Rehab day #3.
Quite a lot of progress. We are moving a lot together in the mornings and in the evenings. No activity in between. I am trying to simulate days when she needs to be alone. I am also quitting home often, for short and long periods. Just sitting on the stairs outside, gardening in front of the house, or driving to the mall for shopping. Still in the neighborhood for giving a quick reaction if needed.
But not needed, fortunately. No barking. No peeing. No destruction of doors. Whenever I arrive home, a calm, resting dog is waiting for me, lying on the sofa, belly exposed, tail wagging. Just perfect. If it remained like that as of next week, that would be wonderful.
Key is exercising for at least an hour. In the mornings we run, something I always loved – and the very purpose of adopting this very type of dog and not something else. But something we never really pursued because of the continuous behavior problems. This week I gave it a chance and I have the feeling it was a great decision. On a short leash for now, then the leash will be longer and longer once she has learned never to leave me. Goal is canicross, a totally different type of run where the dog must be the leader and she also must pull – a no-frickin’-way set-up at this point in time. But it is always good to have a goal with a rough path to achieve, is it.
In the evenings she is bringing her backpack with light weights. Strictly on a short leash, properly walking. No sniffing, no looking around, no nothing. Peeing and pooping when I allow, where I allow. Another type of exercise, another type of load for the body and the mind. In the evenings she also has cue exercises: fetching, sitting here or there, whatnot.
These 3 together seem to be the key. This dog is extremely sensitive for losing rules, and I simply must keep that in mind. Any miss of applying those and she falls apart. It cannot happen again.
We have 2 more days to practise – and I very much hope all this anxety issue will be past tense for good, for both of us.