Ahhh, sunny long weekend. How peaceful.
Poor Wootie. Shut The Fuck Up has been assimilated by The Terriers, and is learning their naughty, evil ways (aka, beating up on Fat Wootie).
She’s too stubby to get any kind of real lift though, so she leaves that to the lurcher!
She’s quite the little monkey. She’s got some serious Lhasatude … strangers! Alert! Barkbarkbark! A strange noise! DANGER! Barkbarkbark! But she’s also quite a bit more worried about strangers than I would like to see in a 4 month old puppy.
Alert! Alert! Strange Creepy form approaching!
Earlier this week I got to go see Chirag Patel through work, doing a seminar on how to provide enrichment and stress-free training for shelter dogs, always a challenge in a shelter as busy as ours. One of the training philosophies he really emphasizes is allowing the dog to make decisions in the training process, allowing them to work through problems without redirecting them, or actively working to get their attention and put them back on task. I’m a self-admitted impatient trainer, something I am always working on, so I decided to take this as a reminder and opportunity to improve my impulse control ;-)
It took STFU about 5 minutes to grasp the concept of standing on her mat, and about 5 minutes more to learn to sit on it and wait patiently. She’s lots of fun to train! However, what I did notice is that one area where I’m not allowing her to make decisions is by plunking her in an XPen beside my desk during the day and allowing the public to approach her. She Does Not Like This and the other day I found her sleeping sitting up, pressed up against the bars closest to my leg and as far away from the public entrance as she could get. Asleep sitting up!
I put her in the XPen so that she could become acclimated to strangers. But I didn’t stop to consider that her rate of acclimation should proceed at her speed, not mine (or the public’s) and all I’ve really accomplished, without realizing it, is to make her not only fear people more than she already did, but also fear the shelter. She shakes in the morning when I take her out of the truck to bring her into work.
So I put signs on her Xpen that says “PLEASE IGNORE ME. I am a fearful puppy and when you loom over me, you frighten me. Please do not touch or talk to me.” I plan to continue her mat work so that the “safe place” mat can be used for her to be near to, but not forced to interact with, strangers.
But OH MY DOG are people such assholes. I see them read the sign and then walk over and try to pet the puppy ANYWAY (while she skitters around in her pen trying to avoid their hands). I hear them read the sign out loud and then say things like “Yeah, it looks real scared, whatever.” Or they read the sign and rather than look or walk away, they stand 2 feet away instead of right next to the pen, and stare hard at her like she’s a lion cub or something.
What the f*ck are YOU lookin’ at?
The shelter area where my desk is located is kind of open concept, so I am trying to come up with some alternative for her so she’s not always exposed to people she is afraid of. But I also need her to come along a lot faster. Her socialization window is closing fast, and I’m worried she’s going to be one of those snappy little dogs that are so annoying, if we don’t get her loving peoples. Any suggestions?
Tomorrow we are off to our Club’s annual trial. Because I like to support my club, I entered Dexter in some stuff. I’m sure he will entertain ;-) At a high rate of speed.
And I will try, once again, to market The Better Dexter.
Enjoy your long weekend!
And remember – Fear The Terriers.