Elly has been a Tripawd for more than three years, August 5th, and as of October 17 part of our little pack for 3 years.
Elly flies up and down the stairs and has since she first came here. It was a concern when I was considering adopting her since Tri-Pug Maggie, also a small rear amp, had trouble going up stairs and I now live in a house with lots of stairs. Elly has learned to wait at the top or bottom of the stairs for me to cue her to follow me, it saves some wear and tear when I am coming right back. Sometimes when she isn’t sure what we are doing she stops in the middle and waits : )
Our first fall together was rough for a skittish dog…the leaves falling off trees and blowing down the road scared her. We often had to stop and let those little evil doers pass. Three years later we still have to stop for leaves but now it’s because she thinks they might be turkey feathers!
I live with my father and Elly didn’t get off to a good start with him, in fact it seemed like she might not be able to stay. She barked at him EVERY MORNING for three weeks! She even nipped him once- I think because he tried to pick her up. She finally got used to him being here, although was leery of him for quite awhile. One of Dad’s jobs is to feed the dogs and she wouldn’t go downstairs (without me) for breakfast for a year. Now they are best buds!
In addition to being skittish Elly was quick to bolt when scared, you couldn’t blame her after being hit by a car and re-homed several times. I couldn’t imagine ever letting her off leash unless in a fully enclosed park. Now (after tons of classes and hours of training) she has earned a little off leash time. I only let her off at certain parks and only when there are no other dogs around.
Elly isn’t the same dog that first hopped into my life, we have grown together in so many ways. I had hoped to do therapy work with her when I got her but her fear issues makes that impossible (for now anyway). I discovered Nose Work as an alternative and it has done wonders for her confidence. She is braver and more comfortable in her world, we have become quite a team.
For one thing this is my first post in over a year! But this is about Elly and a weekend full of firsts for her.
We went to a Nose Work Trial in Southern California on the first weekend in May which was our longest road trip so far, over 6 hours in the truck each way. Elly has never slept in the truck, she is usually sitting near the center consul so she can touch my arm, it has been this way since I adopted her 2.5 years ago. But on this trip she did finally take a little nap of about 3o minutes on the way home, probably out of sheer exhaustion!
We stayed two nights at a hotel, the first night she was a little growly when she heard people in the hallway or outside the window but she got used to it pretty quickly. One funny thing happened in the hallway- we were walking past someone who was knocking on a door and Elly started barking. In Elly’s world no knock goes unanswered!
I also built a road case that we could pack our stuff in and would also function as stairs so Elly could get up and down from the bed by herself (like our stairs at home). I didn’t get it finished until the day before we left so we didn’t get to practice. She was hesitant at first but got comfortable with it pretty quick although I had to watch her to keep her from jumping off the bed instead of using her stairs.
It was pretty warm down there, 90 degrees on Trial day, so I took the cooling vest I got for quad Pug boy Obie. When you are at a Nose Work Trial your dog has to wait in the car or in a crate next to the car between turns. Elly had never worn it, she doesn’t get as hot as Obie does and I usually wouldn’t have her out for long periods of time when it was 90 degrees. She wore the vest like she had worn it forever! Between the cooling vest and a battery operated fan she was very comfortable and not even panting most of the time. BTW- I make what I call our fort in the bed of my truck. There is an awning over the lumber rack with aluminet shade tarp over the top and covering the sides, this is where we wait together for our turn. The two pictures below were taken in the fort- I forgot to get a picture from the outside.
Oh- and then there was her first Nose Work Title! She was perfect in four interior searches and earned her Nose Work 1 Interior Title in an Element Specialty Trial.
I am so proud of how far Elly has come, she is far braver and more confident than when we first met. When we stared nose work over a year ago she wouldn’t put her head into a box or walk under a chair. If anyone in the room moved or made a sound she would stop searching. She wouldn’t let anyone approach us without hiding behind me. She also has severe separation anxiety which makes leaving her in the truck between her search turns in class or at a trial problematic. With the help of our trainer we have made great progress with the sep anx. At first she would flip out when I simply opened the driver’s side door. We started there and have made incremental but steady progress. At the Trial I had to go to a pre-brief which took 20 minutes so Elly was alone in the truck all that time. She was pretty ramped up when I came back but settled down quickly. Before the Trial the maximum amount of time I had left her in the truck was 15 minutes. The fact that she recovered from the 20 minutes and was able to do her searches with success gives me confidence that we will continue to progress as we go forward with Nose Work Trials and life in general.
We have been enjoying a few days of sun after quite a bit of rain. We have still been getting out almost every day to Elly’s favorite park. Her fav activity at the park is to cruise back and forth across the grass checking out the newest gopher holes. She hasn’t seen one yet but she likes to stick her nose in any open hole she finds. The grass is deep and until a couple days ago very wet- actually a great workout for a Tripawd! When no one else is around I can let her off leash in the fenced dog park, although until today it was too muddy to follow her around. Today I stalked her with my GoPro on a stick and got some pretty cool photos. Enjoy!