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Dog Trio

Dec 01

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Today we had our first swimming lesson. It’s something I had been planning on doing with him for a while, but between saving money and just finding TIME I hadn’t done it until now.
It is a cold November in Wisconsin so he hadn’t been to any natural bodies of water. I had no idea how he would react to being in the water.
He was less than enthusiastic. While he is usually a happy pup, his nerves kick in sometimes with new things. He growled at the trainer trying to get his life jacket on. It was the same person who fitted him for his gentle leader so he sort of didn’t have a history of positive interactions with her yet.

That made me so anxious. I suppose I worry what people think if I have a dog that is not perfectly socialized. I take pride in training, so when something happens badly I worry it reflects on me as a trainer, not him as a rescue puppy.

Now, logically I totally know this is not the case. But that’s just how anxiety is! My dogs have become a way for ME to get over my social anxiety and have positive interactions with other people. So when it doesn’t go smoothly for them, it makes me more anxious too.

He does adjust quickly so it is a happy ending. By the end he had warmed up to her a bit and even started letting her pick him up (with distracting treats of course).
Anxiety is just something Trio and I both need to work on together.

Since the swimming lesson I have been trying to expose Trio to more and more new people.  It seems like sometimes he has an initial anxiety response but as soon as the person gets down to him and shows him they’re friendly, with pets or treats, then he is instant best friends. He even remembers people after just one interaction!  We visited a local pet store and the employee he met last time remembered him (understandably, he’s pretty memorable) but what surprised me even more was that he wasn’t anxious with her at all.  He just hopped right over and plopped in front of her for belly rubs.

Trio’s favorite pet store friend even gave him a toy to take home, which has been very well loved

As for the actual swimming, he did well! Like I said, he wasn’t excited to get into the water and was hesitant to go down the ramp but with some gentle manipulation he was really moving in the water. It is great to see him using his full range of motion and some serious muscle to swim like that!
I hope to continue doing swim lessons with him but I’m still financially recovering from my wedding in June, and my honeymoon coming up in January. So I may do this sporadically for a while. 🙂

So along with basic manners (Which is he excelling in of course) we are also working hard on socialization.  I guess on one hand it seems like a lot of work, but on the other hand he has already improved so much just as he becomes more trusting in general of me and his surroundings. 🙂

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