Special, special, special news!!! Shelby and I are walking around the neighborhood!!! Yesterday Shelby and I walked the first time around the neighborhood. This little round usually takes me 15 minutes when I walk it with other dogs from the shelter but with Shelby it took me a little bit more than an hour. She started out very fearfully and – as usual – I had to give her a couple of tugs in order to move her forward.When she breaks on me, I usually give her a second to evaluate the environment so that she can decide for herself that she is in a safe place. If she doesn’t move forward, I visualize my action with her, I take a deep breath, I walk up to her calmly, I take her by the short leash, I kindly lift her up and give her a tug. I always remind myself that forward action will move her brain forward and I visualize the process. Sometimes I have to pull her 2 or 3 feet but eventually she realizes that she doesn’t have a choice but to move forward. Once she smells something interesting, she forgets her fear completely.
There were several times where Shelby just stood there and evaluated the environment. No hiding, no laying down, just plain curiosity. Once I bait her with a treat, she feels compelled to move forward and pick it up. I am so glad this dog has such a strong food drive. If she didn’t it would be harder to get her going.
The funny thing is she never pees or poops outside. I have never seen her do that. I wonder if she was a kennel dog that only lived in a crate and therefore never learned to eliminate outside.
Since Shelby is making small progress, I decided to come to the shelter in the morning and evening. Yesterday as well as today I was here at 6.45 am and we usually do a quick walk to the grassy area across the street.
The street is her biggest obstacle anyway, she is terrified of cars which will be another project another time. For now all I want her to learn is to be a dog again that gets on walks and enjoys life outside.