Happy Gotcha Day Jordi! Life lessons learned from one year with an anxious dog
When Jordi first came home, he was a sweet and obedient dog who enjoyed long walks and romping at the dog park. Fast forward about three months, he had gotten comfortable and unpacked all of his baggage. He was still a sweet and obedient dog who enjoyed long walks -- but he did not enjoy the dog park or any interactions with other dogs. He wasn't shy about letting us know either.
Since then, we've been on a journey to help him be less reactive and learn how to listen to his cues and figure out a way forward together. I've learned a lot from working with Jordi that I think is just good overall life lessons.
the importance of persistence:
In NYC it can be 30 degrees out, but the windchill factor won't let you feel all of those degrees. The weather will be more like 30º F, but feels like -3º F with windchill...ouch. As much as I'd love to do a quick in and out walk during these times, it paid off to layer up and take the treats out for a rewarding walk.
progress doesn't always mean moving forward:
Sometimes I just wanted troublesome walks to be over with. Jordi would've lunged at countless imaginary cats or squirrels or whatever he was anticipating that day. But as much as we both just wanted to get inside and be away from stressors, it helped to take a step away from the sidewalk, chill out a little and regroup ourselves before trying again. It might've slowed down a tough morning walk, but that breathing time made the experience a little less stressful.
everyday won't be good, and that's fine:
Sometimes Jordi is a leash walking angel. Other times he tries to lunge at every dog and person he can. It doesn't always feel progressively worse or better from day to day, but if I look at the bigger picture, he's been improving over time. Setbacks happen every now and again. We're all human (even Jordi, I swear he really is!) and sometimes you just can't deal 🤷♀️ Listen to what you need and treat each day accordingly