We've had a busy, busy weekend....
Friday after working all day, I met with my client with the puppy mill rescue. Harry is a sweet and fearful Silky. Since our first meeting 3 weeks ago, he's made great progress. Unfortunately he is now biting more often than before. The honeymoon is over. After getting this news and from something the owner said on the phone, I expected to see a dog that is much over-stressed. That was not the case. He napped just six feet from me during our follow-up interview. The client had done a beautiful job on keeping a journal for me, so it was easy to see what the triggers are - not obvious since he voluntarily snuggles with the person he is biting the most.
Originally I thought BAT would be farther out in time, while we got him generally used to life outside a puppy mill or kennel and in a real home. We were just about to get down to the nitty gritty, when the client's daughter and granddaughter arrived with their two dogs. I was pondering how to politely say this wasn't the best time for a visit, when the phone rang. The daughter says, "Mom you have to take
that, its why we're here." It was someone calling to say that someone in the
family had died that day! As soon as I could I excused myself and we'll get
together again when life settles down.
After that I met with Susan and Tucker for a nosework practice. It went well, but Gimme had real difficulty with one of the searches. I will be setting that one up again, so she can learn to sort it out. Afterward Susan and I went out to dinner. Susan told me something interesting that really
strikes home to me because I'm planning to use my Home Depot to do obedience
heeling work over the winter (we really need to work on
duration). Our mutual friend had her class of three asked to leave a local Lowe's last week. She's held classes there many
time and with more students and there's never been a problem, so she assumed they'd hung out too long in one spot. It turns out the real problem was that the students were using
clickers and one of the store employees, a military veteran, has PTSD. Apparently
the sound of the clicker was really upsetting to him and the store chose to ask
them to leave.
I'm so used to using/hearing clickers, it never
occurred to me that it might be a trigger for someone with PTSD. Both Lowe's
and Home Depot hire a lot of veterans. So, you can bet I'll be using "yes" to
mark Gimme's efforts when we train there.
We spent the weekend at my parents' house. Because it was so cold I brought Gimme in the house for most of the time on Saturday evening and for part of the day on Sunday (she usually stays in a crate in the car). It took her a long time to settle down. Mostly we had to wait until Grandma settled down on the couch. She treats Gimme like a canine garbage disposal unit. While I dont' like it taken to such an extreme, Gimme thinks its a fine idea and that its her personal mission to help her Grandma deal with all that excess food. Thus, every time she moves, Gimme is right there demonstrating her willingness to help.
Such a wonderful partnership for Gimme and her Grandma... such a "fragrant" evening for me in the car and after getting home. I am choosing to feel blessed that my parents welcome Gimme in their house, since they haven't had a dog in 35 years and were not so welcoming to my other dogs...