Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sampson-- making progress

When Sampson first came to me, he was at my feet all the time when I was sitting and when I was up and about, he would settle around the nearest corner and watch me with intent.  As soon as I would look at him and smile, he would tentatively come out from around the corner and sit by my feet.  He had a little self esteem problem.  I think that comes naturally with a dog that was found as a stray who may have had a short supply of affection from his 2-legged companions.  He was desperate for affection.

Ten days later, I've seen so much progress.  He still loves affection and anytime I look at him, he'll sit at my feet with those adoring puppy eyes.  He gently nudges my hand or sets his chin on my knee.  But when I'm up and about, he'll settle in for a nap.  Tonight I baked a cake in the kitchen and he was settled on a rug in the living room, out of my sight. 

I am the first person to admit that Toby is extremely spoiled.  He has 9 dog beds.  Yes, 9!  Until this morning, Sampson hadn't ventured onto a single dog bed.  At night, he sleeps on the floor next to my bed.  During the day, he finds a cozy spot on the floor.  This morning, I pulled him onto a vacant bed, gave him some cookies and a few minutes of belly rubs. When I moved away, he followed.  I tried again.  And again.  Finally, I got him to stay on the bed. 

I also worked on crate-training today.  I crate Sampson when I leave the house.  With a couple cookies, he'll go into the crate.  But, as I back out of the driveway, I can hear him barking his head off.  More than once, he's peed in his crate.  Today, I put him in the crate with tasty treats and then would leave the house for 5, 10 or 20 minutes.  I ran short errands.  Each time I left and came home, I put him into his crate and let him out without any reassuring words.  I took him straight out to the fenced in yard when I got home, in case his stress agitated his bladder.  No accidents!  And, by the last time I put him in the crate this afternoon... he wasn't even barking when I came home.  Progress! 

We've also worked on his commands.  When he came to me, he didn't know any of the usual commands (sit, stay, down, off).  With the help of some peanut butter cookies and his desperate attempts to please me, he now kind-of knows "sit".  Since he could stand to gain 5 pounds or so, I'm being generous with our "training" sessions!

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