Nibbles the chi-x who was confiscated from a home breeder, along with approximately 25 other dogs, continues to feel more comfortable with me. Along with counter conditioning, desensitization and training, I am big fan of going for walks in the woods with dogs. They appear to love it, and once I determine that my relationship with a dog is positive and I am relevant to the dog, I prefer to have them off leash.
Nibbles is still not completely comfortable having a harness put on him but I decided that the short amount of time it took, and the level of his discomfort was low enough, that is was worth the trade-off: Don’t wear a harness and long line and don’t come for a walk or wear the harness and line and get to come. I am hoping that by pairing the harness with going on walks, which he enjoys, it will begin to change how he experiences the process of having it put on. The harness will come to predict good things.
I do actually shut up and talk more to myself than to the dogs than this video would lead you to believe. I also do not play the ‘I’m going to get you’ game with Nibbles, even though at one point I say it. I do play it with my own dogs who are not afraid to approach me and have fun with it. Habits are hard to break. I don’t want to have interactions with Nibbles which give him more opportunities to run away from me, he’s already very good at that! When it is possible for me to call Nibbles and have him sit and let me get a hold of his collar, I probably would play chase games with him. It often seems as though he is trying to get me to play that way with him now.
Nibbles has been joining us routinely on our woods walks during the past week. He’s a confident, spunky, little dog who is proving to be a good companion on the trail. Little dogs don’t get much cuter than this and did I mention that he needs a forever home?