Welcome Home Pippi!
Things have been quiet on the blog front lately because I’ve been taking the time to really settle in and get to know my new pup. It’s definitely a nerve-racking experience adopting a dog you’ve never met but I have to say, despite the rocky start with the shelter, this is a really good fit. I’m so happy to have her in my life! Every day I learn something new about her and every day she comes out of her shell a little more.
The shelter said she was crate trained and mentioned a couple times how she kept her crate so clean (apparently dogs don’t usually do this?? I have no clue). I decided to get her a crate since she seemed so accustomed already and I’m so glad that I did! For the first week, she spent the majority of her time in the crate; her safe place. She wouldn’t engage with any of the toys I gave her and sometimes she wouldn’t even want treats. She jumped at any movement I made and seemed anxious and on edge a lot. From what I understand, dogs really love routine so I tried to do the same thing everyday for the first week and even most of the second week. My patience and diligence paid off! Slowly, she started becoming more comfortable with her new surroundings. She was gaining confidence inside and outside the house. She’s trusting me more and more, and looking to me for guidance in new situations.
It’s been 4 months since I picked her up that winter day and I think it’s fair to say that she and I have officially bonded! And while she knows that our home is a safe place and that I’m safe as well, we still have a long way to go. She’s not ready to be off leash and she chooses not to obey sometimes but all that will come in time. Now that she’s comfortable, she’s showing her goofy side and does the most ridiculous things! I can tell that she’s happy and, in the end, that’s all that really matters.
The biggest thing I’ve learned from adopting a dog is patience. You must have infinite patience and pace yourselves with training. First, start with nothing. What does that mean? It means just be. Let your dog be and get acclimated to her new space. Don’t force interactions- they’ll come with time. Often there is no way to know your dog’s full history so, unfortunately, you have to assume that they’ve been through hell and back. Once you’ve established safety start adding in training a little at a time. It’s been 4 months and we’re STILL working on “sit”. It’s beyond frustrating at times but you just have to remember that they’ll get it eventually. You’ve got years to get it right so go slow!
Stay tuned for more posts on how Pippi has changed my life in just 4 short months and how I’ve changed hers! I love my little nut!