A Much Overdue Update
I've been really busy as of late -- working, so I've not had time to update Whiskey's progress. I apologize -- she deserve more!
Whiskey has now been here 4 months. What a changed dog! She is by no means fully rehabilitated, but I can see where one day she will be considered 'normal' by most who meet her. When I read back in her journal and realize what she was and how she behaved when she first came here it is hard to believe. People are always asking me what I've done and to tell them my 'methods'. With the exception of flooding her and allowing Dusty to show her, I'm not really sure what has made the most difference in her behavior. I have not coddled her terror and in fact I have mostly ignored it. When she's afraid of something, I've noticed that Dusty goes up to her, nuzzles her and then goes directly to the scary object and sniffs it. I, in essence have done the same thing -- petted her briefly, then gone directly to whatever is scaring her and touching it or messing with it. I have also 'expected' her to do certain things and have gone forth with a positive attitude in my heart and mind. I honestly think dogs sense that and pick up on it. Whatever I have done, or have not done, it is working and Whiskey is becoming a self confident dog.
Whiskey has decided that my husband is no longer scary -- at least most of the time. She has allowed him to leash her in the pen, sits next to him for petting and comes to him when he calls -- sometimes. She is a Siberian, so we don't expect total recall and figure if she turns her head to look at you when you call her name, she is making the decision whether to come or not -- a typical Siberian response.
Whiskey still will not come into or exit the house with my husband standing at the door -- something she has done for me for a couple of months now.
Whiskey actively greets both of us when either of us goes out to the pen to bring them in or to visit. She wags her tail, gets excited to see us, jumps up and down and behaves very similar to Dusty in his clown-like antics.
Whiskey seems less terrified of new things that she sees or encounters and more curious, like a dog should be. We have new neighbors -- cows -- and instead of acting terrified of them, she stands her ground and either watches them intently or barks at their strange sounding barks! Prior, she would try to get as far away as possible from the scary things and pace wildly. She still does that on occasion, but it's lessening.
Whiskey has begun to get into trouble. A good thing actually, and one I am glad to see. I get up EARLY in the morning and let them outside. When they come in, I am usually still on the computer and Whiskey has been getting into trouble!! She has counter surfed, stolen newspapers to tear up, along with a few other objects. Luckily for me, I always keep an ear out for the dogs and have heard the 'noises of trouble' before any damage has occurred. When disciplined, told no, etc. Whiskey has responded in typical Siberian fashion of getting 'that look' on her face that distinctly says "I didn't do it". Even when yelled at "Hey get out of there!", she hasn't run or acted like a terrified wild animal.
Whiskey is trying really hard to figure out how to play with us. All of the dogs wrestle with us and know the rules -- human skin is tender and they are not to put pressure on us with their teeth -- but they can grab us, head butt us and generally have a good time. Whiskey tries to wrestle, as she sees Dusty doing with us, and will even initiate it, but doesn't quite know what to do. It's kind of comical to watch...she approaches, we make a move to grab a tail or goose a butt and she tucks her tail and spins, looking at us like we are crazy. She then comes back and does it again. The other dogs when goosed will ram us or jump on us and the wrestling begins. Dusty loves it, thanks to my daughter, who taught him how to wrestle when he was a pup. Whiskey will figure it out in time and I'm sure she will join in the fun.
Whiskey is now to the point where it's time to start taking her out in public. She trusts us and knows us and comes to us for reassurance. In the near future (when I have more then one day off every 2 weeks), I will begin taking the two of them to Petsmart, the river and parks and allow her to watch Dusty interact with people. I'm pretty sure she will stay back at this point and not allow strangers to touch her, but we'll see.
I'll keep things updated.