Jeri Wagner, Dog Behavioral Therapist & Master Trainer with Bark Busters Home Dog Training chronicles her dog foster experience in the hopes of inspiring and helping others on their dog foster journey. Read along to follow Jamie’s progress!
Our ninth week with Jamie was one of her best weeks yet!
On Monday we walked with Jason and Zoey, increasing our walk to 1.75 miles. Jamie easily passed a working power washing truck, woodchipper truck, and trash truck. There were a lot of people out in their yards with barking, fence-charging dogs, but Jamie passed most of them very nicely.
On Saturday’s walk with Jason and Zoey, our across-the-street neighbors were out in their front yard. I want Jamie to have good experiences meeting new people, so I have been making a point to let people know how she might react as she eases into new situations: after all, it is only fair to both the people and Jamie. Jamie was relaxed as we approached to say hello, and I let our neighbors know that she can be fearful of men and asked they not reach towards her. They decided they did not want to pet her, which I respect – people should be able to choose if they want to interact with her, especially in situations she has struggled with. We said goodbye and continued on our way.
Towards the end of our walk, we added in a new section of our development and headed up to our very good friends’ house so Jamie could meet them for the first time. They are some of Zoey’s favorite people and she was so excited to see them! Jamie met our friend Diana first and with minimal hesitation. While we were chatting in their front yard, Kevin and their college-age son, David, came home. Jamie did well with the car coming up the driveway and the guys exiting the car – normally, the sound of car doors opening or closing makes Jamie nervous. Not only that, but she did great meeting them, even going back for pets!
We went to the backyard for a few minutes so Jamie and Zoey could hang out with everyone a little bit longer. When it was time to leave, Kevin offered to drive us home to avoid a coming downpour. Jamie refused to go in the car, however, and went into her patented “bucking bronco” fear routine. I anticipated this would happen since I have not had a chance to work on car training with her, so Jamie and I walked home and made it just before the rain started.
Now Craig can not only open Jamie’s crate door without issues but close it while Jamie is already inside. On Wednesday, I challenged Jamie when I left the house and gated her in the family room with Craig and Zoey – and without access to her trusty safe place. Craig reported that Jamie relaxed after a few minutes and laid down for a bit. Craig needed to leave while I was out, and he was able to tell Jamie to go to her crate and close the door with no issues. Now that Craig, Jason, and I have returned to modified work schedules, Jamie and Zoey are home alone more often and spending a bit more time in their separate crates.
Jamie and Jason’s relationship fluctuates between love and tension. On one hand, Jamie willingly goes to Jason for pets, treats, and ice cubes, and she will sit on the couch with me near him. She walks next to him on walks, and he can pass through the house most times with little issue (although Jamie often retreats to her crate). On the other hand, Jamie continues to bark or growl at Jason at least once per day. Sometimes she backs away, sometimes she charges him; at times, Jamie gives a low growl when Jason gets to the top of the stairs. In these instances, an easy verbal correction sets her straight, which is a real improvement from where she started. But this behavior – mostly related to when she is sleeping or napping and someone “surprises” her – will definitely take more patience and time to completely subside.
I continue to give Jamie more freedom in the house, leaving her out of her crate when I am not in the room. I introduced her (with supervision) to our upstairs bedrooms this week too. Jamie’s resource-guarding is not completely gone, however, and she is still managed around all human and dog food, as well as her antlers.
Jamie’s favorite day this week was Friday. Both Craig and Jason were out of the house for work and it was only Jamie, Zoey, and me at home for most of the day. Jaime was relaxed, happy, and hardly followed me around the house. This leads me to believe that the ideal “furever” home for Jamie may be with one or two adults and another dog.
I am continuing to push Jamie and work on new things each week. We will continue meeting new people and now there’s another milestone to tackle – getting her into a car!
Read Our entire Foster Diary here!
Jamie is available for adoption through To Love a Canine Rescue!