This entry is from June 13th, 2009. It’s amazing how far my girlie has come. Also worth noting is the fact that I still try and take her new places to make her feel more comfortable and that it still doesn’t always work. 🙂
“So today a local dog boarding business had an open house of sorts. I found out about it last weekend and figured it would be another great opportunity for Risa to get out somewhere new as we’ve been doing every week.
I took her for a 2.5 mile walk before we arrived. I wanted to get the edge off but not tire her out too much. However, it was more difficult to judge how much to do since she didn’t get much exercise Thursday or Friday (because I was sick).
When we arrived, Risa did not want to go in. 🙁 I won’t push her, so we stood on the outskirts and I gave her treats when I could (she wasn’t too interested in them). Her tail was tucked pretty tightly and she was doing a lot of visual scanning. One of the rescue group volunteers who was there came over to see Risa. She was a very nice lady but Risa wasn’t interested in getting too close. (Risa did see this person twice more while we were there. The third time, Risa went cautiously up to her just upon hearing her voice and got petted slightly.) Eventually, she seemed okay and was willing to come with me inside the sectioned area. I tried to find us a nice quiet spot to hang out but the only suitable place was WAY in the back. It was too crowded to maneuver Risa back there so I picked her up and carried her.
She was back to being more uncomfortable back there but at least I could manage our space better. I continued treating her for looking at scary things and looking at me. At one point, someone was blowing bubbles and one floated by. Risa saw it and was fascinated by it (which was hilarious). It wasn’t long before I realized she was getting a bit too stressed out and that we should leave. I was carrying her back through the crowd when they announced a contest: Largest Lap Dog. I already had Ris in my arms so I figured “What the hell?”. I had a bit of trouble sitting in the chair because someone was letting their dog get too close but we managed. Ris tried to evacuate my lap at one point but I couldn’t let her. I just kept praising her for being good. Once we were done, I again retreated to the outskirts to await the results. Turns out we won 3rd place! After that, I stopped at one of the booths (I wanted to get a “I Love My Mutt” magnet) and we were off.
ANYWAY. . .after that long story. . .I got to thinking. Is this really working? Is taking Risa somewhere new every week really helping her or just stressing her out more? Most of our outings she seems to be doing better but today she was more scared than anything. 🙁 I suppose it could be due to the crazy last couple days but I don’t know. I try and not push her too hard even though it does sadden me that we can’t just go to these types of things and just have fun. I know she may never be the type of dog that’s 100% comfortable in situations like this. But I’d just like her to be less stressed out in new places. And I’m not sure what I’m doing is helping. . . :(“