Saturday, August 8, 2020

Nine Months

 It's hard to believe that we've had Cully for nine months now. In some ways it seems like yesterday when we were bringing her home, but then I look at her, draped full-length on her favorite couch, and it seems like she's always been here.

I'm not going to lie, she has been an ongoing challenge. Just when we think we've got one of her issues under control, it crops up again, randomly and unpredictably, like a weed. Some things, I am sure, will never go away. Her fear of trash trucks and motorcycles seems to be insurmountable. But I'm hoping that we can get most of her other fears/issues under control. Eventually.

Overcoming her fear of the backyard at night took a long, long time. This week may be the first week we haven't had to wander around the backyard in the dark for an hour or so before Cully would pee before bedtime. We seem to have it down to twenty minutes or less (knock on wood). Although just when I thought we had it licked last time, she walked outside, flopped herself down on the grass, crossed her paws in front of her, and looked at me like she was ready for a long conversation (I wish I had a video of this, it was really funny). Like I said, random and unpredictable. 

Cully still exhibits aggression to other dogs. I'm very tuned into her body language while we are walking, watching for her head to go up and her eyes to laser-focus on a foe. Nine times out of 10 she will walk by other dogs without blinking. The tenth time she goes ballistic. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the dogs she chooses to hurl insults at: they aren't all small or all big or all bully breeds (like Ray's bĂȘte noir), they are just random dogs on random leashes being walked by random people minding their own business. We are working on this but I feel a bit out of my depth as a dog trainer since I've only had one other dog and he had no issues at all.

On the upside, Cully seems to like people. I think in her past life she had very little interaction with them since she showed no fear but no real interest either. Now that we walk around the cul-de-sac every day, Cully has gotten to know some of the neighbors and has had a chance to show her sweet side. She has a few fans on the block which I think has boosted her confidence a bit. When I think of how long it took to get her to even walk around the cul-de-sac on a leash and how much progress she has made since then, I feel hopeful that she will continue to improve. She'll never be a confident, calm dog but at least she can be the best Cully she can be. We are working on it. 

Hangin' with Li