I have been taking Tatum out a lot to socialize her. I took her, today, to the Course A’Lure so she would get used to being around activities and people. I take her out Wednesday evenings to our informal training sessions we have with some friends. And I take her to flyball practice on Sundays.
She’s getting fairly comfortable at flyball and on Wednesday nights. She’s starting to take treats, and she loves playing with the other dogs.
She still doesn’t really know what treats are for. At the Humane Society they had a pet psychic there, Patty the Pet Psychic. I have heard good things about her and she was having short sessions for a very reasonable price. Patty basically confirmed my suspicions about Tatum. Tatum doesn’t really recognize humans. She has had no good human experiences. Humans have been negative and unpredictable to her. She doesn’t look into a human’s eyes. She doesn’t know anything about human signals or emotions.
Patty said that extreme happy emotion and situations can shut her down or freak her out just as much as extreme negative emotion and situations. And to just keep everything really calm. So I think I won’t be trying to engage her in really excited play with me. Patty said Tatum is like she’s almost autistic. But it’s not a mental defect, it’s behavioral. And I am confident that we will get around this and Tatum will learn to recognize me as a good thing and will be able to give me eye contact in the future.
Tatum does know dog behavior, emotion and signals very well, though. She is very dog savvy, and she likes to play and gets along with other dogs. I will still be taking her out to dog events for a long time, so she knows that there will be something there for her.
Now she is sleeping in her crate. When we got home she started going after Bianca, which is a sign of stress in her. And to prevent this from escalating I am enforcing down time. She doesn’t know how to settle herself down, so I, as her guardian and her instructor in living in a human world, am doing it for her.
I still adore Tatum. I found she loves liver, so I cooked some up and we use that for training treats. Thanks to my friend Astrid who is coaching me on how to cook the darn stuff! (I can screw up a box of cake, no kidding.)
Tatum is already more relaxed outside the home than she was 2 weeks ago. Tomorrow we go to flyball, then Sunday I might take her to agility practice. Not quite sure if I’ll take her Monday, she really might need a down day and I don’t want to push her too much.
So that’s the update about Tatum. I want to blog about her, because in a year or two I won’t remember what she was like. My husband will, though, he remembers everything! 😉
Fortunately neither Tatum nor I are so nervous we need incontinence products to help us through tough situations. But sometimes people do, and it is a legitimate concern.