Today marks 2 years since we welcomed Kane into our family. He has brought us a lot of joy and we have also learned a lot about dog behavior and anxiety. Kane came to live with us right in the middle of covid restrictions and lockdowns, so a lot about what I know about fear windows and socializing and exposing him to different things and people we weren’t able to do. It definitely showed me how important they are, and how much work it takes to try to work your way through it after the fact and help him to be a confident happy dog.
The people he met and got to know in his fear windows are his best friends. They get to see his true personality…the goofy, loving playful Kane that we live with everyday. They also get to see the little bugger who often has selective hearing when he is doing something he wants that we don’t…
Where he struggles is with new people…and being left alone. 2 separate issues that I will delve a little further into.
He is unsure of new people. He doesn’t know if he should be scared of them, protect us from them or run for cover. Thankfully he is slowly improving…with a lot of work. One of the main thing we focus on is telling everyone who meets him to ignore him. Don’t look at him, don’t talk to him, just completely ignore him until he is calm and brave enough to come and see them himself. They still need to ignore him until he bugs them for attention. Usually that works fairly well. If it’s a really busy setting, and we have a lot of people around that is usually overwhelming and I either put him and Rosco in our bedroom (which is the easiest way), or I make him stay by me and lie down. I’m not sure which is better, but if I can’t focus on what he is doing I would rather him be set up for success by not having something happen that sets him back. And really a bit of time in the bedroom isn’t a bad thing either. It helps us with his other major problem. Being away from us.
He doesn’t LOVE his kennel, but we did a lot of work on that and now he tolerates it. Our end goal is to have him be loose in the house or cabin when we leave…like all our other dogs have been. Our Rottweilers were kenneled the longest…we couldnt trust them free in the house until they were 2…so I hope that means Kane will outgrow this and one day soon we will be able to leave him alone.
Right now every chance we have given him has led to him destroying something. However he is fairly well behaved when I leave him alone in the truck. Not always good, he has eaten a lot of the cookies I take to my clinics that I meet with and he has shredded my notebook as well as a box of masks. But recently he seems to be improving…or I’m leaving less temptation for him. Which makes me hopeful that he will soon settle when we leave him in the house or the cabin. In the meantime we will continue to kennel him and try him for short times alone. When he does those without incident we will extend the times he is free.