Friday, August 20

Dax Progress Update

   Dax has been progressing along like a fireball with his anxiety issues.

   Last night, I took him along with me to BRAG while Popper had class, his second time at the building. He was relaxed in his crate the entire time, and amazingly, was taking hot dog treats. He went through the door much more easily, and was quite happy to receive some hot dogs as a reward. He approached several people and dogs, took hot dogs from a few people, and did his Mom proud. I even had a friend hold his leash and walk him out to my car.

   Today, we took our daily walk along the same route, except I brought Merlin along as well. Merlin's been "vengeful" pottying, no doubt due to Dax, so I figured he could use the quality time with Dax as well as some extra exercise. As an alterior motive, I think having Popper along last night was a huge confidence boost to Dax, and I was craving some more success. :)

   And success is exactly what I got. Dax finally, for the first time ever, went potty on a walk. He's never gone anywhere except in the backyard. That probably doesn't sound like a huge thing to most people, but trust me, it really is. After his potty, he walked down into the marshy area that runs along the sidewalk (I walk dogs on long flexis usually) and explored quite happily. When we rounded the marsh with the forest on one side, he was noticeably less freaked out about the trees, and even started flushing out birds! :D I was so happy with his progress that I decided to push it up a notch, and we did one extra block of unfamiliar territory.

   Piece of CAKE! He wasn't throwing out any calming signals at all. He was trotting around like he'd been walking the neighborhood all his life. He didn't even trip me ONCE on the whole walk; normally he'll dart back and forth right in front of my feet, so I have to stop, stutter step, or fall on my face. He even LOOKED happy. The one single problem we had on the whole walk was in the first two minutes, along the familiar route, when we were waiting to cross the street. There was a bit more traffic than usual, and Dax dropped to his belly while a couple of obnoxiously loud cars passed by. That was literally the only noticeable calming signal I saw from this dog.

HUGE improvements in such a small amount of time! I'll continue to take Dax with me wherever I go (when appropriate and feasible), and hopefully he will do a complete 180 from when I first met him!

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