Jazz has come a long way, but still has some fairly severe issues. She is beginning, however, to remember how to be a dog.
I know that sounds odd, but she really didn’t know HOW to be a dog. Sentimentality by humans made her crazy — as it does ALL dogs. It is, in my book, the biggest cruelty by most people towards dogs. What makes a person feel warm and fuzzy 0ften creates psychosis, neurosis, nervousness, hyper-activity, and insecurity in our dogs. The dogs display their issues in a number of ways and humans interpret these displays to mean love, affection, pleasure, and enjoyment by their dogs. Jazz is simply displaying these issues in the worst ways — severe mental instability which creates high blood pressure, insecurities, inappropriate social interaction, and incapability of handling pressure.
We still have days that are both good and bad. But there are more periods of good now. We still have many things to work on, but Jazz has begun to engage in new behaviors resulting in less stressful and more enjoyable ways of daily living.
Up until recently she has been unable to come when called. She has indicated that she wants to, but simply couldn’t trust. It has taken a full week, but she is now coming when called, albeit somewhat erratically. She sits, of her own volition, at the back door to come in and waits to hear her name before entering. She sits and waits to be told it’s okay to begin eating. She has not jumped on the furniture, even though she has given every indication she wishes to, but controlled her impulses. She comes into the house and quickly settles down, often finding a place to sit without command.
But, most importantly, SHE has begun to (tentatively) establish relationships. This is an important delineation. I am not forcing the relationship on her via MY choice of affection. She is initiating contact as she improves and feels secure. She is now willing to sit close to my two dogs and, as of yesterday, sought out, of her own accord, physical contact with both me and Niamh. This is a HUGE improvement.
She has had no accidents in the house, though she did have one in the crate last night. I do not consider this her fault, but mine. We went out fairly late and I THOUGHT she had done all her business. I was obviously very wrong. It can be hard to tell if a small dog in the dark is really going or simply doing something else.
It is always important to understand that there is no room in the psyche of a dog for affection first. Love, in the beginning, will NOT conquer the problems the dog is suffering. In fact, it will actually create more widespread, and in all probability severe emotional and behavioral issues which will last much, much longer — perhaps for life — and the human’s sentimentality will come into play and excuses will be made and the dog will be relegated to “victim” status instead of moving the dog forward into true mental, social, and behavioral health. Emotional security regarding responses to the following or breaking of the rules established must be believed by the dog in order to create a psychological and physical security within the dog. Trust in their environment and the other animals (including the humans) must be built. Once that’s in place emotional trust begins and from that will be the ability to give and receive affection.
Jazz has yet to make these emotional and behavioral changes into habits and sits on the razor’s edge. She will stay with me longer than first anticipated in order to ensure she not revert to instability, but continue to improve. Still, all in all Jazz is coming around nicely. She is a good, kind, loving dog for whom I will be looking for an owner.