What we did learn about Dixie from her first week is she is quite nervous, jumps at doors and things as well as leaping back from her bowl when eating if our shadow passes over her. We know she was not top dog as some of the others in the house had much bigger personalities than her as well as being older.. She would just take herself off when people came in to the house and let the more dominant dogs take all the attention. .
So our biggest challenge we picked up from week 1 is the need to socialise her, get her use to as many new people and places as we can.
Friday 19th ( Day 8)
Tonight we took her down to DD1's house once the three wee ones had gone to bed. This was to see how she would react to the grandchildren in their own house. I sat on the floor with her to reassure her everything was ok. She did some low growling but nothing major. She did not have any problem with DD1 and SIL1, just the children. She did end up relaxing enough to take some cold meat from Fifi's hand. She certainly has more reserves about Bob than she does Fifi.
She did a No2 while out on her lead, first one we have had on a walk.
|sitting in the sun|
Saturday ( Day 10)
Today we gave her two new experiences. Firstly we took her to Pets at Home to get her a new jacket. They allow dogs in and so we spent time after we had selected the jacket meeting people and their dogs. She does not seem to mind too much being approached by adults, sadly we did not see any children in there to test her.
Then we went an spent an hour on a crowded beach. Lots of dogs to meet, lots of things to snoke at and lots of people to meet. She happily stood while we chatted to some owners, again she was quite happy to be petted. We passed one child and she growled as we walked by.
In the evening we went back down to DD1's. This time we let her off the lead and just left her to get on with it while we sat and chatted. Had a low growl at Fifi as she walked round her, Fifi was ignoring her and looking away. Then just before we left I popped her front paws up on the chair Bob was sat on and Bob got to stroke her and there was no growl at all. Maybe because he was sat and not really focusing on her? So all good stuff today.
She also did a No2 on the beach. First time on her lead.
|watching dad clear the snow off the car from her perch on the back of the couch|
Monday 22nd ( Day 12)
Tonight we took another walk down to DD1. We took her round a different road than she has been on before. Tonights socialisation was learning that people at bus stops are no threat . She was not keen on walking past people at the bus stop either on the way there or back. So I picked her up while we stood and chatted and she was quite happy for the people to stroke her and talk to her and then quite happy to sniff and walk round their feet when I put her back down. She now keeps walking when a car passes instead of stopping and then watching it as it goes behind her
When we took her into daughters house we let her off the lead and she was more relaxed tonight. in the house. She again was happy with the adults. When Fifi crouched down to talk to her she did not growl but did not approach her either. When I picked up Dixie she was happy for me to walk towards Fifi, she allowed Fifi to stroke her and talk to her and even happy to be held by her. But when I had hold of Dixie if Fifi walked towards me then she would growl. But still positive steps forward.
|with a tug toy|
By now she is going into her bed when ever we come into the living room with food. She has learnt this very quickly. She also know she gets a treat when we have finished and we call her out of her bed.
|exploring round the fishery|
Had Dixie out at Auchincruive. There is an area there that has a 6ft high wall all along the road side so we knew she was not running out in front of traffic and a chicken wire fence along the inside so she could not go any where. We let her off lead and was calling her to us regularly to get use to coming back when called. Bits of chicken every time she returned was a good incentive.
She is not overly happy with hubby being out of her sight. he has been in the garden a lot of the day and for some of that time she has been in with me she takes a while to settle down when he is not around.
Had her back ay Auchincruive. Her recall is not brilliant yet, don't really expect it to be. If she was on the trail of something then she was not taking much notice of us but she was never overly far away.
Took er down th DD1 when the three wee ones were still up. Just to see how she goes. Dinky is not a dog lover she has had a fright with one jumping on her in the past. So we thought if she met a very small dog who was afraid of people it might help. She was happy to put treats down in front of her but would not touch her. Minky was loving her, right over stroking her and feeding her treats from his hand. She did do some small growls but not aimed at the children.
SIL1 came up ans he got a few growls in the garden but she was fine as he passed through the house.
|looking for things in the fallen tree|
Tuesday 31st Jan
We met next door in the street. The little girl E has spoken to Dixie through the fence but never met her out and about. If I picked her up she would growl a bit, but if down she allowed E to stroke her.
|keeping out the way of the hoover.|
Wednesday 1st Feb
DD2 was down to visit for a few hours. The dog was not overly pleased with her coming in but she was a lot better than she had been two weeks ago when Bob visited. We applied the policy if she barked she got popped into her cage for a few minutes. The door was not shut and we shouted her back out, and repeated the process as required. She was a lot more relaxed and comfortable enough to fall asleep in her cage and did not bother bringing herself out. This we can live with. Sadly we do not get a lot of visitors to practise this with.
She was not happy if DD2 approached her cage and would bark. It is still more scared and is not aggressive.
|sitting on the arm of the couch watching through to the kitchen|
Had her out for a good long walk. Took her to the walled area at a local country estate and for all we did not meet anybody else in the field she was happy to come back most of the time when we shouted her. I have started with hand signals as well when I call her to me for a reward of a piece of chicken.
She has growled a few times today when she has been sat on the couch with hubby when I have entered the room.
She is less worried by traffic going past and will walk past people now without having to stop and panic when people pass us.
She is now happy to jump out of the car but still reluctant to jump in. Generally now I put her in, strap her in and then give her a piece of chicken.
|running towards me when shouted for a bit of chicken|
Today is the first day we have left her.on her own. She has never in her nearly two short years been truly on her own as there were other dogs in her last house. So we left her while we nipped down to DD1's house for hubby to help her with some work and I was going to be watching Bob and Spud. So we went down I got the children ready and we walked back up here. She was on her own for less than half an hour, but we do need to build this up over the next while. When we came back up she was happily lying on the back of the couch, her favourite place when the sun is out. I got Bob to let himself in to see what she would do. This again is a first time somebody has come in when neither of us were in. She yapped at him for approx 30 seconds and stopped. I stood outside for a few minutes to see if she would come to him when he called her, but she did not. Did not want to leave her to long so I went in with Spud after about two minutes. She had a growl when Spud came in but no more yapping, all good positive steps forward. We sat here for fifteen minutes or so and she stayed sat on the back of the couch with the odd low growl but that was all.
We walked back down the road but she would not walk next to the buggy so I got Bob to push the buggy and I held her lead. No growling at all when we got back to daughters.
|with a chew in the sun|
Today we planned to leave her in the car by herself to see how she would cope. Not a lover of doing this but weather not warm enough for her to overheat in the car, nor cold enough she was coming to any harm. We also had Bob in the car and she has not had anybody in the back of the car beside her before this, so another first for her. We gave her a fifteen minute walk before we put her back in the car. She was happy enough to walk along side Bob. We were going in to see a Lego Brick tour that was in a local gallery. We could see the car most of the time from where we were. If other dogs went past she was looking out of the window, but most of the time she seemed to be n the back parcel shelf. She had wandered through the car as there were muddy paw prints on the leather seats, they will wipe off.
She got another five minutes after we came out to have another short walk.
Had her in DD1's house for about five minutes as well. There were five under fives in there, two of them she had not met before but no growling from her, even when Dinky was stoking her bum, Minky stroking her head and Jess sat in front stroking her, with Dixie licking her snotty nose....yeuch. This is a great step forward for Dinky.
|with her harness strapped into the back of the car|
So in the last three weeks she has gone from yapping for over two hours when Bob was in to little growls every now and then when people are in this house. She will now keep walking when a vehicle passes us. More often than not she will keep walking when people walk past, and she is happy for people to stroke her when she is out on her lead. She loves to be off her lead running and enjoying herself and is really only on her lead now when we are near roads.
She now jumps into and put of the car. Associates hubby putting on shoes as a sign something good is happening and gets excited and looks forward to having her harness on and getting out. She will now also jump out the car in the driveway and walk round the back to run into the house without her lead on as well.
We have found out she prefers meat in either jelly or loaf form but not keen on ones in gravy. She is not a big eater, but is not losing weight so not bothered by that. She does get some of her food quota from treats of chicken and liver that we feed her when she is out. She eats pieces of pear and carrot but not banana. She no longer jumps back from her bowl when she is eating if either of us approach and will happily eat away while we do our own thing in the kitchen.
|learning about a towel when she comes in wet|
She sleeps in her own bed all night now without making any attempt to come up on ours.
As part of her training we leave the door to her cage open, the cage is up the back end of the living room so she can wander in and out as she feels like it. We pop her treats and chews in there and we are hoping this will give her somewhere to go that she feels safe and secure if she feels uncomfortable when we have visitors in. She does take herself off there during the day and look for what has been put in there for her.
I would say that is pretty good going for only having had her for four weeks today.
We are hoping when the light nights and warmer days come in that we will meet more people and dogs and that she will start to play with other dogs. While there is no aggression towards other dogs she does not show an interest in playing with them either.
The only minor issue we have is occasionally she growls at me if she is sat with hubby. It is a scared growl rather than an aggressive growl. I have no idea why she does it, maybe once a day, not all the time. I have given her no reason to be scared of me and I am the hand that feeds her. She is also happy to curl up on my knee for an hour or more.