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There has been a bit of a shift in Kelso. It is subtle but wonderful.

I like to refer to my role in this home as "She Who Provides Good Things For Dogs". A good deal of the time my dogs look at me with clear expectation of Good Things. ("Oh, she sat down, that might mean Good Things will happen!" "Oh, she got up! That might mean Good Things will happen!" "Wow! She is going outside! That really might mean Good Things will happen!!).......you all know what I mean. :)

 

Kelso, not so much. Kelso has spent a good deal of the time since he came here avoiding me. This week there's been a shift. Of course I still cannot approach him directly. But now when the dogs come into the bathroom with me,(I being one of those people who never has the chance to go to the bathroom without being accompanied by border collies ), he is one of them. At first, only just to the door. For a week. Then a few steps in. For two weeks. Then, to stand with the other two, next to me, but if I reached out a hand to pet him too, he would move away. Two mornings ago I reached out my hand and he did not move away, but allowed me to pet his head. And this morning he stood next to me, let me pet him for several minutes, and when I stopped, he reached out his head toward me for me to continue. :D:D:D

 

This little progress ( which is actually big) is accompanied by a whole new look in Kelso's eyes. It is not always there, but several times in the past couple of days I have caught Kelso looking at me with the anticipation of something good shining in his eyes. I have never seen that look in his eyes before. AND, best of all, it did not only happen when I had a squeaky in my hand! It happened when I was simply moving around the house and the other dogs got that look. This may be subtle, but feels very big to me. It means that Kelso is finally entertaining the concept that a human being, and having a relationship with one, can bring Good Things. This, if it lasts, will be a real turning point. Of course, knowing Kelso, he could regress at any time. But that doesn't mean it is not progress.

 

On Wednesday I leave for my 2 week road trip vacation with my best friend and Jes and Kit. Kelso will be in a completely new environment at his temporary foster home. I need not worry about him, as I have the best possible place for him to be while I am gone. But there's no way to predict how it will affect him. I just hope it turns out ok.

 

D'Elle

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Whoop, whoop, whoop!

 

Leave Kelso something you've worn to sleep on in his crate while he's missing your company. That will help give him sweet dreams.

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He's doing so well...Have a great time on your roadtrip. and here's what I hope happens when you return.

 

Kelso...OMG...............IT'S HER..IT'S HER..............WHOOOOHOOOOOO, I'M A HAPPY DOG!!!!!!!!!!!!!

:)

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On Wednesday I leave for my 2 week road trip vacation with my best friend and Jes and Kit. Kelso will be in a completely new environment at his temporary foster home. I need not worry about him, as I have the best possible place for him to be while I am gone. But there's no way to predict how it will affect him. I just hope it turns out ok.

A temporary change of environment may be good for him. I have a "summer camp" boarder right now. He's enjoying life with me, but I'll bet he'll be excited when Kristina comes to pick him up next weekend.

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More little baby steps of progress for Kelso. Although really, they are all big steps, when you consider where he started.

 

Kelso now, again, regularly comes into the kitchen when treats are being given out and nudges up close to get his. Occasionally he won't come. No big deal, he just doesn't get treats that time. But if he does come, he frequently bumps the back of my knee with his wet nose. Of course all of us have had wet nose touches thousands of times from our dogs. But because it is Kelso doing it, it is supremely sweet to me.

 

New-things-first-time-today report:

I always do a cuddle-in with my dogs on the bed when I wake up in the morning. I have for weeks now been putting out my hand over the side of the bed and just leaving it there where Kelso could approach it. This morning for the first time, he did! When I reached to pet him, he moved away. But that first touch is the turning point, and maybe it means that one day he will be doing morning cuddles too.

 

I mentioned that now he runs into the bathroom with the other dogs to get petted when I go in there. This morning he not only put himself quite assertively right in front of me to be petted, he nudged me when I stopped for a moment, and was happy when I continued. And then.....he licked my hand. Two or three little sweet licks - the kind that we all know is affectionate, not looking for food. That is the first time he has shown affection toward me, and I might venture to guess it is the first time in his adult life, or perhaps in his whole life, that he has ever shown affection toward a human being. Wow, did that ever do my heart good!

 

And there's even more. He is starting to catch on to the rules on our walks. This morning we went farther than ever without his pulling on the leash or dashing to the end and getting slammed.

 

For the most part with Kelso I have been using a pure action/consequences way of teaching him what he needs to know. Although I am a strong believer in clicker training, I have not used it with Kelso yet because he is not yet motivated to learn - he is still learning how to learn. He also is as likely to be made nervous or insecure with praise or a clicker as he would be with scolding or correction. I may be wrong in my judgement call on this, but I don't really think so. He just isn't yet ready to engage that thoroughly with me. Concentrated attention makes him much too nervous.

 

So what I do is when he pulls on the leash I simply stop. I don't change my expression, nor do I move the leash in any way or make any sound. What he has now learned is that when I stop, if he comes around and moves toward me and makes eye contact with me, he gets to move forward again and keep moving forward until he pulls on the leash again. It has not completely sunk in yet for him that he is actually the one who can control whether he goes forward or has to stop. It is so important to me to be sure he learns this, because once he gets it, it will be very empowering to him. I am sure Kelso has never had the experience of being in control of anything before in his life. He is in the process of learning that such a thing is possible. I think once he finds out that he is not helpless, and can make choices, he will really start coming out of his shell.

 

It is still going to take a long time. But I have already figured that I will have this dog for a year or more. I am not going to let him go until I feel he is solid enough within himself that some small thing won't set him back. I also know that the way I am going about things is very slow. But I believe that with a dog like Kelso, slow is good. I could rush him a bit, I suppose, but suspect that if I did I would create a higher risk of setback. If he takes his own pace, with my encouragement, it will be much more solid.

 

After all, seeing him in the morning, dancing around with his tail up and his deep liquid eyes just sparkling, is already a far cry from the terrified and depressed dog he was when he came. That eye sparkle tells me I can't be too far on the wrong track. :)

D'Elle

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A temporary change of environment may be good for him. I have a "summer camp" boarder right now. He's enjoying life with me, but I'll bet he'll be excited when Kristina comes to pick him up next weekend.

Well, the expected trip got cancelled.

Now in the process of re-grouping and have decided that instead of the road trip it will be a shorter camping trip. Perhaps we will leave next week.....it remains to be seen. But I am not so worried about Kelso now that it will be a week instead of 2.

:) D'Elle

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He may well amaze you - and, if nothing else, he will really appreciate you when you return.

 

Best wishes (and have a great trip)!

 

PS - Don't forget to give him a tee-shirt or something else you have worn (and not washed) so he has your comfy scent to content him in his crate. Works for me and my dogs!

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I am sure Kelso has never had the experience of being in control of anything before in his life. He is in the process of learning that such a thing is possible. I think once he finds out that he is not helpless, and can make choices, he will really start coming out of his shell.

You are doing wonderfully! I am sure you are right, and I suspect it will be a light-bulb moment for Kelso. Thanks for your updates, I really enjoy all the details you're sharing.

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Kelso barked!

 

Up until a couple of weeks ago, I had not ever heard a sound from him. Then, he started making little noises when I went outside with the other 2 dogs and left him inside. The sound he made was not a whine or bark or yip, but something else entirely that sounded almost human. But this morning for the first time he barked. A nice throaty medium-tone bark, just the kind one likes to hear. I do not know what he barked at, as it was before 5 AM and I did not get up to see what was outside. But it sure was a nice sound to hear!

 

Kelso now comes every morning to get petted a little bit by the bed while I am having Morning snuggle with the other two prior to getting up. He is starting to catch on. :)

 

Today I take him to stay for about a week with another BC Rescue person here, so that I can go camping. I am very worried that he will be frightened, away from me and this home, but I also know there's no better place I could be taking him and I shouldn't worry. Just hope he will be happy to see me again. I will be incommunicado for about a week. Send Kelso some good thoughts, if you would. Thanks!

D'Elle

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Have a great holiday...and I'll bet dollars to donuts that Kelso will be very happy to see you return....and if he barked once....I'll also betting he'll bark when he sees you :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

We're back, and Kelso is back home with us. We had a wonderful vacation, and I will post photos in the General Discussion when I get my act together to do it.

 

The report was that Kelso was no trouble (no surprise to me) and that he even eventually got into the car when asked, although was still terrified once the car was moving. He seemed relieved to be back home again, but I think that the different experience was good for him. I now want to figure out some place I can take him where there are people, but not too overwhelming in number, so he can continue to get some socialization. The person looking after him took him to work every day (vet clinic).

 

Here's the fun news: I just watched the little video of John's Taff Half Ear doing his little squealing. This morning, when I got up to let the dogs out, darned if Kelso didn't make the very same squealing sound while he was running to the back door to be let out! It was a delight! First time I ever heard him make that sound. (Previous sounds were whiney-arfs when he wanted to come out to play with the rest of us, and one time a few good hearty barks). I just love that squeal. It's so funny how it turns out that some of the Jefferson dogs have characteristics in common. Of course, for all we know, they are all interrelated.

 

Final note: He was staying with a woman who has two other Jefferson dogs. One of them, a girl, immediately went into puppy-submissive greeting behavior upon seeing Kelso. Clearly they knew each other, and Alys looked up to Kelso. They do not look alike, but had some kind of relationship previously.

D'Elle

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's the fun news: I just watched the little video of John's Taff Half Ear doing his little squealing. This morning, when I got up to let the dogs out, darned if Kelso didn't make the very same squealing sound while he was running to the back door to be let out! It was a delight!

Hey that's great news! Taff half ear gets excited (that's an understatement) when it's time to go out in the mornings and when we go down from the parking lot to the dog park in the evenings, If Kelso is squealing like Taff, it means he knows what is coming and cannot help telling the world that he's excited. Now you'll have to capture that on video for us!

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Unfortunately, John, Kelso has only repeated that little squeal one or two more times. I wish he would do it more, it is so cute.

 

I do have a report to make, though. Kelso has started to show affection to me! This is amazing and wonderful and the first few times he did it, it brought tears to my eyes.

 

For some time now as you know he has followed me into the bathroom when I need to go, so as to get petted. He has become more assertive about that, even moving fast to make sure he is the first one in there, so as to get the best position close to me for the best petting opportunity. I now have another foster dog in the house, so he has become even more eager to make sure he gets into "his" spot for bathroom-petting. He will now move closer to me, asking for more, if I stop petting him to pet another dog, and even will occasionally nudge me with his nose. All of this has been feeling so great to me I cannot express it.

 

Just a few days ago, though, he did something for the first time. I was petting him by massaging the top of his head, and he moved his head out from under my hand, turned a bit, and gave my hand several sweet little licks, then placed his head back under my hand again. To me, this is beyond a doubt a show of affection, because he actually moved away from my petting to lick, and then moved back again. I was thrilled. He has repeated this a few times since then.

 

And I was even more thrilled a few days later. I was having my love-in snuggle with dogs on the living room floor in the evening, and as always Kelso was watching from several feet away in the doorway. I would always put out a hand to him to invite him, and he has always turned and gone away. But that night when I put out a hand (not looking at him, of course, and not saying his name) he moved right in to get petted! I really almost cried that time. :D

 

Since then he has come for petting like that again, and has also not come on other occasions. But it is marvelous progress for Kelso. The trick with him is not to acknowledge him directly. If I look right at him or say his name, he will go away. If I pretend I do not know he is there, I am just petting some unknown dog's head.....then he will come and stay. At the same time, however, I also am stopping to pet him as I go by him in the house, and occasionally I will seek him out for a little petting. He has stopped running away when I do that, and sometimes will give me his belly to be rubbed.

 

The thing is that all of this adds up to a very positive picture. Right now he only seeks out petting in the bathroom, but allows it at other times.....soon he will seek out petting at other times as well, and it will grow. I am so happy to see him starting to come out of his hard shell.

 

This weekend he will see some people: I have friends coming for brunch

Saturday and someone coming on sunday who has volunteered to come over to help socialize him. It will be a big weekend for Kelso. I bet he does just fine. :)

D'Elle

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Excellent!

 

I had my dog for a LONG time (maybe 18 months or two years!) before it seemed to dawn on him that he could ASK me for stuff. Like... I want to go out, so if I go to the door and stand there, she'll let me out. Prior to that, he'd go out if I offered to open the door for him, but he only took what I was giving. When he learned he could ask and receive (petting, dinner, toys), it was a wonderful moment for me!

 

Kelso is going to be one happy boy.

 

Mary

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  • 2 weeks later...

Progress Report!

 

Kelso will now play tug with people other than me!

It started with a volunteer for ABCR who came to the house to help do socialization work with Kelso. After he had been here quite a long time, sitting on the floor next to him and touching him (with no acknowledgement from Kelso), I brought out the tug toy and played with all the dogs, and when he had a chance, he took the end of the toy and enticed Kelso, who grabbed it and played with him. It was a real thrill seeing that. It was a First. Kelso wouldn't look him in the eye, but continued to play tug for several minutes, even getting close to him in the process.

 

That was about a week ago, and yesterday my good friend came over here and did the same thing. In this case, probably because he knows my friend much better, Kelso even looked her right in the eye while playing. And he played with enthusiasm, if not with the strength and vigor that he now uses with me. I am very pleased with this progress.

 

Kelso will still shy away and run just as fast if anyone but me puts out a hand to him, but the fact that he will play is a huge step forward. And he is more and more willing to allow me to touch and pet him as I go by him in the house, and even on occasion to allow me to approach him directly.

 

He is such a sweetheart, and so brave.

:)

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The progress you are making with Kelso is astounding! A big "atta girl" to you!

:) Well, thanks, but really Kelso gets the credit, not me. He's the one who is doing all the hard work.

Atta boy, Kelso!!

DL

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It's so good to hear your guys progress with your dogs. With the 20 total we had only 2 that are failing to connect. The ones that are in homes are doing great. The 7 that are still with us 1 needs a high energy home with lots of directions. She was wild from the start and she was way too much for an a pet adopter. 2 poss 4 are ready for special needs type adoptions they are needing understanding homes who will encourage them. They prefer to still be somewhat invisible if they can. The other 2 are different not willing to accept humans. 1 will tolerate it if you can catch him. The other takes 2 people to try to get him if get away in the large yard which is often and really doesnt care to be part of the dog pack. Routine is not for him.

 

Does your guy stick his tounge out between his teeth? almost all our dogs do that. It's pretty endearing in a way. Originally I thought they had undershot jaws but, they dont.

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