|Even in her "safe spot" Gina leaves after a couple minutes at home...|
I then had to take a phone call and by the time I got off, my friend had been doing research on the internet and told me why letting Sophie chase the flies was a compulsive obsession and tied into her overall prey-drive instincts. Yes, I had already explained this to her multiple times, but I smiled and said that it made sense. She seems to feel very badly that Sophie appears "depressed" and I also explained that it's best fer her in the long run to know what's expected of her and not be scolded for simply following her instincts. Then someday she'll have her freedoms back and won't be so confused. The next day Sophie was on a 2 leash tie down, about 12 feet long or roughly the width of my entire apartment. Sigh...
|I never crate trained her, but Kaya likes Sophie's crate:)|
I think the training is helping, though I'm finding it a bit frustrating that my friend's not doing it much. I think she'd be so much more at ease on her tie down if she was mentally worn out first thing in the morning and then again later in the day. As I stated before, I think my friend is very much taking my lead and sort of copying my actions. Since I work from home, I usually work until the afternoon and then take my dogs on a long hike or park outing off leash. That keeps them pooped until the same time the next day. So my friend pretty much does the same thing with Sophie even though she has admitted that Sophie is used to getting out in the mornings. I have explained many times that our routine didn't start out this way and that I spent hours per day working with my dogs in the beginning. She seems to understand but it's still a work in progress.
|Norman pooped after the very first walk I took him on:)|
I know the best way to get her motivated is to work with her so that we're doing it together and I have done that as much as I can. One evening I was showing her down stays with distractions with all 3 dogs and a couple minutes in she got on her phone and once she got off, I tried to tell her about a breakthrough I had with Sophie and she pretty much just said, Sophie does that anyways (which I know she doesn't) and went to watch tv. Other times, when she's taken Sophie on walks on her own, I ask her how it went and she says, "Oh fine, we just went to the dog park." The one I told her I would never take my dogs to because the dogs and people there are always horribly rude. So she says,"Ya, there was this dog called Frenchie..." My response, "Oh yeah, did he put a death grip on Sophie and hump her all the way across the park?" Ya....
I'm trying to be sympathetic too that this must be a huge change for both of them. I asked her a few questions to see where her thoughts were on all this, like do you know why we're doing all this and do you think it's working and do you think Sophie is unhappy? She said that she understood that it was to teach Sophie to behave around Gina and that she felt it was starting to work, but it makes her sad to see Sophie so mopey. I reminded her that Sophie is probably decompressing from all the new things being thrown her way and also letting go of old habits. On top of all that, she actually just kind of has a subdued personality to begin with. I struggle that she feels it's only for Gina's sake because it makes me feel like the bad guy and that she's only doing this stuff for me, not because she really wants to work on it with Sophie. I'm beginning to feel like a bit of a slave driver rather than a supportive friend.
Another issue I have is that I don't think she should already have the off leash freedom that Kaya and Norman do. I'm trying to find the right balance of being supportive and making suggestions at the same time. She doesn't get into trouble off leash or even bother anyone but she has terrible recall so it makes little sense to me to give her such freedom. I even asked my friend why she puts the harness on her to let her off leash and she said so she can grab a hold of her if she needs to. I'm not sure about that solution. One day I took all 3 dogs on a hike by myself and kept her leashed the whole time. She still had tons of enrichment and I felt like she was really connecting to me by the end. I told my friend about it when I got home and she was just annoyed that I didn't let her play or run.
My friend also feels compelled to get Sophie to play with Kaya and Norman and/or other dogs, yet Sophie's way of interacting is to circle them as they play and bark or chase and bark. Barking during play is a major pet peeve of mine as I have seen it lead to so many fights. It really instigates and agitates the dogs at play or the chasee. Not that Kaya and Norman would ever fight but you never know when another dog might come along a stir things up. I know Sophie is not being aggressive but I would never encourage it and my friend keeps saying "get in there!" to Sophie and then she barks. Then my friend says she doesn't understand why Sophie just barks instead of playing. I finally said, I know you're trying to get her to play but she just thinks it means get excited and ultimately bark. Again, her face fell and I felt like a jerk:(
Overall, I think all these things are minor and I know I sound complainy, but sometimes you just need to vent! Sophie is a sweet, wonderful dog who deserves a lot of happiness. We have been giving her a lot of positive encouragement along the way, but I think one of the most challenging things about her is that it is hard to connect with her. She acts like a dog who was left mostly to her own devices in her upbringing and so she is not one for toys, cuddles, attention, other dogs or treats. She is mostly interested in birds, bugs and following her nose. Though it is entertaining to watch Kaya and Norman try to get her to "make out" (one of their favorite pastimes.) They'll lick her all over her mouth, eyes and ears while she has not a care in the world, but she never licks back. She's kind of in a world of her own.
When my friend first arrived with Sophie she mentioned to me that they were staying with a friend back home who had a little boy that Sophie adored. I wish I could have seen her interact so happily with someone! She told me that her friend really wanted Sophie and she was really torn but decided to bring her after all. Part of me wishes that she would have let her stay with her friend. She would be so happy growing up with that little boy and wouldn't have had to go through all these difficult things that she doesn't understand. And I hope I don't sound horribly selfish but part of me has this fear that my friend will start working full time and I know she is the type who likes to sleep in and go for drinks after work (and I don't blame her!) but since I work from home, Sophie will become my sole responsibility. Her situation was different in Colorado because she was able to bring Sophie to work with her, but I think the odds of that happening again are very slim. I adore Sophie but I guess I'm just not ready to take on another dog right now pretty much on my own:/
|When she used to go to work this was her favorite spot...|
On Training Dogs vs Training People
Do I Take You for Granted?
New Dog Woes