Well, I have some good news and some bad news. Which would you like first? I always say I want the bad news first so that I can ease my anxiety, but LD usually wants the good news first. Because he hasn’t gotten his way much recently, I guess I will go with his choice.
The Good: Tasha has definitely progressed on getting over her fears of the shower. We play this game with her favorite treats (for those of you who don’t know, mozzarella cheese) where I sit in the shower at the bottom where the least amount of water hits and she has to come in and get them before she backs out of the shower. She even stuck her head under the water. We finished the session last night where she trusted me enough to sit next to me in the shower even though she knew there was no more cheese. Just a few days ago, she was shaking from sitting on the mat right outside the shower, she did that with no issues this morning while I was showering. I’m still waiting for the day that she sticks her head inside the shower to watch me, or even jump in. I believe that it will happen though, when she is comfortable she can be overly curious and loves to watch me.
We also have made tremendous progress on her fear aggression. Something about lessening her fears over the showers seems to have lessened her fear of people, or has just made her more brave. We went for a walk today where we passed several people and she looked and acting uncertain, but she didn’t bark at them. All of them were more than 10 feet away though. The part that really showed her abilities was when we went over to talk to the landlord who was outside smoking. On a side note, the landlord is one of the most respectful of other people when she is smoking that I have ever seen. She not only breathes the smoke out to the side, but also makes sure it is downwind. Anyway, Tasha gave four alarm barks in total, but trusted me when we approached her. We paid little attention to her and had a full conversation where every time I felt Tasha getting anxious, I would give her a command and she would relax again. Overall, those five minutes were a BIG success.
The Bad: Tasha’s separation anxiety seems to have resurfaced. What does she do when she is anxious? She pulls out the hair on her back and doesn’t chew on her bones or play with her Kong filled with duck jerky, which she goes after with unstoppable determination whenever we give them to her when we are around. In fact, during the time I was writing this, she finally got the piece out that she has been working on for nearly an hour and a half. Anyone have any suggestions on separation anxiety? I’m a little worried that in my teaching her to conquer her fears I’m also teaching her to depend on me. Perhaps, it is simply because she was a stray for a while, likely abandoned and then was bounced around between different houses before coming to us. Next week Tuesday she will be starting daycare some days of the week. I know she is ready for it, as her fears are a lot less. I just hope it will help her separation anxiety. As you know, I will keep you posted.