Pixie and I dozed for most the morning, cuddling and fussing, very happy in each other’s company.
An hour after we woke something amazing happened…
Pixie approached me, so I very carefully looked away and ignored her as ever, and she stretched and pawed at my hand.
At first I assumed she’d just caught my hand in a stretch, but she shuffled closer and nudged me, then when I looked at her rolled on her back for tummy rubs!!!!!
I obliged, gently telling her how wonderful she was, and would pause in my scritching every 15 seconds or so, to see if she was enjoying it. Every time she would squirm and nudge my hand to ask for more 🙂
So that was wonderful!
A while after that she inched up again and, as I ignored her, she actually climbed onto my lap!!
We did a little stroking but I mostly ignored her as, even though she so so wanted love, she was trembling with fear. God bless this little pup ❤
After that she snuggled under a blanket between my legs, and I was able to finally get the too-big collar off her and put on a more appropriately sized one. No chance of it slipping off on walks now!
For the next few hours things returned to how they were previously, with Pixie being scared, not wanting us interacting with her, but her coming over for sniffs etc.
Getting out on the walk was difficult as the new collar didn’t have a lead attached, and treats and waiting weren’t winning Pixie over. In the end I had to sit on the opposite side of the mattress and stretch my arm over very slowly, and get the lead clip onto the collar ‘hook a duck’ style!
Walk was painful as ever, but still far better than the first walk, just fairly regularly stopping still.
We’re making walks as enjoyable as possible; she chooses where we go, she can choose the pace, and she can sniff all she wants. We keep the short, only 10-15 minutes per walk.
The only time she can’t do what she wants is if she strains backwards (then I freeze and wait for her to carry on) or if someone’s approaching us.
She has a tendency to freeze, then freak out when people get close, so at the moment I encourage her to move to the side and create distance between her and the scary thing – sometimes I have to pull her, but it’s better than leaving her close and letting her get scared.
As I was sat on the armchair colouring today Pixie came over, looking concerned. She hovered for a few minutes, then clambered up beside me and settled on my lap!
We were like that for hours. I alternated between colouring, playing my 2DS and we even slept together for an hour like that!!
Other noteworthy things: she’s eaten a good amount of food today, she was hovering as I ate my meal, and she again climbed on me when I was sat on the armchair and we cuddled.
At one point something blew off the windowsill when Pixie was on the mattress, and Pixie got scared and ran to my feet, then climbed onto my lap for comfort! That was an awesome sign 🙂 ❤
Later she again came for belly rubs (she is so gentle and sweet with it, just positions herself next to you, flops over, and wiggles!) and then the best thing: she actually played!!
She hasn’t touched a toy in the three days she’s been here, no matter what I do with them.
Today I again flopped a soft toy in front of her and she watched it, expressionless, then s-l-o-w-l-y opened her mouth when it went near her. This progressed to pouncing at it, mouth agape, and at one point she was even on her back, paws up batting the toy as she mouthed at it 😀
So that was adorable.
I bought some goodies for her, for if (when) she gains more confidence and can go on longer walks. A lead sleeve that says ‘keep your distance’:
Her evening walk was fantastic. She was so much less fearful; still very scared but such improvement!
She chose where she wanted to walk and the distance between us (she actually spent almost the entire walk trotting within a few feet of me, and even offered lots of eye contact!).
She sniffed and explored as she walked, and followed when I crossed a road and verbally guided her across.
There were a few people out and about and I got her out their path and let her just stand still and watch as they passed. She rocked it!
Ignoring her and obviously averting our gaze (eg. turned head, face tilted upwards) is still absolutely crucial, as it makes her feel so much more confident.
Listening to her body language is extremely important, and letting her come to us and ask for fuss is much much much better than forcing it on her, which would only scare her further and prove we can’t be trusted.
After her walk we left her alone in the house for five minutes, and recorded her. She did really well, and was actually more confident exploring than when we’re with her.
She looked out the window quite a bit (but she does this when we are home and really enjoys it) and for the last 3 minutes she was just sat on the armchair 🙂
One of her fave places!
She’s still spent 95% of today sleeping, but I absolutely sympathise with her…having panic disorder I totally understand how much energy terror saps you of!
Today I got half a dozen snuggles, all her choice, and she slept on my lap for hours. We played, she looked genuinely happy for just a moment, AND she begged for food as I ate.
Although there was a huge amount of fear with every interaction, it was HER choosing it, and several times she slept so happily on my lap. With every day her fear is slowly, slowly reducing.
I’m so happy for her 🙂