|Barked: Tue Jan 29, '08 6:37pm PST |
|The most important thing you can do for Pebbles right now is work on building the bond between the two of you. A great way to do that is positive-only obedience training.
Addy's situation wasn't as extreme, but she too was extremely timid with people, totally unsocialized with other dogs, and unfamiliar with a lot of daily life in a city. She attached to me very quickly, but it took a few weeks before she had confidence that I had attached to her.
The first few weeks, I walked her, groomed her, and worked on really basic obedience and relations with my two cats at home. Then we started private training, first basic obedience and then intermediate. When we finished intermediate obedience, Addy and I were ready for a group advanced obedience class.
And all along, on our walks, we worked on things like how close she could get to scary things (other dogs, big men, people on bikes or skateboards, etc.) and remain calm. I practiced constantly rewarding her for calm behavior. It's been ten months, now, and she's made enormous progress. We have doggy friends we visit, she's done that group obedience class and we're planning on another (trick training), we can go to Petsmart and mostly behave well--much less barking, and what there is is much less frantic!
When no other dogs are involved, I can take her pretty much anywhere and be confident in her behavior. She goes to the bank with me, and the hardware store (not Home Depot, though--the small, local one!), and yes, sad but true, I've become the kind of middle-aged woman who takes her fluffy little dog to the hairdresser's with her.
Unfamiliar dogs, and people on wheels (bikes, skateboards, those scooter things) remain her biggest issues, but she's made progress on all of them. The big thing is patience, and not getting carried away when she has a good day. Keep it slow, and Pebbles will thank you.
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