Tuesday, September 13, 2011
It is the Small Things
It really is the small stuff with Katy. Like children, it is wrong to compare dogs, but sometimes you cannot help yourself. Things came easier to Bailey. It may have been that he came to us as a puppy from rescue and he had less baggage. He might have a more outgoing personality. I do not know. I do know that Katy has fought hard to believe and each victory is amazing.
People can debate the issues with dogs on furniture, but we have always enjoyed cuddling with the dogs on our beds and couches. That is why the couches all have fleece blankets on them. They wash when company comes and it reduces the hair to clothing ratio for our guests. When Katy came to us, she had challenges with stairs and jumping was not something she would do. We were not sure if it was training or fear.
The stairs were necessary. In order to reach the backyard she had to be able to negotiate the back stairs. My husband carried her down the first few times, but that was not a long-term option. With cookies and Bailey's help, we coached her on walking the stairs. Today, the problem is still getting her to walk the stairs. Now, she flies over them. Getting her to touch the stairs is a thing of the past. She flies up and down every set of stairs indoors and out. It is wonderful to see her fearless, but we do have to work on keeping her from breaking her neck with her races with Bailey around the house.
I started a tradition of picking her up and scratching and petting her on the couches for short periods of time to help her understand she was allowed on the furniture if she wanted to be there. She was not interested for a very long time. Last night I walked into the room my husband and his friend were watching the game and I saw Katy jump up on the couch and curl up with my husband. I struggled not to say anything. For some reason when you notice what she has done, even in a positive way, Katy leaves. My husband told me later that she has started to come out at night and watch sports with him on the couch. It does not sound like a big issue. However, if you understood how far she has come not just jumping up on her own, but to initiate contact it is huge.
Katy may always be shy. Several people have remarked that may be her personality. I am fine with that. My hope has always been that she would choose to do things based on personality, not on fear or bad past experiences. She may never be comfortable with strangers. However, she has won so many of the battles with challenges since she arrived with that I leave it to her to decide.