Is anyone out there? ...ere? ...ere?
I swear I don't think so! It is so quiet around here in Bloggerville that it is rather spooky. I'm thinking perhaps some of you have been foreclosed on, and you've just quietly slipped away! OK, OK, that's probably over the top, I admit, but it has been pretty quiet around my 'hood. I'm having visits, but it seems the comments are slow. Well, except for Patti, our Monogram Queen!! God love that girl, when she gets behind on reading, she drops by and dutifully reads and comments on every one of my 408 blogs in the last three days!! That's dedication! LOL!!
And in spite of it, I will continue right along, blogging my fool head off! Yes, to answer your question, I do talk to myself when I'm alone.
Day before yesterday I took Sammy on an adventure. I needed to go to Linda's and to the art gallery, and I decided to take him along. I'm taking The Kids one at a time on short, low stress jaunts to see how they do in public. I took Jazi a week or so ago, and of course, she did just fine, the little well-adjusted thing that she is. She has absolutely no trouble with strangers. I'm pretty sure Joey will be alright, too, as he is much like Jazi around others.
So this week was Sam's turn. I knew it would be more difficult for him. Remember, he was the most terribly damaged little kid when I found him. He is doing well with people who come to visit us, barking a bit in the beginning, but quickly settling down and approaching and befriending them. He is also doing beautifully when we walk around our neck of the woods. I can let him off the leash, and he stays close or returns immediately if I allow him to wander a bit. But all this is familiar territory, his territory! So we need to socialize him to people and places that are not his.
First we went to Linda's. Now, Sammy knows Linda well. She is at my house often, and when she is gone, he looks for her all over the house. But going to her house is very different. Linda has a cat (didn't worry about him, 'cause he would probably not be visible with a strange dog in the house) and two dogs. Blue is a mature and very cool hound. Blue likes everyone and is not difficult to get close to and enjoy. She is very sweet. Then there is Murphy, a year old Chocolate Cocker Spaniel, who is adorable and H.Y.P.E.R!!! Sammy is hyper at times, but Murphy puts him to shame! I knew it would be hard for Sam, but a good lesson.
Murphy was herself! She wiggled and squirmed and whined and gurgled, and Sammy froze! Caroline understands that, because she saw in months ago. He wasn't afraid of Murphy, he seemed just overwhelmed! He sat and watched her bounce around until she finally began to settle down, and he relaxed a little. But when she tried to scoot up close to him, he rolled his upper lip back and gave her a little throaty growl! She stopped, then again got a bit closer, and he snapped his jaws at her. Mind you he didn't try to bit her, he just growled very low and snapped the teeth without moving at all. After that Murphy settled down and so did Sam, and while I can't say they were "buddies" before we left, they were within inches of one another and both seemed reasonably calm. Good beginning.
Next we went to the gallery to have another lesson. It was a quiet day there with just a few people around, and Sam did pretty well on the leash. In fact, I could put the leash down and walk 10-15 feet away from him, and he stayed put. He watched me closely, but he didn't seem to be highly concerned. All in all, he was very subdued throughout the time we spent there, and of course, that isn't like him, but it was good to see that he didn't go into a state of shock being out of his element and around several strangers for about an hour. He allowed several people to pet him, and eventually just stretched out on the floor as if he knew he was safe, if not 100% comfortable.
In my judgement, this is a huge success. He did well for his "public debut," I think. I'll be doing this with all the dogs over the coming weeks with emphasis on Sam and Max. Well, that is, once I can get Max farther than the 2 miles to the mailbox! Bless his little heart, he isn't throwing up in that distance, and while he isn't drooling as badly as he used to, there is still enough drool that I hesitate to take him farther. Rome wasn't built in a day, right? And eventually, I'll be able to take Max places, too! I just have to work in baby steps.
When I get discouraged about the time it is taking to get through this training, I remind myself that I've always trained dogs from infancy, so this will be different. I'm training by removing bad habits and replacing with better ones. It is possible to teach an old dog new tricks, but it certainly is more difficult, too! Their lives with me have been just seven months in length, hardly a life time. And I'm so happy to be able to include them in anything I can, because that means they are mine. :)
Life is beautiful!!!!
PS - At 3:00 PM, I just returned from the mail run with Max, and .... are you sitting down? .... he didn't drool AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Poor guy doesn't know this means he will go farther next time!! LOL!!