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A snapshot of Zoe's progress.... err, lack of it


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I did poke my head into the Health forum to ask a question, but figured I ought to at least say hi here and relate a story.

 

To be fair I have not been working with Zoe at all. I've felt a little guilty about that, but in our day to day lives at home she's fine, so getting her to expand her horizons isn't exactly a necessity, especially this year with all that I am dealing with.

 

I work at a cat sanctuary, and we now have adoption clinics in a local pet supply store every saturday. They can be quite boring. Lots of dogs come to visit, and so one day I thought, I have four pets... I should bring one of them with me! That would be fun! Sadly, the friendly cat was not at all amused with the harness idea. (Actually, he keeled over onto his side like I'd shot him, and refused to move for several minutes. Considering I was short on time I decided to just let him be and work on that issue later.) So I leashed up Zoe. Socialization and all, right?

 

She wasn't thrilled about the car, but got in it. She even followed me into the store willingly, though not without complaint. But she left a trail of poop all the way to the cat enclosure... little nuggets. I had to keep doubling back to pick it up. At the cat enclosure she stuffed herself under a chair, where she calmed down slightly. A dog trainer came over to say hi to her (there are some training rings right beside the enclosure), tried to give her a little treat. Zoe would have none of it. (The trainer also told me that Zoe is definitely mostly Sheltie. Obviously because of her sable color. Despite the fact that her face looks NOTHING like a sheltie. Right then.)

 

I finally just left her there under the chair while I talked to people about the cats and processed some adoptions. People would walk by and do a double-take, look around and say, "There's a dog there!" I'd glance over and just say, "Yes, that's mine. Please don't try to pet her." And there she layed for the rest of the time. She actually did sidle up to my boss a couple of times when I was not close by and there were some loud noises, since my boss was quiet and not looking at her or trying to touch her. I guess that's something.

 

I took her two weeks in a row, then felt so bad for her I haven't taken her back. Granted it doesn't create any lasting impact.... I swear, this dog has an attention span of about .2 seconds.

 

I think mostly I'm just sad that, first of all, I do not have a dog that I can take out in public without being managed and handled. And second of all I'm sad that no one gets to see the real Zoe. They see how beautiful she is, but they don't get to see her vibrant personality. She is just so funny and sweet and loving... and all anyone else sees is a terrified creature shaking in the corner.

 

Also, I have to say that I am rather tired of strangers telling me that she MUST have been abused. *sigh* I know she wasn't. There's just some wiring a little off in her little noggin.

 

I know I should probably work with her more. But there are many days when I look at her bright, happy self and wonder if it's really worth it. Maybe she's just meant to be a housedog.

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First off, it is good to "see" you again!

 

Poor Zoe! I know what you mean. Skip was suppose to be my grand, international winning dog. He is scared to death of sheep, and wants nothing to do with them! His siblings are mostly all in working situations. But, I love the little turd, and it is just the way it goes. Zoe may never be relaxed around people. As far as socializing goes, I suppose that if you worked at it for a few months she would be more comfortable than she is now. I guess it comes down to what you want to put into it. Good luck with her Natalie. She is so pretty, I just wanna hug her, which would probly send her into orbit!

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Hang in there Lunar

My Raven was exactly that way. She was not abused but not socialized either.

She is now 10 and most people that see her now can't believe she is the same dog they met years ago that couldn't even be in the same room with them unless I had her on a leash. She is still not a dog that likes to be out there in public but can handle more than I ever thought she'd be able to. It sorta snuck up on us. One day I noticed her slidle up to a stranger and it was all up hill since then. She's quite the social butterfly in her own space!

 

If you keep trudging and exposing her little by little, I bet she'll come around in time....so what if it's 10 years....what cha got to lose??? :rolleyes:

We all know she's special, to heck with the people that aren't blessed enough to get to see her sweetness. She's yours....enjoy.

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I know exactly what you mean! I also know how stressful and tiring it can be. I have gotten Daisy to the point where she no longer shuts down in new places, but she's still not thrilled to be there, that's for sure. If Zoe is happy being a house dog, then so be it, but I wouldn't stop working with her all together. I think that if you go a bit more slowly you will see some progress. Good Luck!

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Natalie, I have Zoe's doppelganger--my new girl Jill. Her temperament is exactly as you describe Zoe's. Still, she has made some progress. She doesn't bolt anymore when the postman brings the mail into my office. This took her about six months to accomplish.

 

 

IMG_2794.jpg

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I so sympathize with you. As the owner of a dog that not a single person in the world finds charming.....and the one that always gets a sympathetic smile when I tell about her very neat things she does, I feel with you. :rolleyes:

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I think it's ok if your dog is awesome at home but not in public as long as you don't have a need to take said dog into public. I agree it's pretty awesome that your dog can enjoy going places or that people get to really meet your dog's personality - so I can sympathize with that. But it's really up to you if this is something you want to work on with Zoe and/or if it's something Zoe needs. If it's just you applying your own wants instead of daily needs of your lifestyle or Zoe's (ie. if you live in a city/apartment and must take her for walks/public places). I personally don't see the need to force her unnecessarily. Plus making wrong decisions about how to go about it, or you stressing or getting frustration about lack of quick progress (6 months was mentioned above but it could certainly be sooner or much longer) can just strain your relationship with her.

 

It's never too late to teach an old dog new tricks, but that doesn't mean you have to.

 

Best wishes, glad to hear you are doing well otherwise.

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Thanks, all. It's funny how many of us have dogs like this.

 

It's definitely not a need. We do have company over only once in a while, and both dogs are crated for the duration (Zoe because of her paranoia, Zeeke because he's very overwhelming for non-dog people). The rest of the time it's just us and our acre. She actually does pretty well on walks now, which is awesome - she used to try bolting at every car that went by (which aren't very frequent around my house, but still, it happens)... her tail is now up instead of tucked, and she actually seems to enjoy herself. So socializing her is almost certainly for me, not for her well-being. She's a happy, well-adjusted dog in our household. I would *like* to see her expand her horizons... but certainly not a requirement in any way, not for the way we live.

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