The More Things Change

Risa enjoys some serious playtime with foster boy, Jagger.

Risa is making great progress in tolerating Jagger’s presence in the home. He still comes on too strong when I first let him loose which Risa finds a major turnoff. The other night, she refused to come back into the living room while he was there. She simply lay in the hallway even after Jagger had made himself comfortable on the dog bed. I was eventually able to convince her to join us and she curled up on the couch out of his reach. Even when Jaggy put his face right in hers or came over to steal some loving from me she did not react. I could tell she wasn’t thrilled but she barely even made a whale eye. Huge progress for her.

Eventually, she decided she did want to play with him and started batting him with her paws. This lead to all out games of wrapping each other up, playing bitey face, and chasing each other around the room. I really wish Risa weren’t convinced that outdoor play is strictly for playing with ME and would play with Jagger outside as well. It would be a lot more fun for everyone. And I wouldn’t have to wonder how long it will be before something goes flying or gets broken. 😉

I was also finally able to get a new photo of Risa with Santa Claus. It’s a foolish goal that only serves me but I feel bad that the only one I have is 6 years old. Just like the one taken then, the person playing Santa was one Risa knew. She was hesitant at first as she saw a odd-looking stranger. Once her nose took over, however, she remembered her friend and was completely comfortable getting pets from Santa. 🙂

She was actually really good at the event too. It wasn’t super crowded but there were many people, some kids, and a couple dogs there. Ris actually met two of the dogs and pretty much avoided the others without issue. She only had one minor reaction but it was nothing more than a mild stiffening that I stopped simply by calling her name. Risa accepted petting from several people and she even licked a young girl’s face. That’s pretty huge for Risa considering how afraid of kids she is.

Ho ho holy crap. Risa actually sat with Santa for a photo again!

Unfortunately, she showed her fearful nature while we were there. There was a bell choir performing and the sounds really bothered her. She was only a bit concerned at first and was able to get over it. However, as the songs went on, there was a certain tone that terrified her. Risa didn’t want to stay; she wanted to leave. She wasn’t afraid of being near Santa for her photo; she was worried about the bells. I gave her some time to try and calm down but she wasn’t having it. I took her outside for a break and then brought her back in. But she was just too scared to keep her there. I brought her back to the car and ended my visit early.

For the most part, she acts like she’s comfortable wherever I take her. Her fearful nature is generally well-hidden. I usually have to tell people how afraid she is and that she is not a confident dog. Yet this was one of the times I needed to remind myself that that is who she is. She is a fearful dog and it will still show up on occasion. I hadn’t even considered that the bells would bother her. Still, she did well for herself. I did too. Before, I probably would have essentially told her to “suck it up” and not listened to hear plea to leave. This time, I listened. Even if I would have rather stayed.

About Jamie

I'm just a traditionally-trained artist with interests in dog training. I currently teach classes at the local obedience training club (tricks, freestyle, and Rally-FrEe) and I also teach classes professionally for an organization who helps veterans train their own service dogs.
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