Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Doing Doggy-Dog Things

Our day was split in half between good and bad, I'd say.

Marge seemed stressed during the day. She was okay on our walks (mozzarella cheese every time we passed a person, dog, or anything exciting), but just that... okay. She wasn't 100% comfortable, though it may have had to do with the heat as well.

Later in the day we took a trip to my grandmother's house. My dad was supposed to pressure-wash the fence at my house, so I didn't want Marge to have to hear the noise. She was, again... okay. She explored the house as if she had never been there before, nose to the floor constantly. She went out and the backyard, rolled around and sniffed who knows what.

However, then my dad showed up to hose off THAT house. So Marge got to listen to the garage door rumble open under her feet before I had the chance to leash her up.

Oh, it was awful.. it reminded me of the way she fleed last summer. I took her up the block just to get her away, and she was totally unresponsive.. wide-eyed at the end of the leash not knowing what to do with herself.

We then walked back and just sat in the car, and I treat, treat, treated.

She briefly saw her two little friends, the Cavalier mixes. This was the only actual dog 'greeting' that she was a part of today. Again, it's on me to limit these encounters even more. I'm trying, I really am.

So, I went home, feeling discouraged and worried that Marge was seriously regressing.

I decided we needed a trip to somewhere calm and natural. We went down to the beach, the place we frequented all winter. She was happy to be there; sniffing, running, playing. It was great to see her tail way up in the air.

I was proud of myself, too, for protecting her; a woman came up with a Border Collie offleash, and I politely told her that my dog is not dog-social. She asked whether I "wanted to give it a shot", and I told her that because my dog is having a small fear issue, I am keeping things low-key. And we were off.

Marge didn't look particularly bothered by the dog; he looked to be an older, laid back dog, but we're not chancing any new encounters right now. Maybe if Marge realizes that I can handle things for her, she won't react.

We also had to dodge a woman who went up to Marge saying "aww! Puppy!" I was not as polite as before and simply walked away without looking at her, stating that my dog is fearful of people. Why must people be so forward?!

We then made our way to the wooded park next to the beach pictured above. I think Marge liked that most of all. Sniffing, unaware of the people going by, just enjoying herself. It was awesome. She was being a dog.

Hopefully we will continue to expand on the way that we left off tonight, and take similar trips. They helped Marge last summer, hopefully they'll help us now, too.

Before I finish, I will just mention that I spoke to my vet over the phone. He agrees with everyone I've spoken to thus far that this newfound fear is due to what has happened here in the neighborhood with the dogs. He told me to keep her away from "new things" and to call him back in 2 or 3 weeks to let him know how she is.

And, lastly, I would like to thank Rufus/Indie and Stella/Roo for their lovely "Pawsome" blog award for Marge and I. It is really impossible for me to choose anyone else to pass this on to, because I love ALL the blogs I read, but if you insist.. ;)

“This award is presented to those dog bloggers out there who know the meaning of GREATNESS. Their blogs are consistently interesting, funny, or informative. Their KINDNESS is extended to others without expectation of it’s return, and their FRIENDSHIP inspires others to do EXTRAORDINARY things. These are the blogs you can’t wait to read everyday.In short, they are AWE-INSPIRING, full of wonder, and simply PAWsome! Pass this award on to 4 others who you feel exemplify a “Paw”some Blog, and leave a note saying why you think they deserve the Pawsome Award!”

Marge and I bestow this award to:

Life With Dogs - for always keeping us laughing, even on the worst of days

Portuguese Water Blog - for beautiful pictures and great stories about their pack of Portis

Champion of My Heart - for knowing that we're not alone going through fear, and learning something new every time we open the page

Mountain Musings - for bird watching pictures we can only dream of, and their Golden Fridays, when we get to see Ellie and Lucy!

Hope to be back tomorrow with more good news.


Anonymous May 21, 2009 at 5:19 AM  


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Warm Regards Team

Rufus and Indie May 21, 2009 at 8:01 AM  

Treats are great but the beach is much better!
You deserve the award: Marge and you work hard together!!!
Rufus and Indie

Life With Dogs May 22, 2009 at 12:03 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Life With Dogs May 22, 2009 at 12:06 AM  

Sorry to hear of these recent struggles. I'm curious - from your perspective, does Marge view you as alhpa to some degree? I'm still new enough that I have some catching up to do, but I'm wondering if you are on to something when you say she might benefit from knowing you have things handled.
I am no behavior expert, just thinking out loud, so forgive me if I am off the mark...either way I'm sure you'll find a way, it's obvious you love her enough to do whatever it takes.

Thank you so much for the award, you are far too kind :)

Sam May 22, 2009 at 9:56 AM  

I think you've got it (though I don't like the word "alpha" because it brings to mind nasty things like dominance theory, but that's just personal taste I think). I'm going to paste something here that one of my trainers told me, that I think is of the same kind of idea:

"I think it might be more unsuredness rather than aggression. The important thing is that Marge knows that you will protect her. Keep your eyes on the other dogs, step between them and Marge, tell people Marge needs her personal space. "

I think in "knowing I have things handled" Marge will come to understand that she doesn't have to interact with the scary dog/person/thing and thus doesn't have to react to it. Hopefully, anyway, after enough repetitions and avoidance of other dogs/strange people.

Jane May 22, 2009 at 10:01 PM  

Your dog is absolutely gorgeous! I hope you guys have a fun and relaxing weekend!

Sloppy kisses from Gundo

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