Week 1

10Apr12

We have made it through our first week and I’m exhausted. All as expected and Riley is making a lot of progress. We keep having to remind ourselves it’s going to be slow and we will have setbacks, but some things have been harder than others.

The separation anxiety is getting better. When going to bed, the whining/crying has almost stopped and the barking is gone. She will whine for a few minutes, but then stops and goes to sleep. She’s realizing her space and her bed, which is great. At first, she was really scared to go into the kitchen, but now she follows and happily sits in her bed while we are cooking. We are thinking of getting her another bed or a crate for the living room as well, since the kitchen isn’t very open. She’s gotten a lot better of being left during the day too, she isn’t shaking when we get back to let her out. We have stopped putting her in our bed until she is used to being alone, we didn’t want to make it harder for her. She is gated while we get ready for work and everything, so she can see everything that is going on. Once we are dressed, we let her run around and play until we have to leave.

Riley follows me everywhere I go and is always by my side, much to J’s dismay. She was fine with him until a couple of days ago, and then every time he came close to her she would run away. It has made him really stressed and sad, which is understandable. But I keep reminding him that she is still adjusting and it’s going to take time and patience and not to take it too personally. She still loves him, even if she runs. She likes to cuddle with him on the couch and will take food from him. I think it might be because every time he was close, he would pick her up and she isn’t the biggest fan of being picked up. So, now she thinks he’s going to pick her up and she runs. I don’t know, but I know it will take time and soon she will run up to him too. I don’t know if it’s a competition thing or what, but he needs to just be happy with the progress she is making and she will come around when she is ready.

Her personality is really starting to come out now, and she is a basket case. I love watching her run around in circles and when she tries to burrow in my arm. She has SO much energy and is so curious. Before she was so afraid to go very far, but she’s starting to get to know the area and we can go all around the block. Still can’t get her to go down stairs – she’s done it like once and then got scared (it was a small 3-step staircase) and hasn’t done it again.

I’m usually a huge skeptic over these kinds of products, but I recommend the Thunder Shirt if your dog has serious anxieties. We got it for her because she was so scared all the time. We put it on her, and she turned into a different dog. Our friends have two labs, so we took all the dogs for a walk to go get some Rita’s one night. There were a ton of people out, and she did so well! She was walking up to people and letting others pet her. By the end she was getting a little overwhelmed, but once she got in the quiet again she was fine. It was a complete turn around from earlier in the day when she was jerking on her leash because she didn’t want to cross the street. We kept it on her for a few days and nights, and it definitely calmed her down. Unfortunately, it started rubbing under one of her arms – just something to look out for. We only put it on her for the first couple days as she was adjusting and I think it was a tremendous aid.

Food and bathroom habits are a work in progress. For a few days, I was concerned she would only eat the canned wet food. Turns out she just didn’t like the Science Diet, we are feeding her Blue Buffalo now. We still have to hand feed her, but I don’t mind doing that for a while. I don’t know if it is the food or the bowl, sometimes she will eat out of it and sometimes she won’t. We’ve started doing a little bit of a mix – giving her the dry food and if she eats it all, she gets a spoon of wet food. We feed her every 12 hours and no longer leave the bowl down if she doesn’t eat – trying to show some tough love haha. Hopefully this makes her bathroom schedule more regular. She still has not gone outside and goes to the bathroom so rarely and at random times. I think she may have a problem going in front of people – no matter how long we walk her, she won’t go. As soon as we leave, she’s gone on the pad. We shall see how the next few weeks go. After reading some articles, we are thinking of getting her a longer leash so she can get some privacy or something.

Still trying to figure out what toys and treats she likes. We thought she didn’t like hard treats, but then saw her eating a dog biscuit last night – it may have been because she was hungry and it was left on the ground from earlier. We are curbing treats until she eats regularly – just in case she is holding out for better food. She gets the kong when we leave for work and LOVES that. She hasn’t shown any interest in toys – we got her a stuffed toy, a tennis ball and a rope. She will smell it and then walk away.

We are trying a new thing of blocking the corners in our apartment that she likes to hide in. We want her to know that it’s okay and she doesn’t have to hide. She recently found the corner in between our two couches, so we’ve blocked it with a tool kit. Her new place is the bathroom or the closet. It was just sitting by the closet door, but this morning she started going further in and almost hiding in my clothes. We don’t want to pull her out if she feels safe, but we also don’t want her hiding. She is usually pretty good and will go to her bed, but it’s something we are keeping a close eye on.

Overall, it has been a great week and I love that little dog more every day. I think she has come a long way in a week and I’m excited for the future progress she is going to make!

 

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One Response to “Week 1”

  1. 1 lowercase v

    Sounds like you’re doing a great job so far. Is Riley adopted? I adopted a 6-yr old Italian Greyhound, Gabi, about 2 months ago. It’s tough at times, but very rewarding.


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