… and then, Abby did the same. She got up close to him, put her head near his lap, and she allowed him to pet her.
A couple of minutes was all it took to break Abby’s reactivity and help her start trusting my husband. When he left to pick up some pain medication, Abby started howling and barking, demanding to be with him. Her howling and barking did change and became an urgent alert that she had to potty; I managed to get her out so she could do her business. Unfortunately, I didn’t give her enough time to do all of it, and she ended up having an accident in my office.
When my husband returned home, Abby reverted to her reactive behavior – but she recovered almost right away and worked hard to control her excitement so he could pet her.
This is a huge victory for Abby. And the weight that was lifted when she and my husband finally bridged the gap between them… It was amazing.
On Day 3, my friend and sometimes-helper Tanya stopped by. Abby met Tanya on pick-up day, and she was reactive then. When Tanya stopped by our house, Abby was still nervous and vocal, but her reaction wasn’t as intense or prolonged. Yesterday, once she realized my husband wasn’t a threat, her reaction to him just seemed to come to a complete halt.
Today is Day 5. I still have pain and I have to move slowly, but Abby will get some work done today. I’m starting her on a food dispenser I picked up for her, and if the weather is good, I’ll be walking her and continuing to work on her leash manners. This afternoon, I’ll be taking her home to her owner so they can spend the weekend working on and practicing what she’s been learning this first week.
We’ve had a lot of challenges and a lot of obstacles to deal with in this first week together. But now that Abby has let go of her negative reactions to my husband, things are only going to get better all the way around.
Have a great day and a great weekend ahead, and remember to stay calm and lead on.