Adoption Date: 4/2/2018
April 2, 2018
Gracie continues to do well with us. Since our last update, I have traveled for work twice and she was a perfect dog for my fiance while he took care of her.
Gracie also graduated from a foundations manners class with flying colors! It was a big step for her to practice all of her training in a new place with other dogs and people, and she even made a friend during class social time. She and her foster sister are enjoying the warmer weather and the mud in the yard. :)
Gracie barely shows signs of anxiety anymore and we do not need to use her 'room' or a crate to put her away. Eventually, we will wean her off of the Prozac but we are in no rush. She has earned free range of the downstairs common areas and has been left alone with no issues for up to an 8 hour work day. We are still working on her being over-excited in new places, like my office upstairs, where she gets over-threshold and wants to chew on my wooden desk.
Gracie LOVES going on walks and sometimes will pull on the leash still when she is excited or if she is anxious for some reason, like a truck passed and made a loud noise, but is mostly a perfect walking buddy. She has gotten better with getting into the car to the point where she will jump in readily on the way home but still is scared when leaving home. She has jumped into the car a few times from our driveway but the more she has been with us, the more I think that her "fear of the car" is really a fear of the vet or of new places in general. I think that it will take time and trust for her to be completely comfortable jumping into the car and Gracie's home should be VERY committed to this effort.
We are still working on nail grinding with the dremel, but in the mean time I have trained Gracie to trim her own front nails on a sandpaper covered board. This has been very helpful so that there is NO pressure to rush the conditioning process with the dremel! She still guards some items but surprisingly has loosened up over the past couple of months - I think that she is settling in with us and doesn't feel as stressed about her possessions, since I never steal from her. We are working on playing with two identical toys (two balls, two tug toys, etc.) so that she will learn that bringing toys to me and dropping them is GOOD! She will need this skill when I start to reward her with toys in training.
Our last update about Gracie is that she has been adopted... by us! We love her so much and can't imagine her ever leaving. Her adoption is nowhere near the end of her journey; she is still very young and struggles with her behavior in certain situations, but the progress she has made already is unbelievable. We are so thankful for everything GRRoW has done for Gracie.
January 10, 2018:
Gracie is doing really well. She went to a board and train over Christmas and transitioned really easily there and back to our place. Gracie was SO excited to see me when I went to pick her up!! Here are some things we are working on with Gracie and her progress: Settling outside her room - Gracie settles really well inside her room and loves to lay in her crate. She also likes to hang out in the crate, which is now up in my office. We are working on her spending more time outside of the room/crate with us and just hanging out without her going over threshold and starting "crazy Gracie" behavior like digging the rug, biting the blankets, biting our feet, etc. She does a great job when things are calm, for example, she will watch me cook/clean for hours and just lay on the couch and observe. When the energy in the room is high like when they are playing, she has a harder time controlling herself and that's when I need to tell her to get a toy or she needs to go take a break in her room. Overall, she's learning slowly how to "bring herself down" a lot better than before. We are also practicing "leave it" which will help her harness that impulse control and in general manage her emotions about life. The car - due to the weather, we haven't been working on the car as much as I would like. She still resists walking towards the car (pulls backwards on the leash not wanting to go that way) but once we are up to the trunk, she jumps in on her own accord. She's not comfortable enough to sleep in the car yet but she does lay down and look out the windows instead of panting/whining. Overall, much better but still so much work left to do before she LOVES the car. :) Nail clipping - I have taught Gracie to lay down on her side and place each paw in my hand. We are working up towards longer duration and me squeezing the paw. Then we will have the dremel (which I have already conditioned a positive response to by getting it out and giving her liver sausage over and over again) sitting next to us and then it will touch the nail and then it will be on and touching the nail! We are getting close! Walks - she is pretty much perfect on a leash and I walk both dogs together daily. Sam has been running with her up to 2 miles at a time. He runs about a 7 minute pace and seems to really enjoy taking athletic miss Gracie along for those runs. Hefe can't keep up with his running. :) She still has some biting episodes if something has really thrown her over the edge, like the walk was way too long and she's tired or we did something crazy like run across a busy street. She gets over it quickly though. Resource guarding - she still guards resources pretty heavily but will trade for a high value treat. She only gets those items (bones, etc.) in her room and none of us go near her when she does so it doesn't bother us in life. Sometimes she gets a stray paper towel or sock and that's when the "hostage situation" starts but our trainer taught me how to put Hefe away, toss treats towards Gracie while standing across the room, wait, etc. until she leaves the object. In other training, Gracie is getting really good at down, go to her mat, and "sit pretty".
November 28, 2017:
Gracie is doing very well in our home and making progress. She is taking medication to help with her anxiety and that coupled with working with a trainer twice a week has helped her deal with everyday life much better than before. She is doing so well on walks that I began to walk her with my other 1-year-old golden in the mornings, but I still work on leash manners with both girls on separate walks. We have started to explore new places out in the world like parks and coffee shops and she has been meeting new people and dogs. She is starting to tolerate more paw handling but since she is so fearful of the clippers I have begun to condition her to a nail grinder instead. She is still very fearful of the car and it is a work in progress. Gracie loves to be brushed and have her ears cleaned and she knows "sit", "down", "touch" (nose touch to my palm), and "bed" (go lay on your mat).
Gracie does well in the house but she still needs to be "reset" with treats in her room or crate sometimes if she goes over-threshold and starts inappropriate behavior. This usually happens if the energy level is very high, such as when she is playing with our other dog, because she does not know how to regulate herself well enough to calm down on her own. She will guard household items that make it into her mouth but she is happy to trade for something interesting like some really great treats thrown her way or a squeaky toy. She needs to be watched constantly when she is free in the house and does best when she is physically and mentally worn out first. Even though Gracie requires a lot of work and a large time commitment, she is making such huge strides and is turning into a wonderful companion!
November 5, 2017:
Gracie came to live with us about two weeks ago and has fit right into our family, which includes my fiance and myself and another one-year old golden. Gracie is unsure about other dogs but after a very slow introduction, the two girls play together all the time and it wears them both out! She is a high-energy dog, anxious girl who is still in the puppy/adolescent phase and she needs a lot of physical and mental stimulation every day. She loves the idea of walks but gets easily overwhelmed outside, so we use strategies to manage her behavior and create positive associations with new or scary things; her walks are getting much better. She will walk nicely side-by-side with our other dog but we can only do that with two adults, since Gracie requires lots of training and attention on her walk. We are also working on other life skills such as getting in the car and working up to nail trims.
She does well in the house when given structure, for example, a chew toy means that it's time to relax, but she is not trustworthy enough to have unsupervised roam of the house yet because she will chew inappropriate items. We are working on replacing those items with appropriate items and she is doing very well at learning what items are chew toys and what is actually our furniture! She has never had an accident in the house.
Gracie loves training and is very food motivated. She also loves toys, especially tennis balls and playing fetch - she is an excellent retriever and will readily drop the ball if you have another one to throw for her. She will dig and tear at stuffed toys or stuffed bedding so it's best to put those items away. She will guard high-value items like bones from humans and dogs. She also will guard found-items like trash on walks or similar items in the house, such as a dropped piece of human food. She does well with trading for an equally high-value, smelly treat, and I believe with consistent training and never stealing items from her, over time this behavior will fade. As of now, a home with children would not be suitable for Gracie because of the time commitment she requires and the resource guarding.
Most of all, Gracie loves the people that she trusts and will groan strange noises with a toy in her mouth to greet you when you arrive home (or even just arrive back downstairs from going upstairs)! She is not pushy for petting/touching like our other golden but she does like to lie very closely to you or on top of you and cuddle and she appreciates a soft couch or bed. Gracie is a very funny and sweet girl and will blossom after lots of time and training in the right home.
September 30, 2017:
Gracie is an extremely high-energy, anxious and challenging pup. The ideal home for Gracie will have someone home full time. She will need a home that can provide structure and lots of mental and physical stimulation. A fenced yard is required. We need someone who is committed and has the time needed to work with her to build her confidence, provide positive reinforcement and socialize her (people, other dogs, cars, just about everything). She would be ok with another dog, as long as he/she was very mellow. She is good with cats. A home with kids would not be a suitable placement for her due to the amount of time that she will require. Because she is a puppy, she still gets into things, chews things up, digs, etc. — so she must be watched closely. We know Gracie will be a wonderful companion for someone who can be dedicated to her continued growth and training, and will help her become a confident, happy golden.
September 11, 2017:
Gracie is new in foster care. More information will follow.