Jessie, soaked with drool
Her greatest ally is her crate. Unfortunately she is a wee bit picky about crates – loves plastic ones but not wire ones. And I only have wire ones. Yesterday, I started asking around for a plastic one to borrow, but after some initial resistance that even liver treats couldn’t overcome, she is finally adjusting to the wire crate with a sheet covering the sides. (As I write this, my friend Else is bringing over a plastic crate for Jessie - a better choice as Charley believes all wire crates are her personal property but won't be caught dead in plastic.)
Because she is such a timid dog, it is important for her to have a place she feels safe and secure. As I’ve written before, on the post about crate training, a properly crate trained dog sees a crate as a den, a haven, not a cage or jail. Jessie is one dog who really needs a haven.
Jessie has some other challenges on which we are already working. She doesn’t know how to ask to go outside to go to the bathroom. But she is learning, and a quick “uh uh – outside!” results in her running to the door with me to finish the job on the grass.
She also pulls like a Trojan. While I was told a quick “uhuh” brings her back in line, this hasn’t been my experience so far. Once she has done her business and received her treat, she practically drags me back to the house. That is a problem for me (I have a spinal/hip problem that makes it impossible for me to walk heavy pullers), so I will need to work with her indoors on leash heeling, where the door to the house is not a distraction. And I’m making arrangements to borrow a ‘no pull’ harness for her.
And at the moment, “ Walkies” is not in Jessie's vocabulary. Our one foray outside of the fenced back yard, just onto the driveway - resulted in her having a meltdown - a quivering, shivering, hunkered down, not-going-anywhere sad-little-muppet meltdown. We shall try again in a couple of days, this time leaving through the gate on the other side of the house, away from the car and driveway. Our journey of exposing Jessie to the outside world will be taken with baby steps.
Jessie has a lot of really good traits.
She has a lovely “sit”. She will sit for anything. Because she has a tendency to paw and jump up for attention, the rescue was teaching her she only gets attention or treats when four paws are on the ground. We are continuing with that training – not even a pat on the head unless all paws are down.
She is, so far, a very quiet dog. In the house, she is silent – no barking or whining at all. This morning, for the first time since her arrival on Saturday, she let out a joyous WOOF when we headed for the back yard at six AM. She has a very clear WOOF, not a bark or a yip or an arf - a clearly articulated contralto “WOOF”. There’s nothing more annoying than a yappy dog, so I consider a contralto woof to be a good trait!
I'm quiet, but I know how to WOOF!
She is a quick learner. Initially, she trembled violently each time I picked up the leash to take her into the yard. The very sight or sound of the leash was enough to send her running. I think she was afraid I was going to take her out in that puke-producing metal box on wheels again. So I left the leash clipped to her Martingale collar and let her drag it around for a day, and now she is just fine with it.
She is great with other dogs, cats and people. She is a bit of an attention hog, but that bodes well for her to become attached to a future companion, and also makes training that much easier. She wants to please.
I'm smilin' now!
Jessie will be a work-in-progress. But for the right home, this muppet of a dog will one day soon be a great companion.