One Day at a Time

In the week since I “published” my last post, “A Heart-Wrenching” Decision”, Miss Ducky aka Demon Dog aka Little Stinker has been attending Doggie Day Care at a facility recommended by a friend…

Ducky’s first day at day care netted some hopeful results. She came home a different, much calmer puppy. Of course, she was way too tired to be anything but calm, but that in itself was a good sign. She had one short episode of “sibling rivalry” at the beginning of the evening, but settled down nicely afterwards. After I put Ducky in her crate for the night, I went back in the living room to watch more TV with hubby. We talked about Ducky during the commercials (thank God for the mute button!). We decided to take “things” one day at a time. The night before I had cried and cried. I didn’t want to re-home Ducky and I asked God for help. I didn’t hear the response that night but…

When I went to bed on Tuesday night, I heard a whispered “I’m working on it; just be patient.” I had no trouble sleeping that night. Ducky had been a “good girl” most if the evening. Was it just a one-night thing or would it continue? I felt like there was hope. My faith was renewed. I knew I had to leave the re-homing option open for a few days at least; but I felt more confident in my own ability to help Ducky, knowing that my co-pilots (God, Sam, Callie, and Shadow) would be right there with me.

Ducky has spent every day, except Sunday, at doggie day care these last seven days. Her attitude toward her older sisters has improved dramatically, though it still has a ways to go. She’s a puppy still, and she’ll make her mistakes; but my patience with her has been high, my hopes even higher. I suppose we have to keep the re-homing option open a while longer, but I have faith NOW that we won’t have to exercise it.

On Friday hubby and I prepaid for a month’s worth of Monday-Saturday daycare for Ducky, which will take us up to Thanksgiving. By Sunday night we knew it was the right decision. It was our commitment to Ducky that she would at least have a real home for another month, and probably be with us for the rest of her life. She was still worn-out most of Sunday from all the fun and games with other doggies during the week and Saturday! She hardly bothered Callie and Shadow at all.

Now, how do Callie and Shadow feel about Ducky? They still don’t quite trust her. And who can blame them after four weeks plus of being nipped at constantly?! Callie hasn’t quite given up trying to play Mama, but over the past several days has tried “the dominance dance” on Ducky. The last time she tried it, Ducky turned and bit her. No blood was drawn, but it hurt enough that Callie gave it right back to her — finally! I quickly separated them, but allowed for the message to be delivered. And, apparently, the message was also received because Ducky has been a little more cautious around Callie now as well as Shadow. We’ll see how long this “peace” lasts. Meanwhile, at times the older girls seem to avoid Ducky but mostly they do keep trying to give her their friendship. “Sisterhood” is a ways off yet, I’m sure — and will mostly depend on Ducky’s own attitude — but I’m hopeful of that as well.

Honestly, although I say re-homing is still an open option, I know in my heart that unless Ducky does a complete, 180-degree, turnaround back to the way she was before day care, it becomes less of an option every day. Neither Sam nor I feel that a regression will occur…

Ducky has “grown-up” some, become more secure, more confident in this past week. She no longer snarls at Shadow when we pet her. She doesn’t nip at Callie every chance she gets. And, while she still chews on almost everything she can get her teeth on, at least it’s not every waking moment. Neither one of us even wants to consider re-homing her now. She stole a piece of our hearts a while back, but she is making progress in earning our love, and the love of her two older sisters. I have faith, now, that our little stinker will overcome her anxieties and become as beloved by us both as Callie and Shadow.

Now it is time to REALLY start concentrating on Ducky’s obedience training — and putting into practice everything I’ve been learning this past year!



5 thoughts on “One Day at a Time

  1. Jodi says:

    You certainly have your hands full. I believe some dogs require more than others, and I think it also takes a new pup a while to understand their role in the pack. We’ve been experiencing this with our daughter home with her puppy. Sampson and Delilah do NOT like the puppy. They snarl and snap at him. And the puppy doesn’t get it, Sampson shows his lip and the puppy does not back away, which results in Sampson going after the puppy and then it’s another fiasco. We are using gates and crates to manage the situation as it is only temporary. I did reach out to a blogger friend who had an issue with her foster dog, who kept going after her dogs. What she did was when the dog went at her dogs (because they were getting attention) then the foster went in a crate in the same room and had to watch them play with the other dogs. She says it was the only thing that worked. It sounds like you have found a great management tool. I wish you the best!!

    • Sams Northern Girl says:

      Hi Jodi! Ducky is quite a handful at times, that’s for sure.

      She gets jealous when either of her sisters gets attention. She barks and tries to nip at them, but we don’t let her get away with it…we say “Hey!!”very firmly and either pull or push her away. We also allow Callie & Shadow to growl & snap back at her to let her know she’s overstepped the boundaries, but we’re right there to break it up if necessary.

      Thankfully, doggie daycare provides Ducky with a great outlet for all her pent-up puppy energy. By the time I pick her up at 4:30, she is worn out.
      Meanwhile, her older sisters have their time with us like they did in the pre-Ducky days which makes it easier for them to accept her place in all our lives. Callie has the gentle soul of a loving grandma…while she wouldn’t do anything to harm Ducky, she would & does “discipline” her when necessary. Shadow is more like the teenage sister who wishes Mom & Dad would confine the pesky little sister to her room 🙂 but she (secretly) loves her little sister and invites her to play and gets upset when play gets rough. They are an entertaining trio most of the time.

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