Friday, December 22, 2006

Lacey update again.

Ok, I have good news and some not so good news! I had pretty much made up my mind to keep Lacey and that she wasn't going anywhere as her attitude toward training etc is really good, she is heaps of fun and she and Leo get along great - so great they can even eat bones together etc. Lacey has come along in leaps and bounds with meeting people also - she is now willing to interact (nothing like a bit of people = food to change her belief system back to what it was) and although she will not run up to people like Leo does, she is quite willing to say hello if the person instigates it or whatever. Basically she is a typical 'reserved' aussie showing neither fear nor agression but will not readily meet the person. Once she has met them once, she has no issues what-so-ever saying hello. I have been really lucky as the few times we have gone out (we've been laying fairly low coz I can't be bothered and the heat) we have come across people with interesting gaits, walker frames etc, and this is all fine by her. I'm really happy how she is coming along in that aspect.

She has also really come out of her shell from about Monday onwards, becoming a really confident, cheeky girl... who posesses quite the knack for gardening. Both Leo and Lacey (really, really have to change that if she stays!) play non-stop and literally need to be seperated to give the poor pup a rest (Leo is not tired so why should she be!). One evening I looked out the window in the kitchen to see what they were up to and saw the little black girl shoulder deep in one of mums pot-plants, soil tipped everywhere and a very gleeful look on the little madams face! Boy was she pleased of what she did! I have (so far - not crowing yet as i'm sure problems will arise!) had no issues with seperating them (although Lacey did find a way of getting to Leo through my 'puppy proof' fencing) and when i'm training one and the other is in the other half of the yard i've had no barking or hissy fits yet, which Aussies are renowned for! I went down to Main St yesterday and both were excellent (well my arm was tired from trying to get one dog away from greeting everyone and another from walking between my feet). Then went to watch a train go past which Leo is absolutely fine with but Lacey was a little bit worried about.... it then became a bit too much with people rushing everywhere, busses going past etc, that she eventually was soo absorbed by the environment that food was not interesting - she'd eat it if it was right under her nose, but not otherwise so i'm not sure if that was due to fear or just over stimulating environment. One thing for sure was that she wasn't comfortable, but her response wasn't excessive and a few more visits should make her ok with it all :).

Today took both dogs out to the front yard today to do some 'car washing' before the stage 3 restrictions. Brought out a stake to tie Lacey up on as I don't trust her yet and don't want anything to happen... especially when I can't watch her like a hawk when washing the car. Pressure hose came on and Lacey had the fright of her life. the response was much worse than the train station (but that could have been coz I wasn't with her to reward her etc). I completely forgot that the pressure hose may freak out the dogs - it scared Leo the first few times I brought it out and even now he hides under the safety of the garage (this is making me feel better now), but even then he has never responded like Lacey did. She did the same thing with food when I tried to reward her - unless it was under her nose she wouldn't take it.... if I threw it she wouldn't take it... now she isn't as food motivated as Leo but perhaps she has been taught not to nick food from the floor? Coz she never does take it from the ground (she doesn't lure either - must teach that!) so I really can't say if that was a stress response or just a 'i'm not eating off the ground response! Mind you, later on she would eat off the floor but I did have to coax her a little. I then had her walk up to the pressure hose (now off) and constantly rewarded her for acting calmly around it... no issues there, no skulking away or crouched position, trying to run etc. Then tied lead to belt clip whilst washing car and rewarded her constantly. Put away when pressure hose came on again. Came straight out afterward and walked her around pressure hose. this time (with remaining water in hose) i'd turn it on for like 1/2 sec, feed, turn on, feed etc. but although she seemed to be dealing with it she did seem scared when I then called her away from the spot - it was like she was glued there... this took sec or two and then she was fine.... So now I don't know if she is 'sound sensitive', if I'm over-reacting in my concern or whether I need to seriously consider if she stays or goes!!!!

What is my heart telling me - I want her to stay. Her nature is beautiful, she is a sweet cuddly, smart thing and oh so willing to please. My worries about her not playing with toys are fast vanishing as she is getting more and more eager each day to chase things and carry (the right) things in her mouth. Her people issue seems just about gone but she will always be more reserved than Leo. She will be a great agility/obedience dog when I have the energy of hers harnessed and she is more settled in and older to start 'serious' training etc. Basically she has all of the potential i'm looking for.

My head is telling me - I wanted a dog with no issues, no baggage... she was meant to be a confident little imp that fitted in within 24 hours and told me within the week in no uncertian terms that she was staying.... ok, slightly unrealistic as a dog making such a big a change as this (going from paddock and a dog of say around 10 to a dog of two in suburbia with multiple daily excursions and a VERY different lifestyle) was a HUGE change to expect her to fit right in. I know that Lacey has chosen me as her owner (ALWAYS wants to be on me and wherever I am, I now have two aussies in my lap.... sooo glad that now Leo is completely himself again and still loves his Ma!) but I don't want a dog that has soo many issues it will take me 2 years before we can even think about competing coz we have all these 'issues' to get over first... ok again, I may be exaggerating, but I always think of worst case scenario!!!!! Or what if something happens in the ring that makes her so scared she doesn't want to enter again.... you need a confident dog to do all sorts of trialling where one little mistake or big bang won't set them back for months if that makes any sense.... am I over-reacting and this is just a 'social' issue that will go away with a bit of exposure.... I want to know that if I make the final decision to keep her I won't regret it. The other half of me is saying that I had 'issues' with Leo too... just different ones. I had an over-exuberant, over-friendly ditz of a dog that couldn't concentrate for the first 12mths of his life because the whole world was a game. He had none of the issues of Lacey (although startle sounds still scare him) had/has but he also got soo furiously car sick that I couldn't drive him for 2 mins without throwing up - that would have ended our trialling career also (not much point if the dog feels soo crook they can't work!).... so I spent AGES (12+mths to be exact) getting him ok with the car and now he is pretty fine with it.... so am I just being silly and is Lacey the dog for me, or should I wait?!?!?!? I wish the answer was staring me in the face....

As for her showing ability, something else could go wrong should I wait on a pup aswell... what if their ears go up, or their movement goes out, or they have x wrong or y wrong... you never can tell so that doesn't bother me much.... I just want a confident, stable dog that I can take everywhere with me.... does it sound like she shouldn't be my dog?????


Kylie said...

I think you are stressing yourself out too much over this mate. No matter what dog you get it is always going to have issues that go with it. The question you need to ask is not does Lacey have issues...all dogs do. You need to ask if these are issues that are fixable or that you could live with. I seriously have enough confidence in you to believe these issues you are finding in lacey are things that you are more than capable of fixing. I think she is a gorgeous dog and will be a very smart dog capable of learning easily and doing well in whatever tasks you decide you want her to perform. Just sit back .... relax...take a couple of deep breaths lol.
And remember most of still have more time to decide you dont have to make your decision right now.
But hey that is just my opinion and we all know how much i know about these things hehe

aussienut said...

lol - thanx mate :). You just know me and getting my heart into things and the longer I wait the harder it will be to say goodbye if I have to coz I already don't want anyone else to own her (wait.... wasn't I telling you this last night too!!!).... I think I was just getting myself worked up coz I realise now that Leo doesn't think all that much of the pressure hose either.... but then he was already 'my' dog (being 2 years) that I knew that he could deal with it etc... lol.. and as everyone says - she hasn't shown any adverse responses, her recovery (except for today) has always been excellent and she is still young, showing no 'critical period issues' really so anything that comes up is probably 'fixable' fairly easily... especially the more she settles in.... see I can talk myself around it too!! LOL!