Saturday, April 14, 2012

Making Progress

I haven't written a lot in the blog about Monsoon's anxieties, largely because of my own.

You see, I do well with most dogs. I'm not an "expert" and I'm not trained in any way and I haven't even read all that many books or sites on training. I just find dogs very easy to communicate with.

Monsoon has been a challenge.

It's not that I have a hard time understanding him. He's not subtle. The challenge is in making him understand that he's safe. I have to work with him, exposing him to scary things (like lawn furniture or blowing leaves, for example) without overloading his little brain and provoking a panic reaction.

He does panic sometimes. When my husband and I walk the dogs outside, if Husband should decide his head is chilly and put on his hood, Monsoon forgets instantaneously that's his dad. Dad disappears and is replaced by Terrifying Hooded Stranger, and there is anxious growling.

He still barks at me when I come home sometimes -- if I am carrying too many frightening grocery bags.

When he is relaxed and playing, he's amazing. He's a complete puppy, all that demented manic energy. He's been a huge help with aerating the lawn and we're really looking forward to getting some fence up so he can expend more of that energy off leash.

Last Saturday we had a test play date. I have been terminally unsure about bringing Monsoon to Greyhounds in Gettysburg because of all these issues, but my mind is at ease. I think he's going to have a lot of anxious moments and I plan to get him a red bandanna, code for "I may be nervous, please leave me alone."

His tongue is ginormous relative to his tiny head. That's Charm on the right.

Overall, he did so well; I was so proud of him. He wants to be brave. He wants to play and sniff people and get pats and rubs. It takes him a while to settle down and he needs a lot of space to get used to people, but he passed this test with flying colors. We will see you in Gettysburg, I am thrilled to report! There are a few more pictures of our day over at the Facebook page here, if you're interested.

I wasn't able to get a picture, but on the way home he curled up in the back of the van and cuddled with Charm. Charm (along with her mom) is special to me. Seeing Monsoon snuggle up to her and relax was a special moment for me. I did pretty well, though. I didn't cry.

My angel Drive and his friend Charm, a year ago

We’re participating in this Saturday’s Pet Blog Hop, hosting by Life With DogsTwo Little Cavaliers and Confessions of the Plume.  If you’d like to participate, please follow the rules and follow your three hosts, add your blog to the Linky and copy and paste the html code into your html editor.  Thanks again to our hosts for putting on the hop!
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  1. I think Monsoon will do great and the bandana is a great idea!

  2. I'm so glad to hear that he's doing well!

    We're going to be at GIG as well. Maera doesn't have as many fear issues, but still has some. We're taking a red bandana just in case she gets over-stimulated from all of the people and dogs, and will make up our minds there if she needs to wear it or not.

    Maybe we'll see you there?!

  3. Yay Monsoon!

    Sometimes, I wonder what makes a person an expert. Experience, certainly. And knowledge, however it's begged or borrowed. Some permutation that comes together, I suppose. Really, I'm not an expert either, I just play one well on the Internet, and love being a know it all.

  4. I hope the trip is a turning point for the better for Monsoon. He's shown that he likes hanging with his doggie peeps, loves his Mom, and seems to like people once they've shown they are respectful of his space. He did great last Saturday!

  5. I had never heard of GIG before this Saturday's blog hop when many Greyhound bloggers wrote about it. I really wish Colorado wasn't so far from Pennsylvania! Have fun. Hope Monsoon has a wonderful time!

  6. It sounds like he's making great progress. Have fun on the trip.

  7. Sounds like Monsoon is doing very well. I know he'll continue to make you proud.