April 23, 2015 I was feeling quite unwell so I took the day off work and stayed home. Slashed most of his training for the day, but did manage to get in a few solid ‘sit’ exercises. Lately it seemed he has been more relaxed, with less drooling and anxious panting. Less of a panicked expression.
By April 25th, I felt he was pretty well mastering the ‘sit’ and slowly added the ‘stay’. He is utterly clueless. His butt hits the ground for a microsecond and he’s up again. During our porch chilling sessions I tried to lay down next to him. That only increased his anxiety but sitting a few feet away is acceptable. He still has that tendency to make a mad bolt for safety once inside the door, but a very mild correction is enough to pause him, momentarily.
I am beginning to see a sense of humor building up from within him. I hope soon it will emerge.
He can handle the neighbor’s lawn service better than he’d handled their roofers. He’s not crazy about the roaring machines, but he’s not freaked out by them either, so I see that as improvement. His confidence is slowly growing.
April 26th I leash forced him to the study (where I spend a huge bulk of my time) and had him lay at my feet for about 4 to 5 minutes, then released him, where he scrambled to the cave. A few hours later I repeated the exercise, this time taking him back to the den where he’d been before. I have an antique buck board bench seat with a fluffy pet pillow on top. The cats adore it. He crawled under it, almost quivering in fear, though there were no cats in sight. It was almost comical, and entirely heart breaking, to see a dog his size trying to wedge himself beneath a bench too short and too small to accommodate him. But he managed to stuff enough of himself under it clear to his shoulders, with his panting increased. Mercifully, I dragged him out and let him return to the cave of comfort after a couple of minutes.
April 26, I was trying for some photos outside. He was freshly brushed and it was good lighting. He seemed determined to have any form of eye contact. As I dropped his leash in the fenced yard, he paced around, staying well out of my range, ears back and tongue lolling, looking very much like a wild animal.
April 28. I keep his leash hanging by the front door, along with my keys in a dish. Both are audible signals for a trip outside. Last night and today he started going to the front door on his own accord and waiting for me to leash him up. I think he has put the pieces together in his mind that is the sequence of events. Progress! I did not have to grab his collar and lure him outside, it’s his choice now, at his request. He’s figured out he can make the request and it actually happens. To fuel his confidence, I had left a bucket of water at the door in plans to water some flowers. He sailed right by it without a freaking episode at some foreign object in his path. More confidence and progress.
April 29, he is showing signs of being more relaxed in the house as well. He is lying more stretched out in the kitchen instead of wedged into the corner, taking up more real estate of his cave.
He now comes to the door both when I call him from the door, or use the audible cues or he will come of his own decision and wait for me–quietly of course. Still no sounds from him yet. Within the fenced area, when I dropped his leash and walked away the last few times, he followed me. Not at a perfect heel, but a curious foot or two back, watching what I was doing.