Happy, happy. Another school year in the books. And you know what my first thought was? I need to plan out my summer to get as much work done as possible. I should be either stoked or filled with dread. I think I feel a little of both.
I did the ceremonial canceling of the alarm last night before I hit the hay, around 11:00. Slept in till 5:30. Score.
Tonight, we take our sweet Remy to a dog trainer for evaluation. She told the Thriller that it’s more than likely going to just take a metric ton of patience to help him get over his all-consuming fear of absolutely everything (people, other animals, strange noises, thunder, someone dropping a fork on the floor, the occasional raised voice, mirrors, Frisbees, the sidewalk, cars, the Thriller’s recliner, etc.). She will also evaluate the benefits of any possible training exercises. We tried that once, and it was a dismal failure because Remy was so scared of the teacher, he just collapsed on the floor and wouldn’t move.
Strangely though, he’s totally fine with Dusty and Oliver, Seamus’s dogs. No fear at all. While he’s definitely a “follower,” he doesn’t run and hide from them, or stand and bark wildly at them, which he does with every other animal he encounters. Good thing, too, as we’re hosting the dynamic doggie duo for a week in July. I think that’ll be really good for Remy, actually.
I tend to get impatient, which is dead wrong. We’ve had him for only five months; I can’t expect him to change two years’ worth of ingrained behaviors in that short a time span. I sure would like to know who — at the very least — threw him in a cage and left him there, with obviously no human touch or animal interaction. Truly, it broke my heart when this trainer told us that it sounds like he has absolutely no self-esteem. He thinks he’s worthless.
On the contrary, we think he’s fantastic, which makes us all the more sad that he’s struggling so much with life in general. He has nothing but love all around him; he deserves to enjoy it. But Mama Fink needs to be more patient.
At least I have time for patience now.
Would it be unattractive of me to say that despite being a member of the working class I have not awoken to an alarm clock in over a decade?
It would not — in fact, someday, I hope to join you in that working class.
Aww, poor puppy! Maybe he needs a therapy dog (a brother or sister)? It will be really interesting to see what the trainer says.
I, too, have not awoken to an alarm clock for lo these many years. Although I must say, that does not mean that I am not awakened at approximately the same time each morning. My alarm(s) consist of purring faces bumping my nose or smiling dog kisses. They usually work, and are much more pleasant!
Enjoy your summer! Keep us posted on the Remy-pup.
Animal Mom and General Zoo-Keeper
You’re one of my favorite animal moms! The trainer confirmed most of our assumptions, but gave us some ideas on how to slowly integrate strange/unfamiliar situations into Remy’s day so he can learn to deal with them better.
One suggestion was a trip to PetCo, even if we only get as far as the door before he freaks. She reminded us that his nose will detect hundreds of new smells before we ever walk in the place, and he may not like it. The point is to keep doing it, trying to get him a little bit further into the store each time. We’re starting with our local pet store before driving 15 miles to PetCo, but we’re interested to see how it goes.
This morning, I followed another one of her suggestions. I practiced with taking Remy just to the end of the driveway (and the beginning of the standard flip-out). When he approaches the sidewalk, close to the street, he starts to hunker down in the army crawl position and dart around and pull on the leash, not knowing where to go. When he did that, I simply changed direction and went back down the driveway to the back yard. The point is to add a couple of steps to the journey each time.
Patience, oh my…
Alarm clock????? You have to turn any alarm clocks into authorities as pensioners
All I can say Ms Fink is know that patience with Remy is a long process, with lots of little successes as opposed to “giant” leaps forward. Gunner our 95 lbs black Lab will be 6 years old this Fall and we have had him for 5 years, totally afraid of his own shadow, still. Even today he jumps up if I move too suddenly towards him. It breaks my heart every time! At this juncture we feel we are at the “best” with Gunner and we know that patience is a lifelong process. Hang in there!
Poor Gunner! Now is he friendly with other people/dogs? I guess I wouldn’t mind if Remy is *generally* shy, but everyone in our family and circle of friends is missing out on what a great dog he is because he runs and hides every time someone new comes into the house. He acts like a caged tiger, pacing back and forth behind the living room sofa.
Patience indeed — I am learning a valuable lesson, I’m sure!